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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 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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What Information Will Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Share With You

Criminal Defense Attorney CHRISTOPHER T. GORE

When you’re convicted of a crime or pending an investigation, it may seem like you rights are being stripped away. It can be a stressful time if you don’t know what to expect and how you can prepare for the future. Your lawyer wants to help you feel confident in the course of action you’re taking, and that includes educating you about your rights moving forward.

In addition to asking you questions about what happened, there is important information that your attorney will share with you information about your legal rights. There are certain things you need to do, or not do, to avoid waiving your legal rights and compromising your defense. 

The right to remain silent 

Upon arrest, you have a constitutional right to remain silent and if you forfeit that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in court. It’s critical not to speak to anyone about the charges against you. Anything you say to family or friends during this time could end up being presented in court if those people are asked to testify. If you’re worried about how to approach this topic around friends, here are a few responses you can turn to if you are asked about the case: 

  • “My lawyer said I’m not allowed to talk about the case to anyone”
  • “If I tell you anything, the prosecution could subpoena you, and you will have to testify.”
  • “If you don’t believe me, call my lawyer and ask.”

Your right to attorney-client privilege 

Everything that you talk about with your attorney is confidential and will remain between the two of you. While nothing you tell your lawyer in private will be revealed, this only applies to situations when the two of you are speaking privately. If a third-party is present or someone else overhears the information legally, then that information may no longer be confidential. Similarly, if you are communicating with your lawyer from jail, be cautious of other people listening in on those phone calls. If possible, request a line that is reserved for confidential attorney-client conversations. 

Your right to refuse unlawful search and seizure 

If you’re part of an ongoing investigation and haven’t been arrested yet, at some point, the police may search your home or workplace in an attempt to find evidence. To do this, they need a search warrant signed by a judge. If they have a warrant, by law, you must allow them to enter. If they do not have a warrant and you do not consent to a search, tell them that and them contact your lawyer as soon as possible. 

Once your lawyer has explained your rights, now is the time for you to ask any clarifying questions you have about what they’ve told you. Ask questions about the specifics of your case and what you should expect moving forward. 

It can be tempting to search online for information about similar cases to see what to expect. However, advice on the internet is not reliable and should not be used as a replacement for advice from your attorney. 

If you are facing criminal charges in Houston and need a criminal defense attorney, find out how Christopher T. Gore can help represent your case. 

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What Information Will Your Lawyer Need To Assist Your Long-Term Defense?

Important legal information for Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

What Information Will Your Lawyer Need To Assist Your Long-Term Defense? 

When you’re accused of a crime, your lawyer needs specific information about what happened so they can prepare for your longer-term defense. This includes preparing suppression motions, preparing for the trial, negotiating plea deals, and preparing for sentencing. Usually, the facts will be enough to refuse a false story from the prosecution. This makes it even more crucial to tell your lawyer exactly what happened and be forthcoming from the start. 

Here is a breakdown of the information your lawyer will need to build the best case for your defense. 

What happened on the day of your arrest?

Give your lawyer a timeline of where you went, who you saw, and what you did that day. Try to remember specific details like when you woke up, how much you slept, what you ate, and any medications you took. 

What were the circumstances surrounding your arrest? 

Your lawyer will need to know how you approached by law enforcement. Did they have a warrant for your arrest? Recall at what point the police told you were under arrest or if there was a moment when you felt you were not free to leave. After the initial encounter with the police, what restrictions were immediately places on your freedom. Recall when and what time you were arrested, how you were physically restrained, and whether you were taken to jail. Try to provide as much detail as possible about your encounter with the police. 

What happened immediately following your arrest?

It’s common for law enforcement to transport you to their stated for further questioning following the arrest. Try as best you can to remember what questions they asked you and let your lawyer know how they interrogated you. If possible, recall how long you spent talking to the police, who was present during the questioning and if the interview was recorded. YIt’sour attorney needs to know if the officers took notes during the interrogation or if the session was recorded. They will also need to know what questions were asked, whether or not you signed any documents. Give your lawyer details about what you discussed with the officers while you were in their custody. 

What evidence and witnesses did the police obtain?

If the event took place somewhere with witnesses, it’s likely the police have identified them for potential questioning. Try your best to remember if there were any witnesses at the and scene if you saw them. A witness can also be someone who heard about the crime or anyone you spoke to about the crime. Your lawyer will ask you to provide names and contact information for these witnesses that you know personally as well as the status of your relationship with the witness. In addition to witnesses, think of any potential evidence the police collected from the scene. Was there any evidence that could have been left behind that the officers did not see?

We hope this article sheds some light on the information you should be ready to share with your attorney to get the ball rolling on your defense. While we hope you learned what to expect, remember that content online is not to be interpreted as legal advice. You need to speak to a qualified defense attorney who can provide the best information on how to move forward. 

If you’re looking for a defense attorney in Houston to represent your case, call the offices of Christoper T. Gore to learn more about setting up a consultation.

