Any type of criminal charge, no matter how seemingly minor, can lead to disastrous consequences if you’re convicted.
The experience of being investigated for or charged with a crime is unlike any other. These accusations are focused on you, and they attack your character. If you are charged and convicted, you are the only one who must complete the punishment. Despite the isolation you experience during a criminal investigation and after charges are filed, you do not have to go through this process alone. The best thing you can do for yourself is to work with a Houston criminal defense attorney from The Law Offices of Ned Barnett as soon as possible. They can give you a Houston criminal defense overview, and explain all of the legal decisions you have to make.
If you’ve gotten arrested, it’s important to know your rights under the 5th and 6th Amendment – remaining silent and the right to a lawyer. The Law Offices of Ned Barnett can help you understand how to proceed after being accused.
To learn more about your rights and option, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett to schedule a consultation and receive an overview of the Houston criminal defense process. Call today at (713) 222-6767.
Difference Between Civil and Criminal Matters
There are two main portions of the American judicial system. One is made up of civil cases. Civil cases are about the legal duties individuals and businesses have toward each other based on their relationships. The party who files the case is an individual or business (known as the plaintiff), and their legal claim is against another individual or business (known as the defendant). The plaintiff seeks a remedy to a physical, psychological, or financial injury the defendant allegedly caused. This remedy is usually a monetary award.
Criminal cases are brought by prosecutors based on the defendant’s alleged violation of state or federal law. Prosecutors have a higher legal standard to meet during a criminal trial than plaintiffs in a civil trial. In criminal cases, the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. For a civil case, the standard of proof is by the preponderance of the evidence. If a judge or jury determines the prosecutor met their burden of proof, then the defendant faces a criminal punishment, which typically includes incarceration and fines.
Common Texas Criminal Offenses
Attorney Ned Barnett began his career as a state and federal prosecutor until he opened his firm and devoted his practice to defending individuals against criminal charges. He has experience with myriad types of criminal cases from both sides of the courtroom. He understands how the prosecutors view their job and their strategies for obtaining convictions. He also knows how to combat those strategies in court.
Mr. Barnett commonly defends individuals against a variety of criminal charges, including:
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Drug Crimes
- Sex Crimes
- Sexual Assault
- Sex Crimes Involving Children
- Violent Crimes
- Property Offenses
- Theft and Fraud
- Weapons Crimes
- Underage and Student Crimes
- Juvenile Offenses
- Federal Crimes
Levels and Penalties for Texas Criminal Convictions
The minimum and maximum penalty you face upon being convicted of a crime in Texas largely depends on the level of the offense:
- Class C misdemeanor- A fine up to $500.
- Class B misdemeanor- Up to 180 days in jail, and a fine up to $2,000.
- Class A misdemeanor- Up to 1 year in jail, and a fine up to $4,000.
- State jail felony- Between 180 days to 2 years in jail, and a fine up to $10,000.
- Third-degree felony- Between 2 to 10 years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.
- Second-degree felony- Between 2 to 20 years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.
- First-degree felony- Between 5 and 99 years or life in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.
- Capital felony- Life in prison without a chance of parole, or the death penalty.
There are variations for these general statutory punishments. Statutes may specify different minimum and maximum punishments for certain offenses, require enhanced punishments for certain aggravating factors, and decrease the minimum penalty for various mitigating factors. If you are facing criminal charges for one or more offenses, it is essential that you speak with an experienced criminal lawyer to understand the exact penalties you face.
Possible Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense in Texas, you can reasonably expect it to impact your life in many ways beyond the statutory punishments. A criminal conviction creates a permanent criminal record that can affect your life for years. Common collateral consequences include:
- Employment struggles
- Difficulty continuing your education
- Difficulty obtaining financial aid
- Ineligibility for certain professional licenses
- Driver’s license suspension or revocation
- Changes to your child custody or visitation rights
- Denial of your visa, permanent residency, or citizenship application
- Ineligibility to visit certain countries
- Indelibility to vote for a period of time
- Prohibition on owning firearms
Additional Information You Need About the Criminal Justice System
If you are facing criminal charges in Texas, there is a lot of information you need to know. Attorney Ned Barnett is here to help. He can explain your rights and legal options, and give you a thorough Houston criminal defense overview. He will also guide you through the criminal justice system with honesty, ensuring you always know the best and worst-case scenarios for your situation. Some information Attorney Barnett will share with you includes:
- Your Rights in a Criminal Investigation– You are guaranteed certain constitutional rights during the criminal legal process. Speak with Attorney Ned Barnett today to learn more about these rights and how to protect them during a police investigation, after charges have been filed, and during a trial.
- Searches and Seizures– You are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. and Texas Constitution. This means the police need a valid warrant unless the situation falls under a specific exception. If you believe your rights were violated during a police investigation or arrest, contact us immediately. We will fight to suppress evidence obtained during an unlawful search or seizure.
- Civil Asset Forfeiture– You may not realize that when you or someone you are close to is accused of or charged with a crime, in many instances your property can be seized by the government. All the government has to do is show the property may be somehow connected to the crime. However, there are ways to fight back against civil asset forfeiture. Contact Attorney Ned Barnett to discuss fighting to get your property back.
- Texas Criminal Court Process– If you are facing criminal charges for the first time, you should learn more about the criminal court process. This prepares you for the coming weeks and months, and how you and your family may be affected.
- Texas Criminal Penalties– The potential penalties you face depend one a number of factors. Learn more about the various levels of misdemeanor and felony offenses and enhanced sentences under Texas law.
- Criminal Appeals– When new evidence comes to light after your conviction or there was a mistake made during your trial, you may have the right to ask for an appeal. This means taking your case to a higher court and asking a new judge to review the lower court’s decision. There are strict time limits on filing appeals, so contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett right away.
- Expungements– If you were arrested or charged with a crime but not convicted, you may be able to have the record of that incident expunged or sealed from the public. To learn more about expungements, call us soon to determine if one of these options is right for your situation.
- Probation Violations– A potential criminal penalty is probation. During this punishment, you may live in the community instead of being incarcerated, however you must follow a number of strict conditions. If you violate one or more rules of your probation, you face harsh consequences, including imprisonment.
- Licensed Professionals — Criminal Charges– You may face career-ending consequences if you are a professional with a license and are committed of a crime. Call a lawyer today for a Houston criminal defense overview and to hear how your license may be affected.
- How a Houston Criminal Lawyer Can Help– You may hesitate to hire a criminal defense lawyer. However, having an experienced and aggressive attorney by your side can make all the difference. Schedule a free case consultation with Ned Barnett to learn how he can help you.
Contact a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help
When facing one or more criminal charges, you need a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and fight for your freedom. The prosecution’s goal is to offer up evidence that convinces a judge or jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense attorney’s job is to create one reasonable doubt.
Attorney Ned Barnett has decades of experience in criminal matters. He knows how to review the evidence in your case, weigh its significance, and determine the best way to address it in court. He understands how to find and point out the holes in the prosecutor’s case. He also knows how to highlight the evidence that supports your innocence.