An arrest in Matagorda County, Texas, can be unpleasant, and if it is your first arrest, then it can be all the more intimidating as it is scary. After the arrest, you face a criminal justice system meant to confuse you, and one error will be to your detriment. Understanding and navigating the criminal process takes experience to be successful. Doug Murphy, a veteran trial lawyer for DWI and criminal defense, represents clients in Matagorda County. He knows the court system, the prosecutors, and the judges, and uses that knowledge strategically in combination with the facts and circumstances of your case to defend you.
To learn more about defense options for you, contact Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today to schedule a consultation. In the meantime, below are some resources and answers to common questions you may have.
Common Questions You May Have about Your Arrest
An arrest automatically provokes numerous questions and concerns. Rest assured, you can find a good attorney who will provide a good defense. All you need to do is take a moment to breathe and review the following questions so that you have a firm understanding of what the process is.
Do I need an attorney?
If you have been charged with a DWI or other criminal offense, having an attorney advocate for your rights is important. You likely don't know the court system well enough. You likely don't know the tactics the prosecutor and police could use against you. And you certainly don't know the relevant law and possible defenses that could help you win your case. All of these things take experience and the insight that follows from that experience.
On the other hand, you may think that you are guilty, so why not represent yourself at the arraignment and plead guilty? That, too, would be a mistake. Regardless if you are guilty or not, you have rights. The police may have violated those rights, and if they did, it can be used as a strategic part of your defense. An experienced lawyer can help with these things. And truth be told, even if you know yourself to be guilty, the prosecutor must prove the same to a jury of your peers, which is harder than it sounds, especially with a strategic lawyer by your side.
Should you settle for a plea deal or go to trial?
The first thing to know is that a plea deal results in a criminal record, and that criminal record could create unanticipated consequences. You should always consider the consequences before you decide to strike a deal and still end up with a criminal record.
Trial is always scary; you never know how the jury will react. That said, your case could end in dismissal if your attorney is good enough to identify violations of your constitutional rights and have certain evidence suppressed because of it. In such cases, the prosecution is left without enough evidence.
But if it does go to trial, the prosecution is required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. There are specific elements of each crime that must be proven before doubt reasonably no longer exists. The benefit of an experienced criminal defense lawyer is his ability to weaken the prosecution's case against you by calling into question whether the elements of the crime were satisfied or not. An experienced criminal defense lawyer like Doug Murphy will approach the defense strategy from different angles to ensure the best possible outcome.
Are there defenses to my case?
If you have been arrested in Matagorda County, Texas, an experienced criminal defense attorney will sort through the facts and evidence of your case and build a defense. A defense strategy includes a combination of things, like the following.
- Reviewing the case and all the evidence.
- Filing motions to suppress evidence.
- Retaining expert witnesses.
- Challenging expert testimony.
- Impeaching witnesses.
- Preparing you to take the stand.
- Telling the story of what happened in the most tactful and influential way possible.
In the end, defending you against the charge is often more about weakening the prosecutor's case against you. And that's why you should always plead not guilty and anticipate trial -- there's always a chance that no matter the evidence, you can be acquitted. Even then, if you are convicted, many times the sentencing could be lighter than if you plead guilty initially or settled for a plea deal.
What are some questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer at the initial consultation?
Before meeting an attorney for an initial consultation, you should prepare some questions that will allow you to fully determine if the attorney is right for your case. Below are some questions you should ask and reasons why they are important.
- Do you (attorney) have experience handling the charge(s) against me (potential client)? You want someone with experience specific to your charge. There are lawyers who dabble in a bit of everything, from family law to criminal defense to personal injury. You want someone with extensive criminal defense experience specific to your charge. There are always nuances of a specific crime, and if a lawyer has never had experience with that crime, then these nuances will go without being addressed, and that could negatively impact your case.
- Will you personally oversee and handle my case? You want to make sure the attorney to whom you speak is the attorney who will handle your case. In larger firms, associates or other persons with less skill and insight may handle the case for the attorney. If the latter is applicable, you want to know in what capacity the attorney will be involved. Essentially, you want to know who is in control of your case and, therefore, who has your future in his or her hands.
- Do you have experience with trials? If the answer is no, then that's a red flag: the attorney is probably inclined to negotiate pleas and may be even more inclined to accept the first plea deal offered. That is not criminal defense. Criminal defense requires a real strategy to get your case dismissed and oftentimes that requires going to trial. If the attorney has trial experience, ask what the outcomes are generally and if any case was similar to yours.
