During your phone or in-person consultation with a Fort Worth criminal lawyer, it is essential to find out their experience. The Fulgham Law Firm is focused exclusively on criminal defense in Texas. Our team of criminal attorneys have a combined experience of nearly 100 years and most of our criminal lawyers worked at the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office anywhere from 5 – 12 years. We know what the prosecutors are thinking and what their next move will be on your case.
Mr. Fulgham’s background as a former prosecutor and trial attorney provides him the necessary experience and the knowledge to handle your criminal case. As your criminal defense attorney, Brandon Fulgham will thoroughly evaluate your case and explain the legal process you will be facing. If you have been charged with a crime, you need a Fort Worth criminal attorney who is prepared and will take the time to explain in detail all the potential outcomes of your case.
Mr. Fulgham will then advise you on the best course of action, begin building your defense, and strive to weaken the prosecutor’s arguments to get your charges dismissed or at least reduced. Mr. Fulgham is compassionate to your situation and is never unprepared; he will provide you with the most significant level of information possible to help reduce the anxiety you are feeling about your future. The Fulgham Law Firm P.C. has earned an outstanding reputation through hard work and experience and can provide everything your criminal defense requires.
What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?
A criminal defense lawyer defends clients who are charged with felonies or misdemeanors in various jurisdictions.
An individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The lawyer’s job is to make sure that the prosecution (the District Attorney’s office) fails to meet this high burden of proof, either because the DA presented insufficient evidence or because the person arrested cannot be positively identified as the person who committed the crime.
In Texas, The rules for what evidence can be introduced at trial are known as “Texas rules of evidence.” It is up to the criminal lawyer to ensure that only admissible evidence is put before the jury or judge at trial.
The lawyer must also consider procedural law: the set of rules that govern what steps need to be taken to get a case tried and completed. Procedural law varies from one jurisdiction to another but usually requires that certain documents be filed within specific periods before a case will proceed.
Also, since jurors and judges can sometimes misunderstand the laws, criminal lawyers must explain technical terms and procedures so that the jury fully understands what they are deciding when they render their verdicts.
What Is the Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
In all criminal defense cases, the client and the criminal defense attorney should work together to negate each of the elements of the criminal offense. Remember, you do not have to prove anything. The burden of proving each and every element of the criminal case always rests upon the prosecution. However, in some criminal defense cases, it may be necessary to take proactive actions against the prosecution to negate these elements or otherwise limit damage in case of conviction.
Negating Elements of the Offense
Every crime has three elements: the actus rea (the guilty act), the mens rea (the guilty mind), and causation (an essential connection between the action and resulting harm). A defense attorney’s primary goal should always be to get his client’s criminal case dismissed by negating one or more of these elements. If this is not possible, then he can try to minimize punishment through various legal strategies. The following are examples of techniques for negating each element of an offense:
Actus Rea (The “Guilty Act”)
Actus rea is the guilty act, and, in most cases, it is the only element that requires conscious intent. When a person performs an action that breaks the law, they have committed the actus rea for that offense (speeding when going 65 in a 55 mile per hour zone).
In some instances, however, a defendant may not have intended to commit the actus rea. For example, a person who was sleepwalking when he committed the crime may be found not guilty due to insanity. Therefore, a criminal defense lawyer must focus on the circumstances of each case to build a defense against your charges.
Mens Rea (The “Guilty Mind”)
Mens rea is the guilty mind or mental state required for committing an offense. Mens rea includes two types of intent: “specific” intent and “general” intent. Specific intent requires that the defendant intend to achieve particular results, such as injure someone with premeditation (having planned). In contrast, general intent only requires that defendant meant to do what he did (such as driving carelessly when drunk).
Causation can be difficult to prove in many cases. There must be a causal connection between the defendant’s actions and the resulting crime for a criminal conviction to stand.
