Fort Worth Criminal Lawyer

All Fort Worth Criminal Charges Demand a Skilled Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney

Being arrested or charged with a crime in Fort Worth, Texas or surrounding cities in Tarrant County can be a paralyzing experience. If you are facing a first-time arrest and criminal charge, you may have all kinds of emotions racing through your brain – anger, embarrassment, confusion, sadness – but you do not know how to act on them or what is going to happen to you.

Will you lose your job? Will your spouse leave you? Are your kids going to be taken away? Can you still get into college? How are you going to pay for all of this? Do you have to go to prison? Depending on the specific crimes you are being accused of and the charges you face, any of those fears may be valid concerns.

There are three ways that people tend to react to facing criminal charges: The first way is that they shrug them off. They decide that their charges are “minor” and that it is not worth their time to bother fighting them.

The second possible reaction is that people lose hope and feel like there is no point in contesting the charges. Either the system is rigged against them, or they believe that the case the prosecution has is too good.

Do not let yourself get mired in having one of those reactions. They are traps and falling into either of them is exactly what law enforcement officials or prosecutors want to happen. It makes their job a whole lot easier if you just lie down and take whatever punishment they decide to give you.

Pick the third option: protect your rights by reaching out to an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense attorney. At The Hampton law Firm, you will find a team of experienced criminal attorneys with a proven track record of standing up to the district attorney’s office and the aggressive investigators and police officers in Tarrant County.

What if you believe that your criminal charges are not serious? If it is a misdemeanor crime, it is not a big deal – right? Being convicted of ANYTHING criminal in nature can make your life a lot harder by reducing or eliminating some of your Constitutional rights, hurting your reputation amongst friends, family, and the public, and limiting your ability to do seemingly easy things, such as get a job, find a place to live, and more.

For example, being convicted of even a minor shoplifting or theft charge can result in dire consequences when it comes to finding meaningful employment. If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor theft and resolve your case in a manner that results in the arrest and charge remaining on your criminal record, you will face an uphill battle with convincing a prospective employer to trust you. Think about it – you are in a job interview and the subject of arrests and charges are brought up and you have to explain how it was a big misunderstanding how you were convicted of theft or shoplifting. Would you hire you in that situation if you were the employer? It is critical that you retain an experienced and aggressive Fort Worth criminal lawyer to negotiate a dismissal of criminal charges and help you clear your criminal record.

What if you believe you are guilty and convinced you will not be able to win your criminal case? Who says? One of the founding principles of our country is that someone is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. You do not even have to prove your innocence – just cast enough doubt so that your guilt is not certain. The burden of proof is on the prosecution.

For example, we have represented many Fort Worth residents that have been charged with a crime that were later cleared of all charges because of mistakes and inconsistencies found from the criminal investigation. What if the police failed to properly conduct the investigation? What if the police officer did not read you your Miranda Rights and a false confession was obtained? What if the Fort Worth police officer that arrested you conducted an illegal search and seizure, violating your 4th Amendment Constitutional rights? These are only a few examples of how a criminal case can be dismissed for failure by the police department to thoroughly investigate.

Additionally, what if witnesses provided statements that were inconsistent with each other? What if the statements made by witnesses did not make sense or fit with other evidence gathered by the police? You need an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer to analyze the evidence thoroughly and move to have your criminal charges dismissed early in the process.

This may not seem like an important thing, but when your life and your future are on the line, it matters a lot. Over the years, Mr. Hampton and his team of criminal defense attorneys have taken on a number of supposedly “hopeless” cases and helped his clients protect their future, protect their freedom, and get back their clean criminal record.

The Hampton Law Firm Can Defend Any Fort Worth Criminal Case You Are Facing!

When you are trying to choose a criminal lawyer to represent you, one of the most important tasks you must undertake is determining if the criminal law firm you are speaking with has experience and success in handling your specific charge. You would not head to a brain surgeon for a broken arm, and you cannot expect that an attorney will know how to help you with your charges just because they passed the bar exam.

