Areas of Practice

I am admitted to practice in any state court in Texas, and in the federal courts for the Eastern, Southern, and Northern Districts of Texas. Thus my practice covers the entire state. My areas of practice include criminal defense, juvenile defense, and Child Protective Services (CPS) cases. I also defend and prosecute civil lawsuits.

Criminal Defense

Criminal defense is simply the defense of a person accused of a crime. Criminal accusations can have serious implications: jail time, fines, loss of licenses and freedoms, loss of voting and gun rights, or even deportation for non-citizens. A defense attorney helps an accused person to navigate through the criminal justice system, defending them every step of the way.

Misdemeanors are those cases where punishment is fixed by fine only or of a jail term of one year or less. A fine may also be assessed along with any jail time.

Felonies are offenses where the accused can be sent to prison. In Texas, there are five levels of felonies:

  1. State Jail felonies, where punishment is 180 days to 2 years and up to a $10,000.00 fine;
  2. 3rd Degree felonies, where the punishment range is between 2 years and 10 years and a possible $10,000.00 fine;
  3. 2nd Degree felonies, where the punishment is between 2 to 20 years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine;
  4. 1st Degree felonies, where the punishment range is anywhere between 5 years and 99 years, or life, and a $10,000.00 fine; and
  5. Capital felonies, where the death penalty can be assessed or the defendant can be given life in prison.

Sentences in Texas can be assessed by a jury, or by the judge. Federal cases have their own unique sentencing scheme which must be individually evaluated for each and every case. Sentencing in the federal courts is done by the judge, usually pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

Probation is called Community Supervision in our state. Community Supervision can be granted by the judge and can be a term of deferred adjudication in which a defendant who completes a term of probation will not be convicted of the offense. Community Supervision can also be straight probation, i.e. one is convicted of the offense, but serves a term of probation instead of going to prison.

Sometimes a case is a fight all the way until the end. If the case is not appropriate for a plea agreement or dismissal, it needs to be taken to a contested hearing in front of a judge or a jury. If the defendant is convicted of an offense, the case may be appealed. A court of appeals has the power to reverse or modify the conviction.

Criminal charges can be filed in the state or federal courts. These venues are unique and have their own rules and procedures. A case filed in one cannot be handled in the same way as a case that is filed in the other.

Juvenile Defense

Juveniles accused of crimes are brought to a juvenile court. The Texas Family Code governs how juvenile cases are handled. Juveniles under the law are no older than 17 at the time the law was broken. The juvenile justice system is designed to rehabilitate, and deter further bad acts by, young people. Therefore, juvenile crime is punished quite differently than adult crime. In Texas, you will be charged as an adult if you are over the age of 17 and break the law.

I’ve handled numerous juvenile cases over the years, ranging from truancy to aggravated robbery. For a juvenile accused of a crime, there are many options that need to be explored and brought to the court’s attention.

Child Protective Services

Child Protective Services (CPS) is a part of the Department of Family and Protective Services. CPS is tasked with protecting children from abuse or neglect. It is a serious matter for CPS to removes a child from parental custody. CPS can ask the court to take away the parent’s rights to that child.

CPS cases are controlled by the Texas Family Code and are serious legal matters. Texas law mandates that CPS cases must be over within one year after being filed with the court. Parents are short on time to prepare and fight their cases. Foster parents, grandparents, etc. likewise have little time in which to intervene in the case and seek relief from the Court.

I have handled numerous CPS cases over the years in the capacity of representing parents, grandparents, and even as the guardian ad litem for the child in CPS cases.