Open Thread and FAQs

Continuing what may become a new regular blog feature, I am going to answer some questions I see “posed” by various internet searches that have found this blog (and still remained somewhat unanswered by the pages the searches brought up):

possession of marijuana in austin texas how long probation

Great question. Texas has the longest probation periods of any state. For Class B and Class A Misdemeanors, the maximum length of probation in Texas is two years. The minimum is 6 months. Some places frequently allow unsupervised misdemeanor probations, but, I hasten to add, not Austin. 

State Jail Felony probations range from 2 years minimum to 5 years maximum; all higher degree felonies (third, second and first) have possibly probation lengths of 2 to 10 years. Here’s some good info from folks arguing for shorter probation periods in Texas.

probation 6 months expunge record misdemeanor B

I’m going to rephrase this one: “Can I expunge a Texas Class B misdemeanor arrest that resulted in a six month probation?” The answer is an unequivocal no. Many times I see Google searches for questions that don’t have exact answers, because they are too case-by-case specific. 

This one is easy to answer, although, probably not what the questioner wants to hear. The section in Chapter 55 dealing with the right to an expunction is very clear that a defendant can not expunge any arrest that was resolved under Section 42.12 Community Supervision, also known as probation. This includes any type of deferred adjudication probation, even though when successfully completed, it wouldn’t lead to a conviction.

Most deferred adjudication probations can be sealed by way of Motion for Non-Disclosure, which means that while the government keeps the records (and will therefore know about the prior arrest if you wind up back in court again), for the most part they don’t disseminate the information, so most future employers (family, friends, noisy neighbors, etc.) can’t find out about the arrest.

how to plead minor in possession austin texas       and

if convicted of disorderly conduct in austin what will the punishment be?

Here are two examples in the “I can’t possibly answer that without talking to you” category. I see these questions (change the offenses to DWI, Shoplifting, Assault) all the time. 

I talked on the phone today for about ten minutes with the guy that googled the second question, and was able to tell him how he could handle the Class C disorderly conduct ticket without needing an attorney to represent him at all. But I wouldn’t have been able to give an exact answer, had I not spent a little time on the phone with him. I needed to know the facts, and what his goals and concerns were. 

Turned out in his case, he would probably work out a deferred disposition and a dismissal on his own. Also, he didn’t care about expunging the disorderly conduct, so that really meant he probably didn’t need a lawyer. 

By the way, the short answer to “Do I need a lawyer for a fill-in-the-blank Class C offense?” usually depends on whether you care about eventually seeking an expunction to wipe the arrest off your record completely. If so, my advice is get a lawyer. If it’s for a Class B or higher (jailable offense), then, with rare exceptions, you definitely need an attorney.

 

I added a “favorite search of the week” last time, which asked about horse theft in Texas, so here’s the “I can’t believe this question brought up my blog” search of the week…

how much can you buy a gram of cocaine for in austin texas?

I have no idea. Or maybe I should say since I handle a lot of drug possession cases, I probably have a general idea, but this blog isn’t meant to provide this kind of information. Just because I’m against the War on Drugs, doesn’t mean I’m pro-drug use. And I doubt there’s a whole lot of good information on the internet for this one, but maybe I’m wrong.  (Or maybe the enquirer was just doing research for a term paper, who knows?)

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
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