However, be wary of selecting someone with too narrow a focus. Unlike some other defenders who concentrate solely on one criminal act, such as DUI or DWI, Jeff Hampton and his team of criminal attorneys prides themselves on having both a depth and breadth of knowledge when it comes to Texas criminal law.

Why is this important? Because all too often, one charge leads to another. You may initially be brought in on a DWI charge, but if officers find drugs on your person, stolen goods in your vehicle, or you are a CHL holder and you left your gun in your car, you can bet you will soon be facing charges for those alleged offenses as well.

The Hampton Law Firm is a team of Former Prosecutors with over 85 years criminal law experience and over 550 criminal jury trials in the courts of Fort Worth, Texas, and other courts in North Texas. We do not diversify our legal practice into other areas of law in Fort Worth. We specialize in criminal defense.

Each criminal attorney at The Hampton Law Firm has anywhere from 5 – 12 years of experience as a prosecutor in Texas and has up to 12 years of criminal defense experience defending citizens wrongfully accused of crimes. Why does this matter? We know what the prosecutor is thinking. We know their next move. In fact, we trained some of the prosecutors that are prosecuting cases in Fort Worth, Texas and we know their practices and protocols. It is important to have the insider information available to your defense so that you are prepared to give yourself the best chance of defending your freedom.

What exactly can the Hampton Law Firm help you with?

The first question you should ask yourself when preparing your legal defense is determining what type of crime you are facing. Is your arrest and charge for a felony or misdemeanor? Determining whether your crime is a felony or misdemeanor greatly affects your strategy and steps you must take to defend yourself.

For example, if you have been arrested and charged with a felony in Fort Worth, Texas, you have certain options available to you that you would not have on a misdemeanor charge. Under Texas criminal law, every felony case must be presented to a grand jury for indictment. A grand jury is a Constitutional provision that creates a screening or filtering process to ensure that a case moving forwarded as a felony has sufficient evidence to establish probable cause.

What if the prosecutor is the only party to present evidence to the grand jury? This almost guarantees the grand jury will side with the prosecutor and your case will be true billed as a felony. However, if your criminal defense attorney prepares an evidence packet and makes a presentation to the grand jury, the grand jury could do the following:

  1. Approve the charge as a felony – if the grand jury approves the evidence and issues a “true bill” of the felony charge, your case will be assigned to a felony district court in Tarrant County, Texas and you will have a series of court dates to fight your charge. Your criminal lawyer may still be able to get your felony case reduced to a lesser charge or dismissed but that will have to occur as a result of negotiations with the prosecutor.
  2. Reduce the crime to a lesser misdemeanor offense – after reviewing your attorney’s presentation, the grand jury may decide that the prosecutor wrongfully charged you with a felony crime and reduce the crime to a misdemeanor offense. By reducing the crime to a misdemeanor, your case will be assigned to a county criminal court in Fort Worth and your case will be heard by a misdemeanor judge and all negotiations will occur between your criminal attorney and a misdemeanor prosecutor in Tarrant County.
  3. No Bill – if your criminal attorney is able to present a persuasive presentation to the grand jury, you could be exonerated of all felony charges by a no bill decision by the grand jury. A no bill is the equivalent of a complete dismissal of all criminal charges and provides you eligibility for an expunction of all arrest and criminal records upon completion of the statute of limitations.

What if you are charged with a misdemeanor? Although the grand jury process is not available at the misdemeanor level, your criminal defense lawyer can take advantage of multiple options that could result in your case being dismissed and removed from your criminal record.

For example, depending upon the misdemeanor crime, you may be eligible for a conditional dismissal, a drop of the charges to a Class C misdemeanor crime that will provide eligibility for a dismissal and expunction, or a Tarrant County diversion program that will provide you a dismissal and expunction eligibility.

These options are particularly important if you are a first-time offender. Your criminal lawyer’s goal must always be to keep you out of jail, help you avoid conviction, and resolve the criminal case in a manner that provides you eligibility to clear your criminal record. A clean record is critical to your future! You need a clean record for career opportunities, and you want to avoid future harassment by police officers when they run your background and find you have been in trouble with the law.

