Non-Disclosures

Clearing Criminal Records in Houston, Texas

Don’t let your past haunt you when you are legally entitled to a clean slate. A criminal history can hurt your ability to get employment, to secure housing, and much more. A criminal history makes each subsequent brush with the law much more severe. A criminal history can even interfere with property rights or parental rights.

Even if you aren’t entitled to a full expunction, petitioning for non-disclosure can still help shield you from the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. Petitions for non-disclosure allow an attorney to seal their clients’ records from the public view. This means that, if you are not expunction-eligible but you have successfully completed a deferred adjudication on a misdemeanor or a felony, there is still a remedy available to you. Petitioning for non-disclosure will restrict the availability of criminal records to anyone outside of law enforcement.

To determine whether you are eligible for a petition of non-disclosure, contact The Shellist Law Firm for a confidential consultation. Steve Shellist has years of experience navigating his clients through this process.

Expunctions

Clearing Criminal Records in Houston, Texas

Don’t let your past haunt you when you are legally entitled to a clean slate. A criminal history can hurt your ability to get employment, to secure housing, and much more. A criminal history makes each subsequent brush with the law much more severe. A criminal history can even interfere with property rights or parental rights.

An expunction is an opportunity for offenders to clear their records. Whether or not, and when, an individual qualifies to have his criminal history expunged is a complex procedural issue. Expunctions were originally created to allow individuals who were wrongfully arrested and accused of crimes to remove any evidence of the initial arrest from the State’s records. In recent years, the laws concerning expunction eligibility have evolved. Not everyone is entitled to petitioning the court to expunge their criminal record.

To determine whether you are eligible to have your criminal history expunged, contact The Shellist Law Firm for a confidential consultation. Steve Shellist has years of experience navigating his clients through the elaborate expunction process.

Exp-unction – A legal process allowing you to erase your entire criminal record or a particular criminal charge from your record.

Petitions for non-disclosure – A process, not as complete as exp-unction, available to people seeking to seal their record from public view.

Sealing of Juvenile Records – A process to clear up any prior interactions with the juvenile justice system.

Juvenile Offenses

Defending Juveniles Throughout Texas

Juvenile offenses can arise out of the same criminal conduct, and result in the same criminal charges, that individuals would face  in the adult criminal justice system as well. However, the juvenile justice system is markedly different. Moreover, juvenile offenders facing criminal charges are even more vulnerable to the collateral consequences of convictions. Young offenders risk ruining their future if they ultimately receive criminal convictions that they cannot remove from their records. These blemishes on their criminal history can prohibit juveniles from employment, educational, and even housing opportunities.

There are many potential pitfalls that young offenders face when charged with juvenile offenses. Alarmingly, the State can move to certify juvenile offenders as adults for a broad range of offenses. This prohibits young offenders from ever sealing their juvenile criminal records and moving on from their past conduct.

Some of the common juvenile offenses relate to conduct involving:

  • Criminal trespass and burglary
  • Assault cases
  • Weapons charges
  • Marijuana possession and drug charges

In order to protect young offenders from the harsh consequences of the criminal justice system, it is imperative to secure aggressive, skilled criminal defense. Steve Shellist has years of experience shielding young clients from the devastating effects of a criminal record. The team at The Shellist Law Firm has enabled young clients to walk away from brushes with the law with their clean criminal histories—and thus their futures—intact.

Every year nearly 130,000 children enter into the Texas juvenile justice system. Do not let your child be the one who falls through the cracks. If you or a loved one is facing charges within the juvenile justice system, contact The Shellist Law Firm for a confidential consultation.

Online Solicitation

Hire a Lawyer to Defend Your Freedom

Online solicitation is a relatively new penal offense; however, this crime is increasingly common in felony prosecutions, and individuals charged with these allegations face devastating legal consequences.  This Internet crime is guaranteed to garner harsh media coverage and a severe prosecutorial attack. Online solicitation charges are brought against offenders who communicate in a sexually explicit manner or distribute sexually explicit material to a minor using the Internet.

