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Galveston Other Crimes Lawyer

Galveston Other Crimes Lawyer

Always Fighting For Your Rights!

The Law Offices of Tad Nelson provides criminal defense representation to the people of Galveston County, Texas. Lead attorney Tad A. Nelson is a former assistant district attorney in Texas, so he understands the criminal justice system from both sides. He and his team put that experience to work everyday in assisting clients charged with a wide range of criminal offenses under the Texas Penal Code.

In addition to our main practice areas covering serious felonies, DWI, and white collar crimes, we also handle cases involving a variety of other crimes. While many of these offenses do not carry the risk of serious jail time, they can still lead to fines and other penalties that leave you with a criminal record. So if you have been charged with any kind of criminal offense, it is imperative that you work with an attorney who will represent and defend your interests in court.

What Are Some of the Other Criminal Cases We Can Help You With?

It is often said that a smart district attorney could convince a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” While that not be literally true, it is important to understand that there are a wide range of actions prohibited under the Texas Criminal Code and federal law. So it is not difficult for a prosecutor to find something to charge a person with depending on the circumstances. That is why you need to be vigilant in asserting your constitutional rights anytime you interact with the criminal justice system.

Here are just some of the other crimes we deal with at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson.

Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief is the term used to describe the offense of intentionally or knowingly destroying someone else’s tangible property. Spray painting graffiti on private property is a commonly prosecuted form of criminal mischief. If the amount of the property damage is less than $100, criminal mischief is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by only a fine. More substantial property damage can be charged as a higher misdemeanor or even a felony, which includes the possibility of significant jail time.

Domestic Violence

Texas uses the term “family violence” to describe criminal acts directed by one family or household member against another. This can include assault, sexual assault, or making threats of bodily injury. Domestic assault–making threats or offensive contact–is a Class C misdemeanor. But if someone is actually injured, this charge can be bumped up to a Class A misdemeanor, which carries up to one year in jail. And if a defendant has any prior domestic assault convictions, or the charge involves strangling or suffocating the victim, it is considered a felony.

Federal Crimes

While most criminal cases are subject to Texas courts and state law, there are also a number of federal crimes a person can be charged with in Galveston. This includes many white collar crimes–notably fraud-based offenses–as well as other criminal acts that involve crossing state lines, such as kidnapping or drug smuggling.

Hate Crimes

Both Texas and the federal government enforce laws specifically targeting “hate crimes.” These are violent offenses that target the victim based on some protected characteristic, such as race, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. In Texas, a hate crime charge enhances many felonies by one level. But prosecutors must also prove the additional hate crime enhancement beyond a reasonable doubt–i.e., they need to prove the defendant’s motive was bias and not something else, such as committing a crime for monetary gain.

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a federal and state crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide certain labor or services, such as participating in commercial sex acts. In cases involving the sexual exploitation of minors–persons under the age of 18–human trafficking is a crime regardless of whether any force or coercion was used.

Juvenile Crimes

When a juvenile breaks the law it is known as “delinquent conduct.” There is a separate juvenile justice system in Texas to adjudicate such allegations. If a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent–the equivalent of being convicted of a crime in the adult court system–they can be placed on probation or sent to a juvenile facility, in some cases until they reach the age of 19.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

If you are involved in a car accident in Galveston, you are required by law to stop and exchange information with the other drivers. If anyone appears to be injured, you must also “stop and render aid,” such as calling 911. Anyone who leaves the scene of an accident without meeting these requirements can be charged with a crime in Texas. While leaving the scene of an accident where nobody was hurt is only a misdemeanor, failing to stop and render aid following a serious car crash can be prosecuted as a third-degree felony in Texas.

Probation Violations

Many people who plead guilty or are convicted of a crime are sentenced to a term of probation. This is not simply walking away scot-free. Probation imposes a number of rules and restrictions that a person must follow in order to avoid being sent to jail. This can include regularly meeting with a probation officer, completing treatment in a drug or alcohol program, and making restitution payments to the victims of a crime. If a police officer or prosecutor even suspects that a probation violation has occurred, that person can be arrested and required to explain themselves before a judge.

Subornation of Perjury

You probably know that it is a crime to lie under oath, i.e., perjury. But you may not be aware of the fact a person can also be charged with willfully inducing another person to commit perjury. This is known as “subornation of perjury.”

What Is the Criminal Justice Process in Galveston, Texas?

