Texas Domestic Violence Defense

Domestic violence is taken very seriously in Texas. In most large counties, like Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Denton, for example, the District Attorney’s Office has a special section dedicated just to family violence. Those prosecutors are specially trained on domestic violence cases and focus on them exclusively.

As I explain, below, domestic violence is also unique, in that, as a matter of policy, prosecutors often disregard the wishes of the victim when it comes to prosecuting cases.

Just an accusation of domestic violence can have serious consequences for the accused. When the police get a domestic disturbance call, they usually arrest someone as a matter of course. They do this because they want to separate the people involved and give all parties a cooling off period, so that nothing escalates and becomes more serious. So, someone usually goes to jail.

Another routine result is that a judge will issue a “protective order,” which requires those involved in the disturbance to avoid any contact or communication with each other. These usually last for sixty days. As a practical matter, this may make it difficult or impossible for the accused to see his or her children during this time.

A conviction for domestic violence in Texas can mean losing a job, or having great difficulty finding one. It can also mean that the convicted person loses the right to possess a firearm for life.

As a Texas criminal defense lawyer, I have seen the impact that domestic violence accusations can have on the accused and their family. One of the biggest mistakes you can make if you are accused of domestic violence is to try to handle it by yourself. If you do, you will almost always make it worse.

Each domestic violence case is unique. There is no single way to handle a domestic violence case that works in every situation. In order to get the best possible outcome, you need to consult with a criminal defense lawyer who has experience in this particular area of law and who knows how to tailor a winning strategy to the specific facts and circumstances of your case.

People who are accused of domestic violence, and their loved ones, understandably have a lot of anxiety about what will happen to them. Below is a general overview of domestic violence law in Texas. It is not, in any way, a substitute for consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. It is meant to address the common general questions I am often asked by those who have been accused and their loved ones.

What is “domestic violence” or “family violence” in texas?

Domestic violence in Texas is officially called “assault—family violence.” Usually, people refer to “family violence” when speaking of Texas law. Basically, family violence means an assault in which the victim is within the person’s family, household, or in a dating relationship with the accused. The criminal domestic violence laws are a part of the assault laws, but there are some specific rules that apply when the assault is committed on a family member.

What is a “family” member under texas family violence laws?

In order to be considered “family violence” in Texas, the violence must be committed against a “family” member. The Texas definition of “family member” is very broad—much more broad than most people think. It includes many categories of people who are not generally considered “family” as most people use that term. The family violence laws in Texas apply when the actor and the victim are any of the following:

See Texas Penal Code §22.01(b)(2); Texas Family Code §§71.0021(b), 71.003, 71.005.

What conduct is considered “family violence” in texas?

Basically, any conduct that would be an assault under Texas law is considered family violence if it is committed against a family member. This includes:

- Threats: “Intentionally or knowingly threaten[ing] another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse.” This is a Class C misdemeanor. Tex. Penal Code §22.01(a)(2); 22.01(c).

- Physical contact: “Intentionally or knowingly caus[ing] physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.” This is a Class C misdemeanor. Tex. Penal Code §22.01(a)(3); 22.01(c).

- Causing bodily injury: “Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caus[ing] bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse.” This is a Class A misdemeanor, unless it involves choking or suffocating, or the actor has a prior family violence conviction (see below). Tex. Penal Code §22.01(a)(1); 22.01(b).

- Note: Under Texas law, “bodily injury” includes “physical pain,” even if it is only temporary and there is no bruising, marking, or other physical sign of injury. Tex. Penal Code §1.07(a)(8).

- Causing bodily injury and a prior family violence conviction. This is a third-degree felony. Tex. Penal Code §22.01(b)(2)(A).

- Note: A prior family violence conviction, for this purpose, specifically includes deferred adjudication, even if it was successfully discharged. Tex. Penal Code §22.01(f)(1).

- Choking or suffocating: Causing bodily injury, committed by “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person’s throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth.” This is a third-degree felony. Tex. Penal Code §22.01(b)(2)(B).

- Choking or suffocating and a prior family violence conviction. This is a second-degree felony. Tex. Penal Code §22.01(b-3).

