Posts Tagged ‘Dallas criminal defense attorney’

Dallas County – How to Locate an Arrested Individual

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Dallas County is rather large compared to other metropolitan areas, so arrested individuals may be difficult to find.  While it is possible to use the Dallas County website’s jail lookup system to locate a particular individual, it still may be difficult to make contact with the individual you are looking for.  Further, not everyone has access to the internet or may know where to go to find out information on a loved one’s whereabouts.  There are multiple police stations in Dallas County, and it is often too burdensome for people to go to each police station in search of someone.  In order to determine if someone you know has been arrested and is in need of legal representation, you should consider contacting a Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney yourself as soon as you become aware that your friend or family member may have been arrested.

Finding an Arrested Individual in Dallas County

If you are able to find a family member or friend by searching Dallas County’s jail lookup, then you can go to that particular jail to find out more information on this individual.  If you do not have the means of locating a family member or friend who may be in jail, then you should consult with an attorney who has the resources to find your loved one.  Even if you are able to find your loved one in a particular Dallas County jail, you will still need the guidance of an attorney to help your loved one receive the legal representation he or she deserves.  It is important to note that some individuals may simply be absent from the Dallas County jail lookup, even if they are in fact in a Dallas County jail. Because of this possibility, it is important to have an attorney standing by to help you located your family member or friend.

Finding the Right Dallas County Attorney to Help You

When looking for an attorney who will help you find your family member or friend, you should look for an attorney who has the experience and skill needed to provide your family member or friend with superior legal representation.  While being arrested does not always result in criminal charges, it is crucial that an attorney be able to meet with an arrested individual as soon as possible.  Without the help of an attorney, some people have no choice but to remain in jail, unaware of what the future may bring.  As such, the best step you can take when trying to locate someone you believe may be in jail, is to contact a qualified Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney who has the qualifications and track record of success.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today to Schedule an Initial Consultation

It isn’t always easy to find a friend or family member who has been arrested, especially given the large size of Dallas County.  While you may be able to find information by calling a police station or searching online, these efforts may prove to be fruitless.  If you are concerned about someone you know, and believe he or she has been arrested, it is important that you consider how a skilled Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney can help you and your friend or family member.  As a former prosecutor, Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has more than thirty years of experience both prosecuting and defending criminal charges.  With his knowledge, skill and dedication, Mr. Pettit provides his clients with the best legal representation possible given the individual circumstances of each client’s case.  If you would like to speak with Jack Pettit about a criminal matter, contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation by calling (214) 521-4567.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish, and we also accept major credit cards.

Texas Cracks Down on Identity Theft

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Millions of individuals have fallen victim to identity theft over the past couple of decades, and the crime of identity theft is certainly on the rise as most information regarding an individual is now stored electronically.  Being accused of stealing someone’s identity can be just as horrific and stressful as it is to be a victim of identity theft, especially when you are completely innocent.  Regardless of guilt or innocence, being charged with identity theft in Texas can result in both the imposition of significant fines and a rather lengthy jail term.  However, it is important to remember that no two cases are alike, and one individual convicted of identity theft may receive probation, while another individual may receive a five year jail sentence.  The facts of each individual’s case are the driving force behind what the penalties will be.

Identity Theft Under Texas Law

Under Texas law, an individual may be charged with and convicted of identity theft if he or she uses another individual’s personal details, such as name, birth date, and social security number, in order to obtain goods, services or anything else of value.  There are two separate identity theft laws in Texas that apply to situations where an individual is charged with the crime of identity theft, as described below:

  • Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information – An individual who obtains another individual’s identifying information (i.e., name, birth date, and/or social security number) without consent, or who transfers or uses such information, has committed a form of identity theft.
  • Unauthorized Acquisition or Transfer of Certain Financial Information – An individual who acquires, without authorization, certain financial information on financial documents (such as photocopies of checks, credit cards, and/or bank statements), and transfer such information to a third party, has committed a form of identity theft.

