The criminal justice system is scary and intimidating for most people. You shouldn’t try to handle your case alone. In Texas, you have the right to rigorous, competent legal defense. At Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, we’re prepared to provide it.
Protect your rights by remaining silent until you contact a lawyer. The experienced Collin County criminal defense attorney from Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter has the knowledge and resources to defend you effectively against the charges you face. We’ll fight for your rights and protect your freedom.
We know how overwhelming this experience is for you. A criminal conviction will affect you, your family, and your reputation. You need someone with practical know-how to help.
We’ll build a defense that invalidates the prosecution’s theories and creates doubt for each jury member. We have a strong commitment to our clients and will treat you like a priority. You can depend on us to be there for you throughout your entire case.
Schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Collin County criminal defense attorney from Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter today. Call (214) 845-7007.
Our Practice Areas
We defend Collin Count residents from all kinds of criminal charges, including:
- Assault & Battery
- Drug Crimes
- DUI/Alcohol Offenses
- Drug Offenses
- Expunction/Record Clearing
- Juvenile Crimes
- Sex Crimes
- Theft and Robbery
- Weapons Offenses
Criminal Process in Texas
After you’re arrested for a crime in Texas, you’ll have to go through an established legal process. Your Collin County criminal defense attorney from Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter can walk you through it.
Arrest or Notice to Appear
Typically, criminal charges start with an arrest. You’ll stay in jail until your first scheduled appearance in front of a judge. That usually occurs within 24 to 48 hours of the arrest.
Upon your first appearance, the judge will set your bond amount. If you can post it, you’ll be released from jail. You can then leave with a date and time to return to court and plead to the charges against you.
A Notice to Appear is a document that indicates the date, time, and location of an appearance in front of a judge. Instead of being arrested, some people receive this notice. If you fail to show up, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. Typically, notices are for class C misdemeanor offenses.
First Court Appearance
When you stand before a judge, they describe the charges you face and advise you of your rights. They will then decide whether or not to grant bail. If they choose to grant bail, you’ll have the option to pay and be released until your trial concludes. If they deny bail, you’ll have to remain in jail until the end of your case.
During a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor must present sufficient evidence to prove a crime occurred and that you committed it. It will be the defense’s job to argue that the evidence against you isn’t sufficient to prove your guilt. If your Collin County criminal defense attorney can disprove the prosecution’s theories, the judge may dismiss the case.
Pretrial Negotiations and Plea Agreement
If we discover at the preliminary hearing that the prosecutor has enough evidence to prove you committed the crime, we may advise you to enter pretrial negotiations.
During this step of the criminal process, both sides meet to determine the penalties for a guilty plea and the outcome of the case. If we can agree to a positive outcome for you with the prosecution, you might not have to appear in court.
In most situations, your defense attorney may advise you to agree to plead guilty in exchange for a penalty that doesn’t involve time in jail. The alternative penalty could include community service, probation, counseling, restitution, or house arrest.
You don’t necessarily have to accept the plea agreement. It’s our job to come up with the best deal possible. It’s your job to decide if you want to take it.
Pretrial Motions and Hearings
If we can’t reach an agreement with the prosecutor, we’ll move forward in the process, and the judge will set a date to hear pretrial motions.
We may present various motions to try to get the case dismissed or ensure specific evidence isn’t allowed during your trial. They include:
- Motion to Dismiss Charges
- Motion to Suppress Evidence
- Motion to Compel Discovery
- Motion to Exclude Witness Testimony
If we file a pretrial motion that the judge grants, such as suppressing a key piece of the opposing side’s evidence, the prosecutor might bring up a prior plea negotiation. Losing a substantial part of their argument could result in them dropping their case against you.
Once there’s a scheduled date for trial, you may be able to decide if you want to have a bench trial or jury trial. During a bench trial, both sides present their arguments to a judge. There won’t be a jury present, so the judge will have complete control over deciding whether you’re guilty or innocent and what the penalty should be if you’re found guilty.
If you choose a trial by jury, both sides will have the opportunity to argue their cases in front of a jury. We’ll present our evidence and question witnesses. The burden of proof will fall on the prosecution. They will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty of the charges against you.
In Texas, members of the jury must reach a unanimous decision. If they find you guilty, you’ll have to appear for a sentencing hearing where the judge or jury will decide the penalty you deserve based on the Texas Penal Code and factors of the crime.
Penalties for Misdemeanors and Felonies
Criminal offenses fall under two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Each gets split into classes or degrees, which signify the type of crime committed and its severity.
Class C misdemeanor: The penalty is a maximum fine of $500 and no jail time. Examples of Class C misdemeanors include:
- Petty theft or shoplifting
- DUI as a minor
- Minor drug possession
- Simple assault
Class B misdemeanor: The penalty includes up to 180 days in county jail and a maximum of $2,000 in fines. Examples of Class B misdemeanors include:
- DWI (first offense)
- Marijuana possession (2 ounces or less)
Class A misdemeanor: The penalty includes a maximum of one year in county jail and up to a $4,000 fine. Examples of Class A misdemeanors include:
- DWI (second offense)
- Burglarizing a motor vehicle
- Assault with bodily injury
- Public lewdness
Third-degree felony: The penalties include between two and ten years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Examples of third-degree felonies include:
- Indecent exposure to a minor
- DWI (third offense)
- Assault while intoxicated
Second-degree felony: The penalties include a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Examples of second-degree felonies include:
- Human trafficking
- Aggravated assault
- Online solicitation of a minor
First-degree felony: The penalties include five to 99 years or life in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines. Examples of first-degree felonies include:
- Aggravated robbery
- Aggravated sexual assault of a child
- Solicitation of murder
- Trafficking persons under 14 years of age
Contact a Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney
When you contact Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, we take the time to get to know our clients and the details of the charges against them. We never assume the facts of your case. Instead, we come up with a personalized plan to meet our client’s goals.
When you hire us, we’ll use our experience within the Texas criminal justice system to fight for your rights and freedom. We’ll help you put this terrible time behind you and get back on your feet.
If you face a criminal charge and don’t know what to do next, call (214) 845-7007 to speak with our Collin County criminal defense attorney.