Criminal law is a serious and intricate process that requires expertise and strategic thinking to successfully defend clients faced with serious charges. The right firm handling your case can make the difference between incarceration and remaining free. We work to protect your rights throughout the legal process, providing an experienced and effective defense.
We represent clients who have been accused in a number of state criminal categories, including:
- Drug Offenses
- Sexual Assault
- DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)
- Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon
- Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol
- Online Solicitation of a Minor
- Bank Fraud
Taking matters into your hands is not the answer. Waiting and thinking the case will go away is not the answer. It is important to obtain counsel that fully understands the charges you are facing and can provide a solid defense on your behalf. Our strategic defense begins from our first contact. If you or someone in your family has been accused of a crime, having an attorney who can intervene from the beginning can assist in shaping the case in your favor. Even if we are contacted after charges have been filed, we may be able to alleviate major charges or reduce the penalties you are facing.
We have successfully defended adult and juvenile clients for many years and are strategic, and aggressive when needed, in our defense tactics. We have built a stellar reputation of handling serious cases with professionalism and skill.
How can we help you?
As your attorney, it is our responsibility to make sure you are treated fairly and have the best possible outcome in any legal proceeding you face. Our firm works on your behalf in a number of ways:
- We attempt to get your charges dropped or lowered.
- We interview all involved parties to ensure you have been treated fairly.
- We intervene to make sure there are no loopholes for illegal evidence to be admitted.
- We conduct pre-trial investigations.
- We utilize our resources of investigators and expert witnesses to work with us on your behalf.
- We negotiate plea bargain agreements when necessary to obtain the lowest penalties.
Criminal charges are very serious and can alter the course of your life, reputation and employment, but as your attorney, we work to provide an effective defense that can keep intact a promising future. For a consultation on how we can assist, contact our firm today!
Overview of State Case
1) Investigation / Arrest
There are various ways a person can become the subject of a police investigation leading to arrest. Police may get a tip or lead about a crime and open an investigation developing a case against one or more persons. Other times, a criminal offense might occur in the presence of the officer and after a brief investigation the person is arrested at the scene. Whatever the situation leading to the arrest, law enforcement must have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and the person arrested committed or participated in the crime. The standard for probable cause is low, i.e. the officer must be able to articulate reasonable facts that a crime more likely than not was committed and the person arrested was involved in the crime.
An arrest occurs when a person is detained and does not feel the freedom to leave.
The general rule is that all persons are entitled to a reasonable bond. A bond is usually set by a judge at the time, or shortly after, the person is arrested and booked into the county jail. In order for a person to be released from custody the bond must be posted. A bond may be posted in cash or by surety. If a person is posting a surety bond, then he or she will hire bonding company to post the bond at which time the bonding company will require a percentage of the bond be paid by the defendant. This percentage usually ranges from 10% to 20% of the total bond. For example, at 10% of a $2500 bond, a bonding company would require at least $250.00 to post the bond.
Once a person posts the bond, they are processed out of the county jail. This can take 2 to 3 hours, or sometimes up to 12-14 hours before the person actually gets out. It would be an unreasonable expectation to believe that as soon as a bond is posted, the person will be released that minute. Be prepared, it takes time to be processed out.
3) Initial Appearance
At the initial appearance, the defendant will be informed of the charges against him or her. They will be asked if they understand the charges and a bond will be set. A defendant does not enter their plea at the initial appearance. Often times if the charges is assault involving domestic/family violence an emergency protective order will be issues by the judge and given to the defendant at the time of the initial appearance. This emergency protective order will prevent the defendant from having any contact with the complainant or going within a specified distance of the complainant’s home or workplace.
Indictment – Felony
- There are various classifications of criminal charges based on the seriousness of the offense. Felonies are the most serious types of offenses. The possible punishment for felony offenses is prison time in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – TDCJ. Felony offenses are classified as a Capital Felony, 1st Degree, 2nd Degree, 3rd Degree, and State Jail Felonies.
- Before the State of Texas can prosecute a person for a felony offense, the facts must be first presented to a grand jury. If after hearing the evidence the grand jury believes there is probable cause to believe an offenses was committed by the person charged, they will vote to “True Bill” or Indict the case. The Indictment allows the State to proceed to prosecute the case in District Court.
- The Indictment is the charging instrument which informs the defendant what the charge is and every element of the offense that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict.
Information – Misdemeanor
- An Information is the charging instrument in misdemeanor cases. The Information, just like an Indictment, informs the defendant of the charge and each element the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses and are classified as Class A Misdemeanors, Class B Misdemeanors and Class C Misdemeanors. If convicted of a Class A or Class B Misdemeanor, a person could face incarceration in the county jail.
- Because misdemeanors are less serious offenses than felony offenses, the District Attorney’s Office does not have to present the case to a Grand Jury. The District Attorney’s Office can simply draft the Information, file it with the County Clerk, and wait for the case to get assigned a county court.
5) Court Settings
After the Indictment or Information is filed with the Clerk’s office and assigned to a Court, the defendant will get a notice of court setting. Often times, the defendant is required to appear at each court setting. It is important to know the local rules of the court regarding when a client has to appear.
At the first court settings, if the person has retained a defense attorney, the attorney will meet with the prosecutor and arrange to obtain the discovery in the case. The discovery consists of the evidence in the case such as police reports, lab reports, photographs, audio/video, and witness statements.
During the initial months of the case, there can be several court settings called announcements. This phase is the investigation stage of the case for the defendant. Once the investigation is completed, the defendant will make the decision whether to enter a plea in the case or to set the case for trial.
6) Investigation of Case/Discovery
The investigation of the case and obtaining discovery from the prosecutor is one of the most important aspects of the case. Defense counsel must analyze all the facts of the case and conduct their own investigation to make a determination regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the State’s case against the client. Ross believes that to effectively represent his clients, each client plays a crucial role in analyzing the facts of the case with Ross. This is the collaboration aspect of Ross’ representation philosophy. This is also the time that straight forward candor and objectivity is required. To properly analyze a case, Ross must prepare the case as if he were the prosecutor and then prepare to defend the case in representing the best interests of his client. Ross requires that each client be truthful about all the facts of the case, whether the facts are good, bad or ugly. Without knowing all the facts, Ross is at an immediate disadvantage in representing the client which never serves the client’s best interest. Being caught by surprise by a fact which the client did not disclose could lead to disastrous results for the client and Ross’ ability to defend the case.
7) Case Disposition
- There are three basic pleas in a criminal case: Not Guilty, Guilty and Nolo Contendre (No Contest). By pleading Not Guilty, the client desires to take the case to trial and have the State attempt to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. By pleading Guilty, the client is stating that they committed the offense and are accepting responsibility for it. Such a plea can be reached through a plea agreement with the prosecutor or without a plea agreement seeking the decision of a judge or jury to determine the punishment to impose. Last, the plea of Nolo Contendre has the legal effect of a guilty plea, but does not bind a client in a resulting civil case as evidence of guilt for the offense.
- The accused has a constitutional right to a trial by jury and require the State to proved each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
- If no agreement can be made regarding the resolution of the case, then cases are set for trial and the accused is able to have their case heard before a jury and allow the jury to make the decision whether or not the State has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
- If client is found not guilty, then the case is over and the client will be able to have the matter expunged.
- If jury find the client guilty, then client will be deemed convicted of the offense, punishment will be imposed, and then decisions regarding whether to appeal the case will be discussed.