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Top 6 Myths about Criminal Law in Texas

As experienced Houston criminal defense attorneys, we meet with clients every week who are facing charges. Many of them recount information they have read online or received from friends. A great deal of this information is false, and unfortunately some suspects use this information when planning their defense.

At Tad Nelson & Associates, we provide accurate, timely information to clients to help them decide what to do. Below, we debunk 6 of the biggest criminal law myths in Texas. Reach out to our law firm if you want advice from a board-certified defense attorney.

Myth #1: You Don’t Need a Lawyer if You Are Innocent

We wish it were that simple! The fact is that prosecutors bring charges against innocent people every day of the week. Sadly, many jurors are predisposed to believing defendants are always guilty. Their thinking is, “The state wouldn’t charge an innocent person”—and, sadly, they convict automatically at trial.

If you are facing criminal charges, you need a lawyer who has your back. Your attorney can find evidence that proves your innocence and cast doubt on the prosecution’s evidence. Never assume you will be acquitted because you are innocent.

Myth #2: Only Violent Criminals Go to Jail

Sadly, this is wrong as well. Anyone charged with a Class B misdemeanor or higher in Texas could face time behind bars. Now it’s true that judges will often give people a break, especially if they are first-time offenders. But even those accused of non-violent crimes could face time in jail or prison.

The key factor will be your criminal history. If you have multiple convictions already, then Texas law might mandate that you go to jail for a minimum amount of time. That’s true even if you were accused of a crime that didn’t injure anyone.

Myth #3: Criminal Defense Attorneys Cost Millions of Dollars

Some people are afraid to reach out to a seasoned defense attorney because of fears about money. Every situation is different, but a lawyer’s fee is usually based on:

  • The lawyer’s experience
  • The complexity of the case
  • How quickly a lawyer can resolve the case

Tad Nelson and his team have worked with people from all walks of life. Before deciding you can’t afford an attorney, meet with us to discuss possible representation. We can review how we charge for our services.

Myth #4: You Must Talk to the Police if You Are Arrested

Actually, you have a right to remain silent. The police should warn you of this right after arresting you and before beginning interrogation. These warnings are the Miranda rights every fan of Law & Order is aware of.

It is to your benefit to remain silent. Don’t answer any questions. Of course, the police might keep you in custody, and some people feel pressure to talk because they believe the police will let them go. Instead of answering questions, ask for a lawyer. And call Tad Nelson to get immediate legal representation.

Myth #5: You Can’t be Convicted on Circumstantial Evidence

Fact: most people are convicted by circumstantial evidence.

Here is some circumstantial evidence:

  • Fingerprints at a crime scene
  • DNA on a rape victim
  • Witnesses who saw you leave the crime scene with blood on your shirt
  • Video that shows you entering a convenience store and then running out a minute later

With circumstantial evidence, a juror needs to make an inference that connects you to the crime. Let’s take the example of someone seeing you leave the victim’s house with blood on your shirt.

  • One explanation is that you killed the victim, who bled on you.
  • Another explanation is that you were standing close to the victim when he was stabbed by someone else.

Circumstantial evidence is open to more than one interpretation. A good attorney can offer an explanation that makes you look innocent. At some point, however, circumstantial evidence becomes overwhelming, and a jury has no doubts that you are guilty. For example, you might have been the only one in the room with the victim when he was stabbed. And your fingerprints are on the knife. Maybe a lawyer can explain away one piece of evidence, but not all of it.

Myth #6: A Plea Deal is the Best Outcome when Charged with a Crime

A plea deal is sometimes the best option, depending on the strength of the case against you. In other situations, you might have a strong alibi, or the evidence is very weak. It’s best to let a lawyer review the state’s evidence to decide whether to fight for an acquittal or dismissal.

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