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Other Crimes | Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer| Ed Chernoff

Are You Charged with Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly conduct covers a wide range of offensive conduct. The police usually arrive after some disturbance and may not have a good handle on the events that transpired prior to them showing on the scene. Often drinking is involved, which only confuses the situation further.   

The criminal charge of disorderly conduct is widely used by police – and may lead to an unfair arrest. Disorderly conduct has a reputation as a “catch-all” charge. Under Texas law, police can arrest someone for this offense for a variety of reasons.

Disorderly conduct charges include:

  • Abusing or threatening a person in public place in an obviously offensive manner
  • Abusive or indecent language or offensive gesture in a public place tending to incite an immediate breach of the peace
  • Making unreasonable noise in a public place or near a private dwelling he has no right to occupy
  • Fighting with another in a public place
  • Discharging a firearm in a public place or across a road
  • Urinating in a public place
  • Looking into private dwellings, guest rooms, public restrooms or shower stalls designed to afford privacy for a lewd or unlawful purpose.

What Are the Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in Texas?

The charge is usually a Class C misdemeanor for which the penalty is a fine of up to $500. Where the charge involves discharging a firearm, it is a Class B misdemeanor with a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail. Though the penalties themselves are not heavy, a conviction does go on a person’s criminal record and can affect future school, employment, and housing applications.

Disorderly Conduct Arising from a Domestic Violence Call

In the unfortunate incident of a domestic dispute, many times heated emotions and passionate quarrels can escalate out of control. One of the possible repercussions of such an incident is police involvement. This comes about when one party contacts the police, or a concerned neighbor makes a 911 call. The police are very likely to make an arrest if they are called to investigate a domestic violence incident, and a common charge is disorderly conduct. If you have landed in jail on a disorderly conduct charge, effective legal counsel is readily available to you from a Houston criminal lawyer.

Protecting Your Constitutional Rights

You are entitled to many cherished and important constitutional rights, and if you are facing disorderly conduct charges, we at Chernoff Law stand ready to vigorously protect them. Our experienced and capable team includes attorneys who are board-certified by the state of Texas in criminal law and can use their legal know-how and access to resources to tenaciously defend our clients against criminal charges.

We may contact the prosecutor and explain the matter from the client’s perspective and urge that the charges be dropped. At trial we vigorously present our defenses. Any abusive conduct could be based on significant provocation. We have often defended clients from criminal charges and have gained many acquittals and dismissals.

Resisting Arrest

In some cases, a defendant can be criminally charged with resisting arrest even if all they did was struggle with a police officer who was attempting to put him in handcuffs. Any amount of force used while an arrest was being attempted could be viewed as resisting arrest by a law enforcement officer and result in a charge.  Unfortunately, this is an extremely subjective type of criminal charge and can often fall into areas of gray. At the firm we have observed that individuals injured or tazed by police officers are often charged with resisting arrest or Aggravated Assault of a Police Officer. We often wonder which event occurred first.

What Are the Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Texas?

Should an individual be criminally charged with resisting arrest, they will be facing a Class A misdemeanor – which carries with it fines up to $4,000, as well as a jail sentence for up to a year. If a deadly weapon was used, the offense could be upgraded to a third degree felony, carrying with it a prison sentence from two to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000. For this reason, if you are facing charges for resisting arrest, you must find an experienced Houston criminal attorney to help protect your legal rights.

How Can a Lawyer Defend You If Charged with Resisting Arrest?

At Chernoff Law, we represent clients charged with resisting arrest in Houston, Harris County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, Montgomery County, and Brazoria County. Our founder Ed Chernoff is a former chief prosecutor and has extensive experience in the courts and in all the processes and procedures of the criminal justice system. Resisting Arrest is a serious charge and we are relentless in our client’s defense.

At trial, we vigorously present our defenses; in some cases, we will argue that the police used excessive force and in others, that the defendant did not recognize them as police. In every case, we will strive to challenge inadequacies in the state’s proof and expose inaccuracies and/or lies in the testimony of state witnesses. We have helped many clients obtain dismissals and acquittals in court.

Trespassing Charges

The crime of Trespass may be charged if an individual enters a property when he is not permitted or has been noticed that he is prohibited from entering. If this individual enters a property with the intent to commit a theft, assault or felony, then the felony of Burglary can be charged. Sometimes a person may be charged with a Burglary when he had no intent to steal, but entered a building to sleep or because of a mistaken belief that he was permitted. Law enforcement may impute bad intent in such a case. In all these cases, it is vital to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Have you been arrested for trespassing after violating a court order?

If you have been arrested on domestic violence charges, you might have been issued a Magistrates Emergency Order of Protection (MOEP). A protective order often prohibits a person from entering the residence of an alleged abuse victim. This can easily lead to a trespassing charge in addition to a charge for Violation of Protective Order. For instance, if you visit the home or place of work of a domestic violence victim in defiance of a court order – even your own home – you can be arrested. Even in the absence of a protective order, criminal trespass charges could be levied in certain circumstances depending on the type of notice given to you.

If you have been arrested for trespassing, a Houston criminal lawyer can skillfully guide you through the legal process, protect your rights and defend you against this serious criminal charge.

What are the Penalties for Trespassing in Texas?

Trespass of a building is prosecuted as a Class B misdemeanor and can lead to 6 months in jail, a $2000 fine, or probation. Trespass of a habitation can result in greater punishment. It is a serious criminal charge and demands immediate defense action from a skilled lawyer.

What to Do After an Arrest – Understanding Your Options

In situations of high-flying emotions and tension, it is always best to take a step back and consider your legal rights and best interests. If you are charged with criminal trespassing, the team at Chernoff Law can act immediately in your defense, fighting charges and seeking a dismissal. We understand how important the outcome of the case is to you and your future reputation and freedom, and we want to ensure that your rights are not violated and that your interests are protected when accused of trespassing.

