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frisco DWI defense lawyerWhen a police officer believes you are driving while intoxicated, they will work through a process to build the strongest possible case against you. This process involves asking a series of questions about your whereabouts and recent alcohol consumption, they will request that you participate in a series of field sobriety tests, and finally, they will request that you submit to chemical testing. To say this a different way, building the strongest possible DWI case requires your compliance. You may wonder how you should respond to the officer’s requests.

Implied Consent

All 50 states have implied consent laws, which means that when you get your driver’s license, you inherently agree to submit to chemical tests if an officer believes you are under the influence of an intoxicant while driving a vehicle. The legal concept of implied consent does not apply to answering questions or field sobriety tests. Yet, it does apply to the breathalyzer, the device in which you blow into and then uses your breath to measure your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). 

What makes implied consent confusing is that you might only hear about it after you have been arrested for DWI. Even though you don’t technically have a choice, it is still presented as optional. So, you might be wondering why you would help the officer find incriminating evidence against you? 

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How Do Police Investigate a DWI?

Posted on in DWI

TExas criminal defense lawyerIn local jurisdictions across the country, it is often considered a high priority for police to make arrests for driving under the influence. While laws may vary and terminology may change -- DUI instead of DWI, for instance -- most police officers follow the same procedures for identifying, investigating, and ultimately determining to arrest a driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, how do police investigate a DWI?

The NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created the standards and guidelines for DWI investigation and also provide training and instruction materials for police agencies nationwide. According to the DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Test Manual, a police officer should investigate a DWI in three phases 

Phase One - Vehicle in Motion

Phase one is often initiated when a driver makes an obvious traffic violation. In police training, the infraction might be presented as a driver swerving over the line or speeding. However, there are other noteworthy observations an officer can make like seeing a driver stop abruptly or too early at a stop sign, or driving well under the speed limit. If strange behavior is identified, the officer might follow the vehicle until an infraction is made, so he or she has probable cause to make the stop. 

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Frisco, TX criminal defense drug possession lawyerTexas is known for having strict laws prohibiting the use of drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. If you or a loved one were arrested for possession of cocaine, it is important to realize the gravity of these allegations. You or your loved one may be facing life-changing criminal penalties. The penalties you face are especially harsh if the prosecution alleges possession with intent to distribute.

Cocaine Possession Laws in Texas

The state of Texas categorizes illicit substances into several penalty groups based on the drug’s perceived severity. Cocaine is in penalty group 1, which means that cocaine-related offenses are penalized more harshly than offenses involving drugs like marijuana. Being caught with even a small amount of cocaine or crack cocaine is a felony offense punishable by significant jail time. The greater the amount of cocaine allegedly in your possession, the harsher the penalties:

  • Less than one gram of cocaine is a state jail felony punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $10,000 fine

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Frisco, TX criminal defense traffic lawyerThere is no doubt that law enforcement officers are a crucial component in a safe and functioning society. However, the U.S. Constitution, as well as other legislation, Limits the authority of police officers and other government officials in order to protect citizens’ rights. If you are ever stopped by police or arrested for a criminal offense, it is crucial that you assert your rights and avoid these common mistakes.

Acting Suspiciously or Aggressively During a Traffic Stop

If you are pulled over for speeding, running a stop sign, or another alleged infraction, it is important to remember that many traffic stops result in little more than a warning or minor fine. The actions that you take during the traffic stop can directly influence how the traffic stop ends. When you see flashing lights, pull over and turn the vehicle off. When the officer walks over to your car, roll down the window and respond politely in a non-aggressive tone. Give the officer your license, registration, and insurance information if asked for it.  

Answering Police Questions Without Your Lawyer Present

Being calm and polite can help prevent a police interaction from escalating. However, this does not mean that you should incriminate yourself by answering police questions. You have a Constitutional right to remain silent and decline police questions without your lawyer present. If the police ask you questions like “Do you know why I pulled you over?” or “Do you know how fast you were going?” The best answer is usually “No.” Trying to explain yourself or offering additional information can give the officers more evidence to use against you in any future proceedings. If you are arrested, immediately invoke your right to remain silent and inform officers that you will not answer questions without your lawyer.