Have You Been Charged With A Felony In Fort Worth, Texas?

If you, a friend or a loved one have been arrested and charged with a crime in Fort Worth or a surrounding city in Tarrant County, Texas it is particularly important to determine if you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. If you have been charged with a crime that has been classified as a felony, you need to contact the Hampton Law firm immediately.

Crimes that have been classified as felonies carry with them grave consequences, including the strictest penalties and fines provided for under Texas law. Depending upon the charge and the circumstances of your case, a conviction for a felony crime can result in the imposition of a prison sentence ranging from 180 days in a Texas state jail facility to life in prison.

In Texas, Crimes are categorized into two types: Felony Crimes, which are the most severe level of criminal charges in Texas, and Misdemeanors, which are which are considered lower-level criminal offenses.

Texas punishes felony crimes with incarceration in either a state jail facility or the penitentiary. Generally, Felony crimes are classified as capital felonies, first-degree felonies, second degree felonies, third degree felonies or state jail felonies.

Capital Felonies – this is the most serious type of felony in Texas and is punishable by a death sentence or life in prison without parole. The most prominent example of a Capital Felony in Texas is Capital Murder.

1st Degree Felonies – a first degree felony charge has a penalty that ranges from a minimum of 5 years in prison up to Life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

2nd Degree Felonies – a second degree felony charge has a penalty that ranges from a minimum of 2 years in prison up to a term of 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

3rd Degree Felonies – a third degree felony charge has a penalty that ranges from a minimum of 2 years in prison up to a term of 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

State Jail Felonies – a state jail felony charge has a penalty that has a penalty of up to 2 years in a state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine.

Consequences of a Felony Conviction

If you have been charged with a felony crime in Fort Worth, Texas, it is important that you are not convicted of the charge. In addition to possible prison time and excessive fines, a felony conviction can actually carry far-reaching consequences that will forever alter your life.

Let us take a closer look…

When it comes to felony convictions, the most damaging consequences may not be the sentence itself. The real hardship that follows a felony conviction is the permanent stain it leaves on your criminal record.

If you receive a felony conviction in Tarrant County, Texas, you are stripped of your basic rights, which include:

The Right To Vote

After being convicted of a felony in Texas, you lose the right to vote. State law prohibits felons from voting until they complete their sentence, parole, or probation.

The good news? Texas automatically restores your right to vote once you carry out your court-ordered sentence, parole, or probation in full. Keep in mind that you will have to register again and may be required to provide evidence that you have completed your sentence.

The Right to Bear Arms

If you are convicted of a felony, you will likely no longer be allowed to legally carry a firearm. Even though Texas law does permit you to possess a firearm on the premises where you live five years after your felony conviction, federal law makes it illegal to possess a firearm under any circumstances if you have been convicted of a felony — unless you have been pardoned.

Since federal law always trumps state laws, it is practically impossible to purchase a gun by legal means if you have been convicted of a felony. If you do wish to possess a gun, you are advised to speak with an attorney to find out if you are eligible to apply for a pardon.

The Right To Serve on a Jury Panel

In Texas, any person convicted of a felony offense will lose their right to serve on a jury. You may only have this right restored if you have been pardoned. Again, consulting with an experienced Texas attorney can help you answer any eligibility questions you may have.

Additional Consequences of a Felony Conviction

In addition, to impacting your rights, a felony conviction in Texas can have serious repercussions on your professional and personal life.

With a felony conviction, you lose your right to hold public office or any public position without a full pardon. You are also disqualified from holding certain professions if you have a felony conviction. For instance, if you aspire to become a lawyer or a doctor or any other type of profession that requires approval from a licensing board in Texas, you may face an uphill battle being approved for the license if you have been convicted of a felony crime.

Additionally, a felony conviction will stay on your record for the rest of your life, which means that anyone can perform a background check and see your criminal history.

