A Criminal Conviction Will Have Lasting Consequences
Many people don’t think about all the negative effects of a conviction in Texas. Now you have the chance to change the outcome of your case, and thus your life. You won’t be able to change the outcome later, after you’ve already pled guilty or been convicted of the crime you’re facing.
It is more than possible to get justice and beat a criminal charge with professional legal representation from a dedicated Dallas criminal defense lawyer at our law firm.
Types of Crimes Your Defense Lawyer Handles
Your Dallas criminal lawyer from our law firm can handle all different types of criminal cases. Big or small, there’s no criminal case that our lawyers can’t take on and work to improve the practical outcome of when you’re facing a serious accusation. As an individual, trying to defend yourself in the Texas courts against a conviction for crimes is not a good idea. It takes years of education and experience to successfully defend against criminal conviction.
When You’ve Been Arrested, Our Defense Attorney Can Help
The following is a list of some common types of criminal case practice areas our defense firm’s legal consultants handle and have helped previous defense clients with:
- Drug crimes
- Alcohol-related crimes
- Violent offenses
- White collar crimes
- Sex offenses
- Probation issues
- Theft and burglary
- Internet crimes
- Juvenile offenses
- Federal crimes
- Domestic violence
What Should You Do Before Your First Hearing in Dallas Criminal Court?
Usually, your first court appearance will take place within 48 hours after your arrest. It may take longer if you were arrested on a weekend or holiday. The court will let you know the charges against you and of your constitutional rights.
Getting a Criminal Attorney Through the Court
The court will also let you know that they will appoint a lawyer to you if you are unable to afford one. If you are unable, they will analyze your income and expenses and determine whether you qualify for a court-appointed attorney or not.
How You Plead to Criminal Charges Matters
The court will also ask you if you plead guilty or not guilty to the charges. If you haven’t had time to consult with a defense lawyer regarding what to do, you may need to ask the court for more time. It’s important to discuss the charges, defense to these charges, and the likelihood of you winning the case with your attorney. Only after discussing with an attorney should you enter a plea.
What To Do After Being Arrested and Accused of a Crime
Contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are booked in jail. If you’ve been accused of a crime or questioned by authorities, don’t give them details beyond basic identifying information, like your name. They can use everything you say against you, so simply ask for your lawyer if they press you for information.
You Have Rights After an Arrest
You should be respectful and cooperate with their requests, but always preserve the right to remain silent and reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible. Even after being photographed, fingerprinted, and booked, give our office a call.
Contact Your Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately
Once you’ve spoken with a Dallas criminal defense lawyer, you should be booked and released in the time between your arrest and your day in court. During this time, your lawyer can help you gather evidence and build a strong defense for your case.
Criminal Penalties for Common Felony Crimes in Texas
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a felony offense, don’t make the mistake of taking the crime lightly. Felonies can shatter your life in many ways, from lengthy Dallas jail or prison terms to hefty fines. Once a felony is on your record, it’s there for life. It will change the way the world views you, and being a felon isn’t something you can easily hide.
Felony Punishments Can Be Harsh
The following are some of the legal penalties of a felony conviction in Texas, which your criminal lawyer wants to help you avoid.
- First-Degree Felony – Punished by between five and ninety-nine years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Examples of crimes in this category are aggravated sexual assault and theft of property valued over $200,000.
- Second-Degree Felony – Punished by between two and twenty years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Examples of second-degree felonies are crimes such as reckless injury to a child and aggravated assault.
- Third-Degree Felony – Punished by between two and ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Examples of crimes in this category are theft of property valued between $20,000 and $100,000 and drive-by shootings with no injuries.
- State Jail Felony – Punished by between 180 days and two years in state jail and up to a $10,000 fine. Examples of state jail felonies are crimes such as credit or debit card abuse and theft of property between $1,500 and $20,000 in value.
Criminal Penalties for Common Misdemeanor Crimes in Texas
It’s unfortunate that a lot of people think, until it’s too late, that misdemeanors won’t have resulting negative impacts that affect their lives. They often believe that a misdemeanor offense isn’t something employers care about, but they’re wrong. Many employers do care about misdemeanor offenses, and being convicted for one of these crimes in Dallas is a serious legal issue that can affect your job and career prospects.
A Misdemeanor Conviction Can Have Lasting Consequences
Depending on the type of misdemeanor offense, the resulting consequences could actually affect your life in the same negative ways a felony conviction can. For instance, if you’re convicted of a violent offense in Dallas, your employer won’t care whether the offense was a misdemeanor or felony. They may still believe you are violent and they may not want to take a risk in hiring you.
