High Profile Cases

High profile criminal cases fall into two categories. The first involves public figures or celebrities that are well known at the local or national level. The media gravitates towards these cases because the person is already well known. Then there are cases that have attracted the attention of the local or national media simply due to the nature of the incident.

While some lawyers purposefully look for and fuel the media attention for their own personal benefit, the attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP take the opposite approach. Their goal is to protect their clients who find themselves in the middle of a high profile case. Cases are almost never won in the media and the last thing the client wants is to have their name all over the news in connection with a criminal investigation or charges. The firm focuses its efforts on keeping such matters as private as possible. For that reason, you will not find the names of current or past high profile clients on our website. Protecting the privacy and reputation of our well known clients is of utmost importance.

The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP have been called upon numerous times to defend and protect the rights of high profile clients. This includes representation during an initial investigation as well as after charges have been filed. It has been their experience that the earlier they get involved, the better. Often times they are able stop an investigation and prevent charges from actually being filed or pursued.

The staff at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP is also experienced and trained in handling high profile clients and understanding the sensitive nature of these matters. They understand the importance of confidentiality and privacy.

Despite our focus on keeping high profile matters private, sometimes becomes necessary to address the media. In those circumstances where it is in their clients’ best interests to utilize the media as a tactical advantage in a case, the attorneys and staff are prepared to do just that. Our past dealings with high profile cases have allowed us to make substantial connections with key players at news stations, radio stations, and print media.

If you have a high profile case and would like your name kept private and your reputation protected, contact the lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP immediately to assess your needs.

Criminal Investigations

Criminal charges happen one of two ways: (1) an officer observes the crime and arrests immediately, such as a DWI charge; or (2) an officer contacts the District Attorney to file charges after completing a longer investigation, such as a fraud or sexual assault allegation. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP can help in either case. If charges have not been filed, however, their involvement can have an added benefit.

Steve Shellist, Peyton Peebles, and Sean McAlister all began their careers as prosecutors at the District Attorney’s Office. They talked to police officers during criminal investigations, advised them on case weaknesses, and chose which charges to accept or deny. This experience, along with their vast network of connections within law enforcement and at the District Attorney’s Office, help them advise clients who find themselves under criminal investigation. The lawyers often contact investigators and prosecutors to gain insight into the allegations as well as offer assistance where necessary.

Police officers and federal agents conducting criminal investigations usually follow a standard procedure. This often involves interviewing or interrogating the investigation’s target (the person or people under investigation). Government investigators have many tools at their disposal—a team of agents, forensic investigators, immediate access to nationwide data, and lengthy training. The targets are usually unprepared and underinformed about the allegation. They don’t know the law, only know some of the facts, and often say things that seem helpful but are actually harmful. Moreover, Texas and federal courts have consistently upheld an officer’s ability to LIE during an interview. It is therefore absolutely imperative that a target appear for an interview with a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP has provided sound advice to many, many people in this position. Our lawyers have taken the experience and tools they learned as prosecutors and applied them to defending those charged with, or under investigation for, criminal conduct. With over 50 years of combined experience as prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys, they are in a unique position to help you.

Murder / Homicide

Few cases are taken more seriously than murder. The government will bring its full resources to bear on everyone connected to the crime. Police officers and prosecutors have vast resources to investigate these cases and “bring the perpetrators to justice.” Prosecutors almost always seek long prison sentences when someone dies. If the victim is a child, police officer, elderly, or disabled person, they will prosecute the crime with even more vigor.

But homicide cases (capital murder, murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide) are usually not as straightforward as the police think. They often involve unreliable witnesses and questionable police and forensic procedures. Even when there’s little doubt about who committed the crime and how, the conduct might actually justified (self-defense, defending someone else, defending against certain crimes, etc.).

The bottom line is that there is a lot at stake, but often a lot to work with—assuming you choose an attorney that knows how to defend homicide cases. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP know how to defend homicide cases. Their nearly 60 years of collective experience in criminal law includes dozens of homicide cases. They have secured jury acquittals in murder trials and had grand juries reject charges (“no bills”) in murder investigations. As three former Harris County prosecutors, they work together to defend these charges. This combines the skills and knowledge of three (not just one) highly qualified criminal defense attorneys.

Be extremely careful talking to the police!

Police officers and federal agents investigating murder cases usually follow a standard procedure. This involves interviewing or interrogating the suspect (or suspects). Government investigators have many tools at their disposal—a team of agents, forensic investigators, immediate access to nationwide data, and lengthy training. The targets are usually unprepared and underinformed about the allegation. They don’t know the law, only know some of the facts, and often say things that seem helpful but are actually harmful. Moreover, Texas and federal courts have consistently upheld an officer’s ability to LIE during an interview. The decision whether to appear for an interview must be undertaken with extreme caution. Sometimes it is not in the suspect’s best interest. If the suspect does intend to interview, however, it is absolutely imperative that a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer attend the interview, direct how it will be conducted, and take control from the police if necessary. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP are very skilled and experienced in these matters.

When deciding which attorney will defend you in a murder trial, consider these things:

  • As former Assistant District Attorneys, the attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP have developed strong professional relationships with police officers, prosecutors, and judges.
  • They have handled criminal trials as both prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys; they understand the tactics and strategies used by prosecutors trying to convict a defendant.
  • By strategizing as a team, the firm brings the minds of three experienced lawyers to develop insightful legal strategies in your case.
  • The firm’s attorneys understand what is on the line for someone accused of murder or any other homicide; they provide each client with their full attention and commitment.