- Note: A prior family violence conviction, for this purpose, specifically includes deferred adjudication, even if it was successfully discharged. Tex. Penal Code §22.01(f)(1).

- Aggravated assault: Causing serious bodily injury, no deadly weapon used: An assault in which the victim is within the definition of “family,” and the victim suffers serious bodily injury is a second-degree felony, unless a deadly weapon is used (see below). Texas Penal Code §22.02(a)(1), (b).

- Note: “Serious bodily injury” means “bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” Tex. Penal Code §1.07(46).

- Aggravated assault: Deadly weapon displayed or used during an assault: It is a second-degree felony if a person “uses or exhibits a deadly weapon” while committing any assault, including all of those listed above. Tex. Penal Code §22.02(a)(2), (b). This includes displaying a deadly weapon while merely making a threat of imminent bodily injury, even if there is no physical contact.

- Aggravated assault: Using a deadly weapon and causing serious bodily injury to a person within a “family” relationship: This is a first-degree felony. Tex. Penal Code §22.02(b)(1).

- Note: “Serious bodily injury” means “bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” Tex. Penal Code §1.07(46).

What are the penalties for family violence in texas?

The possible penalties for a family violence in Texas depend on the level of the crime, with some specific rules for family violence. The section above explains the level of the crime for different types of conduct. If you have not been charged with a specific crime, look at the types of conduct above, and consult the penalty ranges in this section that apply. If you have already been charged with a crime, apply the level below to the crime with which you have been charged.

If you have previously been granted deferred adjudication, you may not be eligible for deferred adjudication.

Note that the penalty for a family violence conviction can include loss of the right to possess a firearm. The section below this one discusses the right to possess a firearm.

- Class C Misdemeanor: Up to a $500 fine, but no jail time. Probation and deferred adjudication are possible.

- Class A Misdemeanor: A fine of up to $4000, and jail time of up to one year. Probation and deferred adjudication are possible.

- Third-Degree Felony: A fine of up to $10,000, and prison time between 2-10 years. Probation and deferred adjudication are possible.

- Second-Degree Felony: A fine of up to $10,000, and prison time between 2-20 years. Probation and deferred adjudication are possible.

- First-Degree Felony: A fine of up to $10,000, and prison time between 5-99 years. Probation and deferred adjudication are possible.

- Special Rule for Deadly Weapons: If a deadly weapon was used or displayed during the commission of a felony family violence offense, the accused is not eligible for probation for a guilty plea or by a judge if the case goes to trial. However, a jury may recommend probation. Deferred adjudication for a guilty plea is still possible, though. Tex. Code Crim. P. Arts. 42A.054, 42A.056, 42A.102(b).

- Special Rule for Deferred Adjudication: Normally, if you receive deferred adjudication, and you complete it successfully, the case is dismissed, and no conviction is entered. However, for family violence cases, even if you successfully complete deferred adjudication, and no conviction is entered, it still “counts” as a conviction for family violence in determining whether you have a prior family violence conviction, which can increase the level of a second or later family violence charge. Tex. Penal Code §22.01(f)(1).

Will a family violence conviction mean the loss of the right to possess a firearm?

Many people are probably aware that any felony conviction means that a person can never legally possess a firearm under federal law. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). This, of course, applies to felony family violence convictions. It also applies for life.

It probably comes as a surprise to most people, however, that even a misdemeanor family violence conviction can result in the loss of the right to possess a firearm for life. In fact, even a Class C misdemeanor family violence conviction, which is equivalent to a traffic ticket, can mean the loss of the right to possess a firearm for at least five years, under Texas law.

Federal Law (Lifetime Ban For Convictions):

Title 18, United States Code, section 922(g)(9), states that it is a federal crime for “a person who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to possess a firearm. The phrase “in any court” includes state courts. This federal statute does NOT expire within a period of time after the conviction. It therefore applies for life.

The federal definition of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” is not as broad as the Texas family violence definition, in two important ways. First, in order to fall under the federal lifetime ban, the crime of conviction, itself, must include “as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.” 18 U.S.C. §921(a)(33). The two Texas Class C family violence misdemeanors for mere threats, or an offensive or provocative touch, do not meet this federal definition, so the lifetime ban under federal law should not apply to them. However, the Texas Class A misdemeanor for bodily injury clearly qualifies, and a conviction will trigger the lifetime federal ban.

