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The Keates Law Firm is located in downtown Austin Texas, and represents young adults and students who are experiencing the legal systems for the first or second time. We focus on first time offenders or students who have unfortunately been arrested on one of the typical student and young adult crimes: Possession of Marijuana (POM), thefts, and alcohol offenses.
Our Goals.The Keates Law Firm offer a guiding hand and serious representation, all tailored toward one goal: to keep your record clean. We strive to keep first time offenders that way -- with no criminal convictions on their record.
Keeping your Record Clean.In Texas, there is no right to an Expunction (clearing your record) after a conviction*. Because of that, it is important to avoid a conviction at all costs; once you have a conviction on your record, the criminal offense will show up for background checks -- if you're applying for jobs, rental housing, student financial aid, and more.
Student Discount and Payment Plans.The Keates Law Firm offers affordable rates along with Payment Plans, Student and First Time Offender Discounts, and low deposits to get the case started. Typically half of the legal fee is due before any work begins, with the rest of the fee spread out over a monthly payment plan. We do not charge any interest for the payment plans. Payments can be made in person, by mail with check or money order, or online with credit and debit card.
How Much Can I Expect to Save with a Student Discount?It varys, depending on the case, but typically students with current student IDs from UT, Texas State, St. Edwards, or ACC, students and first time offenders can save up to $250 off legal fees.
Where do you Practice?We handle all criminal defense cases in Austin, Travis County, and take a small number of DWI, Marijuana, and Underage Drinking cases in San Marcos, Hays County, Texas.
Possession of Marijuana Defense, POM, Paraphrenalia, Delivery of Marijuana...
Possession of Controlled Substance, POCS, Delivery, Manufacturing, Dangerous Drugs...
Theft, Shoplifting, Theft by Check, Burglary, UUMV, Robbery, Theft of Service...
DWI, Driving While Intoxicated, DWI2, DWI3, Public Intoxication, Open Container...
DWLI, DWLS, Driving While License Suspended, Invalid, Occupational Licenses...
Assault, Aggravated Assault, Family Assault, Assault Family Violence, Weapons, Robbery...
Expunctions, Expungement, Motions for Nondisclosure, Juvenile Sealing of Records...
Minor in Possession, Consumption, Public Intoxication, MIP, MIC, Misrepresentation...
Trespassing, Vandalism, Evading Arrest, Computer Crimes, Probation Revocations...
Possession of Marijuana - POM Arrests
Possession of Marijuana arrests, tickets, and offenses are typically Class B Misdemeanors in Austin and Travis County Texas. If the amount of marijuana possessed is less than 4 ounces, but more than 2 oz, then the possession of marijuana becomes a Class A Misdemeanor, which is more severe in two ways: the maximum jail time increases from 6 month to 12 months, and the potential fines double, maxing out at $4,000.
Defenses Against POM: Often the main defense against a possession of marijuana offense. First, the search must be legal. In other words, the officer must have found the marijuana through legal means, using probable cause, or reasonable suspicion which then leads to probable cause to search.
Of course, for first time offenders and students, even if the search is legal, is to negotiate through plea bargaining and obtain a reduction in the POM charge, or a dismissal of the marijuana ticket. Keates Law Firm has had great success is Travis County having cases dismissed through negotiations, whether the POM is dismissed via Deferred Prosecution, Deferred Disposition and Reduction, or Deferred Adjudication.
The most typical POM case is where an officer pulls over a person while driving, for a traffic violation. The officer then smells marijuana in the car, giving rise to probable cause to search. Once the marijuana is seized, the person is either taken to jail or issued a Citation to Appear in Court for the POM ticket.
If the marijuana is found within a park or school zone, then, regardless of the amount, it is a Class A Misdemeanor. If over 4 ounces, the marijuana will be charged as an enchanced felony.
Lastly, a POM Conviction will result in a 6 month driver's license suspension, and the person will be required to take the 15 hour Drug Education Program (DOEP) before being eligible to reinstate their license in the future.
Theft and Shoplifting Arrests
Theft Arrests and Shoplifting Offenses, even at the Class C level, can have a devastating effect on person's life. Theft is considered a Crime of Moral Turpitude, and is one of the first offenses to show up (and remain) on a criminal background check.
Often times, a Theft offense on a criminal offense history report is a huge concern to potential employers, landlords, student loans, and even mortage companies. Because of the nature of a Theft offense, many employers will not hire a person convicted of theft, claiming they would not be able to trust the person.
Those concerns, and many more, are the reasons why a Theft arrest or Shoplifting charge should be handled properly the first time.
There are many types of Thefts, including Hot Checks, Theft by Check, Shoplifting, Credit Card and Debit Abuse, Retail Theft, and Theft of Property.
One of the major methods by which a person is arrested for Theft is from Shoplifting from a retail store. Most large chains, including Walmart and Target, have sophisticated multi-angle video cameras setup to catch people in the act of stealing. Those cases can be difficult because the evidence is videotaped.
Thefts can range from Class A, Class B, Class C Misdemeanor, all the way to State Jail Felony, 3rd Degree Felony, and higher. Outcomes differ based on each Theft case, but typically there is community service, fines, fees, possibly probation and possibly jail time.