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What to Expect at Your First Meeting With Your Criminal Defense Attorney

Coffee Meeting with Criminal Defense Attorney

It’s common to feel a bit nervous or anxious before meeting with your attorney for the first time. You should know that your attorney is here for you, and wants you to feel comfortable talking to them about the sensitive information in your case. The more information they have, and the more comfortable you feel talking to them, the better they will be able to represent you. 

The first meeting is an opportunity for you to get to know each other and for you to tell your story. This is also when your attorney will ask f for the information they need to begin crafting your defense.

Regardless of why you’ve hired a criminal defense attorney, there are a few things you can anticipate will happen during this initial meeting. 

Come prepared with necessary information

During this meeting, your attorney will ask you for all of the essential information about yourself. This information can include, but is not limited to: 

  • Contact information including name, address, date of birth, email and social security number 
  • Your current Immigration status
  • Education history and status
  • Your arrest record including what happened with the case and if you served any jail time, probation, or fines you paid. 
  • Past and present employment status and work history
  • Marital status
  • If you have any illnesses or recent hospitalization 

Having this information ready for your attorney will save time during the meeting and allow you to spend more time discussing the case and asking questions. 

Come ready with specific questions 

To make the most out of your time on this first meeting, begin thinking of questions, you want to ask your attorney before you arrive at their office. Ask questions about how frequently you will meet with or hear from your attorney, and what you can expect moving forward. 

Listen to your lawyer and ask clarifying questions

It’s important to ask questions you have about your case and trial, but remember to listen to what your lawyer has to say. They will likely have done a bit of their own research. Now is the time to listen to their findings and ask any clarifying questions about things that may be confusing or new to you. Lastly, make a note of important dates or events you need to prepare for that will affect your trial. During this meeting, take note of the timeline of your case and any other proceedings. You will need this information to know how to prepare for what’s to come.  

Depending on your situation, what happens during your first meeting could vary. 

It’s smart to research what to expect, but always remember that what you read on the internet is not to be confused with actual legal advice. A qualified Houston criminal defense attorney knows the latest Texas state laws and is there to support you throughout your trial. 

If you are facing a criminal offense in Houston, call the offices of Christoper T. Gore and learn more about how he can represent your case. 

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How Your Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You

Criminal Defense Legal Team Can Help

Depending on your crime and charges, you may be facing severe consequences and penalties. Despite what you know about your case, you need a qualified attorney to put you in the best position to move forward. An experienced criminal defense attorney understands your state’s system and can speak the language of the prosecutors trying your case. An attorney who is familiar with your situation and has handled similar cases will help level the playing field and make a case for your defense.

Here are just some of the ways you will benefit from having a criminal defense attorney represent you. 

Analyze the charges against you 

Sometimes, it can be challenging to know how the charges against you were decided, and what those charges mean. Your lawyer will be able to look into your specific circumstances and make sure that the case against you aligns with what actually happened. They will be allowed to visit the scene of the crime and interview witnesses in your case. Your lawyer will also have access to official reports, documents, and physical evidence that the prosecution may use against you. They will be able to identify if there are any holes in the evidence or gaps in proof that could help prove reasonable doubt in your case. 

Investigate arresting officer’s conduct 

There are times when the offices involved in charges against you did not follow protocol when collecting evidence. This is a violation of your constitutional rights, and an attorney can help determine if this happened in your case and how unlawful evidence can be dropped from the case. 

Help you understand what is happening

The legal system contains many moving pieces and can seem complicated if you don’t know what you’re dealing with. Your attorney can help you understand what’s happening with your proceedings. Beyond that, they will protect you from being taken advantage of or being tricked or coerced into saying things you don’t want to say. 

Build a case for your defense

Perhaps you have an alibi for the crime or acted in self-defense before your arrest. Your lawyer will gather your case’s information to build your defense in a way that weakens the case against you. This could mean finding holes in the evidence or determining the reliability of the witnesses. 

Help you make decisions

Once your attorney gathers all of the information they need on your case, they’ll be able to give you advice on which choices to make moving forward. They can foresee what may or may not happen at trial.  Your attorney will advise you on whether or not you should take a plea, whether you should testify, or any provide strategic solutions that could help the outcome of your case. 

Represent you at your trial 

Your attorney will work and speak on your behalf in front of the judge or jury. A seasoned criminal law attorney will know the right things to say to present your defense. 

At the time, it may seem like a good idea to get advice from the internet and attempt to represent yourself. However, online information should not take the place of real legal advice from a qualified attorney. Every case is different, and you need an attorney that can help you make the best choices to benefit your future. 

If you’re looking for a Houston criminal defense attorney, call the offices of Christopher T. Gore. Tell us about your case, and we will let you know how we can best represent you moving forward.

