Posts Tagged ‘Criminal lawyer’


Unlawful Restraint

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Unlawful Restraint

Houston Violent Crime Attorneys

In the United States, people have the freedom to live and move about freely. Thus it is illegal to interfere with a person’s liberty against his or her will by restricting the person’s movements, by moving the person from one place to another or by confining the person. Because illegal restraint or confinement can leave long lasting psychological trauma on victims, the laws regarding unlawful restraint are strictly enforced by Texas law enforcement and prosecutors frequently seek severe punishment. If you have been charged with unlawful restraint, it is important that you contact an experienced violent crimes defense lawyer.

Houston Unlawful Restraint Attorneys

If you have been charged with unlawful restraint in the Greater Houston area, including Katy, Cypress, Jersey Village, Bellaire, Spring, Humble, Pasadena, Channelview, Conroe, The Woodlands, Hempstead, Richmond, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Pearland, Angleton, Friendswood and Galveston, you can contact the law offices of James G. Sullivan and Associates at (281) 546-6428 for a free phone consultation and case evaluation. They are experienced criminal trial lawyers who will fight for your rights, freedom and future.

What is Unlawful Restraint in Texas?

According to §20.02 of the Texas Penal Code, a person can be charged with unlawful restraint if he or she intentionally or knowingly restrains another person without consent by using force, intimidation, or deception. However, unlawful restraint can be done by any means, including acquiescence of the victim, if:

  • the victim is a child less than 14 years of age or an incompetent person and the parent, guardian, or person or institution acting in loco parentis has not acquiesced in the movement or confinement; or
  • the victim is a child between 14 years of age or older and younger than 17 years of age, the victim is taken outside of the state and outside a 120-mile radius from the victim’s residence, and the parent, guardian, or person or institution acting in loco parentis has not acquiesced in the movement.

In addition, there are affirmative defenses which might be used by the defense to get the charges dismissed.

Punishment for Unlawful Restraint in Harris County

Unlawful restraint is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, however it can be enhanced to a State Jail Felony if the victim was a child less than 17 years of age.

It can also be enhanced to a Third Degree felony if the offender recklessly exposes the victim to a substantial risk of serious bodily injury, the offender knowingly restrains an on duty public servant, or the offender while in custody restrains any other person.

According to Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code, a person charged with unlawful restraint can receive any of the following punishment and consequences if they are convicted of the offense:

  • A person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor can be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $4,000;
  • A person convicted of a State Jail felony can be sentenced between 180 days to 2 years in a state jail, and a fine of up to $10,000; and,
  • A person convicted of a Third Degree felony can be sentenced between 2 to 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.

Although the punishment for unlawful restraint is less severe than that of kidnapping, it is still a serious offense. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will provide effective and aggressive representation.

Unlawful Restraint Defense in Houston

If you have accused of unlawfully restraining someone in Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Waller County or Brazoria County, contact the law offices of James G. Sullivan and Associates. We are experienced defense lawyers in northwest Houston who will make every effort to help you receive the best outcome for your particular case.  Call (281) 546-6428 for a free phone consultation and case evaluation, the first step in providing you a strong defense.

Indecency with a Child | Houston Sex Crime Attorneys

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Indecency with a Child

A conviction for indecency with a child throughout Harris County and the surrounding counties can result in serious punishment and collateral consequences, such as:

  • a prison or jail sentence;
  • a criminal record;
  • an exclusion from certain jobs, occupations or professions;
  • an exclusion from admission into certain educational programs;
  • an inability to possess or own a firearm;
  • fines;
  • ineligible to vote or hold public office;
  • Public humiliation and scorn; and/or
  • a requirement to register as a sex offender for life.

The sex offense of indecency with a child can involve a number acts, including, but not limited to touching, fondling, exposure of genitals, child abuse, rape, sexual assault, molestation, child pornography and child prostitution.

If you are under investigation for or are accused of indecency with a child, it is important to hire legal counsel before discussing the allegations with a CPS caseworker or a law enforcement investigator. Having legal representation could mean the difference between criminal charges being filed, a case dismissal or even a conviction.

In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must first prove you committed every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This burden of proof is difficult to establish. If the judge or jury has any doubt you committed every element of the offense, the charges against you may be reduced or even dismissed altogether. Therefore, it is imperative to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to help you begin developing the best defense for your specific situation.

Houston Indecency with a Child Attorney

If you have been charged with indecency with a child in the Greater Houston area, including Katy, Cypress, Jersey Village, Bellaire, Spring, Humble, Pasadena, Channelview, Conroe, The Woodlands, Hempstead, Richmond, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Pearland, Angleton, Friendswood and Galveston, you can call (281) 546-6428 for a free consultation and case evaluation. Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced criminal trial lawyer who will fight for your rights, freedom and future.

What is Indecency with a Child in Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code § 21.11(a)(1), a person can be charged with indecency with a child by contact if they participate in any sexual contact with a child under the age of 17, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex. A person can also be charged with this offense if they cause a child under the age of 17 to engage in sexual contact.

According to Texas Penal Code § 21.11(c), sexual contact is defined as engaging in any of the following forms of conduct with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desires of any person:

  • any touching by a person, including touching through clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child; or,
  • any touching of any part of the body of a child, including touching through clothing, with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a person.

According to the Texas Penal Code § 21.11(a)(2), a person can be charged with indecency with a child by exposure if they commit any of the following acts with a child under the age of 17 with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:

  • exposes the person’s anus or any part of the person’s genitals, knowing the child is present; or
  • causes the child to expose the child’s anus or any part of their anus or genitals.

Punishment for Indecency with a Child in Harris County

According to Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code, a person charged with indecency with a child can receive any of the following punishment and consequences if they are convicted of the offense:

  • A person charged with indecency with a child involving sexual contact can be convicted of a felony of the second degree, which is generally punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years.
  • A person charged with indecency with a child involving exposure can be convicted of a felony of the third degree, which is generally punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence ranging from two to 10 years.

James G. Sullivan and Associates | Harris County Indecency with a Child Lawyers

If you or your loved one are being investigated or were already arrested for allegedly committing indecency with a child in the Greater Houston area, you should immediately retain experienced legal counsel. James G. Sullivan and Associates can help determine your best possible defense and fight to obtain the most favorable result.

Our Houston criminal defense lawyers represent clients accused of sex crimes all over Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Waller County, Brazoria County and Galveston County. Call (281) 546-6428 for a free and confidential consultation.

Houston Domestic Abuse and Family Violence Defense Lawyers

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Harris County Domestic Assault Lawyers

Most couples learn to resolve their differences or even end their relationships without resorting to domestic abuse or family violence. Sometimes, however, even good people gets so stressed out and feel so overwhelmed that they lose it even for a moment and strike out at their partner or another family member in a physical way.

The attorneys of James Sullivan & Associates, located in northwest Houston, are experienced in defending individuals in family violence and dating violence cases. You can contact the firm and have a free telephone consultation with a trial attorney.  Call 281-546-6428 to get the information you need to move forward.

Convictions for Family or Dating Violence Have Severe Consequences

Depending on the circumstances, the prosecutors can charge Assault Family Violence either as a:

A Class A Misdemeanor Assault means that a person caused bodily injury (or pain) to their partner. If the person used a deadly weapon in the domestic assault, then it is a Felony Aggravated Assault. If the person choked their partner or impeded their breathing, then it is also a Felony. No matter the level of the criminal offense charged, you can expect the court to order you out of your home and have no contact until the case is resolved with your partner, spouse or family member.

