Posts Tagged ‘Houston’


Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student | Houston Criminal Attorney

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student

The Texas Penal Code statute of Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student was recently changed. As of Sept. 1, 2017, it is now a felony for any employee of any school district to have sex with any student, regardless of whether they are in the same district–even if the student is 18 years of age or older. This statute also prohibits online solicitation of a minor between any employee of any school district with any student, regardless of the age of that student.

In this modern age of electronic communication and social media, students have far more access to teachers and school district employees than even before. As a result, online communications between educators and students are often misunderstood or misconstrued by concerned parents or even other students. This misunderstanding can lead to complaints and investigations into alleged improper relationship when there was no actual misconduct.

Harris County Lawyer for Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student

Are you a teacher in southeast Texas who was arrested or is under investigation for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student? You should have legal representation before speaking to the authorities. Contact the law offices of James G. Sullivan and Associates for a free consultation.

James Sullivan is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Houston who represent clients accused of sex crimes in Houston, Spring, Cypress, Katy, Pasadena, Conroe, The Woodlands, Hempstead, Waller, Richmond, Sugar Land, Pearland and Angleton. Call (281) 546-6428 for a thorough and honest evaluation of your case.

What is the law of Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student?

According to Texas Penal Code § 21.12(a), an employee of a public or private primary or secondary school commits this crime if the employee:

  • Engages in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school;
  • holds a position described by Section 21.003(a) or (b), Education Code, regardless of whether the employee holds the appropriate certificate, permit, license, or credential for the position, and engages in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a person the employee knows is:
    1. enrolled in a public primary or secondary school; or
    2. a student participant in an educational activity that is sponsored by a school district or a public or private primary or secondary school, if students enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school are the primary participants in the activity; or
  • Engages in online solicitation of a minor with a person the employee knows is a student enrolled in a public primary or secondary school, or a student participant in an educational activity that is sponsored by a school district or a public or private primary or secondary school, if students enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school are the primary participants in the activity and the employee provides education services to those participants, regardless of the age of that student.

Texas Penal Code § 21.01 provides the following definitions relating to this statute:

“Deviate sexual intercourse” means any contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person; or, the penetration of the genitals or the anus of another person with an object.

“Sexual contact” means any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

“Sexual intercourse” means any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.

Are there any Affirmative Defenses to this crime?

Yes. According to Texas Penal Code § 21.12(b-1), it is an affirmative defense to prosecution for improper relationship between educator and student if the employee:

  • was the spouse of the enrolled student at the time of the offense; or
  • was not more than three years older than the enrolled student and, at the time of the offense, the employee and the enrolled student were in a relationship that began before the employee was hired by the public or private primary or secondary school.

Punishment for Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student in Houston

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

Defending Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student cases

It is certainly true that some accusations of impropriety are exaggerated or completely false. An experienced criminal defense attorney should always look for inconsistencies in an alleged victim’s statements, biases or motives of an alleged victim or other evidentiary flaws that could result in criminal charges being minimized or dismissed.

Where can I learn more about these cases in Texas?

The Austin American-Statesman did a recent article about the rising number of these types of crimes. The journalists requested and received from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) the names of teachers who surrendered their teaching licenses or whose licenses were revoked after being investigated by the TEA for engaging in an improper relationship with a student. According to the TEA data, from January 2010 through December 2016, 686 teachers in Texas permanently lost their teaching licenses following allegations of impropriety with a student. 308 of these teachers, about half, were charged with a crime. The most common charge was the felony of improper relationship between educator and student.

In the one-year period that ended Sept. 1, 2017, the Texas Education Agency opened 302 cases against public teachers who have been accused of having improper relationships with students, a 36 percent increase from 2016.

James G. Sullivan and Associates | Houston Improper Teacher Student Relationship Defense Lawyer

If you are teacher in southeast Texas who is under investigation or has already been arrested for an alleged improper relationship with a student, it is extremely important to retain legal counsel. The defense attorneys at James G. Sullivan and Associates defend individuals all over the greater Houston area, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County and Waller County.

Harris County criminal defense attorney James Sullivan will work to help you receive the most favorable outcome to your case. Call (281) 546-6428 for a  free confidential consultation to review your case and discuss your legal options.

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 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.