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Houston, Texas 77006

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Houston Criminal Defense Attorney
Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Houston Criminal Defense Attorney
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Frequently Asked Questions
Criminal Defense Attorney

Do I need a lawyer's help if I am accused of a crime?

  • It is always in your best interest to consult a criminal defense lawyer as early as possible if you suspect you will be facing the criminal justice system. Whether or not you believe you have been wrongfully accused, an attorney will fight for your legal and constitutional rights and monitor the proceedings for legality and fairness. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for free legal counsel.

  • What should I do if I am arrested?

  • If the police arrest you, immediately ask to call an attorney. Do not say anything to the police that could incriminate you. Even if you are innocent and were in no way involved in the crime for which you have been arrested, ask for an attorney and do not speak to the police without a criminal defense attorney present.

  • Grand JuryWhat is the role of the grand jury?

  • The grand jury decides whether there is sufficient evidence to indict a suspect of a felony and continue the criminal proceedings against him or her. The indictment is the formal process of charging a person with a crime. The grand jury reviews the evidence and may hear testimony in deciding whether to indict someone, but the grand jury makes no decision about guilt or innocence. All states use the grand jury system to some extent, though there may be differences in procedures and number of jurors.

  • What is the role of the prosecutor?

  • The prosecutor is the attorney who represents the federal, state or local government in a case against a criminal defendant. The title of the prosecutor varies by jurisdiction, but some common titles include district attorney, county attorney, city attorney, United States attorney and state attorney. The prosecutor has the public duty to punish those committing crimes, balanced with the duty to fairly try such individuals.

  • What is the difference between probation and parole?

  • Probation is a type of criminal sentence that allows a person to stay in the community rather than serve time in prison, as long as he or she complies with certain conditions, such as regularly reporting to a probation officer, refraining from alcohol and drugs and not committing further crimes. Parole is the supervised release of a prisoner from incarceration into the community before the end of his or her sentence. Conditions of parole are similar to those of probation.

  • What is restitution in the criminal context?

  • Depending on the applicable federal or state laws, part of a criminal sentence may include the payment of restitution to the victim or victims for their related losses. Restitution Juvenile Crimesmay include compensation for property damage or loss, medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost income or funeral expenses. Part of the philosophy behind criminal restitution is to give the criminal offender a direct part in making things whole with his or her victim.

  • How are children and youth prosecuted?

  • A minor is prosecuted for criminal conduct in a separate juvenile court system. The philosophy of the juvenile justice system is that children should not be punished or stigmatized for criminal conduct because of their immature abilities to make proper choices and recognize right from wrong. Instead the role of the juvenile justice system is seen as rehabilitative and guiding. For particularly violent crimes, adolescents may be tried in the adult system.

  • If I am convicted of a crime while I am in the United States legally on a work visa, can I be deported?

  • Illegal Immigration ChargesYes, if a person who is not a citizen of the United States is convicted of a crime, he or she can be deported. This includes lawful permanent residents who are lawfully living and working in the United States. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, if a non-citizen is convicted of an aggravated felony, a crime of moral turpitude or any one of a number of listed crimes in a third category (such as violations of laws relating to domestic violence, controlled substances and possessing a firearm), he or she is at risk of deportation. In addition to deportation, a conviction may adversely affect a lawful permanent resident's ability to become a United States citizen.

  • What constitutes family or domestic violence and what are the consequences?

  • A Domestic violence allegation of family violence should be taken very seriously. Whenever a violent act occurs between family members, spouses, domestic partners, children, and parents, former partners or people involved in a relationship, the abuse is referred to as family violence. If the District Attorney seeks an affirmative finding of family violence it is imperative that you contact an experienced Houston criminal lawyer immediately.
    Assault Charges and Domestic Violence Charges
  • Domestic violence comes in several forms, such as threats, physical abuse, disturbances at work, stalking, threatening calls, and emotional abuse. The consequence of this type of conviction is incarceration. Domestic violence can be determined to be either a misdemeanor if it was only a minor injury or a felony if serious injury occurred such as broken bones, lacerations or abrasions to the body or face. In addition, past criminal offenses will be taken into account when determining the charge by the district attorney. If there has been a finding of family violence in your past, a routine misdemeanor could be enhanced to a felony and could make penitentiary time a very real possibility.

