A Criminal Attorney In Dallas Is Your Strongest Advocate
Facing criminal charges in Dallas can bring you a lot of stress and anxiety. If your personal freedom is at stake, then you cannot afford to make a single mistake. That’s why, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, it is crucial to have a skilled legal representative to help you with your case. Seeking a criminal attorney in Dallas is the crucial first step in defending yourself from such charges.
What is involved in criminal defense, and why should you have an attorney at your side? Learn more about it and how The Medlin Law Firm can provide legal counsel.
What Criminal Defense Involves
Criminal defense is the legal representation provided to individuals accused of crimes. You have the right to defend yourself in a court of law when facing criminal charges.
That said, criminal defense attorneys play a crucial role in protecting your rights and ensuring a fair trial. Their primary function is to challenge the prosecution’s case and build a strong defense strategy.
Skilled attorneys spend time investigating the evidence, interviewing witnesses, and strategizing to weaken the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses. These processes allow them to create arguments supporting the defendant’s case or seeking reduced charges. Defense attorneys have extensive experience in criminal laws, courtroom procedures, and negotiation skills. All of these enable them to advocate for their client’s best interests.
An effective defense strategy is primarily based on what kind of offense you are accused of. To see the bigger picture, here’s how Texas classifies crimes.
Classifications Of Crimes In Texas
The Texas Penal Code classifies criminal acts into two main categories: felonies and misdemeanors. The specific penalties and legal consequences for each type of crime in Texas may vary based on the details of the offense, any prior criminal record, and other factors considered during sentencing.
Thus, it’s advisable to consult with a criminal defense lawyer when you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges. They work based on accurate and up-to-date information regarding criminal charges in Texas.
When You Face Felony Charges
Felonies are considered to be the most serious offense in Texas. They involve acts that are deemed harmful to society. The law divides felonies into five different degrees, with capital felonies being the most severe. Capital felonies, such as murder, carry the possibility of life imprisonment. Also, as a death penalty state, those convicted of murder may be put on death row.
Aggravated assault or sexual assault are first-degree felonies. They can result in prison sentences ranging from five to 99 years. Meanwhile, second-degree, third-degree, and state jail felonies have varying penalties. These may include imprisonment and fines.
Facing Misdemeanor Offenses
In Texas, misdemeanors are classified into three categories: Class A, Class B, and Class C. These categories vary in terms of severity and potential penalties. Here are the main differences between them:
Class A Misdemeanor:
- Considered the most serious level of misdemeanor in Texas.
- Maximum punishment is up to one year in county jail.
- A fine of up to $4,000 may also be imposed.
- Examples of Class A misdemeanors include offenses such as domestic violence, possession of small amounts of certain controlled substances, and first-time DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) offenses.
Class B Misdemeanor:
- The next level of severity after Class A.
- Punishable by up to 180 days in county jail.
- A fine of up to $2,000 may also be imposed.
- Examples of Class B misdemeanors include offenses like driving with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) between 0.08% and 0.15%, criminal trespass, and first-time possession of marijuana (less than two ounces).
Class C Misdemeanor:
- The least serious level of misdemeanor in Texas.
- Generally, these offenses do not result in jail time but rather are punishable by a fine of up to $500.
- Examples of Class C misdemeanors include minor traffic violations, possession of drug paraphernalia, and disorderly conduct.
These classifications and penalties can change over time, so it’s always best to refer to the most recent Texas statutes for the latest information. Additionally, certain factors or prior criminal history may affect how a misdemeanor offense is charged and sentenced.
Of course, law enforcement will need to secure a warrant to bring you into custody and face these felony or misdemeanor charges. There are, however, certain actions you need to avoid during an arrest.
Common Mistakes During Arrest
During an arrest, you may find yourself in a stressful and confusing situation. Law enforcement officers are trained to follow specific procedures to ensure the arrest is carried out lawfully. However, both you and the officers involved can make mistakes during this process.
After an arrest, you will be read your Miranda rights and taken to a police station for booking. You may need to pay bail for your release while awaiting trial.
When facing an arrest, it’s best that you keep your silence. Law enforcement may present you with information that isn’t necessarily true. They do this to get details from you. They may also assume that you’re lying, even when you give an honest answer.
You can always choose to invoke or exercise your Fifth Amendment right and not issue any statement, even if law enforcement subjects you to interrogation. You should then immediately contact a lawyer to represent you.
