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If you’ve been arrested for a crime, the time to find an experienced criminal defense lawyer is now. The criminal defense attorneys in Pearland at 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.


If you are looking for Pearland Criminal Defense Attorney that is experienced in successfully handling criminal matters, we can help you fight your charges.

An arrest is not a conviction, and there is still hope to secure your rights and freedom. When you work with J.D. Silva & Associates, you get more than just another attorney. As your Pearland criminal defense attorney, we will serve as your advocates and we will be there by your side every step of the way.

Experience Matters When You’re Facing Criminal Charges

When you’ve been criminally charged, it is critical that you hire a defense attorney to help you navigate your case through the criminal justice system.  You need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer who isn’t learning on the job but has successfully resolved similar criminal matters.

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 and the law confusing, 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. As your attorneys, your interests are our main concerns, and we will answer any questions you have about criminal law and the legal process.

Criminal Defense Lawyers Protecting Your Rights

J.D. Silva & Associates has experience successfully representing countless clients in a wide range of criminal defense cases in Pearland, Brazoria County, Houston, and Harris County. We’ve represented clients in cases involving but not limited to juvenile crimes, criminal trespassing, prostitution, solicitation, sexual assault or rape, violent crimes, arson, murder, and/or manslaughter.

J.D. Silva & Associates Handles a Range of Criminal Defense Cases

Our Pearland criminal defense lawyers can assist you with the following charges:

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 suspensions, 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.

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 it. 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 items with a value over $300,000.

  • Theft – Theft charges are elevated to robbery charges if an individual causes physical injury to another person or if an 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 a 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 a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Burglary – 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 fine of up to $10,000.

DRUG CRIMES

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 individuals are arrested for include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly referred to as acid), and ecstasy. At J.D. Silva & Associates, our attorneys can provide criminal defense for clients charged with the following drug crimes:

  • Cultivation
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Sales
  • Distribution
  • Trafficking
  • 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 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 their 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, and/or conviction from their permanent criminal records in certain circumstances. This removal is called an expunction or expungement. 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
  • A conviction for failure to attend school
  • The 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
  • The 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
  • An arrest, charge, and/or conviction on a person’s record due to identity theft by another individual who was arrested, charged, and/or convicted of the crime
  • A conviction for a crime that was later acquitted by a trial court or the Court of Criminal Appeals
  • A conviction for a crime that was later pardoned by the Texas Governor or the U.S. President

Additionally, Texas individuals can petition to have their criminal records sealed through a non-disclosure order, including juvenile records. An order of non-disclosure 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 non-disclosures 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 other contexts. We have a Pearland criminal defense attorney experienced in expunctions who can assist you or a loved one today.

What is Criminal Defense?

A criminal defense lawyer knows how to put forth the best possible legal defense offered for those who have been charged with a crime. The resources available to government prosecutors and law enforcement are vast. Without sufficient defenses, the government would hold a disproportionate amount of authority inside the legal system.

The prosecution in a criminal case is always “the state.”  A prosecutor, who represents “the state,” will make an effort to get a conviction on the most serious charges permitted by state law.

Every defendant is entitled to legal representation in criminal court, where their case will be heard pursuant to the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Your criminal defense lawyer has the responsibility to lawfully defend you as the defendant in the case against the state’s accusations. All of the state’s claims must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” according to the law. Each defendant has the right to have a jury decide their case in the vast majority of serious criminal cases.

Rights Under the Constitution

In addition to the Sixth Amendment, those facing criminal charges have other rights under the United States Constitution. Defendants have protected rights under the Fourteenth, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments that must always be upheld and cannot be violated by the government (prosecution).

FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS

The Fourteenth Amendment provides every individual due process under the law. Due process means everyone has the right to be heard – each accused has the right to a trial, to present evidence, including witnesses, to testify on their behalf (if they choose), and to subpoena people to appear in court—even the police. The Fourteenth Amendment also contains the equal protection clause, which states the government must treat each person equally. The state cannot favor one person over another based on race, sex, or age.

FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS

The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. These lines can sometimes be crossed and stretched by the police when arresting someone. A criminal defense attorney will be able to review an arrest to see if any constitutional rights were violated. Additionally, the Fourth Amendment requires, in most circumstances, a search warrant.

FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS

The Fifth Amendment most notably prevents double jeopardy, which means a person cannot be tried more than once for the same crime. Once a person is acquitted of a crime after a trial, the prosecution cannot retry the case. The Fifth Amendment also requires that all felony cases have a pretrial hearing before a grand jury. Additionally, the Fifth Amendment protects suspects from having to answer questions that can be used against them. A suspect cannot be forced to discuss a crime if it exposes them to criminal prosecution.

EIGHTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS

The Eighth Amendment covers sentencing and bail limits and states that judges must set reasonable and consistent bail amounts. Additionally, the Eighth Amendment puts a limit on sentencing, such that the sentence must fit the crime. The Eighth Amendment also prevents government actors from engaging in cruel or unusual punishment toward the accused or incarcerated.

Pretrial Detention

Everyone has heard the phrase “innocent until proven guilty.” Most people that have been arrested want to avoid jail until their trial. Regardless of guilt, until the state proves its charges, defendants should not have to sit in jail.

There are many disadvantages to being in jail before a trial. You cannot communicate with family, can no longer work, and it can be difficult to work with a criminal defense attorney when incarcerated.

