Being charged with a criminal offense is a frightening experience for most people. The team at the Robinson Law Group understands that the more serious the offense, the more that is at stake for the accused and his or her family. People often make the mistake of talking to the police when they are suspected or accused of a crime under the mistaken belief that they can clear their name. More often than not, this simply provides the police with additional evidence or confirms their suspicions. When questioned by the police, the smartest thing an individual can do is assert his or her right to remain silent and consult with counsel. The same applies to an individual who has actually been taken into custody and charged with a criminal offense. Whether the charges are felony charges, misdemeanor charges, or juvenile matters, an accused has a number of important rights that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Some of the more important rights of an accused include:
- Right to remain silent – a suspect or accused has an absolute right to refuse to speak to the police. Asserting that right is often the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.
- Right against self-incrimination – an accused cannot be forced to give testimony that would be self-incriminating. That right may also extend to a spouse.
- Right to counsel – in a criminal prosecution the accused has the right to counsel at all stages of the proceedings.
- Right to confront accusers – an accused has the right to confront and cross exam (through his or her attorney) any witnesses for the prosecution.
- Right to bail – in almost all criminal prosecutions the accused has the right to a reasonable bail which allows the accused to be released from custody pending the outcome of the case. If the initial bail amount is high, an attorney may be able to get a lower amount set through a bond reduction hearing.
- Right against unreasonable searches and seizures – the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If an illegal search is conducted, any evidence obtained during the search may be excluded at trial.
Although the U.S. Constitution guarantees these rights, an accused must assert them for them to be of benefit.
Driver’s License Matters
For most people, the ability to operate a motor vehicle is more than just a convenience; it is a necessity, as most people use their vehicle to get to and from work or school. Having a driver’s license suspended or revoked, therefore, can threaten an individual’s livelihood or education. For a parent of a minor child, the inability to drive can even lead to medical emergencies if the child becomes sick. The State of Texas has the legal right to suspend or revoke an individual’s driving privileges for a number of reasons. Fortunately, Texas allows some drivers to obtain an “Occupational Driver’s License”, or ODL, that allows them to drive during the suspension or revocation period. For those who qualify, the attorneys at the Robinson Law Group can help obtain an ODL.
In the State of Texas, your driving privileges could be suspended or revoked for a variety of reasons, including:
- Refusal of a chemical test when arrested for driving while intoxicated
- Conviction of a DWI
- Underage alcohol offenses
- Drug offense convictions
- Excessive traffic tickets/violations
- Insurance requirements
- Collision without insurance
In many cases, a motorist is eligible to obtain an “Occupational Driver’s License”. Often referred to as a “restricted license” or “hardship license”, an ODL allows a motorist to drive to work, school, and other important functions such as doctor appoints, court hearings and other essential household duties. To obtain an ODL a motorist must petition the Justice of the Peace, county or district court where the individual lives or to the court of original jurisdiction where the offense occurred. Application for the ODL cannot be made to the Texas Department of Public Safety until a court order has been obtained.