There is no substitute for a team of highly qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyers when you’re facing murder or homicide charges. The stakes are higher than ever. Prosecutors almost always seek a prison sentence, and in capital murder cases the consequences include life without parole or the death penalty.

If you are under investigation or charged with any form of homicide, do not talk to anyone about your case and contact Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP for a free consultation and immediate assistance.

Sexual Offenses

Representing People Facing Sexual Offense Charges

In many types of sexual offenses, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office won’t offer a plea agreement unless it includes a minimum amount of jail time. It is important that you hire a criminal defense attorney who is versed in the tactics used by police officers and prosecutors – it could mean the difference between prison and freedom. Many of these accusations carry serious life long consequences, including sexual registration and up to life in the penitentiary.

The law firm of Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP in Houston, Texas, has experienced attorneys with the skills necessary to defend you against serious sex crimes’ accusations. As three former prosecutors for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the firm’s attorneys have unique insights into how your case will be handled. Don’t try to fix this problem on your own, contact the firm today to schedule a free confidential consultation.

If the police have enough evidence against you, they will charge you, so don’t help them out by giving them more. Many people who pick up sexual crime charges just want to get things behind them. They mistakenly talk to police, hoping that the whole nightmare will just go away. You need to realize that the police are not out to help you. Even if you are innocent, speaking to law enforcement my make things worse.

Don’t make the mistake of providing incriminating statements to police. Speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney now.

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

Sexual Crimes and False Allegations

The unfortunate fact is that children and adults frequently make false allegations of sexual offenses against unsuspecting individuals. Whether it is between divorcing parents or feuding partners, or in some other setting, these can have serious ramifications on a person’s life. If the police are contacting you, you are the target of a serious investigation. Charges will follow. It is not a matter of if, but when.

Get the help of an experienced sexual assault lawyer to represent you in sex crimes matters. Contact Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP to schedule a free consultation about your case.

Domestic Violence

A Strategic and Unrelenting Approach in Your Domestic Violence Case

The State of Texas takes a hard line against anyone accused of domestic violence (also called “family violence”). In fact, the District Attorney’s Office in some counties uses specialized divisions that handle ONLY domestic violence cases.

In the real world, someone gets arrested almost every time police get called to a dispute involving a family violence allegation. This is true even when the victim doesn’t want to file charges and simply wants help to calm down the situation. Often times after the dust settles, the alleged victim believes they can simply call the prosecutors and “drop the charges.” This is simply not true.

A person accused of domestic violence quickly learns that their case is treated more seriously than other similar level offenses. The resources that prosecutors devote to the case, their reluctance to reduce or dismiss it, and their insistence on getting an “affirmative finding of domestic violence” (which would elevate any future domestic violence charge to a felony) all converge to make the case more difficult. In addition, these cases present other collateral consequences that don’t apply to other types of crimes. These serious consequences include restrictions on possessing a firearm, the inability to file a petition for non-disclosure, and serious immigration implications. And the domestic violence label applies to more people than just spouses or siblings—it can extend to any person that the accused has ever lived with, dated, had a child with, or is related to.

The Houston-based attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP are three former prosecutors who act as a legal team when defending people charged with domestic violence. Do not try to resolve these matters without the help of experienced criminal defense attorneys. The strategies used to defend against a charge of family assault are complicated and frequently misunderstood. Attempting to defend yourself against one of these charges often results in the prosecutors gaining more evidence to use against you. A criminal defense lawyer experienced in investigating and defending these cases will spot issues that can make the difference between winning and losing.

The attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP work together to create powerful defense strategies in cases involving allegations that someone:

  • 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; or
  • Should have provided aid to a hurt family member but failed to do so.

A conviction for domestic violence is serious and often cannot be erased. Even if the accused has never been in trouble, he or she may face up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. A second conviction can result in up to a decade in prison and much more serious financial penalties. Any allegation involving choking begins as a felony, even if the accused has no prior criminal history. A conviction for any domestic violence crime can seriously affect someone’s employment, immigration status, social reputation, and ability to interact with their children. Steve Shellist, Peyton Peebles, and Sean McAlister understand this because they are former Harris County prosecutors with ample experience in family violence cases.

Contact us as soon as an investigation begins! Don’t make the mistake of talking to police or prosecutors without first speaking to one of our attorneys!

Assaultive Offenses

Defending People against Assault Charges in Texas

An assault can happen anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. Assault charges can be filed in domestic disputes, bar fights, fights between acquaintances, and situations where you weren’t even the first aggressor. The police rarely have personal knowledge of what happened—they are usually called out after the fight is over. Their decision on arrests and charges is influenced heavily by witness statements and physical evidence. These can be deceptive, flat wrong, or ignore defensive issues that would have justified otherwise criminal conduct. As a result, sometimes people get charged with assault who are not responsible and should never have been charged.

Assault charges can range from simple arguments between friends to altercations involving deadly conduct. Our firm can defend you against any of the following:

  • Aggravated assault (assault causing serious bodily injury or using a deadly weapon)
  • Class A assault (assault causing bodily injury)
  • Class C assault (assault by offensive contact)
  • Assault – Domestic Violence
  • Injury to a child
  • Injury to the elderly
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawful restraint

The attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP use a legal team approach when representing people charged with any assault-related crime. As three former Harris County prosecutors, they understand how the police work, how charging decisions are made, and how the prosecutors approach these cases in court. We have a tremendous amount of experience and understand the tactics used by police officers and prosecutors to elicit statements and seek convictions for those accused of assault. Contact them immediately for a free consultation before you make a decision that could jeopardize your case.

