Posts Tagged ‘Criminal defense lawyer’


Arson

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Harris County Arson Defense Attorneys

In Texas, arson is charged as a very serious offense because fires or explosions can result in devastating property damage, serious personal injury and even death. Because of these extreme and potential consequences, the Texas government dedicates enormous resources to investigate these crimes. The State Fire Marshal is the chief investigator in charge of the investigation of arson and suspected arson in the State of Texas. By statutory authority (Texas Government Code), the State Fire Marshal commissions law enforcement officers to act as fire and arson investigators under his supervision.

Arson cases are usually very circumstantial in nature because the start of a fire is seldom seen by independent witnesses. When fires are intentionally started, the motives can be to commit insurance fraud, hate crimes, retaliation, destroy evidence or to cover up other crimes, such as homicide. According to the Texas Department of Public safety, juveniles commit about 25 percent of arson crimes. Like a moth to the flame, youthful and curious firebugs are drawn to the primal and destructive nature of fire.

Arson charges are extremely serious. Individuals convicted of arson are usually sentenced to prison and forced to pay steep fines. To have the best chance of avoiding a conviction, it is important to hire an experienced Houston property crimes attorney.

Arson Defense Attorney in Houston

If you are under investigation for arson, it is vitally important to consult a lawyer before speaking to law enforcement or arson investigators.

If have been charged with arson in Harris County or any of the surrounding counties in Southeast Texas, contact James G. Sullivan and Associates for a free, confidential phone consultation at (281) 546-6428. James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced trial lawyer who defends clients accused of property crimes.

Arson Law in Texas

According to Texas Penal Code Sec. 28.02, a person commits arson if he or she starts a fire (regardless of whether the fire continues after ignition) or causes an explosion with intent to destroy or damage:

  1. any vegetation, fence or structure on open-space land; or
  2. any building, habitation or vehicle:
    1. while knowing that it is within the limits of an incorporated city or town;
    2. while knowing that it is insured against damage or destruction;
    3. while knowing that it is subject to a mortgage or other security interest;
    4. while knowing that it is located on property belonging to another;
    5. while knowing that it has property located within in that belongs to another; or
    6. when the person is reckless about whether the burning or explosion will endanger the life of some individual or the safety of the property of another.

In Texas, arson is usually charged as a second degree felony. If the arson caused the bodily injury or death of any person, or if the property intended to be damaged or destroyed was a habitation or place of assembly or worship, the offender can be charged with a first degree felony.

A person can also be charged with arson if he or she recklessly starts a fire or causes an explosion while manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled substance and the fire or explosion damages a building, vehicle, or habitation. This type of arson is usually charged as a state jail felony, however the offender can be charged with a third degree felony if the offense resulted in the death or bodily injury to another.

Controlled Burning Defense

It is a defense to the destruction of damage of any vegetation, fence or structure on open-space land if the fire or explosion was a part of the controlled burning of open-space land.

“Controlled burning” means the burning of unwanted vegetation with the consent of the owner of the property on which the vegetation is located and in such a manner that the fire is controlled and limited to a designated area.

“Open-space land” means real property that is undeveloped for the purpose of human habitation.

Texas Fire Marshal Investigations

The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO), a program of the Texas Department of Insurance, is headquartered in Austin, however employees are strategically located across the state to respond quickly to requests from local communities. Because Texas experiences thousands of fires each year, the State Fire Marshal’s Fire Investigations Division (FID) uses an Investigation Protocol to effectively allocate the SFMO’s resources. Although any community that has suffered a fire-related incident may contact the FID for assistance, catastrophic fires that have resulted in death, significant property damage or pose a serious threat to public health and safety rank highest according to the protocol. Also included in the protocol are fires believed to be started by a serial arsonist, related to hate crime, or where the operation of a vital public institution is compromised,

Based on this protocol, the FID dispatches appropriate personnel to a fire scene to determine the fire’s origin and cause, and to assist local officials in the collection and analysis of evidence that may lead to prosecution of an alleged arsonist. The FID also has an Accelerant Detection Canine Unit which sends out canine handlers and their specially trained dogs to help determine the presence of ignitable liquids, such as gasoline, at fire scenes. The evidence collected is sent for analysis to the State Fire Marshal’s Forensic Arson Laboratory.

Punishment for Arson in Texas

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code lists the felony punishment for arson.

A conviction for a second degree felony is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and a fine up to $10,000.