This background check showing your felony conviction will be available to potential employers, landlords, college application boards, and practically anyone with access to the internet. Unlike certain misdemeanor convictions, felony convictions are not eligible to be expunged from your record. Because of this, a felony conviction can severely hinder your ability to find employment, obtain housing, or seek secondary education.

At The Hampton Law Firm, our team of 5 Former Prosecutors stands ready to defend people accused of all felony crimes, some of which include:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Felony DWI
  • Child Endangerment
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Assault Crimes
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
  • Forgery
  • Fraudulent Use of Identifying Information
  • Evading Arrest With a Vehicle
  • Felony Drug Possession
  • Drug Manufacturing or With Intent to Sell or Deliver
  • Assault Family Member – Choking or Felony Domestic Violence
  • Intoxication Manslaughter
  • DWI with Child Passenger
  • Intoxication Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Felony Theft
  • Credit Card Abuse
  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon
  • Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity

Have You Been Charged With a Misdemeanor Crime in Fort Worth or Tarrant County, Texas?

If you, a friend or a loved one have been arrested and charged with a crime Fort Worth, it is important to determine if you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

Whether you have been arrested for a DWI, a misdemeanor drug or misdemeanor assault charge, you need the representation of an experienced criminal lawyer on your side.

Although misdemeanor crimes carry less severe penalties than felony crimes, a conviction for a misdemeanor charge can result in serious and long-term consequences. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor and currently have no criminal record, a conviction could result in limited employment opportunities in the future, as well as psychological and financial hardships due to probation and the requirements imposed during the term of your probation.

Additionally, common penalties associated with misdemeanors include: county jail time, fines, community service, restitution, alcohol and drug treatment, payment of reporting and administrative fees, and a possible driver’s license suspension.

At the Hampton Law Firm, our team of 5 Former Prosecutors aggressively defend citizens accused of all misdemeanor crimes, some of which include:

  • Assault
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
  • Possession of Marijuana
  • Misdemeanor Drug Crimes
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Domestic Violence
  • Racing on a Highway
  • Violation of a Protective Order
  • Deadly Conduct
  • Terroristic Threat
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Burglary of a Motor Vehicle
  • Theft
  • Shoplifting
  • Failure to Identify
  • Evading Arrest
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Driving with License Suspended/Invalid
  • Boating While Intoxicated
  • Public Intoxication
  • False Report to Peace Officer
  • Unlawful Carrying Weapons
  • Gambling

Being charged with a misdemeanor crime is a serious matter that requires the attention of an aggressive and experienced criminal lawyer that will fight for your freedom and your legal rights. I will work to keep your record clean and limit the effects being charged with a misdemeanor crime will have on your future. Contact the Hampton Law Firm now to schedule a free consultation.

What If You Are A First-Time Offender?

Is this the first time you have ever been arrested for a crime in Texas? It is important to know some important ground rules of how to navigate this process that is unfamiliar to you.

What you need is a guide. We have created this material to get you grounded and have a foundation of knowledge so that you are prepared to get your first offense behind you and clear your record.

Most of my first offender clients immediately express to me the overwhelming feelings of fear. Fear they will go to jail, fear they will have this arrest on their record forever, fear they will lose their job, fear they will never be able to get their good reputation back.

Then they tell me how frustrated they are that they cannot get any straight answers about what they should do and how they can avoid these nightmare scenarios. Although it is perfectly normal to feel this way, I hope this information will help you feel confident these fears do not have to come to pass. Let us jump right in:

A few years ago, I had a young man call me completely in panic mode. For the sake of anonymity, we will call my fictional client’s name John. John had received a call from a detective telling him he was suspected to have been involved in a crime and he just wanted to “talk” to him.

This young man was about to pull up to the police station and sit down with this detective and answer all his questions. I was so happy that John had called me before he did this so that I could answer all His questions. The first thing John asked me was, “Hello, Mr. Hampton?”

I Got a Phone Call From A Detective in Fort Worth, Texas. What Should I Do?