Don’t make the mistake of providing incriminating statements to police. Before saying anything, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled many assault related matters.

To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options and how we can defend you against any type of assault charge, contact Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP today.

DWI / Alcohol-Related

Experienced DWI Attorneys in Houston

Driving while intoxicated (“DWI”) is one of the most common—but also one of the most complex—charges filed in state court. Years ago these cases simply revolved around whether a jury thought the driver was physically or mentally impaired based on what the arresting officer told the jury happened on the side of the road. That is no longer the case.

Today’s DWI cases involve new layers of evidence. Police dash cameras usually record the entire police-citizen interaction. Officer body cameras sometime add yet another perspective. If multiple officers respond then the video recordings increase accordingly.

More significantly, police officers usually get a suspect’s consent or a judge’s search warrant to seize a sample of the suspect’s blood (or breath). The government employs complicated scientific principles to test the sample, obtain an alcohol concentration, and extrapolate back in time to guess what the suspect’s alcohol concentration was when he/she was operating the vehicle. The underlying science is complicated, but with complicated science comes numerous avenues to attack the State’s ultimate conclusion—assuming the lawyer knows how to do it. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP know how to defend all aspects of a DWI case.

Steve Shellist, Peyton Peebles, and Sean McAlister are three former Assistant District Attorneys with nearly 60 years of combined experience handling DWI cases. They were prosecutors when many of these techniques were being developed and, as criminal defense lawyers, have immersed themselves in the methods of defeating DWI cases. Our attorneys have even attended lengthy training courses in Chicago led by scientists that helped develop the gas chromatography devices and techniques used to test blood alcohol today.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DWI, hire a lawyer experienced in DWI immediately. There are deadlines that begin running at the point of arrest. Failure to honor those deadlines can devastate someone’s ability to drive and hamper the defense in the criminal case.  Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP can help.


FELONY DWI—Two consecutive NOT GUILTY jury verdicts for a client arrested for his 7th and 8th Driving While Intoxicated charge. Client was on parole after receiving a 60-year sentence on DWI number six. First Jury Trial: Officer stated he was driving without headlights and weaving all over the road. Officer alleged client was so intoxicated that he was staggering and could not even perform the sobriety tests. The jury found the client NOT GUILTY after only deliberating for 30 minutes. Second Jury Trial: Officer did not give the client a chance (because of his prior history) and greatly embellished the signs of intoxication, describing client as “falling down drunk.” The jury agreed that the station video painted a much different picture of the defendant and found him NOT GUILTY.

DWI with gun possession—Client drove completely through a house at 2:30 am, admitted drinking, failed sobriety tests—NOT GUILTY BY JURY (DWI) and gun case dismissed.

DWI on alcohol and pain killers—Client failed sobriety tests, drove over neighbor’s mailbox, and had .21 blood test—DISMISSED after showing insufficient anticoagulant and clotted blood sample.

DWI—Client collided with an 18-wheeler and had "slurred speech, red bloodshot eyes, poor balance, odor of alcohol" after drinking wine at child's school function—DISMISSED upon showing motive for government witness to lie and medical records consistent with injury rather than intoxication.

DWI—Client drove over 100 miles-per-hour, failed field sobriety tests, and refused a breath test—DISMISSED after securing police video showing clear speech and thought.

DWI—Client ran into the back of a vehicle that was waiting to pay at a tollbooth. Arresting officer claimed the the client had an open container of alcohol in the vehicle and admitted drinking six beers. DISMISSED after presenting evidence that both the officer and the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident greatly exaggerated their stories.

FELONY DWI WITH CHILD PASSENGER—Officer alleged that client ran a stop sign. Client provided a breath sample with a result almost three times the legal limit. DISMISSED after showing the officer illegally stopped the client because there was no stop sign at the intersection in question.

DWI—Client accident. Blood sample taken at the hospital showed client to have at least twice the legal limit of alcohol. The case was DISMISSED after the state was unable to produce a witness who could positively identify our client as the driver.

Naturally, you get scared and sometimes panic. You’re concerned about your driver’s license, your job, and whether you’re heading to jail. RELAX. We can help.

When you were arrested, the officer probably read you some information and warnings before asking you for a breath or blood sample. You either gave a sample or you didn’t. If you didn’t, the officer probably got a warrant to seize your blood anyway. Then you were taken to jail, booked, and later released on some sort of bond with instructions to appear in court. There’s a good chance the police kept your driver’s license and gave you some paperwork instructing you that your license will be suspended unless you quickly file paperwork to challenge the suspension. This is the most important deadline at the beginning of a DWI case. You should immediately hire an experienced lawyer and discuss fighting the ALR (administrative license revocation) suspension.

Next you will deal with the criminal DWI charge. Thousands of people go through this every year. You will have to appear in court, on time, every time you are instructed to (usually about once a month). This will go on for many months if you have a good lawyer, since the lawyer needs time to independently investigate your case.

At some point your lawyer will have educated you about the law of DWI, the relevant facts from your case, and any possible legal issues, defenses, or weaknesses in the State’s case. The prosecutor will either dismiss the case or present his/her best settlement offer (plea bargain). If the case is not dismissed or settled through a plea bargain, then the judge will set it for trial.