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Frisco, TX attorney writ bondIf your friend or a family member has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you may be confused and overwhelmed. You want to help your loved one, but you do not know what to do to help them. Fortunately, individuals arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), possession of an illicit substance, theft, or certain other non-violent offenses can take advantage of an option called an “attorney writ bond.” An attorney writ bond can be used to get someone out of jail – often within hours of his or her arrest.

An Attorney Writ Bond Can Speed Up the Bond Process

When someone is arrested for committing an alleged criminal offense, they are immediately taken to jail. The suspect is eventually taken before a judge who sets the suspect’s bond and the conditions for his or her release. Unfortunately, some suspects must wait several days before they can attend the bond hearing. This is especially common when someone is arrested on a Friday night and must wait until Monday to see the judge. An attorney writ bond can speed up this process considerably. Often, an attorney writ bond can secure a suspect’s release within two or three hours.

How Does a Writ Bond Work?

A writ bond is essentially a promise that the suspect will return to court for his or her hearing. The hearing will be scheduled for a later date. When you contact an attorney qualified to file a writ bond, the attorney goes to jail and gets the subject’s signature on the bond paperwork. The attorney files paperwork with the court. The bond is set and the suspect is released.  Only attorneys licensed in Texas are authorized to file a writ bond in Collin County. 

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Frisco, TX criminal defense attorney unlawful searchIt is not always easy to understand where police officers’ authority ends and citizens’ constitutional rights begin. If you are like many people, you may be unsure of what rights are afforded to you by state and federal law. You may also be unsure of how those rights apply to police searches and seizures. It is crucial for every citizen to know when police do and do not have the right to search personal property. If police officers discover evidence of a crime in an unlawful search, that evidence may be inadmissible or unusable during criminal proceedings.

Rights Protected by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The Fourth Amendment enforces our right to be free of “unreasonable searches and seizures” by government officials like police officers. A government official cannot simply search a person’s home or belongings or take a person’s property for no reason. However, police searches that meet certain criteria are permissible under the Fourth Amendment and other legislation. Our expectation of privacy also varies depending on the type of property in question. For example, police do not have to obtain a search warrant before they search a motor vehicle.

When Can Police Search My Car?

In order to legally search your car, truck, van, or another vehicle, at least one of the following elements must be present:

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TX defense lawyerThere are a variety of situations where someone may cause harm to someone else. In cases where someone acted in a way that was intentionally meant to injure someone, they may be charged with assault. While this can be a serious charge, the penalties can be even more severe if the offense is increased to aggravated assault. Because of this, anyone who is charged with assault involving bodily injury will want to understand the nature of their alleged offense, the potential penalties they may face, and the possible defense strategies that may allow them to avoid being convicted or reduce the offense to a lesser charge.

Assault vs. Aggravated Assault

“Simple” assault may be charged if a person knowingly and intentionally caused someone to suffer a bodily injury, and these charges may also apply if a person threatened to injure someone or even if they made physical contact with a person in a way that the person believed was provocative or offensive. Aggravated assault charges may apply if a person allegedly committed an act that could be considered assault that inflicted serious bodily injury on someone. An assault charge may also be increased to aggravated assault if the alleged perpetrator used or was carrying a deadly weapon when they committed the act of assault.

In many cases, whether an offense is considered assault or aggravated assault will depend on the level of the injuries suffered by the alleged victim. Under the Texas Penal Code, “bodily injury” includes any form of physical pain or illness or any other issues that impair a person’s physical condition. However, to be considered a “serious bodily injury,” a person must have suffered harm that put them at a substantial risk of being killed, or they must have been permanently disfigured or experienced the loss or long-term impairment of an organ or part of their body.

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TX DWI lawyerDriving while intoxicated by alcohol or other substances is unlawful in all fifty U.S. states. However, knowing when a driver is too intoxicated to drive safely is not always easy. Portable breath alcohol tests like breathalyzers are designed to measure the amount of alcohol on someone’s breath and use that information to calculate the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). The results of these tests are not always accurate, however. As a result, many people wonder, “Will I go to jail for drunk driving if I fail a breathalyzer test?”

What Happens During a DWI Stop?

When a police officer suspects that a driver may be under the influence, he or she has a few options. Sometimes, the officer asks the driver to complete a field sobriety test. These tests assess a person’s coordination and body responses to determine if they are under the influence. However, illnesses, injuries, and a host of other issues can interfere with these tests. Breath tests are often used in addition to or in place of a field sobriety test.

