Who I Represent

I represent people charged with crimes in Travis County, Texas.  The people I represent have been charged with all sorts of crimes, ranging from minor drug possession to assault, theft, and a variety of other crimes brought by the State. 

 

Every time I walk into court, regardless of who I'm defending or what they've been charged with, my objective doesn't change.  The way I see it, my job is keeping the state honest.  That means making sure the police don't get away with unlawful searches and stops or other infringements onto your constitutionally protected rights and it means staying on top of prosecutors so that they don't get off easy on your case.  The law presumes you're innocent and it's ALWAYS the state's job to prove otherwise.

Some of the most common criminal charges filed in Austin are drug charges (THC Oil), DWItheft and related offenses, and assault.  Although I defend people charged with all sorts of crimes, I've put together some info about the most common criminal charges filed in Travis County.  

Drug Charges

 

Drug charges can include possession, manufacturing, cultivation, delivery, sales, trafficking, and distribution.  However, it's certainly true that the most common drug charge in Austin is drug possession.  As a drug possession lawyer I know how to defend against charges for possession of a controlled substance, and the place to start is challenging the legality of how the police obtained the drugs (either the stop, search, or seizure), challenging the ownership of the drugs, or challenging whether the substance is in fact drugs.  

This approach can also be useful for other sorts of drug charges.  Anytime I'm presented with a drug related case, I always start with these simple questions:  (1) Was there an illegal stop,  (2)  Was there an illegal seizure?  (3)  How did the police know to look at the place where they found the drugs/paraphernalia/ingredients/etc / How did the police find the drugs/paraphernalia/ingredients/etc,  

(4)  Did probable cause exist,  (5)  Did the police have a warrant,  (6)  Was the warrant based on probable cause? 

The severity of the criminal charges and the maximum punishment vary depending on the amount and type of drug.  However, there are often programs that you can participate in, either voluntarily or by court order, that may help to reduce the charges and punishment and prevent a conviction from getting on your record.  If you find yourself facing any drug charges you should consider hiring an attorney who knows how to fight the charges, if possible, and how to reduce the charges or prevent a conviction altogether.  

  • Paraphernalia

    • Use or possession - Class C Misdemeanor​

    • Manufacturing, delivering, or intent to deliver - Class A Misdemeanor 

  • ​Marijuana (click here for THC Oil)

    • More than 0oz but less than 2oz - Class B Misdemeanor​

    • More than 2oz but less than 4oz - Class A Misdemeanor

    • More than 4oz but less than 5lbs - State Jail Felony

    • More than 5lb but less than 50lbs - Third Degree Felony

    • More than 50lbs but less than 2000lbs - Second Degree Felony

    • More than 2000lbs - Punishable by a term of life imprisonment or no less than 5yrs and no more than 99yrs

  • Penalty Group 1 & Penalty Group 2 (To name just a few: cocaine & crack, heroin, meth, oxycodone, special K, and MDMA & THC oil)

    • More than 0g but less than 1g - State Jail Felony​

    • More than 1g but less than 4g - Third Degree Felony

    • More than 4g but less but less than 200g - Second Degree Felony

    • More than 200g but less than 400g - First Degree Felony

    • More than 400g - Punishable by a term of life imprisonment or no less than 5yrs and no more than 99yrs​

THC Oil

 

It seems like everyone is vaping these days, and why not?  It's cleaner, easier, and less harmful.  Unfortunately, the Texas Legislature doesn't feel the same way you do about those little cartridges filled with THC oil ("wax," "dab," "shatter," etc.). 

 

If you're caught with THC oil in Texas you'll be charged with a felony--no questions asked. 

The reason for this is that the state government has decided that THC oil is different from "leafy" marijuana because the process to remove the

THC from the marijuana makes it man made, according to their line of reasoning.  Additionally, as you may know, THC oil is often much stronger than leafy marijuana. 

 

Due to these reasons THC oil is placed in Penalty Group 2, which is the same category that MDMA ("molly") and Ketamine ("Special K") are placed into.  This means if you're found in possession of ANY amount of THC oil you'll be charged with a State Jail Felony, which can carry up to 2 years in jail and up to a $10,000 penalty.

If you've been charged with possession of a controlled substance in Austin because of THC oil, contacting a drug possession lawyer familiar with defending against these types of charges can help avoid serious jail time, and possibly help avoid a conviction altogether.   

Driving While Intoxicate ("DWI")

 

We tend to think about DWIs only as "drunk driving" or "drinking and driving," but that's not the case in Texas.  The way the law is written you can be charged with a DWI if you operate a motor vehicle in a public place while lacking the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to alcohol, drugs, or any other intoxicating substance.  You can probably see this leaves a lot of wiggle room for the police and prosecutors.  What does is mean to operate?  What is the normal use of mental or physical faculties?  These are common points of contention that get argued by criminal defense attorneys when defending against DWI charges.  

