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What You Need To Know About Posting Bond in Houston or Harris County

Surety Bond Bail Bond Harris County Houston

In Harris County or Houston City, there are pretty standard processes for being released from jail after an arrest. Depending on the circumstances, here is what you need to know about posting bond after an arrest in Houston or Harris County. 

After an arrest, you will be processed and booked at the local jail facility, where you will also learn how much bail you must pay to be released. There is usually a schedule that lists out all of the costs that are associated with misdemeanor crimes and certain felonies. If you’re charged with higher-level offenses, then you might not find out your bail amount until after you’ve had a bond hearing in front of a judge. 

If you find out how much you owe, and can pay the full amount, you will arrange with the officers to make a payment. If you cannot afford the amount in cash, then you may contact a relative or co-signer to vouch for your ability to pay in the future. If you require a co-signed to help make bond, then they need to understand the stakes of co-signing for you. Co-signers will be required to present financial information and proof of collateral or resources to pay the money owed. 

When it comes to how you can post bond and gain release from jail, most defendants have three different options. 

A surety bond is primarily used when the defendant isn’t able to afford to pay their bond in cash. In this case, they will use their resources to pay for their legal representation and form a surety bond between the court and a bail bond company. If the bail bond company agrees to pay the entire amount of the bond, then they will do so in exchange for 10% of the bond amount upfront. If the defendant fails to show up to any court hearing, then the bond is forfeited, and the defendant will be required to pay the entire amount of the bond immediately. 

A personal recognizance bond is when a judge permits the defendant to be released from jail without paying any money. These bonds are usually the work of experienced criminal defense attorneys that can make a very good case for release for the defendant. Personal recognizance bonds are only ever considered during misdemeanor cases that do not include any drugs or violence. 

Cash bonds can be used in two situations. The first is when the defendant has money to pay the entire bond upfront or can borrow it from a friend or family. The second time the judge may require a cash bond is if the defendant is considered a flight risk, or has failed to pay any court fees or fines associated with other cases. With cash bonds, the court will hold the money as long as the case is active. The defendant will get their money back if they show up for all hearings, despite as to whether or not they’re found guilty. 

Depending on the jail, this process may be a bit different from place to place. However, if you are arrested in Houston or Harris country, you can count on your bond posting process to resemble what we’ve just outlined. 

Before you make any impactful decisions regarding your bond, be sure to consult a qualified attorney or speak to legal representation to get a full overview of your options. 

If you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges in the Houston or Harris Country area, contact the office of Christopher T. Gore to find out how he can help represent your case. 

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A Breakdown of the Texas Justice System

Texas Justice System

The Texas justice system has streamlined processes and produces that are followed following every arrest leading up to the trial. If you’ve been arrested, your situation will be unique to the charges you face; however, there are some standard procedures that you can expect to occur after you’ve been arrested in Texas.

The arrest

During the arrest itself, the officer is required to read your Miranda rights, which include that you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. They will also inform you of your right to have an attorney, and that if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you.

Facing the judge

After the arrest, the law requires you to be seen by a judge within at least 48 hours. The judge will explain what you are facing and what the charges meanwhile making sure that you understand your rights. After appearing before the judge, you will be given a reasonable amount of time to consult with an attorney and set up a bond.

The bail/bond hearing

Once you’ve consulted with a lawyer, they will request a bond hearing. The bond hearing is when the judge decides upon the conditions you must follow to make sure that you return to court for your hearing. If you are being held in jail, they will determine a bail amount that you can pay to be released until your trial. The amount set for your bail is determined on a case by case basis. Your attorney can help negotiate a reasonable bail amount depending on the circumstances of your case.

Filing the charges

After bail is set, then the prosecutor will file charges via a complaint, information, or an indictment, depending on the case. A complaint is used for Class C misdemeanors, an information request is used for Class A and B misdemeanors, and an indictment is used for felonies. Indictments are almost always presented to grand juries of 12 people who will vote to determine if the defendant is guilty.

