Below are some common questions we get asked by clients who have hired our firm. At The Greening Law Group, it is our goal to ensure that you receive answers to all of your questions, as well as provide the representation and assistance you need to ensure the best outcome for your case.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is an efficient way to communicate with my attorney without setting up an appointment?
Our firm uses a client communications portal called Clio. You will need to provide us with your email address, if you haven’t already, and we will send you a link to create your Clio account. Within that portal, you can upload documents and send messages directly to your attorney and office staff members. A staff member and/or attorney will respond to you at their earliest convenience. If you prefer to set up an appointment, we offer both phone and in-office appointments. Please contact our office for scheduling.
How can I receive copies of important documents that are related to my case?
The Clio portal described above is the best way to view important documents. The portal has a document sharing feature in which we use to share motions and documents with clients. In addition, clients have the option to upload documents to that account. For example, we may share a document with you that is in need of a client signature. The client can sign the document and return it to us via Clio E-Signature. Note: When a client uploads a document to Clio, it is important that they notify our office in some way so that we can process it timely.
How can I stay informed of when my hearings are scheduled?
Usually, the court will issue a copy of your setting notice to you through mail, or in many cases in the courtroom. It is very important that you keep our office current on your mailing address for this reason. However, the best way to stay informed of your scheduled court date(s) is through the Clio portal. The Clio portal is an essential tool for our clients. You will have access to your calendar and will be able to get email reminders through this account. In addition, our office conducts “court calls” daily. We will call you the day before your scheduled hearing to remind you OR inform you if your hearing has been canceled or postponed. If your hearing is scheduled on a Monday, we will call you the Friday prior.
Do I need to attend all of my court hearings or will my attorney appear for me?
This depends on the type of hearing. A majority of the time, you will be required to appear. There are few hearings that can be taken care of by your attorney alone, such as ALR hearings. However, you should always assume that your appearance is required unless our office has told you otherwise. We will confirm this with you when we conduct our daily court calls a day prior to the hearing. Do not hesitate to contact our office in advance and we will be happy to confirm your appearance sooner if possible.
Will my case go to trial?
This is ultimately up to you. The majority of criminal cases are resolved by an agreement between the prosecution and defense during a negotiation phase. You will be presented with an offer by the state, at which point your attorney will advise you to accept or decline based on the facts and evidence in your case. After your attorney analyzes these items, he/she will be able to tell you what your potential outcomes are should you decide to go to trial.
Will I be able to get my arrest removed from my record?
It depends. The disposition of your case will need to be assessed by your attorney. There are laws and guidelines that must be met to pursue either an expunction or a non-disclosure. Get with your attorney to discuss your eligibility.
What is the difference between a dismissal, an expunction, and a non-disclosure?
A dismissal can happen if a prosecutor drops your case. This is usually because there isn’t sufficient evidence against you, or your attorney has brought to the attention of the prosecutor a legal issue in the case that could result in dismissal. In certain situations, your case can be dismissed by a pre-trial intervention program where you perform community service or complete specific courses.
An expunction allows for your case to be erased. The records relating to your case are destroyed and you can truthfully state that you have never been convicted of a criminal charge on job and loan applications.
A non-disclosure is the “sealing” of your criminal record. These records can only be disclosed to certain state-licensed agencies. The agencies are as follows:
Criminal justice agencies:
(1) to other criminal justice agencies;
(2) for criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes;
(3) the clerk where petition filed;
(4) to the person who is the subject of the order; or
(5) for the purpose of complying with a requirement under federal law or if federal law requires the disclosure as a condition of receiving federal highway funds.
A criminal justice agency may disclose criminal history record information to the following noncriminal justice agencies or entities only:
(1) the State Board for Educator Certification;
(2) a school district, charter school, private school, regional education service center, commercial transportation company, or education shared services arrangement;
(3) the Texas Medical Board;
(4) the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;
(5) the Board of Law Examiners;
(6) the State Bar of Texas;
(7) a district court regarding a petition for name change under Subchapter B, Chapter 45, Family Code;
(8) the Texas School for the Deaf;
(9) the Department of Family and Protective Services;
(10) the Texas Juvenile Justice Department;
(11) the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services;
(12) the Department of State Health Services, a local mental health service, a local intellectual and developmental disability authority, or a community center providing services to persons with mental illness or intellectual or developmental disabilities;
(13) the Texas Private Security Board;
(14) a municipal or volunteer fire department;
(15) the Texas Board of Nursing;
(16) a safe house providing shelter to children in harmful situations;
(17) a public or nonprofit hospital or hospital district, or a facility as defined by Section 250.001, Health and Safety Code;
(18) the securities commissioner, the banking commissioner, the savings and mortgage lending commissioner, the consumer credit commissioner, or the credit union commissioner;
(19) the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy;
(20) the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;
(21) the Health and Human Services Commission;
(22) the Department of Aging and Disability Services;
(23) the Texas Education Agency;
(24) the Judicial Branch Certification Commission;
(25) a county clerk’s office in relation to a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian under Title 3, Estates Code;
(26) the Department of Information Resources but only regarding an employee, applicant for employment, contractor, subcontractor, intern, or volunteer who provides network security services under Chapter 2059 to:
(A) the Department of Information Resources; or
(B) a contractor or subcontractor of the Department of Information Resources;
(27) the Texas Department of Insurance;
(28) the Teacher Retirement System of Texas;
(29) the Texas State Board of Pharmacy;
(30) the Texas Civil Commitment Office;
(31) a bank, savings bank, savings and loan association, credit union, or mortgage banker, a subsidiary or affiliate of those entities, or another financial institution regulated by a state regulatory entity listed in Subdivision (18) or by a corresponding federal regulatory entity, but only regarding an employee, contractor, subcontractor, intern, or volunteer of or an applicant for employment by that bank, savings bank, savings and loan association, credit union, mortgage banker, subsidiary or affiliate, or financial institution; and
(32) an employer that has a facility that handles or has the capability of handling, transporting, storing, processing, manufacturing, or controlling hazardous, explosive, combustible, or flammable materials, if:
(A) the facility is critical infrastructure, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 5195c(e), or the employer is required to submit to a risk management plan under Section 112(r) of the federal Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. Section 7412) for the facility; and
(B) the information concerns an employee, applicant for employment, contractor, or subcontractor whose duties involve or will involve the handling, transporting, storing, processing, manufacturing, or controlling hazardous, explosive, combustible, or flammable materials and whose background is required to be screened under a federal provision described by Paragraph (A).