A conviction for a first degree felony is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

A conviction for a state jail felony is punishable by a state jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Definitions of Terms

Texas Penal Code Sec. 28.01 lists the definitions of arson-related terms.

“Habitation” means a structure or vehicle that is adapted for the overnight accommodation of persons and includes each separately secured or occupied portion of the structure or vehicle and each structure appurtenant to or connected with the structure or vehicle.

“Building” means any structure or enclosure intended for use or occupation as a habitation or for some purpose of trade, manufacture, ornament, or use.

“Vehicle” includes any device in, on, or by which any person or property is or may be propelled, moved or drawn in the normal course of commerce or transportation.

James G. Sullivan and Associates | Harris County Arson Defense Attorneys

Houston arson defense lawyer James Sullivan will discuss with you the seriousness of your charge and the various effective defense strategies that are best suited for your particular case. Before you make your plea in court, it is important that you consult a property crimes lawyer in Houston, Texas.  Houston criminal attorney James Sullivan gets proven results.

James Sullivan graduated the Trial Lawyers College founded by Legendary lawyer Gerry. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.

Contact James Sullivan & Associates for a free phone consultation at (281) 546-6428 about your arson charges in Harris County (Houston), Montgomery County (Conroe), Fort Bend County (Richmond), Brazoria County (Angleton), Galveston County (Galveston), Waller County (Hempstead) and throughout Texas.

Stalking | Houston Criminal Attorney James Sullivan Fights for his Clients

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Harris County Stalking Defense

Stalking is a serious felony offense. Stalking allegations in Houston can arise from different situations, such as from a failed relationship where one partner still wants to maintain contact with the other partner.  And, stalking charges are often filed based solely on the accusations of the alleged victim.

If a law enforcement officer in Texas has probable cause that an accused committed the offense, the officer has authority to immediately arrest that person without a warrant. Even if a proper investigation did not take place, an immediate arrest for stalking could still occur based on the accusations.

Stalking charges can result in serious punishment and consequences, including lengthy prison time and a large fine.  Such a conviction can also adversely impact your future, such as by losing many educational, employment, housing and public assistance opportunities. However, if you have been charged with a stalking offense, it is important to know that you do not necessarily have to face a criminal conviction.

It is important to hire an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer because criminal charges for stalking do not have to result in a conviction and the resulting lifelong consequences. In order to convict you, the state prosecutor must prove to a jury that you committed every element of the felony offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  With an experienced trial lawyer defending you, this is a very difficult burden to meet, and any reasonable doubt in the mind of any of the members of the jury can result in a not guilty verdict or a hung jury.  Therefore, it is vital to contact an experienced criminal attorney in Houston who will fight for you.

If you have been charged with the criminal offense of stalking in Harris county or any of the surrounding counties in Texas, contact James G. Sullivan and Associates for a free phone consultation at 281-546-6428.  Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced trial lawyer who will fight for your rights, freedom and future.

Stalking in Houston

According to section 42.072 of the Texas Penal Code, a person can be charged with stalking if the person, on more than one occasion and in the same course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct that:

  • the person knows or reasonably should know will be regarded as threatening bodily injury or death to the alleged victim, a family member or household member of the alleged victim, or another person the alleged victim is dating;
  • the person knows or reasonably should know will be regarded as threatening damage to the alleged victim’s property;
  • causes the alleged victim, a family member or household member, or person they are dating to be fearful of death, serious bodily injury or property damage;
  • would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or death to themselves, a family or household member, or person they are dating; and/or
  • would cause a reasonable person to fear their property will be damaged.

Punishment for Stalking in Houston

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code lists the felony punishment for stalking in Houston.

A first stalking offense is charged as a third degree felony.  A conviction for such a felony is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to 10 years and a fine up to $10,000.

A second stalking offense is charged as a second degree felony. A conviction for such a felony is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and a fine up to $10,000.

In addition to the punishment described above, a person that has been convicted of a stalking offense may suffer any of the following penalties and consequences:

  • A criminal record;
  • Unable to apply for certain jobs, professions or occupations;
  • Unable to be admitted into certain educational programs;
  • Ineligible to own or possess a gun or firearm;
  • Ineligible to receive certain kinds of governmental assistance;
  • Ineligible to vote or hold public office;
  • Loss of certain professional licenses; and/or
  • Public humiliation and embarrassment.

James G. Sullivan and Associates | Harris County Stalking Lawyer

James Sullivan graduated from the Trial Lawyers College founded by legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.