The Arraignment

After charges are filed, you are expected to appear in court and hear your charges read in open court. You will be given a copy of the complaint and have the option to enter a plea or to request a continuance. If you either the defense or the prosecution need to investigate further or explore additional evidence, then a continuance will be granted. If you and your attorney come to an agreement with the prosecution about a plea bargain, then you will present this to judge and announce how you will plead. The judge has the right to accept or reject a plea agreement.

The Trial

There are two parts to trials that take place in Texas. The guilt/innocence phase is where the state will try and prove that the defendant is guilty by presenting their evidence and calling witnesses. The defense will also be able to cross-examine the witnesses and present their case in favor of the defendant.

After the guilt/innocence phase, the judge or jury will deliberate and announce their verdict to the court.

After the verdict is announced, if the defendant is found guilty, you move on to the punishment phase. During this phase, the judge will announce their recommendation for sentencing or set another date for a sentencing hearing.

While this is a pretty accurate depiction of the justice system’s process following an arrest, remember that each case is unique and may be treated differently. It’s highly recommended that you consult with an experienced attorney that can help you navigate the logistics of your case. If you’re looking for a criminal defense attorney you understand the circumstances of your case in Texas, contact Christopher T. Gore for more info on how he can represent you.

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What to Expect During a Standard Field Sobriety Test in Texas

Driving in Texas

You already know that drinking and driving is against the law and a perilous mistake to make. But let’s say for instance, that you are at a company happy hour after work after a few beers and make the decision to drive home afterward. You begin driving erratically, or maybe you just miss a stop sign and are pulled over by a police officer. Your mind may be swimming with uncertainty about what’s going to happen. There are a few specific things you can expect when you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence.

First, if the officer suspects that you are under the influence, they will ask if you have been drinking. It’s no use lying in this situation, because regardless of your answer, the officer may ask you to conduct a field sobriety test.

In Texas, there are a few different types of sobriety tests you may be asked to take part in; the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the one-legged stand, and the walk and turn.

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

This test, also called the flashlight test, tests your eyes for jerk responses when exposed to a small flashlight or pen. The officer will ask you to use your gaze and follow the object in a straight line while watching your eyesight for jerking motions. They use their judgment to determine if your gaze seems erratic or unfocused. This is not the most accurate test to determine if you are under the influencer and is usually combined with one or both of the other tests.

The One-Legged Stand

If the officer asks you to do the one-legged-stand test, here’s what you can expect. You will be asked to stand on one foot, with the other foot six inches above the ground with your toes pointed and leg straight. The office will likely ask you to count out loud for up to 30 seconds. They may also ask you to raise your arms, hop or switch legs to see how well you respond to the instruction and whether you seem steady, or are showing more signs of intoxication.

The Walk and Run

During this field sobriety test, the officer will ask you to walk about ten steps in a straight line, heel to toe. Then you’ll have to turn on your feet and do it the other way. This test is deceptively simple, but the officers will be looking for indicators that you are intoxicated in how you respond to this test. Some signs they look for include if you can start on their instruction, you count your steps correctly, how well you understand the “heel-to-toe” concept, as well as your overall demeanor during the test.

If at any point, you are placed under arrest, do not resist the officer and remember to remain calm. The next step is to find an attorney who can help get you through your charges. Don’t rely on internet advice to navigate the legal system after a DUI arrest.

You need a qualified attorney who will listen and understand the specifics of your case. If you are facing a DUI or DWI charge in Houston, call Christopher T. Gore at (713) 223-1600. Learn more about how he can best represent your case and help you move forward.

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The Five Types of Felony Charges in Texas and Their Penalties

Scales of Justice Felony Charges

Texas takes it’s felony charges very seriously. Nearly all felony crimes committed in Texas have punishments that require either state prison or jail time. They are offenses that you cannot take lightly given the severe penalties that come with them.

