If you are arrested for the commission of a violent crime anywhere in the country, you know you are in serious trouble. This is particularly true if you are arrested in Texas, a state that takes a hard line against crime in general and violent crimes in particular. If you get into this kind of predicament, it is essential that you contact a strong, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.
Jose Ceja, lead attorney of Ceja Law Firm PLLC in Houston, is at the top of his game. Having been recognized as one of the top lawyers in Houston, he also has a well-earned reputation for providing his clients with personal attention and respect. His early years of work as a prosecutor put him on an inside track as a criminal defense attorney. Because he knows the tactics prosecutors are likely to use against you he can offer you the best chance of a positive outcome.
Defining Violent Crimes
A violent crime is an illegal action involving force or the threat of force against another person. It may include the use of a deadly weapon to intimidate or attack or may involve unwanted physical contact with the victim. Believable threats are often sufficient to lead to charges of criminal violence.
Violent Crimes Commonly Prosecuted in Texas
The following violent crimes are prosecuted in Texas on a regular basis, though of course, some occur more frequently than others:
- Assault – Assault is the crime of causing or threatening to cause bodily injury to another person. Depending on the particular circumstances, assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. An example of assault in which the victim is not actually physically injured is a punch thrown that does not connect with its target.
- Aggravated Assault – The charge of assault is typically replaced with the charge of “aggravated assault” if you are accused of threatening or causing serious bodily injury with a gun or other deadly weapon. Aggravated assault is a felony offense. If convicted you face up to 2 years of incarceration.
- Carjacking – As of 1992, Congress passed the Federal Anti-Car Theft Act (FACTA) that made it a federal crime to use a weapon to steal a car, whether the weapon injures or simply intimidates the victim.
- Kidnapping – Kidnapping is a violent crime that involves forcing someone to go to another place against his/her will and keeping the victim as a captive in order to demand ransom or for some other nefarious reason.
- Robbery and Aggravated Robbery – If, in the process of stealing from a person (rather than from an unoccupied location), you cause harm to another intentionally or through recklessness, you may be charged with robbery. The charge is elevated to aggravated robbery if you display a weapon while committing the theft. In most cases, robbery is charged as a second- or first-degree felony.
- Homicide – In Texas, as throughout the country, homicide is a general term, meaning simply that you caused the death of another human being. Depending on the specifics of the incident, you may be charged with criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter, murder (first- or second-degree) or capital murder. All are felony charges.
- Domestic Violence – Unfortunately, domestic violence is one of the most common types of violent crime in Texas. It involves assaulting, or credibly threatening to assault, a family member, a member of your household (such as a roommate or housemate), or a current or former romantic partner. You may also be charged with other associated crimes, such as rape, according to the particulars of the accusation.
What Ceja Law Firm Will Help You to Avoid
As you know, convictions for violent crimes can lead to very serious, often long-term, consequences. Having a sharp criminal defense attorney like Jose Ceja at your side can help to protect you from heavy fines and lengthy prison terms. It can also save you from the collateral damage of conviction, which may include:
- Limitations on educational opportunities and financial aid
- Limitations on employment opportunities and professional licensing
- Restrictions relative to child custody or visitation
- Restrictions on travel/ difficulties with citizenship applications
- Loss of some civil rights, such as gun ownership or voting privileges
If you have been convicted of a felony before, in Texas you are at risk of being labeled a habitual offender which means that you are in danger of having the “three strike” law invoked. This could mean that a third felony conviction would put you behind bars for a minimum of 15 to 25 years.
Ceja Law Firm Will Fight Tooth and Nail for Your Freedom
There are a number of defense tactics we can use to get your case dismissed or to win you an acquittal. Even in cases where the evidence against you is strong, we are often able to get your charges lessened or even have your sentence reduced to probation. Defense strategies we may use include:
- Self-defense – you were acting to defend yourself from attack
- Mistaken identity – the victim or a witness misidentified you
- Mistake of fact – no crime of violence actually took place
- Intoxication or impairment by drugs – You were acting irrationally due to voluntarily or involuntarily ingestion of alcohol or drugs (this will not exonerate you, but might be considered a mitigating circumstance)
- Defense of your property
- Defense of another person
- Duress – someone forced you to commit the crime by threatening you or a loved one
- Entrapment – law enforcement enticed you to commit the crime
- Diminished Capacity – you are mentally challenged (from birth, brain injury, or dementia) or were experiencing a medical event at the time the crime was committed
- Insanity Defense – you were suffering from a psychiatric disorder at the time of the crime
- Consent – the “victim” was a willing participant in the violent activity
- Infancy Defense – you were under the age of adulthood when the crime was committed (that age is now 17 in Texas, but will rise to 18 in 2021 because of recently passed legislation
While ignorance of the law and provocation are not, in and of themselves, legitimate defenses, we may sometimes put one or the other forth as a mitigating factor in an attempt to lessen charges and/or penalties.
Contact Our Houston Violent Crimes Lawyer
Being arrested on charges of committing a violent crime can be terrifying, but once you contact Ceja Law you will begin to feel back in control of your life. Jose Ceja is well-prepared to stand up for your rights, whether he is negotiating a dismissal or plea bargain or fighting for a not guilty verdict in the courtroom. He will support you through arrest, indictment, arraignment, pretrial hearings and litigation. When you call on Ceja Law Firm you are not only ensuring that you won’t have to go through the grueling judicial process alone, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of a successful outcome. Get in touch with us through a contact form on our website or by phone so we can start defending your reputation and your freedom.