Work With A Criminal Attorney In Dallas
The criminal justice system in Texas may prove to be complex. Thus, it is important to consider various factors when facing charges. Hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial for several reasons.
Years Of Experience &Knowledge
Criminal defense attorneys have experience in defending individuals charged with crimes. They are well-versed in criminal law, courtroom procedures, and the tactics that prosecutors employ.
Protect Your Rights
An attorney will protect your constitutional rights throughout the legal process. They will scrutinize the evidence, challenge illegal search and seizure, and prevent any violations of your rights.
Provide Solutions & Strategies
A criminal defense lawyer will analyze the facts of your case, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and develop a tailored defense strategy. These will challenge the prosecution’s case effectively.
Negotiate For More Favorable Results
Attorneys have the negotiation skills necessary to engage with the prosecution. They may seek reduced charges, find alternative sentencing options, or bring forth plea bargains. All these will prove to minimize the potential consequences of your case.
Guidance & Support
Facing criminal charges can put a strain on you mentally. An attorney for criminal defense will provide guidance, support, and reassurance throughout the legal process. Their assistance will ease up some of the stress associated with your case.
Legal professionals can advocate for your rights and best interests especially when you are dealing with charges for serious criminal offenses. The next section talks about these serious charges.
Different Kinds Of Criminal Offenses
Various crimes lead to different penalties. These penalties often depend on the severity of the offense. Even at times, a crime is classified as Class C Misdemeanor but can be elevated to Class B or Class A if aggravating elements are present.
Assault is a criminal act that causes physical harm to another person. However, it may not necessarily involve physical contact. Threatening to hurt someone, for example, through provocative action or words is considered assault in Texas.
Simple assault involves the threat of bodily injury, causing bodily injury, or making unwanted physical contact with another person. Meanwhile, if a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person, it constitutes aggravated assault.
Even without causing serious bodily injury, aggravated assault if possible if you used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense. A deadly weapon can encompass various objects capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. It includes firearms, knives, or other instruments designed or intended for use in causing bodily injury or death.
Drug crimes in Texas involve the possession, distribution, manufacturing, and trafficking of controlled substances. The penalties for such violations vary depending on the type and quantity of drugs involved.
Laws on drug possession in Texas divide different types of prohibited substances into penalty groups.
- Penalty Group 1: Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ketamine.
- Penalty Group 1-A: Lysergic acid or LSD.
- Penalty Group 2: Mushrooms and Psilocybin.
- Penalty Group 3: Anabolic steroids, Xanax, and Lorazepam.
- Penalty Group 4: Compounds containing codeine or opium.
Possession of any of these controlled substances can also result in fines, probation, and imprisonment. More serious offenses like drug trafficking can lead to lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines.
This offense involves assault against a family member or romantic partner. The difference between this offense and assault is that domestic violence happens when someone intentionally hurts a family member.
In Texas, different distinct offenses fall under it. Aggravated domestic assault is one. It is when the person uses a deadly weapon against any relative, romantic partner, or household member.
There are also violations against a protective order for someone who suffered from domestic violence. It may involve contacting a victim, even after the judge issues a restraining order. This action results in additional domestic violence charges.
Stalking an estranged partner or household member is also domestic violence. It entails conduct that relatives, partners, or household members find threatening. A few examples are following victims, monitoring their every move, and confronting or contacting them despite their refusal to do so.
Charges of murder in Texas are among the most serious criminal offenses. The state recognizes capital murder, first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter. These carry varying degrees of punishment.
Capital murder can lead to the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole. Meanwhile, first-degree murder carries a sentence of five to 99 years or life imprisonment. Second-degree murder is punishable by two to 20 years in prison, and manslaughter penalties range from two to 20 years and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
Sex crimes are serious offenses, and the law classifies all sex-based crimes as felonies. These include sexual assault, statutory rape, and sexual abuse of a minor. It also involves possession of child pornography, solicitation of a minor, sex trafficking, and kidnapping of a minor. Convictions for these offenses can result in prison sentences ranging from two years to life imprisonment.
Those convicted of felony sex crimes may also have to register as sex offenders. This registration can last for ten years. In some cases, they will have their name on the registry for a lifetime. Being on the sex offender registry can severely impact employment prospects and reintegration into society.
Prostitution, or offering sexual services in exchange for money, carry significant consequences. A first-time conviction is a misdemeanor, resulting in a maximum $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail.
Subsequent convictions escalate to a state jail felony, leading to up to two years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Promoting and compelling prostitution, including activities like pimping and human trafficking, have their own degrees of severity. Human trafficking has particularly severe consequences.