If you or a loved one is being charged with a felony offense, you may have questions about what will happen next. While each situation is unique, Texas has specific classifications that the courts must follow. Each felony designation carries its own potential punishments. The first step is understanding the different types of felonies in Texas and the punishments that come with those offenses.

Types of Felonies

In Texas, felonies fall under the category of capital felonies. A capital offense encompasses first, second and third-degree felonies, or state jail felonies.

State Jail Felonies

When the state considers a crime to be a felony but fails to designate it under one of the three felony categories, it is deemed a state jail felony. Some examples state jail felony crimes include theft of a firearm, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle or possessing less than one gram of a controlled substance. State jail felonies can be punishable by up to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Third Degree Felonies

The lowest designation of a felony is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A few examples of crimes that are designated as third-degree felonies include promoting prostitution, indecent exposure to a child, and committing assault while intoxicated.

Second Degree Felonies

Second-degree felonies in Texas include crimes such as manslaughter, arson, and sexual assault. A second-degree felony conviction can result in up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up $10,000.

First Degree Felonies

Crimes, including sexual assault against a child, aggravated kidnapping, or armed robbery, are considered first degree felonies. First-degree felony convictions in texas come with a sentence of five years up to life in prison as well as a $10,000 fine.

Capital Felonies

In Texas, capital felonies include the murder of a public official, or when coupled with another felony such as sexual assault or armed robbery. Capitol felonies committed in texas are punishable by death or life in prison without parole.

There are laws in place about classifications and what constitutes different types of felonies. However, the severity of the punishment is still correlated to the crime. Judges often take into consideration the defendant’s record and circumstances under which the crime was committed when designating the overall charges and punishments.

If you’ve been charged with a felony offense, it’s vital to take these circumstances seriously. Don’t rely on internet advice to guide you into taking the next steps. It’s time to retain a Houston criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help secure the best possible outcome for your situation.

If you are facing felony charges, call the offices of Christopher T. Gore to find out how he can represent your case.

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What to Expect from a First Time DWI/DUI Offense

Fruity Cocktail Don't Drink and Drive

If it’s your first time experiencing a DWI charge in Houston, you’re probably wondering about what’s going to happen next. Once you’ve received your charge, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about potential consequences, penalties, and what to expect when you go to court. Let’s break down the penalties you’ll likely experience after a first-time DWI/DUI offense. 

DWI Laws in Texas 

In Texas, it is considered ‘driving under the influence’ if you are operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. If you are pulled over and suspected of being intoxicated, you will be asked to give a breathalyzer to determine your BAC. Even if you blow less than the legal limit, you may still be arrested if you are driving erratically, or breaking laws with any BAC above 0. In addition to alcohol, you can be arrested for driving under the influence of any drug or substance, including marijuana, cocaine, or prescription drugs such as Xanax that affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely.

Legal Penalties For a First Time DUI 

If it’s your first DWI offense, you will receive a fine of up to $2,000 and could receive a jail sentence of up to six months. You will also face suspension of your driver’s license for up to six months and will have to pay an annual fee of $2,000 per year for three years to keep an active driver’s license. 

As a first-time offender, you may be able to obtain an occupational driver’s license during your suspension, which will allow you to get to work, school, and to complete household duties. An occupational license will also require you to provide evidence that the places you are going to affect financial responsibility. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicles that will test your BAC every time you attempt to start your car. 

Long-term Consequences of a DUI

In addition to the legal implications of a DWI, you may also experience a significant increase in your auto insurance costs. A DWI conviction can also affect your employment, housing opportunities as well as your privileges for carrying a firearm or holding proper licensure. If you are applying for college or jobs, a DWI conviction may show up on your background checks and may even affect your ability to apply for financial aid or scholarships. 

The penalties for a DWI can be severe and impact the rest of your life. It’s important to get official and specific legal information regarding your case and your circumstances. Reading about potential consequences online can be a helpful first step to know what yo expect, but contacting a DWI attorney will give you more detailed information about how to move forward. 