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Dealing with Felony Charges in Houston, Texas

Houston Texas Hearing Courtroom

Being convicted of a felony is a consequential event that should be taken seriously. A felony charge can come with severe consequences that can follow you for the rest of your life. In Texas, felonies can come with hefty punishments including prison time, costly fines, and in more severe cases, the death penalty. Felonies can also make it more challenging to secure employment and could affect your record for your entire life. 

In Texas, being charged with a felony usually comes after committing a crime that involves inflicting substantial or grave harm onto another person. Additionally, some white-collar crimes such as fraud or embezzlement are also classified as felonies. 

In Texas, felonies are classified into five categories: Capital Felony, First Degree Felony, Second Degree Felony, Third Degree Felony, and State Jail Felony.

Let’s go over how different crimes fall under each classification and the potential punishment for each. 

Capital Felonies

The most serious felonies are labeled as capital offenses, and they come with the most severe punishment, including life in prison without parole or possibly the death penalty. Murder of a public servant is one example of a capital felony offense. 

First Degree Felony

First Degree felony offenses are the next most serious classification following Capital Felonies. Examples of First Degree Felonies include aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery, and murder. 

First Degree Felonies may be punished with Punishments for a first-degree felony may include life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Second Degree Felony

Second Degree felonies include certain domestic violence offenses, including causing serious injury to a family member. Under Texas law, a second-degree felony could be punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000

Third Degree Felony

Third-degree felonies, while less grave than the first two, still carry serious punishment and can result in up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A common third-degree felony is the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in an amount of 5-50 pounds. 

State Jail Felony

State Jail Felonies don’t carry a particular designation or have specific sentences. They are often viewed on a case-by-case basis. State Jail Felonies can be punishable with 180 days to two years of jail time and a monetary fine of up to $10,000. 

What to do if you’re charged with a felony

If you’ve been charged with a felony, don’t take the situation lightly. It’s time to find an attorney who understands the severity of the situation and can help you know what it means for your life moving forward. 

Even though felony crimes carry serious weight, the right Houston felony attorney can help you manage the outcome of your situation and know what to expect moving forward. 

The right felony defense attorney will be able to understand your situation and offer you the best options available for your unique situation. 

Remember that the internet is not the right place to find legal advice specific to your case. Every case is different, and you need a personalized plan that will apply to your unique situation. If you are facing a misdemeanor offense in Houston, call  Christoper T. Gore. Learn more about how he can best represent your case and help you move forward. 

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What is considered a Misdemeanor in Texas

Houston Texas Misdemeanor Legal System

In Texas, crimes are categorized based on the seriousness of the offense. How aggressively you are punished for a crime defends on how that crime is classified under Texas law. While misdemeanors may be considered “lesser” criminal acts under some systems, the punishment for these crimes depends on how it is classified. Misdemeanors can fall under one of three categories: Class A misdemeanor, a Class B misdemeanor, or a Class C misdemeanor. 

Depending on the crime and how it is classified, you may be facing severe fines, jail time, or a combination of the two. 

What is a Class A misdemeanor?

A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious of the three classifications. Penalties for crimes that fall under Class A include a mandatory jail sentence of up to one year, and you may be required to pay a fine of up to $4,000. 

Crimes that fall under Class A misdemeanors in Texas include: 

  • Assault with bodily injury
  • Perjury
  • Carrying a weapon unlawfully 
  • Second offense DWI (driving while intoxicated) 
  • Possession of 2-4 ounces of marijuana

What is a Class B misdemeanor?

Class B misdemeanors are less severe than Class A offenses but still, carry significant consequences. If found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, you could face a mandatory sentence of 180 days in jail and pay up to $2,000 in fines. 

Common class B misdemeanors include:

  • Prostitution
  • Failure to pay child support
  • Possession of certain drugs 
  • First offense DWI
  • Indecent exposure 

What is a Class C misdemeanor?

Class C misdemeanors carry the least significant punishment, but the consequences can still bring long-term effects. With crimes that fall under class C, there aren’t specific overarching punishments for the entire classification. Each crime has an appropriate punishment, and the classification does not carry any mandatory jail time for offenses. However, under Texas law, you will be required to pay a fine of up to $500. 

Class C misdemeanors in Texas include:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol as a minor 
  • Petty theft 
  • DIsorderly conduct 
  • Possession of tobacco or alcohol as a minor
  • Simple assault 

What to do if you’re charged with a misdemeanor

Have you been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Houston? Having a misdemeanor on your record can make things more difficult for you in the future when it comes to finding a job and in other areas of your life. 

After the arrest, remember to stay calm and take the necessary steps to find an attorney who can help. Regardless of the crime, it’s vital to hire a trusted Houston Misdemeanor attorney to represent your case. The right attorney will understand the most up to date state laws and can provide advice that keeps your best interests in mind. 

Remember that the internet is not the right place to find legal advice specific to your case. Every case is different, and you need a personalized plan that will apply to your unique situation. If you are facing a misdemeanor offense in Houston, call  Christoper T. Gore. Learn more about how he can best represent your case and help you move forward.