Home


DJN886 The Austin Skyline in Austin, Texas, shines on a late afternoon. The iconic Austin highrises are reflected in Lady Bird Lake.

We’ve got you covered!

We handle all misdemeanors and felony-type cases. Below are a few common issues you may have questions about.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

What if I think I am not guilty?
Each person arrested for DWI has an absolute right to a trial. Many people arrested for DWI dispute the allegation. If the facts appear to be on your side, a prosecutor may offer to dismiss the case or reduce the case depending on the circumstances of the case.

What will my punishment be if I am guilty?
Each case is different and there is no practical way to give that information in this web page. However, for most first time routine DWI’s, probation is common. A first time DWI is punishable up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000.00 fine – HOWEVER you probabaly will not be assessed a 2000 dollar fine. Probation is available for most people. You should also know that starting September 1, 2003, if you are convicted of DWI, you must pay DPS $1000.00 per year for three years to keep your drivers license. The fee increases to $2000.00 if a breath test is .16 or higher. You should call us or consult your lawyer for more information.

This is my second DWI!
A second DWI is extremely different than a first DWI in many ways. The range of punishment changes dramatically as well as the policies of the prosecutors offices. Many Judges and Prosecutors insist on some jail time for this offense. By Law a person must serve some jail time if convicted. There are also more severe and harsh ramifications for your driver’s license. Please consult your lawyer or call us for an appointment for specific information.

Will I lose my Drivers license?
In Texas, the Department of Public Safety will suspend a driver’s license based upon the arrest, unless you request a hearing and prevail at that hearing. You have a right to contest the suspension at a hearing as long as you make a timely request as provided by law. The suspension is for a period of 90 days for a breath test failure or 180 for refusing to give a breath/blood specimen. In many cases a person may qualify for an occupational license in order to drive to and from work. The area of license suspension is complicated and you should consult an attorney or call us for an appointment.

What is an Occupational license?
An Occupational license is designed to allow a person to drive during certain times of the day even though his or her license has been suspended for some reason. It is generally for work related driving, ie.. to get to work and to get home. An Occupational license is not a right, it is discretionary. It is granted by a Judge in the County where you live or in the County where your suspension (event) occurred. Occupational license(s) are a generally available for persons whose license was suspended as a result of a DWI. Contact us for more information.

If my driver’s license is suspended how do I get it back?
You must go to the Department of Public Safety and get your license re-instated. There is a re-instatement fee that must be paid at DPS.

I am under 21, will I be treated differently?
Yes, a person under 21 arrested for DWI will be treated differently under the law. Most of the differences are in the area of your license. Driver’s license restrictions and suspensions are more severe for a person under 21 arrested and convicted of DWI. It is basically a zero tolerance area of the law.

Can a lawyer really make a difference?
Absolutely yes! There are many lawyers and not all of them may be best for your case. Many factors should be considered when hiring a lawyer, such as, experience, the number of trials he/she has had, were they a prosecutor before, did they receive some other exceptional experience, etc… For example, I (Tom O’Leary) worked as a prosecutor in Austin before becoming a defense lawyer. The experience gained as a result of working against the best lawyers in the city on a daily basis is phenomenal. It would be hard to duplicate that experience. Please call me for an appointment.
Click here to go to the top of the page.

Public Intoxication (PI)

Public Intoxication is a class “C” misdemeanor. You will be arrested for this offense. This type of case is common in Austin due to the 6th street area and the college aged population. Although it is punishable by only a fine, most people do not want to have a conviction and record for this type of matter.

If you have been arrested in Austin for Public Intoxication, you will probably be referred to the Austin Municipal Court or the Downtown Austin Community Court. We have had great succes helping our clients avoid convictions and subsequently erasing their records with an expunction.

Call us if you need representation for this type of case.
Click here to go to the top of the page.