Regardless of what type of identity theft is being alleged, the penalties can be quite harsh.  The unauthorized acquisition of certain financial documents is considered a Class B misdemeanor in Texas.  Transferring such information to a third party raises the crime to a Class A misdemeanor.  The fraudulent use or possession of identifying information is considered a felony in Texas.  Depending on the individual facts of the case and how serious the offense is, the felony may range from jail felony to felony in the first degree.  As such, a conviction of identity theft, especially where the crime is considered a felony, can have disastrous consequences that may leave you or a loved one in jail for a number of years.

As Texas cracks down on acts of identity theft, more people will be arrested and potentially facing charges.  Because identity theft can be a felony, you need the best criminal defense representation possible to ensure your rights and interests are being protected.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you or a loved one has been charged with identity theft in Texas, it is imperative that you consult with a Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible.  Given that identity theft has dramatically increased over the years, Texas law enforcement officials have been pressing charges more frequently.  The consequences of identity theft can be just as serious as, or even more serious than, any other theft charge in Texas.  As such, the sooner you are able to speak with an attorney, the sooner you can fight the criminal charges against you.  Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit is a former prosecutor with more than thirty years of experience working with the criminal justice system.  Attorney Jack Pettit has the skill and reputation you are looking for in a seasoned criminal defense attorney.  To discuss your criminal charge with Jack Pettit, contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation by calling (214) 521-4567.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish, and we also accept major credit cards.

Disorderly Conduct in Texas – What You Should Know

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Disorderly conduct is typically not considered to be a very serious crime, however, being convicted of disorderly conduct could make it difficult for you to obtain employment or be admitted to a college or university as the conviction will be on your criminal record.  Further, disorderly conduct is much broader than many people realize.  The range of punishment is different depending on the nature and severity of the conduct.  Even though disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor offense, and therefore not as serious as other crimes, you still need a highly experienced attorney providing you with the best representation possible.  Without the assistance of a Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney, you may not be able to get the charge reduced or dismissed entirely.  A qualified attorney will look for the best options possible to reach a positive outcome.

What is Disorderly Conduct in Texas?

Under Texas law, disorderly conduct ranges from being intoxicated in public, to making false, abusive, or harassing calls to 911 operators, to falsely reporting a bomb or fire, to threatening another person in public, to discharging a firearm in public, to causing excessive noise in a public place and/or near a private residence, and to fighting in public, among many others.  When you think of disorderly conduct, you tend to envision that an individual is being difficult, violent, offensive, disagreeable, and/or belligerent.  However, the scope of disorderly conduct is much broader, and the conduct in question does not need to be violent or offensive in nature. 

Merely creating an excessive noise isn’t necessarily violent or offensive, yet it is still considered disorderly conduct.  It is important that Texans understand how broad the crime of disorderly conduct is to ensure they take all steps necessary to avoid being charged with the crime.  If you are charged with disorderly conduct, your attorney will first investigate whether you may have any defenses to the charge, and if so, the dismissal of your claim may be sought.  Otherwise, your attorney may be able to lower your disorderly conduct charge to a less severe crime that will not be harmful to your criminal record.

 

Range of Punishment for Conviction of Disorderly Conduct in Texas 

If convicted of disorderly conduct in Texas, the classification of your conviction ranges from being a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor.  If convicted of a Class C misdemeanor, you face a fine of up to $500, but no jail time.  If convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, you face a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail.  If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, you face a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. 

Disorderly conduct in the form of discharging a firearm in public (but not on or across a public road), is considered a Class C misdemeanor, therefore, this is an example of one of the less severe forms of disorderly conduct.  The other extreme of disorderly conduct that is considered a Class A misdemeanor is reporting false alarms, such as making abusive or harassing calls to 911 operators, reporting a bomb when no bomb exists, reporting a fire that does not exist, or anything else that results in a false emergency response. 

Regardless of what the conduct in question is, if you have been charged with disorderly conduct, the sooner you seek the advice of a qualified Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney, the greater your chances are of resolving the matter in the most efficient and equitable way possible.

 Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Being charged and subsequently convicted of disorderly conduct can leave you with a blemished criminal record if you do not have a skilled attorney by your side helping you reach the best resolution possible to avoid jail time, and to avoid having a criminal conviction on your record.  Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has more than three decades of experience working with the criminal justice system, both as a former prosecutor and as an active criminal defense attorney.  Having well-rounded experience is essential to providing the best legal representation possible.  If you are facing a disorderly conduct charge, or any other criminal charge, contact Jack Pettit today by calling (214) 521-4567 to schedule an initial consultation.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish, and we also accept major credit cards.

What’s the Difference Between Robbery and Burglary in Texas?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Theft, burglary and robbery are very serious crimes in Texas.  Some of these crimes carry with them penalties that could result in significant fines and imprisonment.  It is important that individuals facing theft-related charges understand the difference between each of the crimes and realize that the consequences of being convicted of one crime could be more serious than being convicted of another crime.  Many people do not fully understand the difference between robbery and burglary.  Both involve theft, but the crimes are different in terms of their location and whether or not people were harmed or at risk for being harmed as a result of the crime. 

Robbery Under Texas Law

In Texas, robbery is a second degree felony that carries with it the potential for jail time between two and twenty years, and a fine of not more than $10,000.  An individual commits robbery in Texas when he or she steals or attempts to steal property from another person, and in doing so, he or she intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused bodily injury to another person, or places this person in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.  It does not matter if the person committing robbery intends to harm the person being robbed or not.  It is how the robbery affects the innocent person and what that person felt and perceived from the robbery.

Aggravated robbery involves the additional act of causing serious bodily injury to the person being robbed, using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the robbery, causing bodily injury or threatening or placing another person in fear of imminent harm or death, and the person is 65 years of age or older, or to a disabled individual.  Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony, carrying with it jail time between five years and life in prison (not more than 99 years), and a fine of not more than $10,000.

Burglary Under Texas Law

In Texas, burglary is a felony, and the degree of felony depends upon the location of the alleged crime.  Burglary is considered a state jail felony if it is committed in a building other than a habitation (i.e., other than a building or structure that can be used for overnight occupation), and this crime carries with it jail time between 180 days and two years, and a fine of not more than $10,000. 

If the burglary is committed in a habitation, the charge is a second degree felony, carrying with it jail time between two and twenty years, and a fine of up to $10,000.  If the burglary involves entry into a habitation, and the accused is committing or attempting to commit a felony other than a theft-related felony, the charge is a first degree felony, carrying with it jail time between five years and life in prison (not more than 99 years), and a fine of not more than $10,000.

The serious consequences of any theft-related charge can be devastating, and as you can see from the information above, there are varying degrees within each general crime.  Because there is so much at stake, it is essential that you seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your case in detail, and defend your rights to the fullest.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you have been charged with theft, burglary, robbery or any other crime, you need a Dallas criminal defense attorney standing by to advocate on your behalf.  Theft-related crimes are charges that could leave you with a permanent criminal record as a convicted felon.  In order to ensure you are doing everything you can to fight a criminal charge, it is essential that you speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has been helping people like you overcome the challenge and potential consequences of a criminal conviction, no matter how minor or severe the crime is.  As a former prosecutor with more than three decades of experience, Jack Pettit has the skill and dedication necessary to look out for your best interests.  Call our office today at (214) 521-4567 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your criminal matter.  Our office provides bilingual services in both English and Spanish, and we accept major credit cards.

Sex Crimes and the Texas Sex Offender List

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

In today’s technological age, any given person can search sex registries online to find out if “sex offenders” live nearby.  While there are certainly individuals out there who have committed horrific sex crimes, and are rightfully placed on the Texas sex offender lists, there are many individuals who are placed on the sex offender list for very minor crimes that fall into the “sex crimes” category.  The consequences of being convicted of the most minor sex crime can leave you with a criminal record and on a list that gives the public the wrong impression of who you really are.

