Articles Posted in Texas Laws

Self-defense is one of the oldest and most sacred defenses in all of criminal law. While self-defense applies in a variety of situations, it is also one of the most misunderstood defenses. One particular area of self-defense that is especially important to understand is the “Castle Doctrine.”

The Castle Doctrine is a very old legal concept that is based on the idea that a person’s home is their castle, and they should be able to defend against intruders without fear of violating the law themselves. It is also referred to as the Stand Your Ground law. Texas has a very broad Castle Doctrine that provides ample protection to those defending their homes.

Essentially, the Castle Doctrine makes legal conduct that would otherwise be considered illegal, provided the elements of the doctrine are met. Specifically, the Castle Doctrine allows you to use force you reasonably believe to be necessary to stop another person from trespassing on your property or, in some cases, taking your property. The most protection is afforded to those who are in their home at the time; however, the Castle Doctrine also applies to vehicles.

What is burglary of a habitation in Texas?

Burglary of a habitation is a 2nd-degree (2-20 TDC) felony in Texas. The law forbids entering a  “habitation” without permission from the owner and then attempting or committing theft. See TEX. PENAL CODE § 30.02(a).

What is a habitation?

Can a Roofing Contractor be Charged with Theft?

After every hail storm of tornado roofing contractors will defend on neighborhoods looking for repair work. Most contracts are honest and upright and do a great job. However, sometimes a roofing contractor is hired, paid, but then fails to fix your roof as agreed. Law enforcement may get involved, and even arrest a roofing contractor for theft, or they may tell the homeowner this is a “civil matter” and to file a lawsuit in small claims court instead. If you are charged with theft over a roofing case, most often the prosecutor will require restitution as a condition of any plea bargain, or even offer a better plea offer if you pay restitution upfront. This varies by county.

What is theft in Texas? How does that apply to roofing contractors?

What is a stacked sentence?

Good question. A stacked sentence is one in which two sentences are to be served consecutively or one after another. So if Bob has two cases for possession, and gets 5 years TDC in each case, then a stacked sentence would require him to serve these sentences back to back.

Contrast that with a concurrent sentence, which lawyers call “CC”. If Bob has two charges for possession and gets the same 5 years in each case, then both sentences run at the same time. So Bob does one 5 year sentence.

Let’s talk about turn signals. Lots of people get pulled over for not using a turn signal. But what does the law require? The short answer is – 100 feet. You have to use them for 100 feet before you turn.

Here is the Texas Transportation Code 545.104

(a) An operator shall use the signal authorized by Section 545.106 to indicate an intention to turn, change lanes, or start from a parked position.

If my license is suspended for DWI, can I still drive to work? 

If you are facing a charge for DWI and your license is suspended, you may be eligible for what is known as an Occupational Driver’s License or ODL for short. This type of license allows a person to drive a non-commercial vehicle if their license is suspended, revoked, or denied because of DWI. 

Eligibility. 

One of the first questions we ask our criminal consults is: Have you ever been arrested before? We do this not to embarrass you or make you feel bad, but to make sure we know what could possibly happen with your case. There is a chance that, based on your prior record, your state jail felony could be bumped up from anywhere to a 3rd-degree felony to a 1st-degree felony. We call this a punishment enhancement.

When we ask about your record, it includes needing to know ANY PLACE you’ve been arrested. Including other state and other counties. It also includes ANY TIME you’ve been arrested, no matter how long ago it was. When a prosecutor receives your case, the first thing they do is have an investigator run your background. These are FBI like background checks that can find EVERYTHING. Therefore, the best advice is to be upfront immediately so we can know how to prepare for your case. 

How can they do this? 

So your license to drive is suspended but you are still driving? That happens a lot in Texas. We’ve designed our State in a way that driving is required to function. You can’t walk to work in most areas, and public transportation is not something Texas has invested in. So people have to drive and sometimes will continue to do so after their license is suspended.

What’s the offense for driving with license invalid in Texas? That’s Texas Transportation Code Section 521.457(a)(2). It is illegal in Texas to operate a motor vehicle; on a highway; during a period that the person’s driver’s license or privilege was suspended or revoked under any Texas law.

How bad is it to commit DWLI? What’s the range of punishment?

Assault Family Violence is one the worst misdemeanor charges a defendant in Texas can face (the other being DWI). Worst as in the collateral consequences of a conviction, or even a plea for deferred adjudication, can be life-changing. As a result of the serious nature of these charges, many family violence cases end up set for trial. At its core, a family violence case is still an assault, and there many defenses to an assault charge, including self-defense. If you are looking at a jury trial for an assault, one thing your lawyer must prepare for is the jury charge. That is, what the jury will be instructed to do once evidence is considered. If you are trial strategy is based on self-defense, then you want the jury to be able to consider that defense in the jury charge.

What’s the law on self-defense in family violence cases?

It’s the same as self-defense for any other type of assault.

Intoxication Manslaughter is basically a regular DWI with an additional element, that the defendant’s intoxication caused the death of another. It’s a 2nd-degree felony, which means a possible 2-20 year TDC sentence and a fine of up to $10,000.

Let’s look at Texas Penal Code 49.08-

Sec. 49.08. INTOXICATION MANSLAUGHTER. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:

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