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Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

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When police attempt to place you at or near the scene of a crime, one of the tools they may use is “triangulation” of your cell phone. Texas law enforcement agencies are not the only ones to use this type of evidence, but it is not as reliable as police and prosecutors make it seem. If you face a criminal charge based on this evidence, it can be challenged.

Triangulation uses three cell phone towers to attempt to locate a user. The coverage area that overlaps between the three towers locates a particular cell phone. The problem is that the triangulated area could be large or small.

At best, this provides officials with an area where an individual might be located. That does not necessarily mean that you were present at the scene of a crime. Even if you were in the area, that does not mean you committed the crime. Perhaps you loaned your cell phone to someone else. You, and/or your phone, could be in that area for any number of reasons.

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In our last post, we began discussing how many individuals who have experienced temporary lapses in judgment or who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time may see many aspects of their everyday lives limited thanks to a permanent criminal record.

We also discussed, however, how certain individuals in this unfortunate situation might be able to secure a fresh start via an expunction, which removes all information relating to an arrest, charges or conviction from a person’s permanent criminal record. 

In today’s post, we’ll continue our discussion, examining some of the specifics concerning expunctions here in Texas.

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While all of us have experienced momentary lapses in judgment that cause us to take actions that we will later question, these actions are typically embarrassing at worst. However, for some people, these actions are more than just cringe-worthy, they are actually criminal in nature, resulting in an arrest, formal charges being filed and possibly even a conviction.

The unfortunate reality is that even after an otherwise law-abiding citizen has paid their debt to society for their momentary lapse in judgment — or even for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time — they run the risk of what amounts to perpetual punishment owing to the existence of a criminal record.

Indeed, a person with a criminal record showing an arrest, charges and/or conviction can see their opportunities to secure everything from education and employment to housing and even professional licensure thwarted.

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Getting arrested for a DWI can be an overwhelming experience. Whatever the circumstances that led you to get pulled over; you certainly did not intend to harm others or yourself.

What happens now? Will you lose your driver’s license? What kind of criminal charges could you face? Will you need to install an ignition interlock device?

A DWI charge can affect all areas of your life. In this post, we cover some of the things that can happen when you are arrested for a DWI in Texas.

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Laws regarding marijuana usage and possession are in a state of flux throughout the US. As many states loosen up their laws, it can be easy to slip into the mindset that if it is okay somewhere else, it is okay here too.

Marijuana is still illegal in Texas and penalties are strict. Even a charge for the possession of a small amount can carry significant consequences that could affect access to college loans, as well as housing and employment options.

Criminal penalties

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Many Texas residents will be celebrating Independence Day this weekend with adult beverages, and if you are one of them, you need to know your rights if you happen to be pulled over and suspected of drunk driving.

Refusing a breathalyzer or blood test in Texas

Generally speaking, you can refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in Texas and the police officer does not have a search warrant. Most criminal defense lawyers will advise to always refuse testing unless you are certain that you are under the legal limit to drive (.08).

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Perhaps you or a person you know are facing assault charges. One of the first things you will want to do is familiarize yourself with the elements of the crime of assault. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed all of the elements of assault before a defendant can be convicted of it.

In order to be convicted of assault under Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code, the prosecution must prove one of the following three things:

  • The accused either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to the victim;
  • The accused either intentionally or knowingly threatened the victim with imminent bodily injury; or
  • The accused either intentionally or knowingly caused physical contact with the victim under circumstances when the accused either knew or should have reasonably believed that the victim would regard the contact as provocative or offensive.

The prosecution may charge the defendant with aggravated assault instead of assault. In order to be convicted of aggravated assault, the prosecution must prove all of the elements of assault, and that a deadly weapon was used or exhibited during the assault, or that the accused caused serious bodily injury to the victim as a result of the assault.

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Being charged with criminal acts in Texas can result in serious penalties and long-term consequences. Regardless of the particular situation, one of the most important things the accused can do is stage a robust criminal defense to have the charges dropped, gain an acquittal or come to a plea agreement. For that, legal help is a must.

The troubled football player Johnny Manziel, whose career has quickly fallen on hard times, has been indicted on charges that he committed misdemeanor domestic assault against a former girlfriend. Mr. Manziel, 23 and currently an NFL free agent after his release from the Cleveland Browns, was accused of striking his then-girlfriend multiple times while driving a vehicle with her as a passenger. According to law enforcement, she made an attempt to exit the vehicle while it was still in motion. Mr. Manziel is alleged to have stopped and forced her to get back in. At a Texas hotel, she asked a valet to help her, saying she was in fear for her life.

The police did not arrest Manziel, instead choosing to send the case to the grand jury for its consideration as to whether a misdemeanor charge was appropriate. A protective order was given to the woman until February 2018. Mr. Manziel must stay a minimum of 500 feet away from her home. In addition, he cannot have a firearm and must pay $12,500 in legal fees.

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“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” That saying is famously used to describe postal workers and their delivery duties. Here in San Antonio, there is very little worry about snow, but mail carriers certainly have to contend with heat and as we have all seen in recent days, some big rainstorms.

A recent news article says mail theft is rising in San Antonio, though a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service concedes that there is no crime data backing the assertion. The article points out that in arrests involving allegations of mail theft, searches can uncover evidence of other criminal activity, including drug crimes, ID theft, robbery and other offenses.

The month of May is perhaps surprisingly a time  when mail thefts can go up, the spokesperson said. That’s because many people mail out graduation gifts to high school and college seniors.

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The average person in San Antonio doesn’t have any significant experience with the criminal justice system. A lot of people might be able to look back and identify times when maybe they received a traffic ticket that perhaps required making a court appearance.

Such situations, as serious as they may seem to be, are a far cry from what is possible. For the most part, awareness of what could happen if you have been arrested is probably limited to what you have seen through the make-believe eyes of some TV screenwriter. So, here are some real-life answers to some common questions.

  • Under what conditions can police arrest me? First, they have to have evidence that a crime has been committed. But in addition, they have to be able to show that they have probable cause to suspect you are responsible.
  • Does being arrested mean I will be taken off in handcuffs? Not necessarily. There are different ways police can make an arrest. An officer saying, “You’re under arrest,” might be sufficient. And if you go voluntarily, restraints might not be used. If you aren’t seen as a flight risk, you might not be taken into custody at all. In such cases, you might receive a letter from the District Attorney’s Office saying you’re expected to appear for an arraignment. You also could get a letter asking that you turn yourself in.
  • Should I remain silent? You have the right to not talk to police when questioned. It’s generally a good idea to exercise that right and speak with an attorney before saying anything or signing any statement put in front of you. Even if you don’t think you are the focus of investigation, something you say or sign could wind up being used against you if you are arrested.

These things can be helpful to know any time you interact with authorities. And if you have questions, rather than rely on police to give you the right answers, you should be speaking with an experienced attorney.