Consequences for those who are found guilty of assault family violence may include:

  • Jail or prison time
  • Community Supervision (Probation)
  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Inability to own or purchase a firearm
  • Protective orders and limitations on parenting time
  • Anger management or BIPP counseling

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has a Family Criminal Law Division that focuses solely on domestic violence. The prosecutors immediately call the alleged victim to get their statement as to what happened. The prosecutors lock in the emotional stress of the event by obtaining their immediate statement. However, facts tend to change and the importance of the incident significantly lessens frequently after a short cooling off time.

Arrested for Assault Family Violence? Contact James Sullivan & Associates at 281-546-6428.

Defending a Houston Assault Family Violence Charge

Assault against a family member is very serious and can have far reaching consequences. The accused may be permanently barred from working in certain industries. The accused may be denied housing in apartment complexes. If you are charged with assault family violence, you should seek legal advice from experienced criminal defense lawyers.

The defense lawyers of James Sullivan & Associates fight to get their client’s assault family violence charges dismissed or won at trial. Other domestic assault lawyers may choose to arrange a plea bargain for their clients; however, this may not be in the client’s best interest. While it is true that a defendant who successfully completes a deferred adjudication probation will not have a conviction on their record, it is also true that if that person ever gets arrested again for assault family violence then he or she will be charged with a third degree felony and if found guilty could be sentenced to between 2 to 10 years in prison.

Negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors should be the last resort. A good domestic assault lawyer will first investigate the case, interview witnesses, analyze physical evidence and review witness statements in the offense report for inconsistencies. Such a defense attorney will also consider possible motives for making false allegations, such as jealousy, revenge or child custody issues. Even in cases of actual physical injury, it may be possible for an good defense attorney to negotiate a case dismissal with completion of a counseling program.

Need Legal Advice?  Call James Sullivan & Associates at 281-546-6428.

Contact a Houston Assault Family Violence Lawyer

The best way to resolve the case is by first talking with an Assault Family Violence Attorney. Houston Criminal Lawyer James Sullivan will consider the merits of your case and give you an honest evaluation. He will aggressively defend you. He gets results and fights cases at trial. His legal fees are affordable, reasonable and fair.

James Sullivan graduated from the Trial Lawyers College founded by legendary lawyer Gerry Spence. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas. This is one of his many client reviews on AVVO:

I must say Mr Sullivan is a man of his word. I have a pretty long record so when I had got arrested for Aggravated assault on a family member for my 3rd time, I seriously believed that there was NO hope, but I was wrong. Mr Sullivan made sure to make my case a top priority and reassured me that everything would be just fine when I had my doubts, due to my past convictions. My ex girlfriend tried to assault me with a broken wine bottle when i kept telling her i no longer wanted to be with her but when I kept attempting to keep the glass from cutting either one if us, she accidentally got hurt in the process. I helped her clean her wound but I asked her to leave as I felt that night had already brought too much drama, and she was highly intoxicated and persistent about gettin aggressive if I didn’t take her back. A month later a warrant was issued for my arrest and I got picked up by the police at my home one morning. I’m forever grateful that I found out about the warrant right before I got arrested because I read about Mr. Sullivan on Google and I decided that he was the man that I wanted to handle my case. My punishment ranges from 2-20 years and I knew for sure with my long record and the seriousness of that crime that the d.a wouldn’t offer me the minimum. Mr Sullivan was very down to earth and really cared about gettin this case dismissed for me so that I could get back in school and continue my life as a productive member of society. Several weeks passed because the prosecutor kept delaying the process, and I started to get a bit discouraged but Mr. Sullivan’s confidence and reassurance about my case and all of the evidence he gathered for me helped me so much. Sure enough everything he told me that he would do, he did. He got my case dismissed and I’m back in school just like he said to me. Thank you so much Mr. Sullivan, you’re truly a blessing and I don’t know what I would’ve done without you 🙂

–Posted by Andrea. on November 8, 2015

Contact James Sullivan & Associates for a free phone consultation at 281-546-6428 about your family violence charges in Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, and Brazoria County.

Certainly each case is different. Similar results may not be obtained in your case and past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Cases dismissed (no billed) by the Grand Jury were based upon James Sullivan’s written defense packet.

CRIMINAL OFFENSEACTUAL RESULTS - FAMILY VIOLENCE CASESCT #
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER in Fort Bend CountyCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client was accused of threatening her mother with a knife)268th
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client was accused of slashing her ex-girlfriend's face. A witness at the scene supported client's version that her ex-girlfriend attacked her first with a broken wine bottle and cut her wrist and that her ex-girlfriend was accidentally injured in a struggle over the bottle)180th
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of trying to run her baby's daddy over with her Jeep and with their young son on the front passenger seat and in view of two nearby independent witnesses. In reality, he threw his bicycle in front of her Jeep to cause her to come to a screeching halt and then cursed at her. After she drove off, he lied to the witnesses about what happened)180th
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client shot his brother in the side after his brother stabbed him in the arm. The client's brother was high on synthetic marihuana)248th
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of threatening his girlfriend with a knife and inflicting a serious wound on the back of her head)177th
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of intentionally trying to drive into and strike his girlfriend)183rd
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client was accused of throwing a 12 lb glass trophy at his father and hitting him in the back)178th
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERPSI HEARING: RECEIVED DEFERRED ADJUDICATION PROBATION (Client with mental illness stabbed his girlfriend in the arm and upper back. State only offered prison time)174th
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERCASE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR DEADLY CONDUCT with 30 days of actual jail time (Client accused of ramming his car into his girlfriend's car with her in it)230th
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERJURY TRIAL SETTING: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT (Client was accused of stabbing her boyfriend with a knife)232nd
ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE 2nd OFFENDERCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of hitting wife multiple times after both had been drinking. As a felony habitual, client faced 25 years to Life in prison)174th
ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE 2nd OFFENDERCASE DISMISSED (Client accused of hitting his girlfriend. As a felony habitual, client faced 25 years to Life in prison)176th
ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE 2nd OFFENDERCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client was accused of abusing his 15 year old daughter even though he used reasonable discipline against her. She was being rebellious and he spanked her with a belt to discipline her)208th
ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE 2nd OFFENDERJURY TRIAL SETTING: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT (Client was accused of hitting his girlfriend. As a felony habitual, client faced 25 years to Life in prison)338th
ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE 2nd OFFENDERREDUCED TO CLASS A MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT with jail time already served (3 days)(Client had 2 previous Assault family violence convictions involving a different complainant. Client accused of injuring his wife's neck)182nd
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER BY IMPEDING BREATHINGCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client was accused of choking his wife during an argument)180th
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER BY IMPEDING BREATHINGCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client was accused of choking his wife during a physical altercation in which the client was slapped and scratched)351st
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER BY IMPEDING BREATHINGCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of suffocating his wife with a pillow)263rd
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER BY IMPEDING BREATHINGCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of choking his immigrant wife, however she actually attacked him and tried to goad him into hitting her. When he refused, she called 911. He believes she did this so she could then claim she was a battered spouse under mmigration law and petition to stay in the U.S. after a divorce)182nd
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER BY IMPEDING BREATHINGREDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT with two years of defeferred adjudication probation (Client accused of choking his wife and was facing 2-20 years in prison as a family violence second offender)263rd
ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE BY IMPEDING BREATHINGJURY TRIAL SETTING: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT conviction with jail time already served (two days). Best offer prior to trial was 4 years in prison (Client accused of choking his wife and breaking one of her ribs)178th
ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE BY IMPEDING BREATHINGJURY TRIAL SETTING: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT with one year of defeferred adjudication probation (Client accused of choking his wife)179th
ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE BY IMPEDING BREATHINGCASE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT with jail time already served (6 days) (Client was accused of choking his spouse)351st
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER BY IMPEDING BREATHINGCASE REDUCED TO MISDMEANOR ASSAULT by reckless conduct with 1 year of deferred adjudication probation at trial setting (Client was accused of choking his spouse)339th
CONTINUOUS ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE in Montgomery CountyREDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT with one year of deferred adjudication probation and no finding of family violence (Client accused of hitting his wife on two different days of the same week)221st
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERJURY TRIAL SETTING: CASE DISMISSED BY STATE (Client slapped his adult daughter after she cursed him to his face)8
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERJURY TRIAL SETTING: CASE DISMISSED BY STATE (Client allegedly committed an assault against her spouse)7
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERJURY TRIAL SETTING: CASE DISMISSED BY STATE (Client was falsely accused of assault by his girlfriend)6
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERJURY TRIAL SETTING: CASE DISMISSED BY STATE (Client was falsely accused of assault by his wife in order for her to justify an emergency job transfer back to her hometown)13
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERCASE DISMISSED (Client was accused of injuring his girlfriend at the time they had a heated argument and broke up)4
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERCASE DISMISSED (Client was accused of his injuring his pregnant wife. Prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case after some marital counseling)6
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERCASE DISMISSED (Client was accused of hitting his adult son after his son stole his work truck to buy drugs)5
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER in Montgomery CountyCASE DISMISSED (Client allegedly attacked her husband. When Sullivan was going to set the case for a jury trial at the first setting, the State agreed to dismiss the case after some brief counseling that did not involve the BIPP program)2
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER in Montgomery CountyCASE DISMISSED (Client allegedly attacked his girlfriend. When Sullivan was going to set the case for a jury trial at the first setting, the State agreed to dismiss the case after some brief counseling that did not involve the BIPP program)2
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER in Waller CountyCASE DISMISSED (Client was accused of injuring ex-wife after divorce was final. Client insisted he was innocent. State dismissed the case in the interests of justice)County Court
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER in Liberty CountyCASE DISMISSED (Client was accused of hitting his spouse)County Court
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER BY IMPEDING BREATHINGCASE REDUCED TO MISDMEANOR ASSAULT with 4 weekends of work instead of jail time. Client accused of choking his girlfriend. She then went to get her gun and they fought over the weapon until he could remove it from the house. Client served prison time in another state and could have faced 25 years to life in prison.230th