Engaging in solicitation, the act of offering sexual services for a fee, even without actual payment, carries a range of penalties. These can range from fines and imprisonment to state jail felony charges. If the solicitation involves a minor, it becomes a second-degree felony with mandatory prison time. This is regardless of one’s knowledge.
Sex trafficking allegations can also affect solicitation cases. They can potentially lead to federal charges.
A solicitation conviction can indeed have far-reaching consequences. They can impact both your personal and professional life beyond fines and jail time.
Airport crimes include offenses committed at or connected to airports. These may involve theft, drug possession, smuggling, trespassing, and terrorism-related activities.
In Texas, Fraud is the intentional deception for personal or financial gain. It includes identity theft, credit card, insurance, and securities fraud.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offenses in Texas can lead to severe consequences. They often endanger public safety. These carry penalties such as fines, license suspension, education programs, and even imprisonment.
Reckless driving poses a grave threat to public safety, involving careless operation of a vehicle through actions like excessive speeding and aggressive maneuvers. Running red lights and driving under the influence can also be deemed reckless driving.
Convictions for this offense carry penalties including fines, license suspension, and mandatory driver education programs. In cases involving significant harm or loss of life, imprisonment may be imposed.
It is about unlawfully taking someone’s property without consent. Acts of theft may consist of shoplifting, burglary, robbery, or embezzlement. The penalties are based on factors such as property value and criminal history.
Students commonly face charges for underage possession or consumption of alcohol, driving while intoxicated, drug possession, and providing alcohol to minors. More severe charges involve distributing drugs, sexual assault, battery, reckless driving, and theft. These offenses carry consequences like fines and jail time. They can also lead to the potential loss of scholarships and career prospects.
The unlawful use of a firearm can lead to charges in court. Since the changes in Texas gun laws, residents can carry firearms outside without a license. It’s worth noting, however, that some places may not allow it. The sale or transfer of a gun to anyone under 18 can also be considered a crime.
When found guilty of a crime, the court may grant that person probationary supervision. The state of Texas may apply it to non-violent offenders when they find underlying issues that contributed to their criminal behavior. Those under probation must attend regular meetings, rehabilitation, and counseling sessions. They may also need to prove their employment and render community service. Any violation can lead to the court revoking the probation.
Failure To Appear
Failure to appear results from missing a court appearance after a court order or legal summons. It often leads to getting a warrant, fines, imprisonment, or both. Those who fail to attend must have a valid excuse to avoid the penalties imposed on them.
Do remember that an arrest is not the same as a conviction. If the charge against you gets dismissed, you can still remove it from your criminal record through expunction.
Get A Clean Slate With Expunction
A criminal record can leave an ugly mark on your personal record, for life. Even after fines and jail time, individuals may find looking for jobs or educational opportunities challenging. However, there are instances where you can clear a criminal record to start anew and access better opportunities. This process is called expunction, or expungement.
If you want your records expunged then you must file a court petition with the help of a defense attorney. They will need to gather documents of your conviction from the prosecutor’s office. The proceedings also usually involve a court hearing.
Expungement can be tricky to navigate so the wisest course of action is to hire an expungement lawyer to help you through the process.
Seek Assistance From A Criminal Lawyer In Texas
A seasoned criminal defense lawyer can improve the chances of a favorable outcome when you face criminal charges in Texas. An experienced legal defense will examine your case and develop strategies around it. They will work on a solid defense that could get your case dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.
The Medlin Law Firm is a criminal defense firm based in Dallas, Texas, with a proven track record of case wins. They are dedicated to providing exceptional legal services to individuals facing various criminal charges. The firm’s criminal lawyers offer comprehensive legal representation and strategic counsel to protect their client’s rights. All these they do for a more favorable outcome in court.
The attorneys at The Medlin Law Firm cover many different elements in criminal defense. Whether you’re facing charges of assault, domestic violence, murder, or drug possession, they will develop solid strategies to help you get an ideal outcome.
Criminal defense in Texas covers various offenses, including murder, assault, domestic violence, drug possession, and sex crimes. Punishments depend on several factors, such as the severity of the violations and prior criminal records. The most serious that the state can impose is the death penalty.
Experienced criminal lawyers help protect your rights, provide solutions and strategies, negotiate, and give guidance and support. Fight for your personal freedom and look for an experienced criminal lawyer in Dallas when facing criminal charges.