Law Office of James McCalla

texas criminal defense attorney

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get someone out of jail?

Someone can be released once a magistrate has set a bail amount and that amount is paid to secure that person's appearance in court. Anyone can post the full amount of the bond by paying the money directly to the jail holding the defendant. This money is returned if the defendant shows up for all his/her court dates. If you cannot afford to post the bond, you can hire a bail bondsman to pay a surety bond in return for a fee. If there is no bond set or the bond amount is high, an attorney can speak with the judge to see if a bond can be set or reduced.

Can I find out if there is a warrant for my arrest?
Usually, the quickest way is to contact a bail bond company or speak with an attorney. Both have varying abilities to see if there is a warrant issued for a person. Some jurisdictions do have warrant information on websites that are available to the general public.

Do I need an attorney for my first appearance in court?
It's recommend that you hire an attorney as quickly as you can. While an attorney is not always required at a first appearance, important issues in a case (such as bond and any conditions of release) are often discussed at this first setting and an attorney can help you understand those issues and make sure you don't miss anything.

Should I speak with law enforcement (Police, Deputy, Investigators)?
I recommend that you do not speak with anyone about your case until you speak with an attorney. Client conversations with an attorney are confidential and are protected by the attorney-client privilege while conversations with law enforcement officers are not. Law enforcement are not looking to protect your rights or acting in your best interest.

Do the Police have to read me my rights?
In short, no. Miranda rights only apply to what you say when you have been arrested or while you are in custody. If you are not in custody or under arrest, then police do not have to “read you your rights”, but they can still use the information against you. Even if you are arrested, police do not have read you any rights if they are not questioning you. To protect yourself, you should always specifically invoke your right speak to an attorney prior to answering any questions from law enforcement, whether you are in custody or not. 

Should I give a breath or blood sample if I am arrested for DWI?
Unless you have had absolutely nothing to drink, then we advise that you refuse to provide a sample, as the results will only be used against you. In many cases, the samples cannot be retested and are destroyed. Also, the machines may be faulty or poorly maintained, and may give an inaccurate reading. Even if your results are below the legal limits at the time you are tested, the government may still try to prosecute the case.

What are the potential outcomes of my case?

Each case is different, and each client is seeking different results. In general, there are three possible ways a criminal case is resolved:

  1. The case is dismissed (this is our number one goal)
  2. The client and the prosecution agree on a “Plea” agreement that determines the type of the offense, the level of the offense and the punishment (this is a common way that cases are solved) 
  3. The case will go to trial where a judge or jury will determine a verdict of ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’, and if necessary, determine punishment

The Law Office of James McCalla works with clients to determine their goals and obtain the best result for their situation. I will not resolve any case without the express approval of our client, and only with their full understanding of the proposed resolution and consequences.


What are the different types of probation?
There are generally two types of probation: straight probation or deferred adjudication. The terms and conditions of each probation are similar. The biggest difference is that under "straight probation" there is a final conviction. Under "deferred adjudication" the court has put off finding the defendant guilty and if he/she successfully completes the probation, the defendant may be found not guilty and the case may be eligible to be sealed from public disclosure. 

Is Federal Court different from State Court?
Yes. Federal cases are prosecuted under a different set of rules and procedures from State cases. Trials and sentencing are also substantially different, so it is important to speak with an attorney who can explain the differences.

How can I get my records sealed?
In Texas, there are two basic procedures for having records sealed: an "Expunction of Records" and an "Order of Non-Disclosure". An Expunction of Records means the record of a criminal charge is completely destroyed. A person may be eligible for this if their case was dismissed without probation or if they were found not guilty. An Order of Non-Disclosure (sometimes referred to as “sealing a record”) is an order from a court that instructs agencies not to make the records public. The records still exist and can be used by law enforcement and government agencies. To find out if you qualify for either an expunction or Oder of Non-Disclosure, contact an attorney. 

How much does it cost for an attorney?
The cost for an attorney will depend on several factors such as the type of case, the evidence in the case and the criminal history of the defendant. Some cases can be resolved for a few hundred dollars, while others may cost several thousands. Contact the Law Office of James McCalla for a free consultation and evaluation of your case, including the fees for representation. 

What happens if I get served with a lawsuit?
You should contact an attorney immediately. Depending on the type of case, there may be a limited amount of time for you to enter an answer to the lawsuit. If you do not file an answer with the court, then the court could enter a default judgment against you which means you lose the case automatically.

When should I contact an attorney?
Contact an attorney anytime you have questions or concerns about the law, a particular lawsuit or your rights. Many attorneys will offer a free initial consultation to determine if you truly need an attorney’s services. If you are asking the question, “I don’t know if I need an attorney or not”…call an attorney. 

How can an attorney help me with my business?
An attorney can help evaluate aspects of your business to determine if there are any legal issues that may need to be addressed. Additionally, an attorney can offer advice on steps to take to protect your business or personal assets from potential lawsuits. Taking steps to avoid a lawsuit or reduce liability upfront is always more economical than litigating an issue in court.

What are the different types of civil courts?
Texas has several different types of civil courts: Justice of the Peace, County Courts, County Courts at Law, District Courts, and appellate courts. Each court has its own timeframe and rules for the types of cases it handles. Often, the type of case or amount of money being disputed will  determine which court will hear the case. 

Do I need an attorney to draft my will?
It is not required that an attorney draft your will, but is often helpful as there are several formal requirements needed in a will. There are a number of questions and issues that can have a tremendous impact on how a person will want their estate handled upon their death. An attorney can ensure all aspects are covered and that any potential issues are addressed so that a person's wishes are carried out.

Do I need an attorney for an agreed divorce?
You do not need an attorney for an agreed divorce, but having one can help protect you and your children. An attorney can ask questions and raise issues that the parties may not have considered, especially when children are involved. While one attorney cannot represent both parties in a divorce, if your spouse has an should hire one, too. 

If you have questions about the law, call the Law Office of James McCalla at 281-793-2158 today.