Harris County DWI Lawyer

An arrest in Harris County, Texas, can be a scary experience, especially if it is your first time. You have no doubt heard all the claims and investigations into police brutality and misconduct. Worse yet are the horrors to be experienced in the jail and prison system. From the Texas Observer reporting on police brutality in Houston, which is home to the 5th largest police department in the United States, to the Atlantic's investigation into Harris County jail system, to abc13 Eyewitness News reporting on the treatment of a DWI suspect within the care of Houston police officers, Harris County “law enforcement” agents have a reputation, and it is not one reminiscent of a law enforcement agency designed to serve and protect the community. Police provoke, intimidate, manipulate, and abuse their power just as much as they fail to follow a standard and required protocol, like upholding your constitutional rights.

This police misconduct, however, does not stop in Houston but is experienced throughout Harris County. From Pasadena to Deer Park to Seabrook to Tomball, police trained to enforce the law are often accused of breaking the law themselves. Some police officers will go beyond what one would consider “normal” police behavior to invoke cooperation from a suspect who is under suspicion of a crime. In fact, there is a petition on thepetitionsite.com to demand a full FBI investigation into the Baytown Police Department for continued police misconduct. This abuse is not reserved only for lower-income communities, but it happens to persons from middle and higher income communities, too.

Though the fear that police instill in persons whom they arrest is real and warranted, that's the least of your worries. The prosecution will first try to nail you with a plea deal that still results in an unwanted criminal record. Absent a plea deal, you may have to face a court system already designed to work against you when you go to trial. And the latter is especially true in Harris County where most criminal district court judges came directly from the prosecutor's office, and some like District Judge Jan Krocker, failed to leave their bias at the prosecutor's door.

There are 4.5 million people living in Harris County, half of which reside in Houston. Most of you are hard-working, law-abiding citizens who find yourself in an unfortunate situation. You don't need to be badgered by the police and you don't need to be judged by a biased judge. What you do need is: legal representation by an experienced DWI and criminal defense lawyer based in Houston, but who represents the wider community, and who will tirelessly advocate on your behalf.

Doug Murphy, a veteran trial lawyer for DWI and criminal offenses, will listen to you, investigate the case, develop a strong defense, and fight for your innocence or to keep you from jail. He's heard every story imaginable. He does not judge you. He's heard stories about the police. He knows firsthand what they are capable of. Doug Murphy is here to listen to your story, too, and to advocate aggressively on your behalf.

How to Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer Right for You

Everyone is unique, and as such, their needs and wants will vary. To find the right DWI and criminal defense attorney right for you, you need to first decide what you want from your representation.

Identify Your Purpose to Fight (or Not) a Criminal Charge

  • Do you want to fight the charge?
  • Do you want to prevent having a permanent criminal record?
  • Do you want to prevent adding an additional conviction to an existing criminal record?
  • Do you care about your status in the community?
  • Do you care about your family and how a conviction may impact them?
  • Do you care about your career or educational aspirations?
  • Do you have security clearance or a professional license, such as a pilotmedical, or nursing license, that could be detrimentally affected by a conviction?
  • Do you have the funds or adequate resources to retain an experienced attorney?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you should look for a DWI or criminal defense attorney who possesses specific qualities.

Identify Qualities in an Experienced Lawyer

  • Extensive trial experience that proves the attorney is not inclined to take any plea deal rather than put the effort into arguing your case before a judge and jury.
  • Successful trial experience that proves the attorney has the ability to follow through successfully.
  • Testimonials that attest to the lawyer's capabilities.
  • Board certification that confirms the attorney's experience, knowledge, and capabilities with respect to certain areas of the law.
  • Resources to commit to a thorough investigation and a comprehensive legal defense anticipating trial.     

Doug Murphy, a veteran trial attorney, possesses all these qualities and more. His experience and winning track record provide valuable insight into each case he takes. He is one of only two Texas lawyers simultaneously Board Certified in DWI defense by the National College for DUI Defense (the only accredited DWI certification by the American Bar Association), and is also Board Certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Doug Murphy's experience is vast and his successful outcomes are many. This explains why he has been invited to teach other lawyers successful trial strategies throughout the United States at continuing legal education seminars.

Nationally acclaimed, well-known and respected in DWI Defense and Criminal Defense, Doug Murphy travels throughout Texas and beyond to teach other criminal defense lawyers the skills necessary to fully represent the needs and rights of their clients, too. He is committed to you and is dedicated to a robust and smart legal defense. He knows police make mistakes, wilful or not. He understands their practices. He knows that the prosecution does not always have justice in mind. He understands their tactics. He uses this knowledge to develop a legal defense specific to your case, one that is personal and one with which a jury can identify and sympathize.