Individuals convicted of this offense not only face prison time and steep fines; they also may have to register as a sex offender long after they are released from custody. A mere allegation of online solicitation will have devastating consequences on the life and reputation of an accused, regardless of whether a jury ultimately delivers a conviction. Even in the face of total acquittal, these charges will haunt those accused of this particular crime.

Unfortunately, many individuals facing online solicitation charges are contacted by law enforcement agents, and these individuals ultimately dig their own graves in an attempt to appease the State. The best way to protect yourself against the potential pitfalls of an  online solicitation conviction is to get the best criminal defense team possible on your side. The worst way to protect against these charges is by cooperating with law enforcement.

When you’re facing charges like these, you need an aggressive, experienced trial attorney on your team. Do not let fear or embarrassment prevent you from reaching out and arming yourself with a skilled legal team.  Your reputation and your freedom depend on it.

Weapons charge in Houston

Weapons Offense

Defending Texans Against Weapons Charges

The laws surrounding weapons possession in Texas are complex and constantly subject to change. The governing statutes seem to change with each new legislative session. Knowing the difference between legal and illegal weapons possession can make all the difference when it comes to facing serious criminal charges.

Steve Shellist has represented individuals facing weapons offense charges for a wide range of conduct.  Although weapons offenses can arise out of numerous different circumstances, the team at The Shellist Law Firm knows all weapons offenses have one thing in common: to beat them, you need an aggressive defensive strategy and years of trial experience.

The Shellist Law Firm has represented clients facing the following charges:

  • Unlawfully carrying a weapon
  • An alien possessing a firearm
  • Felon in possession of a firearm
  • Possession of an illegal firearm
  • Violating a concealed carry statute
  • Weapons trafficking
  • Brandishing or discharging a firearm

weapons-offense-houston

Laws involving lawful weapons possession are always in flux. Within the past few years, the Texas Legislature has made substantial changes to the manner and means in which a person can lawfully carry a firearm. This includes (but is not limited to) how Texans can carry weapons in their cars, what qualifies a “prohibited” weapon, and when an individual must retreat prior to using deadly force in self-defense.

Despite these frequent changes to the law, Texas still holds its citizens to these new statutes. If you fail to conform your conduct to the new legislation, ignorance of the law is never a defense.

In order to successfully defeat these serious allegations, you’ll need an aggressive defensive strategy and a team of attorneys with years of trial experience. If you are facing charges for weapons offenses, contact The Shellist Law Firm for a confidential consultation.

Child Abuse

Defense against Child Abuse Charges in Texas

Parents, grandparents, and childcare providers like babysitters, day care workers, and teachers can all face serious allegations of child abuse. A conviction based off of these allegations will have devastating consequences, including prison time, heavy fines, lost employment, and even the loss of custodial rights.

Child abuse charges are unique in two respects: first, charges can be pressed based on no evidence apart from

the word of a child. Second, numerous individuals are state-mandated reporters, meaning that if they even suspect an instance of child abuse, they are required to report it to law enforcement agencies. This often means that innocent people face serious criminal allegations.

Individuals suspected these charges are often contacted by Child Protective Services (CPS) before charges are actually filed. CPS will investigate allegations, and these investigations often lead to serious criminal prosecution. Anyone under investigation for child abuse allegations should act as if charges have already been brought, and seek the advice of a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney.

Steve Shellist is no stranger to defending individuals against child abuse charges. The team at the Shellist Law Firm has successfully cleared their clients of the following allegations:

  • Child neglect
  • Child abandonment
  • DWI with a child in the car
  • Child molestation
  • Sexual assault of a child
  • Aggravated sexual assault of a child

For a confidential consultation, contact The Shellist Law Firm to secure your aggressive criminal defense.

Family Violence

Domestic Violence Cases In Houston

Texas is tough on family violence crimes. From investigation to arrest to the ultimate disposition of a charge, the State treats these allegations differently: if police are called out to a domestic disturbance, there will likely be an arrest made, even when neither partner wants to press charges. Even when an alleged victim asks the State to drop charges, the State can ignore the victim and press on with their case.