For example, in a homicide case, the prosecuting attorney must prove that one person’s reckless or negligent action resulted in another person’s death. Sometimes this connection is obvious, such as when a person intentionally runs someone over with his car. But many times, there are several intervening acts by third parties that break the chain of causation. Here are some examples of situations where causation might be broken:
A criminal defense attorney should always try to negate all three elements of the offense to get their client’s case dismissed. However, even if they can’t do so, they may minimize punishment through legal strategies.
Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Role in Mistrials and Judicial Misconduct
Mistrials happen when one side does something prejudicial or illegal during the trial, making it unfair for the jury to declare a verdict.
For example, mistrial occurs when a jury mentions facts not brought up during the trial, whenever there’s misconduct by a witness or attorney for either side, or due to an error of law by the judge. If this occurs after a jury has been sworn in to hear the case, then jurors cannot be replaced and must deliberate with each other without a judge present.
The criminal defense can ask for a mistrial at any time before a unanimous verdict is reached. If the judge agrees, then the case is over, and either side can request a new trial if they desire. If the defense does not ask for a mistrial and jurors have been discharged, there is no way to undo the damage.
Sometimes it’s possible to have a judge declare a mistrial even after a unanimous verdict has been reached, but only under minimal circumstances such as “manifest necessity.”
A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Role During Times of Compromised Juries
In criminal cases with considerable publicity or where jurors will be required to deliberate outside of their usual environment (such as at night), they may sometimes be sequestered overnight so they do not discuss the case. This helps ensure that there is no outside influence on their decision-making process. If jurors are allowed to go home during deliberations, it can be difficult to avoid press coverage of the case.
A criminal defense attorney may try to find something not presented in court (such as evidence or facts) that would make it unfair or impossible for jurors to form a verdict based on the evidence presented.
For example, if the prosecutor failed to provide evidence of a witness that provided exculpatory evidence possibly clearing your name, your criminal defense attorney can use this as the basis for a criminal appeal.
Additionally, a criminal attorney may also determine that the judge improperly allowed inadmissible evidence to be considered by the judge that would have made it impossible for the jury to render a fair verdict.
For example, the defendant might have been convicted of a different crime not part of the current trial.
This is called an extraneous offense. This can be a basis for an appeal if the prosecuting attorney pushed to have the extraneous offense presented to the jury during the trial. If jurors receive information about a case from sources other than the court proceedings, they may not judge the defendant fairly or impartially.
Sometimes, this information comes from the media or internet coverage. Some of this information can be entirely accurate, and some of it may not be. Criminal defense lawyers look for these times and prevent trials from continuing if their clients cannot receive a fair trial.
Criminal Defense Attorneys Prevent Clients from Being Charged with Retroactive Laws
Retroactive laws occur when a regulation changes after someone has already committed an act that was not punishable at the commission. This can be seen as unfair to defendants who have already been convicted or are serving prison sentences.
Criminal defense attorneys must prevent their clients from receiving charges from retroactive laws. People object to retroactive laws because it’s unfair to punish someone for something that does not break any existing rules when they did it. The constitution forbids anyone from being punished twice for one crime. Therefore, criminal defense attorneys must avoid their clients’ receiving charges from retroactive laws.
The Importance of Your Criminal Defense Attorney’s Positive Reputation
Choosing a criminal defense attorney to defend you against criminal charges can be nerve-wracking. After all, your freedom can be adversely affected, and you could face a litany of other serious consequences for years to come—or even throughout a lifetime. Moreover, a criminal conviction can leave you unable to obtain a job, take out a student loan, possess a firearm, get a professional license, work with children, or hold public office—and this is only the beginning of the long-term consequences.
Criminal Defense Law firms which have positive reputations have earned those reputations over time. They have defended hundreds or thousands of clients just like you. Those clients—just like you—likely called a law firm when they were in trouble. They were also probably scared, anxious, and facing an uncertain future. The law firms with positive reputations not only have the best legal minds, but they also have the resources necessary to engage the services of experts and specialists to help defend you against the criminal charges you are facing. Mr. Fulgham and his team of experience and aggressive criminal defense lawyers have this positive reputation.
