Gillespie County Criminal Defense Lawyer
How To Handle Criminal Charges in Gillespie County
Cofer & Connelly, PLLC handles serious felony and misdemeanor criminal charges in Gillespie County, Texas. Here’s what you need to know if you’re facing a criminal charge in Gillespie County.
Gillespie County is located about 90 minutes from Austin in the Texas Hill Country. About 27,000 people live in Gillespie County, with most residents living in the Fredericksburg area. Fredericksburg is the County Seat and, along with the Sheriff’s office, the home of the largest law enforcement agency in the county. Harper and Stonewall are the other larger communities in the county.
Fredericksburg Police Department, Gillespie County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Public Safety, and Texas Parks & Wildlife are the largest police forces in the county. Texas Parks & Wildlife officers aggressively patrol the state parks, including Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.
Gillespie County is a law-and-order jurisdiction. Criminal charges are viewed seriously by the community and prosecutors. Gillespie County juries are known to assess significant sentences in felony convictions.
However, first-time offenders have opportunities in both felony and misdemeanor court for potential diversion of their charges.
Cofer & Connelly routinely handles serious felony and misdemeanor charges in Gillespie County. Over the last three years, we achieved numerous successful outcomes, including:
- Dismissed - Sexual Assault of a Child
- Dismissed – Indecency with Child by Contact
- Dismissed – Possession of Controlled Substance
- Dismissed – Driving While Intoxicated .15 BAC or Higher
- Dismissed – Possession of Marijuana
- Dismissed – Tampering with Evidence
- Reduced – Attempted Robbery
Gillespie County is served by the 216th District Court of Texas, the Honorable Judge Patrick Pattillo presiding. The 216th District Court has general jurisdiction over civil matters and felony criminal cases in Gillespie County and Kerr County.
Judge Pattillo took the bench in May 2020 upon the retirement of long-serving District Judge Keith Williams. Before assuming judicial responsibilities, Judge Pattillo had a varied practice based in Kerrville, Texas including family law, civil litigation, and criminal matters.
Previously he served as an Assistant District Attorney in Harris County and was a longtime federal prosecutor in the Southern District of Texas.
The Gillespie County Court at Law handles Class A and Class B misdemeanor charges. Judge Christopher Nevins has presided over the court since its creation. Before assuming the bench, Judge Nevins served as Gillespie County Attorney.
Gillespie County is also served by several courts handling Class C misdemeanors including Justice of the Peace courts and the Fredericksburg Municipal Court.
The Gillespie County District Attorney’s office oversees the Prosecutor's Office and its attorneys. The District Attorney’s office collaborates with police to decide if criminal charges will be brought. The office also handles the prosecution of cases in court and maintains court records that are open to public access.
The Honorable Lucy Wilke is District Attorney for the 216th Judicial District, including Gillespie County and Kerr County. District Attorney Wilke has served the office for more than twenty-five years. Her office prosecutes felony charges in Gillespie County.
The Gillespie County Attorney must attend all terms of court in the county below district court level. In criminal cases, the County Attorney will act as representative of the State. In the absence of the District Attorney, the County Attorney will represent the State alone. When requested, the County Attorney will assist the District Attorney with prosecution in district court. The County Attorney must also represent the State in cases they have prosecuted that are appealed.
The Honorable Steven Wadsworth serves as Gillespie County Attorney and is responsible for misdemeanor prosecution in the Gillespie County Court at Law and Gillespie County Justice of the Peace courts. Before his appointment as County Attorney, Mr. Wadsworth served as Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the 216th District Attorney.
Felony cases are heard at the Gillespie County Law Enforcement Center at 104 Industrial Loop, Fredericksburg, Texas. Pretrial conferences are generally held on Thursday mornings.
Misdemeanor cases are heard either in person at the Gillespie County Courthouse, 101 W. Main Street, Fredericksburg, Texas or via Zoom. Judge Nevins is very generous in allowing the use of Zoom appearances.
The Fourth Court of Appeals has seven Justices who work diligently to provide justice and guidance on legal matters originating from the diverse cultures, environments, and people living in South Texas and the Texas Hill Country. The Fourth Court of Appeals has intermediate appellate jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases appealed from lower courts in 32 Texas counties, including Gillespie County.
Gillespie County’s Justice of the Peace Courts include four precincts, which are presided over by four Justices:
- Justice of the Peace JD Hickman (Precinct One)
- Justice of the Peace Steven T. Wetz (Precinct Two)
- Justice of the Peace Richard P. Priess (Precinct Three)
- Justice of the Peace Todd A. Metzger (Precinct Four)
The Justices in each precinct handle Criminal Class C Misdemeanors involving the following code violations:
- Health & Safety
- Parks & Wildlife
- Alcohol & Beverage
Justices preside over the following:
- Civil Justice Court – These cases have a jurisdictional limit of $20,000.
- Small Claims Court – These cases have a jurisdictional limit of $20,000.
- Administrative Actions – This can include driver license suspensions appeals, magistration, and search warrants.
The Gillespie County Sheriff’s Department (GCSD) is located at the Law Enforcement Center in Fredericksburg, Texas. The GCSD is led by Sheriff Buddy Mills. Sheriff Mills’ duties include but are not limited to the following:
- He oversees criminal investigations.
- He is responsible for providing security for county and district court operations.
- He enforces traffic laws, county ordinances, and state laws.
- He oversees service of process.
- He accepts bail for prisoners in his custody.
- He is responsible for conducting sales of seized and unclaimed properties.
- He oversees the operation of the county jail and is responsible for the prisoners.
The Fredericksburg Police Department resides in Gillespie County. Like the GCSD, the FPD makes its home in the Law Enforcement Center in Fredericksburg. Chief of Police Brian Vorauer leads the Fredericksburg Police Department.
The Fredericksburg Police Department is dedicated to protecting the citizens of Fredericksburg and upholding state and local laws. It is accredited by the Texas Chief of Police Association and staffed by 38 police officers, three animal control officers, three administrative assistants, one evidence technician, and 65 volunteers.
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