HOUSTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

AGGRESSIVE, DEDICATED, EXPERIENCED

“Ed Chernoff reminded me of a Marine Force Recon Infantry full bird colonel. A no nonsense criminal lawyer with over 30 years of experience, he doesn’t just fight to get the best deal. He fights to win!”  – Client Google Review

1,500+ cases

30+ years of experience

Superlawyers 2012-2019

Board certified

PRACTICE AREAS

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Ed Chernoff will personally supervise your case and create a legal solution to deal with your criminal problem. He represents clients in State and Federal Court and practices in Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery, Galveston and Chambers Counties.

DO YOU NEED A CRIMINAL LAWYER IN HOUSTON?

HOW DO I FIND A CRIMINAL LAWYER IN HOUSTON TO HELP ME WITH MY CASE?

This may be the question you are asking if this is the first time you or a loved one have ever been in criminal trouble. My name is Ed Chernoff and I can help you. I am a former Chief Prosecutor with 30 years of experience as a Criminal Defense Attorney.   I have been Board-Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for over 20 years. I have represented thousands of happy clients in Harris County, Fort Bend, Galveston and Montgomery Counties.

Let me give you some insight into what I do. I have tried over 150 Jury Trials. A large portion of these trials have resulted in acquittals, including charges for Sexual Assault, Aggravated Robbery, DWI, Theft, Drug PossessionAggravated Assault and Family Assault, and other types of cases.

I have obtained no-bills and dismissals for my clients in all types of criminal cases including Capital Murder, Murder, Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, Sexual Assault, Assault, Aggravated Assault, Theft, Possession of Controlled Substance and DWI, among others. I believe I can help you too.

HOUSTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY – ED CHERNOFF

I am a well-known Criminal Defense Lawyer in Houston, and I have earned my reputation as someone who never stops until my client has achieved the very best possible result. I have represented police officers, lawyers, doctors and family members of Judges and prosecutors. I have spoken at conferences and legal symposiums advising Judges and Criminal Lawyers.

I have been the subject of, articles seen on CNN, The New York Times, ABC News, The Houston Chronicle and other media outlets for cases for have handled. I have been featured in Texas Lawyer magazine.

As a former prosecutor, I have deep insight into how to address the most serious of criminal charges and can act before charges are filed. My practice is dedicated to standing before the State and Government and protecting my clients against prosecutors who are out to get a conviction despite evidence to the contrary.  

WHY HIRING THE BEST LAWYER IS THE ANSWER TO YOUR PROBLEM?

An educated, experienced and talented criminal defense lawyer will always be necessary when the police and government have accused you of a crime. The difference between an unjust conviction and an acquittal is usually the result of the dedication, effort and ability your criminal lawyer has provided to your defense.

Any lawyer can claim to be a Criminal Defense Attorney. However, few have the experience and reputation I have. I would like to help you resolve your nightmare.

If you are charged with a crime in Harris County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County or Montgomery County, I will be there for you. Just give me a call!

Certifications Awards Media

Testimonials

Chernoff Law 4.7 average on Google Reviews

DISMISSED! Lawyer Ed Chernoff is truly an amazing lawyer and person. He was able to get my Felony charge DISMISSED by the Grand Jury in only 2 weeks of working on my case….

Reggie Kerr

Ed saved my life and career. Incredible lawyer if you’re in trouble.

Jay Bui

Mr. Chernoff was adamant about not having me plea guilty to my case and was able to completely wipe my record of the incident. Ed was very prompt, professional, and excellent at explaining where we were in the process and what to expect. I am very appreciative of having had Ed on my side during the proceedings, and I highly recommend him as an excellent lawyer.

Jeff Stautner

Ed Chernoff is a dedicated lawyer that has many years of experience and will help do whatever it takes to help you or your family. He does not beat around the bush and will describe the process of law efficiently. My case was dismissed thanks to Ed Chernoff, I highly recommend him.

Gevin Dray

I’d like to thank Ed Chernoff and his office for helping me with my case,getting it dismissed and also taking care of the expunction for a reasonable/ affordable fee. Hopefully i don’t have to hire Him and His office again but if i run into some trouble again, i am for sure coming back here. -Thanks For Your Help

Angel Cisneros

I don’t have the words to express how grateful we are for Mr. Chernoff and his team . They always kept us updated and were available for any questions we had. They were able to obtain the best possible outcome. I would definitely use him again and highly recommend him.

