Common Legal Questions

What are the Burdens of Proof?

Attorneys will use charts and graphs to explain the different burdens of proof in a legal matter.  What is vital to know is that the State of Texas has the burden of proving you guilty. “Innocent until proven guilty” is the most important right we have in the criminal justice system.  This notion has been in existence longer than the United States of America.  How much proof is required to find someone guilty?  In a criminal case, that burden is Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.  However, there are other burdens of proof used in the criminal justice system, and it is important to know each burden of proof so that the true magnitude of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt can be understood.  Click for more.

Do I Qualify for Diversion?

Tarrant County has numerous specialty courts and diversion programs that provide alternative sentencing options to certain defendants.  Some programs allow for the dismissal of all criminal charges upon completion of the program.  Other programs, while still resulting in a conviction, allow people to have focused treatment and less severe penalties.  Many of these programs have strict deadlines.  Click here to learn about the different programs.

What Is My Range of Punishment?

Do you know what you are charged with?  Are you wondering how much time you may be facing?  In Texas, punishments range anywhere from a fine all the way to the death penalty.  It is important to understand exactly what you are facing so that you can better prepare for the decisions that will lay ahead.  Click here to learn about all of the ranges of punishment.    

What Is the Difference Between Deferred Adjudication and Probation?

In Texas, probation is called Community Supervision.  There are two types of Community Supervision:

  1. Regular Community Supervision (Straight Probation), and
  2. Deferred Adjudication

In general, Community Supervision allows a person to avoid jail or prison and instead be allowed to stay in the community and be supervised by the courts.  Community Supervision can last up to two years for a misdemeanor and up to ten years for most felonies.  Click here to learn more.


Can I Get a 12.44(a) or 12.44(b)?

What is 12.44(a)?

Texas Penal Code Section 12.44(a) allows a defendant who is convicted of a State Jail felony to serve the sentence in the county jail.  This is only available if the punishment is one year or less. The conviction remains a felony, but it is not served in State Jail.    

What is 12.44(b)?

Texas Penal Code Section 12.44(b) allows the State to prosecute a State Jail Felony as a Class A Misdemeanor.  This makes the felony a misdemeanor.


What Are the Parole Laws in My Case and What Does 3G Mean?

In Texas, anyone sentenced to time in prison must also be aware of parole eligibility and what effect a 3G offense has on parole.  If a person is convicted of a non-3G offense, a person is eligible for parole after one-quarter of the sentence has been served or 15 years, whichever is less.  

In a 3G case, however, a person is not eligible for parole until one-half of the sentence has been served or 30 years, whichever is less.  Also, if a person receives a sentence of less than four years, a minimum of two years must still be served before a person is eligible for parole.  This can have a major impact on the amount of time served in prison.

Click here to learn more.

After the Case

Sealing Your Criminal Record

Background checks are becoming more and more common when applying for such things as jobs, housing, and loans.  It is vital to hide any past criminal history, if possible.  There are two ways to seal a criminal record: Expunction and Non-Disclosure.  Both options hide a criminal charge from public view.  Click here to learn more.

Appeals

What happens after you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime?  Is it game over?  Not necessarily.  Many times, a criminal conviction may be appealed to either the Court of Appeals or the Court of Criminal Appeals.  Click here to learn more.  

Probation Revocation

A probation revocation starts when the State files either a Motion to Revoke Probation or a Motion to Adjudicate a Deferred Adjudication.  These motions will allege a specific probation violation.  When the State files one of these motions, a judge will issue an arrest warrant.  Revocation does not necessarily mean incarceration.  Click here to learn more.