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Criminal Law FAQs

Criminal Law FAQs2020-07-14T18:39:23+00:00

Criminal Defense FAQs

As soon as you become aware that the police or another state agency is looking for or investigating you, or if you believe that you may have committed a crime. The earlier you contact a lawyer the better. An attorney can intervene with the police and either prevent an arrest or, if you are going to be arrested, arrange for your surrender at a time and in a manner that minimizes embarrassment to you or your family. Retaining a lawyer also prevents the police from questioning you.

Innocent people do get accused, and convicted, of crimes. Also, people who may have committed one crime often get accused of committing additional and more serious crimes. In this country, whether you are innocent or guilty of committing a crime, you have a right to remain silent at all times. Even if you have nothing to hide, it is always better to have a lawyer learn about your accusations and speak on your behalf.

Always be polite and cooperative. Arguing or struggling, even if you didn’t do anything wrong, will never make the situation better. Don’t say anything to the police except your name and other identifying information. DO NOT discuss the situation with them. Many convictions result from statements made to the police. Whether the officer speaking to you is nasty or nice, he or she is looking for evidence that can be used against you. The police sometimes will attempt to lie or trick you in order to get you to talk. You should tell the police that you want to speak to a lawyer, and that you do not want to speak to them until you have spoken to a lawyer.

You will be brought to the police station and “booked.” This procedure will include fingerprinting, photographing and obtaining your biographical information. You will be able to make a telephone call (make it either to a lawyer or a family member who can call a lawyer and who has the funds necessary to come bail you out). Depending on the crime with which you have been charged, a magistrate should be able to look at your criminal record, if any, and release you from the police station. He or she will usually set a bail amount. You will then contact a bondsman who will make your bond and tell you what date you must appear in court. You are usually detained at least six hours before release.

Bail is money (sometimes other property) that is held by the court to ensure that the person accused will return to court when he or she is required to do so. So long as the person returns to court as required, the bail will be returned at the end of the case, even if the person is ultimately found guilty and goes to jail. However, if the person does not show up for court, the bail will be forfeited and cannot be returned.

No. Anyone can post the suspect’s bail. However the person posting bail must know that if the suspect fails to show up to court the money will be forfeited.

A bail bond or surety is a promise to pay the amount of the bail if the suspect does not return to court when required to do so. Only a licensed bail bondsman can post a bond or surety with the court. Bondsmen are private businesses who will charge a fee to post the bond and will usually require some type of collateral (cash or property) to secure the bond. At the end of the case, assuming the suspect has shown up for court as required, the bond will be released and the collateral will be returned.

The police have an absolute right to ask you to perform the tests. However, if you don’t perform the tests, your refusal cannot be introduced at trial. In addition, there are no legal consequences for your failure to do the tests, i.e., you don’t have your driver’s license taken away from you.

By obtaining a driver’s license, you have consented to taking a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol level. The police officer decides which test you are offered, not you! If you refuse to take a chemical test (breath or blood) your driver’s license is supposed to be taken for one year. If you blow a .08 or more, this evidence will be extremely damaging against you at trial. A couple of drinks can register as a .08, so be extremely cautious before deciding to take a Breathalyzer. A blood test result higher than .08 will also be very damaging to your case. Remember: The state can convict you of DUI by proving that your blood alcohol level was .08 or greater, or by proving your driving was impaired by alcohol. If you take a breath or blood test and you register a .08 or above, you are helping the state convict you!

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OUR PRACTICE AREAS

Criminal Defense

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Federal Charges

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DWI / DUI

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Drug Charges

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Personal Injury

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Nursing Home Abuse

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Motorcycle Accidents

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Car Accidents

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TESTIMONIALS

The moment finally came when I saw Jay walk down the stairs in the court room, he flashed me a thumbs up and I knew… I knew I won.

If you need a lawyer do not hesitate to call Houston & Alexander. There is no one that will represent you better anywhere in Chattanooga. I wholeheartedly give them five stars.

– Antonio

I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUIs and other charges. I was not sure where to turn and called Houston and Alexander. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids…everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence net result was I was able to keep my family together.

