The Serious Nature of a Controlled Substance Conviction

Every year, thousands of Americans are arrested for crimes related to illegal drugs, known as controlled substances. A controlled substance charge can come with serious ramifications, including a misdemeanor or felony conviction on your criminal record, substantial jail time, a lengthy term of probation, and termination of employment. If you have been arrested on a controlled substance charge, it is paramount to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

The Severity of Controlled Substance Charges in Texas

When it comes to controlled substance charges in the state of Texas, the severity of the charges depends on the type of drug, the amount of the drug, and the intent of the possessor. For instance, someone possessing drugs that fall within Penalty Group 1 (such as heroin), will not face the same consequences as someone possessing a Group 2 drug (such as PCP).

Prosecutors typically use the amount of the substance that a person possesses, along with other factors, when determining the intent of the possessor. Thus, charges increase in severity as the amount of narcotics increase.

Looking specifically at Penalty Group 1 drugs, the Texas Penal Code provides that a person possessing less than one gram will face a state jail felony. Possession of between one and four grams is a third degree felony, a second degree for between four and 200 grams, and a first degree felony for 200 to 400 grams. However, manufacturing or possessing these drugs with intent to deliver can lead to increased charges, and for larger amounts, a person may face prison sentences of at least 10 years to life.

Controlled substance charges should be taken very seriously. Possession of just five grams of a Penalty Group 1 drug, a second degree felony, can be punished by between two and 20 years in prison. Possessing less than four grams could lead to a sentence of up to 10 years, as well as fines of up to $10,000. These harsh sentences demonstrate the critical importance of having quality legal representation.

Contact a Houston Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

When facing a controlled substance charge, hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer can make the ultimate difference in fighting these charges or reducing the potential penalties you may face. Attorney Nathaniel Pitoniak has years of experience aggressively representing clients facing criminal charges. From marijuana to methamphetamine, any controlled substance charge can lead to monumental changes in your life, and it is essential to have a dedicated advocate fighting for your rights. To set up a free consultation with a knowledgeable Harris County criminal defense attorney, call us today at 832-315-6283.


The Difference Between Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault

Every year, thousands of Americans are accused of sex crimes. In many cases, these acts can be exaggerated or even fabricated. Once accused of a sex crime, one faces an uphill battle. A sex crime conviction can come with substantial jail time, severe fines, job termination, and a negative reputation in the community for the rest of one’s life.

That said, some sex crimes come with even greater consequences than others. If you have been accused of a sex crime, it is important to understand the legal, financial, and occupational ramifications of a guilty conviction. Below we will discuss the differences between a sexual assault charge and an aggravated sexual assault charge in the state of Texas

Sexual Assault Under Texas Law

According to the Texas Penal Code, sexual assault is legally described as an act in which a person intentionally penetrates someone’s mouth, anus, or sexual organs without proper consent. The inability to grant proper consent can legally mean a number of things, including: having sex with a person 17 years of age or younger, when the victim is unconscious and thus unable to grant consent, or when the alleged rapist utilized the power of their position (occupational hierarchy, police officer, etc.) to engage in sexual misconduct.

A sexual assault conviction can come with massive, lifelong implications. A sexual assault charge is a second degree felony in the state of Texas and carries a two year minimum prison sentence (although those convicted could face up to twenty years in prison), a fine of up to $10,000, as well as forced lifelong registration as a sex offender.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Here in the state of Texas, an aggravated sexual assault conviction can come with an even more severe legal punishment. According to the Texas Penal Code, an aggravated sexual assault is defined as when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes or threatens harm to another person through a sexual attack, without consent. What makes an aggravated assault more serious is the presence of an aggravating factor.

Aggravating factors include sexual actions with a youth under the age of 14, causing bodily harm or fatal injuries to the victim, causing the victim to fear for their life, the use of drugs to incapacitate the victim, or the presence of an additional perpetrator.

Unlike a sexual assault conviction, which carries a second degree felony, an aggravated assault conviction comes with a first degree felony charge. This means that the convicted party would face increased prison time (including a minimum sentence of 25 years if the victim is 14 years of age or younger), as well as more substantial monetary fines.

Contact a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer

In the state of Texas, sex crimes are harshly punished. If you have been accused of sexual assault or any other sexual offenses, it is critically important to work with a knowledgeable defense lawyer. Attorney Nathaniel Pitoniak has years of experience representing those accused of criminal acts in the state of Texas. To set up a free consultation with a skilled and dedicated Harris County criminal defense attorney, contact us today at 823-315-6283.


The Importance of Hiring the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

Every year, thousands of Americans are wrongfully accused of crimes they did not commit. Many of these people are tragically and wrongfully convicted. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, 2016 represented a record year for exonerations nationwide. An incredible 166 wrongfully convicted people were declared innocent that year, and more than three people continue to be exonerated every week. Tragically, many of those people spent decades in prison before ultimately being granted release.

In Harris County alone, we have seen approximately 128 exonerations since 2010. That total represents an alarming 15% of all exonerations nationwide. If you have been accused of a crime, you will want to do everything you can to avoid being another one of these statistics. That is why it is paramount to work with a competent and experienced criminal defense attorney.

Choosing a Defense Attorney

Choosing a criminal defense attorney can be a truly difficult decision. When deciding who you want to represent you in court, there are a number of important dynamics to consider.

The most important aspect of any attorney-client relationship is trust. Meet with prospective attorneys before you hire one and find someone that makes you comfortable and you feel comfortable working with. You will spend extensive amounts of time working together with your attorney to find the best possible legal outcome to your case, so you want to be sure they will be someone you believe has your best interests at heart.

When hiring a defense attorney, it is also of the utmost importance that you feel confident in their ability in the courtroom. The ideal defense attorney should have experience working on cases like yours, and they should have a proven track record in the courtroom. Doing your homework before hiring your defense attorney may save you stress, money, and even jail time.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

Hiring a quality defense attorney can be the ultimate difference in finding the optimal resolution to your criminal case. A quality attorney can obtain dismissals in felony or misdemeanor cases, negotiate with prosecutors to reduce charges, and in severe cases, help you avoid or reduce jail time.

While prior success in the courtroom is no guarantee of results in the future, Nathaniel Pitoniak has a proven and distinguished record of success. From assault charges to drug crimes, Nathaniel Pitoniak has tried more than thirty felony and misdemeanor charges in Texas Courtrooms. At The Pitoniak Law Firm, we can promise thorough preparation and aggressive representation for each and every one of our clients. To set up a free consultation with a Houston criminal defense lawyer, call us today at 832-315-6283.

The Wrongly Convicted