So you’ve caught a felony case in Texas and you are worried about going to prison. I’ve represented enough felony defendants to know that certain factors can make it more likely you aren’t walking out of court on paper.
You’ve been to prison before
Yeah, it’s kind of hard to spin that to the prosecutor “Hey, I know my guy has already been down before, but THIS time, THIS felony is different. We are totally going to kick ass on probation. Let’s do this! Where do we pee?”
Being on parole or being a convict is the 2nd worst thing people can tell me about a case (first is being a sex offender), especially in the outlying counties around Dallas. Going to prison means you are not probation eligible from a jury. So if we can’t win at trial, then I can’t put your momma on the stand to cry and ask for you to get probation (that’s not really our punishment strategy but you get it). At trial, the only way to get probation if you are a convicted felon is from the judge. Judges in Republican counties don’t get elected putting cons back out on probation. It’s a great move politically for a judge to send a guy with priors away for a while.
You get arrested again, while the case is pending
Holee shit this happens too often. I’ll get a dope case and start working. I’ll summon my best legal magic and find a way out of this case. It looks like we are going to get a good result… but wait! The phone rings and it’s my client asking for a consult ASAP because…. he picked up another fuckign case!
During consultations, I tell all potential clients that getting arrested while the case is pending is the worst thing they can do. They will probably lose their bond and have a new warrant so they’ll be stuck in jail plus the State now has an extra backup case as leverage. So even if I find a way out of the original case, we’ve still got problems. Also, you might get arrested in two different counties, and they won’t work with each other so we can’t plead in one county with any assurance of what the other will do. Complicates things a bit that does.
Basically, any offense with “sexual” in the title makes it harder to get probation.
You keep getting revoked on felony probation
Here’s the thing about probation. If it’s a normal non-sex felony, you may not get revoked and sent to prison on your first screw up. But if you keep screwing up and violating the rules then eventually they will get sick of you and send you to prison. Probation sucks, but prison sucks worse. You need to be really cool to your PO, pass your drugs tests, show up for your probation meetings, give the State their money as soon as you can, take those stupid classes on time, and don’t get arrested again.
PRO TIP- If you have mental health or drug addiction issues address those BEFORE starting probation. It’s a great move, if gives your lawyer something to show the State or Judge that you are working on your issues now, and taking your problems seriously.
You didn’t hire us (or you hired the wrong lawyer)
You need to hire a lawyer who’s done this before and preferably in the same county. I know that sometimes you want the guy who did your dad’s will because he’s cool or you want to hire you friend who just got out of law school because he’s great a beer pong but screw that. This isn’t the time to be cheap or hire someone because you know them. This is open heart surgery on a Denny’s bathroom floor with no anesthetic, who do you want holding that scalpel? The guy you found on Craigslist for cheap, or the guy who can sew up a heart in his sleep?
Spend some time on the decision of which lawyer to hire and shop around. Think of it like buying a house or choosing a spouse, it’s an important decision that will affect the rest of your life, so do your homework.
So you just read this and you are worried you might be going to prison.
Call me if your case is around Dallas and we can talk about it. If we can help, great you are on your way to maybe not going to prison (yes even some of my clients go to prison and that sucks). If not, get the best lawyer you can afford now to fix this.