-Colleen

We’ve been clients of Houston & Alexander for three years, with Bret Alexander representing us during that time. I can’t speak highly enough of his integrity, professionalism, and his dedication to our legal needs. We are so grateful for his guidance and effectiveness through such a difficult time. He’s an attorney you can trust and depend on to do the right thing. We are sincerely so grateful. Thank You!

– Trish

I am a Desert Storm veteran and found myself in need of legal counsel. Everyone from the receptionist to the attorney himself treated me with the utmost respect and dignity. I found them to be knowledgeable and most helpful. I would recommend Houston and Alexander for all your legal needs. Thank you for all of your help.

– C Pugh

I won’t go into specifics because they are very embarrassing for my family. But if you have a daughter who has been criminally charged with a serious charge, Johnny Houston should be your go-to gentleman. Because of his hard work, and diligence in our case, we can once again hold our heads High and consider this a lesson learned. Thank you Johnny Houston from the bottom of our hearts!

-Karen A.

My son made a couple of mistakes and was faced with having a criminal record. Mr. Houston stepped in and provided us with excellent representation. My son will NOT have a record now and is looking forward to the future. I also can’t say enough about the staff at Houston & Alexander. Always responsive and informative and really went the extra mile. I cannot recommend them enough!

– Alice

Due the stress of this pandemic and the loss of employment, my wife and I got into an argument and I ended up getting arrested and charged with domestic violence. I could not go home, could not have any contact with my wife and had no place to live. An elected official/friend referred me to Johnny Houston and his law firm. Due to Johnny’s efforts, not only did we get into court quickly, but all charges were dismissed. We are back together now and I am getting this expunged. Thank you, Johnny!

– Client

I had too much to drink one night and backed into another car. I was charged with second offense DUI and felony reckless endangerment. I was at a real low point in my life and my husband had recently passed away. Johnny was able to get the felonies dismissed and I pled guilty to a first offense. Instead of facing significant jail time and a felony, I did a few days in jail and wore an alcohol monitor. Johnny was able to humanize me with the DA and I was able to get my life back on track again. Great law firm! You would be crazy to go anywhere else.

– Karen M.

I am a college student. I was involved in a wreck and was charged with DUI and leaving the scene. I thought I was ok to drive but my blood result said otherwise. A DUI conviction would have really hurt my chances of getting a good job. Johnny and Bret told me I had a difficult case and the only guarantee they gave was that they would work hard for me. They NEVER gave up on my case and ultimately persuaded the arresting officer and the DA to reduce the charge. If YOU need help on a DUI or any other case, call them! These men are not only hard working but kind.

– Kate

I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUI and other charges. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids…everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence . I kept my house and my family intact! I have turned my life around and things are great! Johnny did not forget about me once the case was over, either. I needed some additional help with my license and Johnny jumped right on it.

– Colleen

Johnny and Bret took my case and treated me like a person, not a number. I was looking at a long prison sentence (10+ years). These guys stepped in, calmed me down and told me that they were going to be there for me. When you first walk in their office, you have that at home-feeling. With Mrs Wanda, a very welcoming atmosphere. They really treat you like family here. I would recommend Mr Houston and Mr Alexander to anyone who needs their service. You will not go wrong with these guys. THEY KNOW THE LAW!!!!

– WARDELL

We were from out of town and had no friends or family in the area. Things got out of control and the next morning we were arrested and charged with Felonies. In my opinion we were over charged. We called Johny and he agreed to meet with us right away. Johnny was attentive and listened. Facing possible jail time and the loss of my husband,s job we were terrified. Johnny literally rescued us! Hetook the lead, met with the DA and the alleged victim and really smoothed things over. Johnny was confident and appeared to get along well with the Prosecutors and Judges. We were very fortunate to find Johnny.

– Tana

TESTIMONIALS

The moment finally came when I saw Jay walk down the stairs in the court room, he flashed me a thumbs up and I knew… I knew I won.

If you need a lawyer do not hesitate to call Houston & Alexander. There is no one that will represent you better anywhere in Chattanooga. I wholeheartedly give them five stars.

– Antonio

I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUIs and other charges. I was not sure where to turn and called Houston and Alexander. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids…everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence net result was I was able to keep my family together.