Family violence crimes are not restricted to altercations between blood relatives, either. They apply not just to spouses and siblings, but to dating partners, and even roommates as well.

Even when the conduct charged would otherwise qualify as a misdemeanor offense, family violence cases are often filed as felony charges. If there has been any history of family violence in the past, the State takes an even more hard line approach.  Convictions for these offenses carry burdensome consequences. Those convicted cannot possess a firearm. Those convicted can be stripped of their custodial rights. Sometimes those convicted are forbidden from returning to their domestic residence. Some are forbidden from ever speaking to or seeing the alleged victim ever again.

The State of Texas could charge someone with a family violence offense for a broad range of conduct. The legal team at the Shellist Law Firm has cleared clients of the following allegations:

  • Hurt their spouse, family member, or someone they were dating
  • Violated a restraining order or protective order
  • Engaged in “stalking”
  • Interfered with an emergency telephone call
  • Should have provided aid to a hurt family member but failed to do so

Family violence charges are complex, and beating these charges requires an understanding of the domestic dynamics that culminated in the allegations of abuse. Because these charges are so serious, and because the consequences of a conviction are so severe, individuals facing these allegations should seek out an aggressive, skilled trial attorney to best shield themselves against the State’s charges.

Assaultive Offenses

Defending People against Assault Charges in Texas

Just as an assault charge can arise out of a variety of circumstances, there is a wide range of charges that the State can press against individuals caught in the middle of a dispute. Whether a fight breaks out between strangers, acquaintances, or even members of the same household, a formidable defense against an assault charge requires an aggressive, skilled trial attorney. Police officers rarely witness these fights first-hand. Since they show up after the fact, they have to rely on often unreliable eyewitness testimony when they make the decision to arrest someone. Individuals facing assault allegations should seek legal counsel to prepare a defensive strategy and to protect themselves from making inadvertent incriminating statements to law enforcement.

Assaultive offenses range from simple misdemeanors to felony charges alleging deadly conduct. Our law office has shielded clients from the following charges:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Intoxication assault
  • Injury to a child
  • Injury to the elderly
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawful restraint
  • Class A assault
  • Class C assault

Sexual Offenses

Representing People Facing Sexual Offense Charges

Sexual offenses constitute some of the most serious, harrowing allegations that an individual could face. Unlike other serious crimes, even murder, sexual offenses require the accused to register for life as a sex offender, even after the entire length of the prison sentence has been served. Sex offender registration ensures that, even after their release from custody, individuals with these convictions will nevertheless be imprisoned by their past allegations forever. Moreover, most District Attorney’s Offices won’t even offer a plea agreement that does not include a minimum amount of jail time.

In order for the State to convict an individual of a sex crime, all the State needs is the adverse testimony of one lone witness. No other serious felony offenses could be predicated on such a paucity of evidence. The dismal reality is that both children and adults are capable of making false allegations of sexual offenses against otherwise innocent individuals. Unfortunately, this is all the State needs in order to move forward with charging someone with a sexual offense. With sexual offenses, a single outcry is enough to ensure decades in prison and a lifetime of sexual offender registration.

An individual facing a sex crime allegation faces decades in prison, lifelong sex offender registration, and total alienation from friends and family. Hiring a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney can make the difference between that harrowing fate, or walking away cleared of  these drastic charges.

Sexual offenses include:

  • Improper relationship between teacher and student
  • Prostitution and solicitation
  • Sexually oriented business violations
  • Public lewdness
  • Indecent exposure
  • Online solicitation
  • Sexual offender registry issues
  • Sexual assault (rape) and aggravated sexual assault
  • Indecency with a child
  • Sexual assault of a child and aggravated sexual assault of a child

As a former Assistant District Attorney, Steve Shellist understands that the State will try to use deceitful tactics to obtain incriminating information against people charged with sexual offenses. . Many people who face these charges want to do whatever they can to comply with law enforcement to put these serious allegations to rest. They mistakenly talk to police, hoping that they can cut a deal. The team at the Shellist Law Firm knows how to protect clients from invasive law enforcement officials. With our experience, skill, and dedication, our firm has a unique insight into how sexual offenses are handled.