Theft or Theft Ticket

Did you receive a ticket for shoplifting in Austin, by the APD?
We can help you. Theft is something you should avoid having on your record at all costs. Nothing follows you in your life as much as a theft record. It means an employer can deny you employment because of your record. It can be a harsh consequence for someone young who really did not understand the significance of a bad decision. It seems very common that people receive a shoplifting ticket due to shoplifting which occurred at Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, Academy, Dillard’s, etc…

Can this be dismissed? Can I avoid being convicted for this?
Yes, these types of cases can be dismissed and you can avoid a conviction. I have a record of getting these cases dismissed. Each case is different and no lawyer can make a guarantee, however, hiring a lawyer who has handled these cases for 23 years is helpful to get the case dismissed or avoid a conviction. I have had success over the past 23 years getting theft cases dismissed in return for counseling and other conditions of agreements with prosecutors.

My shoplifting ticket has a Court date, what is that about?
Your shoplifting ticket probably tells you to go to Travis County JP Five (5) at 9:00 AM about a month after you got the ticket. At JP Five (5), you will go through a booking and bond process and you will be magistrated by a Judge. After you walk through the booking and bond process you will be given a Court date about one month after your booking date. Getting a bond is not a guarantee, call Tom O’Leary for representation, I will help you through this process.

Theft by check?
Theft by check is a very common type of case. The fact that the case started because of a check issue does not mean it is any less serious than other types of theft cases. It can lead to a record for theft which is a serious matter. Depending on the amount and circumstances, most Counties and prosecutors are more interested in restitution than punishing a person who wrote the checks.

Employee theft?
Employee theft is a very common charge and each case is truly different depending on the severity of the charge. It is considered a more heinous crime because of the breach between the trust of the employee and employer. Most prosecutors will attempt to impose harsher penalties for employee theft.

What happens if I am convicted of theft?
A theft conviction is considered a crime of moral turpitude and it can effect job possibilities upon conviction. If you have ever filled out an employment application you may have noticed a question as to whether you have been convicted of a felony or any crime of moral turpitude. An employer can screen applicants based upon the answer to this question. Thus, there is a far reaching effect of a theft conviction.

Who knows what my record is?
Criminal records are maintained by the Department of Public Safety, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Neither of these agencies records are open to the public. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the County or District clerk’s office, or the Municipal Court where you were charged has a file concerning the incident. That record is open to the public. Anyone can ask to see that file and read the contents. Recently, new businesses like Publicdata.com have started to maintain private databases of Court records. Some employers use these businesses to investigate potential employees. You can have a record expunged under certain circumstances, please look at my section on expunctions for more information.
Click here to go to the top of the page.

Possession of Marijuana (POM)

Did you receive a ticket for possession of marijuana in Austin?
We can help you. Do not wait to contact a lawyer because the police officer let you go with a ticket. This is a serious matter, a class “A” or “B” misdemeanor. In 2009 the Austin Police Department and other police departments began issuing tickets instead of arresting you for possession of marijuana to help with jail over crowding. You will still go through the same Court proceedings as if you were arrested.

Can this be dismissed? Can I avoid being convicted for this?
Yes, these types of cases can be dismissed and I have a record of getting these cases dismissed. Getting a lawyer who has handled these cases for 25 years is helpful to get the case dismissed or avoid a conviction. I have had success over the past 23 years getting clients possession of marijuana cases dismissed in return for counseling and other conditions of agreements with prosecutors.

My POM ticket has a Court date, what is that about?
Your POM ticket probably tells you to go to Travis County JP Five (5) at 9:00 AM about a month after you got the ticket. At JP Five (5), you will go through a booking and bond process and you will be magistrated by a Judge. After you walk through the booking and bond process you will be given a Court date about two to three weeks after your booking date. Getting a bond is not a guarantee, call me for representation, I will help you through this process.

Can you lose your driver’s license over a POM ticket?
Yes, by law the Department of Public Safety is supposed to suspend the driver’s license of a person convicted of “Possession of Marijuana” and many other drugs. This is one reason that it is important to find an attorney who has years of experience and can successfully represent you without these types of penalties being imposed. WATCH OUT, Most lawyers will not tell you that your license can be suspended even if convicted of a class “C” possession of drug paraphernalia. Make sure you avoid these problems if possible. Make the right call, right now.

What are the fees?
Good legal help is not cheap. We charge flat fees and we can make payment arrangements. Contact us online for more information.
Click here to go to the top of the page.