-Colleen

We’ve been clients of Houston & Alexander for three years, with Bret Alexander representing us during that time. I can’t speak highly enough of his integrity, professionalism, and his dedication to our legal needs. We are so grateful for his guidance and effectiveness through such a difficult time. He’s an attorney you can trust and depend on to do the right thing. We are sincerely so grateful. Thank You!

– Trish

I am a Desert Storm veteran and found myself in need of legal counsel. Everyone from the receptionist to the attorney himself treated me with the utmost respect and dignity. I found them to be knowledgeable and most helpful. I would recommend Houston and Alexander for all your legal needs. Thank you for all of your help.

– C Pugh

I won’t go into specifics because they are very embarrassing for my family. But if you have a daughter who has been criminally charged with a serious charge, Johnny Houston should be your go-to gentleman. Because of his hard work, and diligence in our case, we can once again hold our heads High and consider this a lesson learned. Thank you Johnny Houston from the bottom of our hearts!

-Karen A.

My son made a couple of mistakes and was faced with having a criminal record. Mr. Houston stepped in and provided us with excellent representation. My son will NOT have a record now and is looking forward to the future. I also can’t say enough about the staff at Houston & Alexander. Always responsive and informative and really went the extra mile. I cannot recommend them enough!

– Alice

Due the stress of this pandemic and the loss of employment, my wife and I got into an argument and I ended up getting arrested and charged with domestic violence. I could not go home, could not have any contact with my wife and had no place to live. An elected official/friend referred me to Johnny Houston and his law firm. Due to Johnny’s efforts, not only did we get into court quickly, but all charges were dismissed. We are back together now and I am getting this expunged. Thank you, Johnny!

– Client

I had too much to drink one night and backed into another car. I was charged with second offense DUI and felony reckless endangerment. I was at a real low point in my life and my husband had recently passed away. Johnny was able to get the felonies dismissed and I pled guilty to a first offense. Instead of facing significant jail time and a felony, I did a few days in jail and wore an alcohol monitor. Johnny was able to humanize me with the DA and I was able to get my life back on track again. Great law firm! You would be crazy to go anywhere else.

– Karen M.

I am a college student. I was involved in a wreck and was charged with DUI and leaving the scene. I thought I was ok to drive but my blood result said otherwise. A DUI conviction would have really hurt my chances of getting a good job. Johnny and Bret told me I had a difficult case and the only guarantee they gave was that they would work hard for me. They NEVER gave up on my case and ultimately persuaded the arresting officer and the DA to reduce the charge. If YOU need help on a DUI or any other case, call them! These men are not only hard working but kind.

– Kate

I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUI and other charges. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids…everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence . I kept my house and my family intact! I have turned my life around and things are great! Johnny did not forget about me once the case was over, either. I needed some additional help with my license and Johnny jumped right on it.

– Colleen

Johnny and Bret took my case and treated me like a person, not a number. I was looking at a long prison sentence (10+ years). These guys stepped in, calmed me down and told me that they were going to be there for me. When you first walk in their office, you have that at home-feeling. With Mrs Wanda, a very welcoming atmosphere. They really treat you like family here. I would recommend Mr Houston and Mr Alexander to anyone who needs their service. You will not go wrong with these guys. THEY KNOW THE LAW!!!!

– WARDELL

We were from out of town and had no friends or family in the area. Things got out of control and the next morning we were arrested and charged with Felonies. In my opinion we were over charged. We called Johny and he agreed to meet with us right away. Johnny was attentive and listened. Facing possible jail time and the loss of my husband,s job we were terrified. Johnny literally rescued us! Hetook the lead, met with the DA and the alleged victim and really smoothed things over. Johnny was confident and appeared to get along well with the Prosecutors and Judges. We were very fortunate to find Johnny.

– Tana

View our reviews online.

View our reviews online.

ATTORNEY PROFILES

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JOHNNY D. HOUSTON

BRET ALEXANDER

AMANDA BRANUM DUNN

JAY UNDERWOOD

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CONSULT OUR LEGAL TEAM

Please contact us online for a free consultation.