Criminal Law - Practice area
Criminal Law

DWI, Drugs, Assault, Probation Revocation, Sexual Offenses, Theft, Juvenile Defense. Felony and Misdemeanor Offenses in State and Federal Court

DUI - Practice area
DWI

Driving While Intoxicated, DWI and Your Drivers License Forney, Texas DWI Defense Lawyer.

Juvenile Law - Practice area
Juvenile Law

Sexual Offenses, Drug Offenses, Assault and Violent Crimes, Theft, Truancy/School Related Criminal Charges.

In a recent opinion from a Texas court, the defendant’s motion to suppress was denied. Originally, the defendant was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and aggravated assault. He appealed, arguing that the prosecutor’s use of evidence from the black box in his car was unwarranted. The court disagreed, sustaining the original verdict.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving one of his friends when he sped around a curve and lost control of his car. Immediately, the defendant crashed into a tree, and his friend died due to injuries sustained in the crash. Investigating the case, police officers obtained a search warrant to recover the defendant’s black box event data recorder. According to police officers, this black box would tell them important information on the car’s speed both at and before the crash itself.

While preparing for trial, the defendant argued that the officers should not have been allowed to seize the car’s black box – it was a violation of his right to privacy. The trial court denied this motion and proceeded with trial. Eventually, a jury heard all of the evidence and concluded that the defendant was guilty of homicide and aggravated assault because of his reckless driving.

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In a recent opinion from a Texas court, the defendant successfully argued that his motion to suppress should have been granted. Originally, the defendant was pulled over in a traffic stop, and the officer pulling him over arrested him for driving under the influence. When the defendant filed a motion to suppress the incriminating evidence proving he was intoxicated, the court at first denied this motion. Later, though, a higher court agreed with the defendant, finding that the evidence should have been suppressed in the first place.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, an officer was patrolling the roads one evening when he stopped the defendant’s vehicle for failing to maintain a single line of traffic. In the officer’s testimony, he stated that the only reason he stopped the defendant’s car was for this one reason – there were no other factors that went into his decision to pull the defendant over.

During the traffic stop, the officer saw that the defendant appeared to be intoxicated. He arrested the defendant for driving while intoxicated, and the defendant soon after filed a motion to suppress the evidence of his intoxication. The defendant argued that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull him over in the first place, and since the officer should not have initiated the traffic stop, the subsequent evidence of intoxication was unfairly included in the State’s case. The court denied this motion to suppress, and later the defendant pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated. Continue reading

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects residents from unreasonable search and seizure of their property by law enforcement. The legal remedy for a defendant whose constitutional rights are violated in this context is the exclusion of any evidence found in such a search from their criminal prosecution. Although this rule seems straightforward and beneficial to Americans who are accused of crimes, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies are known to violate this rule and usually do all they can to admit evidence collected as a result of illegal searches. A Texas appellate court recently reversed a lower court decision allowing evidence to be admitted against a drug defendant that had come from an illegal search.

In the recently decided case, the defendant was stopped by an officer for operating a motor vehicle without registration tags. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the defendant stopped his vehicle in a well-lit area near a gas station and was outside of the vehicle when the officer approached him. After making contact with the defendant, the officer requested that he put his hands behind his back so he could perform a “pat down” for weapons. As the officer attempted to put his hands inside one of the defendant’s pockets, the defendant began to resist, breaking free from the officer and fleeing behind a dumpster. The officer followed the defendant, placing him under arrest and finding a small bag of drugs on the ground, which was presumably dropped by the defendant after he was out of the officer’s line of sight.

The defendant was arrested and charged for drug possession. Before trial, the defendant challenged the admission of the drug evidence against him, arguing that he did not consent to a search and that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to reach into his pocket during the pat down. The prosecution claimed that the search was legal and consented to by the defendant, and even if it was an illegal search that the defendant’s own conduct in fleeing from the officer and throwing the drugs on the ground himself meant that the evidence was not found in the course of the search. The trial court accepted the prosecution’s arguments and ultimately convicted the defendant and sentenced him to 5 years of incarceration.