- What can you do to help my case? A lot of people want to know what outcome they can anticipate for the alleged crimes. No attorney can guarantee an outcome, but an experienced attorney can listen to the facts of your case and determine potential outcomes with the caveat not all evidence has been reviewed yet. If the first thing the lawyer says is that he can negotiate a plea deal, then that's a red flag, too. Lawyers who make it a regular practice to bargain a plea are criminal defense attorneys uncommitted to your defense. Plea deals in some limited circumstances may indeed be the best outcome, but it should not be an initial consideration and strategy.
- What specializations do you have? An attorney cannot promote a legal specialization unless endowed with the specialization by a certifying body. In Texas, the Board of Legal Specializations offers 22 different specializations to lawyers who successfully complete rigorous oral and written exams. Only seven percent of all lawyers in Texas have been certified with a specialization, so if the attorney you interview has one in criminal defense, that distinction indicates he or she has specific abilities in criminal defense. A Texas criminal defense lawyer can also be Board-certified in DWI criminal law by the National College of DUI Defense, which is the only DUI / DWI certifying body to be accredited by the American Bar Association. This distinction also indicates the legal community's recognition of the lawyer's capacity to defend in DWI or DWI-related crimes.
- How much will your criminal defense representation cost? You need to know the costs. It's a hard question to ask, but you need to align the costs with your financial resources. Consider asking the attorney the following questions. "Are legal services charged by the hour or as a flat fee? Do you require a retainer fee? Does the charge/fee include going to trial? Are there other expenses associated with representation?" There is one caveat: people tend to think the pricier attorneys are the better attorneys, but this is not true. Before you hire a criminal defense lawyer, make sure you know the answers to the above questions and that will be the better determination of the attorney's worth.
Doug Murphy Answers Your Criminal Defense Questions
Doug Murphy can answer the above questions now and can elaborate the same at the initial consultation. Doug Murphy devotes his entire practice to criminal defense, a lot of which is focused on DWI and DWI related crimes with the other half focused on an array of criminal offenses.
Examples of DWI cases include:
- DWI Texas
- Felony DWI
- Underage DUI
- DWI Commercial Driver's License
- DWI Marijuana
- DWI Prescription Drugs
- DWI with a child passenger under 15
- Flying While Intoxicated
- Boating While Intoxicated
- Intoxication Assault
- Intoxication Manslaughter
- Open Container.
Examples of criminal defense cases include
- Drug Possession
- Criminally Negligent Homicide
- Vehicular Manslaughter
- Vehicular Assault
- White Collar Crimes
- Domestic Violence
- Prostitution & Solicitation
- Hit & Run FSGI
- Hit & Run FSRA
- Evading Arrest
- & More.
If you retain Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C., you retain Doug Murphy and no one else. He will handle all aspects of your case, using his knowledge and insight to build a strategic defense. His primary focus is you and the dismissal of your charge(s) or else acquittal at trial. He does not consider a plea deal unless it is absolutely in the best interests of his client.
Doug Murphy will help your case by reviewing thoroughly the facts, circumstances, and evidence. If needed, he will investigate it further. He will advise you of all options and will outline weaknesses and strengths. Moving forward, he will develop a smart and strategic defense to prove your innocence or to cripple the defense's case. His greatest strength is knowing how juries operate and making sure they are held accountable to the principle of finding you guilty only if guilt has been demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. Anything less requires acquittal.
Doug Murphy is Board-certified in criminal defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specializations and is Board-certified in DWI Defense Law by the National College of DUI Defense. He also has an array of accolades recognizing him for his professional work and is often invited to speak at seminars to teach other criminal defense lawyers strategies to defend their clients. He is committed to criminal defense; he is committed to your criminal defense in Matagorda County, Texas.
DWI in Matagorda County
DWI arrests are a common occurrence throughout Matagorda County. This should come as no surprise given the high number of visitors this lively coastal county sees each year. In many cases, a simple bad decision during a vacation or day trip can lead to a serious criminal charge.
There are a number of law enforcement agencies that could be involved in a Matagorda County DWI arrest. Most municipalities – including Bay City – have their own police force. Additionally, the Matagorda County Sheriff's Office also aggressively pursues DWI offenders throughout the county. The Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper are a frequent presence and can make traffic stops on state or federal highways within the county.
