areas of practice

Criminal, CPS and Family Law


CRIMINAL LAW

If you are charged with a crime, or have reason to believe you might soon be charged with a crime, it is vitally important to hire an attorney as early in the process as possible. Failure to take any criminal accusations against you seriously, from traffic violations all the way to the most serious felonies, could have severe, negative repercussions on your life. 

Please call me as early in the process as possible.  Generally, the quicker an attorney can get involved in your case the better it will be for you.  In some instances, getting an attorney involved before charges are ever formally filed can result in charges never being filed against you.  Each case is different, so take advantage of our free consultation to get information and advice about your particular case.                                                                                         

Common Questions about Criminal Cases

  • Do i have to/should i speak to an officer after i'm arrested?

    You are not required to speak to an officer after you are arrested and in the vast majority of cases you should not speak to an officer. Once you are arrested, the officer has decided you committed the crime.  At that point, he is trying to gather evidence AGAINST you.  He is not trying to just get your side of the story, or help you out, or get more information just to close out his investigation.  Talk to an attorney before making any statements to an officer.  

  • if i get deferred adjudication, will the charge automatically be off my record when i complete my probation?

    No.  A criminal charge, even ones that did not result in a finding of guilt (as in the case of deferred adjudicaton) or amount to any more than an arrest with no charges actually being filed, does not automatically disappear from your record.  If you were arrested 5 years ago and then never formally charged with the crime, more than likely that charge still shows up on your criminal history and any background check performed on you.  The same is true for any successfully completed term of deferred adjudication. Steps must be taken to remove these entries from your background. And while you might think it won't affect you, one day you might be disappointd when you're turned down for a job or an apartment or finanial aid for school because an old charge still shows up on your background. Give me a call to find out if you are eligible for a non-disclosure or expunction of your record.   

  • The officer did not read me my rights when arresting me. Can my charge be thrown out?

    An officer is required to read your rights (you have the right to remain silent, etc.) only when conduting a custodial interrogation of you. This means you are being questioned and are not free to leave. If this is the case, then the officer must either audio or video record the rights being read, your waiver of those rights, and the questioning. If those conditions are not met, your statements are not admissible in court. However, a criminal charge doesn't have to be dismissed for the failure to read you your rights.   If an officer chooses not to interrogate you, he does not have to read you your rights.  

  • what happens if i take or refuse a blood or breath test?

    Neither one can be taken without your consent. If you decide to take one of the tests and fail (the result is .08 or above), your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days and you will be giving the police additional evidence to prove that you were driving while intoxicated. However, if you refuse to take a breath or blood test, your driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days, and the evidence against you will not include a test showing you were above the legal limit. Since your license will be suspended either way, if you are unsure of your intoxication level it makes sense to decline to take the test, which likely gives you a greater chance to be found not guilty at trial. 

    Additionally, if you take the test and the result is above 0.15, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor instead of a Class B misdemeanor.

  • I've been offered a plea bargain. SHould i take it? Do i need an attorney?

    The decision to refuse or accept a plea bargain is solely your decision after understanding all the consequences of either choice. While you may discuss this with your family or friends, no one but you can make this decision.   Do you need an attorney? If you are not a doctor,would you decide on a course of medical treatment without consulting a doctor?  If you didn't know anything about the stock market, would you invest a large sum of money in it without consulting a financial advisor?  The reality is that most people simply don't have enough information to be able to intelligently accept or refuse a plea bargain offer from the state. For example, do you know which offenses include a driverslicense suspension when you are found guilty?  Do you know which ones prevent you from even owning a firearm?   There are too many consequences when pleading guilty, or not guilty, in a criminal case that can be very severe and long-lasting to make that decision without an attorney experienced in criminal law. Hiring an attorney to represent you can save you time, money, and even future arrests down the road.



child protective services cases

In some situations the Child Protective Services (CPS) may become involved with your family. When abuse or neglect of a child is alleged, Texas law requires the allegations to be investigated. CPS may seek to remove your children from your home and place them in foster care or with a relative. If CPS obtains a court order allowing them to remove your children from your home, the parents of the children will be named as parties in a lawsuit filed by the government.

The ultimate result in these cases will be that you will either get your children returned to you or your rights to your children will be terminated and the children will be placed for adoption. In very rare cases the children may live with a third party and your rights to them will be significantly curtailed. Since the stakes in CPS cases are very high, it really is important that you act quickly.

