If you are looking for a Pearland criminal defense attorney that is experienced in successfully handling criminal matters, we can help you fight your charges.
If you’ve been arrested for a crime in Texas, the time to find an experienced criminal defense lawyer is now. The Pearland criminal defense attorneys 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. Our legal team will serve as your advocates, and we will be there by your side every step of the way.
An arrest is not a conviction, and there is still hope to secure your rights and freedom. J.D. Silva & Associates has experience successfully representing countless clients in a wide range of criminal defense cases in Pearland, Houston, Harris County, Brazoria County, and Angleton, Texas. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to learn more.
Criminal Law and the Criminal Justice System in Texas
In the state of Texas, the criminal justice system is set up in favor of law enforcement and the court system. They are focused on convicting individuals charged with criminal offenses and penalizing defendants with fines and jail time.
Fighting back against these charges can be extremely difficult without an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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. As your criminal defense lawyer, it is our responsibility to lawfully defend your interests and protect your rights 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 matters. Working with skilled and aggressive legal counsel can increase your chances of avoiding a criminal record in Texas.
Everyone has heard the phrase “innocent until proven guilty.” Most people who have been arrested want to avoid jail completely unless it is necessary, such as after being convicted at trial. In some cases, you may face pretrial detention, where you are held by the state until your case appears before a judge.
Regardless of guilt, until the state proves its charges, defendants should not have to face unnecessary jail time. Our Pearland criminal defense attorneys will present reasons and materials demonstrating you are not a risk and should be granted release instead of facing pretrial detention.
There are many disadvantages to being incarcerated before a trial. You cannot communicate with family and can no longer work. It can also be difficult to collaborate with your criminal defense attorney when you are imprisoned.
In order to be released from custody while your case is ongoing, you must post bail. This is “good faith” money paid to the court 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. We will demonstrate that the accused is deeply rooted in the neighborhood or local community and does not pose a threat to others. We will encourage the judge to lower bail or even release the person on personal recognizance, if applicable.
At J.D. Silva & Associates, we can meet with you to develop a compelling presentation for your bail hearing to persuade the court to allow your release. We work to minimize your financial output so you can reduce the effect of criminal charges on your life from the beginning of your case.
According to recent statistics from The Marshall Project, roughly 95% of all criminal cases are resolved before trial through plea bargaining. A plea bargain is one way to avoid a lengthy and potentially risky trial, reducing or eliminating the charges and facing a lesser penalty.
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. However, if the evidence is strongly against you, accepting lesser charges and not taking your chances in the courtroom can be the best option in some instances.
Plea bargaining is a way for courts to resolve cases promptly, keep the number of cases at a reasonable amount, and avoid additional court costs and legal fees. The main downfall of plea bargains is that they are rarely constructed to benefit the defendant. Innocent people may end up pleading guilty to avoid trial costs but are unaware of how the bargain affects their legal rights. It is always wise to discuss any potential plea with a criminal defense lawyer before accepting it.
The Importance of Having Legal Representation on Your Side When Facing Criminal Charges in Texas
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. Our experienced Pearland criminal defense lawyers know how to put forth the best possible legal defense for those charged with a crime.
As your criminal defense lawyers, we will help you navigate your case through the criminal justice system when you’ve been criminally charged.
You need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer who is not learning on the job but has successfully resolved similar criminal matters and understands the court system and how to work with prosecutors.
We know just how stressful, frustrating, and upsetting this process can be and how easy it is to feel overwhelmed. The legal system can be frightening and the law confusing, but you do not 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.
Types of Criminal Defense Cases We Handle in Pearland
Our criminal defense attorneys have years of experience representing clients in a variety of criminal legal issues involving but not limited to:
- Juvenile crimes
- Felony charges
- Domestic violence
- Drug crimes
- Sex crimes
- DWI or DUI
Some crimes carry penalties on their own and those penalties can be increased in combination with other charges. These include weapons charges, drug charges, and sexual assault. Depending on the situation, your offense might be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors carry lower fines and less time in jail, whereas felonies are much more serious charges that can affect many of your rights as a citizen.
We also handle cases for those between the ages of 10 and 17 who are charged with juvenile crimes. Successfully defending the accused against these charges requires a knowledgeable and creative criminal defense attorney who can maintain the defendant’s innocence in the minds of the judge and jury.
Misdemeanors and Their Implications
Misdemeanors are categorized under Texas criminal law as those charges with less than one year of potential jail time. A misdemeanor may be Class A, Class B, or Class C, with Class A carrying the greatest penalties.
Although these are less serious and can be less detrimental to your life than felony charges, a misdemeanor is still a criminal offense. It will appear on your record and may result in a loss of employment, difficulty finding living arrangements, financial challenges, and revocation of certain professional licenses. You may lose your right to own a firearm, even when you are not convicted of a felony.
Each category of misdemeanor carries different penalties, specifically:
- Class A: The harshest level of a misdemeanor may impose fines of up to $4,000 and as much as one year in jail. Class A includes evading arrest on foot, assault with bodily injury, second-offense DWI, cruelty to animals, and violating a protective order, among others.
- Class B: Conviction can result in up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. Class B misdemeanors can include criminal trespass, harassment, indecent exposure, prostitution, DWI, and possession of two ounces or less of marijuana.
- Class C: These offenses do not result in incarceration but may have fines up to $500. Class C offenses include gambling, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, leaving a child in a vehicle, and being a minor in possession of alcohol.
Although you may think you can explain yourself to the judge on your own, the truth is that convictions on these misdemeanors are not as easy to get out of as you may expect. Taking a chance without knowledgeable legal counsel can leave you with jail time, fines, and additional implications.