In a recent opinion from a Texas court, a defendant’s request to suppress incriminating evidence was denied. The defendant had been previously found guilty of murder, and part of the evidence used against him in court was gunshot residue (sometimes called GSR) found in his vehicle. The defendant tried to argue that the GSR was improperly used as evidence because the detective who found the GSR did not obtain a warrant, specifically stating that he was going to be searching for GSR in the vehicle. The court denied this argument, affirming the lower court’s judgment and denying the defendant’s appeal.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a shooting occurred one morning in January 2018 outside of the victim’s apartment complex. The victim’s wife heard gunshots and found her husband dead outside of their apartment, but the shooter ran away before she was able to see him.

The defendant quickly became the main suspect in the police department’s investigation of the crime. Other apartment complex residents described the shooter and the shooter’s vehicle to detectives, which led investigators to the defendant himself. There was also testimonial evidence presented that the defendant and the victim had been arguing at work the day before the shooting, which gave detectives reason to believe the defendant had a motive to commit the crime. Other witnesses told police officers that before he lost consciousness, the victim had been uttering a name to people around him that sounded like the defendant’s first name.

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Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas issued an important decision holding the state’s stalking statute unconstitutional. While lawmakers are responsible for writing and passing laws, courts must interpret the laws as they are written. However, courts are also the final arbiter in determining whether a law is constitutional. While most laws pass constitutional muster, some do not, as evidenced by the court’s recent decision.

The Facts of the Case

The defendant in the case was arrested and charged with felony stalking for conduct taking place between January 1, 2007, and April 24, 2018. More specifically, the complaint alleged that the defendant engaged in conduct that caused the complaining witness “to feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended” and “would cause a reasonable person to feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended.” Evidently, the defendant posted comments on social media and made other public statements that the complaining witness considered threatening.

At the time, the Texas stalking statute made it a crime to commit more than one act of “electronic-communications harassment” under § 42.07. That statute provides that a person repeatedly sends “electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.” Thus, the stalking statute directly references the harassment statute, making it a stalking offense to engage in a continued course of harassment.

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In a recent opinion from a Texas court involving a DWI, the defendant’s request for incriminating evidence to be suppressed was denied. The defendant was found guilty of driving while intoxicated and appealed by arguing that the court improperly admitted his blood sample as evidence at trial. The court disagreed, ultimately denying the defendant’s appeal.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, an officer in Texas stopped the defendant after observing his vehicle weaving from one lane to the other. The officer also saw that the defendant’s middle brake light was out and was concerned about the vehicle’s defective equipment. During his testimony, the officer explained that he originally looked for the defendant’s car because a bartender had called the police station saying she was concerned that the defendant might be heavily drinking and driving after having departed her establishment.

After stopping the defendant’s vehicle, the officer noticed the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and that the defendant was sleepy and swaying. While the defendant admitted to drinking alcohol, he refused to submit to a blood test. Based on the officer’s statements, however, a judge found that there was probable cause for a search warrant, and decided that the officer was legally allowed to take a sample of the defendant’s blood regardless of whether or not the defendant was willing to give it. The defendant’s blood sample was thus obtained and eight days later, was delivered to the Texas Department of Public Safety. An analysis of the sample showed that the defendant’s blood-alcohol level had been .170 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. He was convicted for driving while intoxicated.

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While Texas has taken some small steps in light of the national shift towards the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, the drug is largely still illegal except for those with a valid prescription. The continued prohibition on marijuana possession—even in small amounts—has led many to seek out legal alternatives to marijuana. However, as lawmakers catch on to these new substances, they quickly respond by passing new laws and using existing laws to prosecute these look-alike drugs.

What Is Delta 8?

Delta 8, or Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of about 100 cannabinoids produced naturally by the cannabis plant. While Delta 8 is a naturally occurring substance, cannabis plants produce only a minimal amount of Delta 8. Delta 8 provides a similar “high” to smoking or ingesting marijuana. However, when someone consumes marijuana in its traditional form, it is Delta 9 THC that creates the intoxicating effect. However, taking Delta 8 will cause the user to test positive on a drug test.

