Homicide and Other Violent Crimes

If you have been charged with Murder, Aggravated Assault, Assault of a Peace Officer, or another assaultive offense, then you already understand there are a lot of moving parts to your case. Many more parts than a typical criminal offense, and it's important that you hire a law firm that understands the complexities of those parts.

For starters, you aren't just a criminal case. You are probably a news story. Modern society has a morbid fascination with murder and violence. So chances are that your booking photo has already been plastered all over television and the internet. Not only is this embarrassing, but people often feel as if the media has already tried, convicted and sentenced them in the court of public opinion before they even bond out of jail. Sutton, Milam & Fanning has a proven track record of handling cases that are drenched in media attention. We understand that, in addition to your freedom and your criminal history, you are also looking to us to protect your representation. Thus, while most local attorneys issue a standard "no comment" response to every interview request as a matter of course, we are unafraid to answer a reporter's phone call if, through deliberate analysis, we determine that doing so can be helpful to you and your case.

Another of the moving parts is the complaining witness. Notice that we don't use the term "victim." Unless you tell us otherwise, we presume you innocent. And so if you are innocent, then you have no victim, only a witness who is accusing you. However, regardless of your eventual plea, the complaining witness is an important piece of the pie. We will obviously discuss this further in our personal meeting, but the main thing you need to know right now is to stay away from them. Do not contact them in person, via phone, text, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Imagine how easy it would be for a prosecutor to point to interactions, whether virtual or real, between you and the complaining witness and paint them as attempts to convince the person not to testify against you. Furthermore, "Tampering with a Witness" and "Retaliation" are both additional charges that could quickly and easily be brought against you by prosecutors. So don't take a chance. Steer clear of complaining witnesses. We, as your attorneys, will reach out to the complaining witness if it needs to be done in your case.

Aggravated Offenses

In Texas, some assaultive offenses carry special consequences because of the severity of the allegation or the existence of some additional aggravating factor in the charge. These kinds of charges are often referred to as "aggravated" or "3g" offenses, a reference to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42.12, Section 3g. These charges cause us special concern not just because of the increased punishment ranges they carry, but also because of two other collateral consequences: (1) loss of the possibility of judge-ordered probation; and (2) increased incarceration prior to parole eligibility.

If you are convicted of a "3g offense," it is not possible under the law for the Government to offer or for the judge to order that you be given probation. Consequently, the only possible "plea deals" that can be arranged in such cases are for prison sentences. Obviously, this raises the stakes in these aggravated cases tremendously.

Further, anyone who given a prison sentence after being convicted of a "3g offense" must serve half of the stated sentence before they become eligible to be released on parole with a cap of 30 years. In a typical felony case, a first parole eligibility hearing can happen as soon as one-eighth of the sentence has been served. This means that a 20-year sentence of a non-3g offense could mean parole in less than 3 years while the same sentence on the 3g offense would render a person ineligible for parole until 10 years had been served.

These facts of course increase the likelihood that a trial would be necessary to avoid the eventuality of prison time. Be sure that as you search for an attorney to represent you on these kinds of serious charges that you hire a firm with experience in the trial of these serious cases.

The following crimes are consider aggravated under Texas law:

  1. Murder;
  2. Capital Murder;
  3. Indecency with a Child;
  4. Aggravated Kidnapping;
  5. Aggravated Sexual Assault;
  6. Aggravated Robbery;
  7. Drug Offenses in a drug-free zone with a prior drug-free zone conviction;
  8. Drug Offenses that involve use of children;
  9. Sexual Assault;
  10. Injury to a Child, if charged as a first-degree felony;
  11. Sexual Performance by a Child;
  12. Criminal Solicitation, if of a first-degree family;
  13. Compelling Prostitution;
  14. Human Trafficking;
  15. Burglary of a Habitation, if with intent to commit felony assaultive offense; and
  16. Any felony offense in which a deadly weapon was used or exhibited.

Call Our Trial Lawyers For Your Free Consultation Today

Call Sutton Milam & Fanning at 254-633-3048 or email us today to set up a meeting with one of our criminal defense attorneys.