Another common Theft scenario is where a stolen item is pawned at the pawn shop. The pawn shop enters the serial number or description into a database, which is searchable by police. When a stolen item is found on the database, officers check who sold it, and charge that peson with Theft.
Driving on Suspended License - DWLS
Driving on a Suspended License, also known as Driving While License Invalid, (DWLI/DWLS) is an offense where a person drives at a time when their license is suspended or invalid.
Typically, the offense is charged as a Class C or Class B misdemeanor, depending on the original reason for the suspension, or if the person has prior DWLI/DWLS tickets.
Many people view Driving with a Suspended License as merely a traffic ticket, but the DWLI offense has far more consequences than a ticket.
For starters, a there are two additional suspensions a person will receive when arrested or tickets on a Driving with a Suspended License charge. First, DPS will issue an Administrative suspension of up to two years based merely on the fact they believe you were driving, when your license was invalid. They will mail out a notice of hearing, available if you return the notice asking for a hearing. You have 10 or 15 days to reply, otherwise the hearing is waived.
Second, if the DWLI ticket is paid, a conviction suspension will also be issued, up to two years. If you don'thave a license to begin with, DPS will suspend your ability to get a driver's license, meaning the person will not be eligible to obtain the license until the suspension periods have passed.
The Keates Law Firm has had success in Austin getting DWLI and DWLS tickets dismissed,by getting your license valid or legal again. If your suspension cannot be lifted, we obtain an Occupational License for you, so you can drive (up to two years) over the suspension, to work and other necessary destinations.
Driving with a Suspended License tickets and arrests can become a nightmarish cycle, where any new ticket can resuspend and add onto suspended periods, costing you thousands in tickets and surcharges. Let us help end that cycle, by getting you driving legally -- often within a week!
Public Intoxication PIPublic Intoxication, PI, also known as Drunk in Public, is a criminal offense that is onstly a Class C Misdemeanor, although it can be charged as a Class B Misdemeanor in certain circumstances.
Typically in Texas, a person merely needs to be a potential danger to themselves or another, due to being intoxicated, to be cited, ticketed, or arrested for PI. Public Intoxication is one of the rare statutes that allows an officer and a jury or Judge to predict the future in terms of potential harm or danger that may be possible, should the intoxicated person contiune without police intervention.
The majority of PI cases in Austin and Travis County occur on 6th street, where officers in growing numbers have been stationed to take a heavy handed approach to alcohol related activites. Law enforcement will cite the growing number of offenses for PI and DWI in the downtown 6th street area, however the growing number of cases has a strong correlation to the increase of officers in the area who have been trained to focus on alcohol crimes. As such, a high number of PI arrests on 6th street may be questionable, at best.
Another typical Public Intoxication offense is on campus, where student have parties in the dorms or residential housing. Officers and campus security may observe a person stumbling home or in the halls, or might even break up a keg party and arrest those present for PI.
Family Assault - Domestic Violence
Family Assault is essentially the same elements as a typical Assault or Aggravated Assault -- with one major difference: the people involved are in a dating relationship or related and living in the same house.
Family Assault is the term used for Domestic Violence in many other jurisdictions; an Assault on a Spouse or Family Member. In fact, many still call the assault Spousal Assault.
Family Assault and Family Violence cases can be either Misdemeanors or Felonies, and can be enhanced to a more serious offense if the defendant or accused has a prior assault on their record, or if there is strangulation. If the defendant or accused places his or her hands on the alleged victim's neck, and restricts breathing or air flow, the case is enhanced to a Third Degree Felony. At that point, it can be enhanced to a 2nd Degree Felony or higher based on prior record.
One of the main consequences -- aside from the typical possibilities of jail and probation, fines, and costs -- is the loss of Firearm Rights in Texas. Even at the Misdemeanor level, a conviction on a Family Assault case will lead to a loss of Firearm Rights, forever. Obviously, the same is true on a Felony as well.
There are ways to avoid a Conviction and the loss of rights, including the Right to a Firearm with a Family Violence case, but you'll need to take action quickly. Call us for a Consult.
Underage Drinking - MIP, MIC, Fake ID
Underage Alcohol offenses include Possession of Alcohol by a Minor, more frequently called Minor in Possession (MIP), Minor in Consumption (MIC), Open Containers, Fake ID, and DWI Minor/Underage Drinking DWI.
Most common is the underage minor, under 21 years of age, caught with either unopened alcohol (such as a six pack of beer), or caught after consuming some of the alcohol. If it's merely possession, the the offense is Minor in Possession of Alcohol, or MIP for short. Conversely, if the person drank some of the alcohol, then it's a MIC, or Minor in Consumption.
Sometimes, depending on the officer and the area, a minor will be charged with Public Intoxication, or PI. Although Public Intoxication is also an adult crime, the same rules for underage drinking apply.
Underage Alcohol offenses are slightly different in procedure than adult cases. First, a minor will lose their driver's license upon conviction of the underage drinking offense. Second, the minor will be required to take an Underage Drinking Education Course, mandated by the State of Texas, before being eligible for their Driver's License to be reinstated.
Also, if the minor remains free of any other arrests until their 21st birthday, they can have the underage offense expunged, even if convicted. If Dismissed, then the Expunction can proceed under normal Expunction procedures.
Law Office of Robert Keates - Austin Texas Firm offering Student Discounts and Payment Plans