Criminal Law FAQs


Do I really need a lawyer for my criminal case?

Yes. You really do. Simply by being accused of a crime places you at greater risk for spending time in prison or jail. And you do not want to find yourself lost and alone in the Texas criminal justice system. It can be just as cold, harsh, and unforgiving as for those lost in the wilderness. The old saying that one who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer is certainly true. It is risky to represent yourself. You place yourself at the mercy of prosecutors who can take advantage of you, even if you have no criminal record, and overburden you with a punishment much more harsh than usual.

What should I look for in hiring a criminal defense attorney?

Choosing a criminal defense attorney to represent you or a loved one is a huge decision. The outcome of your case can highly depend on the experience, expertise, and reputation of the criminal defense lawyer you hire. It is important you hire the right one.

Experience. You need a lawyer with significant experience in the area of law where your problem lies. If you or a loved one are charged with a crime, you need a lawyer experienced in criminal law.

Expertise. Criminal law is a specialized area of law that follows different procedures and rules. Few lawyers specialize in this area of law. Many lawyers are general practitioners, so-called “jacks of all trade,” that practice many different areas of law yet lack significant experience in any one area.

Reputation. Lawyers that have a reputation for winning cases at trial generally obtain better results for their clients than lawyers that do not fight cases at trial. Does the lawyer genuinely care for his clients? What do other lawyers think of him or her? Has the lawyer ever been sanctioned for misconduct? Answers to these questions can be found at and

At James G. Sullivan & Associates, our Houston trial lawyers are experienced in criminal law. Our lawyers have fought and won felony and misdemeanor jury trials in criminal court. They have handled thousands of criminal cases. James Sullivan has practiced criminal law since 1994, and Nancy Botts since 1988. Sullivan graduated from The Trial Lawyers College, the most selective and prestigious trial advocacy program in America.

When should I hire an attorney?

It is smart to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Lawyers can take steps to put their clients in a better position to get a case dismissed or to negotiate a plea before trial begins. Seasoned criminal trial attorneys know how to conduct a thorough investigation of the criminal issue and can present evidence supporting your case.

When you retain our firm, we will start working on your legal matter promptly so that your legal concern can be resolved quickly.

How much does it cost to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Harris County?

Legal fees are also an important consideration in selecting a lawyer, but do you really want the cheapest criminal defense lawyer when your freedom and reputation are at stake? The old saying you get what you pay for is most certainly true when it comes to legal fees. Quality and effective representation is what you deserve and hope to find, and that representation ought to come at a fair price.

At James G. Sullivan & Associates, we aim to provide quality and effective representation at a reasonable cost.

Do I have to appear in court?

Yes. If you have an order to appear in court and you fail to make it, your bond could be revoked, and you could go to jail. It is wise to arrange for child care and time off from work for your court date so that you can appear.

Note: During the pandemic, you may have the option to appear in court remotely via Zoom. You should contact the court or your attorney in advance to find out.

Should I stop smoking marijuana after an arrest?

Yes. If you are released on bond, you should follow the court-ordered terms of your release. Engaging in unlawful activity, such as smoking marijuana or using other illegal narcotics, may violate these terms. You could go back to jail for committing a crime while awaiting your trial.

Isn’t it cheaper to pay the fine and accept the punishment than fight minor charges?

No, not in the long way. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor shoplifting or an assault causing bodily injury, pleading guilty to these offenses and other misdemeanors can have expensive, long-term consequences. Misdemeanor theft or assault convictions are recorded on your permanent criminal record, which potential employers or landlords can access through background checks. Even a misdemeanor charge can cost you a potential job, career choice, or housing option. Over a lifetime, the potential loss of higher income for not being able to pursue a more lucrative career path or the cost of having to pay higher interest rates for auto and home loans can be staggering.

Contact James G. Sullivan & Associates to consult with experienced Houston Criminal Lawyers at (281) 546-6428.

Our Houston criminal lawyers defend clients charged with crimes in district courts and county criminal courts, including domestic violence (assault of a family member), drug possession or drug delivery, violent crimes, and juvenile delinquency.