Any conviction, probation, or deferred adjudication, and even the mere fact of an arrest, leaves you with a criminal record that can follow you the rest of your life. The only way to avoid this ugly truth is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can work out your case in a proper manner, either through effective plea negotiations with the District Attorney or by victory at trial.
The mere fact that you have been arrested and charged with a crime does not equate with guilt. The burden of proving that you are guilty is always on the District Attorney and never shifts to the accused. That burden is Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, the highest standard of evidence in our judicial system, even higher than the level of proof required for the State to terminate parental rights and take away a person’s child. At Hinzman & Flory we are dedicated to the defense of the accused and holding the State to this high burden. Our goal in every case we handle is to put our clients in a position to clean up their record at the end of our representation.
Please visit the RESOURCES PAGE of our website for more information about the various programs and options discussed below.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED
It is very important to contact an attorney immediately after your arrest for Driving While Intoxicated. You may only have 15 days following your arrest to request a hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license for refusing or failing blood alcohol testing. This hearing offers your attorney an opportunity to question the arresting officer, under oath and on the record, without the District Attorney being present. Requesting a hearing may often delay the start of any potential license suspension. Since the right to have a hearing on the administrative suspension of your license is lost if you fail to request a hearing, it is imperative that anyone arrested for DWI consult with an attorney without delay immediately. At Hinzman & Flory, we do not charge for this initial consultation. We want you to be fully informed of all your options as soon as possible when facing this difficult situation.
DWIs different from other criminal offenses in that the same illegal act – operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated – could carry a range of punishment from probation or a few days in jail, up to life in prison depending on the number of prior convictions for DWI.
In order to convict you of Driving While Intoxicated, the State must prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt that you were operating a motor vehicle while
Having a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher (blood alcohol testing required)
Having lost the normal use of your mental facilities due to the introduction of alcohol and/or drugs (blood alcohol testing not required)
Having lost the normal use of your physical facilities due to the introduction of alcohol and/or drugs (blood alcohol testing not required)
The two most important pieces of evidence the State will use to attempt to convict you of DWI are breath/blood testing results and videotape evidence. All of this evidence can be attacked and it is important to understand that even if you drove after drinking too much it does not mean that you will be convicted for DWI. At Hinzman & Flory, we have over 40 years of combined experience representing clients charged with DWI and understand how to attack the State’s case in order to bring about a favorable result for you.
DWI cases carry consequences other than potential jail or prison sentences. DWI convictions may in some instances result in an additional driver’s license suspension (separate from an administrative suspension for failing or refusing blood alcohol testing) and carry driver license surcharges that must be paid in order to avoid further license suspensions. At Hinzman & Flory we can help you navigate all these potential pitfalls and insure that you are driving legally. There are so many variables with these cases, that your best option is always to meet in person with an attorney immediately after your arrest.
At Hinzman & Flory we have years of experience working on various types of intoxication-related offenses and can help you if you are charged with any of the following:
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Boating While Intoxicated
- Intoxication Assault
- Intoxication Manslaughter
- Public Intoxication
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
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Any drug offense carries serious consequences, even simple possession of marijuana. Conviction of a drug offense can result in the suspension of your driver’s license, inability to lease an apartment, denial of federal student loans, and loss of non-citizen immigration status and removal from the United States. A felony drug conviction, like all other felony convictions, will cause you to lose the right to vote and possess a firearm.
Options exist, such as the Denton County Drug Court and Pretrial Diversion, to avoid a conviction and allow you to expunge arrests for these offenses. We have also successfully negotiated dismissals based on lack of reasonable suspicion and probable case, as well as problems with laboratory testing. And we have been successful in the past achieving dismissals after victories in Motion to Suppress Evidence hearings when the police overstepped their constitutional authority.
In addition, if you have a drug problem and need help, we will work with you to find the treatment program that works best for you. At Hinzman & Flory, we have years of experience working with clients with addiction problems to help them find the appropriate treatment options and have developed relationships with different rehabilitation facilities in the North Texas area.
At Hinzman & Flory, we have handled thousands of drug cases, including:
- Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana
- Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance/Marijuana
- Delivery of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana
- Manufacture of a Controlled Substance
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
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Assault is defined under Texas law as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” causing “bodily injury to another.” “Bodily injury” is defined to include mere “physical pain,” as well as illness or “impairment of physical condition.” This offense is a Class A Misdemeanor with a punishment range of up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Assault also includes threatening someone with “imminent bodily injury” or “offensive or provocative” touching of another. These forms of assault are Class C Misdemeanors punishable by a fine of up to $500
The more serious felony offense of Aggravated Assault is committed when a person commits an assault that causes “serious bodily injury” or “uses or exhibits a deadly weapon” while committing the assault. “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or causes death, serious permanent disfigurement or prolonged loss or impairment of organ or bodily member functions. Aggravated Assault is a Second Degree Felony punishable by a minimum of two years to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If other factors are present, Aggravated Assault can even be charged as a First Degree Felony punishable by life in prison.
