As Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers, we fight to protect people accused of committing crimes. If you or a loved one is facing serious charges such as domestic violence, felony drunk driving, or burglary, you need an experienced attorney. You will deal directly with our team who will treat you with respect.
At Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC, we have some of the top criminal defense attorneys in Fort Worth and the surrounding area. We take the time to listen to your needs and help you develop a professional strategy for your defense.
A Fort Worth Defense Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
When you’re facing criminal charges in Dallas-Fort Worth, you’re probably worried about all of the possible outcomes and what will happen to you. Fortunately, one simple step can make this process much easier—talk to a top lawyer in Fort Worth about your case.
In addition to hiring a criminal defense attorney in Tarrant County who can help you navigate your case through each stage, you may also want to consider asserting some of your most basic rights, such as:
- Your right to remain silent
- Your right to not self-incriminate or refuse to answer questions from law enforcement
- Your right against unreasonable searches and seizures
- Your right to a criminal defense attorney Tarrant County
Being accused of a crime you didn’t commit may cause a lot of stress and worry about the outcome, but our team is comprised of top lawyers in Fort Worth and there are numerous strategies our team can use in your defense.
How Does My Record Impact My Criminal Case?
If you’re a first-time offender, you may be eligible for a dismissal or reduced charges. The truth is, the vast majority of criminal cases are dismissed before they go to trial. The reason for this is that prosecutors know that juries are more likely to convict repeat offenders than they are first-time offenders.
Jurors tend to consider your record and other details when making their decisions about whether or not someone should be punished for their crimes. Juries may not want to send someone to prison for a one-time mistake. But they also believe in punishing those who have committed crimes, so the same group may have no problem convicting a repeat offender.
It also depends on how much harm was inflicted upon another person during the commission of the crime.
If you’re accused of assault with a deadly weapon and your other charge represents something minor like smoking marijuana outside of a bar (drug possession), then you’ll likely be brought up on both charges if the person you assaulted was seriously injured, even if you’re a first-time offender.
False Accusations in Forth Worth TX
Even with a clean record, you may be falsely accused of a crime. It’s unfortunately frequent that people are accused of committing crimes they didn’t commit. These cases often turn into a game of hearsay and other issues that can quickly spiral into confusion.
But it is important to remember that the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. This means if you are charged with a crime, the state of Texas will presume your innocence until you’re proven guilty. The prosecutor is tasked with providing evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed any crime.
However, it is not uncommon for people who have been falsely accused of crimes to face serious consequences if they do not have an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer at their side. Talk to your lawyer about building a strong defense, rather than expecting the prosecution to fail.
Getting Your Criminal Charges Dismissed
A criminal defense lawyer in Fort Worth can help you build a case for dismissal or acquittal, which means that the charges against you are dropped or dismissed. This doesn’t mean you won’t have any consequences from your arrest or charge, it just means that the charges can be minimized or eliminated.
Here’s how a Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer can get try to get you a dismissal:
- Ensure your rights were respected during the arrest and the investigation
- Present a challenge against police testimony at your trial
- Challenge evidence against you at your trial
For example, your criminal defense lawyer can challenge evidence that was obtained illegally, such as DNA samples taken without consent or a search warrant. If the evidence is thrown out because of a violation of your constitutional rights, then it cannot be used against you in court.
Additionally, if police officers or witnesses lied about what happened, then as the top criminal lawyers in Tarrant County TX, we will use this information in court as well. This type of evidence is often overlooked by judges and juries but can make all the difference between acquittal and conviction.
Negotiating a Plea Bargain
A plea bargain is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor. It means that if you plead guilty, the prosecutor will recommend a lighter sentence than he or she might otherwise have asked for. In exchange, you, as the defendant, would have to agree to plead guilty and waive all of your rights to an appeal.
The decision to accept or reject a plea bargain is up to you, but your criminal defense lawyer in Fort Worth can help you make this decision by explaining what it means and how it will affect your future.
With a plea bargain, however, there is often an agreement with prosecutors that they will recommend jail time instead of prison time or less jail time than they would have asked for at your trial if they had convicted you of the charges against you.
Simply put, a plea bargain may leave you with a criminal record, but you may serve less time or no time behind bars. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you determine which option is best for your future before you make a decision.
Types of Charges We Can Help You With
If you need a criminal defense lawyer, it can be difficult to know what kind of legal help you need and whether the circumstances of your case require a specific type of attorney. Luckily, our lawyers are here to help you.
We have some of the top lawyers in Fort Worth on our staff who specialize in helping people get their lives back on track after facing charges for crimes like drug possession or trafficking, gun charges, DWI, white-collar crime, domestic violence, and theft, to name just a few. Here’s what you need to know about these charges before you seek help.
Drug Possession or Trafficking
Possession of drugs charges can leave a serious mark on your record, depending on the quantity of drugs the prosecution claims you were in possession of. This charge can be brought against you if you are found with drugs on your person or in your car, purse, backpack, or home.
Of course, in addition to simple possession charges, there are also more serious offenses. You would need a criminal defense lawyer in Fort Worth more than ever if you’re charged with intent to distribute or traffic drugs.
Let’s say the police arrested someone who they believe was selling cocaine out of their apartment. They find multiple bags of cocaine and thousands of dollars in cash at this person’s apartment after searching it. This would more likely be charged as intent to distribute or trafficking because it shows signs that this person was selling or intending to sell drugs.
Gun charges can be confusing, both for the uninitiated and for those who are familiar with them. To start, there are two main types of criminal charges you may face for a weapons offense—misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor gun charge is punishable by up to a year in jail, while a felony is punishable by a minimum of five or more years in prison.