Common Questions about CPS Cases

  • Will my children be taken away?

    CPS can remove a child from his or her home with or without a court order if a case is made that the child faces an imminent threat of neglect or abuse. If the removal of a child occurs without a court order, CPS must obtain one and present it to the parents or guardians. A removal hearing will be set to occur within 14 days of the removal and will determine whether to return a child to his or her home.

  • Will the police get involved?

    Texas state law requires informing law enforcement of CPS investigations; however, it is up to the law enforcement agency whether or not to open a criminal investigation, which would be in addition to the CPS one. In the case of "Priority 1" investigations, which involve "immediate risk" of physical or sexual abuse to a child, law enforcement is required to accompany CPS workers to a home.

  • What statements should I make to CPS?

     It is the job of a CPS caseworker to attempt to build a case against you, not to advise you of your rights, look out for your well-being, etc. When you are under a CPS investigation, it is best to have an experienced attorney advise you on what statements to make to CPS caseworkers.

  • What can I expect during the investigation?

    During a CPS investigation, you can expect your child to be interviewed on camera by a caseworker, possibly at his or her school. CPS is not required to inform you of the interview before it occurs. The caseworker may interview any other children, relatives, neighbors, or others who have interacted with your child, and perform a general inspection of the child's home. Typically a caseworker is required to complete an investigation within 30 days, though they are permitted to request an extension from their supervisor.

  • When can a lawyer help in a CPS case?

    Generally a lawyer is necessary if a lawsuit has been filed or if children have been removed from the home by CPS. A lawyer is not strictly necessary if parents have only been put on a "Safety Plan" and cooperate with CPS. The most common result of this situation is that no lawsuit will be filed and children can remain in the home, though it is still possible to hire a CPS lawyer at this point.

  • Who will know I'm under a CPS investigation?

    The law requires CPS investigations to be kept confidential from the public. However, case information will be revealed to those being interviewed, the alleged victim’s parents, law enforcement officials, courts, and government attorneys. If services such as therapy or counseling are to be provided, CPS will share information with these professionals. If a child is placed under the care of relatives or other individuals, CPS will share any information they consider necessary to meet the child's needs.

  • How can I find out who made the complaint to CPS?

    It is illegal for CPS to reveal the identity of individuals contacting CPS.



FAmily law

During the extremely emotional and stressful situation of being involved in a divorce, the experience of an attorney can be invaluable.  It is critical during these times to have someone thinking rationally and working in your best interests.   

Don't hesitate to call and see if I can help in your situation.              

Common Questions about Family/Divorce Cases

  • how long do i have to wait to get a divorce?

    Texas law requires that you wait a minimum of 60 days after the petition for divorce is filed before finalizing your divorce. However, there are many other factors at play here. For example,  an uncontested divorce where the divison of property is generally agreed upon will proceed much faster than a contested divorce where the couple is arguing over property, child custody, etc. 

  • At what age can my child decide which parent to live with?

    Although the ultimate decision will lie with the judge to determine what is in the best interest of the child, at the age of 12 a child can make a choice of managing conservator. While this will be persuasive to the judge, the judge will make the ultimate determination.

  • There are 2 ways people can form a common law marriage in Texas: 1)they can sign a Declaration of Marriage under section 2.402 of the Texas Family Code, or 2) they can agree to be married, and after the agreement they live together as husband and wife and represent themselves to others as married.    The second situation is the most common. If you are common law married and wish to divorce your spouse then you will need a "real" divorce. 

  • can i get alimony?

    While it is common to get temporary spousal support while the divorce is pending, it is not quite as common to get post-divorce alimony.  Give me a call to see if yu qualify for post-divorce alimony.

  • what is the process for getting a divorce in texas?

    The divorce process typically starts with one party filing a petition for divorce. This is generally followed by the court issuing temporary orders. These orders place controls and limitations on what the parties can and can't do while the divorce is pending. If the parties can't agree on the issues related to the divorce, such as property division or child custody, then they might be ordered to mediation to attempt to work out their differences.  In the event that mediation was unsuccessful on all issues, a trial either by the court or a jury would be necessary.    If the parties agree on all the issues from the beginning, the process could simply go from filing the petition to getting the divorce finalized 60 days later.  This is generally the quickest and least expensive option for the parties.