Houston Autism and Special Needs Defense in Texas Criminal and Juvenile Courts

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Autism Defense Lawyers | Special Needs Criminal Defense Attorneys

In Texas, the criminal justice system far too often involves itself and arrests adults and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including Asperger’s Syndrome which is now classified as part of ASD, and other special needs disabilities. Unfortunately, many police officers and teachers lack the training and education to understand and to handle individuals with special needs in a calm and peaceful manner. A special needs individual might behave in a certain way that they cannot control, however a police officer or witness may perceive that behavior as intentionally dangerous or aggressive.

The Texas criminal justice system is set into motion once someone calls the police, and friends and parents have minimal control. Law enforcement agencies investigate the incident and report their version of the facts to the District attorney who makes the decision whether to charge an individual with an offense, either misdemeanor or felony. Sadly, this happens frequently in Texas—autistic or otherwise special needs individuals are charged with a crime for behavior that was simply misunderstood and not criminal in nature at all. Even when the alleged victim (who is frequently a family member or parent) does not want to press charges, the District attorney may still go forward with the charges.

Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers with Firsthand Understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Asperger’s syndrome runs in the family of one of our attorneys. As a result, our defense firm has firsthand, special knowledge of how adults and children are impacted by autism and other special needs. Further, we have represented many autistic adults and children who have been charged with various offenses, including family violence and sexual offenses. On cases involving special needs clients, we have a high success rate in obtaining dismissals throughout southeast Texas.

The consequences of a charge or conviction in the criminal or juvenile justice systems can significantly impact an individual’s life and future. It is critical to have a defense lawyer with trial experience in the Texas criminal and juvenile justice systems and who also understands how disabilities affect a person’s behavior. Criminal and juvenile cases can be resolved in different ways, including pretrial diversion program, deferred adjudication, deferred prosecution, probation, jury trial and dismissal. In order to properly represent an adult or juvenile client, we spend time with him or her and even their family in order to understand their disability and how it affected their behavior in the matter at hand. We will then use that knowledge and understanding to aggressively defend them in court.

Free Consultation with a Harris County Special Needs Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, or another special needs disability, and have been charged with a crime or delinquency, contact Houston criminal defense attorney James Sullivan for a free consultation at (281) 546-6428. Our office is in northwest Houston near Jones Road and FM 1960, and we regularly defend criminal and juvenile clients throughout southeast Texas, including Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Waller, Brazoria and Galveston Counties.

Client Reviews

Our son has a history of well documented mental health issues from medical professionals. Sullivan is very familiar with the mental health issue [Asperger’s syndrome] and how it impacts our son. He thought outside the box and used that knowledge to our son’s advantage which seemed to be an impossible situation given the fact that my son had previously participated in a pretrial diversion program for a marijuana case.  ~Eugene, 03/15/2017 (Avvo)

Based on his intuition and observation, Mr. Sullivan suggested that our son exhibited characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism, and that could explain his inability to pass a polygraph. We were a little skeptical at first, but had him tested, and our son was indeed diagnosed with Asperger’s, a part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder.  ~Montgomery County Client, 06/06/2016 (Avvo)

In May 2013, we learned that our 16 year old son had been accused by his nephew of sexually assaulting him… Sullivan came out to our home and spent several hours getting to know us, our son and the details of the case. Our son is a gifted musician, has Asperger’s Syndrome, is kind and follows rules. There is no way our son would abuse his cousin or anyone else… Within three weeks, Sullivan called us with the news that the prosecutor had dismissed the charges.  ~Montgomery County Client, 11/26/2013 (Avvo)

Our 17 year old son who was falsely accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child. My son, my husband and I are truly grateful for your kindness, expertise, hard work and dedication to his case. Our son has Asperger’s syndrome (autism spectrum disorder), ADHD and other learning disabilities… I searched the internet and found our angel, Attorney Jim Sullivan. I didn’t know that criminal lawyers had autistic specialties. I read the reviews. I instantly knew that he was it… We met with him the next day. He was amazing.  He truly understood Jade and listened to everything we had to say. He was so kind. His fees were reasonable and he truly, truly cared about our son and freeing him from this nightmare. I believe he put his whole heart into it as if my son was a part of his family. Jim is a unique man and lawyer. He was always there and always had a very quick, if not immediate response, when contacting him. We only had to go to one court one time… Jim Sullivan and his associate Nancy Botts prepared a very thorough defense packet. In mid-April 2017, our case went to the grand jury. That afternoon we got a call from Jim saying his case was no billed (dismissed)… Jim always knew that our son was innocent and although this was an extremely difficult case, Jim did it. He freed our son of this horrific crime, gave him his life back, and freed him of his father for good. I have dealt with other lawyers. There is no one out there like this man. Look no further. Call Jim Sullivan. ~Mother of Galveston County client, 07/18/2017 (Google review)

 

Arrested for Spanking Your Child? Houston Criminal Lawyer James Sullivan Can Defend You

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Spanking Your Children is Legal in Texas

Spanking as a form of corporal punishment to discipline children has been used since ancient times and continues to be used as an effective method by parents to raise children into healthy, productive adults.

