Q. What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
A. The basic difference between them is that a conviction for a felony is punished by a sentence in state prison. A misdemeanor is punished by confinement in the county jail.
Q. What happens at a probation revocation?
A. If a person violates one of the conditions of probation a motion to revoke may be filed by the State. If the State is able to prove the charge that they have filed, a person may be sentenced to jail for the number of days that was originally probated.
Q. When can I have my record cleared by expunction?
A. If there has been neither a final conviction or supervised probation, a person may petition the district court to have all records of arrest destroyed. A person may not have a deferred adjudication expunged.
Q. What happens if my child is charged with a criminal offense as a juvenile?
A. If a child over the age of 10 and under the age of 17, all criminal offenses are handled as juvenile matters. These cases are civil proceedings. While the child may not be “convicted”, he or she may be confined or removed from the home at the discretion of the judge.
Q. Can I get a driver’s license to get back and forth to work if my license is suspended?
A. Yes, in most instances the law allows a person to file a petition for an occupational license that may be used for household and business purposes.
Q. What is the penalty for a first time DWI conviction?
A. A person may be sentenced up to 180 days in jail and fined $2,000 for a conviction for DWI.
Q. If I am arrested for a DWI/DUI, should I take either a breath or blood test?
A. No. You are providing evidence for the government. The testing techniques are fallible. You create unnecessary work for us, as your lawyers, to prove the fallibility of those tests before a jury. Why increase the amount of evidence against you.
Q. What happens if I am arrested for Assault (Family Violence)?
A. In Dallas and the surrounding counties, the State will refuse to dismiss these types of cases in most instances regardless of the circumstances. The punishment for conviction is up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Q. When may I carry a pistol in my car?
A. Unless you are licensed to carry a concealed weapon, you may not carry a pistol in your car unless, as a general rule, you are traveling a significant distance or engaged in a sporting activity. It makes no difference that the pistol is unloaded or in the trunk of the car. A long weapon, such as a shotgun or rifle may be carried in a person’s vehicle.
Q. Do you handle all kinds of criminal cases?
A. Yes. the law offices of Bill J. Stovall are able to defend all criminal cases ranging from simple misdemeanors to the more serious indictments, including those in which citizens have been accused of murder or sexual abuse. Over the years, we have found that vice cuts across all economic and social lines and that professionals and nonprofessionals alike are subject to the same accusations as others. We have probably handled every kind of criminal case in the firms combined years of criminal defense.
Q. Why do I need a lawyer for a criminal case?
A. Criminal convictions, even probation or deferred adjudication, carries lifelong consequences for a person. The role of a lawyer should be to investigate each case based upon the merits of that case. A lawyer will often be able to assist in the resolution of a criminal case in a manner that will have great impact on an individual’s future. Remember, the Criminal Justice system is designed to move a great number of cases through the “system” in the quickest manner. A lawyer will make sure that your case is evaluated for it’s merit, not as a statistic for the State.
Q. How much does a lawyer cost?
A. Each lawyer sets their own fee for services in a particular case. Many lawyers handling criminal cases work on a “fixed” or “flat” fee basis. That is, the fee for services is fixed at the beginning of the representation and, regardless of the time invested by the lawyer, does not change. However, in most cases the client is still responsible for paying expenses, which are in addition to the lawyer’s fee. The lawyer’s fee usually depends upon the seriousness of the case and the complexity involved in defending it. Also, the amount of expenses varies from case-to-case.
Q. How do I decide which lawyer to hire?
A. Your choice of lawyer is a very important and personal decision. Although cost is an important consideration for most people, the least expensive lawyer is not necessarily the best choice. You should obviously look for a lawyer qualified to handle your particular case. The lawyer’s reputation and experience are also important factors to consider. Equally important is the lawyer’s interest in you and their ability to respond to your specific needs. No qualified lawyer would guarantee any specific result in your case.
However, your lawyer must be prepared to pursue all possible defenses and to aggressively represent your interests at every stage. This includes a complete factual investigation, grand jury presentation, pre-trial motions practice, plea bargain negotiations, jury trial, and appeal, if necessary.