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Criminal Defense

ALCOHOL/DWI


Alcohol the intoxicating constituent of wine, beer, spirits, and other drinks effect of alcohol depends from person to person based off different factors such as Age, weight, family history, amount consumed, what you drank or your health status.

DWI is a criminal offense of operating a motor vehicle after consuming an amount of alcohol sufficient to raise one’s blood alcohol content above a legal limit, according to state laws. Driving while intoxicated, however showing complete intoxication is not necessary for a charge of driving while intoxicated. A person’s first DWI charge can result in an automatic suspension of the violator’s license.

DRUGS


Any substance other than food that causes physiological changes to your body. They can be inhaled, injected, smoked, consumed, or dissolved under the tongue. They can be classified into two groups such as pharmaceutical drugs that is a chemical substance used to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose a disease or to promote well-being or Psychoactive drugs which are chemical substances that affect the function of the central nervous system, altering perception, mood or consciousness.

MARIJUANA


Marijuana comes from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. It has an active ingredient called THC that makes you feel high, THC and other compounds in marijuana effect your entire body, nervous system and your immune system. Smoking marijuana can increase your heart rate by up to two time for about 3 hours after smoking it which can lead to a heart attack in some cases. Physical effects included dizziness, shallow breathing, red eyes/dilated pupils, an increased appetite and slowed reaction time.

ASSAULT


An assault is carriedout by a threat of bodilyharm or a physical attack,presentability to causetheharm.An intent to scare or frighten another person can be enough to establish assault charges It is a crimeandmayresult in criminalliability. There are different degrees of assault.

WEAPONS


Any device or object used with the intent to inflict bodily harm or physical damage. Some examples included but are not limited to firearms,explosives and chemicals. Federal,state,and local statutes regulate the possession and use of weapons.

TRAFFIC TICKETS & CITATIONS


Traffic tickets generally come in two forms, citing a moving violation, such as exceeding the speed limit, or a non-moving violation, such as a parking violation. In some jurisdictions, a traffic ticket constitutes a notice that a penalty, such as a fine or deduction of points, has been or will be assessed against the driver or owner of a vehicle; failure to pay generally leads to prosecution or to civil recovery proceedings for the fine.

Citation: a written notice to appear before a court at a specified place and time to answer a particular charge. A citation is not a warrant and a refusal to comply with it is normally not a crime but failure to appear results in a default judgment against the defendant.

MOTION TO REVOKE PROBATION


If a Motion to Revoke probation is filed, it means that the District Attorney feels or believes that you have violated the terms and conditions of your probation which can lead to a warrant being issued for your arrest. The Court will sometimes set a bond with the warrant, but other times it won’t. Depending on the nature of the underlying offense, the type of probation violation, and the number of violations can determine whether or not a bond is set. Once the warrant has been executed, the Court will set your revocation case for an initial appearance in order to try and resolve your case.

MOTION TO ENTER ADJUDICATION OF GUILT


If you are on deferred adjudication meaning a judge has accepted your plea but defers finding the person guilty until all terms have been met until the end of the probationary period, the case can then be dismissed without a conviction. However, if the state feels that the defendant has not abided by the terms they may request the judge to adjudicate/ find the defendant guilty and sentence them to a punishment suitable for the original offense.

APPEALS


An appeal is the process where a case is reviewed when the parties have requested a formal change to the official decision. Appeals function as a process to correct errors and for clarifying/interpreting law.

BENCH WARRANTS


Usually issued when an individual fails to follow the rules of court or fail to comply with court date. Giving law enforcement agencies the authority to detain the defendant and bring them to court to address the issue.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE


Abusive behavior, physical assault, and intimidation towards another individual within the household.

DWI / DUI


Driving under the influence of alcohol or other impairing drugs is a crime in all 50 states.

EXPUNCTIONS

Proceeding in which a first-time offender of a criminal conviction, asks that the records be sealed, so that such records are not available through state/federal repositories.

      Waiting period expunctions

A person may obtain an expunction if no charges have been filed after a waiting period has passed: 180 days for Class C misdemeanors, one year for Class A and B misdemeanors, and three years for felonies.1 This is not an absolute drop-dead date, however. The petitioner must still prove that he has been released and the case is no longer pending. If the police (or prosecutors) are in an active investigation, then the petitioner is not entitled to an expunction. Because expunctions are considered civil cases, the burden of proof is on the petitioner to prove the case is not pending.
Waiting period expunctions may be granted only if no indictment or information has ever been filed charging the person with a misdemeanor or with a felony arising out of the same transaction.

The six-month or one-year waiting periods for misdemeanors applies only “if there was no felony charge arising out of the same transaction.”

