What Is The Importance Of Involving An Attorney In Pre-filing And Filing Decisions?

It is very important to hire an experienced criminal attorney as soon as you receive any type of notice that you are being investigated by law enforcement. Sometimes notice is sent by letter, which states that you are a Target of an investigation and you need to contact the investigating agent or prosecutor. Other times a detective or agent may knock on your door. Remember you have the Constitutional Right not to answer any questions. If you receive a Target Letter call my office immediately. If a detective or agent contacts you either in person or on the telephone, obtain their contact information and politely tell them that you will have your attorney contact them as soon as possible. Do not make any statements as you will likely incriminate yourself.

Is It Possible For An Attorney To Stop Charges From Being Filed? 

Yes, there have been many times that a client hired me the moment they received notice they were being investigated and I was able to build a case and convince the prosecution and law enforcement not to file any charges.

What Does An Aggressive Pre-Filing Intervention Look Like?

We try to learn more about the case then the prosecution or law enforcement know. This is done by interviewing witnesses and developing an alternative theory of the case.

Why Is It Imperative To Have An Attorney Try To Stop Charges From Being Filed Even If They Are Dismissed Later On?

Because if charges are not filed, then there is no arrest and thus, no record of an arrest. Having an arrest on your record can cause you to lose your job or have great difficulties in getting hired for a job. Additionally, being arrested is a hassle. Often law enforcement makes arrests early in the morning by beating on your door or knocking the door down and arresting you in front of your family and children. This is not a pleasant experience for anyone.

What Factors Do You Consider When Deciding Whether To Take A Plea Agreement Or To Go To Trial In A Criminal Case?

The first thing I do is investigate the case fully. This means reviewing and evaluating all of the government’s evidence. An attorney has to investigate the case fully. Only after a full investigation can a decision to go to trial or take a plea deal be made.

Many times I can build a successful defense to the government’s evidence or show that the government’s evidence is false. I then always push for a dismissal. Sure, not every case is dismissed, but you don’t know until you try. Often if the case is not dismissed, the charges may be reduced or we are given a good plea offer.

Generally, plea deals are only taken if a trial would result in a worse case for the client.

What Do Felony Plea Offers Generally Look Like For First Time Offenders, Second etc.? (Alternative Sentencing? Deferred Judgments?)

This depends on the type of case, but generally if the case is non-violent and a low-level felony the initial plea offer may be for probation. If the case is serious and violent then often the first plea offer or any plea offer, is prison time.

For more information on Pre-filing & Filing Decisions & Strategies, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (713) 228-1400 today.

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Houston Criminal Lawyer James Alston represents clients in the Houston area, including Pasadena, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Channelview, Conroe, Galveston, Angleton, Richmond, Rosenberg, Beaumont, Galveston County, Ft. Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Harris County and Jefferson County in Texas.