The first thing that should happen if you are arrested for any crime in Texas is that the arresting officer reads you your rights. This is a constitutional requirement known as a Miranda warning. These rights include:

  • The Right to Remain Silent: You do not have to answer any questions posed by the police or a prosecutor, and if you do choose to answer, anything you say could potentially be used against you in court.
  • The Right to an Attorney: You have the right to consult with an attorney of your choosing; if you cannot afford an attorney, the court must appoint one to represent you.
  • The Right to Counsel During Questioning: Your attorney always has the right to be present when you are questioned as part of a criminal case.

Within 48 hours of an arrest (in most cases), an accused person must be brought before a magistrate. The magistrate will inform the accused of the specific charges against them and whether there was an affidavit–i.e., a sworn statement–filed by a police officer or prosecutor explaining the reasons for bringing the charges. The magistrate will again advise the defendant of their constitutional rights.

The magistrate will also determine the conditions of the defendant’s bail. Except in capital cases, Texas law affords all persons accused with a crime the right to seek bail. Depending on the nature of the crime, the court can release a defendant on “personal bond,” or their simple promise to make all future court appearances. But in more serious cases the magistrate is likely to establish an amount of money as bail. The accused must then post this bail themselves, offer property as collateral, or secure a bond from a bail bondsman.

Prosecutors must file formal criminal charges within a specified time period following an accused person’s initial appearance before the magistrate. In felony cases this typically means obtaining an indictment from a grand jury. Once formal charges are filed, the accused will then return to court for an arraignment. This is when the accused enters a plea.

Throughout the pre-trial and trial process, a defendant accused of a crime has the following rights:

  • Presumption of Innocence: Nobody has to “prove” their innocence. It is the prosecution’s job to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Self-Incrimination: Just as you are not required to speak to the police following an arrest, you never have to testify at your own trial. The prosecution cannot argue your guilt based on such a refusal, and the jury cannot consider it a factor in their deliberations.
  • Speedy Trial: The federal and Texas constitutions guarantee all persons accused of a crime the right to a speedy trial. While there is no precise definition of what qualifies as “speedy” in Texas, you have the right to demand a trial proceed without unreasonable delay. If you can prove that the prosecution has unfairly prejudiced your rights due to excessive delays, a judge can dismiss the charges against you.
  • Right of Confrontation: You–or more precisely, your criminal defense attorney–has the right to “confront” and cross-examine any witnesses the prosecution produces against you. You also have the right to call your own witnesses and present any evidence that you feel will assist in your defense.
  • Right to Appeal: If you are convicted of a crime, you have the right to appeal. An appeal does not mean you get to re-try your case. But if you can convince an appellate court that critical errors were made during your trial, the higher court can order a new trial or even dismiss the case against you outright.

Should I Accept a Plea Bargain?

The reality is that most Texas criminal cases never make it before a jury. The vast majority of charges are either dismissed by the prosecution due to lack of evidence or disposed of through a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant. The defendant agrees to enter a “guilty” or “no contest” plea to one or more charges. In exchange, the prosecution can:

  • reduce the charge to a lesser offense, such as charging a misdemeanor rather than a felony;
  • drop one or more charges altogether; or
  • agree to recommend a more favorable sentence to the judge.

A well-negotiated plea bargain can benefit both sides. The prosecution gets the certainty of a guilty or no contest plea and does not have to risk a possible acquittal at trial. And the defendant can receive a greater sense of certainty about the disposition of their case. It is also much quicker to resolve a case by plea bargain as opposed to trial.

But it is also important not to accept a plea offer from a prosecutor without first taking the time to consider all of your options, as well as the potential implications that any criminal conviction might have on your life moving forward. Under no circumstances should you ever agree to a plea without first consulting a qualified criminal defense attorney. Remember, the prosecutor’s job is to secure a guilty plea or verdict within the bounds of the law, not to look out for your best interests.

Speak with a Galveston Other Crimes Defense Attorney Today

Anytime that you face criminal charges, your first instinct should be to contact a qualified Galveston criminal defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Tad Nelson, we can advise and represent you at every stage of the criminal justice process. We can thoroughly review the charges against you and the prosecution’s evidence. We can assist you in negotiating a favorable plea bargain if that is your wish. And if you decide to go to trial, we can prepare and present your case to a jury.The important thing to remember is that you do not have to face criminal charges alone. You always have the right to counsel. So if you have been accused of a federal or state crime and live in Galveston County, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson today to schedule a free initial consultation.