The most important thing to remember about these new expunctions is that they are not full expunctions.

Any expunctions granted under the waiting period subsection must include language in the order authorizing the police and the prosecutor to retain their records and files.   This way, the public criminal history information will be destroyed, but law enforcement will be able to continue its investigation. Unless the person is again arrested for or charged with an offense arising out of the transaction for which he obtained an expunction, the law enforcement agencies still may not release any information about the expunged case.

Waiting period expunctions will thus act more like a nondisclosure, where public information is sealed but law enforcement is able to continue using the records as necessary.
Even if the waiting period has not passed, however, the State may nonetheless agree to an expunction under this subsection.
Discretionary expunctions
the prosecutor may, at any point until the person is tried, recommend an expunction.  The prosecutor’s decision will bind every other government agency. But while most expunctions are mandatory, discretionary expunctions must still be approved by the trial court before they can be granted.
Discretionary expunctions do give the prosecutor important flexibility to authorize an expunction in cases where one is truly warranted but not authorized under any other segment of the law. For example, if immediately after a person was arrested and booked, the victim said, “No, I meant to identify the person next to him,” the arrestee would have that arrest on his record for several years until the waiting period ran. Also, if Robert Alan Smith was mistakenly arrested under a warrant for Robert Adam Smith, he would not otherwise be able to obtain an expunction—again, for at least several years.

Actual innocence expunctions
Under this section, a person may receive an immediate expunction so long as the pardon or court order “clearly indicates on its face” that it was granted on grounds of actual innocence.  This type of expunction is treated the same way as an acquittal or pardon—the petitioner need provide notice only to the State, rather than all the agencies listed on the petition, and expunction is automatic.

Prior felonies
As of 2017, prior felony convictions no longer bar an expunction.

Misdemeanor dismissals
Petitioners whose misdemeanor cases are dismissed have a new ability to obtain an expunction. If an indictment or information is dismissed or quashed, the petitioner may receive an expunction if he can prove that 1) it was void, 2) he completed a pretrial intervention program, or 3) the indictment or information was dismissed for reasons showing an absence of probable cause to believe the person committed the offense.

Appellate acquittals
The legislature explicitly authorized expunctions where the person was acquitted by an intermediate appellate court and the period for discretionary review has expired.

Miscellaneous provisions
A person who absconds while free on bail is not entitled to receive an expunction under either the waiting period or statute of limitations subsections. He may, however, still receive an expunction if he is acquitted or pardoned, if the case was dismissed for lack of probable cause, or if the prosecutor recommends expunction.

Class C expunctions
Class C convictions that were dismissed pursuant to Art. 45.051 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (the provision dealing with deferring disposition [the Class C probation statute]), have a special rule in Art. 45.051(e) specifying that they can be expunged under Art. 55.01 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
But before proceeding under this statute, note that certain Class C offenses, particularly “status offenses” (those crimes that can be committed only by people of a certain age, such as Minor in Possession of Alcohol, Minor in Possession of Tobacco, Failure to Attend School, etc.), may have other code sections that deal specifically with their expunction, and the process may be easier than seeking an expunction under Art. 55.01 of the CCP.
So check the following statutes before proceeding with expunctions under Chapter 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure:  Art. 45.0216 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Class C non-traffic convictions, which can be expunged upon the child’s 17th birthday), §106.12 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code (Minor in Possession of Alcohol convictions, upon the child’s turning 21); Article 45.055 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Failure to Attend School Convictions upon turning 18), and §161.255 of the Health and Safety Code (Minor in Possession convictions upon turning 18).30

See “Changes in Expunction Law” by Andrea L. Westerfield at http://www.tdcaa.com/print/9223.

  • FEDERAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE

Defense of those who have been accused of violating federal statue or the constitution of the United States.

  • FELONIES

Most serious class of offense throughout the U. S. and are divided into four degrees and each carries an increasing penalty.

  • FRAUD

A criminal offense involving deceitful conduct, misrepresentation or false statements intentionally for personal/monetary gain.

  • JUVENILE CRIMINAL REPRESENTATION

Juvenile defendants require the assistance of an attorney experienced in juvenile law. Although children are capable of breaking the law and usually are charged with crimes everyday it is important that they have representation that looks out for their safety, welfare and best interest.

  • MISDEMEANORS

A criminal offense that is less serious than a felony however is still punishable by a fine and incarceration at a local county jail. Misdemeanors are separated into three classes. Dismissal or an uncharged arrest for a misdemeanor can still affect a person future in finding potential employers.

  • NONDISCLOSURES

An order of nondisclosure is a court order prohibiting public entities such as courts and police departments from disclosing certain criminal records. If you have a criminal record, you may benefit from obtaining such an order.

