Posts Tagged ‘Houston’


Houston Juvenile Record Sealing | Harris County Juvenile Attorney

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Sealing Juvenile Records in Harris County

Houston Juvenile Law Attorney

The State of Texas allows the sealing of most juvenile criminal records. Having these records sealed by an attorney ensures your or your child’s juvenile record doesn’t show up on criminal background checks. Colleges, prospective employers and the military all do criminal background checks on applicants.

Attorney James Sullivan is a Juvenile Law expert. Sullivan has practiced juvenile law since 1994 and has been Board Certified in Juvenile Law since 2004. Call Sullivan at (281) 546-6428 to discuss the sealing of your child’s juvenile records.

Unlike adult non-disclosure (record sealing) cases, a juvenile is not required to complete a deferred adjudication probation to be able to get their records sealed. Even if a juvenile is convicted of a crime, a juvenile’s delinquent record can be sealed as long as he or she:

  • did not receive a determinate sentence (which may have been determinate probation or a determinate sentence to the TJJD);
  • is not currently registered as a sex offender; or
  • was not certified to be tried as an adult.

Juveniles can get felony records sealed at age 19 (and possibly sooner if the juvenile successfully completed a drug court program or a sex offender treatment program) and misdemeanor records sealed two years after the end of probation.

If a juvenile successfully completes a deferred prosecution (a form of pretrial diversion), the juvenile can get his records sealed as soon as he successfully completes the deferred prosecution (usually 6 months).

Contact James G. Sullivan and Associates | Houston Juvenile Record Sealing Lawyers

Juveniles have their entire lives ahead of them, so do not let one mistake as a teenager ruin your child’s future. Contact Houston Juvenile Law Attorney James Sullivan at (281) 546-6428 to have him draft and file a petition to seal your juvenile’s records.

Terroristic Threat

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Houston Terroristic Threat Defense

For most people the word terroristic conjures up images of vicious threats or horrific attacks by ISIS against innocent people. However, the term terroristic threat has a broader meaning and is generally understood as a threat of violence to a person in order to place that person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. In Texas, law enforcement takes terroristic threats very seriously. Both adults and juveniles can be arrested and charged with making terroristic threats.

Terroristic threats are used for purposes of intimidation or coercion, but sometimes a person is accused of making such a threat based on statements that were taken mostly out of context. While Americans have a right to free speech, the First Amendment does not protect all types of speech, such as language that is meant to incite the masses toward lawless action. In order to be convicted of making a terroristic threat, the prosecutor has the burden to prove that the person had the necessary criminal intent and that burden can sometimes be difficult to make.

Defense Attorneys for Terroristic Threat charges in Harris County

If you or your loved one was arrested in southeast Texas for allegedly making terroristic threats, you should have legal representation before speaking with the authorities. The defense attorneys of James G. Sullivan and Associates can fight for you with the goal to get these charges dismissed, reduced or won at trial.

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys represent clients in all 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.

What is a terroristic threat in Texas? 

According to Texas Penal Code § 22.07, a person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to:

  1. cause a reaction of any type to his threat by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies;
  2. place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
  3. prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or other form of conveyance, or other public place;
  4. cause impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public service;
  5. place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury; or
  6. influence the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.

Punishment for Terroristic Threat in Texas

Depending on the specific types of alleged activity involved, a terroristic threat charge can be filed as a:

  • Class B Misdemeanor (punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $2,000);
  • Class A Misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000);
  • State Jail Felony (punishable by up to two years in jail and/or a fine up to $10,000); or
  • Third Degree Felony (punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000).

A Class B Misdemeanor charge can be filed against an alleged offender who threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or cause a reaction of any type to his threat by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies.

A Class A Misdemeanor charge can be filed against an alleged offender who threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to place in fear of imminent serious bodily injury a member of the alleged offender’s family or household (or otherwise constitutes family or dating violence) or a public servant, or prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or other form of conveyance, or other public place.

