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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney

As the last few months of 2020 begin to come to a close, everyone’s sights are set on 2021. This year has been historic, to say the least, with an international pandemic, racial protests across the United States, and a presidential election all happening in a matter of 12 months. With an eventful year like this one, it is no wonder that everyone is looking forward, Texas lawmakers included. The 87th Texas Legislature will not begin their next session until January; however, state lawmakers are already filing their legislative proposals for 2021, some of which touch on criminal law.

Looking Ahead With New Laws

On just the first day in which Texas lawmakers were able to file legislation, over 450 bills were filed in the House and Senate. According to reports from the Texas Tribune, an anticipated 1,000+ bills will be submitted during the legislative session, but only a few will be seen by the governor’s eyes. This session will be especially tough for lawmakers as COVID-19 leaves billions of dollars of shortfalls in its wake. Despite this, Texas legislators have forged ahead by proposing the following notable bills:

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Collin County criminal defense attorney

According to the Fourth Amendment, Americans have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. In other words, if an officer shows up at your home without a search warrant, or pulls you over and asks to take a look in your car, you are legally allowed to deny the search until a proper search warrant is present. A recent Texas case, however, may put the limits of this protection in question for those individuals who are facing criminal charges.  

Stopped for Speeding, Arrested for Drugs

In early November, two Austin residents were pulled over for a routine traffic stop after they were allegedly found speeding on US HWY 87. According to reports from local station San Angelo LIVE, couple Andrew Garlinghouse and Lee French-Todd provided their driver’s licenses to the police officer upon request. After noting Garlinghouse was acting “suspicious and very nervous” during the traffic stop, the officer was denied his request to search the vehicle. The law enforcement officer suspected additional criminal activity going on due to Garlinghouse’s refusal and visible discomfort, so he called a K-9 unit to the scene to check the vehicle for illicit drugs. During the search, the officer recovered several bags of methamphetamine, small baggies, a scale, Adderall, and Xanax from the couple’s vehicle. The two individuals were then arrested on multiple drug charges.

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Tarrant County criminal defense attorney DWI

College Station, the home to Texas A&M University, has seen a significant decrease in the number of driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests in the past year. As 2020 has been a unique year in the history of the United States, these reduced numbers may be attributed to the restrictions enacted on Texans since COVID-19 began to surge. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 800 drivers across the state were killed in accidents involving DWI. While this number may not seem particularly significant in such a large state, it only accounts for those who were in fatal accidents, not those arrested or injured. If you are arrested for DWI, it is important to know the severity of the criminal charges that you may face and where to turn for legal guidance.

A Texas Town Considers the Implications of Reopening

In a KBTX news report from October 29, Police Officer Tristen Lopez from College Station, Texas notes an approximate 25 percent decrease in DWI arrests this past year. According to the report, College Station police have made 227 DWI-related arrests this year, compared to 303 arrests in 2019 by this same date. The same is true of DWI-related crashes in the area. COVID-19 restrictions in the state of Texas have left local bars closed for months in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus. As of October 14, however, county governments were given the option of allowing their local bars to reopen at 50 percent capacity moving forward. Though these bars may reopen, they are still required to stop selling alcohol at 11 p.m.; the same is not true of restaurants, creating a gray area on which many bars and restaurants can tread. Officer Lopez connected the reduced DWI numbers to local bar closures and noted that the trend will likely change now that the bars have reopened. 

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Collin County criminal defense attorney child abuse

Child abuse is a tragedy that happens all too frequently across the world. In Texas, an average of more than four children die from abuse or neglect every week and 184 kids are confirmed victims on a daily basis. As a parent, it may seem unimaginable how an adult can hurt a child or how the statistics can be this high in a single state alone. The cruelty behind child abuse is undeniable, which can unfortunately lead to quick judgments from the court and unfounded convictions. False accusations of child abuse or neglect are not uncommon when it comes to divorce or adjustments in child custody orders. Criminal actions like those committed by Justin Fountain, a father from East Texas, should be charged in a harsh manner, as shown below. However, those facing false accusations should seek out immediate legal help from a reputable criminal defense attorney to avoid facing severe consequences for a crime they did not commit.

Texas Man Found Guilty of Injuring Daughter

In early October of this year, a man from Cherokee County was convicted of child abuse. Fountain is the father of an infant daughter whom he caused serious bodily injury to in 2019. He admitted to shaking and throwing her down after he became upset with her. Her father also blew marijuana smoke into her face to “calm her down.” According to the child’s pediatrician and adoptive parents, she still suffers ill effects from her injuries that were inflicted last year. A year later, Fountain has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after being convicted of child abuse in Texas.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney drug crimes

As of late, a number of large-scale drug operations have been discovered and shut down by Texas law enforcement. Some spanning from Mexico, through Texas, and all the way to West Virginia while others are bringing down small Texas communities. Those found guilty of possessing, manufacturing, and distributing these illegal substances will face hefty charges in the state of Texas. Depending on the substance at hand, drug charges can span from a relatively minor misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. 

Fort Worth Drug Ring

In mid-October, 30 members of an alleged methamphetamine distribution ring were taken into custody and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. According to reports from KWTX, the group was led by Jonathon Rodriguez, the 30-year-old owner of Funky Town Swag, a clothing store located in Fort Worth. Investigators took possession of 16 kilograms of meth, 9 ounces of heroin, and 9 firearms during the arrest. According to sources, methamphetamine has been an ongoing issue in North Texas for some time. Law enforcement discovered that Rodriguez and his team had allegedly attempted to create a meth conversion lab inside a Fort Worth residence. Reports claim that the drug ring allegedly distributed kilograms of crystal meth out of Funky Town Swag’s back office, a number of trap houses, a car wash, and a local motel. If they are found guilty, the 30 members each face up to 40 years in federal prison.

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