  • Any person who is convicted of assault, aggravated assault, or family violence may be sentenced with jail or prison time, fines, probation, and community service. Additionally, the person may have to adhere to the terms of a court issued restraining order or order of protection.

  • Am I eligible for Probation?

  • For the most part, anyone who has not been convicted of a felony in Texas, or in any other state or federal jurisdiction in the United States is eligible for probation. Also, if you have not been placed on probation for a felony, you are generally eligible for probation. However, the prosecuting authority may not offer you probation if you are convicted of certain offenses such as robbery, murder, certain sexual assault offenses or crimes involving injury to a child. Certain drug offenses at the felony level also are not eligible for probation, even if it is your first offense.

  • Can I get probation if I have a prior felony conviction on my record?

  • You may still receive probation in this situation if the judge believes that justice will be better served by handing you probation instead of a jail sentence. Once again this depends on the prior conviction, the seriousness of the charge at hand, your status in the community, and the judicial and prosecuting authorities.

  • What is the difference between probation and deferred adjudication?

    Probation and Deferred Adjudication
  • Probation is the product of a felony conviction in a state court, and from a suspended sentence. If you fulfill the requirements set forth by the judge and prosecuting authority, than you will not spend any time in state prison or the county jail.

    Deferred Adjudication occurs when the judge finds that there is sufficient evidence to find you guilty, but defers the guilty verdict while placing you on community supervision, or deferred adjudication. Upon completion of your deferred term, you will not have a guilty verdict on your record, but will have the deferred adjudication verdict on the record instead. However, if you violate your terms, you can be sent to jail for a term consummate with the crime that you committed. Texas law does not allow deferred adjudication for certain types of crimes, such as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).

  • Can I get my records expunged (i.e. - cleared) if I successfully complete a deferred adjudication probation?

  • No. Texas state law does not allow for criminal records to be cleared if you have received any type of court-ordered supervision, such as deferred adjudication. However, if you are convicted of certain Class "C" Misdemeanors and traffic violations, than you are eligible to have your records expunged once you successfully complete your supervision term.

  • Who is eligible for expunction?

  • ExpunctionA petition for expunction may be filed to destroy the public record of your criminal charges and arrest in the following circumstances:

  • Criminal charges were dismissed
  • Criminal charges were refused by the Prosecutor
  • You were found "Not Guilty" at trial
  • Your "Guilty" verdict was overturned on appeal
  • Your "Guilty" verdict was overturned by a pardon from the Governor
  • You received a deferred disposition for a Class C Misdemeanor

  • When you are arrested a public record is created that is entered into the Texas Crime Information Center database, National Crime Information Center database, and county records. Once entered, arrest records may be obtained by private entities including employers, colleges, banks and landlords. Just about anyone with access to the internet can find your criminal records. Even if the charges against you were dismissed, refused, or if you were found not guilty at trial the arrest record will still be in the database. You must file for an expunction to remove the arrest record.

  • If you were charged with a class c misdemeanor and received a deferred disposition you must file a petition for expunction. The charges will remain on your record even if you successfully complete the deferred disposition unless you move to have them expunged.

  • Non-DisclosureWho is eligible for non-dislosure?

  • If you are charged with an offense and completed a deferred adjudication successfully, you are eligible for non disclosure and the records may be sealed. If you went on a straight probation, even if completed successfully, you are not eligible for non-disclosure. A final conviction, such as time served, a jail or prison sentence, or even a fine and court costs, can never be sealed.

  • A petition for non-disclosure may be filed immediately upon completion of your deferred adjudication in many misdemeanor cases. However, for some misdemeanors and all felonies there is a waiting period before the petition can be filed. If you competed a deferred adjudication for one the offenses requiring a waiting period you cannot receive a new deferred adjudication, probation or conviction during that period. If you do you are ineligible for a non-disclosure of the original charge. Additionally, you cannot have a prior conviction for certain enumerated offenses. .