Texas is among the Bible Belt states of the American South, so it is no wonder then that most people continue to live by the well-known saying “spare the rod or spoil the child” based on Proverbs 13:24 – Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Corporal punishment is also still legal in Texas schools. In fact, parents must sign forms at the beginning of each school year if they don’t want their kids to be paddled. According to the most recent records available, in 2011-2012, more than 4 out of 10 Texas school districts struck unruly students, often with a wooden paddle.

Texas law even gives the parent the duty of reasonable discipline of their child.  The spanking of children as a form of reasonable discipline is legal, but there are limits.

Punishment for Child Abuse

When corporal punishment crosses the line, CPS considers it to be child abuse. If the child is under the age of 15, the alleged abuser can be charged with Injury to a Child, a Third Degree Felony, which carries a range of punishment from 2 to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  If the child is 16 or 17, the alleged abuser can be charged with Assault on a Family Member, a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries a range of punishment of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

When does corporal punishment cross the line? The brief answer is when it causes a physical injury that results in substantial harm but before we address this issue of substantial harm let’s first review the relevant law.

Texas Law on Reasonable Discipline of the Child

The Texas Family Code (TFC) in Section 151 states that a parent has the duty of reasonable discipline of the child.

Furthermore, TFC Section 151.003 states that “a state agency [such as CPS] may not adopt rules or policies or take any other action that violates the fundamental right and duty of a parent to direct the upbringing of the parent’s child.”

So, does spanking a child fall under a parent’s duty of “reasonable discipline”? Of course, it does. The law explicitly allows for corporal punishment (such as spanking) and only limits the people who can administer it.

TFC Section 151.001(e) states that corporal punishment for the reasonable discipline of a child may be used but only by a parent or grandparent of the child; a stepparent of the child who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of the child; and an individual who is a guardian of the child and who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of the child.

TFC Section 261.001 defines abuse of a child, in part, as physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, excluding reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm.

The Texas Penal Code may also provide a legal defense if you are charged with Injury to a Child or Assault on a Family Member. Specifically, Section 9.61 states that the use of force, but not deadly force, against a child younger than 18 is justified:

  • if the actor is the child’s parent or stepparent or is acting in loco parentis to the child; and
  • when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is necessary to discipline the child or to safeguard or promote his welfare.
  • For purposes of this section, “in loco parentis” includes grandparent and guardian, any person acting by, through, or under the direction of a court with jurisdiction over the child, and anyone who has express or implied consent of the parent or parents.

These two codes both address reasonable discipline but in different ways.  The Family Code allows corporal punishment (such as spanking) that does not cause substantial harm.  The Penal Code allows force, but not deadly force.  The meaning of deadly force is obvious, the meaning of force that is not deadly is vague, so what about substantial harm?

According to Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Rule Section 700.455, substantial harm, in part, means real and significant physical injury or damage to a child that includes but is not limited to any of the following:

  • substantial or frequent skin bruising;
  • substantial cuts, welts, lacerations, or pinch marks;
  • skull or other bone fractures;
  • damage to cartilage;
  • brain damage;
  • subdural hematoma;
  • soft tissue swelling;
  • impairment of or injury to any bodily organ or function;
  • any other internal injury otherwise not specified;
  • permanent or temporary disfigurement;
  • burns;
  • scalds;
  • wounds, including puncture wounds;
  • bite marks;
  • poisoning;
  • concussions;
  • dislocations;
  • sprains;
  • or any other cruel act that causes pain or suffering to the child.

The same TAC section defines “reasonable discipline” as:

discipline that is reasonable in manner and moderate in degree; does not constitute cruelty, reckless behavior, or grossly negligent behavior; and is administered for purposes of restraining or correcting the child. It shall not include an act that is likely to cause or causes injury more serious than transient pain or minor temporary marks. The age, size, and condition of the child; the location of the injury; and the frequency or recurrence of injuries shall be considered when determining whether the discipline is reasonable and moderate.

This issue of spanking children, using corporal punishment and the exercising of a parent’s duty of reasonable discipline of the child is controversial among many far left liberals, but is considered part of the cultural norm in Texas.  Unfortunately, CPS is known to make referrals to law enforcement for a minimal injury (such as a slight bruise) that a child may sustain when he or she is spanked or paddled by a loving parent who cares about their character development and future. And, worse, many CPS agents and judges share the opinion that a single bruise anywhere on the child’s body constitutes child abuse. And, because this is an opinion crime in which reasonable minds may disagree, it is important to find an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney.

James G. Sullivan and Associates | Houston Injury to a Child Defense

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 parents accused of Injury to a Child or Assault of a Family Member because they used corporal punishment as a means of reasonable discipline of their children.  Sullivan has worked to get four such cases dismissed by the grand jury.

Contact James Sullivan & Associates for a free phone consultation at (281) 546-6428 about your allegations of child abuse in the areas of Harris County (Houston), Montgomery County (Conroe), Fort Bend County (Richmond), Brazoria County (Angleton), Matagorda County (Bay City),  Waller County (Hempstead), Washington County (Brenham), Liberty County (Liberty), and Chambers County (Anahuac).

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

CRIMINAL OFFENSERESULTCASE #
ALL CASES DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY OR THE STATE WERE BASED ON DEFENSE PACKETS
INJURY TO A CHILD (3° Felony)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client used reasonable discipline against her 9 year old daughter and was accused of abusing her)1522880
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER enhanced with a prior Assault FM case (3° Felony)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client used reasonable discipline against his 15 year old daughter and was accused of abusing her. She was being rebellious and he spanked her with a belt to discipline her)1459744
INJURY TO A CHILD (3° Felony)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client, an officer in law enforcement, used reasonable discipline against his teenage daughter and was accused of abusing her)CASE NOT YET FILED
INJURY TO A CHILD (3° Felony) IN MATAGORDA COUNTYNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client used reasonable discipline against her 10 year son and was accused of abusing him. She accidentally slapped him on his side when he was resisting the hand spanking)CASE NOT YET FILED

This is one of Sullivan’s many reviews on AVVO:

Excellent Attorney with proven results

Being arrested for the first time, I wasn’t sure who to turn to for help. Long story short, I did something that I shouldn’t have, spanked me daughter with an umbrella. I was under a lot of stress and it didn’t help that her behavior was drastically changing for the worst. The next day I was questioned by the police. I waived my rights and told the police of the incident. Consequently, I was charged with a felony, Injury to a child.