It's also surprising to many folks that they'll face criminal and civil penalties and fines due to a lawful DWI arrest, which means that both civil and criminal proceedings will occur following a DWI arrest. 

The civil side of the DWI starts immediately.  YOU ONLY HAVE 15 DAYS following your arrest to request an administrative hearing, which is where the status of your drivers license is determined.  If you fail to request this hearing within 15 days of your arrest, you stand to have your license suspended for 180 days as well as become responsible for paying huge fines for the next three years.  It's ideal to have a criminal defense lawyer for this hearing, as your attorney can "pin down" the police officer's story during the very beginning of representation instead of being held in suspense about how the officer(s) may answer certain questions at trial.  The information presented at the administrative hearing can often be used to your advantage, as your attorney can begin strategizing your case based on this information. 

The criminal side of things typically takes considerably longer than the civil side and the fines can be higher and the punishment can include jail time.  DWIs are typically charged according to whether you've previously been convicted of a DWI.  For instance, if you've never been convicted of a DWI then you'll be charged with a DWI 1st or if you've previously been convicted of two DWIs then you'll be charged with a DWI 3rd.  

The range of punishment is determined as follows:

  • DWI 1st (BAC under .15) - Class B Misdemeanor

  • DWI 1st (BAC over .15) - Class A Misdemeanor

  • DWI 2nd - Class A Misdemeanor

  • DWI 3rd - 3rd Degree Felony

Theft / Robbery / Burglary

 

Theft

If someone is charged with theft in Austin then it's the prosecutor's job to show that the individual (1) unlawfully (2) possessed property (3) with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.  If the prosecutor can't prove even a single element then the individual can't be convicted for theft.  Austin criminal defense lawyer Kannon Moore defends against theft charges and works toward the best outcome in each situation. 

You can find out the severity of the theft charge, and in turn the maximum punishment, by knowing the value of the item(s) alleged to have been stolen.  

  • Less than $100 - Class C Misdemeanor

  • More than $100 but less than $750 - Class B Misdemeanor

  • More than $750 but less than $2500 - Class A Misdemeanor

  • More than $2500 but less than $3000 - State Jail Felony

  • More than $30,000 but less than $150,000 - Third Degree Felony

  • More than $150,000 but less than $300,000 - Second Degree Felony

  • More than $300,000 - First Degree Felony

Robbery

The elements for robbery and theft are the same with one important exception.  In order to prove robbery the prosecutor must also show that the individual came into possession of the property due to the use of force that caused bodily injury or the threat that such force would be used.    

The charge for robbery is a Second Degree Felony.  

Burglary 

To prove burglary the prosecutor must show that an individual (1) entered a home or building that wasn't currently open to the public (1) with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault.  

If the building the individual entered was not a home and didn't contain a controlled substance that the individual intended to steal (thus committing theft) then the individual will be charged with a State Jail Felony. If the building the individual entered wasn't a home but did contain a controlled substance that the individual planned to steal, then the individual will be charged with a Third Degree Felony.

If the building the individual entered was a home and the individual or anybody also entering the home with the individual intended to commit, attempted to commit, or committed any felony other than a felony theft. then the individual will be charged with a First Degree Felony.  On the other hand, if the building the individual entered was a home but the individual nor anybody with them intended, attempted, or committed any felonies other than theft, then the individual will be charged with a Second Degree Felony.

Assault

 

The different types of assault range all the way from threatening someone with physical harm to sexual assault to shooting a gun into a house.  The basic requirements a prosecutor must show to prove assault are that an individual (1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly (2) caused or threatened (3) bodily injury to another. 

If the alleged victim is a family member, then the criminal assault charges will often be brought with family or civil law suits, to include orders for protection.  The outcome of these lawsuits can increase the penalty beyond that which can be rendered by a criminal court.  Examples of the types of additional civil penalties that can accompany family violence allegations include protective orders ordering individuals to stay away from the alleged victim for a certain period of time as well as prohibitions on gun ownership.

Anyone charged with any type of assault shouldn't talk to anyone but their attorney.  If the individual doesn't have an attorney then they shouldn't talk to anyone until they do.  Defending against assault charges commonly includes explanations about what was happening leading up to the time of the alleged assault.  This means that it truly comes to deciding between two stories, and if a defendant has been busy telling the other side their story then the other side will be well prepared to address and explain away all all the best points.  

The severity of the charges and range of punishment depend on a variety of factors, from what the alleged perpetrator/victim was doing at the time of the alleged assault to the specific allegations about the nature of the contact, where it occurred on the body, and what the intent of the contact was.  The charges can range from a Class C Misdemeanor to a Second Degree Felony, and up to a First Degree Felony for Aggravated Sexual Assault.

Call or Text: 512.900.6011

3800 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste 200, Austin, TX 78756