Ask A Lawyer – Send Us Your Question
A: Under the Fourth Amendment, police cannot search your car without a warrant, permission from you or “probable cause”.
“Probable Cause” means police have the evidence or facts which indicate a crime has been committed. Arbitrary belief in a driver’s guilt is not probable cause, nor is a hunch or gut feeling, perhaps based on ethnic or racial profiling.
Police cannot pull you over and search your car at random, however, police are allowed to stop vehicles arbitrarily when that’s part of procedure for “checkpoints”.
If you’ve already been stopped and your vehicle was searched for evidence which can be used against you, you should get an experienced and knowledgable criminal defense lawyer to make sure your legal rights are protected.
A: The answer is simple. No.
If police ask you to make a statement without a lawyer present, you should politely decline and inform them that you’d like to speak to a lawyer first.
Police may tell you that “it doesn’t look good” if you get a lawyer. This is false. While investigating officers have legal right to lie to you, you do not have that same right. But truth can be twisted so police may try to get you to say things which could incriminate you.
Arlington criminal defense attorney Shane Lewis can protect you from making such statements.
A: By law, bond conditions are court-imposed requirements that a defendant on pre-trial release must follow until his case is resolved. These are conditions that can directly or indirectly relate to ensuring that the defendant continues to appear in court.
It is very important to meet these bond conditions due to the courts discretion to revoke bond or bail if it finds enough evidence that a valid bond condition has been violated.
Defendants who wish to object to the amount of bond or bond conditions can do so, usually in the form of a motion or pre-trial application for writ of habeas corpus.
Arlington criminal defense attorney Shane Lewis has years of experience successfully challenging unfair bond conditions and no bonds.
Q: I am interested in occupational drivers licenses. Recently my adult son hit hard times and fell behind on his child support payments. He was told that his license may be revoked for this. Would he be available for an occupational drivers license if this happens? - Anita, Fort Worth
A: Anita, an occupational driver license, formerly known as an “essential need license” is available in Texas only to individuals who are arrested or convicted on a number of crimes, usually drug or alcohol-related. Medical and child support issues are not currently eligible for an occupational license.
A: Cameron, you might be surprised. An unpaid ticket can and will most definitely lead to an embarrassing arrest, court fees and even jail time. Take a look at this recent Star-Telegram article on this very topic.
A: Many people feel that the only way to face a warrant is to go to jail, a timely and embarrassing outcome.
However, if you have a warrant in Tarrant County and would like to avoid an inconvenient arrest and jail time, call a Tarrant Count Criminal Lawyer. Based on your case, there is a good chance I can obtain a personal recognizance bond for you, allowing you a relatively painless way to take care of your warrant.
Don’t wait until it’s too late, call today at(817) 877-1500 or contact us online for the best Tarrant county legal advice. The sooner you act, the less time the state has to prepare a case against you.
Q: I heard that there are no penalties for not paying a red light camera ticket in Tarrant County. Is this true?
A: If you are referring to a ticket that arrived by mail that correlates to an unmanned camera, then yes, you do have more options that you would an officer-issued citation. According to section 707 of the Texas Transportation Code, which governs the use of these cameras, a violation obtained from an unmanned red light camera (meaning not involving an officer) is a civil violation and not a conviction. Section 707.007 code decrees that the penalty cannot exceed $75. Additionally, section 707.011(c) provides that failure to pay a red light camera ticket will not result in a warrant and will not be recorded on your driving record. Currently, Tarrant county does not report unpaid tickets to credit bureaus and while some counties do find a way to make an unpaid camera ticket affect the registration of your vehicle, Tarrant county currently does not. However, the law is always changing so your best bet is always to seek the counsel of a Texas attorney when dealing with a ticket or citation in Tarrant county
Q: I forgot to pay my ticket and now I am worried I have a warrant in Tarrant County for my arrest. Is there a way to find out without appearing in court?
A: Failure to respond to a ticket in a certain amount of days, appear for a court date, pay a fine or default on a payment arrangement, complete driver’s safety classes, or comply with probation or community service orders can result in a warrant for your arrest. If you are unsure if you currently have a warrant in Tarrant county, you can look it up easily from the privacy of your home via the City of Ft Worth website. (https://www.ncourt.com/x-press/x-onlinepayments.aspx?juris=35244751-5EC6-41B2-B4C6-2BD08CF14073) If you do have a warrant, you have some options but your best bet is to call a Tarrant County criminal lawyer to help avoid arrest and hefty added fees before you try to address it yourself. It is far better to err on the side of caution by seeking legal counsel than to try and save money and end up with a record and an embarrassing public arrest.
A: Deferred adjudication is constantly misrepresented by well meaning people who have no legal training, usually to the detriment of the offender. While it does keep a conviction from your record, it does not automatically wipe the arrest from your record. What does that mean for you? Call me and let’s discuss it.
Q. “I was kept from entering a bar because I was carrying a hunting knife. Was this illegal?” -HM, Burleson
A. Illegal? No. But any public establishment is free to not allow you to carry items inside, so while you did not break the law, they are within their rights to prohibit you from bringing it inside. While we are on the topic of knives, however, Texas legislature did actually legalize the carrying of knives with blades over 5.5 inches this summer, overturning a law that had been on the books since 1871. Texas law is forever changing when it comes to weapons charges.
Q: My 16 year old son was arrested for possession of marijuana. He’s never been in trouble in his life! We never dreamed this would happen and don’t know what to expect. What will happen to him? – Steve, Ft Worth
A: Depending on the amount and other factors, juvenile marijuana possession in Tarrant county can result in a few different punishments, ranging from the suspension of his license to jail time, if convicted. His record may also come back to haunt him unless adequate steps have been taken by a knowledgeable Arlington Juvenile Lawyer to seal his record. I would advise calling a Tarrant County Juvenile Lawyer today.
Q: My 17 year old daughter was arrested in Tarrant county and given “deferred prosecution.” Is this is the same as probation? – Debbie, Mansfield
A: While deferred prosecution is a sort of probation, true probation usually includes community service. Deferred prosecution means that your daughter cannot violation the terms given to her, usually she simply cannot break the law again for a six month period. However, the only way to make sure that she gets a fair sentence is to have an Arlington Juvenile Attorney present during the case proceedings.
Q: I committed a crime and pled guilty. I have hit rock bottom and am afraid about my future. I heard that there may be special programs for Veterans like myself that can help with my rehabilitation. Is this true? -Matt S., Arlington
A: Don’t lose hope. Tarrant County does offer rehabilitation programs for almost all types of offenders who are motivated to change, including veterans and also drug, DWI and assault related crimes. You might be surprised about your options. These programs, called Specialty Court Programs or Diversion Programs, require an experienced Tarrant County Criminal Defense Attorney to apply. You may be eligible for them even after you have put in your plea. Call me today and let me help.
A: It is worth noting that the majority of Fake ID crimes in Texas are discovered by bar or liquor store owners. However, because they face strict penalties regarding serving underage customers, they may be motivated to alert the authorities. It is always a good idea to contact a Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyer if you feel like there is a chance you may be arrested of a crime.