Aug 21, 2015

Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges, you are encountering the risk of consequences that may change your life. Any kind of arrest on criminal charges can become a very serious matter if not handled quickly and correctly. To build the best defense against any charges, an accused should make finding a criminal defense attorney a top priority.

Many individuals facing criminal charges delay finding a qualified attorney until there is no other option. People who are arrested and accused are naturally upset and want to explain their side of the incident in question to law enforcement; this can end up inadvertently hurting a case rather than helping it. There are undoubtedly many important things happening at once when charges are made, but the first thing that should be done is to find legal counsel. Early attorney representation allows clients to first explain everything in confidence to their own attorney, who can then take over any communication with the prosecutor and the court: most criminal defense attorneys would stress that the outcome of the case may very well depend on early attorney representation.

In many cases attorneys can negotiate a dismissal before charges are actually filed. Any negotiating prior to authorization of charges, plea bargaining, or other discussion about dropping or lessening charges is more likely to happen in the early stages of a case rather than after charges have been finalized. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know if they can negotiate with the prosecutor and will know how to proceed from that point.
It is essential for clients to completely trust the lawyer that is chosen, follow whatever instructions have been given, and do nothing more. Some parts of the legal process happen quickly while other parts don’t seem to be happening quickly enough, which may be a serious stress factor for individuals facing serious legal repercussions. Confidential questions and concerns can and should be made only to the defendant’s attorney so they can handle the case and achieve the best possible outcome.

Whether or not the charges against you have any merit, the justice system does not allow for any mistakes on behalf of the defense. Paper work is extensive, pleadings and court trials are extremely complex and any simple mistake by the individual can lead to dire consequences.
Unless the accused has legal counsel for their defense they are left completely on their own to navigate through this complicated process brought on by a criminal charge. 

When it comes to criminal law cases, an experienced and effective criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between a prison sentence and reduced or dismissed charges. The lawyers of Parnham & Associates are dedicated to defending the rights of the accused and our criminal defense attorneys are committed to the presumption of innocence. Even in less serious cases, a good criminal defense attorney can make a serious impact on the outcome of the case by ensuring that the rights of the accused are protected throughout the legal process. For these and other reasons, it is vital that those accused of a crime select the most competent, experienced and effective attorney available.

Aug 14, 2015

Simple Assault and Imminent Threat

Simple assault consists of intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person; intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily injury, or intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another that the offender knows or reasonably should know the victim will find provocative or offensive.
Simple assault involves only minor bodily injury like a cut, scrape, or bruise. In fact, assault does not even require actual physical contact with another individual: simply threatening another person with violence may be considered assault if that person has a reasonable fear that the act will be committed.
Words alone, no matter how insulting or provocative, do not justify an assault or battery against the person who utters the words.

If you do not directly suffer pain, illness or impairment by the contact but the contact is still offensive or unwelcome then an assault claim could still be brought for offensive contact. These types of claims normally include sexual assault, in which the harm is emotional or mental rather than physical. A sexual assault does not have to result in a bodily injury. The elements of this assault claim require that;
  • The defendant acted intentionally or knowingly; 
  • The defendant made contact with plaintiff’s person; 
  • The defendant knew or reasonably should have believed plaintiff would regard the contact as offensive or provocative; and 
  • The defendant’s contact caused injury to plaintiff.
An offensive contact assault claim requires the defendant to know or be expected to know that the contact would be considered offensive; a person acting carelessly may touch another person offensively, but unless they intended to offend the victim or acted with reasonable certainty that they would offend another person there is no assault.

An assault brought for a threat of bodily injury does not require physical contact, but a plaintiff still must prove a specific type of threat was intentionally made and that the threat had an effect on the plaintiff. 
A threat of bodily injury is a declaration of intent to inflict punishment, loss, or pain on another person and has to be a threat of imminent harm; the threat has to be of a present harm rather than "future" harm. 

The plaintiff must prove that any injury caused by the threat was foreseeable: minimum injury for this type of claim is that the plaintiff was apprehensive. The plaintiff then must show that they were apprehensive and that it was foreseeable that she would be apprehensive.Texas courts have ruled that a plaintiff does not even need to prove fear, just apprehension about the threat.

For more information please visit

Aug 7, 2015

Use of Mental Health Evidence When the Insanity Defense is not Relied Upon

The state of Texas does not recognize diminished capacity as an affirmative defense in cases not based on an actual Insanity Defense. Despite this, there is a line of cases that suggest that mental illness can be used to defeat the proof of the allegation of the prosecution in the particular offense. The Judge has discretion to allow this evidence, and Code Crim. Proc. art. 38.36(a) provides that  "In all prosecutions for murder, the state or the defendant shall be permitted to offer testimony as to all relevant facts and circumstances surrounding the killing and the previous relationship existing between the accused and the deceased, together with all relevant facts and circumstances going to show the condition of the mind of the accused at the time of the offense."

For more information on mental health and Insanity Defense visit If you have been accused of a crime, please contact us today at (713) 224 - 3967 for a free consultation.