There Are Two Types of Breath Tests in Texas

Police officers carry portable breath tests which are often referred to as breathalyzers. These tests can be inaccurate. Consequently, the results of this preliminary breath test are usually not admissible as evidence during legal proceedings. A preliminary breath test is used to determine if there is enough evidence of intoxication to make an arrest. You are under no legal obligation to take a preliminary breath test.

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TX defense lawyerTexas is known for having some of the most lenient gun laws in the country. However, there are still a number of rules and regulations regarding the possession, use, sale, and transport of firearms. If you violate Texas firearm laws, you could face criminal charges and jail time. This is why it is essential for every Texan to know the law regarding unlawful possession of a firearm.

Who Is Prohibited from Owning a Firearm in Texas?

Certain people are prohibited from owning a gun by federal law, including people who are:

  • Convicted of a felony crime
  • Subject to a restraining order
  • Convicted of certain domestic violence offenses
  • Addicted to illicit substances
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Deemed “mentally defective” or have been committed to a mental institution
  • Illegal immigrants or individuals who entered the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa
  • Dishonorably discharged from the military

In addition to these federal restrictions, Texas state law prohibits people who are convicted of family violence assault or individuals subject to a family violence protective order from possessing a firearm.

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TX defense lawyerShoplifting is one of the most common crimes in the country. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 500,000 incidents of shoplifting every day in the U.S. Most people know that taking something from a store without paying for it is against the law. However, few realize the consequences that retail theft can lead to. Shoplifting in Texas can damage your personal reputation, limit your employment opportunities, and in some cases, even lead to jail time.

Shoplifting Falls Under the Category of Theft

Unlike other states, there is not a law in Texas that specifically deals with shoplifting. If you are caught shoplifting, you face charges for theft. While shoplifting often brings to mind images of someone stuffing stolen items in a jacket or bag, this is not the only form of shoplifting that can result in criminal charges. Other situations that can lead to theft charges include:

  • Using a self-checkout register and not scanning every item
  • Returning a stolen item for cash or store credit
  • Changing barcodes or price tags on items
  • Working with a cashier who agrees to under-ring items or “forgets” to scan items

It is also a criminal offense in Texas to possess a device used to facilitate shoplifting. For example, some individuals use aluminum-lined bags nicknamed “booster bags” to prevent anti-theft devices from functioning correctly. Manufacturing, distributing, or merely possessing a device such as this is punishable by a heavy fine and jail time in Texas.

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TX defense lawyerWhen we think about driving while intoxicated (DWI), alcohol or illicit drugs typically come to mind. However, this is not the only substance that may lead to DWI charges in Texas. Many Texans are surprised to learn that driving after taking a prescription medication can sometimes lead to criminal charges – even if the driver was prescribed the medication by a doctor. The penalties for driving under the influence of a prescription drug are the same as those for drunk driving. If you or a loved one have been arrested for DWI because of driving while under the influence of prescription medication, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.

Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicating Medicine Can Lead to Criminal Consequences

Over two-thirds of US adults take at least one prescription medication. Understandably, there may be a time when someone who takes prescription medication needs to drive. However, Texas law states that driving while under the influence of any intoxicating substance can lead to DWI charges. Even if you are taking the drug legally for a legitimate medical purpose, you can still face criminal consequences.

Texas law defines “intoxicated” as:

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TX defense lawyerThere is no doubt that domestic violence and abuse are very real problems in Texas. However, not all accusations of domestic violence or domestic assault are true. Sometimes a family member, former romantic partner, or household member makes up an accusation of violence or abuse. An ex-spouse may claim family violence or child abuse in an effort to gain an advantage in a child custody dispute. An angry girlfriend or boyfriend may claim that you hit him or her to seek revenge for infidelity. The possibilities are endless. If you have been falsely accused of hurting a current or former family or household member, contact a criminal defense lawyer right away.

Do Not Seek Retaliation or Confront the Person Who Accused You

If you have been accused of something that you did not do, you may understandably feel angry and offended. However, it is important not to confront your accuser. This only gives him or her the opportunity to make further claims against you. It is possible that you are subject to an order of protection or “restraining order.” This is a court order that may prohibit you from contacting or coming within a certain distance of another person. A Temporary Ex Parte Order may be obtained in Texas without a hearing. This means that you may even be subject to a protective order without knowing it. Confronting your accuser will likely aggravate the situation and may even lead to criminal charges for violating a protective order.