Now this question could have come from any number of thousands of people all over the State of Texas that are getting phone calls right now from a local detective wanting to investigate a possible crime but this happened to be a detective from Fort Worth, Texas in Tarrant County, Texas.

As I was speaking to this young man, he cut me off and said, “Wait, I think I’m going to go ahead and talk to him. I am already here and if I just tell him the truth, I will be safe, right?

Wrong! I explained to John that the detective is likely calling him for one of two reasons:

First, the detective already has enough facts in his mind to make up probable cause to get an arrest warrant and only wants John to confess to facts that makes the detective’s case stronger. Or,

Secondly, the detective does not have enough facts to piece what happened together and needs John’s help to “put it all together” for him.

Many times, detectives will say things like, “Hey man, I heard one side of the story, but I never got a chance to hear your side of the story. Why don’t you just share with me your side of the story and we can work all of this out and move on with our lives.”

Unfortunately, that is not at all what the detective would have had planned for John if he walked into the Fort Worth Police Department to answer the detective’s questions.

Unfortunately, if John had trusted this detective and walked into the Fort Worth Police Department, he would have been subjected to an interrogation. I explained to John that the detective would never have let him “tell his side of the story.”

Detectives are many times trained to interrogate witnesses to say anything that will match up with what they already have as evidence to make their evidence appear to be more credible. Additionally, I explained to John that even if he had tried to explain innocent facts that would clear up the situation, he could not trust that the detective would not misunderstand or perceive his facts to back up the detective’s theory of what happened.

I reminded John that everything he says to the detective will be used against him. Everything! The detective is looking to use anything he says against him, even if what John said was not what John meant.

Once John said it, who do you think the prosecutor and judge will believe – John or a detective? This is the dilemma John faced when considering whether to work with the detective. John still did not seem convinced…His next question begged more help, so he asked,

What happens if I ignore him or refuse to talk, will that look like I refused to cooperate?

Absolutely not! I told John he had nothing to be ashamed of or worried about for not answering the detective’s questions. Every citizen has a 6th Amendment right to counsel and a 5th Amendment right not to answer a detective’s questions.

What John does not say will never be held against him. It is what he DOES say that can be the problem. John now seemed convinced he should not talk to the detective but did not want to ignore him either. He then asked…

What Can a Lawyer Do For Me with a Detective That Matters? Can You Stop the Detective?

Good question, John. Is now a good time to get a lawyer involved? What are the benefits? I explained to John that the first thing a lawyer can do is reach out to the detective and asking some probing questions to find out what exactly the detective knows and if it appears he has anything of substance against John. If not, we know it is less likely an arrest warrant or criminal case is headed his way.

I reminded John that under the law, anything his criminal lawyer says to the detective can NOT be held against John. I could be his mouthpiece and share all the evidence we felt would help show he had nothing to do with this investigation and this could stop the investigation against him from moving forward.

I reminded John that even if the detective was dead set on getting a warrant for his arrest, it would be better to know that now so we could prepare him for how to handle the arrest warrant and make sure his bail bond situation was prepared ahead of time.

John did not like any talk about a warrant and became concerned about how he would take care of an arrest warrant. This led to his next question…

If the Detective Gets a Warrant, Is There A Way to Avoid Being Arrested?

Yes, John. I explained to him there may be a way to avoid having to go to jail to clear out the warrant.

Generally, there are 2 ways to handle an arrest warrant in Fort Worth or the Tarrant County area: (1) Turn yourself in to jail downtown Fort Worth at the Tarrant County Corrections Center located at 100 North Lamar Street; (2) Set up an attorney bond walk-through to avoid being arrested.

Fortunately for John, his offense qualified to for a walk-through or Waiver of Magistrate requirement. John interrupted and said, “Wait, I don’t understand what you mean by waiver of magistrate and walk-through.”

I started over with John and explained that under the Criminal Code, people are generally required to see a Tarrant County or local city magistrate judge and be arraigned before they are permitted to post bond.

However, the law makes an exception to this requirement if a criminal defense attorney is bonded through the Tarrant County jail (which The Hampton Law Firm can help you with).

