Texas Criminal Cases
Ask our criminal lawyer Tab Lawhorn what he does for a living and he’ll tell you: “I solve problems.”
Whether you are under investigation, or have been arrested, the world of criminal law is a scary place to be without the right attorney. You will need a lawyer that is experienced and knows when to be aggressive. You will need a lawyer you can trust. Our firm can find innovative ways to navigate through the court system whether you are facing State or Federal charges.
- A good rule of thumb with federal drug crimes is that if you have been contacted by the FBI then you have been the target of an investigation for at least a year. Drug crimes can be violations of both state and federal law. When the US government is prosecuting a drug case, they will not only use the DEA and FBI to investigate the crime, they can also work with state and local law enforcement agencies to gather evidence of a drug conspiracy. It would not be unusual for the ATF or DPS to aid an ongoing federal investigation. For instance, a simple traffic stop by a state trooper could result in a drug seizure that could be included in a federal investigation. I am often asked why double jeopardy doesn‚Äôt prohibit the federal government for prosecuting the same conduct that would be punishable under state law. It‚Äôs a good question. However, because the federal government is a separate and distinct jurisdiction from the state, then defendants can be prosecuted (and punished) under both state and federal law for drug crimes without violating double jeopardy. Conspiracy is one of the most powerful tools that the US attorney has to prosecute crimes. If you are charged with a drug conspiracy in federal court, this means that you are not only responsible for the drugs you allegedly possessed, but you are also responsible for the drugs that other co-conspirators possessed(even if it is someone you never met). The result can make a defendants guideline range for punishment astronomical. Conspiracy counts usually show up as Count 1 in a federal indictment with multiple co-defendants. It is number one for a reason. Gun crimes in federal court can complicate even the simplest of drug cases. Many times a drug crime also involves a weapon. Depending on the use of the gun and the status of the defendant, federal law imposes strict prison time minimums that can even be imposed consecutively (stacked) to any time received on the drug charges. All is not lost if you are facing one or any combination of these charges. Although the federal system can seem more complicated, it‚Äôs not. In fact, the thoroughness of a federal drug investigation sometimes presents more opportunities to defend someone from the charges. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines leave little to the imagination of the court or prosecutors such that there are uniform punishment ranges regardless of the court, defendant, or venue. The key to surviving these guidelines is using a lawyer that is highly proficient in using the evidence and the guidelines to your maximum advantage.
- White Collar crime is a term that is thrown around to describe any criminal activity that relates to illegally obtaining money/credit or avoiding debt by using a business entity, relationships, or transactions to do so. These crimes often involve allegations of fraud or other misrepresentations. If the government has used an FBI forensic accountant to dive into your personal and business banking accounts, then you should be prepared to hire an independent forensic accountant to perform an audit on your behalf. The tricky aspect of white collar cases is that often times the alleged "victim" is either a bank, or other business entity. This can have a significant impact on how aggressively a criminal investigation has been executed. White collar cases also tend to involve allegations of wire fraud. In this day and age, it is virtually impossible to transact any business without using electronic data communication or cyber transactions. This can complicate the underlying criminal allegations beyond the alleged white collar criminal acts. Sometimes the wire fraud is the white collar crime, and other times, it is a portion of a larger criminal act. If the government has alleged that you are part of a "scheme", then your attorney must attack the existence of the scheme and your role in it. Leadership roles in schemes to defraud can extend already rigid punishment ranges and also do not rest well with federal judges at sentencing. Your attorney should aggressively break down the scheme and at least minimize your role in it. There is no scarier word in the federal system than "conspiracy". Conspiracy is a legal theory that the federal government can use to implicate a defendant in crimes that other co-conspirators committed, even if the defendant was not aware of those crimes. Conspiracy is often used in white collar crimes to establish the breadth and depth of the white collar crime. Even if you are a low level employee, you could be included in a conspiracy that involves the criminal acts of your boss. Lastly, do not assume that white collar crime is merely restitution driven. No doubt, the ability to restore the alleged victim financially can go a long way in resolving a white collar criminal case. But still, you must have a lawyer that can negotiate an agreement properly, and even then, you could still be facing the fight of your life against the underlying criminal allegations.
- Bank fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes prosecuted nationwide. Bank fraud can encompass a wide range of criminal activity. Obtaining credit through false representations, check kiting, and falsifying collateral are just a few examples of bank fraud. Bank fraud investigations usually start out with the bank filing a complaint with law enforcement. Because most banks and credit unions are federally insured, bank fraud will typically be investigated by the federal government. Banks have a duty to report suspected fraud to comply with the FDIC and other governmental regulations. Once the investigation has commenced, the government will typically use forensic accountants and other FBI investigators to look for evidence of bank fraud. The earlier you can hire an attorney in this process, the sooner you can perform your own forensic accounting to defend yourself against these allegations. Defending a bank fraud case is more than just hiring an accountant. You and your lawyer must be prepared to spend countless hours together going through each piece of evidence the government claims implicate you in the bank fraud. You should be prepared to gather your own documents as well and also inspect the governments investigative reports with your lawyer. Although the theories of prosecution are the same for bank fraud, these cases are very unique. Each defense to a particular bank fraud case has a unique story behind it- a story that must be prepared with facts, and a great defense strategy.
- Bankruptcy fraud cases increase during a struggling economy. It‚Äôs that simple. A down economy increases bankruptcy petitions which increases the number of people who can get into serious trouble if they are accused of bankruptcy fraud. Bankruptcy fraud usually involves a false representation as to the income or assets that the petitioner possesses, making a false statement at the creditors meeting, or not disclosing the bankruptcy to future creditors. These allegations often fall upon a struggling entity, individual or couple that has enough problems already without adding a criminal investigation. When a business files for bankruptcy, they will do so under an officer or agent of the company. The statements made by that individual on behalf of the company are subject to the federal criminal laws on bankruptcy fraud. With married couples, both spouses can be investigated for bankruptcy fraud even though one spouse may not be aware of any wrongdoing. This can complicate matters during a federal investigation for bankruptcy fraud. If you and your spouse are both the target of a bankruptcy investigation, it is highly advisable that you each seek an attorney. Any conflicts of interest that exist by only hiring one lawyer to represent you both can be waived, but will not provide you with the most effective course for fully defending each spouse in my opinion. Because most statements in bankruptcy court are sworn to, any misrepresentations by the petitioner subjects them to penalties of perjury. Perjury is a serious crime that is often alleged against defendants in bankruptcy fraud cases. These counts of perjury are distinct allegations that can impose strict prison time in addition to the underlying bankruptcy fraud allegations. The key to defending a majority of these cases is to determine the intent of the petitioner at the time the representations were made. If the government cannot prove that the petitioner intended to make the misrepresentation, then the crime cannot be proven.