The penalties are different and depend on:
- What kind of weapon you had and if you used it
- Where you were located (for example, charges are more serious in school zones)
- When you were arrested
- Whether or not the weapon was loaded at the time of the arrest
What matters most is whether someone else was injured during an incident related to your possession of weapons. For instance, if someone was shot, you may be facing more severe charges than simply carrying a deadly weapon. You may need to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible in these cases.
Regardless of the circumstances, there are also potential defenses that your lawyer may use, depending on your case.
For example, someone else may have threatened you with a weapon. If you fear for your life and produce a weapon, even if you injure him when he is in your home, you may be protected under Texas self-defense laws.
Our Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers have many years of experience defending gun owners in all types of situations. While each case is different, there’s often no reason to let a weapon charge tarnish your record when some of the top criminal defense attorneys in Fort Worth can launch an effective defense on your behalf.
Driving While Intoxicated
Driving under the influence, or driving while intoxicated, is a serious charge. If you’re pulled over and a test shows you have drugs or alcohol in your system, you may be arrested and charged with a crime. That criminal offense can impact your record, your license, and your future.
If you’re on your third DWI in Texas, you’ll be charged with a felony. However, there are also certain circumstances when even first-time offenders face felony charges, like the following.
- Intoxication Assault – If you’re driving under the influence of alcohol and someone is seriously hurt or disfigured permanently because you were drunk driving, you could be charged with intoxication assault. This is a third-degree felony.
- Intoxication Manslaughter – If someone dies because of your drunk driving, it’s called intoxication manslaughter. In these cases, you may face a second-degree felony charge.
- Driving Under the Influence with a Child Passenger – If you are accused of drunk driving and with kids in the car (or any minor under 15 years old), you may be charged with a felony.
Texas has launched several initiatives to fight drunk driving and any felony DWI is taken very seriously. If you find yourself at the mercy of the courts facing this type of charge, a Fort Worth DWI lawyer should be your first phone call.
White-collar crime is a broad term that refers to crimes committed by business and government professionals.
White-collar crimes typically refer to non-violent crimes, typically ones with a financial angle. Many white-collar crimes are hard to prosecute because criminal activity often occurs in secret, making it hard to gather evidence against the criminal.
White-collar crime may be prosecuted as state or local offenses, such as in the case of fraud, or as federal offenses, including money laundering and mail fraud.
White-collar crime may sound less severe due to a lack of physical violence, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t victims who suffer because of it. Juries can be ruthless against white-collar crime offenders. As some of the top criminal lawyers in Tarrant County and the surrounding area, we have seen our fair share of cases throughout the years.
Launching an effective defense is crucial and may include expert witness testimony or computer forensics. Our experienced team will perform a thorough analysis and get other professionals on the team to design your best defense strategy if you’re accused of a white-collar crime in Texas.
Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence is a serious crime involving violence between family or domestic partners. If you are being charged with any form of domestic violence, it’s important to get help from a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney as soon as you become aware of the charges.
A domestic violence charge can refer to many different types of abuse and assault, including:
- Emotional abuse and threats against the victim
- Physical violence, such as punching or hitting
- Financial abuse, like restricting access to money
Many other forms of domestic violence may also be considered criminal offenses. For example, if you are convicted of stalking your partner or spouse in violation of an order issued by a court after you’ve already been arrested for it, this could result in additional fines and jail time.
Acts of domestic violence often lack witnesses or solid evidence, so cases are tricky. Because of the complexity of domestic abuse cases, having a criminal defense lawyer on your side can spell the difference between a conviction and walking free.
Theft and Larceny Charges in Fort Worth
Theft is a broad category of offenses that include shoplifting or stealing from a person. These crimes can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies depending on the value of the property stolen and whether the person doing the stealing has prior theft convictions.
Because theft charges can have so many variables, you may need to speak with an attorney before your court date. Your lawyer can determine the severity of the charges against you and the strongest defense for your case.
Penalties for Criminal Convictions in Texas
When you’re facing criminal charges, you may be thinking the penalties aren’t that severe, or the cost of a lawyer isn’t worth it, but that’s rarely true. The penalties for a Fort Worth criminal conviction can haunt you for years or even a lifetime, even after you’ve paid your debts.
For example, a criminal conviction may already net you hefty fines and years in prison. Those fines can leave you with thousands of dollars in debts, and you may be unable to pay those debts while you’re in prison.
Once you’ve paid your debts and finished your prison sentence, you may not be free yet. That’s because your criminal record may have a major impact on your life. Your record shows up on a background check, and it may impact your ability to get a job, be approved for housing, or get a loan.
It can even impact your family. If you’re seeking child custody, the judge may consider your record when assigning custody. Because the impacts can be so dire, talk to a lawyer before you accept a conviction.
Connect with a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve found yourself facing any of the charges we discussed today and are frantically Googling criminal defense attorney Tarrant County or something similar, don’t panic.
We know this is a tough situation to be in, but you still have options. The best way to make sure that those options are in your favor is by hiring a Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer will advocate for your rights and help you navigate the confusing legal process.
We have provided quality legal services to clients throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area for years. If you would like to learn more about what types of charges we handle, or if you have any other questions regarding our services, please reach out.
It’s important to remember that every case is different, and even if you feel completely hopeless about yours, there are ways to protect yourself from harsh consequences and maybe even have some of these charges reduced or dropped.
If you need a Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer on your side during this difficult time, please contact Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC by calling 817-334-7900 or by filling out the following online contact form.