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Sentencing

The Acquittal Outlook

The Acquittal Outlook

Every criminal defendant heads into trial hoping for an acquittal. If acquitted, the defendant walks away with a clear name. Acquittal is the official finding that the defendant is not guilty of the charge as defined by the law. But acquittals are relatively rare, and most people have one primary concern when they are considering trial; what are my chances of being acquitted?

 

While answering this question with any level of accuracy would take an in-depth review of the facts of your case with a Texas criminal trial attorney, below are some of the factors that can influence your chances of acquittal.

 

Who Is the Decision-Maker?

 

In many cases, criminal defendants may decide who the decision-maker(s) will be. In a jury trial, the jury decides on the defendant’s guilt or innocence. The judge decides in a bench trial. And, unique to Texas criminal trials is that the defendant may have the option to have a jury determine his or her sentence, too.

 

A guilty verdict is far more likely at a jury trial than an acquittal. Jurors must come to an agreement based solely on the consideration of the arguments presented, the evidence and the rules of the law, which is explained by the judge.

 

The jury must come to a unanimous verdict, which could be difficult depending on the strength and credibility of the evidence. Conversely, civil trials only require five-sixths agreement from the jurors for a legally valid verdict. Evidence plays a significant role in helping juries come to a verdict. The burden of proof in criminal trials, which lands on the attorney for the State, is beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard of proof and one that isn’t always easily met. If the prosecuting attorney cannot meet this standard in your trial, the jury may acquit you.

 

To temper the chances the jurors are biased, both the defense attorney and the attorney for the state have a hand in the juror selection process, called voir dire. Ultimately, who has the authority to decide on your guilt or innocence and your sentence could impact your chances of acquittal at trial. A good Texas criminal trial attorney will be skilled in questioning and vetting ideal jurors for your specific case. Don’t overlook the importance of this process. When the odds are against you, every strength you can leverage can make a difference.

 

Appealing the Verdict

 

Another important thing to keep in mind is if you are not acquitted at trial, you have a right to take your case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court of Criminal Appeals has the authority to “overturn” the trial court’s decision. However, the appellate court will only be looking for procedural oversights and mistakes. It will not issue a verdict like the trial court would.

 

You should discuss the possibility of appealing your trial verdict with a criminal trial attorney. The majority of appeals do not fall in the defendant’s favor. On the same hand, the majority of trials result in guilty verdicts. But what matters more than statistics and odds are the specifics of your case. Speak with a Dallas criminal trial attorney about your chances of acquittal. In certain cases, trial is the best way to achieve a fair and just outcome.

 

If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on how strong your case is and whether trial is right for you. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

First Steps After Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

First Steps After Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

You’re facing charges. You’ve hired a criminal defense attorney. And now you’re wondering what to do next. While your attorney might set to work building your defense, your job isn’t over yet. Keep these first steps after hiring a criminal defense attorney in mind if you want to maximize your chances of clearing your name.

 

Learn About Your Case

It’s crucial you familiarize yourself with your case process for your peace of mind and so there are no surprises. Ask your attorney what happens next and what you can expect in the coming weeks. Some criminal cases move slowly while others resolve relatively quickly. It all depends on how your attorney handles your case and the pace of the court.

 

Be Proactive

Depending on your charges, your attorney may ask you to do a few things. For example, if you are facing charges for a drug-related offense, your attorney will ask you to abstain from drugs and perhaps enroll in a substance abuse treatment program. Or, if you are facing family violence (i.e. domestic violence) charges, your attorney may ask you to enroll in an Anger Management Class or Battering Intervention and Prevention program. Be proactive, and stay involved in your case.

 

Prepare for Court

If you need to appear in court, now is the time to make sure you have something respectable to wear. Many defendants overlook the importance of appearance when in court. Men should wear suits, and women should wear business attire. This is especially true for trial. The prospective jurors should look at the defense table and think everyone sitting at it is a lawyer. They will only have this impression if you are dressed professionally.

 

Make Arrangements

Discuss with your attorney what could happen if you are convicted. Whether it’s through a plea bargain or at trial, a conviction means you will be sentenced. Your attorney can advise you on the likely consequences of your charges. For example, if your attorney anticipates you will be given some jail time, now is the time to look into incarceration alternatives. Similarly, if you are looking at a DWI conviction, start learning about what you will need to do to get your license back as soon as possible.