Contact James Sullivan & Associates for a free phone consultation at 281-546-6428 about your stalking charges in Harris County (Houston), Montgomery County (Conroe), Fort Bend County (Richmond), Brazoria County (Angleton), Galveston County (Galveston), Matagorda County (Bay City), Waller County (Hempstead), Washington County (Brenham), Liberty County (Liberty), Chambers County (Anahuac), Jefferson County (Beaumont) and throughout Texas.

Burglary Crimes | Waller County Criminal Lawyers

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Burglary of a Habitation, a Building, or a Vehicle

In Texas, a person commits burglary if, without the consent of the owner, he enters a habitation, building or vehicle with the intent to commit a felony, theft or an assault. According to Tex. Penal Code § 30.01, these three separate offenses have unique definitions:

  • A habitation is any structure or vehicle that is made for the overnight accommodation of a person, including each separately secured or occupied portion of the structure or vehicle; and each structure connected or attached to the structure or vehicle.
  • A building is any enclosed structure intended to be used or occupied as a habitation or to be used for some purpose of trade or manufacture.
  • A vehicle is any device in, on or by which a person or property may be moved in the normal course of commerce or transportation.
    Depending on the degree of the offense, a burglary conviction can result in severe punishment. Therefore, it is important to hire a reputable and experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight for you.

Hempstead, Texas Burglary Lawyer

If you have been charged with a burglary offense in the Greater Houston area, contact James Sullivan and Associates at 281-546-6428 for a free confidential consultation.

Burglary Offenses in Harris County

Texas criminal law lists a variety of burglary crimes, ranging from misdemeanor to felony offenses. Burglary can include any of the crimes listed below.

According to Tex. Penal Code § 30.02, a person commits a burglary if, without the consent of the owner, he:

  • Enters a habitation or a building not then open to the public with the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault; or
  • Remains hidden or concealed in a building or habitation with the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault in the building or habitation; or
  • Enters a habitation or building and commits or attempts to commit a felony, theft or assault.
  • For purposes of this section, “enter” means to intrude: any part of the body or any physical object connected to the body.

According to Tex. Penal Code § 30.03, a person commits a burglary of a coin-operated or coin collection machine if, without the consent of the owner, he breaks into or enters any coin-operated machine, coin collection machine or other coin-operated or coin collection equipment with the intent to obtain property or services.

According to Tex. Penal Code § 30.04, a person commits burglary of a vehicle if, without the consent of the owner, he breaks into or enters any vehicle, including a motor vehicle or a rail car (including a container or trailer carried on it), with the intent to commit a felony or theft.

Punishment for Burglary Crimes in Waller County

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code lists the penalties for misdemeanor and felony burglary offenses. These penalties vary based on the burglary offense and the degree of the burglary. A burglary conviction carries the following punishment:

If the burglary was committed in any building other than a habitation, criminal charges can result in a state jail felony conviction, which carries a punishment ranging from 180 days to two years confinement in a state jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.

If the burglary was committed in a habitation, criminal charges can result in a second degree felony conviction, which carries a punishment ranging from two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

If the burglary was committed in a habitation and the offender entered the habitation with the intent to commit, committed or attempted to commit any other felony besides felony theft, criminal charges can result in a first degree felony conviction, which carries a punishment ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.

If the burglary was of a coin-operated or coin collection machine, criminal charges can result in a class A misdemeanor conviction, which carries a punishment ranging up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.

If the burglary was of a vehicle, criminal charges can result in a class A misdemeanor conviction, which carries a punishment ranging up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000. If the offender has previously been convicted of another burglary of a vehicle offense, criminal charges can result in a class A misdemeanor conviction with punishment ranging from a minimum term of six months to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.

If the offender has previously been convicted of two or more burglary of a vehicle offenses or the vehicle broken into was a rail car, criminal charges for burglary of a vehicle can result in a state jail felony conviction, which carries a punishment ranging from 180 days to two years confinement in a state jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.

James Sullivan and Associates | Waller County Burglary Attorneys

Contact James Sullivan and Associates at 281-546-6428 for a free consultation about your burglary crime charges. James Sullivan is an experienced Houston criminal attorney with a proven record of defending fellow Texans accused of burglary offenses in criminal and juvenile courts throughout Harris County Texas and the surrounding counties of Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Waller County, Brazoria County, Galveston County and Liberty County.

James Sullivan graduated from Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, the most selective and prestigious trial advocacy program in America. Sullivan was also recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout southeast Texas.

