If you’ve been arrested for a crime, the time to act is now. As criminal defense attorneys, J.D. Silva & Associates understand there are few things more overwhelming than facing criminal charges. From the moment you come to us, you can trust that we will work tirelessly to build the best possible case on your behalf.
An arrest is not a conviction, and there is still hope to secure your rights and freedom. When you work with us, you get more than just a defense attorney. You get an advocate. You get someone who will be there by your side—every step of the way. Someone to guide you, to look out for you, and fight for the best possible outcome.
J.D. Silva & Associates has experience representing countless clients in a wide range of criminal defense cases including:
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Texas law prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. A first time offense for driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a Class B misdemeanor and could lead to a sentence of up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, alcohol assessments and treatment, and the suspension of your driver’s license for anywhere from 90 days to 12 months. A second offense is a Class A misdemeanor and could lead to a fine of up to $4,000 and a year in jail. Additional DWI convictions will be considered felonies and can result in much longer prison sentences, higher fines, longer license suspension, and much stricter probation terms once the prison sentence has been served.
We realize being pulled over by law enforcement and going through the process of a DWI arrest can be overwhelming and upsetting. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start fighting on your behalf.
Under Texas law, assault is defined as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caus[ing] bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse; intentionally or knowingly threaten[ing] another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or intentionally or knowingly caus[ing] physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.” Put more simply, assault occurs when an individual attempts or threatens to physically hurt another person. Assault can consist of just the threat of bodily harm alone. Aggravated assault occurs when someone causes serious bodily injury to another or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of an assault.
Simple assault – or one that causes a minor injury – is typically considered a Class A misdemeanor, which means it is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. If the assault consists of only a threat and no physical injuries, it is usually a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $500. Aggravated assault is typically a second-degree felony and can bring about penalties including two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Incarceration time and fines could increase for both assault and aggravated assault depending on the circumstances of each case, such as whether or not the assault was against a public servant, emergency service worker, security officer, or a pregnant woman.
Assaults are never as simple as they seem. Charges can arise out of misunderstandings, acting in self defense, or from other circumstances that do not warrant criminal charges. Our experienced assault attorneys can help the accused set the record straight and resolve these issues as quickly and fairly as possible. An attorney may be able to reduce the charges, negotiate plea deals, or have the charges dropped completely.
Theft / Robbery / Burglary
Theft is defined under Texas law as unlawfully taking property of any kind from its owner with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. If an owner does not give consent or if an individual knowingly accepts stolen property, a charge of theft may apply. Theft charges vary based on the value of the stolen property, ranging from a Class C misdemeanor for theft of items valued less than $100 to a first-degree felony for a value over $300,000.
Theft charges are elevated to robbery charges if an individual causes physical injury to another person or if the individual places another person in fear of physical injury or death while trying to steal from them. Robbery is a second-degree felony offense and could carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. If serious physical injury occurs or a deadly weapon is shown, then it becomes aggravated robbery and a first-degree felony offense – with a conviction potentially resulting in up to 99 years in prison and fine of up to $10,000.
Burglary is an offense committed when an individual enters a habitation or building without the owner’s consent and with the intent of committing theft, assault, or a felony. Burglary charges are felonies that range in severity depending upon the type of structure entered. Incarceration can range from six months in state jail to 99 years (depending upon the degree) with all incurring a find of up to $10,000.
Under Texas law, it is illegal to possess, distribute, manufacture, cultivate, or traffic illegal drugs, synthetic drugs, or controlled substances. This also includes the possession of prescription drugs without a lawful prescription and the possession of drug paraphernalia. Some of the most common drugs involved in drug crimes are marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly referred to as acid), and ecstasy. At J.D. Silva & Associates, we help clients charged with:
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Illegal possession of prescription drugs or blank prescription pads
In addition to being a state crime, some drug offenses also violate federal law. The Controlled Substances Act went into effect in 1971 at the height of the war on drugs. The Act established drug policy and penalties to be regulated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The penalties for drug crimes vary greatly based on the type of drug, type of crime, and whether or not the crime is a federal or state crime. For state crimes, first offenses can range from misdemeanors to felonies and include penalties like jail time and extensive fines. State felonies are much more serious, as they come with extensive jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. It cannot be overstated how serious federal drug crimes are. The penalties for federal drug crimes could leave a person in prison for the rest of his or her life.
Expunctions / Non-Disclosures
While most convictions cannot be removed from a person’s record, Texas law does allow individuals to remove information about an arrest, charge, or conviction from their permanent records in certain circumstances. This removal is called an expunction. Once a person’s record is expunged, all information is removed from their criminal record and then the person can legally deny the incident ever occurred.
Potential records eligible for expunction include:
- An arrest for a crime that was never charged
- A criminal charge that was ultimately dismissed
- Certain qualifying misdemeanor juvenile offenses
- Conviction of a minor for certain alcohol offenses
- Conviction for failure to attend school
- Arrest of a person that is not charged if a case is not filed and there is no felony offense arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested
- Arrest of a person that is never formally charged, regardless of whether the statute of limitations has expired, if the prosecuting attorney’s office certifies that the records and files are not needed for use in any criminal investigation or prosecution of another person
- Arrest, charge, or conviction on a person’s record due to identity theft by another individual who was actually arrested, charged, or convicted of the crime
- Conviction for a crime that was later acquitted by the trial court or the Court of Criminal Appeals
- Conviction for a crime that was later pardoned by the governor of Texas or the U.S. president
Additionally, Texas individuals can petition to have their criminal records sealed through a nondisclosure order, including juvenile records. An order of nondisclosure prohibits public entities (such as courts and police departments) from disclosing particular criminal records. These types of orders are only available if:
- The conviction is for a misdemeanor offense
- The offense was not for operating a vehicle while intoxicated or an organized crime offense
- The offense was not violent or sexual in nature
- All terms of the sentence were completed in full
Both expunctions and nondisclosures are powerful and effective tools for giving you a fresh start. After expunging your criminal history in Texas, you are legally allowed to deny that you were ever arrested in employment applications and in other contexts.
Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys
We’ve represented clients in cases involving a broad range of criminal charges, including but not limited to:
- Juvenile crimes
- Criminal trespassing
- Sexual assault or rape
- Violent crimes
- Murder or manslaughter
When you’re facing criminal charges, it is absolutely critical that you hire someone to help you navigate your case. You need a criminal defense lawyer who isn’t learning on the job but who has successfully resolved a matter like yours before. We know just how stressful, frustrating, and upsetting this process can be, and how easily it is to feel overwhelmed. The legal system can be frightening, but you don’t have to face it alone. In the time immediately following an arrest, you will likely have a lot of questions, concerns, and fears. The experienced team at J.D. Silva & Associates is here to answer them. We represent clients in Harris County and the surrounding areas, including Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Fort Bend County. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.