I was new to Houston and I had no family or close friends. Not knowing any better I first hired the worst attorney in Houston. It was the worst experience EVER. The first meeting went well. He said that he had worked with the prosecutor, he knew the judge personally and that he has dealt with similar cases recently. I paid him the full retainer fee. I felt that I was in good hands until we spoke the next day. His tone, demeanor and attitude had changed. I believe his intentions were to have me indicted then charge me thousands of dollars to attempt to get me probation. He didn’t even consider presenting the case to the Grand Jury. I felt frustrated, hopeless and stuck.

After speaking to my husband we decided to hire another lawyer. After doing hours of research we agreed to speak to attorney Jim Sullivan, and boy we are glad we did! He was very knowledgeable, straightforward and caring. He offers free consultations and his charges are reasonable. Our first 2 conversations lasted about 30-45 mins. I explained everything that happened in detail, he helped me understand the law and spoke about his previous cases. I felt a sense of relief when we ended our conversations. Unlike the previous attorney we had hired, Mr. Sullivan knew what he was doing. Mr. Sullivan told us that we would need to prepare a Grand Jury packet, he explained the process and told me exactly what he needed. Two weeks after submitting the packet to the Grand Jury, my case was dismissed!!!!!!!

There are MANY things that I liked about Mr. Sullivan; he’s the person who picks up when you call (not a receptionist), he is flexible, he accepts payments plans, he is honest, he responds to calls/text within hours, he listens without interrupting, he works outside regular business hours (weekends, after 6p), he treats you like you are his priority and he is very caring. The only thing that I didn’t like about this experience was the fact that I didn’t find him sooner. I would definitely recommend Mr. Sullivan to family and friends.

–Posted by Abbie on December 19, 2016

Deadly Conduct | Houston Criminal Lawyer James Sullivan Fights for his Clients

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Deadly Conduct

Deadly conduct is a serious offense in Houston.  Whether or not a weapon is involved, Texas takes these cases very seriously.  Deadly conduct can be charged as a Class A Misdemeanor or a Third Degree Felony depending on the circumstances.  A conviction for a felony deadly conduct can result in severe penalties, 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. Because your future is at stake, a plea bargain may not be the best choice for you.

It is important to hire an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer because criminal charges for deadly conduct 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 misdemeanor or 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.  Also, depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be more effective options than going to trial such as a pretrial intervention agreement or deferred adjudication probation.  Either way, it is vital to contact an experienced criminal attorney in Houston who will fight for you.

Houston Deadly Conduct Defense Lawyers

If you have been charged with committing the criminal offense of deadly conduct in Harris County or any of the surrounding counties in Texas, contact the law offices of James G. Sullivan and Associates.  With over 20 years of defense trial experience, Sullivan’s legal team will fight for you and use every legal strategy possible to get the best result.  Call 281-546-6428 for a free phone consultation.

Deadly Conduct

According to Section 22.05 of the Texas Penal Code, there are several ways to commit deadly conduct.  The conduct charged is essentially recklessness and with a primary focus on firearms.   Deadly conduct is committed by:

  • Recklessly engages in conduct that places another person in imminent danger of serious bodily injury
  • Knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of:
    • one or more individuals, or
    • a house, building or car and is reckless as to whether or not it is occupied.

Recklessness and danger are presumed if the person knowingly pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another whether or not the person believed the firearm to be loaded.

Some road rage behavior could be charged as deadly misconduct.  For example, if a driver speeds through rush hour traffic, quickly changing lanes, cutting off other drivers or maneuvering on and off the emergency lane, he places other drivers in danger of serious bodily injury because his reckless actions could cause a motor vehicle accident or collision.

Serious Bodily Injury

According to Section 1.07 of the Texas Penal Code, serious bodily injury means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

Recklessness

According to Section 6.03 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits a reckless act, not necessarily intending to harm another, but without regard for the result.  If a person is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a likely result will occur, he or she acts recklessly.

For example, discharging a firearm at a street sign when there is a house directly behind it and in the line of fire, without intending to injure anyone, is reckless because the person is disregarding the risk that the house is occupied and a person inside could be seriously injured.  In fact, Sullivan successfully defended a juvenile at a jury trial charged with deadly conduct under these circumstances.

Punishment for Deadly Conduct Charges in Harris County

The punishment for this offense varies depending on whether a firearm was involved.  Deadly conduct is charged as a Third Degree Felony when a firearm is involved and as a Class A Misdemeanor when a firearm is not involved.

Deadly conduct conviction as a Class A Misdemeanor could result in:

  • a fine up to $4,000
  • confinement in jail for up to one year and/or probation
  • a criminal record available to the public
  • a driver’s license suspension
  • prevented from pursuing certain careers
  • participation in a pre-trial diversion program
  • restitution, reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime

Deadly conduct conviction as a Third-Degree Felony could result in:

  • a fine up $10,000
  • imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or probation
  • a felony criminal record available to the public
  • prevented from pursuing certain careers
  • prevented from receiving certain kinds of governmental assistance
  • prevented from owning or possessing a firearm
  • prevented from voting or holding public office
  • participation in a pre-trial diversion program
  • restitution, reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime

In addition to this punishment, the stigma of a conviction or subsequent jail or prison time for deadly conduct carries negative social consequences.  However, a conviction may not have to happen and that is why it is important to discuss your options with an experienced Harris County deadly conduct lawyer.

You can be charged by the state with deadly conduct for any action that could imminently cause serious harm to another person.  Because the kinds of actions and circumstances are so broad, there are just as many possible defenses.  If you have been charged with deadly conduct in Harris County, or the surrounding areas, protect your rights, freedom and future.

Trust your case to an experienced Houston firm that is dedicated to fighting for the best outcome. Call the law offices of James G. Sullivan and Associates at 281-546-6428 for a free phone consultation.

James G. Sullivan and Associates | Harris County Deadly Conduct Attorneys

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 initial phone consultation at 281-546-6428 about your aggravated assault 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.

Aggravated Robbery | Waller County Criminal Lawyers

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Hempstead, Texas Aggravated Robbery Lawyer

Waller County Robbery Defense Attorney

Robbery itself is a serious felony that occurs when you injure someone or threaten to injure or kill someone while in the course of committing theft (Texas Penal Code §29.02). If convicted of robbery, you face 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Aggravated robbery is more serious and the penalties more severe. If convicted of aggravated robbery, you face 5 to 99 years or life in prison and a fine up to $10,000 (Texas Penal Code §29.03).

Robbery cases are complex and the penalties are severe. It is important to retain a Waller County criminal lawyer with the experience in defending these cases. Attorney James Sullivan has fought aggravated robbery cases at trial and has also been successful in persuading prosecutors to dismiss robbery cases. Sullivan also has experience in getting several such cases no billed (dismissed) by the grand jury. These no billed cases are eligible for immediate expunction. Of course, each case is different and the results depend on the unique facts and circumstances of each case.

The Waller County criminal trial lawyers at the Law Office of James G. Sullivan and Associates have over 45 combined years of defending felony and misdemeanor cases at trial. They are dedicated to obtaining the best result for their clients either through litigation or negotiation.

Waller County Aggravated Robbery Lawyer

Fighting for Your Rights, Freedom and Future

A robbery becomes aggravated robbery when a knife, gun or other deadly weapon is used, or when you cause serious bodily injury to another. Other factors that can increase the robbery to an aggravated robbery involve the age or disability of the alleged victim.

At the Law Office of James Sullivan & Associates, we know what is at risk when our clients face aggravated robbery charges. Our job is to fight for your rights, freedom and future. Attorney James Sullivan has been fighting felony and misdemeanor charges at trial since 1994, and we will use our extensive experience to get you the best possible result.