Gather Evidence That Can Be Used in Your Defense

Domestic assault is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. It is a felony offense punished even more harshly if you have been convicted of domestic assault previously. Therefore, it is important to start building your defense right away. One of the best ways that you can help your lawyer build a solid defense against domestic violence charges is to gather evidence. Save text messages, emails, and voicemails that can help tell your side of the story. Write down your version of any altercation soon after it happens so that you have a record of what happened.

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TX DWI lawyerIn Texas, a driver can be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) for having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. To determine whether a driver’s BAC exceeds the legal limit, police officers may conduct a field sobriety test or a breath alcohol test such as a breathalyzer. Many Texas drivers have questions about their legal rights during a traffic stop. You may have wondered, “Do I have to take a breathalyzer test?” or “What happens if I refuse a chemical BAC test?”

Preliminary Roadside BAC Tests

The majority of DWI arrests begin with one of two scenarios. The first occurs when a police officer notices that a driver is drifting between lanes, turning with an unusually wide radius, weaving in and out of traffic, or otherwise shows signs of intoxicated driving. The second scenario occurs when an officer pulls a driver over for an offense like speeding or a broken taillight and then notices signs of intoxication such as the smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath.

In either of these scenarios, the officer may ask the driver to take a roadside breathalyzer test. Preliminary breath tests are designed more for portability than for accuracy. Consequently, the results of a roadside breath test are not usually admissible in court as evidence of drunk driving.

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TX defense lawyerFewer drugs have been the subject of as much controversy – or as much confusion – as marijuana. State laws regarding the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis products vary dramatically from state to state. In Texas, cannabis or “weed” is illegal except in extremely limited circumstances. This includes all edibles and products containing the psychoactive component THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Cookies, candy, brownies, and other products containing THC concentrates are typically penalized more harshly than marijuana and may lead to felony criminal charges and even decades behind bars.

THC Concentrates Including Oil and Wax Are Penalized More Harshly Than Marijuana

Like most states, the criminal penalties an individual faces for possession of an illicit drug varies depending on the amount of the drug in possession. The greater the amount of the drug an individual allegedly possesses, the worse the penalties. Possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor and possession of two to four ounces is a Class A misdemeanor. Possession of any amount greater than four ounces is a felony offense. Distribution of greater than a quarter of an ounce (or seven grams) is also a felony offense.

However, THC edibles are not penalized the same as “marijuana flower” or the physical plant material THC concentrates like hash oil or wax, the substance typically in marijuana edibles, are classified in drug penalty group two. Possession of drugs in this penalty group is penalized more harshly. Possession of less than one gram of THC concentrate can result in state jail felony charges. State jail felonies are punishable by 180 days to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Possession of one to four grams of a THC concentrate is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. If you are caught with four to 400 grams of THC concentrates, you face second-degree felony charges and up to 20 years in prison. Possession of more than 400 grams, or just under a pound, of THC concentrates is a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney writ bond

Being handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car is one of the most frightening and intimidating experiences a person can go through – especially if the person has never been arrested before. Most people do not know exactly how arrests, criminal charges, and securing bail work after an arrest for driving while intoxicated (DWI). They may be unsure of how long they will be in police custody following the arrest and worried about getting to work, picking up their children from school, and fulfilling other responsibilities. Fortunately, there may be a way to get out of police custody within a few hours following a DWI arrest in Texas through an attorney writ bond.

An Attorney Writ Bond Can Expedite a Criminal Defendant’s Release  

When an individual is arrested for drunk driving in Texas, they are taken into police custody. He or she will attend a hearing with a judge within 48 hours of being arrested. During the hearing, the judge explains what the defendant has been charged with and what he or she must do to be released. Often, the defendant must pay a certain amount of money called a “bail” to be released. Some defendants pay their bail through a bondsman. Judges may also release a defendant on a “personal bond,” which means that he or she swears to appear at a future court date.  