Certainly each case is different.  Similar results may not be obtained in your case and past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Waller County Murder / Manslaughter Charge Defense

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Homicide Defense Lawyer in Hempstead, Texas

Murder | Manslaughter | Negligent Homicide

James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced Waller County criminal lawyer. For over 20 years, Sullivan has successfully fought the government in jury trials on behalf of clients in criminal and juvenile courts.

James Sullivan graduated from the Trial Lawyers College founded by legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.

Located in northwest Houston, and serving the counties of southeast Texas, James G. Sullivan and Associates provides those accused of murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide with an aggressive, experienced defense. Since 1994, Sullivan has defended at trial several clients accused of murder and homicide related charges.

In his most recent murder case in February 2015, Sullivan forced the State to agree to 15 years in prison on the second jury trial setting. Prior to trial, the State only offered 45 years. Sullivan’s client carried a gun to a college age party held in a family’s backyard. To scare off several hostile men that wanted to fight him, the client fired a warning shot over them and accidentally struck and killed an innocent bystander.

In 2014, Sullivan assisted his associate Nancy Botts in a murder trial in which the accused initially lied to the investigating officer and even tried to hide the firearm and cover up the physical evidence. Their client claimed self defense in killing a drug addict with a shotgun at close range, however his credibility was destroyed by the lies he initially told to investigators. Even though the jury did find their client guilty, Botts was able to secure a 16 year prison sentence. Prior to trial, the State again only offered 45 years.

In 1995, Sullivan successfully defended a 21 year old man in a negligent homicide trial. His client was accused of killing a young man in a head-on car accident on Eldridge Parkway in northwest Houston. The accused allegedly had traces of cocaine in his system, was driving over the speed limit in the rain, on the wrong side of the road, and with “bald” tires. The force of the impact caused the engine from one of the cars to be ejected and thrown about 50 feet from the car. Unfortunately, the sports car the decedent was driving did not have air bags, and the driver was killed instantly when his head hit the steering wheel. The prosecutor and even other defense attorneys predicted his client would be convicted and receive 10 years in prison.Sullivan argued that his client hydroplaned across lanes and that it was just an accident. The jury agreed and found his client not guilty.

Homicide charges, ranging from manslaughter and negligent homicide to capital murder, are very serious and carry serious consequences if convicted.

When facing murder charges, it is essential to have an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side to get the best possible outcome.

The different homicide charges carry the following penalties:

  • Capital Murder: Life imprisonment or the death penalty
  • Murder: 5 years to Life in prison
  • Manslaughter: 2 to 20 years in prison
  • Negligent Homicide: 180 days to 2 years in a state jail. However, if a deadly weapon is found to have been used, the range is 2 to 10 years in prison.

Contact a Skilled Waller County Murder Defense Lawyer

The outcome of your case is significantly affected by the experience of the criminal defense lawyer you hire. It is important to hire a reputable attorney with extensive trial experience, especially murder trial experience. James Sullivan will help you understand the charges against you and discuss your options.

To consult in confidence with an experienced Hempstead criminal defense lawyer, contact Attorney James Sullivan at 281-546-6428.

Burglary

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Burglary of a Habitation, a Building, or a Vehicle

In Texas, a person commits burglary if, without the consent of the owner, he enters a habitation, building or vehicle with the intent to commit a felony, theft or an assault. According to Tex. Penal Code § 30.01, these three separate offenses have unique definitions:

  • A habitation is any structure or vehicle that is made for the overnight accommodation of a person, including each separately secured or occupied portion of the structure or vehicle; and each structure connected or attached to the structure or vehicle.
  • A building is any enclosed structure intended to be used or occupied as a habitation or to be used for some purpose of trade or manufacture.
  • A vehicle is any device in, on or by which a person or property may be moved in the normal course of commerce or transportation.
    Depending on the degree of the offense, a burglary conviction can result in severe punishment. Therefore, it is important to hire a reputable and experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight for you.

Houston Burglary Lawyer

If you have been charged with a burglary offense in the Greater Houston area, contact James Sullivan and Associates at 281-546-6428 for a free confidential consultation.

Burglary Offenses in Harris County

Texas criminal law lists a variety of burglary crimes, ranging from misdemeanor to felony offenses. Burglary can include any of the crimes listed below.

According to Tex. Penal Code § 30.02, a person commits a burglary if, without the consent of the owner, he:

  • Enters a habitation or a building not then open to the public with the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault; or
  • Remains hidden or concealed in a building or habitation with the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault in the building or habitation; or
  • Enters a habitation or building and commits or attempts to commit a felony, theft or assault.
  • For purposes of this section, “enter” means to intrude: any part of the body or any physical object connected to the body.