Doug Murphy will hold the jury accountable to the standard of presumption of innocence. While the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt you are guilty, Doug Murphy works to prove the State's case does not fulfill the elements of the alleged crime(s) against you.

Criminal Cases Represented by Doug Murphy Law Firm in Harris County

Doug Murphy's law practice is specific to certain areas of law. More than half of his practice focuses on DWI offenses, and the other half of his practice is dedicated to criminal offenses.

DWI Offenses

Criminal Offenses

The Court System of Harris County

The Harris County court system is extensive, which is to be expected given the population of Harris County and that it is home to the fourth largest city in the country: Houston. The following list of courts are ones that address misdemeanors, felonies, and substance abuse.

Harris County Criminal Courts at Law

Harris County criminal courts at law have exclusive jurisdiction over Class B and Class A misdemeanors that carry potential sentences of up to one year in the county jail and a fine that does not exceed $500. If you are arrested in Harris County for a misdemeanor, once you have been booked and arraigned, you will be released after bail has been posted. Class A and Class B misdemeanor bail can start at $500 and increase to $5,000, depending on the risk and circumstances.

There are 16 criminal courts at law in Harris County, each of which has a separate Judge assigned to it:

All County Criminal Courts at Law in Harris County are currently located in the Harris County Family Law Center at 1115 Congress, Houston, Texas 77002 due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

S.O.B.E.R. DWI Courts

Five Harris County Criminal Courts address substance abuse matters specifically, and are known as S.O.B.E.R. DWI courts: Courts 1, 3, 11, 12, and 13. SOBER Courts are judicially monitored treatment programs designed to intervene and rehabilitate high-risk DWI offenders arrested in Harris County. The program is voluntary and is offered as a sentencing alternative to incarceration. It aims to change the DWI offender's behavior related to substance abuse and to decrease DWI recidivism. SOBER courts are not always in the best interest of an accused.

Qualifications for DWI Court Participation

If you are convicted of a DWI, the County Court at Law can refer your case to the program if any of the following eligibility criteria are met:

  • Your DWI conviction is your 2nd DWI conviction in Harris County; or
  • You were on supervision for a misdemeanor DWI, but violated the conditions of the supervision by drinking and/or driving; or
  • The assessment process identified you as a high risk; and
  • You lived in Harris County at the time of the assessment; and
  • You are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident or have an ICE-documented lawful presence in the United States.
Exclusions for DWI Court Participation

You cannot participate in a SOBER Court program if you have a prior conviction, a deferred adjudication, or a pending charge for any of the following:

  • A violent crime;
  • A case involving the possession, use or exhibition of a firearm;
  • Any sex offense; and/or
  • Mental health symptoms that can interfere with successful completion of the program.

Harris County District Courts

If you have been charged with a felony in Harris County that is punishable by imprisonment in state jail, your case will be heard at one of Harris County's many district courts. District courts have jurisdiction over felony cases. When you are arrested, the process is slightly different depending on the case and the police agency that makes the arrest. You will be booked, at which time your personal data and fingerprints are taken, and then you will be provided an arraignment. At that time, you will be informed of the bail amount, which for felonies starts at $1,000 and -- depending on the circumstances and risks -- can exceed $50,000. Sometimes a person can be released by the Court on his or her personal recognizance, but this is less likely.

Given the population of Harris County, there are 22 District Courts, all but two Criminal District Courts are currently located in the Harris Civil Courthouse due to flooding of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center in Hurricane Harvey:

Harris County Civil Courthouse
201 Caroline
Houston, Texas 77002.

Court #

Judge
Court Phone No.

Location

Docket Days/Times

174th

Judge Hazel B. Jones
(832) 927-4200

Civ 6th floor/Prob. 2

9:00 am MWThF

176th

Judge Nikita V. Harmon
(832) 927-4225

Civ 9th floor/11th

8:30 am Mon-Fri

177th

Judge Robert Johnson
(832) 92704250

Civ 16th floor/246th

1:00 pm Mon - Thurs
9:30 am Fri

178th

Judge Kelli Johnson
(832) 927-4275

Civ 9th floor/61st

8:30 am Tues, Thurs

179th

Judge Randy Roll
(832) 927-4100

Civ 11th floor/151st

Varies week to week
Alternates 1:00 pm M-F one week
& 9:00 am M-F next following week

180th

Judge Catherine Evans
(832) 927-4125

Civ 9th floor/61st

9:00 am Mon-Wed

182nd

Judge Jeannine Barr
(832) 927-4150

JJC 1st floor/280th

9:00 am Mon-Fri

183rd

Judge Vanessa Velasquez
(832) 927-4175

Civ 10th floor/113th

8:30 am Mon-Fri

184th

Judge Jan Krocker
(832) 927-3900

10th floor/113th

9:00 am Tues, Fri

185th

Judge Susan Brown
(832) 927-3925

12th floor/165th

9:00 am Monday
(if Monday is a holiday, then Tuesday)