Texas Juvenile Crimes
The Texas juvenile justice system manages the cases of offenders between 10 and 16 differently from cases for adults. The goal is to rehabilitate these children and put them on a path that helps them avoid future issues with the law. Nonetheless, the penalties for conviction on criminal charges are steep.
There are some juvenile crimes that are not considered illegal for adults, such as truancy, violating curfew laws, and underage drinking. Generally, when a minor turns 18, their records are sealed. They can request that their criminal record be expunged to remove all convictions and arrests.
However, once a child is 17 years old (or in some cases at an even younger age), they are tried as an adult for their crimes. Texas is one of only three states that have this process, which is called “certification.” Serious felonies or violent crimes can qualify a person’s case for certification, such as murder or other capital offenses.
Juvenile Offenses in Texas
Charges a juvenile may commonly face in Texas include:
- Aggravated assault
- Assault and battery
- Driving with a suspended license
- Felony possession of marijuana
- Indecent exposure
- Juvenile possession of alcohol or drugs
- Possession of alcohol or drug on school grounds
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Possession of marijuana
- Reckless driving
- Sale or delivery of marijuana
- Sexual assault
- Sexually-motivated offenses committed against a younger child
- Unlawful possession of a firearm
- Weapon possession on school grounds
While juvenile offenders have provisions in Texas law to assist them in changing their behaviors to avoid future offenses, ensuring they do not face the maximum penalties for a conviction requires qualified legal guidance. If your child has been charged with any of these actions, you must meet with a skilled and compassionate criminal defense attorney immediately to begin planning a strategy to protect your child’s future.
Texas is extremely harsh when it comes to punishing the most serious of offenses, felonies. Convicted felons lose many of their rights as citizens, such as the right to vote, to own a firearm, and to hold public office.
If you are convicted of a felony in Texas, you may be incarcerated for anywhere between two years and the rest of your life, depending on the crime. In addition, you can be fined up to $10,000 in fines payable to the state, as well as potential restitution to the victims. How long you serve and how much you pay depends on the severity and kind of felony, along with any aggravating circumstances, such as using a weapon.
The Texas Penal Code, Title 3, Chapter 12, Subchapter A lists felony offenses in Texas. These include:
- Capital felony: The most serious crimes are classified as capital felonies, such as the murder of a police officer or when a murder is intentionally committed during the commission of another crime. Conviction brings life in prison or potentially the death penalty.
- First-degree felony: This category includes murder, aggravated robbery, and sexual assault against a child. Penalties are between five years and life in prison with a maximum $10,000 fine.
- Second-degree felony: Examples of these felonies are manslaughter, robbery, and burglary of a habitation. Convicted offenders can receive up to 20 years in state prison with a $10,000 maximum fine.
- Third-degree felony: Convictions for assault or choking of a family member (first or second offense) and promoting prostitution can bring between two and 10 years in prison, plus a $10,000 fine.
- State jail felony: Serving as a fourth-degree felony status, convictions for drug offenses, third-offense prostitution, and theft of a firearm result in between 180 days and two years in jail with a maximum $10,000 fine.
As you can see, even a low-level felony charge should not be taken lightly. It is crucial that you secure a trustworthy and aggressive attorney to manage your criminal defense. Prosecutors are interested in boosting their conviction rates and will be eager to increase your charges if they have a chance. At J.D. Silva & Associates, we fight back to protect your rights and your freedom.
Winning a Criminal Defense Case at Trial
Our criminal defense lawyers are highly skilled in managing cases before they make it to trial. We will file motions to have testimony and evidence disqualified, investigate the actions and statements of law enforcement and prosecutors, and ask to have the charges dismissed. We will also negotiate plea bargains in your favor whenever possible.
However, 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 Pearland criminal defense attorney will make appeals to the members of the jury about the case’s key issues. To persuade the judge and jury to your side, they will put forth the best theory of the case and successfully communicate it to the court at trial. Doing so requires thorough research and preparation, backed by a powerful team of paralegals and other professionals like those you will find at our law firm.
Under Texas Criminal Code, Article 1.051, before or after being detained, everyone has the right to counsel with a lawyer during any criminal investigation. This means you can contact us the moment you are aware of your charges to speak with us about your case. We can begin protecting you and building a defense strategy before you speak with law enforcement or prosecutors. They will not have your best interests in mind, but your criminal defense lawyer from J.D. Silva & Associates will.
Contact the Pearland, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers at J.D. Silva & Associates to Protect Your Rights Today
You may be worried and afraid after learning you are the target of criminal charges in Texas. Our justice system is tough on those convicted of misdemeanors and felonies alike, and you will need serious and skilled legal guidance from an experienced team to manage your criminal defense case.
Contact an experienced Pearland criminal defense attorney at J.D. Silva & Associates to tackle the charges against you or your loved ones. We are dedicated to upholding Texas law and justice. Our team is here to defend your rights if you are facing criminal charges in any of these areas: Pearland, Brazoria County, Angleton, Houston, Galveston, Friendswood, and Alvin. Contact us to schedule your free consultation today.
Managing Partner and Criminal Defense Attorney, Sharrard D. Owens
Mr. Owens has worked in the legal industry since 2013, at multiple noteworthy law firms in the Great Houston region. Learn more about Attorney Sharrard Owens.
Senior Associate Criminal Defense Attorney,“Ricky” Hernandez
Hilario Hernandez Assistant District Attorney at the Harris County District Attorney’s office. He has successfully advocated for clients in Brazoria, Galveston, and other counties surrounding Houston. Learn more about criminal defense attorney Ricky Hernandez.