Under those circumstances, the attorney can prepare paperwork to waive the magistrate requirement and the attorney and client can appear at the jail and process the paperwork without the client ever having to go to jail.

John was relieved to know he would not have to sit in jail to process his bond.  After this conversation, I called the Fort Worth detective and learned that he had already finalized an arrest warrant for John and was planning to arrest him after their interview.

The next day, John and I met at the Tarrant County jail, processed his warrant and he met me at my office afterwards to answer more questions he had about the next steps. As we sat down at my conference table, John asked…

I am So Glad I Did not Have to Go to Jail, But What Happens After My Arrest?

I then took the time to explain the case filing process. John had made the decision to hire an attorney so I thought it was important for him to know that that the next step would be the detective would forward the file of evidence to the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office through the Intake Division.

The Intake Division is a division of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office that decides whether a case should be filed and what type of charge should be assigned.

I told John we could reach out to the Intake Division and speak to them about what they have received or will be soon receiving and see if we can talk to them about potentially rejecting the case. John quickly moved to his next thought,

Will I Have to Go to Court? What Should I Expect? Am I Going to Have to Say Something?

I explained to John that the courts in Tarrant County are usually slow and that we may be able to get him excused from his first court setting. Either way, although attendance at the criminal courts is mandatory in Tarrant County, he will never have to say anything, and we had no plans of him making a plea to anything because he was innocent of all charges.

I went over the basics that he needed to dress nicely for court to make a good impression and to make sure he was always a little early so there would be no issues being late because of parking.

This quickly led John to ask me the big question that had been weighing on him for quite some time…

If This Is The First Time I Have Been Arrested For A Crime in Texas, Will I Have To Go To Jail Or Have This On My Record?

I knew this was the big question that had been giving John sleepless nights and kept him in a constant state of anxiety. I reminded John that we have 3 ways that we planned to defend his case as a first-time offender: (1) Attack the Facts of the Case; (2) Examine any and all Diversion Programs to Get His Case Dismissed; (3) Conditional Dismissal; (4) Deferred Adjudication; or a (5) Jury Trial.

First, We Can Attack the Facts of John’s Case.

I reminded John we needed to sit down and go over all his police reports. I wanted him to read them thoroughly and tell me what sounded right or wrong and then we needed to compare what the reports were saying to the body cameras the police were wearing to see if the witness statements and officer claims lined up with evidence on the videos.

Very often, police officers will prepare their reports after the arrest and exaggerate or misstate facts in the police reports. John seemed concerned about their being videos but I reminded him that videos are very helpful because they expose police and witness mistakes that can exonerate him.

Additionally, I told John if we see problems with the initial police encounter and the search that took place afterwards, we can research criminal case law to find legal examples of how what the police did was illegal.

This can result in us filing a motion to suppress illegally obtained evidence and we may be able to get the case dismissed based upon these illegalities. I then remind John of a rarely used criminal defense tactic that can get his case dismissed quickly:

The Grand Jury No Bill: under this option, if we found some factual evidence that may show John did nothing wrong, we can present this evidence to a panel of citizens in Tarrant County. This panel is known as the Grand Jury and they meet at the downtown Fort Worth courthouse on 90-day terms to determine if probable cause was present to justify the arrest for every felony case in Tarrant County, Texas.

For instance, I told John if the search was illegal or if the police were unable to affirmatively link him to the illegal drugs found in the vehicle, he was a passenger in, we could convince the Grand Jury to No Bill the case.

A No Bill is the equivalent of a dismissal and allows the case to be resolved quickly and John would be eligible for an expunction upon completion of the statute of limitations.

John stopped me and said, “What if the police did everything right and the witnesses aren’t shown to be lying on the video?” I reminded John of our second defense:

Second, We Can Use Tarrant County Diversion Programs to Get His Case Dismissed

I reminded John that because he was a first offender, we may be able to get his case dismissed through a diversion program. I explained to him a few of the options available to him in Tarrant County: The Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP Program), The First Offender Drug Program (FODP Program), the Pretrial Diversion Program (PTD Program) and the Mental Health Diversion Program (MHDP Program), to name a few.