According to Tex. Penal Code § 30.03, a person commits a burglary of a coin-operated or coin collection machine if, without the consent of the owner, he breaks into or enters any coin-operated machine, coin collection machine or other coin-operated or coin collection equipment with the intent to obtain property or services.

According to Tex. Penal Code § 30.04, a person commits burglary of a vehicle if, without the consent of the owner, he breaks into or enters any vehicle, including a motor vehicle or a rail car (including a container or trailer carried on it), with the intent to commit a felony or theft.

Punishment for Burglary Crimes in Harris County

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code lists the penalties for misdemeanor and felony burglary offenses. These penalties vary based on the burglary offense and the degree of the burglary. A burglary conviction carries the following punishment:

If the burglary was committed in any building other than a habitation, criminal charges can result in a state jail felony conviction, which carries a punishment ranging from 180 days to two years confinement in a state jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.

If the burglary was committed in a habitation, criminal charges can result in a second degree felony conviction, which carries a punishment ranging from two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

If the burglary was committed in a habitation and the offender entered the habitation with the intent to commit, committed or attempted to commit any other felony besides felony theft, criminal charges can result in a first degree felony conviction, which carries a punishment ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.

If the burglary was of a coin-operated or coin collection machine, criminal charges can result in a class A misdemeanor conviction, which carries a punishment ranging up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.

If the burglary was of a vehicle, criminal charges can result in a class A misdemeanor conviction, which carries a punishment ranging up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000. If the offender has previously been convicted of another burglary of a vehicle offense, criminal charges can result in a class A misdemeanor conviction with punishment ranging from a minimum term of six months to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.

If the offender has previously been convicted of two or more burglary of a vehicle offenses or the vehicle broken into was a rail car, criminal charges for burglary of a vehicle can result in a state jail felony conviction, which carries a punishment ranging from 180 days to two years confinement in a state jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.

James Sullivan and Associates | Houston Burglary Attorneys

Contact James Sullivan and Associates at 281-546-6428 for a free phone consultation about your burglary crime charges. James Sullivan is an experienced Houston criminal attorney with a proven record of defending fellow Texans accused of burglary offenses in criminal and juvenile courts throughout Harris County Texas and the surrounding counties of Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Waller County, Brazoria County, Galveston County and Liberty County.

Certainly each case is different.  Similar results may not be obtained in your case and past performance is no guarantee of future results.

CRIMINAL OFFENSEACTUAL RESULTSCT#
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)JURY TRIAL: NOT GUILTY (Client accused of breaking into a home with 6 other juveniles and stealing over $25,000 in cash from a safe)313th
Burglary of a Habitation with intent to commit aggravated assault (1° Felony)CASE REDUCED TO BURGLARY OF HABITATION WITH INTENT TO COMMIT MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT (2° Felony) when Sullivan was setting the case for trial (Client was accused of breaking into a neighbor’s downstairs apartment through the air vent and then threatening a 17 year old girl who was home alone. Client was originally offered 12 years on the aggravated felony through his court-appointed attorney) , Case # 1370138228th
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused breaking into home while homeowner was home, however client had credible alibi witnesses at the time of the alleged burglary), Case # 1321679184th
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)CASE REDUCED TO BURGLARY OF A BUILDING (State Jail Felony), Case # 1245594232nd
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR TRESPASS, Case # 1298554232nd
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)CASE DISMISSED (Client was accused of being the lookout on a burglary of a habitation)315th
Attempted Burglary of a Habitation (3° Felony)CASE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR TRESPASS OF A HABITATION (Client was accused of trying to break into an apartment. The tenant was inside and observed window screens being removed from the side of the apartment) , Case # 1289876232nd
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)CASE DISMISSED , Case # 1268926339th
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)CASE DISMISSED, Case # 1277540232nd
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)CASE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR TRESPASS and client received deferred prosecution313th
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)CASE DISMISSED315th
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR TRESPASS TO HABITATION prior to jury trial setting, Case # 1200321337th
Burglary of a Habitation (2° Felony)CASE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR THEFT, Case # 1185149232nd
Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to Commit Assault (2° Felony)CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of breaking into house after a drug deal went bad) , Case # 1182231179th

Harris County Pre-Trial Diversion Program

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Harris County Pre-Trial Diversion (Intervention) Program

In Texas, there are two kinds of probation (community supervision): probation and deferred adjudication. With probation, the person receives a criminal conviction but his jail or prison sentence is probated. With deferred adjudication, the person does not receive a conviction so long as he successfully completes the terms of the deferred adjudication. In both instances, the person is supervised by the probation department.