 What Crimes Can Put You on the Sex Offender List in Texas?

Under Texas law, you may be required to register with local law enforcement as a sex offender if you have been convicted of crimes including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Sexual abuse of a young child;
  • Indecency with a child;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Aggravated sexual assault;
  • Prohibited sexual conduct;
  • Compelling prostitution;
  • Involvement in the sexual performance of a child;
  • Possession or promotion of child pornography;
  • Aggravated kidnapping if the accused had the intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually; and
  • Burglary with the added element of committing or having the intent to commit any of the crimes listed above

 Some of these crimes don’t actually involve the forceful act of sexual abuse.  For example, if you have consensual sex with someone who is 17 years old, and you are 18 years old, you may be deemed a sex offender, and you may be placed on the sex offender list.  Depending on the circumstances of your prior conviction, and whether or not you meet certain requirements, you may be able to “deregister” as a sex offender.  This is something that should be discussed with an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney to determine if you may be eligible.

What Information is Available on the Sex Offender List?

If you are charged with a sex crime and required to register with local law enforcement, the following information may be available to the public:

  • Your name and home address;
  • A color photograph of you; and
  • The crime you were convicted of.

 Even though the public can clearly see what “sex crime” you were convicted of, people may not pay attention to the details of the crime, and will lump you along with other sex offenders who have committed much more serious crimes.  Further, you are required to update your information with local law enforcement periodically, so the public will be aware of your precise location for the entire period of time that you are required to be on the sex offender list.

In order to avoid being required to register as a sex offender, you should seek the advice of experienced legal counsel as soon as you are charged with what is deemed to be a “sex crime.”  The sooner you are able to act and fight the criminal charge, the more likely you will be able to either have the charge dismissed, or attempt to reduce the punishment so that you will not be required to register as a sex offender.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Being charged with a sex crime is a serious and sensitive matter that requires the gentle, yet dedicated service of a criminal defense attorney with significant experience handling public lewdness charges and other sex crimes.  You deserve to have legal representation that focuses on your rights and reaching the best resolution possible.  Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit is a former prosecutor with more than three decades of experience working in the criminal justice system.  To discuss your criminal charges with Mr. Pettit, contact our office today at (214) 521-4567 to schedule an initial consultation.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish, and our office also accepts major credit cards.

Do Criminal Charges Stay on My Record in Texas?

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

A criminal charge can leave you feeling defeated, frightened, and uncertain of what your future holds.  It is not surprising to feel this way, as one of the worst consequences of a criminal charge or conviction is the negative impact this has on your ability to rent an apartment or home, obtain a job, or attend a college or university.  However, keep in mind that simply being charged with a crime does not necessarily mean a potential landlord, employer or school admissions department will have the ability to find this rather sensitive information out.

While some background checks do pull up pending criminal charges, and prior charges that have been dismissed, most of them only pull up prior convictions.  The information extracted from a background check is dependent upon what the potential landlord, employer and/or school admissions department is looking for.  Nevertheless, a simple criminal charge that has been dismissed, or that is pending, can prevent you from being able to rent a home, get a job, or attend school.

When you apply to rent an apartment or home, apply for a job, or apply for admission to a college or university and are required to complete background check forms, you will likely be asked if you have ever been charged with a crime, what the disposition was, as well as whether you have prior criminal convictions.  If you have been charged with a crime before and found to be innocent, or the charge was dismissed, this charge may show up on your background check as “dismissed.”

However, a potential landlord, employer, or admissions office department may still consider you an unfavorable applicant simply because you were charged with a crime.  An employer cannot reject your application for the simple fact that you were charged with a crime that was later dismissed, but the mere fact of potential criminal activity may still have a negative impact on your application.

This one characteristic may set you apart in a negative light from the other applicants, and unfortunately happens frequently.  It is sometimes difficult for landlords, employers and college or university admissions offices to set aside the fact that you were charged with a crime.  They may ask what lead you to being arrested in the first place.  This is an unfair consequence of being wrongfully charged with a crime.

