As a Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer, I’m frequently approached by people who are facing charges for the first time and are unsure of what to expect. Those who have no experience with the criminal justice system have a number of questions. Sometimes the answers to these questions are common, simple and straightforward, while other times not so much. However, one thing that is fairly consistent across all first-time offenders is that they are usually frightened and nervous about what lies ahead of them. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it means they understand the gravity of the situation they are involved in, but I’m always sure to remind them that with an attorney on their side, their best interests are being looked after and fought for all throughout the process.
Let’s take a look at a few of these questions to clarify some of the confusion you might have regarding your situation and help you start preparing for your case with confidence.
In Texas, the answer to this question depends on what you are charged with. There are different levels and types of offenses in Texas, some very minor and others much more serious. Here is a breakdown of the levels of offenses in Texas:
CLASS “C” MISDEMEANORS – TRAFFIC CITATIONS
For small charges, like traffic citations, you definitely won’t be going to jail (unless you ignore the citation when you receive them or your obligations after resolving your citation with the court). The harshest penalty you can receive for a traffic citation is a fine, and they can usually be negotiated by a lawyer to be as low as possible.
CLASS “B” AND “A” MISDEMEANORS
The next levels of offenses in Texas immediately above a traffic citation are class B and A misdemeanors. Jail time is a possible penalty for these offenses, but usually not if it’s your first time to be in trouble. It takes the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who practices in Tarrant County to know what lies ahead. As an attorney who is sensitive to the difficulties one faces as a first time offender, I can tell you that my goal with any first time misdemeanor offender is to get the case dismissed somehow. Getting a case dismissed is one of the few ways that someone can clear their record via an “expunction.” Additionally, there are programs in Tarrant County for first time offenders that result in the dismissal of cases. It is a good idea to have an attorney who is familiar with these programs and can guide you through the process of applying for them and successfully completing them.
Felonies in Texas are the most serious types of offenses. And, there are of course very different levels of misdemeanors, some less serious and some more. First time offenders who are accused of a felony still have hope to stay out of prison, however. No one should ever assume that just because they have been charged with a felony (or any crime for that matter) that they will certainly be confined in a jail or prison. In my experience, this is the most common and stressful conclusion that most jump to – they are going to lock me up! That is rarely the case. You need a good attorney who has experience and who cares about you. If you have someone on your side who knows what he is doing, you could avoid jail and/or prison altogether. The bottom line is, don’t assume the worst. Try to stay calm and make an appointment with an attorney as soon as possible.
YES YES YES!!! You should ABSOLUTELY be defended by a competent attorney if you have any type of case. And the more serious the accusation, the more important it is to be represented. Don’t assume that just because you have been charged you are going to be found guilty. Especially if you are a first time accused, put all your effort in to finding the right attorney for you so that you can avoid harsh treatment from the district attorney’s office. Who knows what may be possible for you. It is not uncommon that even those charged with felonies can ultimately have their case dismissed and then deleted from their records.
An attorney can review the evidence in your case and put it to work defending you and protecting your best interests. If you know you are innocent of your charges, you should retain an attorney without delay. Too many people are wrongfully convicted of their crimes, and many of them are because they either don’t retain legal representation, or their representation is poor-quality.
My name is A. Oliver Hassibi, and for more than a decade I have taken pride in helping those facing criminal accusations get the assistance they need in fighting to preserve their name, their reputation, and their rights. I am 100 percent committed to your success, and I utilize all available options to develop an effective strategy for combatting your accusations. I stand with my clients through every step of their case to make sure their rights are protected to the maximum extent of the law, and this aggressive and tireless strategy has earned my firm a track record of substantial success.
I offer free initial consultations to clients as well! Call the Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi now at (817) 953-2663 to discuss your case in more detail and start building a hard-hitting criminal defense.