Second, the scope of “domestic violence” under federal law is not as broad as “family” violence under Texas law. Unlike Texas law, the scope of the federal law does not apply to a purely dating relationship. This is known as the so-called “boyfriend exception.” Also unlike Texas, the scope of the federal law does not include in-laws or relatives like aunts uncles, and cousins. See 18 U.S.C. §921(a)(33).

Does a Prior Texas Deferred Adjusication Count as a Federal Conviction?

An interesting issue under federal law is whether a Texas deferred adjudication that is successfully completed counts as a “conviction” that would trigger the lifetime ban under either the federal law concerning misdemeanor domestic violence convictions or felon-in-possession of a firearm convictions. The answer is that it does not.

For federal purposes, the United States Supreme Court has held that state law defines the scope of what a “conviction” means under 18 U.S.C. §922(g). See Beecham v. United States, 511 U.S. 368, 371 (1994); see also 18 U.S.C. §921(a)(20) (using state law to define “conviction” for purposes of felony convictions); 27 C.F.R. 478.11 (ATF regulations use state law to define “conviction” for purposes of the prohibition on possession after a misdemeanor domestic violence offense). Under Texas law, if a person successfully completed deferred adjudication, the case is dismissed without the entry of a conviction. See Tex. Pen. Code §22.01(f). Thus, a Texas successfully completed deferred adjudication is not a “conviction,” and the federal lifetime ban should not apply. See United States v. Stober, 604 F.2d 1274, 1278 (10th Cir. 1979) (holding that an Oklahoma deferred adjudication was not a final felony conviction under current 18 U.S.C. §922(g) for being a felon in possession); United States v. Altieri, 275 F.Supp.2d 10, 13 (D. Me. 2003) (holding that a Texas deferred adjudication is not a conviction for purposes of the felon-in-possession of a firearm statute).

Even though a successful Texas deferred adjudication does not count as a conviction for federal law purposes, federal law still prohibits you from possessing a firearm while you are on deferred adjudication for a felony. This is because you are considered under indictment, and a person under felony indictment cannot legally possess a firearm under federal law. 18 U.S.C. §922(n).

Texas Law (Five-year ban after the sentence is over):

Whenever federal law prohibits you from possessing a firearm, it controls. The fact that Texas law may not prohibit you from possessing a firearm at some point in time, does not mean that the federal law does not apply. Think of it this way: If you are charged in federal court with illegally possessing a firearm, and you tell the judge that Texas law does not prohibit you from possessing one, the judge will say something like, “You are not being charged with violating Texas law. This is a federal court, and you are charged with violating federal law.”

There are, however, some narrow family violence situations in which federal law will not prohibit you from possessing a firearm, but Texas law will. For example, I explained above how Texas family violence law covers some situations that federal law does not, including purely dating relationships, as long as the individuals are not or have not been living together, in-laws, aunts, uncles, and cousins. In these situations in which federal law does not apply, but Texas law does, if the family violence crime is a Class A misdemeanor or higher, the person convicted will not be able to possess a firearm under Texas law for five years after the person’s sentence ends, including the end of any probation or parole. See Tex. Penal Code §46.04(a)(felonies), (b) (Class A misdemeanor family violence).

Under Texas law, however, the Texas five-year ban does not apply to a person who has received deferred adjudication. See Yazdichi v. State, 428 S.W.3d 831, 833 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014). However, during the probationary period of a deferred adjudication, a judge may require that the defendant not possess a firearm.

The effect of a family violence conviction or sentence on a person’s right to possess a firearm depends on the interplay of federal and state law. It is complicated. If you are not a lawyer with expertise in this area, do not take a chance and try to figure it out yourself. Consult a lawyer who understands this area of law.

What are the defenses to an accusation of family violence?