Another option to avoid a conviction is Pre-Trial Diversion. This option is more difficult to obtain, however if it is successfully completed a person’s criminal case will be dismissed, and he will have an opportunity at some point to get his record expunged. In order to qualify for a Pre-Trial Diversion, the most important requirement for a person seeking entry into the program is to have a clear criminal record. Usually, even a previously dismissed criminal case will prevent someone from being accepted into the program.

Community Service Requirements for Pre-Trial Diversion

The Pre-Trial Diversion program is extremely difficult to obtain in felony cases. If accepted, the contract with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is for 1-3 years and the amount of community service is much greater than for misdemeanors.

In misdemeanor cases (other than the Divert Program for DWI cases which is very different), the contract for the Pre-Trial Diversion program is for 6 months. The amount of community service on the misdemeanor contracts is only 16 hours.

Pre-Trial Diversion and Expunction of Criminal Records

Individuals accepted into the Pre-Trial Diversion program on most class B misdemeanor cases (such as a typical shoplifting case) can seek an expunction of their criminal case record right after they finish the program and their case is dismissed. As it usually takes about 60-90 days from the arrest date to be accepted into the program, this means that a person could get their record expunged within 8-9 months of being arrested.

Certain misdemeanor offenses require a 2 year waiting period to seek an expunction after completion of the program. These misdemeanors are:

All other class A misdemeanor cases not mentioned above have a 1 year waiting period.

All other class B misdemeanor cases not mentioned above do not have a waiting period.

Contact James G. Sullivan and Associates

If you were charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Harris County, contact Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan at 281-546-6428 to discuss your case and whether or not it is suitable to seek entry into the Pre-Trial Diversion program.

Criminal Mischief

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Houston Criminal Mischief Lawyer

Defense Attorney representation in Harris County, Texas for over 20 years

If you are charged with any type of criminal mischief, you need to know and understand the potential crimes you are facing.

In Houston, criminal mischief offenses are generally defined as intentionally damaging another person’s property. Types of damage are commonly referred to as destruction, alteration and defacement. Minor actions associated with criminal mischief often include vandalism or graffiti, and more serious actions include the destruction of the property.

Criminal Mischief Houston

According to Tex. Penal Code § 28.03, the following conduct can result in being charged with criminal mischief in Harris County:

  • Intentionally or knowingly damaging or destroying another person’s tangible property;
  • Intentionally or knowingly tampering with the tangible property of another person and causing financial loss or substantial inconvenience to him or a third person;
  • Intentionally or knowingly making markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of another person.

Penalties for Criminal Mischief

Depending on the value of the destruction or property damage, you could face misdemeanor or felony offense punishment. Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code defines the applicable penalties you may face with a criminal mischief offense:

  • Class C Misdemeanor – A fine of up to $500 can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $100, or causes substantial inconvenience to another being.
  • Class B Misdemeanor – A fine of up to $2,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to 180 days can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $750 but at least $100 or more.
  • Class A Misdemeanor – A fine of up to $4,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to one year can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $2,500 but at least $750, or your criminal mischief offense causes impairment or disruption of any public water supply.
  • State Jail Felony – A fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $30,000 but at least $2,500 or more; less than $2,500 if a home was damaged through the use of an explosion weapon or firearm; less than $2,500 if a fence used to hold livestock, game animals, or poultry was destroyed or damaged; or less than $30,000 if your criminal mischief offense caused the impairment or disruption of public communications, gas power supply, transportation or any other public service.
  • Third Degree Felony – A fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence from two to ten years can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $150,000 but at least $30,000.
  • Second Degree Felony – A fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence from two to twenty years can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $300,000 but at least $150,000 or more.
  • First Degree Felony – A fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence from five to 99 years or life imprisonment can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to $300,000 or more.

Criminal Mischief Defense and Representation

Criminal mischief might not seem like a major crime, but the fact that the damages could put peoples’ lives in jeopardy and disrupt public and private property this makes criminal mischief a much more serious offense, especially as the value of damage increases.

Therefore criminal mischief charges should not be taken lightly and it is important to have an experienced and aggressive Houston criminal attorney working with you to build the best possible defense for your case.