An order of nondisclosure also legally frees you from disclosing information about your criminal history in response to questions on job applications. You do not need to mention information related to the offense that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure.

Please note that an order of nondisclosure applies to a particular criminal offense. The order does not apply to all offenses that may be on your criminal record, but you may obtain multiple orders of nondisclosure for multiple offenses.

As mentioned above, an order of nondisclosure directs entities holding information about a certain offense on your criminal record to not release that information. This is a general rule. There are exceptions. Certain state agencies are still entitled to obtain information concerning an offense that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure.

Who is eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure?

Not all persons with criminal records are entitled to file a petition for an order of nondisclosure. You are entitled to file a petition only if six specified conditions are met. These conditions are set out below:

  1. First, you must have been placed on deferred adjudication community supervision (hereinafter, “deferred adjudication”) for the offense in question. The court that placed you on deferred adjudication will have issued an order of deferred adjudication in your case. Ideally, you should attach a copy of your order of deferred adjudication to your petition. (While attaching a copy of your order of deferred adjudication is not required, doing so may expedite the process of obtaining an order of nondisclosure.) You can obtain a copy of your order of deferred adjudication from the clerk of the court that placed you on deferred adjudication.

Please note that if you were placed on deferred adjudication for an offense, you were not considered to be convicted. If you were convicted on an offense, you are not entitled to file a petition for an order of nondisclosure. This is the case even if you were placed on community supervision (i.e., probation) after being convicted.

  1. Second, you must have successfully completed deferred adjudication. If you successfully completed deferred adjudication, the court that placed you on deferred adjudication should have issued an order of dismissal and discharge. Ideally, you should attach a copy of your order of dismissal and discharge to your petition. (While attaching a copy of your order of dismissal and discharge is not required, doing so may expedite the process of obtaining an order of nondisclosure.) You can obtain a copy of your order of dismissal and discharge from the clerk of the court that placed you on deferred adjudication.

Please note that if you did not successfully complete deferred adjudication, you are not entitled to file a petition for an order of nondisclosure.

  1. Third, the offense in question must be an offense for which you may obtain an order of nondisclosure. A person may be placed on deferred adjudication for a wide variety of offenses. Not all of these offenses, however, may be the subject of an order of nondisclosure. There are three categories of offenses that are not eligible for an order of nondisclosure.
  • The first category consists of violations of any of the following sections of the Texas Penal Code: 19.02, 19.03, 20.04, 22.04, 22.041, 25.07, and 42.072. The Texas Penal Code is available online at http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us.
  • The second category consists of offenses that require registration as a sex offender.

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  • The third category consists of offenses involving family violence. Please check your order of deferred adjudication to determine whether the offense in question falls in any of these three ineligible categories. If the offense falls in one of the three ineligible categories, you are not entitled to file a petition.
  1. Fourth, you must not have any disqualifying criminal history. Here, the offense for which you are seeking an order of nondisclosure is not the concern. Rather, the concern is other offenses that may be part of your criminal record. There are three categories of offenses that will cause you to not be entitled to file a petition for an order of nondisclosure. If you have ever been convicted of (or placed on deferred adjudication for) any of these offenses, you are not entitled to file a petition.
  • The first category consists of violations of any of the following sections of the Texas Penal Code: 19.02, 19.03, 20.04, 22.04, 22.041, 25.07, and 42.072.
  • The second category consists of offenses that require registration as a sex offender.
  • The third category consists of offenses involving family violence.

If you are unsure if you have a disqualifying criminal history, you may wish to check your criminal history record. You can obtain a copy of your criminal history record from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Procedures for obtaining your criminal history record can be found online at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us.

Your criminal history record will list the offenses for which you have been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication. Your criminal history record will not show whether any of these offenses required registration as a sex offender, nor will your criminal history record reveal whether any of the offenses involved family violence. The underlying judgments of conviction and orders of deferred adjudication will reveal this information.

Again, if you know your criminal history, you do not need to obtain your criminal history record. You are not required to attach your criminal

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history record to your petition. You may, however, attach your criminal history record to your petition if you so desire.

  1. Fifth, you must have waited a certain period of time after the court’s order of dismissal and discharge to seek an order of nondisclosure.
  • If the offense in question is a felony, you may not file a petition for an order of nondisclosure until the fifth anniversary after your dismissal and discharge.
  • If the offense is a misdemeanor under Chapter 20, 21, 22, 25, 42, or 46 of the Texas Penal Code, your wait is shorter. Specifically, you may not file a petition for an order of nondisclosure until the second anniversary after your dismissal and discharge.
  • For any other misdemeanor, there is no waiting period; you may file a petition seeking an order of nondisclosure once the Court issues an order of dismissal and discharge.
  1. Sixth, you must not have been convicted of (or placed on deferred adjudication for) any criminal offenses during a special time period. A fine-only offense under the Texas Transportation Code does not count as a criminal offense for purposes of this requirement. In other words, a traffic ticket does not count as a conviction.