A Dallas criminal defense attorney can provide you with the counsel and advice as to how to handle a prior criminal charge when applying to rent an apartment or home, applying for a job, or applying to attend a college or university.  A skilled Dallas criminal defense attorney can help you address your criminal charge and hopefully move on without a blemish on your record.  Fighting your criminal charge as early as possible will enable your attorney to communicate with the prosecutor to reach a quick resolution to get the charge dismissed.

Contact Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you have been charged with a crime, your record is at stake even if you are innocent.  It is imperative that you speak with a Dallas County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to minimize the negative consequences of your criminal charge.  Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer Jack Pettit has focused the bulk of his more than thirty year career on defending the rights of his clients.  With his prior experience as a prosecutor, Attorney Jack Pettit thoroughly understands the Texas criminal justice system, and his experience as a former prosecutor has helped Jack Pettit provide superior representation to his clients as a criminal defense attorney.  To discuss your criminal matter with Attorney Jack Pettit, please call our office today at (214) 521-4567.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual services in English and Spanish.  We also accept major credit cards.

 

Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Differences Between Pleading Guilty and No Contest

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Most people in Texas are aware of the legal differences between pleading guilty and not guilty.  But what about no contest, or “nolo contendere”?  We hear this from watching television shows, going to the movies, listening to the radio, and simply talking among friends, family members and co-workers.  While the term may seem self-explanatory, it is nonetheless important to understand the difference between these two plea decisions, especially if you have been charged with a crime in Texas.

Many people decide to represent themselves, and this often leads to conviction that may have been lessened or avoided altogether if a Dallas criminal defense attorney had been involved.  By representing yourself, you are at a disadvantage if you do not fully understand the distinction between a plea of guilty and a plea of no contest, and the ramifications for each plea.

By pleading guilty, you are essentially admitting guilt, and accepting punishment.  By pleading no contest, you are not admitting guilt, but you are accepting punishment as if you had pleaded guilty.  A plea of no contest cannot be used against you in a civil lawsuit as an admission of guilt.

It may seem strange to plead no contest if you are innocent, so, why plead no contest if you didn’t commit the crime you are charged with?  Pleading no contest is a decision that is sometimes the best option for your particular situation.  The decision to plead no contest should be discussed with an experience Dallas criminal defense attorney.  A common reason why many individuals charged with a crime plead no contest is because they do not believe they will have a good chance of proving their innocence at trial.  In such cases, by accepting punishment, charged individuals may be able to avoid potentially long jail terms.

For example, if you are charged with possession of cocaine, and someone else had put the cocaine in your bag or pocket, you may have a very difficult time proving that the cocaine is not yours.  It is definitely unfair that you, as an innocent person, may have to accept a form of punishment simply to avoid potentially harsher punishment if found guilty at trial.  Therefore, pleading no contest can help you avoid serious punishment and you do not have to admit guilt.

How Do I Know If I Should Plead No Contest?

Before making such an important decision as pleading guilty or no contest to a criminal charge, it is essential that you consult with a Dallas County criminal defense attorney.  Your attorney can evaluate the facts of your case to give you an opinion of what is likely to happen at trial.  If it is more likely that you will be found guilty, your attorney may suggest that you plead no contest to avoid the potential for serious jail time.

However, it is always up to you as the charged individual whether or not you want to plead not guilty, guilty, or no contest.  Whatever decision you make, you need a Dallas criminal defense attorney by your side to ensure you are reaching the best resolution possible to your criminal charge.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, whether it be drug possession, driving while intoxicated (DWI), assault, battery, or receiving a traffic ticket, you need the help of a Dallas County Criminal Defense Lawyer who will fight to achieve the best outcome possible for your particular situation.  Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has over thirty years of experience, both as a prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney.  Mr. Pettit has the skill and dedication necessary to advocate for you and avoid the detrimental consequences of a criminal conviction.  To schedule an appointment with Mr. Pettit, please call our office today at (214) 521-4567.  We offer bilingual services in English and Spanish and also accept major credit cards.