Brandon Fulgham is a former Tarrant County and Collin County Prosecutor. He held the following positions: felony prosecutor, grand jury prosecutor, misdemeanor prosecutor, and misdemeanor court chief prosecutor (Collin County). While employed at the Tarrant County and Collin County District Attorney’s office, Mr. Fulgham tried over 75 jury trials in both district and county courts. Mr. Fulgham has also tried numerous cases to a judge and presented hundreds of cases to the grand jury. At The Fulgham Law Firm P.C., you will find a criminal lawyer who is aggressive and experienced in handling criminal cases.
What to Do Once You’ve Been Arrested
If you’ve been arrested for a criminal offense—or suspect that you will be charged—perhaps one of the most important things you can remember is that talking to the police is rarely in your best interests.
Of course, you will provide the basic information such as your name and address, but before you answer any further questions, it is highly advised that you ask to speak with an attorney first. Meaning you invoke your right to remain silent and to obtain legal counsel.
Specifically, the Miranda Warnings exist to protect you and your rights, so stay calm and politely decline to answer any further questions until you have had a chance to consult with your attorney. Police officers and prosecutors are trained to gather evidence that, as you are already aware, will later be used against you. In many cases, rules may be bent or broken in this quest to gain a statement or “break the case.” You may make an entirely innocent comment which is then taken out of context and used to convict you.
Stages of a Criminal Prosecution (Understanding the process)
An investigation is generally mounted when the police have sufficient reason to believe you have committed a criminal offense. Facts are assessed, witness interviews are conducted, and evidence is collected against you. A warrant will be issued for your arrest, and you will see a judge and enter a plea. The judge will set a bond, and the amount will depend on the severity of the charges and the facts of the case.
When it is time for your preliminary hearing, the prosecutor will claim sufficient evidence against you to proceed to trial. Your case may have a few pre-trial settings to make sure all of the evidence is obtained. At this point, should the probable cause be established, we will confer with you to determine whether a plea bargain is in your best interests or if you should fight the charges before a jury. It is your decision whether you enter into a plea bargain, but we will make sure you fully understand the alternatives and the consequences of the plea.
Mr. Fulgham offers legal representation in many areas of criminal defense including, but not limited to:
- Assault Offenses
- Fraud Crimes
- Drug Crimes
- Juvenile Crimes
- Driving While Intoxicated
- Evading Arrest
- Probation Violations
- Property Crimes
- Fail to Identify
- Theft Crimes
- Family Violence
- Weapon Crimes
Choosing an Attorney Who Truly Cares About You & Your Future
During your phone or in-person consultation with a Fort Worth criminal lawyer, it is essential to find out their experience. Mr. Fulgham’s background as a former prosecutor and trial attorney provides him the necessary experience and the knowledge to handle your criminal case. As your criminal defense attorney, Brandon Fulgham and his team of criminal defense attorneys will thoroughly evaluate your case and explain the legal process you will be facing. If you have been charged with a crime, you need a Fort Worth criminal attorney who is prepared and will take the time to explain in detail all the potential outcomes of your case.
Mr. Fulgham will then advise you on the best course of action, begin building your defense, and strive to weaken the prosecutor’s arguments to get your charges dismissed or at least reduced. Mr. Fulgham is compassionate to your situation and is never unprepared; he will provide you with the most excellent level of information possible to help reduce your anxiety about your future. The Fulgham Law Firm P.C. has earned an outstanding reputation through hard work and experience and can provide everything your criminal defense requires.
Call the Fulgham Law Firm P.C. today to Learn More about Your Legal Options.
Contact our office at 817-886-3280 today for a free, no-strings-attached, confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in the Fort Worth area. Our criminal defense attorneys will help you fight for your rights and assist you in making informed decisions about your case. Call us today to learn more!
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