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 initial consultation at (281) 546-6428 about your robbery 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.

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

CASEFACTSRESULT
Aggravated Robbery (2 separate cases)Sullivan represented a 25 year old man accused of 2 separate armed robberies, including a home invasion across the street from the South Houston Police Department. The chief of police and another police officer testified in trial that they positively identified Sullivan's client as one of the three armed robbers who fled on foot from the scene. The police initially suspected Sullivan's client because his vehicle was left behind at the scene. After the jury returned a not guilty verdict in the first case, the prosecutor dismissed a second prior aggravated robbery charge. If convicted of either robbery case, the accused faced 25 years to life in prison. Sullivan then represented his client at a parole revocation hearing and his client was kept on parole.Not guilty
Aggravated RobberyClient accused of being the driver in an aggravated robbery.No billed
Aggravated RobberyClient accused of trying to rob a man in his apartment complex.No billed
Aggravated RobberyClient accused of using a firearm to rob several restaurant patrons of their cell phones after firing a round into the ceiling.No billed
Aggravated RobberyClient accused of robbing a restaurant with a handgun.No billed
Aggravated RobberyClient accused of robbing another man in the street. State reduced case to misdemeanor theft and granted deferred adjudication.Reduced to misdemeanor Theft
Aggravated RobberyREDUCED TO ROBBERY with 7 years TDC (Client was charged with 2 aggravated robberies and allegedly committed 12 separate robberies of drug stores in a 2 month period)177th
Aggravated RobberyREDUCED TO AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AT PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE SETTING (Client allegedly struck a teenager in the face with a rifle and stole his cell phone)209th
Aggravated Robbery5 YEARS OF DEFERRED ADJUDICATION (19 year old carjacked a Lexus from a woman using a tire iron)339th
Aggravated Robbery (2 Cases)3 YEARS OF DETERMINATE PROBATION AT HOME (16 year old client drove 2 guys on a crime spree--robbing several people at knifepoint in a short period of time. One guy got away and the other who was 17 received 3 years at TDC on a reduced aggravated assault charge)315th
RobberyREDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT ON JURY TRIAL SETTING (Client accused of stealing cell phone after attacking his girlfriend)(State only offered 4 years in prison before trial) Case # 1306891339th
Theft from a PersonREDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR THEFT and granted 2 years DADJ337th
RobberyREDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT313th
RobberyCASE DISMISSED232nd
RobberyREDUCED TO THEFT FROM A PERSON (State Jail Felony)232nd
Robbery (4 separate cases) (Felony Habitual enhanced)SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS TDC ON JURY TRIAL SETTING (Client was facing 25 years to Life in prison. Client was accused of committing 4 separate robberies within 24 hours of being released from prison. Client still had 10 years left on his parole, so for him a 10 year concurrent sentence was an extraordinary result)179th
Aggravated Robbery (2 cases) (1 case dismissed)CASE REDUCED TO AGGRAVATED ASSAULT and client received deferred adjudication probation177th
RobberyCASE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR THEFT179th

Injury to a Child | Waller County Child Abuse Defense Lawyers

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Waller County Child Abuse Defense Law

Parents, family members, guardians or caretakers of children are often alarmed or stunned that they are accused of child abuse or neglect in the Greater Houston area. Because of reporting requirements in Texas, law enforcement officers usually will investigate almost all reports of discipline or physical abuse, including slapping, hitting, spanking, kicking, beating, broken bones or any welts, bruises or marks on the child.

Although bruises and marks alone are insufficient evidence for a child abuse conviction, allegations of child neglect or abuse can result in serious consequences if the alleged abuser is convicted or placed on probation, including jail time, fines, irreparable harm to reputation, humiliation, loss of parental rights and/or a permanent criminal record.

Contact James Sullivan & Associates for a consultation at (281) 546-6428 about your allegations of child abuse or child neglect.

Charges or accusations of child neglect or abuse do not have to result in a criminal conviction. To do so, each and every element of the offense has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt by the state prosecutor.   This burden of proof is very high and the State often has difficult in meeting it. If the jury has a reasonable doubt you committed every element of the offense, you will be found not guilty. If the State does not believe they can prove their case at trial, the State may offer to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor or even dismiss the charges outright. Therefore, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced criminal trial lawyer in the Greater Houston area who will investigate your case and suggest the best legal strategy to defend you.

Hempstead, Texas Child Abuse Lawyer

Contact James Sullivan & Associates for a consultation at (281) 546-6428 about your allegations of child abuse or child neglect.

What is Child Abuse in Waller County?

Texas law defines abuse under Texas Family Code §261.001(1) as any of the following acts or omissions:

Mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning;

Allowing a child to be in a situation where the child receives mental or emotional injury;

Physical injury or threat of substantial harm to the child;

Failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent the acts of another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child;

Sexual conduct harmful to a child’s emotional, mental or physical welfare including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children (Texas Penal Code §21.02), indecency with a child (TPC § 21.11) sexual assault (TPC §22.011) or aggravated sexual assault (TPC § 22.021);

Failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child;

Compelling or encouraging a child to engage in sexual conduct such as prostitution or pornography;

Using a controlled substance by a person in a way that the use results in mental, emotional or physical injury to a child;

Causing, allowing or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance; and/or

Causing, allowing, encouraging, or engaging in a sexual performance by a child (TPC § 43.25).

What is Child Neglect in Waller County?

Neglect is defined by TFC §261.001(4) as:

Leaving a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child, and the demonstration of an intent not to return by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator of the child;

Placing a child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or a substantial risk of immediate harm or harmful sexual conduct;

The failure to seek medical care for a child that results in a substantial risk of death, disfigurement or bodily injury or with the failure resulting in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child; and/or

The failure to provide a child with food, clothing or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child, excluding failure caused primarily by financial inability unless relief services had been offered and refused.

Hempstead Child Abuse Crimes

According to TPC § 22.04, an individual can be charged with child abuse, injury to a child or child neglect if they intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence cause a child:

Serious bodily injury,

Serious mental deficiency, impairment or injury, or

Bodily injury.

An individual can also be charged with child abuse if they fail to act on behalf of or care for a child the alleged offender had a legal or statutory duty to act on behalf of or if they have assumed care for the child, such as parent or an owner of or an employee of a child day care.

Texas law defines as a child as anyone 14 years of age or younger, according to TPC § 22.04(c)(1).

Bodily injury is defined as any physical pain, illness or impairment of any physical condition, according to TPC § 1.07(a)(8) . Serious bodily injury is defined as any bodily injury that causes permanent impairment or loss of any body part or organ, substantial risk of death, or serious permanent disfigurement, according to TPC § 1.07(a)(46).

Hempstead Child Abuse Punishment

The possible punishments and penalties for child abuse offenses are defined in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. The degree of conviction and punishment varies depending on the alleged offender’s mental state and the degree of injury caused to the child as a result of the abuse or neglect.

An individual charged with a child abuse offense involving criminal negligence by the alleged offender can be convicted of a state jail felony. A state jail felony is punishable by 180 days to two years in jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.

An individual charged with a child abuse offense involving reckless actions by the alleged offender that resulted in bodily injury can be convicted of state jail felony. A state jail felony is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years.