Even an accusation is a serious matter, but there are many possible defenses to a criminal charge of family violence in Texas. Each case depends on its own unique facts and circumstances, but the most common defenses include:

- False accusation: This defense asserts that the alleged crime did not occur and that the alleged victim is lying, exaggerating, or mistaken. False accusations of family violence certainly do occur. When the defense is that the accusation is false, as a lawyer, I look for any physical, circumstantial, or other evidence that may support the idea that the alleged victim is not telling the truth. For example, has the alleged victim’s story changed? Does that story match the physical evidence in the place where the incident happened? Did the alleged victim have a motive to make a false allegation?

- Self-defense: The law gives every person the right to defend themselves. In Texas, that right is codified in section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code. In all situations, including family violence situations, a person who is not the aggressor has the right to use reasonable force in response to another person’s force or imminent threat of force. In family violence situations, the alleged victim may have actually been the aggressor. When people are in a state of anger or rage, they often behave in ways they would never normally behave. They may even act completely irrationally and physically attack someone much larger or stronger than they are. Again, when the defense is self-defense, it is important to look at all of the evidence for indications that the alleged victim may have done something to justify the force used.

- Accident or mistake: In some situations involving potential family violence, the accused’s physical contact with the alleged victim may have been accidental or mistaken. For example, the accused may have tripped or may have been trying to pull away when the physical contact occurred. If the alleged conduct was purely accidental, it should not be enough for a conviction of family violence.

Each of the Texas variations of family violence requires proof that the accused acted intentionally, knowingly, or, in some situations, recklessly. The Texas Penal Code defines “recklessly” as follows: “A person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.” Tex. Penal Code §6.03(c). If the accused was merely negligent (meaning failing to use normal ordinary care), or not at fault at all, then the accused will not have acted recklessly and should not be convicted.

Under the law, “intentional,” “knowing,” and “recklessly” are states of mind, or types of intent. Distinguishing between them and understanding how to apply them to facts that may or may not be disputed takes a lot of experience. It takes even more experience to communicate these concepts effectively and persuasively to a jury. In many cases, though, the distinction between these levels of intent can be crucial and can mean the difference between a conviction and a finding of not guilty. See, e.g., Alcoser v. State, No. 07-18-00032 (Tex. App—Amarillo, Jan 23, 2020) (reversing a conviction for family violence because the trial court did not properly instruct the jury on the required mental states).

- The alleged injuries were exaggerated or were not caused by the accused: Under Texas law, whether an injury occurred, and the seriousness of any injury, can make a big difference, because the extent of any injury affects the level of the crime, such as Class A misdemeanor or third-degree felony. Sometimes, the alleged victim may exaggerate the extent of any injury or claim that the accused caused an injury that the alleged victim already had. In these situations, it is important to gather any evidence showing whether an injury really occurred and how serious it was. For example, if the alleged victim claims to have been pushed to the ground, causing a bruise, it would be important to find any photos showing that the accused already had the bruise before the incident. Proof that the accused was lying or exaggerating can also show that the accused should not be believed in general.

- No choking occurred: As noted above, choking or smothering can cause what would otherwise be a Class A misdemeanor to become a third-degree felony. Tex. Penal Code §22.01(b)(2)(B). Because of this, the police will look for any indication of choking, such as redness on the neck area, and they will ask the alleged victim if the accused had any contact with the alleged victim’s throat or neck. Touching a person’s neck, however, is not enough to cause choking under Texas family violence law. Instead, the alleged victim’s blood flow or breathing must have been actually impeded. Criminal defense lawyers must always carefully analyze any evidence of any alleged choking or smothering to determine whether the State can really prove it occurred beyond a reasonable doubt.

Can the alleged victim simply decline to press charges?

Many people have heard the term “press charges.” They may, understandably, assume that the alleged victim has the ability to stop a prosecution for family violence by deciding not to press charges. This assumption is incorrect.

A victim does not have the ability to stop a family violence prosecution. It is up to the prosecutor—not the victim—to decide whether the case should be pursued. In fact, in most District Attorney’s offices in Texas, prosecutors can and do prosecute family violence cases over the objection of the victim.