Gun Crimes – Carrying a Weapon

Committing an offense with the use of a deadly weapon will often result in an upgrade of the charge to an Aggravated Offense. In fact, an affirmative finding of a deadly weapon will seriously impact an individual’s ability to obtain parole or probation.

These are examples of different firearms charges in Texas:

  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
  • Possession of a Concealed Handgun without a CHL
  • Carrying a Firearm on School Property
  • Arms Trafficking, or Running Guns
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Unlawful Sale of a Firearm (to a minor or a convicted felon)

If you were charged with unlawful possession of a firearm or another crime involving a gun, rifle, or assault rifle in Houston, Texas, you need an experienced defense attorney. You need a gun crime lawyer who can help you beat the felony or federal firearm charges after being wrongly accused; you need defense attorney Ed Chernoff on your side.

Federal Gun Crimes

State and Federal lawmakers have enacted serious penalties for federal firearm offenses, including importation, dealing arms, and other crimes that involve importing and transporting illegal firearms.

When a gun is used in the commission of a federal crime, the penalties are increased and if the accused is convicted, they could face severe repercussions such as a lengthy prison sentence.

Wrongly Accused of a Gun Crime in Texas? Call Attorney Ed Chernoff

There are frequently good defenses to firearm offenses, including possession of a firearm or gun.  If the arrest or charges are proven unlawful because you were wrongly accused, you may see a reduction of the charge to a lesser crime or the charges could be dismissed. Simply having a gun in your vicinity, with the capability of possession, does not make it a valid Carrying a Weapon violation.

Our defense attorney Ed Chernoff can identify any possible violations of your Constitutional rights. Search and seizure is an important factor that must be evaluated at once. In cases where your rights were violated by overzealous law enforcement, it is likely that the evidence against you will be inadmissible. If there is no evidence, there is no conviction.

Our firm is proud of our record of success defending all types of criminal charges including those involving firearms and guns. Our defense lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of our clients and will fully evaluate your situation to advise you of the options for defending your case, including seeking a dismissal or reduced charges.

Harassment, Stalking and Terroristic Threat

What Is Harassment?

Many people confuse harassment with stalking. Harassment, under Texas Law, is limited to electronic communications that harass, annoy, abuse, torment or embarrass. Obviously, this is a vague definition. What one person might consider to be a normal telephone call, the recipient may consider annoying. Far and away, the most harassment charges result from repeated phone calls, texts, or hang-ups over a brief period of time.

Most harassment claims result from disagreements between friends or former lovers. As a result, harassment charges are sometimes handled by special domestic violence prosecutors.

Are Threat and Intimidation a Crime?

Threatening or intimidating another person may result in a charge of terroristic threat or telephone harassment, offenses prosecuted as violent crimes.

Often, an action can trigger both a filing for Terroristic Threat and Harassment. The main difference between the two charges is the way the threat is communicated –  harassment involves telephone or electronic communications.

What Is Stalking?

Stalking is a type of harassment crime.  A charge of stalking may be levied when someone has threatened another person and then follows them around or continues to communicate to that person in a threatening fashion. Because the description is rather vague, a charge of stalking can be made when there may not be any real threat or the actions were misinterpreted.

What Are the Penalties for Harassment, Stalking and Terroristic Threat in Texas?

Harassment, whether by telephone or other electronic medium, is considered a serious crime by prosecutors. A first time offense will be charged as a misdemeanor but if a protective order or magistrate’s restraining order is in place, other crimes could be charged. If convicted, the accused will face penalties that can include fines, jail time and a permanent criminal record.

Normally a threat that reasonably places another in fear of imminent bodily injury is charged as a Class B misdemeanor. No actual contact need be proven. When such threats or intimidation are against a family member, the charge could involve the possibility of an affirmative finding of family violence. If convicted, such assaultive charges can have lifelong consequences.

A harassment charge can be charged as stalking if the prosecution believes that bodily injury or death has been repeatedly threatened. This type of charge carries with it a felony designation.

Why do you need a lawyer of charged with harassment, stalking or terroristic threat?

Don’t wait to get legal representation. Call our offices today and learn how we can protect and defend your rights and freedom.

Our attorneys have years of experience defending those who have been accused of domestic violence and harassment charges.

Ed Chernoff has years of experience as a former prosecutor. He has tried many of these cases and understands the workings of the criminal justice system and prosecutorial actions that are likely to take place in your case. Let him help you today!

See the latest Blog Entry at A Little More About Harassment.

Hit and Run

Hit and run is a slang term for Failure to Give Information or Failure to Stop and Render Aid. Under the Texas Transportation Code, this could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.  Generally, people understand that if a person runs from the scene of an accident, a crime has been committed. However, whether it is a felony or misdemeanor depends on whether anyone was injured in the accident.  Even if the accident was not your fault, a hit and run is illegal. There is a legal responsibility to stop and provide your contact information or render help if needed. If injuries or death resulted from the accident, a felony charge could result.

Facing Hit & Run Charges in Houston?

Our firm understands that there may be a valid reason for someone not stopping at the scene of an accident. For example, the driver may be unaware that there was a collision or is concerned about his own safety. Talking to an investigator without the advice of an experienced defense attorney is never advised and could create problems in defending your case. The purpose of a law enforcement investigation is to find evidence of guilt and provide it to a prosecutor. Our founding attorney served as a former prosecutor and fully understands how the prosecution builds its case. After a thorough investigation of the circumstances of your accident, our firm will work with you to design a strong criminal defense strategy.

Protecting your legal rights and your criminal record is our highest priority. Call Chernoff Law for a free consultation with a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer.

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