→ FAMILY VIOLENCE
The most common type of assaultive offense prosecuted in Denton County is Class A Misdemeanor Assault Causing Bodily Injury (Family Violence). Assault becomes a family violence charge when the accused and alleged victim are related by blood, are currently married or were previously married, are currently in a dating relationship (or were previously), or are members of the same household.
Although it carries the same punishment range as a regular Class A Assault Causing Bodily Injury offense, the family violence aspect of these cases can have far greater consequences for those charged with, convicted of, or placed on probation for this offense, including:
- Inability to ever again legally possess or own a firearm
- Severe immigration consequences, including loss of legal status, removal from the country and denial of naturalization as a citizen
- Enhancement to a Third Degree Felony for a subsequent offense
- Family law repercussions, including serious negative effects for child custody, visitation rights, and division of property issues in divorce cases
- Issuance of a Protective Order preventing an accused from returning to his or her home and restricting contact with family members
- Loss of professional licenses
The District Attorney takes these cases very seriously. There are some prosecutor offices which follow a strict “no dismissal” policy for family violence cases. Although the current administration at the Denton County District Attorney has retreated somewhat from its predecessor’s publicly stated “no dismissal” policy, the mere fact that the victim does not want to press charges does not mean the case will go away. The reasons behind this policy are preventative in nature – the fear on the part of the State is that if family violence cases are not prosecuted just because a victim wishes them not to be, the violence will continue unabated with increasingly severe consequences for victims and family members. This is referred to often as the domestic violence cycle or cycle of violence. Unfortunately, this policy can lead to overreaching on the part of the State in cases that do not fall into this cycle and the prosecution of those who should be given a break.
The good news for those accused of family violence is that much can be done in these cases if aggressive, experienced legal counsel is obtained. At Hinzman & Flory, we have years of experience handling these cases, successfully negotiating dismissals and winning trials. These cases most often involve no other witnesses other than the accused and the alleged victim, in other words, they are usually the simple “he said, she said” type case. Because these cases always involve heated arguments and aroused passions, throughout our decades of experience handling these cases, we have seen almost every scenario play out – including victims admitting that they outright lied to the responding officers by changing a mere verbal argument into a physical one or transforming a mere shove or push into a closed-fist punch. We have seen alleged victims later admit that they were the initial aggressor and that the accused actually was merely defending him or herself. And, of course, we have represented those guilty of exactly what they are accused of doing. In all of these scenarios, our goal is a dismissal of the charges. At Hinzman & Flory, we believe that the State should listen to victims not only when they desire that punishment be assessed against their family members, but also when they want charges dropped. We have years of experience helping people charged with all forms of assault including:
- Family Violence
- Assault on a Public Servant
- Injury to a Child
- Injury to the Elderly
- Injury to the Disabled
- Aggravated Assault
- Indecency with a Child
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
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Do not underestimate the negative effect of a theft charge on your record. Having even just an arrest for theft show up on a background check can ruin a job interview and create a major lifelong obstacle to finding decent employment or advancing in your career. To many people, no matter what type of theft offense you are charged with or the circumstances of your situation at the time of your arrest, you will always be known as a thief. And who wants to hire a thief?
Fortunately, in many circumstances it is possible for you to be in a position once your theft case is over to completely remove all information about it from your record so that you can avoid suffering lifelong consequences. This is true even if you are guilty. At Hinzman & Flory, we have successfully negotiated dismissals of many of our clients theft cases over the years through pretrial diversion (link) and other methods.
With these types of cases it is imperative to talk to your attorney before anyone else. If you believe that you are under suspicion or investigation for any type of theft offense, seek counsel from a competent criminal defense attorney immediately. Do not talk to the police, an employer, or anyone else without first consulting with us. If you are innocent, we can make every effort to keep the case from being filed. If you are in fact guilty, we may still be able to negotiate a resolution that prevents charges from being filed. For example, with employee theft and embezzlement, the employer is sometimes more interested in getting their money back than prosecuting an employee, especially if insurance does not cover their loss. The employer may also not be fully aware of the extent of the theft or be able to prove it without an admission by the guilty party. With burglary cases, if you are not caught in the act, law enforcement will make every effort available to obtain a confession. Nothing good will come from talking to the police without first consulting an attorney.