Contact Attorney James Sullivan

If you or a loved one is facing a criminal mischief offense, contact Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan today at (281) 546-6428 to schedule a free confidential consultation.

James Sullivan is an experienced Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. For over 20 years, Sullivan has successfully fought the government in Jury Trials on behalf of clients in criminal and juvenile courts.

James Sullivan attended the Trial Lawyers College founded by legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.

Houston Evading Arrest Lawyer | Harris County Evading Detention Attorney James Sullivan

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Evading Arrest

Evading Arrest by motor vehicle is a serious criminal offense in Texas. It often happens that a driver is unable to stop promptly when the police signal them to pull over, but unfortunately the police sometimes still arrest and charge the driver with a felony evading arrest.

If you were arrested for an evading arrest under these circumstances, it is very important that you contact the law firm of James G. Sullivan and Associates. Our experienced Harris County criminal defense attorneys may be able to persuade the grand jury or prosecutor to dismiss the felony charges because the police misunderstood your intentions or exaggerated what actually occurred.

If you have been charged with the criminal offense of evading arrest in Harris county (Houston), or any of the surrounding counties in Texas, including Montgomery (Conroe), Waller (Hempstead), Liberty (City of Liberty), Fort Bend (Richmond), Brazoria (Angleton), Galveston (City of Galveston) or Washington (Brenham), contact James G. Sullivan and Associates for a free phone consultation at (281) 546-6428.

It is important that the criminal defense lawyer you hire has experience in successfully handling evading arrest cases. By obtaining and presenting the right evidence, the lawyer may be able to prove your innocence or raise a reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors at trial. Regrettably, many drivers in these circumstances just assume that the court will believe their version of what happened and that their case will just be dismissed. As we all know, our criminal justice system is imperfect and even an innocent person may still face criminal liability.

Evading arrest is the criminal offense charged on those that the police claim did not willingly submit themselves to an arrest or detention. The allegations that the police put in the offense report and the evidence the government presents in court is not always true and correct.

Houston Evading Arrest by Vehicle, Watercraft or on Foot

In Texas, evading arrest by vehicle or watercraft is a third degree felony, and evading arrest on foot is a class A misdemeanor, however the charges are increased if there are prior convictions or if someone suffers death or serious bodily injuries as a direct result of the flight. No matter what charge was filed against you by the District Attorney, our experienced criminal defense lawyers can be by your side. We know how to effectively fight an evading arrest charge and can defend you in all stages of the case.

Client Reviews on Evading Arrest Cases

Life Saver…not once, but twice

…The next time we called upon Mr. Sullivan my son was now considered an adult and was being wrongfully accused by the police of evading detention. After Mr. Sullivan heard my son’s side of the story he agreed to defend him. He asked us to provide our detailed account of the situation in writing and we did. When we had our first court hearing it was evident that the DA’s office was not going to dismiss the case. Mr. Sullivan told my son that if he wanted to go to trial he would fight for him, but it was up to him. I appreciated him asking and fighting for my son!
I believe the tenacity of Mr. Sullivan and his insistence on a jury trial are what finally persuaded the DA’s office to dismiss charges for my son. Not only did this happen for our son, but the 3 other young men being wrongfully accused also were dismissed. So essentially Mr. Sullivan helped them all by listening, understanding and believing my son and then not allowing us to give up proving it to be a false accusation!
I would recommend Mr. Sullivan to anyone who is looking for an honest, understanding, and tenacious attorney!

Avvo client review posted by Page on July 13, 2015

Outstanding Attorney

I hired Jim Sullivan for my daughters felony evading arrest and theft case. I could not be any happier with my decision. He is an amazing attorney and a very compassionate and understanding human being. Both of my daughters cases were dismissed! I would highly reccomend Jim Sullivan to anyone needing a criminal defense attorney.

Avvo client review posted by Tracie on May 29, 2012

The law firm of James G. Sullivan and Associates has extensive criminal defense experience, which is necessary in defending evading arrest charges. Contact our Houston criminal attorneys at 281-546-6428 for a free phone consultation.

Houston Murder / Manslaughter Charge Defense

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

Homicide Defense Lawyer in Harris County Texas

Murder | Manslaughter | Negligent Homicide

James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced Harris County criminal lawyer. For over 20 years, Sullivan has successfully fought the government in jury trials on behalf of clients in criminal and juvenile courts.

James Sullivan graduated the Trial Lawyers College founded by legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.

