header-logo-3    Richard   C.   McConathy  
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
 [email protected]  
15110 Dallas Pkwy #400
  Dallas ,   Texas ,   75248   United States  
(972) 233-5700

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Criminal Defense

Addressing Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Charges

Are the police allowed to search a person’s home or motor vehicle without a warrant?

The Fourth Amendment safeguards individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. This raises the question: can police search your car or home without a warrant? The answer, like many legal issues, is nuanced, but here is a breakdown of key concepts:

The Warrant Requirement:

Generally, law enforcement needs a warrant, a court-authorized document, to search your property. This protects your privacy and ensures searches are reasonable.

Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement:

There are situations where police can search without a warrant:

  • Exigent Circumstances: If law enforcement has a reason to believe there is an immediate threat to life or safety, or evidence is about to be destroyed, they may conduct a warrantless search. This could involve scenarios like apprehending a fleeing suspect or preventing a suicide attempt.
  • Probable Cause for Vehicle Searches: Police can search your car without a warrant if they have probable cause, a genuine belief based on reasonable evidence, that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime. Seeing illegal substances, weapons, or other incriminating items in plain view can establish probable cause.
  • Search Incident to Arrest: If you are arrested, the police can search the area within your immediate reach for weapons or evidence related to the arrest. This is to ensure officer safety and prevent you from destroying evidence.

What should I do if I am arrested?

Getting arrested is a stressful and overwhelming experience. Here is the most important thing to remember: Remain silent and do not answer any questions from law enforcement.

Why? You have the right to remain silent, guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Anything you say can be used against you in court, even if you think you are explaining things.

You also have the right to an attorney, guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. This means you have the right to have a lawyer present during questioning. An attorney can advise you of your rights, protect your interests, and ensure you do not accidentally say something incriminating.

Here is what you can say:

“I am not talking to law enforcement without an attorney present.”

“I would like to exercise my right to remain silent.”

“I would like to speak with an attorney immediately.”


  • Stay calm and polite.
  • Do not resist arrest.
  • Do not argue with the police.
  • Assert your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney.
  • Wait to speak with your lawyer before answering any questions.

By following these steps, you can protect your rights and ensure you have legal representation throughout the process.

How do bail bonds work?

Facing arrest can be scary, and the concept of bail can be confusing. Here is a breakdown of what a bail bond is and what it entails:

Securing Your Release:

A bail bond serves as a guarantee that you will appear in court when required. It is essentially a financial agreement between you and a bail bond agent.

How it Works:

The Bail Amount: The court sets a bail amount, which is the total sum you must pay to be released from jail before your trial.

Working with a Bail Bond Agent: These professionals specialize in securing your release. They typically charge a non-refundable fee (often a percentage of the bail amount) for their services.

Payment and Release: You pay the bail bond agent a portion of the bail (the fee), and they, in turn, post the full bail amount with the court. This allows you to be released from jail.

Crucial Responsibilities:

Court Appearances: You are legally obligated to attend all scheduled court hearings. Missing a court date is a serious violation and can result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.

Following Court Orders: The court might impose additional release conditions, such as staying away from certain people or places. Violating these conditions can also lead to your bail being revoked.

Consequences of Non-Compliance:

If you fail to appear in court or violate any release conditions, your bail will be forfeited. This means you will owe the bail bond agent the entire bail amount, and you will likely be returned to jail.

Different Types of Bail Bonds:

There are various types of bail bonds available depending on your situation and the court’s requirements. Some examples include:

  • Surety Bonds: This is the most common type, where you pay a fee to a bail bond agent who secures your release.
  • Property Bonds: You can use real estate or other assets as collateral for the bail amount instead of cash.
  • Cash Bonds: In some cases, the court may allow you to pay the entire bail amount directly to the court.

Understanding your options and the associated responsibilities is crucial when dealing with bail bonds. If you have questions or require further clarification, consulting an attorney is always recommended.

Why do I need a lawyer if I know I am not guilty?

Facing criminal charges, even if you believe you are innocent, can be a stressful and complex situation. Here is why having a criminal defense lawyer on your side can be critical:

  • Protecting Your Rights: The criminal justice system has intricacies that a layperson might not be familiar with. A criminal lawyer can ensure your rights are protected throughout the process, from adhering to proper protocol during questioning to navigating court procedures.
  • Building a Strong Defense: An experienced criminal defense attorney will thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence in your favor, and build a strong defense strategy to demonstrate your innocence.
  • Negotiation and Representation: Your defense lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf, potentially leading to reduced charges or dismissal of the case entirely. They will also represent you effectively in court, ensuring your voice is heard.
  • Mitigating Potential Consequences: Even if you are ultimately found not guilty, a lawyer can help minimize the impact of the arrest on your life, such as addressing any potential damage to your reputation or ensuring proper expungement of the arrest record (where applicable).

