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Barratry Charges Against Ron Reynolds Downgraded

Felony charges against state Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, were dropped Friday and replaced with misdemeanor charges.

Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, during a House Environmental Regulations Committee meeting on April 16, 2013.

State Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, no longer formally stands accused of felony ambulance chasing after the Montgomery County District Attorney's office dropped those charges and refiled the allegations as misdemeanors.

District Attorney Brett Ligon's office Friday dropped 10 felony counts of barratry — commonly known as ambulance chasing — against Reynolds that it had filed in state district court, and filed five counts of misdemeanor barratry against Reynolds in a Montgomery County court.

Reynolds, a personal injury attorney, is accused of illegally offering legal services to victims within 30 days of an accident.

Reynolds said he looks forward to defending himself in court against the new charges.

“I’m confident that I’ll be found not guilty,” Reynolds said. “I don’t think they did their homework before they went after me.”

In November, a jury failed to convict Reynolds on the felony charges, instead finding him guilty of six misdemeanor counts of solicitation of professional employment. But those convictions were thrown out after a judge declared a mistrial.

Claiming double jeopardy, Reynolds argued he couldn't be tried again for the felonies, and the district attorney’s office said the charges were downgraded because of the double jeopardy issue.

A felony conviction would have disqualified Reynolds from serving out his term in the District 27 seat, but a misdemeanor would not, according to the Texas secretary of state’s office.

A new trial date for Reynolds has not been set.

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Courts Criminal justice Politics State government Ron Reynolds Texas Legislature