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Matagorda County, TX Board Certified DWI & Criminal Defense Lawyer

Board Certified Legal Defense in Matagorda County, TX

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 you are guilty, so why not represent yourself at the arraignment and plead guilty? That, too, would be a mistake. Regardless of whether you are guilty or not, you have rights. The police may have violated those rights; if they did, it can be used as a strategic part of your defense. An experienced lawyer can help with these things. 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 more complicated 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 a 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. Specific elements of each crime must be proven before doubt reasonably no longer exists. The benefit of an experienced criminal defense lawyer is their ability to weaken the prosecution's case against you by calling into question whether the crime's elements were satisfied. 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 settle 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 determine if the attorney is right for your case. Below are some questions you should ask and reasons why they are essential.

Does The Attorney Have Experience Handling The Charges Against You?

You want someone with experience specific to your charge. Some lawyers 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, these nuances will go without being addressed, which could negatively impact your case.

Will The Attorney Personally Oversee and Handle Your 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 controls your case and who has your future in his or her hands.

Does the Attorney Have Trial Experience?

If the answer is no, that's a red flag: the attorney is probably inclined to negotiate pleas and maybe even more inclined to accept the first plea deal offered. That is not a criminal defense. Criminal defense requires a real strategy to get your case dismissed, which often requires going to trial. If the attorney has trial experience, ask what the outcomes are and if any case was similar to yours.

What Can the Attorney Do to Help Your Case?

Many 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 that 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. 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 be the best outcome, but it should not be an initial consideration and strategy.

What Areas of Focus Does The Attorney Have?

The Texas Board of Legal Specialization recognizes 22 areas of specialization for lawyers who successfully complete rigorous oral and written exams. Only seven percent of all lawyers in Texas have been Board Certified, so if the attorney you interview has Board Certification 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, the only DUI/DWI certifying body 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 The Attorney's Criminal Defense Representation Cost?

You need to know the costs. It's a hard question to ask, but you must align 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 on 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:

Examples of criminal defense cases include

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 dismissing your charge(s) or acquittal at trial. He does not consider a plea deal unless it is absolutely in his client's best interests.

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 ensuring 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. He 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 wrong decision during a vacation or day trip can lead to a severe criminal charge.

There are several law enforcement agencies that could be involved in a Matagorda County DWI arrest. Most municipalities – including Bay City – have their own police force. The Matagorda County Sheriff's Office also aggressively pursues DWI offenders throughout the county. The Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper is frequently present and can make traffic stops on state or federal highways within the county.

DWI arrests are most common within city limits. In Bay City, they are particularly common near the center of town where Highways 35 and 60 connect. However, any area within the county that is home to a bar or restaurant has the potential to be targeted by 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.

You can defend yourself in court no matter where the arrest occurs or which law enforcement agency is responsible. 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 around 36,000 people. It is a lovely coastal community that enjoys some recreational and entertaining attractions. Sometimes, these attractions or other causes can lead to impaired 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.

District Courts

Both the 23rd and 130th District Courts serve Matagorda County. These courts have jurisdiction over all felony cases.

23rd District Court
Judge Ben Hardin
Room 317

130th District Court
Judge Denise M. Fortenberry
Room 317

Law Enforcement Agencies of Grimes County, TX

Matagorda County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff Frank D. Osborne
2308 Avenue F
Bay City, Texas 77414

Local Police Department

Bay City Police Department
2201 Avenue H
Bay City, Texas 77414

Palacios Police Department
311 Henderson
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.

Matagorda County Jail
2323 Avenue East
Bay City, Texas 77414

Adult Probation
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 are known in the legal community for doing so. Contact Doug Murphy online or at 713-229-8333 today.

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