208th

Judge Denise Collins
(832) 927-3950

Civ 10th floor/125th

9:00 am Mon-Fri

209th

Judge Michael McSpadden
(832) 927-3975

Civ 10th floor/125th

9:00 am Mon-Fri

228th

Judge Marc Carter
(832) 927-3807

Civ 11th floor/152nd

8:30 am Mon-Fri

230th

Judge Brad Hart
(832) 927-3825

Civ 12th floor/190th

9:00 am Mon-Fri

232nd

Judge Kristin M. Guiney
(832) 927-3850

Civ 9th floor/11th

9:00 am Mon-Fri

248th

Judge Katherine Cabaniss
(832) 927-3875

Civ 12th floor/165th

9:00 am Mon-Fri

262nd

Judge Denise Bradley
(832) 927-3700

varies

varies

263rd

Judge Jim Wallace
(832) 927-3725

Civ 11th floor/152nd

9:00 am Mon-Fri

337th

Judge Herb Ritchie
(832) 927-3750

Civ 11th floor/151st

Varies week to week
Alternates 1:00 pm M-F one week
& 9:00 am M-F next following week

338th

Judge Ramona Franklin
(832) 927-3775

Civ 7th floor/Prob 4

9:30 am Mon-Fri

339th

Judge Maria T. Jackson
(832) 927-3650

Civ 15th floor/245th

1:00 Mon-Thurs

351st

Judge George Powell
(832) 927-3680

JJC 1st floor/280th

8:30 am Mon-Fri

Harris County Courts of Appeal

The 1st and 14th Courts of Appeals are located in Houston. Each appellate court is composed of a chief justice and either associate justices, and each has intermediate appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases from trial courts in the district.

The districts that are covered by these two Courts of Appeals include the following counties:

  • Harris
  • Austin
  • Brazoria
  • Chambers
  • Colorado
  • Fort Bend
  • Galveston
  • Grimes
  • Waller
  • Washington.

First Court of Appeals
301 Fannin Street
Houston, Texas 77002
(713) 274-2700
Map & Directions

Fourteenth Court of Appeals
301 Fannin Street
Houston, Texas 77002
(713) 274-2800
Map & Directions

Harris County Incarceration Facilities

If you have been convicted of a crime that resulted in a sentencing of incarceration, then you may be a little familiar with Harris' County jail and prison system. If not, Doug Murphy can tell you a little about it: the jails are dark; they're dirty; and they're not a fun place to be regardless how short your incarceration sentence is, and that's to say the best about these places. Thus, you need to fight your charge with a competent, smart criminal defense lawyer so you don't end up in one of them.

That said, below is a list of some of the jails and prisons in Harris County.

Harris County Jails

County jails in Texas are generally for offenders who are there temporarily, including persons who were recently arrested, who were not able to post bail, or who are convicted of misdemeanors and were sentenced to jail for no more than one year.

Houston Central Jail
61 Riesner Street
Houston, Texas 77002
(713) 247-5400
Map & Directions

Houston Southeast Jail
8300 Mykawa Road
Houston, Texas 77048
(713) 247-5400
Map & Directions

Bakers Street Jail
1307 Baker Street
Houston, Texas 77002
(713) 755-2400
Map & Directions

Baytown Police Jail
3100 North Main Street
Baytown, Texas 77521
(281) 425-1104
Map & Directions

Harris County Jail
701 North San Jacinto Street
Houston, Texas 77002
(713) 755-5000
Map & Directions

Pasadena City Jail
1201 Davis Street
Pasadena, Texas 77506
(713) 475-7870
Map & Directions

Webster City Jail
217 Pennsylvania Avenue
Webster, Texas 77598
(281) 332-2426
Map & Directions



 

State Jails in Harris County

State jail is for persons convicted of a crime and sentenced to incarceration usually for up to two years Persons who serve time in a state jail must complete their sentences without the option for parole or time off for good behavior. The below two state jails house in Harris County house only male convicts. Female convicts do time in Liberty County state jails, both of which are also provided below.

Harris County Prisons for Males

Kegan State Jail
707 Top Street
Houston, Texas 77002
(713) 224-6584
Map & Directions

Pam Lychner State Jail
2350 Atacocita Road
Humble, Texas 77396
(281) 454-5036
Map & Directions

Liberty County Prisons for Females

Lucile Plane State Jail
904 FM 686
Dayton, TX 77535
(936) 258-2476
Map & Directions

Dempsie Henley State Jail
7581 Highway 321
Dayton, TX 77535
(936) 258-2476
Map & Directions

For those who have sentences of a minimum of two years incarceration usually fulfill their sentences at a state prison. There are no state prisons in Harris County, but there are many in the greater Houston metropolitan area, just outside of Harris County. There are state prisons in the following nearby by cities: Angleton, Brazoria, Cleveland, Dayton, Richmond, and Rosharon.