A State Jail Felony charge can be filed against an alleged offender who threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or other form of conveyance, or other public place causing pecuniary loss of $1,500 or more to the owner of the building, room, place, or conveyance.

A Third Degree Felony charge can be filed against an alleged offender who threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to cause impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public service; place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury; or influence the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.

Contact James G. Sullivan and Associates | Houston Terroristic Threat Lawyers

If you or your loved one are being investigated or were already arrested for allegedly making a terroristic threat in the Greater Houston area, you should immediately retain 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 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 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 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

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)

 

First Time Arrests

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Houston First Time Offenders

Your first time being arrested can be a scary experience. Whether you were arrested because of a misunderstanding or because of an impulsive act, the entire process is stressful, rushed and confusing. Since law enforcement in Texas is well known for cracking down on crime, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend you.

If you been arrested and charged with your first offense in Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Waller County, Brazoria County or any of the surrounding areas, you should not go to court alone. Call an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney who will protect your legal rights and use your first time circumstances to mitigate the possible consequences in your case.

Harris County First Time Arrest Lawyer

The lawyers at James G. Sullivan and Associates have thousands of case successes, and they review each case on a personalized, result-oriented basis to determine the best approach for you. They will work hard to achieve a favorable result for you.

Call James G. Sullivan and Associates at (281) 546-6428 for a free phone consultation for your first time offender case in Houston, Hempstead, The Woodlands, Conroe, Cypress, Spring, Humble, Katy, Channelview, Pasadena, Sugar Land, Richmond, Pearland, Angleton, or the surrounding areas today.

Common First Time Offenses in Houston

Harris County has a large, multicultural population spread over a vast area. There are many different first time offenses for which people are frequently arrested. Whether you reside in the Greater Houston area or are visiting from the surrounding counties of Montgomery, Fort Bend, Waller or Brazoria, these are a few of the many first time offenses–

Texas prosecutors take all of these crimes very seriously, however Harris County has several different programs available to first time offenders. An experienced Houston criminal attorney can guide you through the defense process, apply the best legal defense or suggest the appropriate program for your case.

Options for First Time Offenders in Harris County

Since prosecutors and judges focus on putting dangerous criminals behind bars, an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer can use your lack of a prior record and any other mitigating facts to persuade for leniency. There are various possible options available for first time offenders, including–

  • Apply for Pre-Trial Diversion with the prosecution with or without the filing of criminal charges.
  • Programs, Services and Specialty Courts – these are designed to provide education, counseling and other services instead of or along with community supervision (probation) and jail time. Your defense lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor on securing these options.
  • Fight the case at a jury trial or a suppression hearing if the facts and law support a good defense.
  • Plea bargaining – if all other options fail, a dedicated criminal defense attorney can usually use your status as a first offender and improbability to become a repeat offender to make a case for deferred adjudication or probation in exchange for a plea of guilty or no contest.

Once you complete the terms of your negotiated deal, you may be eligible to have your record expunged or sealed (non-disclosed to the public). This process is usually not automatic, so consult your attorney about the specific method for your case.

Harris County Specialized Diversion and Intervention Programs

As a first time offender and depending on the facts of your case, you may be eligible for the following specific diversion and intervention programs—

Misdemeanor

DWI Pre-Trial Intervention Program – if you are a first time offender charged with a Class B DWI or BWI, you may be eligible for this 12-month voluntary supervision program available through the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. If you successfully complete the program, your DWI case will be dismissed, you will avoid paying DPS surcharges and you can apply for an expunction 2 years after dismissal.

Retail Theft Pre-Trial Intervention Program – if you are a first time shoplifter (retail theft offender), this 90-day program offers the opportunity to get your case dismissed. If you are accepted, you will be required to pay a $130 fee, take an anti-theft class and stay out of trouble during those three months. If successful, you can then seek an expunction of your criminal case.

Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program (MMDP) – this is a pre-charge diversion program offered by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to offenders who would otherwise be arrested and charged with possession of misdemeanor marijuana, regardless of criminal history. If eligible and accepted into the program, you must pay a $150 program fee and complete a 4-hour “Cognitive Decision Making” class within 90 days. If successful, your record will remain clear of any arrest or charge for the offense.

Prostitution Prevention Program – this program, known as called SAFE Court (Survivors Acquiring Freedom and Empowerment), targets young adults age 17-25 who are first time offenders, although some repeat prostitution offenders in that age group will also be eligible. Their goal is to provide these young people life skills needed to transition out of the prostitution lifestyle and to become a contributing member of society.

Misdemeanor Veterans’ Court – this specialty court program provides veterans who are honorably discharged from their military service, with treatment, and intense court supervision in lieu of a conviction and jail time. Defendants who qualify for the program are provided treatment and counseling for 6 months or more. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will be eligible for an expunction of their Class B or A misdemeanor offense.

Felony

Felony Mental Health Court (FMHC) – this is a voluntary specialty court program. If an offender meets the program requirements and is accepted, he receive pre-trial intervention, deferred adjudication or probation. He must be willing to undergo a clinical evaluation and agree to follow an individualized Re-Entry Plan. Individualized incentives and sanctions are applied in order to encourage following the Re-Entry Plan and to modify behavior leading to potential criminal activity. He must complete at least 18 months in the court; the judge will consider early termination of probation as allowed by law.

Harris County Veterans’ Court (HCVC) – this voluntary specialty court program aims to habilitate veterans and active service members that suffer from homelessness, mental illness, mental disorders, traumatic brain injury, and/or substance use disorder due to military service, which was a contributing factor in their felony criminal offense. The program accepts first time felony offenders and/or veterans who have served in combat or under hazardous conditions. The program excludes any offenders with a current charge or previous conviction for a violent crime (other than aggravated assault), sexual assault or delivery of a controlled substance. Those admitted to the court will receive pre-trial intervention, deferred adjudication or community supervision, and it will take a minimum of 18 months to complete the program followed by a 6 month aftercare phase.

STAR Drug Court Program – The STAR (Success Through Addiction Recovery) program treats non-violent, repeat drug offenders and consists of a three-phase intensive, highly structured treatment program, followed by a 12-month aftercare program. During all phases, participants attend 12-step programs or an approved alternative, participate in group and individual treatment and counseling programs, submit to frequent random drug testing and appear frequently before their judge. Graduates have their cases disposed of on a case-by-case basis by the STAR program judges.

James G. Sullivan and Associates | Harris County First Time Offender Lawyer

Even if you are a first time offender, Texas punishment is harsh on offenders. The good news is that in Harris County and many other counties you have several options available.

If you are charged with a first time criminal offense in the Greater Houston area including Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Waller County, Brazoria County or any of the surrounding areas, call James G. Sullivan and Associates today at (281) 546-6428.

 

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

White Collar Crime

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

White Collar Crime

If you have been charged in Houston with theft, writing bad checks, fraud, identity theft, money laundering, bribery, illegal gambling, embezzlement or any other kind of white collar crime, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. White collar crimes usually involve criminal activities committed by people in the regular course of their business. While these crimes may seem less serious than violent criminal offenses and their respective punishment less severe, do not take the criminal charges lightly. The district attorney’s office will work just as hard to prosecute you for a white collar offense.

If you are facing charges in Harris County for a white collar crime, your future depends on the decisions you make today. If convicted, you could face severe punishments and penalties for both felony and misdemeanor white collar crimes, including a criminal record, prison or jail sentence and large fines.

Whether you are charged with a white collar crime in Harris County or a surrounding county, the prosecutor still has the burden to prove that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It is the criminal defense attorney’s job to craft your best defense and work hard to prevent the prosecution from meeting their burden of proof.

Houston White Collar Crime Lawyer

If you have been charged with a white collar crime in Harris County or the surrounding counties of Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Brazoria County and Waller County, contact the law offices of James G. Sullivan and Associates for a free consultation at (281) 546-6428.