Your biggest challenge is, frankly, choosing the right lawyer. Once you hire a lawyer experienced in DWI cases, you should be able to relax and let the lawyer assume the stress for you. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP are experienced in DWI defense and have taken the stress away from hundreds of DWI clients.

Blood. The most deadly weapon in the government’s DWI arsenal. DWI trials used to be all about an officer’s testimony—how the suspect was driving, what the suspect smelled and sounded like, and how the suspect performed on some balancing tests. Maybe the defendant testified, maybe not. But science had little to do with it.

Today’s DWI trial is all of that with blood science. And blood makes everything more complicated. It has to be drawn based on a properly secured search warrant (usually). Then it has to be drawn correctly to avoid contamination and coagulation. Then it has to be transported and stored correctly. Then it has to be tested correctly in reliable, error-free machines. Finally, a scientist has to consider many factors in order to correctly extrapolate back in time and estimate a suspect’s blood alcohol concentration at the time he or she was operating a vehicle.

All of those “proper” and “correct” steps provide fodder for a criminal defense lawyer—assuming the lawyer knows how to use it. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP have specifically trained in gas chromatography, the scientific method used by labs across the world to test blood and secure its alcohol concentration. We’ve completed extensive hands-on training at Axiom Labs in Chicago, where the country’s best and brightest scientists specifically taught about weaknesses and potential trouble spots in the area of DWI criminal defense. We now use that training and knowledge to dissect the State’s case and attack the work of government lab analysts.

Do not assume all is lost if the government took your blood. Our lawyers are trained to attack the blood test and everything that led up to it. We have won many cases that seemed unbeatable in the beginning. Contact Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP for a consultation and let our aggressive, creative, and experienced DWI lawyers start fighting for you!

To blow or not to blow. That is the question. The answer used to be a simple “NO!” But that was back when blood draws were unheard of, so it was better for the government to have no scientific evidence than a breath test result. Today the government backs DWI suspects into a corner. The choices are to give a breath test or the police officer will get a search warrant and take the suspect’s blood. Many people choose the breath test.

Years ago the police used an Intoxilyzer 4011AS-A to analyze a suspect’s breath. Then they used an “improved” Intoxilyzer 5000. Then the Intoxilyzer 5000EN. Today they use the latest and greatest Intoxilyzer 9000.

Except that the Intoxilyzer 9000 is just the “latest and greatest” fraud upon science. It isn’t even specific to ethanol—the alcohol people drink. It simply spits out a number associated with the concentration of any number of organic substances, only one of which is ethanol. Moreover, the company that produces Intoxilyzer devices (CMI, Inc.) steadfastly refuses to release documents outlining its processes and supporting its scientific basis because of copyright concerns. Although used for human testing for decades, CMI does not even warrant the machine for this purpose.

Attorneys experienced in DWI cases know these arguments and more. A good attorney can challenge even a high breath test result. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP have almost 60 years of collective experience in the law and science regarding DWI breath testing. Don’t just hire any lawyer. Hire one that knows the game and will play professionally for you. Contact Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP immediately.

People charged with DWI must be concerned with more than just fighting their criminal case. While the criminal case is pending, a DWI defendant often has conditions of release (bond conditions) that must be honored to maintain the defendant’s freedom. In addition, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is often seeking to suspend the defendant’s driver’s license through an administrative proceeding that is different from, but runs parallel to, the criminal case.

Bond Conditions

Aside from a financial obligation (bail amount), a judge can order any condition of release that is reasonably necessary to: (1) ensure that the defendant is available and appears in court when instructed; and (2) protect public safety. For DWI defendants this might include instructions such as:

  • Do not use or consume alcohol;
  • Do not use or consume drugs except when lawfully prescribed;
  • Do not drive a car unless the car has an ignition interlock device installed on it;
  • Obtain and use a portable alcohol monitoring device (an in-home device or ankle device);
  • Honor a curfew; or
  • Do not drive at all.

Failure to honor any condition ordered could result in the defendant being arrested and jailed pending a new (and almost certainly higher) bail amount and additional conditions.

License Suspension

In addition to the criminal case, DPS will attempt to suspend an arrestee’s driver’s license if the arrestee either: (1) refused to give a breath, blood, or urine sample upon request; or (2) provided a sample that exceeded the 0.08 legal limit. The arresting officer will keep the arrestee’s driver’s license and provide him/her with documentation detailing the intent to suspend it. The arrestee only has 15 days to formally challenge this suspension and request a hearing. This is an absolutely critical deadline. If DPS succeeds, the suspension will last for between 90 days and 2 years, depending on the particular circumstances in the case.

Good Lawyering

Good DWI lawyers understand how to minimize release conditions and challenge DPS to prevent these license suspensions. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP fight DPS on every DWI case. Our firm’s DWI lawyers have nearly 30 years of combined experience as prosecutors and nearly 30 more years of combined experience as criminal defense lawyers. We are knowledgeable, creative, and aggressive. We know how to approach these cases and will put our experience to work for you!

Although a first DWI technically references a situation where the defendant has never before been convicted of DWI, it most likely involves a defendant that has never before been arrested for anything (much less convicted). And it is the most common charge in Texas.