What is Required for a Public Lewdness Charge in Texas?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

A charge of public lewdness in Texas is very serious.  One small sexual gesture with another could land you in jail for up to one year.  Public lewdness is often accompanied by individuals being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.  Being under the influence may cause certain individuals to behave in ways they would not behave while sober.  However, many people commit the same lewd acts while completely coherent and free from alcohol or drugs.

Under Texas law, public lewdness is defined as the following:

  • Sexual intercourse in a public place;
  • Deviate sexual intercourse in a public place;
  • Sexual contact in a public place; or
  • Conduct of a sexual nature involving an animal or fowl

The range of conduct that could fall into the definition of public lewdness ranges from minor to serious, yet the charge is the same regardless of the particular conduct.  The penalty for public lewdness is harsh.  The charge is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Texas.  A conviction can confine you to jail for up to one year, and you may have to pay a fine of up to $4,000.  Public lewdness may not seem as serious as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or possession of drugs, however, the state of Texas has determined that in order to deter, or discourage people from exhibiting sexual behaviors in public, the punishment needs to be quite strict.

Are There Defenses to a Public Lewdness Charge?

It is often difficult to get around the fact that you were engaged in sexual conduct in a public place.  However, if you were charged with public lewdness and believe the land you were on was private property, you may be able to use this to help either get your charge dismissed, or get your charge lowered to a less serious crime that does not carry the same penalties.

As with most misdemeanor crimes, the fight in court is not worth the risk of being convicted of the crime you have been charged with.  If you have retained an attorney experienced in all types of public lewdness charges, you will likely be able to avoid the maximum Class A misdemeanor penalties under Texas law.  For example, you may be able to plead to a lesser charge that would leave you with a fine and probation, or perhaps simply a fine.

Prevent the Conduct From Happening in the First Place

A charge of public lewdness is something that can easily be avoided.  Many people are not aware that Texas considers this charge to be the most serious of misdemeanors (even more serious than a first time DWI offender).  This may seem outrageous to some people, however, because the lewd conduct can be done in the privacy of one’s own home and not in public for fellow Texans to see, you should not put yourself at risk for serving jail time and paying up to $4,000 for conduct that simply did not have to occur in the public sphere.

Contact Our Office Today to Speak with Attorney Jack Pettit Regarding Your Public Lewdness Charge

If you have been charged with public lewdness, you need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney who is highly experienced in this area of criminal law.  This type of charge can be more serious than many people believe. Attorney Jack Pettit has helped thousands of clients with all types of criminal matters, including public lewdness and indecent behavior.  Allow Mr. Pettit to protect your rights and defend you against your public lewdness charge.  Mr. Pettit can be reached by calling 214-521-4567.  His office also provides legal services in both English and Spanish.  Mr. Pettit also accepts major credit cards.

The Consequences of Leaving Your Child Unattended in a Vehicle in Texas

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

We live in a very busy world today where we look to the quickest possible way to take care of something.  If you are running some errands and only want to go into a store for a few minutes, you may decide to leave your car with the flasher lights on at the front curb of the store to avoid a long walk from the main parking lot.  What you may not know is that if you have a child that you leave in your car unattended, you may be subject to criminal penalties.

Under Texas law, if you are aware that your child is in the car and leave your child in the car for even just five minutes, you may be charged with a crime that is considered a class C misdemeanor.  The law states that the child must be less than seven years old and left alone.  If there is another child in the car who is at least fourteen years old, then this older child may lawfully supervise the younger child.  The crime of leaving your young child unattended in a vehicle is part of the least severe class of misdemeanors, but it is still a charge that you may have to face.  Along with a criminal charge comes fines and possibly appearing in court.

We all know how hot Texas summers can be.  There are many safety concerns with leaving your child unattended in your car.  You may only intend to be in a store for a few minutes, but that few minutes could turn into ten, twenty or even thirty minutes if there are long lines in the store or if there’s something else holding you up in the store that is out of your control.  Not only is your child’s health at risk, but your child could be abducted or injured.  Your child may find a way to release the brake on the car or roll the windows up so that there is no ventilation on a hot day.