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Collin County criminal defense attorney DWI marijuana

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges typically bring to mind drunk driving. However, alcohol is not the only substance that can lead to DWI charges in Texas. While many states have legalized the medical or recreational use of marijuana, the drug is still illegal in Texas save for very specific circumstances.  If you are caught driving while intoxicated by marijuana or a THC-containing product, you may be charged with DWI and subject to penalties including heavy fines and possible jail time. Developing a robust defense strategy with help from a skilled DWI defense lawyer may help you avoid these penalties.  

Understanding the Difference Between DWI Involving Cannabis and DWI Involving Alcohol

The penalties for DWI involving marijuana intoxication and alcohol intoxication are largely the same. A first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a temporary suspension of your driver’s license. Second or subsequent offenses or DWI involving certain aggravating factors such as child passengers are penalized by longer jail sentences.

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Collin County DWI defense attorney intoxication manslaughter

Most first-time drunk driving offenses are misdemeanor offenses punishable by a maximum of 180 days in jail, fines, and suspension of the offender’s driver’s license. However, driving while intoxicated (DWI) and causing an accident in which someone is injured or killed is a felony offense in Texas. These crimes are punished much more severely than typical DWI offenses. If you or a loved one have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causing a serious car accident, speak with a criminal defense lawyer right away. The sooner you contact an experienced lawyer, the sooner your lawyer can start building a defense strategy.

Penalties for Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter

Driving while intoxicated and causing a crash that results in injury or death is referred to as “intoxication assault” or “intoxication manslaughter” respectively. Both of these crimes are felony offenses that are heavily penalized in Texas. If you are convicted of causing serious bodily injury in a drunk driving accident, you could face 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. If you are convicted of causing a drunk driving accident that results in death, you face penalties including a maximum of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney order of protection

Any relationship is bound to have some degree of conflict. However, when a conflict between romantic partners, roommates, or relatives escalates, an individual may be accused of “family violence.” The state of Texas takes allegations of family violence and child abuse very seriously. Consequently, an individual accused of family violence or domestic violence can face harsh criminal consequences. If you have been accused of harming a family member or household member, you may be subject to a Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection (MOEP). If someone has filed an MOEP against you, understanding your rights and obligations is essential. 

Texas Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection

A Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection is a court order that is used to protect an alleged victim of domestic violence or stalking from further harassment or abuse. These orders are often referred to as restraining orders or protection orders. In Texas, a judge or “magistrate” is required to issue a MOEP if someone is arrested for family violence involving a deadly weapon or resulting in serious bodily harm. A judge may also issue an MOEP if the order is requested by a law enforcement officer, prosecutor, alleged victim, or the guardian of an alleged victim.

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When Can Drug Use Lead to DWI Charges in Texas?

Posted on in DWI

Collin County criminal defense attorney DWI

When a person drives after drinking alcohol, they may face charges of driving while intoxicated (DWI) if they are found to be in control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08 percent. However, there are other substances that can cause impairment that affects a person’s ability to drive safely. Drivers should be aware that they could face DWI charges due to the use of a variety of different types of drugs. Those who have been charged with DWI in Texas will want to secure representation from a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.

DWI Charges Related to Legal and Illegal Drugs

The Texas Penal Code states that a person is considered to be intoxicated if they do not have the normal use of their physical or mental faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, drugs, or any combination of these substances into their body. This means that the use of any substances that affect a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle could lead to DWI charges. These substances may include:

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Collin County criminal defense attorney stalking

There are multiple activities and behaviors that can lead to a person facing criminal charges, and sometimes, these can arise out of relationship problems, disagreements between family members, or other situations where a person acts in a way that offends or threatens someone else. In some cases, a person who allegedly commits these types of actions may face charges of harassment, but in more serious situations, they may be accused of stalking. This is a felony offense in Texas, and a conviction can result in severe penalties, so those who have been accused of this crime should be sure to understand the laws that affect them and the best defense strategies against these types of charges.

The Differences Between Harassment and Stalking

The Texas Penal Code defines harassment as actions that are deliberately meant to annoy, torment, abuse, alarm, or embarrass someone else. These actions may include repeatedly calling someone on the phone or sending text messages or emails, as well as messages sent through other types of electronic communication, such as social media. Harassment may also involve threatening to injure or harm a person, their family members, or their property; making false reports that a person’s loved ones have suffered serious injuries or been killed; or any forms of communication that involve obscene comments or requests.

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