The Importance of Legal Expertise:

The criminal justice system can be unforgiving. Having a skilled criminal defense lawyer by your side increases your chances of a successful outcome, even if you believe you are innocent. An attorney can be your advocate, ensuring a fair and just resolution to your case.

Consulting with a lawyer is confidential, and it does not automatically mean you will be pleading guilty. They can advise you of your options and the best course of action based on the specifics of your situation.

How long will it take for a case to go to trial?

Waiting for a felony trial date can be stressful. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, here is a general guideline:

  • Estimated Range: In most cases, felony trials begin somewhere between six months and two years after your arrest.
  • Factors Influencing Timeline: The complexity of the case is a major factor. Straightforward cases might be resolved faster, while intricate cases with voluminous evidence or multiple defendants may take longer.
  • Misdemeanor Cases: In comparison, misdemeanors, which are less serious offenses, typically go to trial much quicker.

It is important to remember that the pre-trial phase involves several steps that can take time. These steps might include:

  • Investigations: Law enforcement may conduct investigations to gather evidence.
  • Discovery: Both prosecution and defense exchange information and evidence.
  • Motions and Hearings: Lawyers may file motions and attend hearings to address legal issues before trial.

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees your right to a speedy trial. If you believe this right is being violated, consult with your defense lawyer to discuss your options.

What is the difference between the way criminal cases are handled in Dallas County and Tarrant County? 

While the overall criminal justice process follows similar guidelines across Texas counties, there can be variations in procedures. Here is a key difference to be aware of in Dallas and Tarrant Counties regarding court appearances:

  • Tarrant County: This county requires defendants, regardless of whether they are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, to be physically present at all court hearings.
  • Dallas County: In contrast, Dallas County acknowledges that legal representatives handle most of the court proceedings. Therefore, defendants may not be required to be physically present for every court hearing, though exceptions may exist.

It is crucial to consult with your lawyer to understand the specific requirements for your case, especially regarding court appearances. They can advise you based on the details of your situation and the specific county’s procedures.

What must be done before the first hearing in court?

The initial court appearance, often called an arraignment, typically happens within 48 hours of your arrest. However, it might take longer if you were arrested on a weekend or holiday. This hearing is crucial, so here is a breakdown of what to expect:

  • Understanding the Charges: The court will formally inform you of the criminal charges against you.
  • Your Constitutional Rights: You will be advised of your constitutional rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
  • Right to an Attorney: The court will explain that if you cannot afford a lawyer, one can be appointed for you. This involves a financial assessment to determine eligibility for a court-appointed attorney.
  • Do Not Plead Right Away: This is your most important takeaway. Do not enter a plea of guilty or not guilty until you have spoken with a criminal defense attorney.

A lawyer can:

  • Discuss the charges and potential defenses.
  • Analyze the evidence.
  • Advise you on the likelihood of success at trial.
  • Guide you through your legal options.

The decision to plead guilty or not guilty is a significant one. Consulting with a lawyer empowers you to make an informed decision based on a comprehensive understanding of your case. Only after careful consideration of all options should you enter your plea.

How much will a Dallas criminal defense attorney cost?

The cost of hiring a criminal defense attorney in Texas can vary significantly depending on several factors:

  • Case Complexity: Straightforward misdemeanor cases generally cost less than intricate felony cases with complex evidence or multiple charges.
  • Potential Sentence: Cases with the possibility of harsher sentences often involve more lawyer effort and higher fees.
  • Attorney Experience: More experienced lawyers may command higher hourly rates than less experienced ones.
  • Geographic Location: Attorney fees can vary depending on the city or region where the case is being tried.

While it is difficult to provide an exact quote, here is a general range to give you an idea:

  • Misdemeanors: Simple misdemeanor cases might start around $1,500.
  • Felonies: Felony cases, especially those with a high potential sentence, can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the factors mentioned above.

To give you a reference point, the average hourly rate for criminal defense attorneys in Texas is $215. However, the total cost will depend on the number of hours your case requires.

The best way to determine the cost for your specific case is to consult with a criminal defense attorney. Many offer free consultations where they can assess your situation and provide a cost estimate.