 

Learning about what to expect and preparing for it should be your focus right now. Trust us when we say you won’t want to be surprised with anything the judge says. It’s far better to inform yourself of what could happen in court beforehand. If you are at a point where you haven’t hired a criminal defense attorney or think your current attorney may not be the fighter you need right now, consult with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney with trial experience. It’s important to speak with an attorney who has experience fighting cases all the way because such an attorney will be best able to advise you on all your options and which is the best for you.

 

If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Essential Tips for Hiring a Criminal Trial Attorney

Essential Tips for Hiring a Criminal Trial Attorney

Looking for Aggressive Legal Representation

 

Finding the right criminal trial attorney can be time-consuming. It’s bad enough you are facing criminal charges and are heading to trial. Now you are wading through listings of Texas criminal trial attorneys, each of which is vying for your business. But the real work lies ahead, so to make the process of finding the right criminal trial attorney for you easier, keep these essential tips in mind.

 

Look for Experience

 

Experience is one of the most important traits to look for in a criminal trial attorney. Ideally, find an attorney who has experience defending clients facing the same charges as you. This is essential because many criminal attorneys in Texas specialize in a few areas of criminal law. Don’t hire an attorney who handles mostly DWI trials if you are facing fraud charges. More experience means they know the ins and outs of defending your type of case and can produce the best results.

 

Go Local

 

Attorneys are state licensed. You’ll need an attorney licensed in the State of Texas if you are facing Texas criminal charges. But jurisdiction matters, too. Find an attorney who has tried cases in the same court that will try your case. You want an attorney who has worked in the same courtroom you’ll be appearing in and, ideally, one that has a good rapport with the judge and prosecuting attorney who are now your adversaries. So, if you are facing charges in the DFW Area, look for an attorney who practices in the DFW Area.

 

That Personal Touch

 

You’ll also want to find an attorney you are comfortable with on a personal level. If you can’t be open and honest with an attorney, you won’t fair well at trial. Consult with prospective attorneys over the phone or in person to get a feel for whether you want to work with them. You’ll want to find an attorney who can provide clear explanations and talks to you with respect. Also, it helps immensely for your attorney to genuinely care about the outcome of your case and the effect it will have on your life.

 

The Right Criminal Trial Attorney Makes all the Difference

 

Finding the right criminal trial attorney takes a little patience and sound guidance. We hope the above tips can help you select an attorney you feel comfortable with and who can competently represent you at trial, if necessary. Remember, this is your future at stake. Make sure you find a Texas criminal trial attorney who has the experience and resolve needed to fight your charges.

  

If you’re facing criminal charges or want to go to trial in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action so you can move on with your life. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

5 Tips for Meeting Your Community Supervision Requirements

5 Tips for Meeting Your Community Supervision Requirements

Community supervision (i.e. probation) seems like a break, at least initially. In lieu of jail time, you are permitted to go back to your normal life, albeit under close watch. For those facing criminal charges, community supervision may seem highly desirable. But don’t be fooled. The requirements you must meet to successfully comply with and complete your community supervision are likely to be strict. So, if you think you’re getting off easy, think again. Meeting those requirements will take sacrifices of your time, money, privacy and peace of mind. To help you meet those requirements, read through these five tips for those on community supervision in Texas.

 

Make Your Probation Officer’s Job Easier

 

You will be required to check in with your probation officer periodically (generally once per month). Always bear in mind that your probation officer is dealing with a subset of the population that does not complete tasks timely, and is probably not easy to interact with. You can make your life and your probation officer’s life far easier by not skylining yourself. How is that accomplished? Make his or her job easier by being on time, doing what you’re told to do and being polite. And don’t even think about complaining about your sentence or the requirements of your community supervision. Finally, complete all of your classes and community service early. You have to do them anyway, and they don’t get any easier with time. If you knock these items out early, you’ll soon find yourself on your probation officer’s pay no mind list because they are used to babysitting others on getting these items completed. Speak with a criminal defense attorney about such concerns. Your probation officer is just a person with a job to do. The easier you make it for them to supervise you, the less likely he or she will bring any violations to the attention of the judge. Similarly, you’ll need a favorable report from your officer to have your community supervision reduced or terminated early.

