Frequently Asked Criminal Defense Questions and Video Answers

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Gary Churak's Answer

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Gary Churak's Answer

Gary Churak, San Antonio Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer answers your question. Click play.

Gary Churak's Answer

The bottom line, you’ve been charged with theft no matter where the case is pending, in municipal or JP court, or in the district court as a felony. It’s a very serious offense that if you’re not going to jail over can at least affect your ability to get employment, get apartments, to get loans, bank accounts. You need an experienced qualified criminal defense attorney to represent you on any case that you’re in charged with theft including any cases involving a NSF check, a hot check. Often, people write a check, transfer, or move, or something happens, and they forget about making a deposit, and the check sits there and have no clue that they even have a hot check out there until they’re arrested. Other situations involve people who for whatever reason have been subject to identity theft. I’ve had a number of cases where checkbooks have been stolen and thousands and tens of thousands of dollars of hot checks written on forged signature. Attorneys are important because theft is a serious matter.

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Under Texas law an indictment is the formal criminal charge of felony against a defendant. What happens is a grand jury, which is comprised of a group of citizens, will convene and hear a brief presentation by the district attorney, and the district attorney will ask for a true-bill of indictment. An indictment doesn’t mean you’re guilty. Basically what it means is that there is probable cause, there is a possibility this criminal case happened, and it should be moved to the court system. When someone is no-billed by the grand jury that basically means that there is no evidence whatsoever to support a charge against them.

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Gary Churak's Answer

Gary Churak, San Antonio Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer answers your question. Click play.

Gary Churak's Answer

Gary Churak, San Antonio Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer answers your question. Click play.

Gary Churak's Answer

Gary Churak, San Antonio Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer answers your question. Click play.

Gary Churak's Answer

Sure. Hot checks are notoriously persecuted by most district attorneys and county attorneys. Basically, the amount of the check determines the severity of the case. Often, hot checks writers have more than one check outstanding. What they do is they take you the accumulative amount of the checks, or they take one or two checks, and then file it. Hot checks are theft. My advice to individuals are, initially, they will receive a letter from the district attorney’s office or the county attorney’s office saying that they have these checks there and you need to pay them before we take criminal action. If there’s any way possible to work a deal to get these checks paid off, so the case is not filed against you, that’s what I’d recommend that you do. If by chance you can’t swing that, you can’t pay them all, then the next best thing is go get yourself a lawyer real quick because what the attorney can do is he can make arrangements to bond out of jail once you’re arrested. He can make arrangements to delay the case long enough, so you could pay the checks off. Often, I’ve been able to have cases delayed to the point where my clients had been able to pay the checks off, and then have the cases dismissed, so there would be no conviction or probation on their record which would mean that at a later date, you can come in and do an expunction of the charge.

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In Texas, the severity of the theft charge is based upon the amount of the item or money allegedly stolen. If it is under $50, it is a Class C misdemeanor subject by fine only and no jail time. If it is $50 to $500, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor with up to 6 months in jail. If it is over $500 but less than $1,500, it is a Class A misdemeanor subject to a potential jail term of 1 year. Over $1,500 to $20,000 is a state jail felony, $20,000 to a $100,000 is a third degree, and the severity of the theft case goes up as the amount in question rises. In addition, certain types of thefts automatically become felonies. If you were to use someone’s credit card, identity theft, it is a felony regardless of the amount of dollars alleged to may have been taken. As an example, if you take somebody’s credit card, unauthorized charge and buy a $500 item, it’s still a felony.

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Criminal Defense Lawyer San Antonio

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Gary Churak, San Antonio Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer answers your question. Click play.

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