Law Firm

Located in Houston, Texas
Having 20 Years of Criminal Defense Experience

(832) 220-5062

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Statue Of Lady Justice

How Criminal Cases Work

Learn more about how criminal cases work and how my qualified Law Firm can help you. Estes-Hightower PLLC is based in the Houston, Texas, area.

The Legal Process of Criminal Law

For 20 years, I have represented persons with current criminal cases and post-conviction (also post-adjudication) cases. Experience has taught me that rushing criminal-related cases is not beneficial to those who have been accused and to those still seeking relief from sentences or collateral issues stemming from the underlying crime (i.e., the sex offender registry to probation violations). I distinguish this from a defendant's right to a speedy trial. Right to a speedy trial has more to do with not allowing the steps between indictment and trial delay to the detriment of the case and party. However, most rushed cases result in ill-advised plea bargains. Taking time to see how the evidence develops is important.

I follow the evidence! The defendant has a right to know what he or she is accused of and all evidence associated with an allegation. Even at the onset of an arrest, the evidence must be gathered legally. If an arrest has not been made and a person believes he or she is being investigated, I can conduct my own investigation. At no time do I advocate speaking with law enforcement during an interrogation without the presence of an attorney. Speaking with an officer after being arrested is another stage of evidence gathering that can be used against the person arrested. Interrogation statements and responses are key, and they should not be rushed due to panic.

While being prosecuted, the defendant should make sure they are aware of the available and potential evidence in a case. I investigate crime scenes, I speak to potential witnesses, and I discover what evidence the prosecutor possesses.

When deciding how best to dispose of your case, whether by arguing for a dismissal, negotiating for a diversion program, entering into a plea bargain agreement, litigating the guilt-innocent phase of trial, or having a punishment hearing, one should always make sure they have knowingly pursued the best case possible.

Even after disposition, I assist post-conviction (post-adjudication) clients who have received motions to violate and revoke probations and paroles. Probation and parole violation cases often have an expedited process. Despite the quickness, I believe that one has the right to get all evidence and mount a defense.

Also, I file additional pleadings when I have grounds to believe constitutional and statutory rights are being violated. Whether during an existing criminal case or brought separately in a civil case, I have nearly 20 years of experience in State court, and I  have in recent years expanded into the Federal courts. I have brought challenges in the following areas: Due Process, Ex Post Facto, Free Speech, Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, and Unlawful Search and Seizure.

Bringing constitutional and statutory challenges, which are civil rights claims, requires many hours of research and drafting. So, rushing a constitutional and statutory claim is not prudent. Oftentimes, the facts are clear and straightforward; however, the law can be murky around the state and/or across the country.

In the end, I stand by this Firm's position to not rush cases, and yet to make sure my clients have all of the evidence. Informed decisions can make the difference in any case.


Projects Under Development

Prison Project — I receive countless requests from inmates seeking legal assistance. I am developing a low cost to no-cost program to facilitate legal assistance.

Lobbying — Policymakers need to hear the plights of my clients. I am developing programs to take my advocacy to the Legislature.

Negligence — Bringing negligence claims on behalf of post-conviction clients.

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