 

Never Violate the Terms of Your Community Supervision

 

If you don’t understand them or don’t agree with them, speak with an attorney. But whatever you do, don’t commit a violation. If you are required to check in monthly with your officer, do it. If you are required to pass drug tests, make sure you can. If you have to get permission to travel outside of the county or state, get permission in writing! If you violate any requirements, depending on the nature of the violation, your officer can bring it to the attention of the judge who can then revoke your community supervision and impose the full sentence. Community supervision is much higher stakes than a pending case because the Judge already has enough evidence to sentence you to jail or prison; you really can’t afford to make a mistake.

 

Pay Fines and Fees on Time

 

Community supervision is expensive. You’ll have to pay monthly supervision fees, court fines, payments to CrimeStoppers and other costs. Pay them on time and as soon as you can. If you can’t pay in full, tell your probation officer. Many people run into trouble when they can’t pay their fines and fees, which are sometimes exorbitant. They are an unfortunate—yet often unavoidable—component of community supervision. However, the one condition of community supervision that you have a defense for not doing is paying fines or fees. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay them, it just means that if a judge believes you did not have the ability to pay, they will not send you to jail or prison. There is not a similar statutory defense for all the other conditions of community supervision.

 

Complete Community Supervision Requirements Early

 

You can make a good impression—and make your officer’s job easier—if you complete the requirements of your community supervision early. If you are required to complete a certain number of hours of community service each month, complete them early. If you have to take classes, sign up for them as soon as you can. The less your officer has to do to supervise you, the better off you’ll be. Remember no skylining! If your officer is constantly having to follow up with you due to missed deadlines and unfulfilled requirements, expect no leniency.

 

Apply for Early Release

 

Qualified probationers may file a motion to have their community supervision terminated early. You must serve one-third of your supervision period or two years, whichever is sooner, to even be considered. Serving at least one-half, however, is recommended. Early release is entirely discretionary. The judge generally won’t grant your request if you have any violations, haven’t fulfilled the requirements of your community supervision or otherwise made a poor impression on your officer.

 

One Last Suggestion…

 

This probably doesn’t qualify as a tip, but the best thing you can do is to avoid community supervision altogether. If you are still in a position to do so, consult with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney with a good track record of dismissals. Community supervision is rarely your best option. Work closely with a criminal defense attorney to learn about what your options are and how you can avoid the immense burden of community supervision.

 

If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action so you can move on with your life. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

 

Guilty of DWI in Texas? Here’s Why You Still Need a DWI Attorney

Guilty of DWI in Texas? Here’s Why You Still Need a DWI Attorney

Far too many people give up without a fight when facing DWI charges. They mistakenly believe because they had a few drinks they have no chance to beat their charges. In reality, Texas DWI cases don’t depend solely on whether or not you were drinking. In fact, several other factors can impact the outcome of your case. So, even if you think you’re guilty of DWI, you still need a DWI attorney for the following reasons.

 

Drinking and Driving Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You Are Guilty of DWI

 

I know this may sound counterintuitive at first glance. But it’s important to understand the prosecution must prove certain elements to find you guilty of DWI in Texas. To be found guilty, it must prove you were operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Intoxicated is further defined as, “Not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of these substances or any other substances into the body OR having an alcohol concentration of .08% or more at the time of driving.” Furthermore, it must prove those elements beyond a reasonable doubt. So, even if you think you are guilty, that doesn’t necessarily mean the prosecution can prove it.

 

Evidence Could Be Lacking

 

This builds on the last reason why you still need an attorney. DWI investigations begin with law enforcement collecting evidence at the time of the arrest and submitting a sworn report to the district attorney’s office. The district attorney then reviews the report and evidence and, based on that information, may file a complaint (i.e. charges) in a misdemeanor case, or bring the case before a grand jury in felony cases. If the police missed a piece of evidence or failed to take into account any number of factors, the information they provide to the district attorney could paint only a partial picture. Thus, if you immediately plead guilty to DWI without knowing what evidence the district attorney has, you could be making a huge mistake.

 

Your Charge and Your Sentence May Not Be Set in Stone

 

So you think you’re guilty of DWI and plan to plead as such. You might want to accept the punishment the judge gives you and move on with your life. But you could be making a crucial mistake. Experienced criminal defense attorneys know hasty pleas rarely result in the best outcome possible. It’s important to keep in mind when facing DWI or any other Texas criminal charge, numerous factors can impact your sentencing. DWI sentencing typically falls within a standard range of punishments. An experienced DWI attorney might be able to skillfully leverage certain facts in your case to help ensure your sentence falls in the lower end of the range. More importantly, a good attorney may even be able to obtain a dismissal for you, meaning you walk away with no conviction. This is an ideal—and not at all impossible—outcome. One thing is certain, if you go a plea on a DWI, you have a 100% chance of being convicted! Yet, if you fight the case –even if you only have a 5% chance of beating it- you still have a chance of NOT being convicted. Furthermore, you will often receive less punishment from a jury than you will ever receive from the prosecutor or judge. Why is that? No one is grading the jury’s decision. They can give you the minimum if they like, which potentially could be no probation or jail time!