One tactic that prosecutors and police officers use is to tell the victim that he or she can sign an “affidavit of non-prosecution.” What they do not tell the victim is that signing the affidavit will not end the prosecution. In fact, a typical affidavit of non-prosecution that a prosecutor will ask a victim to sign will include a sworn statement, under oath, that the family violence occurred and that the accused is guilty, but that the victim does not want the case to continue. This just locks in the victim’s statement that the accused is guilty, under oath, so that the victim can be prosecuted for perjury if the victim testifies differently at trial. But the prosecutor can continue to pursue the case regardless of the victim’s wishes.

I am often asked why the prosecutor does not have to do what the alleged victim wants. There are basically two reasons. First, there are many interests involved beyond just the alleged victim and the accused. Every time there is a domestic disturbance, multiple police officers must go to the scene, risking their own safety, and investigate. This includes taking photos and statements and making reports. This takes time and can take police officers away from responding to other calls. Prosecutors and courts also become involved. A victim may also have to go to a hospital and be cared for by doctors and nurses. So, family violence involves many more people besides just the alleged victim and the accused. The public, as a whole, has an interest in preventing and responding to family violence.

Second, as a matter of policy, most District Attorney’s offices simply do not trust a victim to decide what is in their best interest. They believe that victims of family violence generally cannot adequately and rationally evaluate the future risk to themselves or the risk that the perpetrator will be violent toward someone else. Instead, they believe that victims of family violence can be threatened or intimidated, or that they may be blinded by emotions, or that they may fear that they will suffer a financial loss if the perpetrator leaves them.

Persons accused of family violence also sometimes convince themselves that they do not need to worry, because the victim will not agree to testify against them. This can be a foolish belief. Prosecutors will subpoena alleged victims to testify at trial, and if they do not come to court to testify, they can be thrown in jail. Once they are called as witnesses and placed under oath, most victims will be afraid of lying under oath.

I have even represented a defendant on appeal who was convicted of family violence, even though the alleged victim and the only other witness both testified at trial that the defendant did not do it. In that case, the prosecutors were able to use the recorded 911 call, prior statements by the alleged victim and the witness, and physical evidence to convince the jury that they had changed their story falsely.

Depending on the facts of the case, there can be persuasive strategies to convince a prosecutor to drop a family violence case, but it takes skill and experience to identify the right strategy and to carry it out successfully. Having the alleged victim sign an affidavit of non-prosecution that a prosecutor prepares is definitely not one of them.

Do i really need a lawyer?

If you have been accused of family violence, you need a lawyer. I have seen too many situations in which the accused has tried to handle things by themself, or disregarded a lawyer’s advice, with disastrous results.

In the appeal I mentioned earlier, for example, the defendant had a very favorable plea offer, but he was convinced that he would not be found guilty at trial, because he thought the victim and the witness would testify that he did not do it. His trial lawyer recommended that he take the offer, but he refused. The jury found him guilty and sentenced him to decades in prison. This happened because the defendant could not understand how a jury could convict him. The trial lawyer understood, but he was not able to convince the defendant to make the wise decision. Do not let this happen to you. There is too much at stake.

How do you handle family violence cases?

From handling many family violence cases, I know that these cases are different than other cases in three main ways: (1) the law is complicated; (2) the facts are usually messy and heavily disputed; and (3) there are usually strong emotions involved on all sides.

As a criminal defense lawyer, my goal is always to get the best possible result for my client, consistent with the client’s needs and goals. The uniqueness of family violence cases means that it is important to investigate the facts early and to look for opportunities to seek dismissal, either from the prosecutor, or, in a felony case, from a grand jury. If, for some reason, dismissal is not available, then it is important to prepare the case quickly, while the evidence is still fresh and available. That does not necessarily mean seeking a quick trial setting, though. It is important to understand that people’s attitudes can soften over time and that their anger can fade. This may mean that allowing the case to take its course will create strategic advantages.

Of course, it is always critical to understand the client’s needs and goals. In some cases, a client may need the case to be resolved as quickly as possible, for job-related reasons, for example. Other clients may not have time considerations and may simply want the best possible result. I make sure to understand my client’s needs and goals from the first meeting. And because each case and each client are different, I do not use a cookie-cutter approach to family violence cases. I always tailor the strategy for the case to the particular case and client, and I work with the client to make sure that strategy is right for them.