Early Discharge from Probation

An early discharge from probation (or community supervision) is available for most types of probated cases. This law is applicable to Misdemeanors and Felonies. Even cases with a serious underlying offense can be eligible for an early discharge. The basic rule is that you can apply for an early discharge after two years or one-third of the time of your probation has passed (whichever is less). You should know that each judge has his or her specific issues when applying for an early discharge. That is, the law may allow you to ask for it, but it is not an automatic right.

You must hire an attorney to file the appropriate documents and set the case for a hearing. If the judge grants the request, your probation will be terminated and you will be released from further obligations.
Click here to go to the top of the page.

Sealing a Criminal Record

How do I seal deferred adjudication type probations?
The 2003 legislature enacted a law that allows people who have successfully completed a deferred adjudication probation to request that the Court enter an “Order of Non-disclosure”. This is designed to seal your deferred adjudication records from public view. Many people have the misconception that if they complete a deferred adjudication type probation, then their case is dismissed, and the records no longer exist. Unfortunately, completing a deferred adjudication does not mean that the records disappear. Thus, future employers can discover prior criminal conduct by simply searching for your name at the court house or municipal court. Most criminal cases are public information. The record of the arrest, the offense report, finger prints, case disposition, etc.. are still around unless you file for an “Order of Non-disclosure”.

The effect of an “Order of Non-disclosure” is far reaching. The public agencies that have the arrest and case information are ordered not to disclose the information to the general public. If you are a college student or a young professional who hopes to continue moving up, you should consider expunging your records. If you have served a deferred adjudication probation and would like to get your records sealed, e-mail or contact us for more information.

Who knows what my record is?
Criminal records are maintained by the Department of Public Safety, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Neither of these agencies records are open to the public. However, If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the County or District clerk’s office, or the Municipal Court where you were charged has a file concerning the incident. That record is open to the public. Anyone can ask to see that file and read the contents. Recently, new internet type businesses like Publicdata.com have started to maintain private databases of Court records. Some employers use these businesses to investigate potential employees.

When can I apply for an “Order of Non-disclosure”?
For some misdemeanors you can apply immediately upon termination of probation. For some felonies you must wait five years from the date of completing the community supervision / probation. You should also know that there is a short list of more serious type cases that do not permit an “Order of Non-disclosure”.
Click here to go to the top of the page.

Erasing a Criminal Record (Expunction)

How do I expunge or erase my record(s)?
You may be able to have your criminal records erased under certain circumstances. The process to erase criminal records is called an expunction. Many young professionals and college students have this done. Obviously, they do not want future or current employers to find out about any past legal problems if possible. The process is available for misdemeanor arrests that did not result in convictions or court ordered probations. For example, if you were arrested for DWI but eventually had the case dismissed, you can have the record expunged. Or, for example, you were arrested for Public Intoxication on 6th Street and arranged for the case to be dismissed. You can probably have the case expunged. Some felony arrests can be expunged but the law is more complicated as to when any felony may be expunged.

Many people have the misconception that if their case is dismissed, the records no longer exist. Unfortunately, getting the case dismissed does not mean that the records disappear. Thus, future employers can discover prior criminal conduct by simply searching for your name at the court house or municipal court. Most criminal cases are public information. The record of the arrest, the offense report, finger prints, case disposition, etc.. are still around unless you move to expunge the record. (note: in the Austin area, large companies such as Chip Manufacturers and Computer makers, routinely search for criminal records at the court house and use the information as a screening tool)

The effect of an Expunction is far reaching. The entire record, finger prints, booking photo, arrest report, and DPS record can be erased. It is as if the arrest never occurred. The law actually allows you to deny the event occurred! If you are a college student or a young professional who hopes to continue moving up, you should consider expunging your records. Call me or send me an email to find out more information concerning this process.

How do I seal deferred adjudication type probations?
The 2003 legislature has enacted a law that allows people who have successfully completed a deferred adjudication probation to request that the Court enter an “Order of Non-disclosure”. This is designed to seal your deferred adjudication records from public view. If you have served a deferred adjudication probation and would like to get your records sealed, contact us online for more information.
Click here to go to the top of the page.

Contact Tom O’Leary

The best way to contact us initially is by phone or e-mail — you may then decide to schedule an appointment. We are normally available from 9am – 5pm, Monday through Friday. If Tom is not available when you call, you can leave a voice mail with the answering service and he will get back to you as soon as he can.


Call to Action