Get a Lawyer For the Best Chance at Avoiding Punishment
Misdemeanor convictions have many negative consequences, in addition to the legal penalties you will surely face if convicted. Listed below are some of the penalties for misdemeanor offenses in Texas, which your Dallas criminal lawyer will help you avoid.
- Class A Misdemeanor – Punished by up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. Examples of class A misdemeanors are stalking without bodily injury, theft of a cable service, and theft of property valued between $500 and $1,500.
- Class B Misdemeanor – Punished by up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. Examples of class B misdemeanors are first-offense DWIs, making terrorist threats, and property theft with a value between $20 and $500.
- Class C Misdemeanor – Punished by a fine of up to $500. Examples of class C misdemeanors are theft of property with a value below $20, attending a dog fight, and traffic violations.
Nonlegal Consequences of a Criminal Conviction in Texas
In addition to the legal penalties you will suffer if convicted for the crimes you’ve been accused of, you will also face practical nonlegal, lifelong consequences.
Possible Consequences After a Criminal Conviction
- You could be fired from your job or have difficulty securing employment, no matter how personable you are or how much practical experience you might possess. In fact, many jobs in Dallas and elsewhere in Texas are barred to felons.
- Your family will suffer because of your felony conviction, as well. They could suffer embarrassment and damage to their reputation, or they could struggle financially and emotionally while you’re in jail or prison.
- Your finances will be affected because of the heavy fines associated with your crime and your inability to secure decent employment.
- Depending on the offense you’re convicted of, you could be barred from living in certain neighborhoods in Dallas or qualifying for certain government programs.
- You could lose your license to drive or your rights to bear arms and vote.
Expunging a Dallas Criminal Record
In Texas, there are some ways that these criminal charges can be removed from a record or sealed away so they’re no longer visible to anyone doing a search. That can make a big difference in your life, as a criminal record that shows up during a background check can hurt your employment, housing, and other aspects of your life.
What to Do About a Criminal Record
There are options available such as expunction, non-disclosure, and record clearing for certain circumstances. Consulting with an attorney about the details of your specific situation is the first step to take to find out if you qualify for one of the options. They are not available in all circumstances or cases, so get guidance from your lawyer before you act. (Chris Lewis & Associates does not currently provide expunction services.)
Possible Defenses and Plea Negotiatons Against Conviction of a Crime in Dallas
Many people believe that they can’t fight their criminal charge, as they don’t believe the federal or Texas criminal justice system favors the defendant; however, the opposite is true. You can’t be convicted of a crime unless the prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty of the offense. This means that the prosecution will need to locate, identify, and present significant and convincing evidence against you.
Your Attorney Will Help You Handle the Prosecution and Police
The police and the prosecution can’t just suspect you of the crime. Even if you’ve been caught red-handed, if they can’t prove that you committed the crime, you can beat your charge even if they formed a case to prosecute you with. That being said, you can’t beat a crime that you admit to or one that you plead guilty to. You will have to battle the criminal charge with good information and solid evidence, rather than giving in and accepting your fate. At the very least, a plea bargain might be an option.
Defenses Your Criminal Lawyer Might Employ
The following is a list of some tried and true practical legal defenses available for crimes in Texas. Your Dallas criminal defense lawyer will look into your case to find the defense to use that will give you the best chance of evading conviction.
- You were acting in self-defense or defense of others.
- You didn’t commit the crimes at all.
- There was a mistake of fact.
- Someone worked to frame you.
- Someone used your identity.
- The police broke the law during the investigation or the arrest.
- The laboratory made errors.
- There’s not enough evidence to convict.
- Your rights were violated.
Get in Contact with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
When it comes to being charged with a crime in Texas, it’s a long way from being a convicted criminal. At Chris Lewis & Associates P.C., our defense lawyers have the experience with criminal trials you need to help you secure the best possible outcome and find the evidence to constitute the best defense. Whether it’s a dismissal or a reduced sentence, our lawyers will work for your best interests.
Our Defense Law Firm Helps Those Facing Criminal Charges
Call our law office situated in Dallas at 214-984-3113 or fill out the form at the bottom of this website to schedule a consultation with one of our defense attorneys with experience. Make certain that the criminal justice system treats you fairly by securing the best legal representation in Dallas. With our firm, a Dallas criminal defense lawyer is always here when they’re needed most and will use every resource at our disposal to defend our clients.