Answers To Frequently Asked Criminal Defense Questions
Many of our clients come to us facing criminal charges for the first time. As a former prosecutor, John C. Rentz understands that if you’ve never been through the court system, the legal process can seem complex and intimidating. Mr. Rentz has the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process and explain what is happening and what your options are. While all cases are unique, listed below are answers to frequently asked questions that apply to most of our clients.
Why Do You Need To Get An Attorney Before Your Case Is Filed?
Before the court brings formal charges, there is still an opportunity to shape the story of the events that led to your arrest. The police generate a report for the district attorney (DA) when they arrest you. If you want to challenge that narrative and provide more information for the DA to consider, hiring an attorney who is a former prosecutor greatly improves your odds of success.
Getting your version of events to the DA is your best chance to stop the case from going forward. If the case does move forward, we can also work to reduce the charges before you go to court.
How Do Juvenile Charges Differ From Charges Brought Against An Adult?
In Texas, one of the key differences between charges against juveniles and charges against adults is that the juvenile justice code is part of the family code, not the criminal code. This means that juvenile proceedings are civil cases and the penalties are not as severe as criminal code penalties. Juvenile law is designed to provide treatment and rehabilitation to the offender, not just punishment.
Will I Have To Go To Court To Fight My Criminal Charges?
Yes. You will have to make an initial appearance before a judge within 48 hours of your arrest where you will be informed of the charges against you. The judge will also inform you of your rights and let you know if there is an affidavit, or sworn statement that supports the charges against you.
You will also be required to appear at your arraignment where the charges will be read, and you will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, you will go to trial.
Will An Arrest Permanently Affect My Career Options?
An estimated 90% of employers do background checks on prospective employees. An arrest without a conviction does not usually disqualify you for a position, but it is naïve to think that it does not influence the hiring manager’s decision-making process. Expunging your arrest record can only improve your career prospects.
I Was Arrested, But Found Not Guilty. Will This Still Be On My Record?
Yes. Unless you petition the court to have your arrest expunged, it will remain on your record. It is important to note that you can only expunge your arrest record if you were found not guilty, charges were dropped or if you were not subject to community supervision. If you had charges dismissed after completing community supervision, those charges do not qualify for expungement.