White Collar Criminal Offenses in Texas

White collar crime refers to financially motivated nonviolent crime usually committed by business and government professionals. These crimes involve deception, manipulation, concealment or breach of trust. The victims of white collar crimes frequently do not realize a crime has been committed against them until months and sometimes even years later.

White collar crimes are usually considered nonviolent and illegal activities that involve deceit, manipulation, breach of trust or concealment. Often the victims of white collar crimes have been so minimally affected they don’t even realize a crime has been committed against them. The following are some of the more common white collar crimes–

FORGERY – a person can be charged with forgery under Texas Penal Code § 32.21 if he alters, makes, completes, executes or authenticates a writing with the intent to defraud or harm another person. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, this offense is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, state jail felony or felony of the third degree.

CREDIT CARD ABUSE – a person can be charged with credit card abuse under Texas Penal Code § 32.31 if he:

  • Presents a credit or debit card with the intent to obtain some benefit fraudulently, knowing the card was not his and without the consent of the owner,
  • Presents a credit or debit card with the intent to obtain some benefit knowing the card was expired or had been revoked or cancelled,
  • Uses a fake credit or debit card or fake credit or debit card number with the intent to obtain a benefit,
  • Receives a benefit he knows was from credit card fraud,
  • Steals a credit or debit card,
  • Receives knowingly a stolen credit or debit card with the intent to use it, sell it, or give it to another person who is not the actual owner,
  • Buys a credit or debit card from a person he knows is not the issuer of the card,
  • Sells a credit or debit card and is not the issuer of the card,Uses or induces the cardholder to use the cardholder’s credit or debit card to obtain property or service for his own benefit which the cardholder is financially unable to pay,
  • Possesses a credit or debit card with the intent to use it when he is not the owner and does not have the owner’s consent, and/or
  • Possesses two or more incomplete credit or debit cards that have not been issued to him with the intent to complete the cards without the issuer’s consent.

This offense is usually punishable as a state jail felony; however, it is punishable as a third degree felony when it is committed against an elderly individual.

IDENTITY THEFT – a person can be charged with identity theft under Texas Penal Code § 32.51 if he obtains, possesses, transfers or uses an item of the following with the intent to harm or defraud another person–

  • Identifying information of another person without the other person’s consent,
  • A deceased person’s information that would be identifying information if that person were alive, and/or
  • Identifying information of a child younger than 18 years of age.

Based on the items of information obtained, possessed, transferred or used, this offense ranges from a state jail felony to a first degree felony.

MONEY LAUNDERING — A person can be charged with money laundering under Texas Penal Code § 34.02 if he knowingly:

  • Acquires or maintains an interest in, conceals, possesses, transfers or transports the proceeds of criminal activity;
  • Conducts, supervises or facilitates a transaction involving the proceeds of criminal activity;
  • Invests, expends, receives, or offers to invest, expend or receive the proceeds of criminal activity or funds the person believes are the proceeds of criminal activity; or
  • Finances or invests, or intends to finance or invest funds the person believes are intended to further the commission of criminal activity.

Based on the value of the funds, this offense ranges from a state jail felony to a first degree felony.

INSURANCE FRAUD – a person can be charged with insurance fraud under Texas Penal Code § 35.02 if he commits an act in support of a claim for payment under an insurance policy with the intent to defraud or deceive an insurer.  Depending on the value of the claim, the punishment range for this offense is from a Class C misdemeanor to a felony of the first degree.

BRIBERY – a person can be charged with bribery under Texas Penal Code § 36.02 if he offers, gives, or agrees to give to another, or requests, accepts, or agrees to accept from another:

  • Any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant, party official, or voter;
  • Any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, vote, recommendation, or other exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding;
  • Any benefit as consideration for a violation of a duty imposed by law on a public servant or party official; or
  • Any benefit that is a political contribution or expenditure if the benefit was offered, given, requested, accepted, or agreed to pursuant to an express agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion if such exercise of official discretion would not have been taken or withheld but for the benefit.

