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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Walker County Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses common cases

Walker County Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses common cases

**Interview with Lauren Fordyce: Navigating Criminal Law in Walker County**

*Brian:* Hey, welcome everybody! We've got a special guest today, Lauren Fordyce, a star attorney in Walker County specializing in criminal and family law. Lauren, how are you doing?

*Lauren:* I'm good, how are you?

*Brian:* I'm doing great! We're glad to have you on. Can you tell our audience a little bit about yourself? Where are you from, and how did you become a lawyer?

*Lauren:* Sure! I was born and raised in Huntsville, Texas, which is in Walker County. It's about halfway between Houston and Dallas, just an hour north of Houston. I went to Texas A&M University for undergrad and then attended South Texas College of Law for law school. After graduating, I became a prosecutor and recently switched to the criminal defense side at the beginning of this year.

*Brian:* So, you were a prosecutor in Walker County, which includes the Huntsville and Sam Houston State University areas. What kinds of crimes did you frequently encounter there?

*Lauren:* The three most common misdemeanor charges were minor in possession, possession of marijuana, and driving while intoxicated.

*Brian:* When dealing with clients, what are their general concerns when charged with these crimes?

*Lauren:* The biggest concern for everyone is having a final conviction on their record. Nobody wants that because it can have serious repercussions. Employers often check background records, and a final conviction will always show up. It's also important when applying to schools. For example, we have a client trying to get into PA school who has a final conviction, and we're working to help him overcome that hurdle.

*Brian:* That's crucial information. For those who might not know, what is a Class C offense?

*Lauren:* Misdemeanors are divided into three classes: Class A, Class B, and Class C, with Class C being the least severe. The punishment for a Class C offense typically involves a fine. However, paying the fine results in a conviction on your record. There are ways to avoid this, but that’s the general punishment range for a Class C misdemeanor.

*Brian:* Are these cases usually filed in the Huntsville Municipal Court or the JP courts?

*Lauren:* Some are filed in the Municipal Court, while others are handled by the four JP courts in Walker County. If you're outside the Municipal Court's jurisdiction, your case goes to a JP court. The Municipal Court prosecutors are attorneys from the private firm Haney Paschal & Romoser, whereas the DA’s office handles the Class C misdemeanors from the JP courts.

*Brian:* Does the involvement of a private firm as prosecutors affect how you handle cases?

*Lauren:* Not really. I've had good experiences with the Municipal Court prosecutors, and the offers are generally consistent whether they're from the private firm or the DA’s office. They're all reasonable and easy to work with.

*Brian:* What advice would you give clients to help get their cases dismissed?

*Lauren:* For alcohol-related offenses, taking an alcohol awareness class early on can be very helpful. It shows the prosecutor that you're taking the situation seriously and are proactive about resolving the case.

*Brian:* When you were a prosecutor, what did you look for from defense attorneys and defendants in misdemeanor cases?

*Lauren:* I liked to see that the defendant was a productive member of society, whether they were in school or working, and that they were taking steps like completing a class. This demonstrated seriousness in resolving the case without a final conviction.

*Brian:* Did the behavior of defense attorneys influence your decisions?

*Lauren:* Yes, it made a difference when defense attorneys were professional and reasonable. It was easier to resolve cases when the defense attorney provided something tangible, like a certificate of completion, and presented their client as more than just a name on a piece of paper.

*Brian:* Since becoming a defense attorney, has your experience as a prosecutor been beneficial?

*Lauren:* Definitely. It's important to be personable and professional with the prosecutor. Going in with a positive attitude and reasonable expectations helps significantly. It's also crucial to humanize your clients for the prosecutor, who often only sees them as a case file.

*Brian:* Regarding DWI cases in Walker County, what should clients know?

*Lauren:* They should know that the process is slow. Walker County is a smaller, rural county, so it takes time for cases to move from the arresting agency to the DA's office. If blood tests are involved, it can take three to six months to get results back from the DPS crime lab due to backlogs.

*Brian:* Lauren, thank you for sharing your insights today. If anyone in Walker County needs help with DWI, possession of marijuana, public intoxication, minor in possession, or any criminal charge, give us a call at 936-596-0470. Thanks again, Lauren.

*Lauren:* Thanks for having me.


**Contact Information:**

If you need assistance with a criminal charge in Walker County, contact us at 936-596-0470.

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