At Hinzman & Flory, we are experienced representing people charged with many different types of theft including:
- Organized Retail Theft
- Employee Theft
- Theft of a Firearm
- Identity Theft
- Credit Card Abuse
- Fraudulent Use of Identifying Information
- Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
- Burglary of a Motor Vehicle
- Burglary of a Building
- Burglary of a Habitation
- Theft from a Person (purse snatching/pick pocketing)
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DRIVING WHILE LICENSE INVALID AND DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
First and foremost, if your charge has been filed in a county court, Driving While License Invalid (DWLI) is not a mere ticket. Although DWLI can be charged as only a Class C Misdemeanor “ticket” (punishable by a fine only of up to $500), there are numerous ways in which this offense can and will result in your arrest and a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail. For example, DWLI can be filed as a Class B Misdemeanor if you have a previous conviction for DWLI and are caught again driving on a suspended license, if you are caught driving on a suspended license in a vehicle that is not insured, or if you are driving with a license that has been suspended due to a DWI conviction. Our goal for all of our clients who are charged with Driving While License Invalid is not only to work out the best possible resolution to their case, but also to help them navigate their way back to being able to drive legally.
We understand that when a person has numerous suspensions and surcharges attached to their driver’s license it can feel like a problem that can never be sorted out. This is most often not the case, and we pride ourselves on getting our clients back to driving legally before our representation is complete. Regaining the ability to drive legally not only benefits you, but the State and all its citizens. This fact alone adds a tremendous amount of negotiating room in settling these cases. However, many variations exist, so it is imperative that you sit down – ideally for an in person interview – with a competent attorney. At Hinzman & Flory, our free initial consultation will include helping you determine what you must do to be able to drive legally, as well as give you a game plan for how we will represent you in your case. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
OCCUPATIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSES/IGNITION INTERLOCK LICENSES
Also known as an essential needs license, an occupational driver’s license allows a person to drive under certain restrictions during a period when their conventional driver’s license is under a suspension. If your license is suspended as a result of a DWI, you may be entitled to an ignition interlock license that allows you to drive any vehicle equipped with an interlock device, without restrictions on reasons for travel or driving time. Why risk being arrested for driving with a suspended license and a potential jail sentence along with additional suspensions and surcharges? Contact Hinzman & Flory for a free consultation to discuss your eligibility for an occupational license so you can driving legally while your license is suspended.
EXPUNCTIONS AND ORDERS OF NONDISCLOSURE
Expunctions involve the destruction of all official arrest and case records. Orders of Nondisclosure prevent records relating to an arrest and subsequent criminal case from being disclosed to the general public.
In general terms, Expunctions are available in cases of an acquittal (finding of not guilty) at trial, cases for which a diversion program was completed, cases never filed during the statute of limitations, filed cases later dismissed where the statute of limitations has now run, and, in some instances, when a filed case was dismissed and the statute of limitations has yet to run. The statute of limitations represents the period during which the State can file a criminal case – the length of time is particular to offense charged. An Expunction is not available following completion of court ordered probation or deferred adjudication for any offense above a Class C Misdemeanor (fine only offense or “ticket”).
An Order of Nondisclosure is a possibility for many offenses upon successful completion of deferred adjudication probation. However, unlike an Expunction, the granting of an Order of Nondisclosure is discretionary with the Judge and there are many limitations as to the types of offenses for which an nondisclosure order can be granted. In addition, there are waiting periods after completion of probation for numerous offenses before you can request a nondisclosure order . Despite these limitations, an Order of Nondisclosure can be a beneficial alternative to an Expunction for eligible cases.
One important fact to note is that eligibility for Expunctions and Orders of Nondisclosure has expanded over recent years. The law that applies is the law that is in effect when you petition for an Expunction or Order of Nondisclosure. Even if you are not eligible now you may be in the future, so it is important for you to keep checking in with us from time to time.
At Hinzman & Flory, our goal is always to seek a resolution of your case that will allow you to effectively seek an Expunction or Order of Nondisclosure so that you will be able to move on from the tough times you have endured during the criminal proceedings against you. Call us today for a free consultation.
EARLY RELEASE FROM PROBATION
Depending on numerous factors, you may be eligible for early release from community supervision (probation). If a judge determines that is in the best interest of society and the probationer, Texas law allows for early release from deferred adjudication probation at any point during the period of supervision, except in cases requiring registration as a sex offender. If you are on non-deferred adjudication or “regular probation” (probation with a conviction), you must complete one-third of your original period of probation, or two years, whichever is less, before a judge can consider reducing or terminating your community supervision. Furthermore, there are numerous offenses for which early release from regular probation is not available.
Schedule a consultation with us if you are interested in being released early from probation. We will meet with you free of charge to discuss whether early release is possible under the law in your case, and, importantly, whether or not it is worth pursuing. At Hinzman & Flory, our years of experience practicing in Denton County have taught us the particular positions of many judges on the issue of early release from community supervision and the most important factors they look at when determining whether or not to grant your request. During a consultation, we will explain to you everything we can about all of the numerous variables to be considered with your individual case so that you can make an informed decision about pursuing early release. Call us today.