A conviction for a theft, robbery, or burglary can have a devastating effect on your future. Employers routinely conduct background checks of prospective employees, and few want to hire someone who has a criminal record for theft.

I’m Robert Fickman, a criminal defense attorney in Houston, Texas. I have over 33 years of experience defending Texans charged with everything from aggravated robbery to shoplifting. When I represent younger clients charge with theft crimes, I always try to involve the families. Many younger people lack the experience and judgment to know what is in their best interests. For this reason, I often seek the client’s permission to have his or her parents sit in on meetings. Most parents want the security of really knowing what is going on in their adult child’s case. Parents can often assist in building a defense and providing relevant information.

To develop a strong defense you must first recognize the realities of our criminal justice system. In my opinion, in reality the presumption of innocence does not exist. In this country, anyone accused of a serious crime is presumed guilty by the public. You must be prepared to prove your innocence to stand a chance. As your lawyer, my job is to do my best to develop a strong defense to prove your innocence.

My goal as your lawyer in any theft or robbery case is to help you avoid a criminal record. In most cases, that means addressing two key issues:

1. Questioning and attacking any eyewitness identification.
2. Trying to establish an alibi if the client has one.

Robbery cases are often dependent on eyewitness identification. Eyewitness identification can be successfully attacked. History has shown that innocent people have gone to prison based on false eyewitness identification. If you have credible alibi testimony, then the attack on eyewitness identification is even more powerful.

In my decades of experience as a theft crimes defense attorney I have seen many people who suffer from mental health problems and engage in criminal behavior such as shoplifting. This may be because their condition was misdiagnosed, they were not taking their prescribed medication, or they were medicating themselves with drugs or alcohol. A client’s mental health is often relevant to a client’s conduct and defense. This factor may well impact the cases outcome.