 

Always Speak With an Attorney When Facing Charges for DWI in Texas

 

Speaking with an attorney isn’t going to hurt you. In fact, most likely you will end up with some clarifying information that can give you peace of mind and confidence. Again, an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth DWI/DUI defense attorney will know the tendencies of the prosecution and court you now face. He or she might know that a particular judge goes easy on first-time offenders or that a certain district attorney’s office is overburdened by DWI trial cases and thus is motivated to negotiate plea bargains. The bottom line is a good DWI attorney will know the best way to get you the most favorable outcome possible.

 

 

If you’re facing DWI/DUI charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to fight your charges. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Repeat Domestic Violence Offender in Texas? You Could Face Continuous Family Violence Charges

Repeat Domestic Violence Offender in Texas? You Could Face Continuous Family Violence Charges

Repeat Offenders Can Face Serious Charges

 

The State of Texas takes family violence (i.e. domestic violence) very seriously. Thus, punishments for family violence offenses are harsh and geared toward rehabilitating the offender and preventing future harm. Not surprisingly, if you are a repeat domestic violence offender in Texas, expect the court to charge with you continuous family violence and enhance those penalties significantly. Now let’s take a look at the specifics of this offense and the penalties you could face for a conviction.

 

What Is Continuous Family Violence?

 

Continuous violence against the family is a charge that applies to repeat family violence offenders. Under Texas Penal Code §25.11, a person can be charged with continuous violence against the family if he or she commits assault against a family or household member two or more times within a 12 month period. The second or subsequent offense does not have to be against the same victim. It can be against any member of your family or household, as defined by law under Texas Family Code §71.003.

 

Who Is a Family or Household Member?

 

To be charged under PC §25.11, the alleged victim must be a family or household member. A household is defined as a group of people residing in one dwelling unit, who may or may not be related. Members of a family can include people who are related by consanguinity or affinity, parents of the same child, former spouses, or are a foster parent or foster child.

 

Enhancing the Penalties

 

Continuous family violence is a third-degree felony in Texas and is punishable by between two and ten years of incarceration by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The court may also impose a fine of no more than $10,000.

 

Continuous family violence is a serious charge in Texas. Thus, it’s essential you work closely with a seasoned Dallas-Fort Worth family violence defense attorney whenever facing family violence charges. To avoid the life-changing consequences of a felony conviction, it’s important to explore all your options for fighting your charges before you make any decisions in your case. An attorney can help you do this so that you minimize the negative consequences of your charge.

 

If you are facing continuous family violence charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

Top Tips for Facing Felony Charges in Texas

Top Tips for Facing Felony Charges in Texas

Facing a Felony? Here’s What You Need to Know

 

The State of Texas defines felonies as crimes that are punishable by terms in state prisons or Texas Department of Correction. Felonies are typically considered more serious than misdemeanor crimes because of the potential of prison time. Felony convictions also carry the possibility of steep fines. Federal law prohibits felons from owning or possessing firearms. In addition to these consequences, you could lose your professional license or even your job.

 

When the stakes are this high, it’s normal to feel anxious about what your future holds. You are right to be worried, but do not give up hope. Our experienced attorneys who’ve helped many Texans face and overcome felony charges compiled this list of tips to guide you in your time of need.

 

Stay Quiet

 

The most important piece of advice for anyone facing felony charges is to remain silent. Do not speak with police officers, detectives or anyone from the district attorney’s office. You have a Constitutional right to freedom from self-incrimination. Simply put, this means you do not have to give the courts the information they need to convict you. You hold the cards when it comes to information about the allegations you face. Keep that information to yourself and for your attorney.

 

Learn About the Penalties

 

The best thing you can do when facing felony charges is to consult with a Texas criminal defense attorney. Ask about the court-imposed penalties you could face and what those mean. Educating yourself on the consequences of a conviction should be one of the first things you do in your case. Knowing what is at stake will help guide your decision-making.

