Hays County Misdemeanors - things you should know


  1. Misdemeanors are serious. A misdemeanor can result in a jail sentence of up to a year. A misdemeanor can result in a driver's license suspension. A misdemeanor can cost you a job, student financial aid, or housing. Believe it or not, some misdemeanors, such as a DWI, can wind up being more expensive and time consuming than some felonies. And misdemeanors can often be just as difficult to defend as any felony case.
  2. Even if you think you are guilty, you are entitled to plead "not guilty". Everyone walks into court presumed to be innocent. It is the government's job to prove otherwise. You can always change your plea later if it is to your advantage to do so. You should never plead guilty before an attorney has had a chance to review your case.
  3. Pleading "no contest" can still result in you being found "guilty." A "no contest" plea is a way of telling a court that you don't admit to guilt, but that you choose not to make the government prove its case. A court is still allowed to find you guilty after a no contest plea, however.
  4. No court can force you to bring money to court until you have been convicted, or placed on probation, for a crime. And everyone is presumed innocent. Also keep in mind that, even if you do wind up being convicted or placed on probation, the amount of money due to the court is often subject to negotiation. In addition, most courts will allow attorneys to negotiate payment plans or extend the length of time before money is due to a court.
  5. This isn't Judge Judy. You don't get to just "tell your case to the judge." Judges can't hear evidence in your case unless your case is set for trial. Even then, the judge is bound to follow rules of evidence and procedure. Your ability to present evidence might be far more restricted than you think.
  6. You have a right to a lawyer. No ethical court or prosecutor would ever hold it against you if you decided to hire a lawyer to represent you. If you run into a court or prosecutor that would, then you need your own lawyer even more.
  7. It's usually not to your advantage to be in a hurry. Many people are anxious and fearful, and want their cases resolved as quickly as possible. This is usually a mistake. The first offer is not always the best offer, and sometimes the government's case falls apart over time. Unless there is a special reason to be in a hurry, you shouldn't be.
  8. A court is not required to explain every possible consequence of entering a guilty plea. For example, if you are convicted of Possession of Marijuana, you may receive a driver's license suspension, even if you weren't driving a vehicle when you were arrested. A judge, however, is not required to explain this possible consequence to you when you enter your guilty plea. Your lawyer should guide you through the minefield of potential bad consequences that can happen when you enter a plea.
  9. You might be "not guilty" and not realize it. Did you know that, in a DWI case, you could have a blood test result that is over the legal limit and still be found "not guilty", or that in an Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon case, you could have a defense if you are found to be a "traveler"? Your lawyer should scour your case for possible defenses.
  10. Even if you have never had so much as a traffic ticket before, expect to be treated like a common criminal. Just because you have no prior criminal history, and are a "good person", it doesn't make your case go away. The majority of people our firm represents have never been in trouble with the law before coming to us. But they did have careers, families, and people who cared for them. These are worth protecting.