DWI is a serious offense. If convicted, the defendant can face up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine (these punishments double if the State can show an alcohol test of at least 0.15). In addition, Texas statutorily prohibits deferred adjudication community supervision (a type of probation that avoids a conviction) in DWI cases. Straight probation involving a conviction is available, but its conditions can be onerous: missing work or school, paying fees, taking classes, performing community service, avoiding alcohol and drugs, driving with an ignition interlock device, serving days in jail, etc. A conviction for DWI often triggers another driver’s license suspension with expensive surcharges following the suspension as well as increased insurance rates. If ever arrested again, subsequent arrests will be treated even more seriously because of the prior DWI conviction.

It is imperative that you hire a competent criminal defense attorney skilled in DWI cases within a week after your arrest. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP are former prosecutors that work together to give clients a superior position in their DWI cases. They are licensed to practice law in every Texas courtroom. With nearly 60 years of combined legal experience, the lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP will thoroughly investigate every aspect of your DWI case and will go to trial when necessary, holding the State of Texas to its rigid and demanding burden of proof. Contact us immediately.

If you’ve previously been convicted of DWI—regardless of how long ago the conviction happened—then your second DWI arrest will be filed as a “DWI – 2nd Offender.” You will immediately notice the differences in how this charge is treated.

First, your bail amount will almost certainly be higher because the judge thinks you have a greater propensity to commit crime and endanger the public.

Second, upon release from jail you will be required to quickly install a guardian interlock device in your vehicle and ordered never to drive a vehicle unless it has such a device.

Third, you will notice that Texas basically doubles the possible penalties for a second DWI. If convicted, you will be sentenced to between 30 days and 1 year in jail and could receive a fine of up to $4,000. Probation is still possible in these cases, but will involve a short amount of jail time also.

Fourth, any conviction will subject you to a longer driver’s license suspension if the first DWI was fairly recent. A judge is likely to suspend your license for 2 years, with the first year being a “hard suspension” (meaning that you cannot get an occupational, or temporary, driver’s license during the first year).

A DWI – Second Offender charge is serious and must be carefully analyzed by an attorney experienced in DWI cases. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP have nearly 60 years of collective experience in all aspects of DWI cases. As former prosecutors, they have advised police and other prosecutors regarding intoxication offenses. As defense attorneys, they have helped hundreds of clients charged with these cases, often securing dismissals or jury acquittals. Contact our lawyers immediately for help.

If you’ve been previously convicted two or more times of DWI (regardless of when the convictions occurred) and get arrested for another intoxication offense, the State of Texas will treat you as a serious threat to its citizens. The gravity of your situation will set in immediately. You’ll be in a felony court with exposure, if convicted, to up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Probation becomes less likely and, if granted, can span many more years than a misdemeanor DWI probation. Ignition interlocks are routine and in some cases the defendant might be ordered not to drive at all as a condition of his/her release from custody pending trial. If convicted, the defendant will almost certainly suffer a significant driver’s license suspension. Any probation will likely include substance abuse counseling and treatment; sometimes inpatient treatment.

If you’ve been charged with felony DWI, you MUST have a lawyer experienced in these cases. A prosecutor and judge will likely consider:

  • How long it’s been since your last DWI arrest or conviction;
  • Your previous DWI sentences;
  • How well you performed on previous DWI probations;
  • Whether there was an accident at the time of your arrest;
  • Your blood alcohol concentration following your arrest (if it exists); and
  • The driving and performance factors from your current arrest.

The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP are former DWI prosecutors that have amassed decades of experience defending DWI cases. Their initial advice to any felony DWI client is DON’T GIVE UP! Even though the case and stakes may feel overwhelming, a thorough investigation by experienced attorneys almost always raises avenues to attack the State’s case.

Hire us. We value your freedom, understand the consequences of a felony DWI arrest, and gladly accept the responsibility of zealously defending citizens charged with a DWI 3rd. Contact us immediately.

The most serious intoxication crimes involve a combination of DWI and either serious assault or homicide. “Regular DWI” becomes intoxication assault or manslaughter whenever someone suffers serious bodily injury or death. The injury or death can involve someone in your own car, someone in another car, or a pedestrian.

Selecting a DWI lawyer in these cases is a critical decision. The case’s consequences can last a lifetime. An inexperienced or “high volume” lawyer, however, can exacerbate those consequences, making them needlessly harsh. An experienced, battle-tested criminal defense lawyer understands not only how to attack a “regular DWI” case, but also how to challenge expert medical testimony and other evidence that the State needs to prove intoxication assault or manslaughter.

Punishment for intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter can involve 10- to 20-year prison sentences and hefty fines, even if the defendant has never been arrested. However, do not assume that all is lost. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister, LLP have spent nearly 60 years, collectively, defending intoxication cases as well as serious assault and homicide cases. We know how to dissect a case and press its weaknesses. We have obtained dismissals and jury acquittals. We force the State to its high burden and fight to keep evidence out of court any time an officer bends the rules. We have fought these cases in the trial courts as well as the courts of appeals. Give us the chance to earn your trust. Our team does not back down!

Drug Offenses

Defending People Accused of Drug Possession

With nearly 60 years of combined experience as prosecutors and defense attorneys, the attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP understand how drug charges are prosecuted in Texas and by the state and federal government. Drug cases are often quite complex—invoking constitutional search and seizure issues, high-level scientific analysis, wire interceptions, and questionable testimonial evidence from eyewitnesses and undercover law enforcement.