Harris County Police Stations

When you have been arrested under reasonable suspicion of committing a crime, you will be taken into the police station to be booked. Where you end up being booked is depending on the law enforcement agency that arrested you. In Harris County, the

Harris County Sheriff

The Harris County Sheriff's Office is the only law enforcement agent who has jurisdiction throughout Harris County. The responsibilities of the sheriff includes the following:

  • Furnish bailiffs in all state courts;
  • Furnish officers for criminal courts;
  • Provide investigative and detective services;
  • Patrol unincorporated areas;
  • Bring prisoners back from other jurisdictions;
  • Collect bond forfeitures; and
  • Supervise the Harris County jail system, including outlying area facilities that serve to temporarily hold prisoners.

There are six storefront and five substation locations for Harris County Sheriff's Office. The substations are locations are as follows:

District I
Northwest Assisted Ministries Substation

15555 Kuykendahl
Houston, Texas 77090
(281) 885-4550

District II
Humble Substation

7900 Will Clayton Parkway
Humble, Texas 77338
(281) 446-9155

District III
Wallisville Substation

14350 Wallisville Road
Houston, Texas 77049
(713) 455-8050

District IV
Formerly the Peter Piper Pizza Building Substation

6127 Highway 6 North
Houston, TX 77095
(832) 927-7202 or 7203

District V
Tomball Substation

23828 Tomball Parkway
Tomball, Texas 77375
(281) 290-2100

 

Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers are a division of the Department of Public Safety. There are generally around 150 commissioned members who are split into six companies: “A” through “F”. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Company “A” lead the following criminal investigations:

  • Major incident crime investigations;
  • Unsolved crime/serial crime investigations;
  • Public corruption and public integrity investigations;
  • Officer involved shooting investigations; and
  • Border security operations.

Texas Rangers also lead criminal investigations into crimes of murder, robbery, sexual assault, burglary, theft, and, among other criminal activity, fraud.

The Texas Rangers
Company “A”
(281) 517-1400
12230 West Road
Houston, Texas 77065

Texas Highway Patrol

Texas Highway Patrol is another major division of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Troopers are responsible for general police traffic supervision, traffic, and criminal law enforcement on Texas roads and highways.

Texas Highway Patrol
(281) 517-1220
12230 West Road
Houston, Texas 77065

City Police

Each city throughout Harris County has its own police department. The larger cities are equipped with several neighborhood storefronts and substations. There are approximately 40 storefront and substations in Houston alone, some of which are open 24 hours a day.

Houston Police Department Headquarters
(713) 884-3131
1200 Travis Street
Houston, Texas 77002


Some other larger police departments throughout Harris County include the following:

Jurisdiction Represented by Doug Murphy Law Firm

Harris County, Texas, is home to more than 4.5 million citizens, 30 percent of whom have at least a Bachelor's degree while 80 percent has a high school diploma or its equivalent. The median household income in Harris County in 2016 was $55,584, which was slightly above the State of Texas' median household income at $54,727, and much better than Houston's median at $47,010. Poverty was slightly better in Texas overall at 15.6 percent, and Harris County was almost on par with the State's percentage at 16.6 percent, but Houston's poverty percentage was nearly 5 percent higher than Harris County at 21.9 percent.

This trend is exacerbated in regards to crime. As the largest city in Texas, Houston has a much higher crime rate than any other city in either Harris County or throughout all of Texas. In fact, Houston's crime rate is worse than many other states throughout the United States of comparable size. Property crimes rank as one of the highest alleged crimes, but allegations of DWI, theft, and assault are also very high. Though the crime rate is high for Houston specifically, those rates point only to charges and not convictions. The problem often lies with incompetent police and overzealous State attorneys. These numbers, therefore, can be misleading.

Though based in Houston, Texas, Doug Murphy represents clients throughout Harris County who have been charged with DWI / DUI or other criminal offenses. Some other cities of representation include the following:

Experienced, Comprehensive DWI Defense & Criminal Defense Lawyer in Harris Texas

If you have been charged with a DWI or another crime and want to fight the charge, contact a DWI and criminal defense attorney committed to the same. At Doug Murphy Law Firm, you get commitment and you get results. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm today.

Contact Us Today

If you are facing DWI or other criminal charges in Texas, contact our office today to discuss your case, so we can begin working on your defense. Please provide only your personal email and cell phone number so that we can immediately and confidentially communicate with you.

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