I want to know what evidence (discovery) the state has against me; how can I view that material?
You may view your discovery in-office only. The Michael Morton Act mandates this. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment for viewing. This material may include various documents, audio recordings, photos, and videos. The duration of this appointment will depend on the length of the content. The appointment may need to be broken up into more than one appointment if the media is lengthy. Photographing, recording, and photocopying are prohibited by law.
How long does it take for my attorney to receive a copy of my discovery?
This varies. First, your case has to be filed with the court before our office can request a copy. After we submit our request, which is immediately upon hire or immediately after the case has been filed, it could take often more than a month. It is common for us to receive items separately. We like to confirm that we have everything that is needed before we allow the client to review.
Am I allowed to leave the state or leave the country throughout the duration of my case?
You may have bond conditions or probationary requirements that do not permit you to do so. Often you will need to consult with your bondsman or probation officer to get permission. You will definitely need to communicate this to your attorney so that we can advise you as well. Often, we can file a motion that would authorize you to travel if it is a necessity for work or something else. If you plan on traveling and are unsure if you are permitted, be sure to discuss this with us.
How long will it take for my case to be resolved?
This varies greatly. It is not uncommon for cases to go on for months or even exceed a year. It really depends on the type of case and any circumstances that may cause proceedings to be postponed.
What is the difference between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?
The main difference is the seriousness of the offense. The breakdown of each classification in terms of punishment ranges are as followed:
- Class C Misdemeanor Fine 0-$500
- Class B Misdemeanor Fine 0-$2,000 and 0-180 days in Jail
- Class A Misdemeanor Fine 0-$4,000 and 0-1 year in Jail
- State Jail Felony Fine 0-$10,000 and 6 months to 2 years in State Jail
- 3rd Degree Felony Fine 0-$10,000 and 2-10 years in prison
- 2nd Degree Felony Fine 0-$10,000 and 2-20 years in prison
- 1st Degree Felony Fine 0-$10,000 and 5-99 years/life in prison
- Capital Offense Life in Prison or Death
What should I do if I am told that I have a warrant issued for my arrest?
Notify your attorney immediately. It is imperative that we advise you in this situation for the health of your case.
During my Class C deferral period, where can I do my community service?
There are several acceptable options in Brazos County. This can be any non-profit or governmental agency. A popular location has been the Brazos Valley Food Bank or the Brazos Animal Shelter. If you are wanting to pursue an unusual option, you may need to get approval from the court. Contact us in this situation and we will make communications with the court to seek approval.
During my Class C deferral period, where can I sign up for the courses that are required?
Below are links provided to get you on the right track with the required courses.
Community Living Course: (for College Station Municipal Cases)
How can I find out if I am currently eligible to drive?
Click here and enter your DL number, DOB, and the last four of your social security number. This will reveal your eligibility. If you need assistance with this, we will be happy to help.
What should I do if I receive a driver’s license suspension letter in the mail?
Notify your attorney immediately and provide our office with a copy. We have a very short and strict deadline to request an Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR) to dispute the suspension.
Can I own a firearm following a conviction?
- If you have been convicted of a felony of any kind, you may not possess a firearm until after the 5th year anniversary following your release date from confinement or community supervision. Additionally, after this date, you cannot possess a firearm at any location other than your home.
- If you have been convicted of a class A misdemeanor that involves family or a member of the household, you may not possess a firearm until after the 5th year anniversary of the release date from confinement or community supervision.
- Understand that federal law can restrict the possession of a firearm even after the 5-year Texas waiting period. Consult with an attorney for advice.
The police seized property from me. What do I need to do about getting my property returned?
Often, we can help in these situations by filing a motion. Contact us regarding your seized property and we will seek the best option. If your property is monetary, the process often results in a civil case in which we can assist you in as well.
Should I tell my lawyer the truth, even if I may be guilty?
Yes, you should. Any information you give your attorney is protected by the attorney-client privilege. The attorney’s concern is whether there is sufficient evidence that you committed a crime. Our job is to be your advocate. We prefer to have all of the facts of the case in order to craft an effective defense.
Contact our firm with further questions.
If you have any further questions regarding your criminal case, do not hesitate to contact us by phone at (979) 779-2000 or try sending us a Clio message. Again, our goal is to ensure you have all the answers you deserve and to provide the best outcome for you!