DWI arrests are most common within city limits. In Bay City, arrests are particularly common near the center of town where Highways 35 and 60 connect. Any area within the county that is home to a bar or restaurant has the potential to be the target of law enforcement.
When arrests for DWI occur in Matagorda County, the accused are typically held in the Matagorda County Jail. However, that is not the only location where breath or blood samples might be collected for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing. These tests could occur at various precincts throughout the county.
No matter where the arrest occurs or which law enforcement agency is responsible for it, you have the right to defend yourself in court. A conviction for DWI in Matagorda County is never guaranteed, especially with the guidance of an experienced and board certified DWI defense attorney.
Prevalent Drug Offenses in Matagorda County
The crime rate in Matagorda County is generally lower than the state and national average. That said, arrests for drug-related offenses remain common throughout the area. Large drug busts involving marijuana or methamphetamine are not uncommon in the county.
Where these arrests occur can depend on the offense. When it comes to crimes relating to the possession of a controlled substance, these offenses are more likely to result in an arrest within city limits. However, some arrests for drug manufacturing or delivery are more likely to occur outside of the towns in the unincorporated parts of the county.
The most prevalent drug crime in Matagorda County and throughout Texas is possession of a controlled substance. While the most common substance involved in these cases is marijuana, there have been arrests for all manner of controlled substances throughout the county. Other common substances include heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine.
Most possession cases are treated as felonies under state law. In fact, the only controlled substance that can potentially lead to a misdemeanor possession charge is marijuana. Even then, any amount above four ounces is a felony in Matagorda County.
Other drug crimes in Matagorda County are less common, but they still have the potential to lead to an arrest. Each year there are busts for crimes like drug manufacturing or distribution in Bay City and throughout the entire county. This can include anything from marijuana grow operations to networks distributing prescription drugs.
Resources You May Need if Arrested in Matagorda County TX
Matagorda County is home to less than 38,000 people. It is a lovely coastal community that enjoys some recreational and entertaining attractions. Sometimes these attractions or other causes can lead to bad judgment -- if only briefly, which can manifest as an alleged crime. If you are arrested, you will likely be required to attend a court hearing in Bay City, which is the county seat of Matagorda County. Below are resources that may be useful to you.
Courts of Matagorda County, TX
If you were arrested in Matagorda County, you are likely facing criminal charges that are heard at either the County Court at Law or one of two District Courts that represent Matagorda County. All three courts are located at:
Matagorda County Courthouse
1700 7th Street
Bay City, Texas 77414-5094
County Court at Law
If you were arrested for a misdemeanor that -- if convicted -- results in a fine up to $500 and jail time up to one year, then you will likely attend Matagorda's County Court at Law. Each county in Texas is assigned one County Court per the Constitution. Matagorda County Court at Law is located at Matagorda County Courthouse in Room 301. The County Court judge is Judge Nate McDonald. His office may be reached at 979-244-7605.
Both the 23rd and 130th District Courts serve Matagorda County. These courts have jurisdiction over all felony cases.
23rd District Court
Judge Ben Hardin
130th District Court
Judge Craig Estlinbaum
Law Enforcement Agencies of Grimes County, TX
Matagorda County Sheriff's Office
2308 Avenue F
Bay City, Texas 77414
Local Police Department
Bay City Police Department
Police Chief Robert Lister
2201 Avenue H
Bay City, Texas 77414
Palacios Police Department
Police Chief David Miles
Palacios, Texas 77465
Jails in Matagorda County, TX
There is only one jail in Matagorda County, and that's the county jail. Inmates include persons recently arrested, awaiting trial, or convicted of some misdemeanor crimes. If you need to locate a person in the county jail, you can do so by using the online search tool.
2323 Avenue East
Bay City, Texas 77414
Chief Probation Officer Roxane Marek
2200 Seventh Street
Bay City, Texas 77414
Experienced Legal Representation in Bay City or Palacios, TX
If you have been arrested for a DWI or criminal offense in Bay City or Palacios, Texas, reach out to Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. for an initial consultation. Doug Murphy and his legal team have decades of experience defending people just like you on a regular basis and is known in the legal community for doing so. Contact Doug Murphy online or at 713-229-8333 today.