Criminal Law - Practice area
Criminal Law

DWI, Drugs, Assault, Probation Revocation, Sexual Offenses, Theft, Juvenile Defense. Felony and Misdemeanor Offenses in State and Federal Court

DUI - Practice area
DWI

Driving While Intoxicated, DWI and Your Drivers License Forney, Texas DWI Defense Lawyer.

Juvenile Law - Practice area
Juvenile Law

Sexual Offenses, Drug Offenses, Assault and Violent Crimes, Theft, Truancy/School Related Criminal Charges.

I used to be a solo practitioner. That is, I was the only attorney in my own firm. It was an exciting time and the way many lawyers start out after leaving the DA’s office. It was also an exceptionally challenging way to practice law. Guest Law Firm PC ended in 2011 when Guest and Gray was formed. It marked the end of my solo practice, and it helped me understand the benefits of having a team of lawyers in a criminal defense firm.

When I was solo I had to have all the answers not just for the case, but for the firm. I had to handle all the consultations, attend all the hearings, review all the discovery, watch all the videos, research all the issues etc; as well as attend to the running of a business with all the demands of marketing, accounting, payroll etc. I did not speak Spanish, but I would be appointed clients who did and assigned an interpreter.

I would have issues I hadn’t litigated before and sought the assistance of my peers. If I needed to workshop a case for litigation strategies I usually took another lawyer to lunch. If I got sick or took a vacation, my clients had to wait until I got back to reach me. If I was in trial, I couldn’t help anyone else until the trial ended. That’s the life of a solo lawyer, it’s a great way to get a lot of experience fast. But it also created problems when I couldn’t be two places at once. There are a lot of great solo defense lawyers in Texas, but in my experience practicing defense work alone is no match for a team of experienced defense lawyers.

I’ve been lawyering for 16 years now, and for that entire time, I’ve been telling clients that convictions can be not expunged or sealed in Texas. That is not the case anymore, Texas now allows for some misdemeanor straight probation cases to be sealed (non-disclosed). These cases still can not be expunged (which means the records are destroyed), but they can be sealed (which means hidden from the public, but not from the government).

What is straight probation?

Good question. That is what we called probation that is not deferred. That means you are convicted of the offense when you plead guilty and placed on probation. I’m not sure how it came to be called “straight”, but that decision was made well before I became a lawyer. Straight probation means you plead guilty, and the judge finds you guilty but probates (put offs the sentence for) the jail time. That is, you don’t have to serve the jail part of your sentence if you finish probation. Compare that to deferred probation, where the judge puts off the sentence and the conviction.

If you are facing a trial for an assault family violence case you should be aware that evidence regarding the relationship between the parties may be admissible. This can be powerful evidence for the State or the Defendant depending on the nature of the relationship, and your lawyer should be ready to use this evidence or defend against it.

What’s the law on relationship evidence in family violence cases? 

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 38.371 allows evidence that “testimony or evidence regarding the nature of the relationship between the actor and the alleged victim”. This is “subject to the Texas Rules of Evidence”, so there are still some rules about what comes in, but think of a relationship and the dynamic between two people. Is there a history of violence? Substance abuse? Lying? Cheating? Emotional abuse? These are all areas where you could find either a motive for an assault or a history of aggressive behavior for the Defendant. Or the defense could present a motive to fabricate a claim or a history of violent behavior by the complaining witness.

You know what’s weird with spam calls? When it shows your own cell phone number. I got a few of those for “extended car warranty” calls and I picked up the first time (I’m not sure why. Did I think I was trying to call myself?). Technology now allows people to spoof their phone number and have it appear as any number on your called ID (including your own number). Texas has now made that illegal, but I’m not sure how this would actually be prosecuted unless the caller and victims are all in Texas.

So what’s the law on phony caller ID? Glad you asked.

Sec. 33A.051. FALSE CALLER IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION DISPLAY.

Everyone hates credit card skimmers, but prosecutors had a problem under the old law for prosecuting fake credit cards etc, you required contacting each person who had their information stolen and getting them to trial if necessary. Getting dozens of credit-card victims to testify was a logistical nightmare for prosecutors, and so the legislature passed a new law to make it easier to prosecute people for possessing stolen credit card information.

The new law creates a “rebuttable presumption” that if you possess 5 or more stolen credit numbers, or counterfeit credit cards, you are doing so without the permission of the account holder. What’s a rebuttable presumption? It means what it sounds like. It shifts the burden to the defendant to show they had permission and lets the State off the hook from contacting all the people on the phony credit cards.

Let’s look at the statute-

Texas passed a new law criminalizing indecent assault. What is an indecent assault? It sounds like what used to be called “groping”, it takes something that would have a Class C Assault for “unwanted contact” and raises it to a Class A Misdemeanor.

Sec. 22.012. INDECENT ASSAULT. (a) A person commits an offense if, without the other person’s consent and with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, the person

(1) touches the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person;

What happens if I get another DWI? 

The Texas Penal Code allows for the state to enhance a DWI with each DWI you are convicted of. For example, if you have been previously convicted of DWI, which was a class B misdemeanor and you are arrested for a 2nd DWI, the state can bump that charge to a DWI 2nd, raising your punishment to a class A misdemeanor. 

When we have clients call to inquire for DWI, one of the first questions we ask, is have you been convicted of DWI before? At times, the answer is “well yes, but that was like 15 years ago.” Well, unfortunately, that doesn’t matter. Now, after the 2005 legislature, all DWI’s can be used to enhance your case, no matter how long ago you were convicted. 

If my license is suspended for DWI, can I still drive to work? 

If you are facing a charge for DWI and your license is suspended, you may be eligible for what is known as an Occupational Driver’s License or ODL for short. This type of license allows a person to drive a non-commercial vehicle if their license is suspended, revoked, or denied because of DWI. 

Eligibility. 

Have you been arrested in Kaufman County? Did the Forney Police pull you over and find your weed stash? Has an investigator with the Terrell Police Department called to speak with you?

If so, you need a criminal defense lawyer, and you should call Guest and Gray. Guest and Gray is based in Forney, Texas. We are the only local law firm with a team of defense lawyers to assist you. We have 4 defense lawyers, including three former felony prosecutors. We take the toughest cases and get the best results.

The criminal defense team is lead by Robert Guest, former Chief Misdemeanor Prosecutor for Kaufman County, and former Kaufman County Bar President. We also have Jose Noriega, former Dallas Assistant District Attorney. Jose speaks Spanish and has years of trial and plea negotiation experience. Jerry Tidwell is a former Collin County felony prosecutor, and probably has the most felony trial experience at the firm. Candice Hughes used to work for the Rockwall County District Attorney, and now handles many of our family violence cases.

If two random strangers are to get into a fight, it is only assault, not assault family violence. But, when you allegedly assault a family member, as defined in the Texas Family Code Section 71, family violence attaches. Texas Family Code Section 71 defines a family member to include anyone in a dating relationship, individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, former spouses, parents of the same child without the regard as to whether you live together or not, a member of your household, this includes anyone living in your home, whether you are related or not. 

Guns. 

First, we are in Texas, so let’s start with guns. If your lawyer works out a deal with the prosecutor and you are to get what is called “deferred probation” you will not be able to possess a firearm during the time of that probation, this is for a misdemeanor or felony. If your deferred probation is for 18 months, then 18 months of no guns. If you are put on straight probation for assault family violence, misdemeanor or felony, then by law, you can never possess a firearm for the remainder of your life. 

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