The Houston-based attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP take a legal team approach when fighting to defend you against serious drug charges and the consequences of a drug conviction. A team approach allows for significant brainstorming and the ability to employ the skills and talents of three high caliber defense lawyers in every case. Their drug defense practice includes the following criminal charges:

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

Having the legal team at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP analyze your case is vital to a comprehensive strategy defending serious criminal drug charges. Our attorneys will work hard to develop that strategy and counter the government in both state and federal courts. And in cases where the accused actually struggles with a drug problem or addiction, the team may recommend a proactive treatment approach that can be used at the right moment to benefit the defense and shape the outcome of the case.

Talk to our attorneys before you make decisions that could jeopardize your case. Schedule a free consultation to discuss drug charges with an experienced defense lawyer by contacting Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP today.

White Collar

Defense against Serious Federal Charges

Federal charges are always very serious matters and require the most skilled form of criminal defense. As former prosecutors, the attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP, have the trial skills and experience to represent you in complex federal cases, including “white collar” accusations. By utilizing their unique legal team approach, they draw upon the knowledge, skills, and experience of four successful attorneys instead of just one.

Federal charges are often preceded by months (if not years) of investigation on the part of federal law enforcement (FBI, DEA, OIG, DOJ). Dozens of agents develop significant amounts of evidence and present it to federal prosecutors, who then seek an indictment against one or more defendants. The evidence often involves witness statements, recordings and paper records. Individuals finding themselves charged with a crime in federal court must employ the talents of an experienced federal defense lawyer immediately!

Whether the case involves drug-trafficking, RICO, alien-based offenses, or sophisticated white collar accusations, the attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP, are equipped to defend anyone accused in federal court. They will bring their team to bear against all federal agents and prosecutors that are seeking a prison sentence.

Don’t delay. Contact one of the firm’s lawyers today for a free consultation about any of the following federal criminal charges:

  • Drug charges
  • RICO, drug trafficking, racketeering, conspiracy, etc.
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Corporate schemes, health care or mortgage fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, etc.
  • Alien offenses
  • Illegal reentry, weapon possession by an alien, unauthorized weapons sales, etc.
  • Weapons offenses
  • Illegal weapons trafficking, illegal weapons possession, unauthorized weapons sales
  • Sex crimes
  • Rape, kidnapping, prostitution, and human trafficking
  • Internet sex crimes
  • Child pornography

Don’t say anything to law enforcement or prosecutors without the advice of a skilled lawyer. For more information about your rights, contact Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP for a FREE CONSULTATION.



Defense against State and Federal Fraud Allegations

By using a legal team approach, the attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP represent people against allegations of fraud and other white collar crimes. From their offices in Houston, Texas, three former Harris County prosecutors work together to develop a strategic defense against fraud allegations in state and federal courts.

The most important thing to know is that you will not help your case by working with police officers and law enforcement officials. As former assistant district attorneys, the firm’s attorneys understand the tactics the other side uses to gather incriminating evidence against people charged with a crime.

Don’t jeopardize your case by making incriminating statements to the police. Contact the firm immediately for a free consultation about your rights. The longer you wait to speak to an experienced fraud lawyer the greater you jeopardize your ability to counter these serious allegations. Prosecutors and police officers work hard to gather evidence to convict you. There is no time to lose, when defending yourself against such serious charges.

You may even be contacted first, by non-law enforcement individuals—private investigators and corporate representatives. Do not speak with them, either. You do not have the right to be warned against self-incrimination when speaking with non-government persons and what you say will most certainly be used against you.

The firm’s criminal practice is built upon providing clients with thorough, personalized and effective representation against criminal charges like the following:

  • Wire and mail fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Bank and check fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Medicare and Medicaid fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Corporate theft
  • Healthcre fraud

Take advantage of Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP’s team approach when developing a defense against white collar crime charges like fraud.

For a free initial consultation about your case, contact Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP today.



Theft / Robbery / Burglary

Theft Charges

Theft basically means taking someone else’s property without their consent and with the intent to deprive them of the property. The most common theft involves shoplifting. Even a simple shoplifting charge is serious because a conviction for any level of theft (a crime of dishonesty, or “moral turpitude”) can have a long-lasting impact on a person’s life and livelihood. In addition, the punishment range for theft increases as the value of the theft increases. Regardless of the level of the charge, any theft related allegation is a serious matter and must be defended accordingly. Fortunately our highly experienced criminal defense lawyers have handled all types of theft related offenses and can help you no matter what level offense you are accused of.

Burglary Charges

Entering a building, business, vehicle, or residence without the owner’s consent constitutes felony burglary if done with the intent to commit theft or certain other crimes. Law enforcement and prosecutors treat these cases much more seriously.

Robbery Charges

Allegations of theft involving force or threat will cause the charges to be upgraded to a robbery. This could include a simple struggle with a security guard during a shoplifting or allegations of a more forceful physical act. Any allegation involving a deadly weapon will result in a more serious, first-degree felony charge of aggravated robbery. Aggravated robberies are the same level charge as murder and are treated seriously by high-level, seasoned prosecutors. Robbery and aggravated robbery charges require a very serious and comprehensive defense.

Police Interrogations in Theft, Burglary, and Robbery Cases

Some theft, and most burglary and robbery, cases involve a much longer and more in-depth criminal investigation before charges are even filed. As a part of these investigations, police and law enforcement investigators often reach out to a potential suspect in an attempt to interview them—and sometimes trick them—into making admissions or confessing. Police officers are trained to use certain techniques to get someone to make an incriminating statement. Moreover, courts have consistently allowed police officers to LIE in order to secure a confession. They are counting on interviewing someone before they have had a chance to consult with an attorney.