Susan Purdy

We have hired Ed Chernoff to defend my son in 4 different cases in the last 3 years. We were referred to Ed by my in-laws as they too had a wonderful outcome with their youngest son years prior. … Couldn’t have ever asked for a better person to represent my son who is my world. I would never hesitate to refer Ed to ANYONE!!

Tanya Marek

Ed was great! Having never been in trouble before, I was unsure of what to do or who to contact. I could not have made a better decision in hiring Ed. He was great in explaining my options and letting me know what to expect each step of the way. He put my fears at ease and helped me get my case dismissed and my life back on track. I would highly recommend hiring Ed and letting him do the same for you.

Jordan Charles

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CAN I GET MY CASE DISMISSED?

No matter how bad you think your criminal case is, the possibility always exists for you to get your case dismissed, so please don’t give up. More than thirty percent of the cases I have handled in the last two years were dismissed, including the following:

State v. A.H. Charged with Prostitution Result: Dismissed
State v. B.J. Charged with Assault of Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. B.C. Charged with Failure to Stop and Give Info Result: Dismissed
State v. D.C. Charged with Interference with 911 and Assault of Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. E.R. Charged with Aggravated Assault of Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. F.W. Charged with Aggravated Assault Result: Dismissed
State v. F.C. Charged with Assault of Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. G.O. Charged with Pollution Result: Dismissed
State v. M.B. Charged with Insurance Fraud Result: Dismissed
State v. K.B. Charged with Assault Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. K.A. Charged with Assault Result: Dismissed
State v. I.J. Charged with Assault of Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. J.C. Charged with Possession of Controlled Substance Result: Dismissed
State v. J.Y. Charged with Theft Result: Dismissed
State v. J.V. Charged with Possession of Marijuana Result: Dismissed
State v. J.M. Charged with Assault of Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. J.H. Charged with Driving While Intoxicated Result: Dismissed
State v. J.R. Charged with Assault of Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. J.C. Charged with Assault of a Peace Officer Result: Dismissed
State v. J.O. Charged with Theft Result: Dismissed
State v. L.P. Charged with Possession of Drugs Result: Dismissed
State v. M.C. Charged with Delivery of Controlled Substance Result: Dismissed
State v. M.H. Charged with Possession of Marijuana Result: Dismissed
State v. M.A. Charged with Prostitution Result: Dismissed
State v. M.H. Charged with Interference with Duties of PS Result: Dismissed
State v. M.S. Charged with Aggravated Assault Result: Dismissed
State v. P.L. Charged with Assault of a Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. P.T. Charged with Aggravated Assault Result: Grand Jury No Bill State v. R.R. Charged with Prostitution Result: Dismissed
State v. R.R. Charged with Assault Result: Dismissed
State v. R.K. Charged with Assault Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. S.A. Charged with Assault of Family Member Result: Dismissed
State v. S.B. Charged with Motion to Revoke Result: Termination
State v. R.T. Charged with Motion to Adjudicate Result: Motion Dismissed

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CRIMINAL COURT PROCEDURE IN HARRIS COUNTY

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The Arrest

You can be arrested by a law enforcement officer with jurisdiction when he has “probable cause” to believe you have committed a crime. An officer is limited in misdemeanor cases, and in most instances, he must have observed the crime itself in order to arrest you. Otherwise an arrest warrant will need to be obtained.

If you have been arrested in Houston, Texas, the first step to an aggressive defense of your rights is for you to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Harris County criminal courts are located in downtown Houston. My office is located three blocks away.

What is a Warrant?

An arrest warrant is different from a bench warrant, although both are issued by a magistrate. A magistrate will issue an arrest warrant when enough evidence is presented by affidavit to prove that you probably have committed a crime. Usually, the warrant is filed with the District Clerk along with the charging instrument. This notifies all police that they are authorized to seek you out and make an arrest.

 Sometimes police officers obtain an arrest warrant for the sole purpose of questioning an individual they believe was involved in a crime. This type of warrant may not be filed through the District Clerk and would not show up in a search. This is commonly known as a “pocket warrant”.  The purpose of a “pocket warrant” is so that you are not given notice of the warrant. The police want surprise.