Each program has specific rules and timelines to complete the program, depending upon the type of charge you are facing. Potential clients often ask me should I hire an attorney now or wait until my first court date.  I always respond the sooner the better because you NEVER want to miss the deadlines to get into these programs.

There are no exceptions to the deadline dates.  John was facing a first-time drug case so we spent several minutes discussing the two immediate programs that would provide him the quickest dismissal of his criminal charges:

  • The Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP)
  • The First Offender Drug Program (FODP)

Third, We Can Negotiate A Conditional Dismissal to Have His Case Dismissed.

John was concerned that if, for some reason, he could not qualify or get into a Tarrant County Diversion Program, could he still get his case dismissed?

It is possible. I went over past examples with John how we had been able to work with prosecutors to get their case dismissed if the client was willing to do some conditions upfront.

For instance, we have had several first-time theft cases and first-time drug cases dismissed by have the clients complete a theft class and community service or by completing a drug class and clean drug tests.

If, however, it turns out we need to push the case even further, we could

Fourth, We Can Take Your Case to a Jury Trial

I told John that I felt confident we could get his case dismissed and eligible to be removed/expunged from his record without the risk of a jury trial but we needed to discuss this option just in case.

Under the law, the government must prove any charges against John beyond a reasonable doubt. A jury trial is a high risk/high reward proposition but sometimes it is the best option considering the circumstances.

A not guilty verdict from a jury is the gold standard for being exonerated and John would be immediately eligible for an expunction to clear his record.

John interrupted me at this point and said he really hoped a jury trial was not necessary but what if they do not dismiss my case.  The conversation led to the next question…

Jeff, I am terrified of trial and do not want to take the case to a jury trial.

No problem.  This is often what I refer to as a worst-case scenario.  The worst-case scenario still does not involve any jail time and most of the time there is a way to still seal your record through what is called a non-disclosure.

There are certain cases that just do not qualify for a pre-trial diversion program.  After attacking the facts, examining the pre-trial diversion programs and weighing the risk of a jury trial the last option is deferred adjudication.

Deferred adjudication is a type of probation that is never a conviction if you complete the probation.  If you complete the probation, you are discharged from probation and the case is dismissed.

Most misdemeanor cases allow you to seal your record upon completion of the probation.  There are a few exceptions that require a 2-year waiting period.

John’s case was dismissed so John thought his problems were in the past.  Unfortunately, I had to explain the next question….

If My Case Gets Dismissed, Does My Charge Automatically Come Off My Criminal Record?

I hated to tell John that the answer was no. It did not work that way.

It was important that John understood the rules for how a first-time offender would be able to get his criminal arrest off his criminal record.

I opened up the Texas criminal law for John and showed him that the rules for how quickly you can get an arrest off of your record depend greatly upon the type of charge you have and how it was dismissed.

For instance, in John’s case, he had a felony drug charge. Although we were able to get his case No Billed by the grand jury, John would have to wait 3 years from the date of the No Bill until his case would be eligible for an expunction.

If it had been a misdemeanor crime in Texas, John would have had to wait 2 years under the law for an expunction.

If his misdemeanor had been dropped to a class C deferred probation and subsequently dismissed, he would also have to wait 2 years from the date of the dismissal before he could get the arrest expunged from his record.

Finally, if the case had been resolved under a Diversion Program, John might have been able to get the arrest expunged from his record as soon as he completed the program.

Ultimately, John’s case was thrown out by the grand jury and he recently had his arrest record expunged. However, if he had not taken the right steps at the beginning of his case when the detective contacted him, the situation could have turned out differently.

If any of this true story sounds eerily similar to what you are going through right now, feel free to call my office for a Free Case Analysis and I can answer all your questions and guide you to your next steps.

If you do not see your specific charge listed here, reach out to our office. This is just a partial list of some of the most common things we handle for clients.

Cases We Handle

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