How can you get a person out of jail after they have been arrested?

Facing a friend or family member’s arrest can be stressful. Here is a guide on potential options to secure their release:

Understanding Bail:

  • Bail Hearing: After an arrest, a judge sets a bail amount during a hearing. This amount is the financial guarantee needed for release before trial.
  • Age Requirement: Only individuals 18 years or older with a valid ID can typically post bail.

Payment options will include:

  • Full Payment: You can pay the entire bail amount in cash, check, credit card, or debit card (depending on the court’s acceptance).
  • Property Bond: If you own real estate, vehicles, or valuable assets, you might be able to use them as collateral for a property bond, eliminating the need for upfront cash.
  • Bail Bondsman: These professionals specialize in securing releases. They typically charge a non-refundable fee (a percentage of the bail amount) and post the full bail with the court on your behalf.
  • Release on Recognizance (OR): In some cases, the judge may grant an OR release, meaning the defendant is released without needing to post bail. This is based on the judge’s belief the defendant will appear for court hearings.

Navigating the legal system can be complex. Consider consulting with a criminal defense attorney who can advise you on the best course of action based on the specific circumstances of the arrest and the charges involved.

What steps do I take if I learn there is a warrant for my arrest?

Discovering a warrant for your arrest can be alarming. Here is the most important thing to remember: Do not ignore it. A warrant signifies a serious situation, and taking the wrong steps can have negative consequences.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney: An attorney can advise you on your best course of action based on the specific details of the warrant and the charges against you. They can also represent you throughout the legal process.

Why a Lawyer is Crucial:

  • Understanding the Warrant: A lawyer can help you understand the nature of the warrant, the underlying charges, and the potential consequences.
  • Turn Yourself In Safely: Depending on the situation, your lawyer may advise you on the safest way to surrender to the authorities.
  • Protecting Your Rights: An attorney can ensure your rights are protected throughout the process, from the initial arrest to court appearances.
  • Negotiation and Representation: In some cases, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf, potentially leading to a more favorable outcome.

Avoid Actions That Could Jeopardize You:

  • Do Not Flee: Attempting to evade arrest will likely make the situation worse.
  • Do Not Contact Law Enforcement Without an Attorney: While transparency might seem ideal, consulting with a lawyer first is crucial to protect your rights.

The legal system can be complex, and having an experienced defense attorney on your side is essential when dealing with a warrant. Their guidance can significantly impact the outcome of your case. This information is for general knowledge only and should not be a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney in your area.

Should I hire a lawyer when an investigator begins asking me questions?

If an investigator, whether law enforcement or private, approaches you with questions, it is strongly recommended to consult with an attorney before speaking with them. Here is why:

  • Protecting Your Rights: An attorney can ensure you understand your rights, including your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. This right protects you from saying anything that could be used against you later.
  • Understanding the Situation: A lawyer can help you understand the nature of the investigation, the potential charges involved, and how your answers might be interpreted.
  • Avoiding Incriminating Statements: Even if you believe you are innocent, it is easy to unintentionally say something that could be misconstrued. A lawyer can guide you on how to respond without jeopardizing your case.
  • Negotiating on Your Behalf: In some situations, your lawyer might negotiate with the investigator on your behalf, potentially limiting the scope of questioning or protecting certain information.

When Legal Counsel is Essential:

While you are not legally obligated to hire a lawyer in every situation, here are some circumstances where it is particularly crucial:

  • You are a suspect in a crime.
  • The investigation involves serious charges.
  • You are unsure about your rights.
  • The investigator is pressuring you to answer questions.

Consulting with a lawyer is confidential. It does not automatically mean you are guilty. An attorney can advise you on the best course of action based on the specifics of your situation.

Understanding your rights and having access to legal guidance empowers you to navigate such situations with greater confidence.

Hire An Experienced Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away

A criminal accusation can be overwhelming. If you are arrested or charged with a crime in Dallas, Irving, Richardson, Carrollton, or surrounding areas in Dallas County here is what you should know about securing legal representation:

Why You Need a Lawyer:

  • Protecting Your Rights: The criminal justice system can be complex. A skilled attorney can ensure your rights are safeguarded throughout the process.
  • Building a Strong Defense: An experienced lawyer will investigate your case thoroughly, gather evidence in your favor, and build a solid defense strategy.
  • Negotiation and Representation: Your lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf, potentially leading to reduced charges or dismissal of the case entirely. They will also represent you effectively in court.