 

Explore Your Options

 

Learning about your options may give you peace of mind. Facing felony charges does not mean a conviction is imminent. A good attorney will be able to evaluate the facts and circumstances of your offense and advise you on what you can do to fight your charges, negotiate a plea bargain or receive a reduced sentence.

 

Be Patient

 

Resolving your case almost certainly will not happen overnight, especially if you want a good deal or even a dismissal. Some people plead guilty or no contest as a knee-jerk reaction. They want to be done with the whole ordeal. But pleading guilty only means the criminal courts will be involved in your life for longer. Not only will you face sentencing, but you could also be subject to probation for up to 10 years. Also, you will carry your criminal record with you for years to come. Use this time to explore all your options and learn about your rights.

 

As a last word of caution, don’t face your charges alone. Work closely with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney. Do not take any chances when facing felony charges. You need savvy legal representation to avoid the worst outcome.

 

If you are facing felony charges in Dallas-Fort Worth, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb Criminal Defense Attorneys can aggressively protect your rights. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

 

3 Reasons to Fight Assault Family Violence Charges

3 Reasons to Fight Assault Family Violence Charges

Why You Should Defend Yourself

 

Assault family violence charges are very serious. The consequences of an assault family violence conviction are far-reaching. Thus, you should not take them lightly. No matter the degree of the offense, an assault family violence conviction can result in severe penalties. Specifically, here are three reasons why you should always fight family violence charges.

 

Court-Imposed Penalties

 

Texas courts aggressively prosecute family violence offenders. Defendants face a lifetime of legal and social repercussions for a conviction. A first assault family violence conviction is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by:

 

  • Up to 365 days in county jail, and/or
  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • Illegal under Federal law to possess firearms
  • Unable to Expunge or Seal the case from the public
  • Any future assault family violence charges can be enhanced to a felony (including Class C)

 

The judge can also order you to pay victim restitution. Restitution compensates the victim for costs associated with the incident, such as medical bills or counseling. The judge may also probate your sentence, giving you probation or “community supervision” instead of the maximum sentence.

 

These penalties aren’t the only reasons why you should fight an assault family violence charge. The penalties for a second assault family violence conviction increase significantly. You can be charged with continuous family violence for a second assault family violence conviction in one year. Continuous family violence is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

 

Subject to a Protective Order

 

In some assault family violence cases, the judge will issue an Emergency Protective Order (EPO). EPOs are also known as a “stay away” orders. EPOs and their long-term counterparts (Protective Orders) restrict the restrained person in many ways. Most notably, the restrained person is prohibited from contacting or coming near the victim or the victim’s family. Violation of a Protective Order is a criminal offense and can result in jail time and additional penalties. EPOs are typically short in duration, from between 31 and 91 days. Final Protective Orders can last up to two years.

 

Loss of Your Family

 

If convicted of assault family violence, you may suffer social consequences as well. You could lose custody of your children, be prevented from entering your home and lose respect in your community. These effects can be even more deleterious than criminal penalties and can affect you for years to come.

 

Never underestimate the consequences of an assault family violence conviction. Do not let the court convict you without a fight, and for assault family violence cases deferred equals a conviction. The first step to fighting your assault family violence charges is to speak with an attorney about your case. The specific facts and circumstances of your offense will significantly influence your options for fighting your charges or receiving a reduced sentence or even an outright dismissal.  The overwhelming supermajority of assault family violence cases that we handle result in dismissals.

 

 

Are you facing charges of assault family violence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area? If so, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

Texas DWI: What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

Texas DWI: What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

Facing the Penalties

 

If you’ve been arrested for a DWI in Texas, you face many life-altering consequences. If you’re thinking, “what’s the worst that can happen?” you are being sensible. The best thing you can do when facing any criminal charge is to find out what penalties the court could impose, so you can make informed decisions about how to handle your case. And when it comes to DWI charges in Texas, those penalties can be severe. Let’s take a look.