The special time period begins on the date you were placed on deferred adjudication. The special time period ends on the date of your order of dismissal and discharge plus any applicable waiting period as described above.

If you meet all six of the foregoing requirements, you are entitled to file a petition for order of nondisclosure.

How do I obtain an Order of Nondisclosure?

In order to obtain an order of nondisclosure, you must first file a petition for an order of nondisclosure with the proper court. The petition is to be filed with the clerk of the court that handled the offense for which you were placed

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on deferred adjudication. You will have to pay a filing fee in the approximate amount of $280 – the fee varies from county to county. Please check with the clerk of the court to determine the exact filing fee. If you are indigent, you may file an affidavit of indigency in lieu of paying a filing fee. You can click here for the form: affidavit-of-indigency.

As mentioned immediately above, by meeting the six requirements you are entitled to file a petition for order of nondisclosure. This does not guarantee, however, that the judge will grant your petition and issue an order of nondisclosure. The judge must issue an order of nondisclosure only upon a finding that issuance of the order is in the best interest of justice.

On the next page you will find a petition form. Following the form, you will find detailed instructions on completing the form. You can fill in the blanks on the form by typing your answers in the spaces provided. Alternatively, you may handwrite the answers. Don’t forget to sign your petition. Your petition does not need to be notarized. You may file your completed petition with the appropriate court clerk electronically, by mail, or in person. For directions on how to file your petition electronically, please go to http://www.efiletexas.gov/.

What happens after I file my Petition for an Order of Nondisclosure?

Once you have filed your petition, you do not need to provide notice to anyone else. The court clerk will provide notice of the filing of your petition to the State of Texas (i.e., the prosecutor’s office). The State may request a hearing on your petition. The first decision for the judge at the hearing will be whether you are entitled to file the petition. The second decision for the judge at the hearing will be whether issuance of an order of nondisclosure is in the best interest of justice.

If the State requests a hearing before the 45th day after receiving notice of the filing of your petition, the judge must hold a hearing. You will be required to attend this hearing. If the State does not ask for a hearing, the judge may still decide to hold a hearing. You will be given notice of the place and time of the hearing so be sure to keep your contact information up to date with the clerk of the court.

In many instances, however, the judge will not hold a hearing. If the State does not request a hearing, the judge may issue an order of nondisclosure

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without holding any hearing. The judge will decline to hold a hearing in such a circumstance if he or she makes two determinations:

  • that you are entitled to file a petition for an order of nondisclosure; and
  • that issuance of an order of nondisclosure is in the best interest of justice.

In such an instance, the court clerk will provide you with a copy of the order of nondisclosure.

 

  • NARCOTICS / MARIJUANA / DRUG CRIMES

Class of substance that induces sleep, blunts the senses and relieves pain but if used excessively may cause coma or convulsions. Narcotics can also become habitual or addicting if not used as advised by a medical doctor. In the U.S., a narcotic drug is simply one that is totally prohibited, or one that is used in violation of governmental regulation, such as heroin or cannabis.  Opiates, Morphine, Codeine and Opioids are considered Narcotics.

Marijuana that is tampered with and has been altered to change its form such as using a grinder, making “pot” brownies, or simply possession of more than 4 oz  results in a felony charge.

Drug Crimes  are offenses related to controlled substances such as producing, selling or manufacturing controlled substances are considered Drug Crimes. Punishments of said crimes are based on the quantity of the drug possessed, its classification, and the purpose of possession.

  • PROBATION VIOLATIONS / MOTION TO REVOKE

When you break the terms of your probation, different varieties are taken into consideration such as the seriousness of the violation, whether or not you have history of probation violations and whether or not said violation can worsen the severity of the situation. when probation has been violated by the defendant it can result to but not limited to significant penalties, jail time,  extended probation period,  heavy fines or even Motion to revoke probation.

  • THEFT

the taking of another’s property or service without permission or consent is considered THEFT.  There are different levels of theft, such as petty theft, grand theft and larceny. Theft crimes carry potential punishments that range from the relatively minor to the extremely serious.

  • WARRANTS

            A writ, granting a constable or other officer to search or seize property, arrest a person, or perform some other specified act.

 

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Office Locations


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3030 Nacogdoches Rd., Suite 222-H
San Antonio, Texas 78217
Office: (210) 212-7589

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Southlake, Texas 76092
Office: (817) 345-3637