Finding the Right Lawyer for You:

  • Experience: Look for a lawyer with experience handling cases similar to yours, whether it is a felony, misdemeanor, or DWI.
  • Reputation: Research the lawyer’s background, qualifications, and client reviews.
  • Communication Style: Choose a lawyer you feel comfortable talking to and who clearly explains your options.

Choosing the right lawyer is a crucial decision. Do not hesitate to schedule consultations with several attorneys before making your final choice.

The criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy have helped protect the futures of countless individuals charged with misdemeanor, felony, and DWI offenses all over Dallas County and surrounding areas since 2002.

Recent Criminal Case Results

  • Theft, Dismissed, Dallas Co., M1554025
  • Prostitution, Dismissed, Dallas County, M12-61614
  • Theft, Dismissal, City of Dallas, 0003286597
  • Possession of Marijuana, Dismissed, Dallas County, M13-39484
  • Aggravated Assault w/ Deadly Weapon, Dismissed, Dallas County, F1300346
  • Possession of Marijuana, Dismissed, Dallas County, M12-15211
  • Possession of Marijuana, Dismissed, Dallas County, M09-36272
  • Possession of Controlled Substance, Dismissed, Tarrant County, 1304698
  • Aggravated Robbery (3 Counts), Erath County, Dismissed, CR13984, CR13983, CR13982
  • Assault by Contact Family Violence, Dismissed, City of Dallas, C21550262
  • Assault by Contact, Dismissed, City of Plano, 140007656
  • Indecent Exposure, Reduced to Class C- Disorderly Conduct, Dallas County, M1234924
  • Failure to I.D, Dismissed, Dallas County, M13-17096
  • Criminal Trespassing, Dismissed, City of Carrollton, 797266
  • Drug Paraphernalia, Dismissed, City of Carrollton, 00317942
  • Prostitution, Reduced to Class C- Attempted Prostitution, Dallas County, M13-63096
  • Possession of Marijuana, Reduced to Class C- Drug Paraphernalia, Dallas County, M13-11040
  • Unlawful Carrying of Weapon, Dismissed, Dallas County, M13-65512
  • Interference w/ Public Duties, Dismissed, Dallas County, M13-34391
  • Assault- Threats Family Violence, Dismissed, Dallas County, C21363176 01
  • Failure to I.D., Dismissed, Dallas County, M14-20419
  • Assault Family Violence, Dismissed, Dallas County, M13-33519
  • Theft, Dismissed, City of Southlake, E0064058-01
  • Possession of Marijuana, Dismissed, Tarrant County, 1373323
  • Racing on Highway, Dismissed, Tarrant County, 1413101
  • Assault- Bodily Injury- Reduced to Disorderly Conduct, Tarrant County, 1361743
  • Indecent Exposure, Dismissed, Dallas County, M13-60248
  • Resisting Arrest, Not Guilty, Ellis County, 1311750CR
  • Failure to I.D/Fictitious Information, Not Guilty, Ellis County, 1311751CR
  • Possession of Marijuana, Dismissed, Dallas County, M13-36905
  • Possession of Marijuana, Dismissed, Reduced to Class C- Drug Paraphernalia, Dallas County, M13-15173
  • Theft, Dismissed, Dallas County, M15-21698
  • Assault- Bodily Injury, Reduced to Class C- Assault by Contact, Tarrant County, 1396685
  • Theft, Dismissed, Dallas County, M15-21697
  • Possession of Controlled Substance (Felony), Reduced to Class A Misdemeanor, Dallas County, F1334337
  • Criminal Trespassing, Reduced to Class C- Disorderly Conduct, Dallas County, M14-35163
  • Possession of Marijuana, Dismissed, Dallas County, M13-33479
  • Theft (Felony), Reduced to Class A Misdemeanor, Dallas County, F1245325-W
  • Theft, Dismissed, Dallas County, M14-13556
  • Unlawful Carrying of Weapon, Dismissed, Dallas County, M14-36004
  • Possession of Controlled Substance, Dismissed, Dallas County, F-1425069
  • Reckless Driving, Dismissed, Reduced to Class C- No License, Dallas County, M14-81402
  • False Report to Police Officer, Dismissed, Dallas County, M15-33797
  • Possession of Controlled Substance (Misd.), Dismissed, Dallas County, M15-18839
  • Possession of Controlled Substance (Felony), Dismissed, F1618032
  • Criminal Mischief (Felony), Dismissed, Dallas County, F16-14883
  • Theft, Dismissed, Dallas County, M1459326
  • Racing on Highway, Dismissed, Dallas County, M1518718
  • Assault Family Violence, Dismissed, Dallas County, M14-23336
  • Assault Family Violence, Dismissed, Dallas County, M16-10155
  • Theft, Dismissed, Dallas County, M1556963