Our advice is to contact a board-certified criminal lawyer at Chernoff Law when it becomes known or suspected that a warrant has been issued. We have access to the Harris County and other County computer systems, in addition to contacts with law enforcement and can verify and monitor warrants.

Harris County District Attorney Decides Whether to Charge

In Harris County, the district attorney makes the decision whether to charge you with a crime. In the majority of cases, one of the assistants stationed at the intake division of the District Attorney’s office will review the case for filing. More often than not, this will involve a single phone call from an officer on the scene. During the call, the officer will explain to the assistant the facts of his case and the assistant will make the immediate decision whether probable cause exists to charge a crime. You do not have the right to a criminal lawyer at this time. It is important to note that in the vast majority of cases an Assistant DA makes the decision to charge based solely on a short phone call with the officer. Any information, including exculpatory information, is controlled by the officer on the scene.

After the Arrest – Bail

For some crimes, bail will be set at the time the case is charged. In most circumstances, however, bail is not set until the accused has been brought before a magistrate. This usually means that the individual charged cannot surrender and get out immediately by posting bail, sometimes known as an “in and out” bond. This causes all sorts of problems for people, as the delay can be as long as 18 hours before a magistrate can be seen.

There is a solution to this problem. You have the right to counsel from a criminal defense attorney after being formally charged. If you hire me before you surrender, I can take you into the Court in which you have been assigned and ask the Judge to set bail. Then you can be released to the bondsman to take you over to the processing center and file a bond for you. Be warned, however, not all Judges allow this procedure! Get advise first.

In some circumstances, bail is set too high by a magistrate for you to make it out of jail. This happens quite often in theft or drug cases since the bail amount is sometimes determined by a multiplication of the value of the alleged loss in the theft case or the street value of the drugs. (notwithstanding the recognized unconstitutionality of this approach.)

When bail is set too high, there are formal and informal techniques we can use to reduce the amount. Since bail is supposed to be set for the purpose of assuring the accused returns to court, often times I can get the prosecutor to agree to a bail reduction. If no agreement can be made, I will ask the judge. The Judge may, after hearing the facts of the case and your life circumstances, informally reduce the bail amount. In other cases, a writ of habeas corpus might need to be filed and prosecuted.

The Role of Pre-trial Services in Harris County

Some Texas counties, like Harris County, have a pretrial release service. Historically, the department was rarely used as a method to replace the traditional bail system. This has changed in the last few years. Now most misdemeanor defendants are released on a pretrial bond and more than half of the felony cases get out of jail this way.  

Whether this applies to you depends on whether you have made it all the way to the magistrate after being arrested. In addition, many courts use pretrial services as a method to monitor bail. Pre-trial is brought in to administer additional conditions attached to the accused’s bail irrespective of whether a surety is involved. Bail, and bail conditions, are tricky. This is another very good reason to hire us early on in the process.

First Appearance in Court

Your first appearance in Court is called a preliminary appearance. If you have been charged by indictment, it is referred to as an arraignment. Unless formal arraignment is waived, the judge will verify your identity, ask the prosecutor to recite facts that establish probable cause, and ask for your plea

Very likely, if I already represent you, your first appearance in Court will be anticlimactic. The formality of arraignment will usually be waived, unless I think that it would be in your best interest for the Judge to hear probable cause facts.  You will probably not be called on to do anything at the first setting but identify yourself at docket call.

It is possible, depending on what your charge is, that the Judge will want to impose bail conditions or issue a Magistrates Order of Emergency Protection(MOEP). I will oppose any unfair conditions.

More Appearances in Court

Except in the unlikely event your case is dismissed on the first court date, you will be required to go to court several more times. Your case will take some time in order for you to get the best result. Your case will be reset each appearance for about a month, until it is resolved or tried.

On each court date, I will continue to gather discovery and take the opportunity to chat with one of the prosecutors in court. In time, I will have obtained what I need to get to the bottom line in your case. The conversations with the prosecution will become much more productive.

What Are the Possible Outcomes of My Criminal Case?

In short, there are only three possible ways to resolve your criminal case: 1) Dismissal, 2) Plea Agreement, or 3) Trial. The prosecution has sole authority to dismiss her own case, though she may be persuaded to do so after conversation with defense counsel. A plea agreement, commonly referred to as a “plea bargain” may be an acceptable alternative in your case if the evidence available to the prosecution is strong enough to convict and the jury is likely to administer greater punishment than what is being offered.

