State Criminal Defense
The penalties for state criminal charges can be as severe as those for federal charges. Sometimes charges for the same activity can be pursued by both the federal government and state district attorneys. Double jeopardy does not apply. You can be charged in both federal and state court for drug conspiracy, fraud, weapons, child pornography and human trafficking. I generally try, with frequent success, to persuade one of the prosecutors to forgo charging my client in both forums, choosing to pursue a case in only one court. The punishment ranges are much broader in state cases and state courts are not limited by sentencing guidelines, as are federal courts. Juries in state court can assess punishment unlike federal criminal juries.
If you discover you are subject to a state grand jury investigation or have been arrested for a felony before indictment, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer immediately. Do not wait to be formally charged. A lawyer can assess the allegations against you and commence a separate investigation of your situation. A lawyer can meet with law enforcement and prosecutors before a grand jury acts on your case. It may be possible, after a lawyer looks into your situation, that the government can be dissuaded from pursuing criminal charges against you. By hiring a lawyer pre-indictment, a grand jury presentation can be prepared and presented to the grand jury on your behalf. The majority of misdemeanor cases are filed directly with the County or District Attorney’s office and do not go through a grand jury as do felonies. In larger jurisdictions, District Attorney’s offices will have prosecutors who will present cases to the grand jury and once indicted assigned to a different prosecutor in the trial court. Each step affords a defense attorney an opportunity to perhaps find a sympathetic ear.
In many jurisdictions, a low bond or no bond will be required in misdemeanor cases. A magistrate usually sets an initial bond on a felony case depending on the severity of the case. Once the case is indicted the District Judge assigned to the case may raise the initial bond amount. If the accused posted the earlier bond and it gets increased, they would have to post a new bond. Usually a bonding company will give the accused credit for the amount already posted towards the new bond. If an attorney and their client feels the bond is too high, the attorney can approach the prosecutor in the case in attempt to get an agreement to lower the bond amount and approach the judge with this agreement. If this fails the accused can request a bond reduction hearing to show why the bond should be reduced. In either situation, it is ultimately the judge’s decision whether or not to reduce the bond.
If you have been arrested or fear you may be on state criminal charges contact Howard Blackmon for aggressive legal representation. In addition to Dallas and Collin County, I have handled cases throughout Texas from Hopkins and Smith Counties in East Texas, Harris County to Bexar County and out west to Midland and Odessa.