Drug Offenses

Defending People Accused of Drug Crimes in Texas

As the national conversation about controlled substances continues to evolve, one thing remains the same: drug-based criminal offenses in the State of Texas are serious allegations that warrant a seriously aggressive criminal defense team.

As a former prosecutor, Steve Shellist realizes that even the most simple, straightforward drug charge often involves complex issues. These complexities include the constitutionality and legality of searches and seizures; to high-level scientific drug analysis, to undermining unreliable eyewitness testimony.

Law enforcement agencies in Texas are serious about cracking down on drug offenses. The team at the Shellist Law Firm has over a decade of experience defending clients against the following accusations:

  • Manufacturing of a controlled substance
  • Possessing a controlled substance (with or without the intent to deliver)
  • Delivering or transporting of a controlled substance
  • Possessing or delivering of drug paraphernalia
  • Drug trafficking and conspiracy
  • Prescription drug fraud
  • Money laundering

The possible defenses to drug-related allegations are as varied as the offenses themselves. Our team of attorneys will fight zealously for a dismissal based on legal grounds, advocate aggressively for our clients’ innocence at trial, or even use the resources of the State to help clients combat issues with addiction. Whatever the case may be, the Shellist Law Firm has the experience and skill necessary to help their clients move past their drug charges and move forward with a bright, healthy future.

Federal Defense

Federal charges involve serious allegations, and individuals facing federal charges need a serious team of attorneys  to help launch their defense. The team at the Shellist Law Firm has the experience and the skills necessary to represent clients facing complex federal cases. Federal cases can include “white collar” allegations, like healthcare or mortgage fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, and many others. They also range from racketeering, drug trafficking, illegal re-entry, weapons trafficking, human trafficking, sex crimes, child pornography, and many others.

As a former Assistant District Attorney, Steve Shellist knows that federal criminal charges necessitate a serious, aggressive defense.  These charges follow months, if not years, of intense investigation, where federal agents compile incriminating evidence for prosecutors who will seek federal indictments.

Whether you are facing RICO charges, white collar accusations, alien-based offenses, or drug trafficking allegations, the team at the Shellist Law Firm possesses the skill and experience needed to launch successful defenses against the most serious of federal charges.

Theft

Hire a team of lawyers to defend you against any theft related allegation.

Theft, Burglary, and Robbery are considered “crimes of moral turpitude,” which means that, unlike many other offenses, convictions for these charges will leave a permanent blemish on a criminal record.  From misdemeanor shoplifting offenses to felony thefts, anyone facing theft allegations will be severely limited in terms of professional opportunities: employers will view applicants with theft on their criminal record in the worst possible light. Burglary and robbery are even more severe. Burglary and Robbery are automatic felony offenses, and the punishment range is immense.

The team at the Shellist Law Firm has over a decade of experience handling theft crimes, including misdemeanor and felony theft, employee theft, credit card theft, robbery, burglary, forgery, and embezzlement.

As a former Assistant District Attorney, Steve Shellist understands that the State will try to use deceitful tactics to obtain incriminating information against people charged with theft, burglary, or robbery offenses. The team at the Shellist Law Firm knows how to protect clients from invasive law enforcement officials. If you are facing any one of these serious charges, contact our office to consult with a team of aggressive, experienced trial attorneys.

Fraud

Defense against State and Federal Fraud Allegations

Although fraud charges can be brought under a number of different statutes for a wide variety of criminal behaviors, they all have one thing in common:  a conviction for a fraud charge will leave an indelible blemish on a criminal record. The Shellist Law Firm has years of experience defending clients against wire and mail fraud, securities fraud, bank and check fraud, Medicaid and Medicare fraud, mortgage fraud, insurance fraud, identity theft, and corporate theft. Regardless of what type of charge, anyone facing fraud allegations will be severely limited in terms of professional opportunities: employers will view applicants with fraud on their criminal record in the worst possible light.