Do not make the mistake of providing incriminating statements to police or law enforcement without speaking with a lawyer first. If a detective or investigator wants to interview you, contact Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP immediately for a free consultation.

Theft, burglary, and robbery charges carry serious long-term implications.  Hire a team of lawyers to defend you against any of these allegations.

The talented lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP in Houston, Texas, use a team approach to brainstorm the most effective strategy and criminal defense to combat any of the following criminal charges:

  • Misdemeanor and Felony Theft
  • Employee Theft or Embezzlement
  • Burglary of a Business or Habitation
  • Copper Theft
  • Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle or Auto Theft
  • Forgery
  • Credit Card Abuse
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated Robbery

Keep Any of These Convictions off Your Record at All Cost

You must do everything that you can to keep ANY conviction for theft, robbery, or burglary off your criminal record. Aside from the obvious risk of losing your freedom over these allegations, there are far reaching collateral consequences of a reportable conviction for any sort of theft related offense. Any theft or fraud related crime is considered a crime of moral turpitude and can have devastating impacts on your reputation, your ability to find a job, your immigration status, government assistance, or even your ability to get or maintain certain licenses.

Our legal team at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP can use their energy, knowledge, and creativity to fashion an effective criminal defense strategy to prevent a permanent mark on your record. Schedule a free consultation with some of the best criminal defense attorneys in Houston by contacting Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP today.

Weapons Offense

Defending Against Weapons Charges

Weapons offenses are similar to drug cases in that the government wants to prove that you possessed something that you should not have possessed. They fall into two rough categories: (1) possessing a weapon that you cannot ever possess (illegal weapons); and (2) possessing an otherwise legal weapon in a restricted place (such as a church or bar) or in a restricted manner (such as displaying it in a way you shouldn’t or possessing it with a license to carry but not revealing it when asked by an officer).

Weapons laws are complicated. Complicated laws provide room for good attorneys to investigate, locate, and raise doubt in the case. In the last few years alone, Texas has enacted significant changes to whether a person can carry a firearm in their car (and how), what constitutes a “prohibited weapon” and “illegal knife,” and when someone has to retreat before using deadly force. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP remain up to date on these statutory changes because our clients demand and deserve it.

In addition to complicated law, any possession case involves a seizure by the police. Our lawyers excel at raising legal issues challenging police seizures. Our firm has represented defendants before many trial and appellate courts throughout Texas, often raising constitutional challenges to such police conduct.

We use a legal team approach, employing the skills and talents of three highly qualified and experienced criminal defense attorneys. This approach enables us to apply nearly 60 years of criminal trial experience when developing powerful defense strategies against weapons charges, such as:

  • Possession of an illegal firearm
  • Violating a concealed carry statute
  • Weapons trafficking
  • Firearm possession by an alien
  • Firearm possession by a felon
  • Brandishing or discharging a firearm
  • Unlawfully carrying a weapon

Anyone facing a serious criminal weapons charge in state or federal court should contact Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP immediately for a free consultation. The firm’s experienced attorneys will discuss the case in an easy-to-understand fashion and offer practical advice for any situation.

Child Abuse

Defense against Child Abuse Charges in Texas

Allegations of child abuse are serious criminal charges that can face parents, as well as childcare providers like babysitters, daycare workers, teachers and nannies. A conviction for these crimes can have devastating repercussions, leading to prison time, financial penalties and the loss of parental rights.

From their offices in Houston, Texas, the defense attorneys at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP represent people in criminal cases involving child abuse. They use a legal team approach when representing you, employing the talents of four former prosecutors to develop powerful defense strategies in your case involving the following charges:

  • Sexual assault of a child
  • Aggravated sexual assault of a child
  • Child molestation
  • Child neglect
  • Child abandonment
  • DWI with a child
  • Assault against a child

Don’t make the mistake of trying to cooperate with law enforcement with the hopes of keeping this quiet. If it means giving up your job to keep your freedom, make the right choice. Do not speak with employers or law enforcement before you consult with experienced lawyers.

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately upon being accused.

Especially for parents, the collateral consequences for a child abuse conviction can be particularly harsh. Not only can a mother or father face jail time and the social stigma associated with a conviction for child abuse, he or she may also lose their parental rights. Attorneys from  Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP will be by your side throughout the entire criminal process, putting the collective skills of their legal team on your side.

Any investigation by Child Protective Services (CPS) can eventually lead to a criminal prosecution; social workers frequently refer allegations of child abuse to district attorneys. If you have been notified that you are under investigation by a CPS social worker, speak to a Houston child abuse lawyer immediately.

To sit down and talk confidentially with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP, contact the firm in Houston today and schedule a free consultation.


Online Solicitation

Hire a Lawyer to Defend Your Freedom

An increasingly common crime prosecuted against people in Texas is the crime of Internet solicitation of a minor. This type of Internet crime is the focus of substantial media coverage and prosecutorial action. The mere allegation of Internet solicitation has ruined the lives of many innocent people. It is important that you hire a team of legal professionals to stand up and fight for you.

The law firm of Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP, in Houston, Texas, uses a legal team approach that combines the skills of three former Harris County Prosecutors to develop strategic defenses against serious criminal charges like online solicitation. The firm’s attorneys have unique insights into the local legal system, having formed relationships with police officers, judges and investigators while serving as assistant district attorneys.