  • If you meet the requirements and applicable waiting period, the petition for non-disclosure should be granted. Once the court signs the order for non-disclosure, any public agency that compiles such information is prohibited from releasing your criminal record.

  • Federal ConvictionsI am being tried in federal court. Can I get probation for a federal conviction?

  • Yes. Federal law does have provisions for probation at all levels. However, if you do receive probation as a result of a federal conviction, you will more than likely spend some time behind bars before you are released into the federal supervision program. Note that federal court does not have any stipulations for parole, so almost the only way that you can get out of prison is if you receive a probated sentence in addition to your jail time.

  • Can I be released from probation before my scheduled completion date?

  • After you have successfully completed at least one-third of your original term, the judge may consider a motion for early termination if you have been an exemplary probationer, completed all of your community service hours, and paid all fines and restitutions in full. However, certain drug crimes, DWI, and sex crimes are not eligible for early termination.

  • Probation OfficerIs it possible to change the terms of my probation?

  • Yes, if there is a probation condition that is particularly difficult for you to meet, there may be a reason for the court to modify the terms of your probation. If you find yourself in this situation, you or your attorney must inform the court immediately of your situation.

  • What if I am having trouble with my probation officer?

  • It is best to just swallow your pride and do your best to get along with your probation officer. Though the P.O. may not be the friendliest person in the world, they do hold the key to your freedom in their hands, and the judge relies heavily on the report from the P.O. when reviewing your case. You will not have an opportunity to rebuke the P.O.'s report once it has been filed with the court, so try your best to be cordial with your P.O. at all times.

  • If I am found in violation of my probation, what will be the length of my resulting jail sentence?

  • Probation ViolationDo everything in your power to keep out of this situation! A violation of your probation is not only a direct insult to the judge and to the court in which you are convicted, but it will also ensure that no judicial body will ever cut you any legal slack in the future. In regular probation, the maximum term of a resulting violator's jail term will be the number of years that you were given for your probation. For example, if you are convicted of a felony DWI and are sentences to five years straight probation, and are violated, than the maximum term of your jail sentence will be five years. If you are on deferred adjudication for two years for an offense that carries a jail term of two to ten years, and are found in violation, than you could receive a maximum jail sentence of ten years.

  • I have been convicted of a drug crime. Can I get drug treatment instead of probation?

  • Occasionally, the court will agree to let you enroll in a drug treatment facility as a condition of your probation. Upon successfully completing the treatment, the court may consider a motion to release you from probation. Other times, the judge may sentence you to "Days as a Condition" of probation. This will require you to spend a certain amount of time in the county jail before being released into probation.

  • White Collar CrimeHow does a white collar crime charge differ from other criminal charges?

  • Defending clients suspected or charged with fraud or other white collar crime requires a high level of sophistication. Many cases involve very complex legal issues, including multi-count indictments and multiple defendants. Outside the legal issues it often very complicated financial issues that often require the assistance of a forensic accountant in and out of count. Then you considered the fact that the people who are charged with white collar crimes are often professionals who have never seen the inside of a criminal attorney’s office, much less a courtroom and you have the recipe for an event that can be life changing for the client and his family.

  • White collar crime is a general term usually meant to describe fraud or money-laundering cases. White collar crime and fraud can be in both the State courts and the Federal courts, however like other types of offenses it is usually bigger and more complicated when it is charged in the Federal court. In a fraud prosecution the government generally alleges the fraud along with a count alleging conspiracy to commit some type of fraud scheme. Fraud falls into several categories, such as mortgage fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, health care fraud, or bank fraud, depending on the subject matter of the alleged scheme and the manner and means of its commission.

  • Serving clients throughout Texas includingHouston, Galveston, Angleton, Pearland, Alvin, Sugar Land, Clear Lake, Conroe, Pasadena, La Porte, Missouri City, Texas City, Friendswood, Richmond, Rosenberg, Hempstead, Huntsville, Liberty, The Woodlands, Humble, Tomball, League City, Bellaire, Deer Park, and Katy and other communities in Harris County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Galveston County, Chambers County, Liberty County, Jefferson County, Waller County, and Walker County.