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Criminal Defense

Texans Serving Life Sentences for Drug Possession

Published: Dec 13, 2016 in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

The ACLU and Human Rights Watch recently released a report that assesses the human toll of criminalizing drug use and includes policy recommendations for local, state, and federal government officials. By examining arrest rates around the country, interviewing 365 inmates, and collecting data through public information requests, the report illuminates the human costs of the failed “war on drugs.” The report discusses the wide-ranging consequences of harsh drug laws across the United States, but focuses specifically on Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and New York. Drug Possession Statistics in the United States…

Does Texas Have a Stand Your Ground Law?

Published: Dec 09, 2016 in Criminal Defense, Weapons Crimes

Stand your ground laws expand traditional self-defense principles by removing the duty to retreat before using deadly force. Following the death of Trayvon Martin and trial of George Zimmerman, stand your ground laws have become the subject of national attention and debate. There are approximately 27 states with stand your ground laws across the country, including Texas. Background on Self-Defense Law Generally speaking, a person may use deadly force when he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or herself or…

Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Published: Dec 05, 2016 in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

State Representative Joe Moody of El Paso introduced a bill to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana on the first day of the pre-filing period for the upcoming 2017 legislative session. The legislative proposal, HB 81, is just one of several attempts by Texas lawmakers to enact marijuana reform. Rep. Moody introduced similar legislation in the last legislative session, which drew the support of more than 40 co-sponsors, gained a powerful ally in the Texas Association of Business, and made it out of the Calendars Committee. On average,…

What Are Valid Reasons For A Traffic Stop?

Published: Dec 01, 2016 in Criminal Defense

Traffic stops are considered temporary detentions under the law, which implicates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In order for law enforcement officers to pull someone over, they must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or a traffic violation. If an officer lacks a reasonable suspicion to pull you over, any evidence obtained as the result of the traffic stop will be inadmissible against you in a criminal trial. What is Reasonable Suspicion? Reasonable suspicion must be based on articulable facts, which means more than a mere…

Is Stop and Frisk Legal in Texas?

Published: Nov 25, 2016 in Criminal Defense

Stop and frisk has been a hotly debated topic over the past several years. The practice, in which police officers can stop, question, and frisk people based on a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime, has been employed in several cities across the country. While this program is understandably controversial and can be seen as unfair, essentially a stop and frisk program can become illegal if it is implemented in a racially-biased manner, but the practice itself is not unconstitutional….