The Bihm Firm, PLLC: FAQs

A loved one referred me to Katherine Shipman, who helped them with their case. Who is Kate Bihm and why has she taken over Katherine's website?

Katherine Shipman and Kate Bihm are one and the same! Katherine Shipman, PLLC, transitioned to The Bihm Firm, PLLC, in September 2016 to better reflect the growth of her firm and the heightened public profile that came with Kate's candidacy for Judge of the 9th District Court.

At The Bihm Firm, PLLC, we pride ourselves on carrying on our almost decade-long commitment to providing our clients with practical, compassionate legal advice and service they can rely on. The Bihm Firm, PLLC, has grown because our clients reach out to friends and loved ones to recommend our services and we are honored by the trust they place in the counsel we provide.

What types of cases does The Bihm Firm, PLLC, handle?

The vast majority of our clients have criminal or family law cases. Kate has represented clients at all levels of the criminal justice system, including defending against DWI, DUI, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault of a child, robbery, and many, many more. Kate has also handled criminal appellate cases.

In family law cases, Kate has represented numerous clients in child custody cases, divorce, child support enforcement actions and adoption. In certain (and rare) circumstances, Kate has represented clients in cases involving Child Protective Services (CPS).

I just want to plead guilty and get it over with. Why do I need a lawyer?

Most importantly, you can probably get a better deal if you have a lawyer. Prosecutors usually spend more time evaluating cases prior to making their plea bargain offer when they are talking to an attorney. Because of her knowledge of the law, Kate is better equipped to evaluate your case, showing its weaknesses to the prosecutor, which often results in lower fines and shorter probation or jail sentences.

When you hire an attorney, you level the playing field during the negotiation process. Your lawyer can also help ease some of the difficulties associated with being charged with a crime, including helping to reschedule court dates, working with your bonding company and making sure that all of your questions are answered.

An attorney can also evaluate your case with an objective eye and help you determine whether it is in your best interest to plead guilty, or if you may be pleading guilty for all the wrong reasons. Imagine pleading guilty to a crime that could have been dismissed, all just to save a little time and effort!

Moreover, even the smallest criminal charges might affect your life in ways that you may not be able to imagine, like your ability to get a loan or certain types of jobs, get a commercial driver's license, or even maintain custody of your kids. The prosecutor cannot advise you of all of this and is prohibited from telling you what is best for you. The pace in the courtroom is fast, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can help guide you through what may be a minefield.

How do I decide which lawyer to hire?

You should hire the lawyer who you believe is going to give your case the time and attention it deserves. When determining who to retain as your lawyer, consider whether you believe that attorney will answer your calls promptly, treat you respectfully and understand your position.

Do you feel that he or she cares about you, or just what's in your wallet? Treat your first consultation like your lawyer's job interview. Do they have the skills that you expect? Do you feel comfortable working with them? Do you trust that they are looking out for your best interests? How much of their time do you think they will give you for the amount you are paying them? All of these are important questions to consider.

How much is all of this going to cost?

Attorney's fees vary widely according to what you've been charged with. Some attorneys charge by the hour and some charge flat fees for criminal retainers. Kate typically charges flat fees and some clients qualify for payment plans. Once again, you are paying for an attorney's time, knowledge and reputation. Evaluate fees according to the amount of work you expect that attorney to put into your case.

The police have contacted me and asked me to come in for an interview. Do I need a lawyer?

Yes. Even though you may not be under arrest, anything you say can and will be used against you if criminal charges are later filed. The police have no obligation to inform you if you are a suspect in a crime and they can use dishonesty as a tool to try to get you to incriminate yourself. Before talking to the police, you should consider hiring a competent, experienced criminal defense attorney to advise you whether making a statement is in your best interests, and to protect your rights and possible defenses.

My loved one got arrested for assaulting me, but I want to drop the charges. Won't the D.A. dismiss the charges if I tell him or her that I don't want to prosecute? Why do we need a lawyer?

The D.A. will not necessarily drop the charges if you ask him or her to do so. The District Attorney has the discretion to decide whether to pursue criminal charges against a defendant, with or without the complainant's consent. Even though you don't want to prosecute, your loved one needs an attorney with experience in these types of cases who vigorously defend against these charges.

Family violence cases are serious crimes with long-lasting, sometimes unintended consequences. Kate has extensive experience litigating these cases and has successfully defended clients charged with these offenses.

A number of years ago, I was convicted of a crime and now I want it off of my record. Can you help me with that?

Probably not. Unfortunately under Texas law, if you are convicted of a crime you cannot have it removed from your record unless you are pardoned by the governor, or if your conviction is overturned after a writ of habeas corpus and the case is subsequently dismissed. Both situations are very rare.

If you are interested in seeking a pardon, you should hire an attorney who is familiar with the pardon process and regularly works on those kinds of cases. The same thing goes for writs of habeas corpus which are usually called post-conviction writs. Kate's practice is focused on representing clients at the trial level.

I was wrongly arrested and physically assaulted by the police. I want to file a lawsuit. Can I hire Kate to do that?

If you want to sue a law enforcement agency, you need to hire an attorney who litigates civil rights lawsuits on a regular basis. Kate's practice is focused on family law, litigating criminal cases, and civil cases arising from criminal charges, such as expunctions, occupational licenses and protective orders. Kate does not litigate civil rights claims.

Aren't all lawyers the same?

No. Attorneys have varying levels of experience and different skill sets. Some attorneys focus on businesses, real estate or divorces. Kate has focused her career on family law, criminal defense and being in the courtroom. Kate prides herself on giving her clients excellent service and providing them with the information that they need to make good choices about their cases.

Why should I hire Kate Bihm?

Kate is an experienced, principled attorney who wants to find solutions to her clients' problems that are reasonable and affordable. Kate promises to treat you with compassion, understanding and respect. Kate's experience as a prosecutor is invaluable to her clients because it gives her an edge. Kate's reputation as a tough opponent at trial gives her an advantage in plea negotiations and her record trying cases to juries is one that you can trust.

In family law cases, Kate's experience representing clients in numerous Texas counties on criminal and family disputes gives her a unique perspective. Kate's clients say that they appreciate her practical, no-nonsense and compassionate approach.

Contact The Bihm Firm, PLLC, In Conroe

Everyone's situation is different. Nothing can replace the in-person advice that you receive from an attorney. To schedule a consultation with Kate, call 936-647-2779 or complete an online contact form.