Because marijuana plants produce so little Delta 8, most Delta 8 products are created using hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD). Currently, at least for now, Delta 8 products are available in smoke shops and CBD stores across Texas for customers over the age of 21. However, the legality of Delta has recently been called into question.

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In a recent opinion from a Texas court involving sexual assault, the defendant’s request for a new verdict was denied. The defendant was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of fourteen. At trial, the plaintiff, a child who was ten years old at the time of the assault, testified about the incident. The trial court found the defendant guilty, and on appeal, he countered that the plaintiff’s testimony was insufficient to prove his guilt. The court disagreed and affirmed his guilty verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the plaintiff is a minor who lived in a two-story apartment with her brother, her mother, and her mother’s boyfriend. In the spring of 2017, her mother’s boyfriend invited his sister and her boyfriend, the defendant, to move into the apartment with them. There were then six people living in the apartment – the kids, their mother, and her boyfriend living upstairs, plus the boyfriend’s sister and the defendant living downstairs.

One evening, when the plaintiff was ten years old, she went downstairs to put a cup away in the kitchen. The defendant suddenly approached her as she was about to leave the kitchen. He dragged her to the floor, pulled her shorts down, and began touching her leg and chest. The defendant penetrated her anus with his penis, assaulting her until the plaintiff’s brother came downstairs. The plaintiff quickly put her clothes back on and at first, no one found out about the incident. It was not until five months later that the defendant reported to her aunt what had happened. An investigation ensued, and the defendant was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of fourteen.

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In a recent opinion from a Texas court involving charges of domestic violence, the defendant’s request for a new verdict was denied. The defendant was found guilty of the second-degree felony offense of family violence assault by impeding the normal breathing of his girlfriend, as well as the third-degree felony offense of family violence. At trial, the prosecution argued that the defendant kept his girlfriend from being able to appear and testify in court. On appeal, the defendant said that this information was false and that he did not keep his girlfriend from coming to trial. The court disagreed and affirmed the guilty verdict.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, police officers went to the defendant’s home after a neighbor called 911 to report domestic violence. Upon arrival, the officers knocked on the defendant’s door; the defendant, who was sweeping up glass from the living room floor, said that he and his girlfriend were “just getting into it.” The defendant’s girlfriend, on the other hand, reported to the officers that she and her boyfriend had argued and he had assaulted her. According to the defendant’s girlfriend, the defendant had punched her in the stomach and struck her with a broom ten times on the shoulders. When she ran outside, the defendant hit her in the head and pulled her into the house by her hair. At the end of the incident, she had red marks on her throat, bruising on her left arm, and a broken blood vessel in her eye.

Leading up to trial, investigators repeatedly tried to serve the defendant’s girlfriend with papers saying she had to appear in court. When they tried to deliver the papers, the defendant claimed that he and his girlfriend were no longer a couple and that he could not do anything to help the investigators locate her. Later, the investigators learned that the defendant and his girlfriend were still, in fact, together, despite what the defendant had claimed when the investigators asked for his help.

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The Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution protect defendants from unreasonable searches and seizures of themselves, their homes, and their property. Evidence gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment cannot be used against a defendant at trial. Thus, defendants who can prove that the evidence used against them was collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment may be entitled to the dismissal of the charges against them.

The Texas Court of Appeals recently heard an appeal by the State of Texas that challenged the suppression of evidence obtained against a defendant who had been accused of possession of drugs. The defendant in the recently decided case was driving a vehicle when he was recognized by a law enforcement officer as a known criminal offender. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the officer began to follow the defendant and witnessed him commit a traffic violation as he pulled into a gas station. The officer pulled behind the defendant and signaled him to stop, at which point the defendant exited his vehicle and behaved suspiciously. The officer engaged with the defendant and notified him that he was stopped for a minor traffic violation. The officer asked the defendant for consent to search his person and vehicle, which the defendant initially gave.

After another officer arrived on the scene, the defendant revoked the consent to search his vehicle and made statements suggesting that the officers were going to get a canine unit to search his car. As a result of the defendant’s statements, the officers called a canine unit, which took 38 minutes to arrive. The canine unit alerted the officers to the presence of marijuana in the car, which was ultimately found after a search was performed. As a result of the drugs being found, the defendant was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

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