Trial is rare, but it may be required in your case. Many people fear trial, since it gives twelve perfect strangers power over what happens to them. However, sometimes it is necessary, which is why I have repeatedly stated in this site why you must hire an experienced criminal attorney. If your lawyer doesn’t have experience in trial, you subject yourself to great risk.

Your Questions ANSWERED

  • What is the process for hiring Defense Attorney Ed Chernoff?

    My Criminal Defense Law Practice is located in downtown Houston, three blocks from the Harris County Criminal Justice Center. I am always available by phone or email. Most emergency phone calls are answered or returned immediately.After speaking with me on the phone, an appointment can be set within two days. I always reserve at least one day on the weekend to allow for these appointments. During our meeting,  a discussion is had to determine the best course of action to take in your criminal case. A fee is set for the exact type of defense you are most interested in pursuing.

    At the conclusion of the meeting a contract may be prepared which details your exact fee and method of payment, including any payment plan arrangements. The contract will set out the goals of your defense, the obligation of your criminal defense attorney and what activities will take place during the course of your representation.

    Any preliminary matters will be discussed, and then I will personally accompany you to court on your court date. If it is your first court date, you may meet me at my office prior to going to court that morning. In other cases, you will meet me in the assigned courtroom. At all times, the responsibility for your case will be mine.

  • What type of Criminal Lawyer am I looking for to help me with my criminal case?

    I have always suggested that you research criminal lawyers carefully prior to hiring. It is substantially difficult to clean up another lawyer’s mess, after he or she has already had conversations with prosecutors on your case. So its best to hire right the first time.You should hire a criminal attorney who has extensive experience both in the type of case with which you are charged and in the court you have been assigned.  You want a lawyer that knows the proclivities of your Judge, and if possible, the prosecutors who will be making decisions in your case. Bottom line: Hire the most experienced possible.

    I would strongly suggest you hire a criminal lawyer who is Board Certified in Criminal Law. This means he or she has gone through a rigorous vetting process. You might also strongly consider an attorney who has some experience as a prosecutor. It is amazing how helpful this is during negotiations.

    Some criminal defense attorneys will claim to limit their practice to certain types of criminal cases. For instance, some lawyers advertise their services as DWI specialists. Some of these lawyers are quite good at representing individuals in one type of case.  Some others have simply decided on a business model that works best for them, and they are no better(and sometimes worse) than the lawyer who has an expansive practice.

    Ask the criminal defense attorney you are interviewing about the number of jury trials he has litigated. The greater his reputation at fighting, the better chance you have of resolving your case in the way you want. Don’t let him weasel out of an answer by giving you some general answer like, “I have a whole file cabinet filled with them!” One of the benefits of hiring a Board Certified Specialist is that he is required to have tried a certain number of cases. The more experience he has in front of a jury, the better.

    Make sure you meet your criminal lawyer personally, and determine whether he has the type of personality you can work with for an extended period of time. Many cases take several months to resolve. Finally, verify that the lawyer you are interviewing is the same lawyer who will defend you in court. Some law firms sell an experienced lawyer to you, and saddle you with an inexperienced associate.

    Good Luck!

  • A friend told me that Ed Chernoff is the best criminal lawyer in Houston. What sets him apart?

    I have tried numerous famous criminal trials, and although I appreciate the trust these clients put in me, I don’t believe that this alone demonstrates my value as a criminal defense attorney. I have spent 25 years defending those accused of crimes, and in that time I have been re-certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization four times. I have tried over 100 jury trials, and have achieved favorable results in nearly all of them. I speak at seminars and teach other lawyers how to handle their criminal cases. However, I don’t consider any of these things to be the main factor in making me the best at what I do.

    It is the philosophy of my practice that puts me ahead of the pack. Dedication to results is what sets me apart from most other criminal defense attorneys. I don’t consider any person unredeemable, nor any case unwinnable. I am honest with my clients about their options, but I don’t push any particular resolution onto my client. It is his case, and his life. However, I do whatever is necessary to make sure that the best possible outcome is provided to my client.

Let me Know About your Case!