An individual charged with a child abuse offense involving intentional or knowing actions by the alleged offender that resulted in bodily injury can be convicted of a felony of the third degree.  A felony of the third degree is punishable by two to ten years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

An individual charged with a child abuse offense involving reckless actions by the alleged offender that resulted in serious bodily injury or serious mental injury can be convicted of a felony of the second degree. A felony of the second degree is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

An individual charged with a child abuse offense involving intentional or knowing actions by the alleged offender that resulted in serious mental injury or serious bodily injury can be convicted of a felony of the first degree. A felony of the first degree is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years and/or a fine not more than $10,000.

What are the Duty to Report Child Abuse Laws in Texas?

According to TFC §261.101, anyone who has reason to believe a child’s mental or physical health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect is required to make a report with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Additionally, anyone who is considered a child care professional is required to make the report within 48 hours. A professional in Texas is anyone who is licensed or certified by the state or is an employee of a facility licensed or certified by the state and has direct contact with children in the normal course of their job. Child care professionals can include nurses, doctors, mental health practitioners, attorneys, members of the clergy, teachers, reproductive service clinic or facility employees, juvenile probation officers, juvenile detention or correctional officers, and/or day-care employees.

Failure to make a report of child abuse or neglect as provided by Texas law can result in being charged with a misdemeanor or state jail felony offense.

James Sullivan & Associates | Hempstead Child Neglect Attorney

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 consultation at (281) 546-6428 about your allegations of child abuse or child neglect in the areas of Harris County (Houston), Montgomery County (Conroe), Fort Bend County (Richmond), Brazoria County (Angleton), Matagorda County (Bay City), Waller County (Hempstead), Washington County (Brenham), Liberty County (Liberty), Chambers County (Anahuac) and Jefferson County (Beaumont). James Sullivan is an experienced Houston family crimes lawyer who will work hard to get you the best result for your particular situation.

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

CRIMINAL OFFENSERESULTCASE #
ALL CASES DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY OR THE STATE WERE BASED ON DEFENSE PACKETS
INJURY TO A CHILD (3° Felony)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client used reasonable discipline against her 9 year old daughter and was accused of abusing her)1522880
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER enhanced with a prior Assault FM case (3° Felony)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client used reasonable discipline against his 15 year old daughter and was accused of abusing her. She was being rebellious and he spanked her with a belt to discipline her)1459744
INJURY TO A CHILD (3° Felony)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of causing bodily injury to his 10 year old nephew)1446872
INJURY TO A CHILD (3° Felony)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client, an officer in law enforcement, used reasonable discipline against his teenage daughter and was accused of abusing her)CASE NOT YET FILED
INJURY TO A CHILD (3° Felony) IN MATAGORDA COUNTYNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client used reasonable discipline against her 10 year son and was accused of abusing him. She accidentally slapped him on his side when he was resisting the hand spanking)CASE NOT YET FILED
INJURY TO A CHILD (1° Felony)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of breaking his infant son’s leg and 3 ribs. The hospital ER physician did not consider other medical disorders as a cause)1340646

Assault by Impeding Breathing | Waller County Criminal Lawyer

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Waller County Domestic Assault Lawyer James Sullivan Defends Felony Cases

Hempstead, Texas criminal lawyer James (Jim) Sullivan has successfully represented a number of men falsely accused of the serious felony of assault of a family or household member by impeding breathing (strangulation).  By way of detailed defense packets, James Sullivan has persuaded the grand jury to no bill (dismiss) such charges.  James Sullivan has also prepared and set such cases for jury trial which the prosecutor then wisely chose to dismiss on the trial setting.

One wonders if police officers may sometimes suggest to an alleged victim that she was choked in order to make a felony arrest.  An alleged victim who is already mad at her boyfriend or husband may go along with the suggestion, not realizing the seriousness of such an allegation.  It does seem odd that in some cases the only so-called objective evidence in the police offense report suggesting that such an assault occurred is the officer’s purported observation of “redness” on the person’s neck, yet no photos were taken of this redness and the victim refused medical treatment.

According to a recent Houston Chronicle blog post by reporter Erin Mulvaney entitled “Harris County prosecutors see increase in choking charges” (see below), the number of felony cases filed for Assault Family Member by Impeding Breathing (strangulation) has increased by 40 percent in the first 6 months of 2012 over the same time period as last year.

Harris County prosecutors have seen an uptick in recent weeks in the number of  felony charges against those who choke victims during an attacks, several years after state lawmakers passed a law to stiffen penalties for the offense…

In September of 2009, penalties for assaulting a family member by choking or impeding breathing became more severe, raising the offense level to a third degree felony. In the first six months of this year, there have been approximately 40 percent more cases filed under this statute than in the same time period last year, said Donna Hawkins a spokeswoman for the Harris County District Attorney’s office.

“As people become more aware of the dangers of cutting off a person’s air supply, it is more likely that victims will report this offense, police will arrest defendants, and prosecutors will file these charges,” Hawkins said…

In 2009, a bill sponsored by Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, became law.  It made a choking an assault a third-degree felony if it included strangulation or suffocation against someone the suspect had been dating or someone in the suspect’s family and a second-degree felony for a second offense.

Proponents of the bill argued that strangling in domestic violence cases was not taken being taken seriously or punished harshly enough. The offense previously was charged as a form of assault, which can be a Class A misdemeanor and does not require a minimum jail time.

Contact a Waller County Criminal Lawyer

Attorney James Sullivan is an experienced Waller County Criminal Defense Attorney serving Greater Houston and Texas since 1994. James Sullivan is also Board Certified in Juvenile Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
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 initial consultation at 281-546-6428 about your assault by impeding breathing 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.

Aggravated Assault | Waller County Criminal Lawyer James Sullivan Fights for his Clients

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Waller County Aggravated Assault Defense

Aggravated assault or assault with a deadly weapon is a serious felony offense in Hempstead, Texas.  A conviction for aggravated assault can result in severe penalties, 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. A conviction for such a crime of violence will also prevent you from ever owning or possessing a firearm.

It is important to hire an experienced Waller County criminal defense lawyer because criminal charges for aggravated assault 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 aggravated assault 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 consultation at 281-546-6428. Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced trial lawyer who will fight for your rights, freedom and future.

Aggravated Assault in Hempstead

According to section 22.02 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be charged with aggravated assault if they cause serious bodily injury to another or use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of an assault offense.

According to section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can commit assault in Texas if they intentionally or knowingly cause or threaten to cause bodily injury to another person, or cause offensive physical contact to another person.

What is Bodily Injury and Serious Bodily Injury in Texas?

According to section 1.07(a)(8) of the Texas Penal Code, “bodily injury” means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.

According to section 1.07(a)(46) of the Texas Penal Code, “serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

What is a Deadly Weapon in Texas?

According to case law, three things can qualify as deadly weapon:

  1. firearms;
  2. anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; or
  3. anything else that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

Examples of Deadly Weapons

There are not many deadly weapons listed as such per se. According to Section 46.01 of the Texas Penal Code, deadly weapons commonly used during the commission of aggravated assault offenses can include any of the following:

  • Clubs
  • Explosive weapons,
  • Firearm,
  • Handgun,
  • Illegal Knife (such as a knife with a blade over five and one-half inches; a hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown; a dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard; bowie knife; sword; or spear.)
  • Knife,
  • Knuckles,
  • Machine gun,
  • Short-barrel firearm,
  • Switchblade knife
  • Chemical dispensing device, and
  • Zip gun.