Located in northwest Houston, and serving the counties of southeast Texas, James G. Sullivan and Associates provides those accused of murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide with an aggressive, experienced defense. Since 1994, Sullivan has defended at trial several clients accused of murder and homicide related charges.

In his most recent murder case in February 2015, Sullivan forced the State to agree to 15 years in prison on the second jury trial setting. Prior to trial, the State only offered 45 years. Sullivan’s client carried a gun to a college age party held in a family’s backyard. To scare off several hostile men that wanted to fight him, the client fired a warning shot over them and accidentally struck and killed an innocent bystander.

In 2014, Sullivan assisted his associate Nancy Botts in a murder trial in which the accused initially lied to the investigating officer and even tried to hide the firearm and cover up the physical evidence. Their client claimed self defense in killing a drug addict with a shotgun at close range, however his credibility was destroyed by the lies he initially told to investigators. Even though the jury did find their client guilty, Botts was able to secure a 16 year prison sentence. Prior to trial, the State again only offered 45 years.

In 1995, Sullivan successfully defended a 21 year old man in a negligent homicide trial. His client was accused of killing a young man in a head-on car accident on Eldridge Parkway in northwest Houston. The accused allegedly had traces of cocaine in his system, was driving over the speed limit in the rain, on the wrong side of the road, and with “bald” tires. The force of the impact caused the engine from one of the cars to be ejected and thrown about 50 feet from the car. Unfortunately, the sports car the decedent was driving did not have air bags, and the driver was killed instantly when his head hit the steering wheel. The prosecutor and even other defense attorneys predicted his client would be convicted and receive 10 years in prison. Sullivan argued that his client hydroplaned across lanes and that it was just an accident. The jury agreed and found his client not guilty.

Homicide charges, ranging from manslaughter and negligent homicide to capital murder, are very serious and carry serious consequences if convicted.

When facing murder charges, it is essential to have an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side to get the best possible outcome.

The different homicide charges carry the following penalties:

  • Capital Murder: Life imprisonment or the death penalty
  • Murder: 5 years to Life in prison
  • Manslaughter: 2 to 20 years in prison
  • Negligent Homicide: 180 days to 2 years in a state jail. However, if a deadly weapon is found to have been used, the range is 2 to 10 years in prison.

Contact a Skilled Houston Murder Defense Lawyer

The outcome of your case is significantly affected by the experience of the criminal defense lawyer you hire. It is important to hire a reputable attorney with extensive trial experience, especially murder trial experience. James Sullivan will help you understand the charges against you and discuss your options.

To consult in confidence with an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer, contact Attorney James Sullivan at 281-546-6428.

 

Fort Bend County Online Solicitation of a Minor Lawyer

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Protecting Your Teen’s Future

Did you know that if your 18-year-old son received a nude photo of his 16-year-old girlfriend from her via cell phone, your son could be charged with possession of child pornography in Texas? This behavior is called “sexting”, an increasingly common phenomenon that can have devastating consequences for teenagers and young adults.

Attorney James Sullivan aggressively defends teens and young adults accused of online solicitation of a minor, possession of child pornography and related sex crimes. Sullivan believes that one mistake should not ruin a teen’s life. His goal is to keep the charge from affecting your son or daughter’s future.

Fort Bend County Sexting Defense Lawyers

Sexting involves receiving or sending a sexually explicit photo of a child younger than 18 via a mobile phone.  Even if your adult son or daughter consented to the sexting, he or she could end up in jail and be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her life.  In addition to alerting the public about the sex offense, sex offender registration will impact your son or daughter’s ability to get a job, travel freely and to live in certain areas.

Sugar Land Online Solicitation Defense Lawyers

Online solicitation occurs when one knowingly solicits a minor (a person who represents himself or herself as younger than 17 years of age) for sex over the Internet. This can include social networking sites, chat rooms, e-mail and text messaging.  Even if your son or daughter were just role playing, engaging in a fantasy, did not intend for the meeting to occur, the meeting did not occur, he or she can be charged with a sex offense.

Aggressive Defense

Most people and even some grand jurors understand the difference between a teen making a bad decision by flirting through technology and an adult possessing child pornography.  However, if the teen is 18 years or older, Texas law does not distinguish the two.  Because your teen’s future is at stake, it is essential that you fight the charges.

James Sullivan & Associates | Fort Bend County Criminal Lawyers

NTL-top-100-member2James Sullivan attended the Trial Lawyers College founded by Legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.

Contact James Sullivan & Associates for a free initial consultation at 281-546-6428 about your online solicitation of a minor charges.