If you’ve been arrested on DUI/DWI charges in Houston, it’s time to contact a criminal defense attorney who is familiar and experienced in these specific types of cases. Contact Christopher T. Gore for a consultation to find out more about how he can represent you and help you move forward after these charges. 

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What to look for in a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

Legal Services

When you’re facing criminal charges, one of the most important decisions you make is who you choose to represent you in court. With all of the options for legal representation out there, it can be overwhelming knowing what to look for and how to choose an attorney you trust. A criminal defense attorney is a lawyer who handles criminal cases, usually in a specific geographic area and works on their own or in a smaller firm or partnership. 

Choosing the right attorney can make a huge difference in your experience during the trial and the outcome of your case. Here are a few things to consider when deciding on the right criminal defense attorney to handle your situation. 

Factors to consider when hiring a criminal defense attorney 

Knowledge of local laws

Every state has its own laws and legal processes. This makes it extremely important to hire an attorney who is familiar with the proceedings and legal structure in your area. In some states, laws even vary from one courthouse to another. So hiring a local attorney will give you an advantage at navigating the specific requirements of your county. Each district also has its own District Attorney. A criminal defense attorney who is familiar with your area may have familiarity and rapport with the D.A. and can work with them to negotiate plea deals in advance. They will also be more familiar with local law enforcement and will be able to give you more local insight into how cases like yours are typically handled in your areas. 

Areas of expertise 

IN addition to finding an attorney who is familiar with local laws, choose an attorney with experience representing people with charges similar to yours. Different attorneys have varying expertise in different offenses, and the more experienced an attorney has represented defendants with your specific charges, the more knowledge they’ll have on the complexities of those particular cases. When meeting with an attorney for the first time, make sure to ask them specifically what kind of cases they have worked in the past to make sure they have experience that aligns with the type of representation you are looking for. 

Trust and Rapport 

You will have to work closely with your attorney as they sort through the specific details of your case to give you the most favorable outcome possible. You need to build and maintain strong communication during this process which requires a great deal of trust between the two of you. In the initial meeting with a potential criminal defense attorney, pay attention to the general vibe you are feeling when talking to the attorney. Be wary of a lawyer who is feeding you blanked assurances or promising too much or asking you to sign any contracts or documents before giving you time to review them. You need to be able to have a transparent and trusting relationship with your attorney so that you both remain on the same page. A trustworthy attorney will be honest with you about the probable outcomes of the cases and will work with you to make sure you get the best possible outcome for your unique situation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get to know a potential attorney before making a final decision. 

Finding the right criminal defense attorney can change your entire experience during your trial. Make sure to do your research and speak to attorneys in person. What you read online isn’t always the best representation of the information you need to know to make an informed decision. Make in-person consultations with possible attorneys to find the right fit and get your questions answered in regards to your specific case. 

If you’ve been arrested on criminal charges and are looking for an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney, call Christopher T. Gore to find out more about how he can help represent your case.

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Why NOT Hiring a Lawyer Will Cost You

Meeting with your Houston Lawyer

It’s not a secret that lawyers can be expensive. Attorneys have to navigate the very complicated world of the legal system. Since no two cases are the same, it extremely important to hire an attorney that knows how to handle your unique situation.

When you’re facing criminal charges, there are a lot of important decisions ahead of you. One of those decisions is choosing representation for your day in court. You have the option of hiring a paid attorney or being assigned a public defender.

A public defender is a court-appointed lawyer that will handle your case at no direct cost to you. Court-appointed lawyers are better than no attorney at all, but they still come at a cost. It might be tempting to choose a court-appointed attorney to avoid paying high legal fees. But the truth is, even if you go the court-appointed route, you will still end up paying in one way or another.

The cost of not hiring a qualified attorney can result in more significant consequences down the line. So what is the cost of NOT hiring a lawyer?

The real cost of choosing a public defender

When you choose a public defender over hiring a paid lawyer, even if you enter a plea, you will still end up paying for a lawyer. The cost will come in the form of additional fees included in your court costs. Many states, including Texas, make defendants repay a portion or all of the fees for their court-appointment attorney through a process called recoupment. In 2016, the state collected more than 11 million dollars from defendants who were represented by court-appointed attorneys.