The crime of online solicitation of a minor is a serious criminal allegation that can have long lasting legal ramifications to those accused. It involves intentional communication in a sexually explicit manner with a minor or distributing sexually explicit material to a minor. The internet has given people the freedom to meet others from the comfort of their own home. Yet law enforcement continuously monitors websites and chat rooms searching for wrongdoers.

Don’t make the mistake of providing incriminating statements to police. Speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney now.

If convicted of online solicitation of a minor or any other sexual offense, you may have to register as a sex offender with the State of Texas and you will be facing prison time. When you’re facing charges like these, you need a strong advocate on your side. Don’t let fear or embarrassment prevent you from seeking the legal representation that you need to defend your reputation and your freedom.

With experience prosecuting these cases as assistant district attorneys, and defending them as criminal defense attorneys, the firm’s attorneys know what lengths police officers will go to in order to obtain a confession or conviction against a person accused of online solicitation. Police task forces often obtain warrants to seize your computer, cell phone and other evidence. However, they cannot force you to make a statement. Never speak to a law enforcement officer without first speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Don’t jeopardize your freedom or your reputation by pleading guilty to the crime of online solicitation. Before risking your future, contact a online solicitation lawyer Houston at the law firm of Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP for a free consultation.


Juvenile Offenses

Juvenile Criminal Defense Throughout Texas

While a juvenile offense may resemble an adult offense (because the crime’s elements are the same), the juvenile justice system is extremely different. The terminology, procedure, and available outcomes are completely unlike the adult criminal system. To navigate the juvenile justice system successfully, it is important to hire a lawyer with extensive juvenile law experience to represent your child. The partners at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP are former Harris County Assistant District Attorneys with decades of experience prosecuting and defending juveniles charged with serious crimes. Few lawyers have the skill, experience, and relationships necessary to represent your child in juvenile crime matters like we do.

Every year nearly 130,000 children enter into the Texas juvenile justice system. They may be simply picked up and given a warning, or they may face serious charges initiated by local law enforcement and juvenile officials. Common juvenile charges include:

  • Marijuana possession and other drug charges
  • Weapons charges
  • School related possession and weapons charges
  • Assault
  • Criminal trespass and burglary
  • Robbery and Aggravated Robbery
  • And many others…

Most sentences (called “dispositions” in juvenile cases) are based on a progressive sanctions approach. This approach balances public protection, offender accountability, and rehabilitation. The courts have many different options when dealing with juvenile crimes, ranging from informal adjudications to the most serious of offenses requiring a hearing on whether to certify the child to be tried and punished as an adult.

A juvenile has their entire life in front of them. As a result, it is extremely important to avoid any permanent record involving a juvenile offense. Obviously, every parent would like to see the charges against their child dismissed and erased. That is the ultimate goal of any representation.  But the juvenile system offers other options, such as “deferred prosecution,” where a child’s case is dismissed if he or she meets all the conditions of the program. Only an experienced juvenile criminal lawyer knows how to navigate the system and its many options to ensure the best outcome for each case.

A juvenile cannot represent himself or herself. Hire a top defense lawyer to represent them. Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP is not a high volume practice like some other retained (and most appointed) attorneys. Their team approach utilizes the skills of former juvenile prosecutors to represent individual clients. This ensures that they can provide the attention and dedication needed to accomplish an exceptional result.

Contact Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP today to schedule a free consultation regarding any juvenile defense matter.

Expunctions & Nondisclosure Orders

Clearing Criminal Records in Texas

Don’t let a past criminal problem hinder your ability to obtain employment, housing or any other important right. Expunctions and petitions for nondisclosure can be exactly the opportunity you need to clear your criminal record. At the law firm of Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP, the attorneys use their skills as former Harris County prosecutors on your behalf in expunction and record sealing matters.

There are many different avenues available to keep a past criminal charge off your record. These are complex issues that an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand. Expunctions were created as a method of allowing a person who was wrongfully arrested or accused of a crime to remove all traces of that arrest from the state’s records. However, not everyone has the right to petition the court to remove a stain from a criminal record. And while it may appear to be a simple process, the process can be somewhat convoluted and intimidating to those who are not familiar with the expunction procedures. To find out if you are eligible for an expunction in your situation, speak to an experienced legal team of lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP.

A person who has successfully completed a deferred adjudication on a misdemeanor or a felony may not be eligible for an expunction; however, there is still a remedy available to restrict the disclosure of those records to anyone outside of law enforcement. If you have successfully completed a deferred adjudication, contact the legal team of lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP to pursue your rights to a Petition for Non-Disclosure.

Additionally, someone who has had interactions with the juvenile system most likely will have a right to seal his or her records at some point.In order to do so, a motion must be filed with the court.

Expunction – 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 expunction, 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.

At Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP, the attorneys use a legal team approach in every case they handle. They have found that is better to have the talents of three experienced criminal defense attorneys working together on criminal matters than having a solo attorney working independently.

When a past criminal arrest or prosecution is hindering your options today, find out the ways available to clear your record. Whether an offense occurred as a juvenile or as an adult, we can help you determine your options. Getting your case dismissed, no-billed or even acquitted is only half the battle. There is no reason to leave an unnecessary record of your interaction with the with the criminal justice system.

Sit down with a talented and accomplished expunctions lawyer to learn more about how an expunction, petition for non-disclosure, or sealing of juvenile records can clear your name. Contact the firm today for a free consultation about your case.