Even though the law states that your child must be under the age of seven and unattended, don’t read this to mean that it is okay to leave your child unattended if he or she is seven years of age or older.  You still may be charged with a crime if a police officer is unsure of the child’s age and you will have to plead your case in court.  Further, it is still in both you and your child’s best interest to avoid leaving your child unattended, regardless of your child’s age.

Contact an Attorney Who Specializes in Class C Misdemeanor Defense

If you have been charged with leaving your child unattended in a motor vehicle, whether it be a car, van or trailer, and that child is under the age of seven, you should contact an attorney experienced in the area of class C misdemeanor defense.  Attorney Jack Pettit has over thirty years of experience as a criminal defense attorney.  Mr. Pettit has represented thousands of clients in a variety of criminal cases, but he is especially skilled in the area of defending clients charged with class C misdemeanors.  Going to court alone without the comfort and advice of a seasoned attorney may leave you with a criminal record that could have been avoided.  Allow Mr. Pettit to investigate your situation.  No matter how small a criminal charge may be, it could come back to haunt you later on in life.  Please call 214-521-4567 to speak with Mr. Pettit about your case.  We conveniently offer bilingual services in English and Spanish.  We also accept major credit cards.

What Happens at an Arraignment in Texas after Being Charged with a Crime

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Being arrested and charged with a crime, whether minor or serious, is a frightening experience.  The criminal process can be very confusing, and many people don’t know what to expect after being charged with a crime.  After being charged with a crime, an arraignment will be scheduled for you to appear in court where you are formally charged and meet face to face with the prosecutor and a judge.

What is an arraignment?

In Texas, an arraignment is a brief hearing that is conducted after being arrested.  You will appear before a judge, and the prosecutor will read the charges that have been filed against you.  The most important aspect of this short hearing is that the judge will ask you whether you want to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.  You will be asked to acknowledge that you are in fact the person that has been charged.  The judge will tell you what the maximum penalty for your charge is.  This scares many people because the alleged crime may not be deserving of the maximum punishment.

How should I plead?

The most important thing to remember about an arraignment is that you do not have to plead guilty if you in fact committed the crime.  This is confusing because it seems logical to plead guilty if you committed the crime you are charged with.  However, most people plead not guilty because this gives your attorney and the prosecutor time to negotiate.  Oftentimes, crimes can be reduced and negotiated out of court.  If you do decide to plead guilty, the judge may enter a sentence at that time.

Why it is important to seek legal representation?

Because the process of pleading guilty, not guilty, or not contest to a crime you are charged with is extremely confusing and also very important to the outcome of your case, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel immediately.  An experienced attorney will ensure that the police followed all of the proper procedures, and can do so by looking at what is called “discovery.”  This typically consists of the complaint and the police report.

While you certainly can appear for the arraignment without an attorney, this often is not advisable because you are not giving yourself the opportunity to allow an attorney to look at your case and prepare you for what to expect.  Having an attorney stand by your side will provide you with comfort and confidence that you simply will not have by appearing alone.  It is also important not to wait until the last minute to hire an attorney.  If you miss your arraignment, this will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

If you have been charged with a crime, no matter how severe the charge is, and you have an upcoming arraignment hearing, contact our offices as soon as possible.  Attorney Jack Pettit is an experienced criminal defense attorney who will defend your rights to the fullest.  Mr. Pettit will guide you through the arraignment process, advise you of your plea options, and will work diligently to achieve the best outcome possible in your case.  Don’t go through this process alone.  Allow Mr. Pettit to evaluate every single fact of your case, from the time leading up to arrest, to any potential searches.  Sometimes the police make mistakes.  Mr. Pettit will investigate to make sure the charge against you is legitimate.  If you would like to speak with Mr. Pettit to discuss your case, please contact his office at 214-521-4567.  We offer services in both English and Spanish.  We also accept major credit cards.