In addition to the monetary amount you may pay for a court-appointed attorney, you will spend much more of your time and wellbeing when you opt-out of paid legal representation. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know the inner workings of the justice system surrounding your crime. They will have connections and know how to communicate with the prosecution to get you the best deal.

When you choose a court-appointed lawyer, you will not be able to select the attorney you are paired with. They might not have experience dealing with cases like yours. They also have a much more significant caseload. Because of the high volume of cases they represent, their primary motivation is to move cases through the system as quickly as possible. They are less likely to take cases to trial than a hired attorney. When you work with a court-appointed attorney, you will have much less input into how your case is handled than you would with an attorney you hire.

The best course of action is to hire a lawyer that has experience handling complex cases like yours and will have your best interests in mind. It’s tempting to try and learn the logistics of your case yourself online, but online advice is no replacement for an experienced criminal defense attorney.

If you are looking for a Houston criminal defense attorney, or need advice on legal issues including domestic violence, DWIs, shoplifting, or other misdemeanors, contact Christopher T. Gore for more info on how he can represent your case.

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Can a DWI/DUI affect your employment?

Sign that says DUI DWI will cost you

Driving while under the influence is not only extremely dangerous for you and everyone around you, but can carry consequences that follow you for the rest of your life. If you are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) in Texas, you could face a fine of up to $2,000 and have your license suspended for up to one year. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, you could spend up to 6 months in jail.

Something that you might not consider is that in addition to the obvious consequences of a DUI, having this conviction on your record can affect your future employment. Since Texas is an “employment-at-will” state, your employer has the right to fire you for any reason. Unless your contract states that you can’t be fired for a specific cause, you are not guaranteed to maintain employment after a charge. Because of these laws, your current work and future job opportunities may be at risk if you’re arrested or convicted for driving under the influence.

Here are three ways a DUI or DWI can affect your career.

You could be fired from your existing job

Even if you’re arrested but found not guilty, you can still be fired from your job after a DUI. As we mentioned, Texas law gives employers the right to terminate employment at any time unless it is written into your contract that you will be protected against termination for specific reasons. Depending on your job, employers will consider a DUI charge differently. Another thing to consider is the amount of time you may need to take off of work due to court appearances and possible jail time. That in itself may be enough cause for an employer to fire you. 

You may be denied employment

If you are fired from your job or unemployed at the time of the arrest, having a DUI charge on your record could affect potential employment in different ways. While it is possible to find work after a DUI, applying for a job when you have a criminal record can limit your options significantly. Potential employers may see you as a risk or call in to question your character if you are applying for a public-facing role.

You could lose professional licensure

Depending on your current career, the implications of a DUI might be much more significant than just losing your job. If you are in a profession that requires professional licenses, your license could be at risk if you are not in what your community considers “good ethical standing.” A few careers that can be affected by a DUI are medical professionals, lawyers, professional drivers, including truck drivers, people who work closely with children, or public servants.

It’s important not to rely on advice from the internet when trying to understand the charges you’re facing. If you’re facing DUI charges, it’s time to contact an experienced Houston defense attorney. It might feel like you have no options after a DUI charge, but try not to lose hope. Working with an experienced and qualified defense attorney can help you navigate your charges to put you in a more favorable position when it comes to your future.

Contact defense attorney Christopher T. Gore to learn more about how he can help represent you in court after a DWI or DUI charge and help you reclaim your future.

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What To Know If You’re Charged With A Family Violence Crime in Texas

Charged with Family Violence

In Texas, a Family Violence misdemeanor is one of the more severe crimes you can be charged with. Aside from the illegal nature of the crime, they can cause physical and emotional damage to everyone involved. Texas has a unique way of handling crimes related to family violence. 