The offense is punishable as a second degree felony.

Punishment for White Collar Crime in Texas

The punishments and penalties associated with white collar crimes are listed in Texas Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. However, a person may receive a more severe punishment depending on the type of white collar crime he committed and whether he has a criminal record.

A class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine up to $500.

A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000, a  jail sentence of up to 180 days, or both.

A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000, a  jail sentence of up to one year, or both.

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.

A felony of the third degree is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

A felony of the second degree is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

A felony of the first degree is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 5 to 99 years or life and a fine up to $10,000.

James G. Sullivan and Associates | Houston White Collar Offense Attorney

Contact the law office of James G. Sullivan and Associates at (281) 546-6428 for a free phone consultation about your white collar crime charges in the Greater Houston area.  James Sullivan is an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer who will work hard and strive to get you the best result.

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

Contact Attorney James Sullivan if you have been charged with a white collar crime in Houston, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, including Cypress, Katy, Spring, Pasadena, Conroe, The Woodlands, Richmond, Sugar Land, Hempstead, Liberty, Pearland or Angleton.

Houston Juvenile Lawyer Defends Victims of Bullying Arrested for Assault

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Houston Juvenile Attorney James Sullivan strongly believes that child and young adult victims that stand up to a bully, especially in school, should be applauded, not arrested.

Bullies generally target children they view as being weaker, smaller or socially awkward. Children with mental health disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, are especially vulnerable to being bullied.

Effects of Being Bullied

According to Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed journal of the National Institute of Health,

In the aftermath of being bullied, victims may develop a variety of psychological as well as somatic symptoms, some of which may persist into adulthood. Psychological symptoms may include social difficulties, internalizing symptoms, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and eating disorders (i.e., anorexia or bulimia nervosa).  Somatic symptoms may include poor appetite, headaches, sleep disturbances, abdominal pain, and fatigue.

For many victims, the bullying lasts for weeks, months and even years before the victim finally has enough and musters up the courage to fight back.  And then, instead of being commended for standing up to the bully, the victim is often victimized again by the school district police department which labels him the aggressor and arrests and charges him with Assault causing bodily injury.

The parents and grandparents of today’s youth grew up in simpler times when fighting in school was handled by the school, usually by paddling. School principals understood that when victims finally stood up to bullies and fought back it is was huge for their self-esteem and the bullies stopped picking on them.

Zero Tolerance Policies Should be Reformed

Texas’ “zero tolerance” policies should be changed so that the victims of bullying who fight back or lash out are not arrested and charged in court. Even psychology experts agree that reforms need to be made. According to the American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force,

Zero tolerance policies as applied appear to run counter to our best knowledge of child development. By changing the relationship between education and juvenile justice, zero tolerance may shift the locus of discipline from relatively inexpensive actions in the school setting to the highly costly processes of arrest and incarceration. In so doing, zero tolerance policies have created unintended consequences for students, families, and communities.

Effect of Current Laws

Unfortunately, until these zero tolerance policies are changed, victims of bullying continue to get into serious trouble for fighting back or lashing out.  In addition to in or out of school suspension or placement at an alternative school, these victims frequently get charged with Assault and wind up in juvenile district court.

A juvenile delinquency charge puts the student at risk of a permanent juvenile record that could negatively impact his future, such as acceptance into top universities or enlistment in the military.

Attorney James Sullivan fights for these students so that their future is not ruined by a juvenile or criminal record.  Sullivan defends children and young adults facing Assault charges from all of the school districts in Harris County.

If your son or daughter is facing Assault charges in the 313th, 314th or 315th District Courts of Harris County, it is important to hire an experienced juvenile defense attorney.

James G. Sullivan and Associates

Attorney James Sullivan has been defending children and adults accused of Assault in juvenile and criminal courts since 1994. Sullivan is also an expert in juvenile law, having been Certified in Juvenile law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2004.

To discuss your child’s case, call James Sullivan at 281-546-6428 for a free phone consultation.

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.

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.