Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that individuals facing criminal charges of any kind frequently find themselves with a number of questions, but unfortunately, don’t always know where to go to find the answers they need. In order to help those in this situation feel more in control and knowledgeable about their situation, our legal team has provided the following list of some of the questions we are asked most frequently, as well as their corresponding answers. If your question isn’t listed below, or if you would like to discuss your concerns in greater detail with a criminal defense lawyer in Houston, contact Sampson & Bové today by calling (713) 337-1420.


Am I required to take a Breathalyzer test under Texas law?

Strictly speaking, individuals have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test if a law enforcement official does not have a warrant to perform such a test. However, under Texas law, those who drive on public roadways provide their implied consent to such tests. Therefore, a refusal to take such a test will result in an automatic suspension of the individual’s driver’s license, and the individual will be taken to jail for a short period of time. Furthermore, Breathalyzer refusal does not guarantee that the police officer will be unable to obtain a warrant to perform such a test.

Can I get my criminal record expunged?

Criminal record expungement can have a dramatic effect on a person’s life, helping to improve their ability to find a job and obtain a loan and housing, among other benefits. For this reason, many people seek to have their criminal records expunged. However, this option is not available to all Texans who may have a criminal record. In order to determine whether your criminal record may be eligible for expunction, it is best to discuss your situation with a qualified criminal defense attorney and learn more about what options may be available to you.

Can I be charged with assault if I didn’t actually touch anyone?

Assault is a serious criminal charge under Texas law, one whose consequences can have a substantial impact on an individual’s life for years to come. However, many people do not realize how wide-ranging the actions that constitute assault can be. While many people tend to associate assault with violently attacking someone else, the fact of the matter is that even the mere threat of physical harm to someone else, if it is interpreted as a valid threat, may be enough to charge an individual with assault under Texas law.

Why shouldn’t I just represent myself?

Some people consider representing themselves when fighting criminal charges, but this can be a big mistake. A criminal defense lawyer knows all of the minute details of Texas criminal law, understands what it takes to convince a jury or judge that a client is not guilty, or that there is reasonable doubt regarding that guilt, and knows how to successfully navigate the legal system, all of which are critical to getting the best possible outcome. With self-representation, you might “save money” initially, but end up stuck in jail and saddled with huge fines if you are unable to convince the court or a jury that you are not guilty.

Can a sentence get reduced over time?

It’s possible, but not always likely and depends entirely on a person’s situation. For example, a person’s sentence may be reduced if he or she provides information to law enforcement officials that help them arrest others or solve other crimes. Additionally, a person who is serving jail time may have some of their sentence lifted or changed to probation. In order to understand your options for possibly getting a sentence reduced, however, it is best to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.

What penalties am I facing for a DWI charge?

A DWI charge in the state of Texas can come with numerous consequences upon conviction. For instance, in a first-time offense conviction, a person might face 3 days to 1 year in jail, license suspension from 90 days to 1 year, and fines up to $2,000. These penalties can vary based on the circumstances of the offense, however. To better understand the potential penalties you are facing and get the representation you need to possibly have the penalties reduced, speak with an attorney at Sampson & Bové, LLC.

What if this is my second DWI charge?

In general, the penalties for a second or multiple offense are more severe. In a second DWI conviction, you could owe $4,000 and might spend between 1 month and 1 year in jail. Similarly, other penalties can become much harsher. For instance, you may have your license suspended for a longer period of time and may have to pay more annual penalties. As such, having a defense lawyer on your side when facing a second (or more) DWI charge is critical.

What are the more serious drug charges?

People can face a variety of drug charges in Houston, such as drug possession, intent to distribute, drug manufacturing, possession of paraphernalia, drug trafficking, and more. However, there are certain types of drug charges that carry more serious penalties. Typically, intent to distribute and drug manufacturing charges are considered more serious, but a charge can be made more serious depending on certain factors, such as the type of drug involved (for example, marijuana vs. heroin), the amount of drug involved, previous offenses of a defendant, and more. In order to understand how serious your drug charge may be and to get a defense that is appropriate for your situation, speak with Sampson & Bové, LLC.

What constitutes a deadly weapon?

A deadly weapon could be very broadly defined. Though many think of deadly weapons as guns, knives, vehicles, or the like, anything used to threaten serious bodily harm could constitute a deadly weapon. When a person is charged with a crime involving the use of a deadly weapon, the penalties of conviction can be quite severe, making it critical to have a solid legal defense when facing these charges.

What penalties am I facing for theft charges?

Theft comes in many different forms, so the penalties that you might face because of theft charges will vary based on the exact type of charge you’re facing. If it’s petty theft and the value of the property is relatively minimal (say, under $100), then you might only be facing a fine of about $500 and no jail time, unless this is not your first offense. On the other hand, conviction of a more serious crime, such as grand theft auto could result in a person facing months or years in jail, hefty financial penalties, and more. Speak with an attorney at Sampson & Bové, LLC to learn more about your charge and the potential penalties.

What questions should I ask a lawyer before hiring him or her?

Having a lawyer that’s a good fit for your criminal defense case is one of the most important aspects of the case. As such, it’s important to make sure you ask a few questions to determine an attorney’s fit for you and your situation during an initial consultation. You should consider asking questions like:

  • Have you won cases like mine before? 

  • What do you charge for your services?

  • How will you stay in touch with me during the case?

  • How do you handle the appeals process?

What is the difference between possession and distribution?

Possession and distribution are two distinct drug charges that a person might face if he or she was caught with an illicit substance. With distribution, a large amount of the substance is typically present because the intent to distribute generally indicates a substantial amount. Possession, on the other hand, might result from a person having even just a tiny amount of an illicit substance on his or her person or in a vehicle. Possession charges are less serious than distribution charges.

How are juvenile crimes handled differently than adult crimes?

Juvenile crimes, for the most part, are handled more leniently than adult crimes. They are treated this way under the idea that many young people have not had enough experience to make an informed decision and tend to straighten out eventually with little intention of committing future crimes. Penalties might include jail time or juvenile detention centers with shorter time served than adults. They might also include probation and/or community service. However, it’s important to remember that some juvenile crimes of a particularly violent or serious nature can still be punished quite harshly.

Will I be eligible for parole?

This solely depends on the sentence you receive in court or on the result of an appealed sentence. Some convictions come with sentences that mandate a defendant is eligible for parole after serving a certain amount of time in prison; however, some sentences do not offer parole and require the full extent of time be served before release. Some sentences are for life in prison without the possibility of parole. It’s important to discuss these distinctions with your attorney so that you know exactly what sentence you might face.

The answers to these questions may help you determine whether or not an attorney is the best fit for your situation. Finding a good fit can make all the difference when dealing with a criminal charge.