The defendant must post bail to be released from custody while the case is ongoing. Bail is simply “good faith” money that the court accepts as collateral to guarantee the defendant will appear in court for all subsequent hearings in the case. The bail money is lost if the defendant does not appear at their court dates. A defendant who is unable to pay bail may engage a professional bond company or request that the judge lower the bail amount. If it can be demonstrated that the accused is deeply rooted in the neighborhood and does not pose a threat to others, judges may agree to lower bail or even a release on personal recognizance, if applicable.

Plea Bargains

According to recent statistics, roughly 95% of all criminal cases are resolved before trial through plea bargaining. During this process, the prosecution and defense agree to a deal where the defendant generally pleads guilty or no contest in exchange for reduced penalties. When a defendant admits guilt, they forfeit their right to trial.

Plea bargaining is a way for courts to resolve cases promptly and avoid additional court costs and legal fees. Due to the number of active cases, the criminal justice system relies on plea bargains to keep the volume of cases at a reasonable amount.

The main downfall of plea bargains is that they may cause innocent people to otherwise plead guilty to avoid trials and costs. Additionally, most people are unaware of their rights and what pleading guilty means. It is always wise to discuss any potential plea with a criminal defense lawyer before accepting it.

Winning a Criminal Defense Case at Trial

When a plea cannot be reached, or one party is not interested in discussing an agreement, then the case will go to trial. Throughout the trial, your criminal defense attorney will make appeals to the members of the jury about the case’s key issues. Your criminal defense lawyer will put forth the best theory and successfully communicate it to the court at trial.

Possible Defense Tactics for Drug Crimes

There are many possible defenses to a drug possession charge, including:

  • stating that the substances are someone else’s property
  • claiming that illegal search methods were used to find the substances
  • demonstrating the accused’s entrapment as a victim of an unwanted search or seizure
  • requiring the prosecution to demonstrate the alleged illegal substance is a drug

The prosecution must prove that you knew you were in possession of an illicit substance beyond a reasonable doubt. By building a solid defense, a tough criminal defense lawyer can make this challenging for the prosecution and help you avoid being convicted of a drug crime. Some tactics a Pearland criminal defense attorney may use to defend the accused in a drug crimes case include but are not limited to:

Possession

Possession is a crucial factor in drug cases. To charge you with possession, police do not always need to detect narcotics on your person or in your immediate possession. For instance, if the police search a house and discover narcotics on the table, they may file possession charges against everyone in that room. A strong criminal defense lawyer will work to establish that you did not possess the drugs or have access to them at any point.

Unwanted Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment provides one of the most successful defenses in a drug case. Drugs that are visible on the passenger seat when a police officer pulls you over for speeding, for instance, can be used as evidence; however, it might be illegal to search and seize them if they are in the glove box or trunk. Charges might be dropped if your Fourth Amendment rights were violated for unwanted search or seizure.

Defending Against DWI Charges

You are aware that you are facing a serious offense if you have been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) after being pulled over. You risk losing your driver’s license, paying hefty fines, and going to jail. Although it might seem like you are facing overwhelming odds, DWI charges are defendable.

The top defenses experienced criminal defense lawyers use to overcome DWI charges include:

  1. Entrapment or an illegal stop
  2. Inaccurate breathalyzer testing
  3. Invalid field testing
  4. Lack of evidence
  5. Suspect was not informed of their right to counsel at the appropriate time

Illegal Stop or Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when cops or informants persuade a suspect to commit a crime they would not otherwise have committed. While it is permissible for law enforcement to go undercover or set up a sting operation, entrapment is not the same thing.

Inaccurate Breathalyzer

Breath tests, often known as breathalyzers, assess the amount of alcohol in your blood and identify the breath alcohol particles in your lungs. This indirect measurement of your blood alcohol level may give an incorrect reading.

The partition ratio is the comparison between the amounts of alcohol in the blood and the breath or lungs. The assumption of a single partition ratio rating is the foundation of breath alcohol testing. Many individuals have partition ratios that differ from the ratio used as the foundation for the breath alcohol test due to variations in human physiology.

Invalid Field Testing

Field sobriety tests are “standardized.” To even be regarded as a reliable predictor of “indicators of impairment,” a test must be presented, administered, and completed consistently. According to research, these tests are only about 60% to 70% accurate, and they are utterly useless when used on elderly people, people with disabilities, or those who are obese.

Lack of Evidence

A driver of a motor vehicle who realizes they are endangering other drivers must safely exit the road. DUI charges should not be brought against a driver who is intoxicated but not operating a motor vehicle or who is not in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. For drunk driving charges to stick, there must be evidence that the driver was in control of the vehicle at the time of the stop.

In these circumstances, the jury must decide whether the driver was merely sheltering in the car until they regained their sobriety and/or whether they posed a threat or hazard to other drivers. The driver is not necessarily in actual physical control just because the engine is running or the key is in the ignition. To decide whether a defendant’s present or impending control of the vehicle posed a genuine risk, a jury must consider the entirety of the facts and evidence.

Right to Counsel

Under Texas Criminal Code 1.051, before or after being detained, everyone has the right to counsel with a lawyer during any criminal investigation.

 J.D. Silva & Associates | Pearland Criminal Defense Attorney

Based in Pearland, Texas, we serve clients in the greater Houston area and Harris County, along with surrounding areas including Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Fort Bend County. Contact an experienced Pearland criminal defense attorney today and schedule your free consultation.

Contact us to see how we can help!

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