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​​FAQ

If you have not been arrested or charged with a crime, but the police have told you that they would like to talk to you, what do you do? Do not say a thing; let them know you want to use your right to get a lawyer. And do it ASAP.​

Whenever you have any dealings with the police, you should be represented by a lawyer. If they are looking for you, if they want to talk to you, if they want to arrest you, or if someone has contacted law enforcement and accused you of a crime, you need a lawyer.

Even if you plan on pleading guilty, it is critical that you hire a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. Representing yourself is never a good idea. Even if you plead guilty, you can expect that prosecutors will try to take advantage of your inexperience by only agreeing to a plea deal that is less favorable than they would with a lawyer. Plus, an attorney may be able to spot problems with the government’s case that you would not recognize, like evidence that should be suppressed. Problems like that might result in dismissal of the charges altogether, but just being able to spot them can help negotiate a better deal with a prosecutor. An attorney, especially a former prosecutor like me, can help you protect your rights, evaluate your options, and negotiate with the prosecutors for the most favorable outcome.

Depending on your case, based on the advice of your attorney, it may be in your best interest to go to trial. When charges are filed against you, your lawyer will evaluate the case to determine if there is a legal basis to get the case dismissed. If there is not, and if either the government cannot prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, or if a satisfactory plea bargain cannot be worked out before trial, then your best option will, in all likelihood, be going to trial. If the case cannot be dismissed, it is ultimately your decision whether you want to take a plea bargain or go to trial. Your lawyer cannot make that decision for you or force you to decide one way or the other. Your lawyer will advise you on what is in your best interests, but no one can take away your right to decide.
Any offer or plea bargain should be evaluated carefully with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to ensure that your rights have been protected and that you understand the consequences of the plea. A good criminal defense lawyer will evaluate and discuss with you your other options, including trying to have the case dismissed, your chances if you go to trial, and whether a better deal can be negotiated. This kind of analysis requires experience and knowledge of the law.
In state court cases in Texas, a magistrate judge sets bail shortly after you are arrested. They do this based on the crime and your criminal history. You can hire a bail bond company to help you post bail. They usually require you to give them 10% of the bond amount (which you get back at the end of the case if you comply with all conditions of bond), plus a fee that they keep. Depending on the amount of the bail and your financial condition, they may also require putting up property to make sure they can get their money back if you do not comply with your bail conditions. If you know you are going to be arrested, I strongly recommend contacting a bail bond company in advance. They can make sure that they are ready to post the bond for you as soon as it is set by a magistrate judge. This helps you get out as soon as possible. There are bail bond companies that I trust, and if you hire me, I will help you through that process. Federal court is very different. After your arrest, you have an initial appearance in front of a federal magistrate judge. The prosecutor will tell the magistrate judge whether the government is asking for you to be held in custody during trial. If the government is asking for that, you have the right to have a hearing in court in which the magistrate judge decides whether or not you will be held in custody before trial. That hearing is usually a few days after your initial appearance. Bail is not common in federal court. You will usually be held in custody or released, but if you are released, there may be conditions of your release like electronic monitoring or house arrest.
Absolutely. If you are a suspect or being investigated for potential criminal activity, it is always in your best interest to have a lawyer present. This is true regardless of where the questioning takes place. If the authorities want to question you while you are in custody, you should ask to have a lawyer present during any questioning and refuse to answer questions until your lawyer is with you.

In criminal cases, we usually charge a flat rate for everything but trial and a trial fee that is only owed if the case goes to trial. A flat fee means that, no matter how much work the lawyer has to do, you know up front what the fee is going to be. We base our fees on our estimate of the amount of time and work that will be required to defend the case. We are not a factory type of operation, so we generally do not have “grocery store” pricing, in which a given crime costs a set amount regardless of the facts. Each case is different, and we try to tailor our fees to your individual case. That means that we want to find out about your case and that we try to set our fees based on how much work we think your case will take and how complicated it will be.

If you are under investigation, but you have not been charged, we may offer to represent you during the investigation based on an hourly rate with a cost deposit that we bill against. This can benefit you because it can be difficult to predict how much work it will take to represent someone during an investigation, and an hourly rate means that you will only pay for the work done.

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