What questions should you be asking but might be overlooking?
Do I need to stop smoking marijuana now? Or can I wait to see if I end up on probation?
Yes. Despite evolving laws concerning both medical and recreational use of marijuana in other states, it is still 100% illegal in Texas. YOU NEED TO STOP SMOKING MARIJUANA IMMEDIATELY ONCE YOU ARE CHARGED WITH A CRIME.
Continuing to smoke marijuana may seriously affect our ability to successfully handle your criminal case. Oftentimes, a clean urinalysis test may be a requirement of a beneficial plea bargain, including a possible dismissal of your case. In addition, failing a test could lead to you being assessed jail time as a condition of probation, sometimes 30 days or more.
My case was dismissed, so there is nothing on my record, right?
Wrong. In Texas, NOTHING DISAPPEARS FROM A PERSON’S CRIMINAL HISTORY UNLESS ACTION IS TAKEN TO REMOVE IT. The method for erasing all official records of an arrest and criminal case is known as an Expunction. In other circumstances, where an expunction is not possible, we may be able to have your records sealed and made unavailable to the public through an Order of Nondisclosure.
We do not charge for consultations to determine whether or not you are eligible for an Expunction or an Order of Nondisclosure.
What is the difference between and “expunction” and an “order of nondisclosure”?
An expunction erases records of an arrest – meaning all official records held by law enforcement and the courts are destroyed and no longer available anywhere.
An order of nondisclosure orders agencies holding records not to disclose them except to certain listed agencies, mostly state licensing agencies – the records are in effect “sealed” for most purposes. However, the records still exist and can be used against you in the future if you get in trouble with the law again or apply for a job that requires licensing by an agency excluded from the non-disclosure requirements.
I’ve scheduled an appointment with you and would like my wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/mom/dad, etc. to sit with me during our meeting. That’s OK, right?
No. At least it is not OK while we are speaking about the actual facts of your case. All communications that occur between an attorney and a client (or potential client) are covered by the attorney-client privilege which allows the client to prevent the disclosure of confidential communications made for the purpose of facilitating professional legal services. The key here is that the communications must be confidential – if there is anyone else in the room while we are speaking about your case, for example a significant other or family member, then these communications are no longer deemed to be confidential and the attorney-client privilege is waived.
A common example we encounter is when a potential client accused of Assault – Family violence comes to our office and wants their wife or girlfriend, whom they are accused of assaulting, to sit in on our meeting. If we were to allow that, and the wife or girlfriend were to later decide to tell the District Attorney everything talked about in our office, there is nothing we could do about it.
Once we have talked with you about the facts of your case, we will allow your family member to be present for the rest of the meeting when we talk about potential solutions and outcomes for your case.
Can I talk to my family about my case?
No. YOU SHOULD NOT TALK TO ANYONE ABOUT YOUR CASE UNTIL YOU HAVE CONSULTED WITH AN ATTORNEY. Anything incriminating that you say to anyone could eventually end up being used as evidence against you in a criminal proceeding.
I was arrested and bonded out today. I can just wait to talk to you once I receive a court date, correct?
No. It is a bad idea to wait until you receive a court date before contacting us. YOU NEED TO CALL AN ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY ONCE YOU ARE ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH A CRIME, OR CONTACTED BY THE POLICE.
If you wait until a case is filed against you before contacting us we will have lost valuable time during which we could have been investigating your case and negotiating with the District Attorney, or working with the police to possibly prevent a case from even being turned over to the District Attorney.
When the District Attorney first receives your case it goes to the intake division and is reviewed by prosecutors assigned to determine how and if it should be filed. If the case is filed, it is then turned over to a different set of prosecutors assigned to the particular court in which it is filed. Prosecutors have different views of how particular types of case should be handled – WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO TALK TO AS MANY DIFFERENT PROSECUTORS ABOUT YOUR CASE AS POSSIBLE. If you wait until it is already filed before calling us, then we can no longer talk to the intake attorney who may have been more inclined to offer a favorable resolution than the prosecutor who is now handling it in court.
I am a permanent resident. Can my criminal charge have negative effects on my immigration status?
Yes. Absolutely. Conviction of many different criminal offenses can result in a permanent resident’s loss of status and removal from the country, or prevent a non-citizen from ever gaining legal residence in the United States.
IF YOU ARE NOT A CITIZEN, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT YOU CONSULT WITH AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY WHEN YOU ARE CHARGED WITH A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. At Hinzman & Flory, not only can we provide you our expertise in criminal law, our Of Counsel attorney Fernando Dubove has over 25 years of experience practicing immigration law. Working together, we can expertly advise you as to the immigration consequences of a criminal charge and work to negotiate a resolution to your case that best protects your family and your ability to legally reside in this country or effectively petition for legal residency in the future.
I am a veteran. Are there any special programs designed to help me if I am in legal trouble?
Yes. The Denton County Veteran’s Treatment Court program was approved in 2009. SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF THE VETERAN’S COURT PROGRAM LEADS TO A DISMISSAL OF ALL CRIMINAL CHARGES. At Hinzman & Flory, we are extremely proud to have worked with veterans throughout our careers and to have been a small part of helping them when they have given so much for us.
Can I trust your firm to be around to see my case to its completion?
Yes you can. Attorneys often leave their jobs to take new positions at other law firms or to begin working with the District Attorney.
This leaves their clients in a bad spot. Hinzman & Flory has remained stable since 1999 and Kevin and Craig have never worked for the District Attorney and never will. They are right where they want to be and you can count on them to be there for you.