Why Texans Choose Richard McConathy For Their Criminal Charges

  • More than two decades of legal experience in criminal defense
  • Member of the Irving Bar Association, Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Dallas Bar Association, and Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA)
  • Treasurer of the Dallas Bar Association Criminal Law Section from 2004-2006
  • Member of the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) and DUI Defense Lawyers Association (DUIDLA)
  • Admitted to State Bar of Texas in 2002 and United States District Court Northern District of Texas in 2003
  • More than 1,000 criminal cases and over 300 “not guilty” or “dismissed” criminal cases
  • Expertise.com selected and awarded the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy in 2021 for Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Dallas

Facing Felony Charges in Dallas County

A felony is a serious criminal offense in Texas, and the penalties can be significant. If you are facing felony charges in Dallas County, here is some general information to be aware of:

  • Classification System: Texas categorizes felonies into five classes: capital, Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, and state jail felonies. The category assigned depends on the severity of the offense and the offender’s criminal history.
  • Individual Case Variations: The specific charges and potential sentences will vary depending on the unique circumstances of your case.

Understanding Misdemeanor Charges and Penalties in Texas

A misdemeanor is a less serious offense than a felony in Texas. Here is a breakdown of key points:

  • Misdemeanor Classifications: Texas categorizes misdemeanors into three classes: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Each class carries different potential penalties.
  • Punishments: Misdemeanors are typically punishable by a fine, jail time (usually less than a year), or probation. The severity of the punishment depends on the specific class of misdemeanor.
  • Fines: The maximum fine for any misdemeanor in Texas is $4,000.
  • Statute of Limitations: In general, there is a two-year statute of limitations for misdemeanor offenses in Texas. This means the state must file charges within two years of the crime for prosecution to proceed.

Request a Free Consultation with The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

You can call The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (972) 233-5700 or contact us online for a free confidential consultation. You can take these steps 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Do not wait another moment to get the legal help you need today. Our firm will make an active effort to minimize the penalties you face and can help you get your life back.

Criminal Defense

While our attorneys have successfully represented clients in many cases across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, they understand that every case is unique. Each client receives the benefit of experience, strong communication, and transparency. This helps ensure that every client receives the attention that they deserve as we do not approach cases in a “one size fits all manner.” When your reputation and future are at stake, you deserve nothing less.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense or suspect that you may soon be, remember, an arrest does not mean that you will be convicted of an alleged criminal offense. During your free consultation, our attorneys will work to understand your unique situation and begin building a solid strategy for your defense. 

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (972) 233-5700 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, Richardson, and surrounding areas of Dallas County, Texas.

Criminal Defense FAQ

This depends on several factors: the charge you are facing (Misdemeanor or Felony), your criminal history, the difficulty of your case, the estimated time spent on your case by the Lawyer, The experience, and reputation of your attorney in criminal defense.

1 – Will you personally be handling my case?

2 – How often do you go to trial?

3 – What areas of criminal law are you most experienced with? 

4 – How long have you been handling criminal defense cases? 

5 – What type of fee do you charge? Flat fee or hourly rate?

6 – How much do your services cost for my particular case?

7 – Do you have a contract for services you can provide me after I hire you?

8 – Will you return my calls the same day?

You should request a lawyer immediately if you are being questioned about a crime and you may be the target of the investigation. You should never go and speak to the police yourself if you are a target of an investigation. You should request an attorney if the answers in any way or form may incriminate you. Perhaps just as importantly, you should request a lawyer if you are not sure how to answer any question with the police.

As soon as you have been contracted by law enforcement for an investigation of a crime or after you have been arrested and released.

    1. Your attorney should be responsive to your calls and questions.
    2. Your attorney should focus his principal practice in criminal law (75%)
    3. Your lawyer should be experienced in the local courts of the area and know the politics of the community for at least 10 years.
    4. Your attorney should know the basics of criminal law without having to look up the law.
    5. Your lawyer should provide you with a clear Fee Structure in a written contract you can get a copy of.
    6. Your lawyer should be enthusiastic about criminal law and defending your case.
    7. Your lawyer has courtroom and trial experience of at least 100 jury trials and 1000 plea deals.
    8. Your attorney has a reputation for courtroom confidence.
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