 

Texas DWI

 

DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor. The penalties imposed for a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) conviction in Texas include:

 

  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Between three and 180 days in jail
  • A driver’s license suspension of between 90 and 365 days, and
  • A surcharge fee of $1,000 to maintain your license (assessed annually for three years)

 

This range of court-imposed penalties is for a first offense with no aggravating circumstances. The penalties increase significantly if:

 

  • You have a prior DWI conviction
  • Your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was equal to or greater than .15
  • You had an open container of alcohol in the car
  • You caused an accident or property damage
  • You injured or killed someone
  • You had a child passenger with you while driving

 

A Note on Probation

 

Some defendants may receive probation instead of a full sentence. But beware because probation is costly. The terms of a standard Texas DWI probation may include:

 

  • Commit no other crimes
  • Payment of all fines and court costs (fines generally run around $1,000 and court costs are around $450, but payment schedules are allowed)
  • Report to probation once a month for 18 to 24 months
  • Pay $60 a month in probation fees ($60 x 18 = $1,080)
  • Take a 12-hour DWI education program ($150)
  • Attend a MADD Victim Impact Panel (VIP)($50)
  • Take a drug and alcohol evaluation ($150)
  • 24 to 40 hours of community service restitution ($50)
  • Pay $25 to Crime Stoppers
  • Do not leave the state without permission
  • Do not spend the night outside of Dallas County
  • Do not move (relocate) without court permission
  • Submit to periodic drug testing (about $35 per test)
  • Consume no alcohol
  • Keep an interlock device in your vehicle ($80 per month), and
  • Have a SCRAM device on your leg ($360 a month!)

 

We typically do not recommend that someone take probation for a first-time DWI because the total costs can run about $4500. Also, there is little benefit with regard to a person’s record; probation and jail time are both considered criminal convictions in Texas.

 

Texas DWI penalties can be severe. The good news is juries give many first-time offenders reduced sentences. In some cases, the jury will give someone the minimum punishment possible which may be either 72 hours in jail or 0 days in jail depending on the charge.

 

This sounds counterintuitive to what you might have heard, right? For this reason, you should always consult with a seasoned Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney when facing DWI charges. We’ve represented clients who have completed a short jail sentence and probation. Guess what they tell us? If they had it to do over again, they would take the short jail sentence so that the case is finished instead of spending 12-24 months of their life under the government’s thumb, jumping through a bunch of hoops. The sooner you involve an attorney, the better your chance of minimizing your punishment. Plus, by going to trial on the case you may be found not guilty which means there is no punishment and you can immediately remove the arrest and charge from your record. That’s the outcome you really want!

 

 

If you’re facing DWI charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

 

The High Costs of Misdemeanor Probation in Texas

The High Costs of Misdemeanor Probation in Texas

A Favorable Alternative? Perhaps Not

 

First-time misdemeanor offenders are sometimes given community supervision (i.e. probation). Typically, misdemeanor probation takes the place of incarceration. But probationers (the people on probation) must adhere to a litany of restrictions and regulations. Oftentimes, the costs of misdemeanor probation are high. If you are facing criminal charges, you should carefully consider these costs before accepting community supervision. To help you make an informed decision, we’ll go over some of the costs of misdemeanor probation.

 

The Costs of Misdemeanor Probation in Texas

 

Many people mistakenly think probation is easy. In reality, probation can disrupt your life significantly. Terms of misdemeanor probation can include:

 

  • Refraining from committing new crimes
  • Regularly meeting with your assigned probation officer (typically monthly)
  • Abstaining from using drugs and/or alcohol
  • Abstaining from going to bars and/or nightclubs
  • Going to court-ordered treatment, rehabilitation, therapy or counseling (at a cost to you)
  • Periodic drug testing (at a cost to you)
  • Performing community service
  • Paying victim restitution
  • Paying probation, Crime Stopper and court-ordered fees
  • Continuing to meet your financial duties (such as supporting your family)

 

You could also be subject to home inspections and even restrictions on where and for how long you can travel.

The conditions of your probation can vary based on your offense and other facts of your case.

 

The Other Risks

 

Given the harsh terms of misdemeanor probation, the risk of violation is high. And the judge can impose your full sentence if you violate your probation. In some cases, accepting probation can be like setting yourself up for failure. You remain under the purview of community supervision—and thus the courts—for longer than you would in jail. Indeed, some people regret taking probation in lieu of jail time because of the harsh and certain consequences of making one misstep.

 

Ultimately, you should fully consider all your options before making any decisions in your case. To do that, you need to speak with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney. An attorney can explain how probation works and the penalties you could face for a violation. From there, you can work with your attorney to identify the best course of action given your charges and circumstances.

 

If you’re facing misdemeanor charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to minimize negative consequences. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.