Frequently Asked Questions

Via email:

Hello I recently accepted probation. I wanted to ask is it unconstitutional in Texas for me to be given a contract where I give up my right to a trial by jury when I accept probation?

I’m assuming “contract” means the plea paperwork and the portion of it that says, in legalese and

Some queries, as usual, highlight good questions. Some I just find amusing. Here goes my summary of the best searches that brought up Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer this month.

Probation Fees Travis County Tx

It’s $62 per month to be on probation in Travis County, and, I think, pretty much everywhere in the state. Hyper technically, it’s $60

Criminal defense lawyers represent innocent clients, at least some of the time. I’m not talking about “Not Guilty” clients, or “You can’t prove my client did it” clients, or “Probably guilty, but he deserves a break because ________” clients… I’m talking about actually factually 100% innocent clients. They did not do it – period – end of

Question:  I recently received a citation with a violation of "theft under $50′.

The police officer advised me to go to court and appear before the judge and pay the fine.  However I am not sure if I pay my fine, will my background check always reveal this offense?

How can I go about getting this erased from my records? Should I plead Not Guilty?

Answer: I feel obligated to mention that the police officer should not be giving advice of this sort to people he writes citations (or anyone else for that matter). Nothing will come of that though, so on to your real questions…

Should I plead ‘Not Guilty’? Absolutely. “Just” paying the fine, as the officer advised you, is a plea of guilty or no contest, and will result in a permanent criminal conviction for theft on your record forever.

A conviction for theft is a ‘crime involving moral turpitude’…meaning basically that you are being convicted of something that labels you as either (1) a bad person or (2) a person who did a bad thing, depending on who is doing the defining. (I, however, am a criminal defense attorney, and not one given to making moral judgments about other people, so you’re going to have to try a lot harder than Class C Theft to offend me.)

If you enter a plea of Not Guilty, however, you will probably be given the opportunity to enter into a deferred disposition, jump through some hoops, and get the case dismissed. Successful completion of a Class C deferred will then entitle you to expunge the offense from your record – although, recent caselaw indicates that you may have to wait 2 years to do so. Still, no conviction, and an expunction in two years is better than a theft conviction on your record for life.

Continue Reading “Just” Pleading Guilty to Class C Theft in Texas

Question: 14 years ago I received a deferred adjudication for a misdemeanor.

Upon completion of my one year deferred adjudication, the case was disposed/dismissed. Because I did deferred adjudication, this means I do not have a conviction on my record. And, I’m in the process of submitting a non-disclosure of criminal records, however it has

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