Unfortunately, many clients facing fraud charges are contacted by law enforcement agents and ultimately dig their own graves in an attempt to appease the State. The best way to protect yourself against the potential pitfalls of a fraud conviction is to get the best criminal defense team possible on your side. The worst way to protect against fraud charges is by cooperating with law enforcement.

As a former Assistant District Attorney, Steve Shellist understands that the State will try to use deceitful tactics to obtain incriminating information against people charged with fraud offenses. The team at the Shellist Law Firm knows how to protect clients from invasive law enforcement officials.

If you are facing fraud charges, Rather than jeopardizing your criminal record by talking with the police, call the Shellist Law Firm and speak with a team of aggressive attorneys who can protect you from the consequences of a fraud conviction.

Murder

Defending the Lives of People Charged with Murder

When a human life has been taken, another human life hangs in the balance of the criminal justice system. Steve Shellist has successfully represented clients facing homicide charges ranging from criminally negligent homicide, to manslaughter, to capital murder. He has the experience and skill needed in order to effectively advocate on behalf of clients facing the most serious criminal charges.

Murder convictions not only strip clients of their freedom—in capital murder cases, a client’s life is literally on the line. Whether or not the State seeks the death penalty, capital murder cases require attorneys with extensive trial experience, as well as attorneys with specific investigation and mitigation experience.

Individuals facing charges resulting from a homicide need the best team they can find to fight for their freedom. The Shellist Law Firm will develop an aggressive strategy to protect their clients facing most serious criminal charges that exist. In the face of capital murder, murder, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide charges, contact the Shellist Law Firm to secure an aggressive, experienced team of attorneys.

 

DWI

Houston DWI Attorneys

Individuals charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and other alcohol-related offenses are facing a serious legal challenge. The potential consequences of a DWI conviction or other alcohol-related conviction are far-reaching, and can affect employment opportunities, driving freedoms, and insurance rates. Moreover, while some other offenses will still allow an individual to seal their criminal record, a DWI conviction will remain on a criminal record forever. This will affect any subsequent criminal charges clients could face in the future: one DWI conviction will ensure that any subsequent DWI arrest is accompanied by far more severe punishment.

There are several stages to a DWI investigation, and the charge is multifaceted and complex. Attorneys at the Shellist Law Firm know how to critically dissect the State’s DWI cases against their clients. Whether it’s shielding clients from license suspension, guiding their clients through pretrial diversion, or aggressively advocating for their clients in front of a jury, Steve Shellist and his team have the experience and grit to combat even the most flagrant of DWI or other alcohol-related offenses.

High Profile Cases

Serious accusations will attract serious media attention. High profile clients who are serious about their defense should look to Steve Shellist for representation. His trial skills and defensive strategies make Steve Shellist an asset to any client, and Steve is no stranger to high profile criminal cases.  He fights tirelessly, both during the investigation stage and after charges have been filed. The earlier Steve gets involved, the better the results will be for his clients.

High profile clients include well-known public figures facing career-ending criminal charges. They also include clients who might not be public figures, but rather are thrust against their will into the media spotlight due to the notoriety of their crimes.

Attorneys at the Shellist Law Firm know how to use media attention to their clients’ best advantages. Sometimes that means shielding their clients from the brunt of slanted media coverage. Sometimes this entails working with reporters to tackle media bias head on and get the full story out in the press. In either case, Steve Shellist and his team know how to use media coverage to propel their defensive strategy.

With his years of experience dealing with high profile criminal cases, Steve Shellist understands that all clients fear having their reputation smeared in the press. And although some attorneys will use high profile cases to get their own media coverage, the Shellist Law Firm will always put their clients’ interests first.

If you are facing high profile criminal charges, or if you are a public figure in need of competent, confidential counsel, contact the Shellist Law Firm for assistance.