Texas laws on family violence

Family violence is considered any assault against a relative or member of your household and is classified as a misdemeanor. It includes any violence that results in bodily injury or physical harm, including physical and sexual assault. Texas laws also classify situations that place family members in fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury under the category of family violence.  This applies to all domestic cases except for in instances of self-defense. To be considered assault, the crime must have intent, meaning that the offender knowingly and recklessly caused bodily injury to a person. 

Additionally, Texas law has specific mandates that require offenders to stay away from their home and children following an assault. If you are charged, it is incredibly unwise to violate that protective order, even if you are told by the family member that they will drop the charges. In Texas, victims of assault cannot decide to drop charges or dismiss the case once the police are involved. Only the district attorney has the power to dismiss your case. That is why it is essential to have a defense attorney on your side to help you manage your situation. 

What to expect if charged with a family violence crime

When a criminal complaint is made after an assault, the system moves relatively quickly. Once the victim makes a statement to law enforcement, the charges are sent to a prosecutor for review. This can result in a warrant to arrest the defendant. 

Once the court date is set, you will have to appear in front of a judge while they explain the charges and set initial bail. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may still be detained after bail is posted. If there is enough evidence to go to trial, you will have to attend a pretrial hearing. Then you will need to work with your attorney to either come to an agreement on a plea or face going to trial. 

First-time offenders, if convicted with assault against a family or household member, can be subject to up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000. This conviction can also come with lifelong implications and affect your ability to own a weapon, employment eligibility, child visitation, and immigration status. 

If you’re charged with a family violence crime, consult an attorney before making any decisions. Don’t agree to a plea without speaking to an attorney first. Don’t rely on the internet to learn about the possible implications of your case. Every situation is different, and your best course of action is to hire a qualified Houston criminal defense attorney. If you are facing a family violence charge in Houston, call Christoper T. Gore to learn more about how he can represent your case and help you move forward. 

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What to do if you’re charged with assault in Texas

Handcuffed Arrested on Assault Charges

Being accused of assault in Texas is a serious crime that can come with many severe consequences. When you’re arrested on assault charges, it’s essential to know what to expect and how the legal process will play out. There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for what’s to come. 

What to know prior to appearing before a judge 

If you’ve been arrested, you’ll likely need to appear before a judge or magistrate within 48 hours of your arrest. They will inform you of your rights, including your right to an attorney and your right to remain silent. Ideally, you should obtain a lawyer before this meeting so that they can speak on your behalf and explain the proceedings to you. 

During this time it’s essential not to make any statements or say anything that would later be used against you or incriminate you further. At this meeting, your court date will be set by the judge. 

What to expect at arraignment

Your arraignment is the first time you’ll appear in court after the official charges have been filed. At this point, you should have determined with your attorney whether or not you will plead guilty, or if your attorney will negotiate a plea agreement on your behalf. If you and your attorney are unable to negotiate a plea, then the case will continue to trial. 

Preparing for the trial 

The way your trial is organized will vary based on the level of your assault charge. Depending on the circumstances of the situation, you will be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. Instances of misdemeanor assault include offensive physical contact, assault on a sporting participant, or causing bodily injury to someone. Some examples of felony assault charges include assault on a family member, assault while intoxicated and aggravated assault with a weapon. 

Misdemeanor cases usually include a jury of 6 people, while felony cases have twelve jurors. It’s the prosecution’s job to try and prove to the jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

If the jury finds you guilty and you are convicted of assault, your sentencing depends on the specific charges and the severity of the assault. If found guilty of a misdemeanor assault, you could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If you’re convicted of a felony assault, the punishment can range from five to ten years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. 

Navigating your charges, trial, and possible defense requires help from an experienced lawyer who is familiar with Houston laws and has handled similar cases. It’s important not to rely on the internet or other unreliable advice to know what to do during this time. Using an attorney will give you a better chance of having the charges dropped or reduced. 

If you’ve been arrested on assault charges, contact experienced Houston criminal defense attorney Christopher T. Gore to learn more about how he can help represent you in court.