Deadly by Manner and Means of Use

Furthermore, according to case law, there is an extensive list of things that can be proven to be deadly by the way the accused used them during the commission of the aggravated assault offense, including:

  • HIV
  • Hammer
  • Pipe
  • Fire
  • Hand
  • Foot
  • Coke bottle
  • Leg of a bar stool
  • Ax handle
  • Motor vehicle
  • Shank
  • Screwdriver
  • BB gun
  • Wooden stick
  • Dustpan
  • Gasoline
  • Dumpster in which a baby is discarded

Punishment for Aggravated Assault in Hempstead

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code lists the felony punishment for aggravated assault in Hempstead.

Aggravated assault is usually 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.

However, aggravated assault can be charged as a first degree felony if the assault was committed against:

  • a family member or significant other and causes that person serious bodily injury;
  • a public servant while the public servant was discharging an official duty
  • a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer; or
  • in retaliation against a witness, prospective witness, informant, or person who has reported the occurrence of a crime.

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.

Criminal charges for aggravated assault can also result in a first degree felony conviction if the accused is:

  • in a motor vehicle,
  • knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of a habitation, building or vehicle,
  • is reckless as to whether the habitation, building or vehicle is occupied,
  • and causes serious bodily injury to any person.

The punishment for this offense is also a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Defenses to Aggravated Assault in Hempstead

Occasionally, and in certain circumstances, there may be legal defenses available to aggravated assault. It is important to discuss with an experienced Hempstead criminal defense attorney the elements of your criminal charges as that attorney can evaluate your case and advise you as to any appropriate defense.

  • Self-Defense. According to Section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code, a person is permitted to use force, and sometimes deadly force, against the immediate threat of injury or bodily harm.
  • Lack of a Deadly Weapon. If your criminal defense attorney can show that a deadly weapon was not present, used or exhibited during the commission of the assault offense, the state prosecutor may reduce or dismiss the aggravated assault charges against you.
  • Lack of Intent. Intent is a required culpable mental state to all assault offenses. If your criminal defense lawyer can demonstrate that you did not have the requisite intent to commit assault, the state prosecutor may reduce or dismiss the aggravated assault charges against you.

Grand Jury Defense for Aggravated Assault Charges

If you are accused of aggravated assault, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away because he may be able to win your case at the grand jury.  Once your felony case has been indicted by the grand jury, this option is no longer available.  Attorney James Sullivan has fought and won many felony cases at the grand jury level throughout his almost 20 years of legal practice, including over 20 felony cases in just the past few years.  When a case is dismissed (no billed) by the grand jury, the accused has the immediate right to seek an expunction of the felony charge from their record.  Sullivan has been able to do this for many of his clients accused of felony offenses.

James G. Sullivan and Associates | Waller County Aggravated Assault Attorney

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 initial consultation at 281-546-6428 about your aggravated assault 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.

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 #
Aggravated Assault in Fort Bend CountyCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client allegedly threatened her mother with a knife)268th
Aggravated AssaultCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client, a disabled vet, shot and seriously wounded a former friend who was high on drugs, broke in his house right after being ordered to leave the premises and attempted to attack him)351st
Aggravated Assault in Montgomery CountyCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client shot and seriously wounded a violent felon who was trying to steal his car at nighttime)359th
Aggravated AssaultNOT GUILTY VERDICT BY JURY (Client believed he was about to be robbed by 2 men outside a bar; client claimed self-defense)232nd
Aggravated Assault in Montgomery CountyREDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT WITH DEFERRED ADJUDICATION AFTER IT WAS SET FOR A JURY TRIAL (Client allegedly pistol whipped an adult teen after he and his 3 friends endangered him and his family by egging the front windshield of his car early in the morning and causing him to run off the road, causing over $4,000 in damages to his car)359th
Aggravated Assault Family ViolenceCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of throwing a 12 lb glass trophy at his father and hitting him in the back)178th
Aggravated Assault Family Violence (Felony Habitual)CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY AFTER FACING 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON (Client accused of slashing her ex-girlfriend's face. A witness at the scene supported client's version that her ex-girlfriend attacked her first with a broken wine bottle and cut her wrist and that her ex-girlfriend was accidentally injured in a struggle over the bottle)180th
Aggravated AssaultJURY TRIAL SETTING: DISMISSED BY STATE (Juvenile client allegedly attacked an older boy with a handmade weapon after the older came over to his house to kill him)315th
Aggravated Assault Family ViolenceCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of trying to run her baby's daddy over with her Jeep and with their young son on the front passenger seat and in view of two nearby independent witnesses. In reality, he threw his bicycle in front of her Jeep to cause her to come to a screeching halt and then cursed at her. After she drove off, he lied to the witnesses about what happened)180th
Aggravated AssaultREDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR DEADLY CONDUCT WITH TIME SERVED AFTER IT WAS SET FOR A JURY TRIAL (Client was accused of threatening a woman with a firearm in Galveston County)405th
Aggravated Assault Family ViolenceCASE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR DEADLY CONDUCT with 30 days of actual jail time (Client accused of ramming into his girlfriend's car with her in it with his car)230th
Aggravated Assault in Brazoria CountyPUNISHMENT reduced to 9 months regular probation at home (At age 16, Juvenile client got into a fight with an 18 year old drug dealer that resulted in the dealer requiring brain surgery. The State only offered 5 years determinate probation or to certify him as an adult with deferred adjudication. Sullivan insisted on a jury trial or a regular probation that could be sealed at age 19. The State backed down and agreed)CCL 4
Aggravated Assault Family ViolenceCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client shot his brother in the side after his brother stabbed him in the arm. The client's brother was high on synthetic marihuana)248th
Aggravated AssaultCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of shooting another guy's motorcycle twice while the guy was on it after the guy had broken the client's custom table)
Aggravated AssaultCASE DISMISSED (Juvenile client ran over drug dealer to save friend's life. The complainant suffered a broken hip. The case was re-filed as a Failure to Stop and Render Aid and then the new case was also later dismissed)315th
Aggravated Assault Family ViolenceCASE DISMISSED (Juvenile client was accused of threatening her mother with a steak knife)315th
Aggravated Assault Family ViolenceCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client was accused of intentionally trying to drive into and strike his girlfriend)183rd
Aggravated AssaultCASE DISMISSED (Juvenile client was accused of threatening to stab classmate in the neck with a pair of sharp scissors)314th
Aggravated Assault Family ViolenceCLIENT RECEIVED DEFERRED ADJUDICATION PROBATION AFTER SENTENCING HEARING (Client with mental illness stabbed his girlfriend in the arm and upper back. State only offered prison time)174th
Aggravated Assault Family ViolenceCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of intentionally driving into and hitting the new girlfriend of her ex-boyfriend)232nd
Aggravated AssaultCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of hitting man in head with beer bottle outside a bar; client claimed self-defense)232nd
Aggravated Assault Against a Public ServantCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Police Officer shot at 4 unarmed teenagers in a truck and claimed that client pointed a gun at him) - Case # 1291937263rd
Aggravated AssaultCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of hitting other woman in head with metal pole) - Case # 1281977174th
Aggravated AssaultCASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client allegedly brandished a knift and threatened another guy who had stolen his property) - Case # 1270564176th