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Recent Blog Posts

Beyond Reasonable Doubt: What It Means & How It Could Affect Your Case

 Posted on February 22, 2018 in Criminal Defense

The presumption of innocence—“innocent until proven guilty”—is one of the foundations of criminal justice law in the United States and other countries which follow a common law tradition. The only way to overcome this presumption in a criminal trial is for the prosecution to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed the crime that he or she has been charged with.

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the legal standard that the prosecution must meet in order to successfully find a criminal defendant guilty of a crime. This standard applies to each element of the criminal offense and is the highest standard of proof possible, which helps to reduce the likelihood of wrongful convictions, the risk of innocent people being deprived of their liberty, and ensures all citizens’ rights are better protected.

Reasonable doubt is required in criminal proceedings under the “due process clause” of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court first discussed the term in Miles v. United States (1880) by stating, “The evidence upon which a jury is justified in returning a verdict of guilty must be sufficient to produce a conviction of guilt, to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt.”

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8 Types of Defense Strategies for Your Criminal Case

 Posted on February 08, 2018 in Criminal Defense

Facing criminal charges can change your life forever. While the stress you experience in these situations can seem overwhelming, it is imperative to remember that (1) you are innocent until proven guilty, (2) you may have various viable defense options in your case, and (3) hiring an experiencing criminal defense lawyer can help you develop the most effective defense strategy possible.

Attorneys can use various arguments to protect your rights and to make the prosecution prove its case. Whether it’s during the pre-trial face or presented to the jury, these defenses can be raised at several points on the timeline of a case.

There are defenses when the defendant claims that the facts alleged by the prosecutor are incorrect or untrue. By contrast, there are affirmative defenses, which admit the factual allegations but excuse the defendant’s conduct that would otherwise be unlawful.

I Didn’t Do It

If you did not commit the alleged act in question, you may use the following three types of defenses:

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The Role of Self-Defense in Your Criminal Case

 Posted on January 15, 2018 in Criminal Defense

Assault is either causing physical harm to someone or threatening someone to the point where they could reasonably expect that they were about to sustain physical harm. No actual harm needs to occur for this crime to be charged; merely being indicating that you might harm someone is enough to warrant a charge in most instances. While assault charges wobble between being either a misdemeanor or felony, there are some defenses you could use to justify your actions and prove that no crime was committed. Perhaps the most obvious one is to argue that your actions were committed in what’s known as “affirmative defense,” which is a fancy way of essentially saying that they were done in order to defend yourself.

Here are the three ways in which affirmative defense can apply.

Defense of Self

The law does permit you to use physical assault against someone in order to defend yourself. Say for example you were being robbed at gunpoint. If you were able to act quickly and subdue the would-be attacker with a quick, swift punch to the jaw that knocks them unconscious, then you can argue that your actions prevented the robber from harming you. The evidence would greatly support that in this instance, since your attacker did have a gun that they were using to threaten bodily harm and intimidate you into handing over your valuables.

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Why You Need an Attorney for Misdemeanor Charges

 Posted on January 04, 2018 in Criminal Defense

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a simple misdemeanor, you may be tempted to think that you can get away with simply handling the matter yourself. Whether you want to just accept the penalty, pay your fine, and move on with your life, or attempt to defend yourself and see if you can get your charges dismissed, many people think they can handle their issue on their own. However, should they try? Turns out, that may not be the best idea.

Serious Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction

When you face misdemeanor charges for things like loitering, disorderly conduct, or being intoxicated in public, you may be tempted to think that these are minor charges that won’t have much of an impact on your life. To a certain extent, you’re right. These offenses rarely carry jail time, usually have a minor fine of around $500 or so (sometimes even less) and you can move on with your life without issue.

However, what you may not realize is that your crime could be more serious than you thought. Those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor could face serious consequences when it comes to things like finding housing, seeking employment, and much more. What you may think was just a minor consequence of a crazy night could come back to haunt you later when you find out that you’ve been passed over for a new job or you’ve even been terminated as a result of your no longer clean criminal history. It might seem harsh, but it happens.

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What Is Considered Unlawful Search & Seizure?

 Posted on December 28, 2017 in Criminal Defense

It’s surprising how few people in the United States understand their rights precisely as stated in the U.S. Constitution, particularly when they’ve been accused of a crime. The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects all U.S. citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. The wording of the law is incredibly important. “Unreasonable” means the police officers who search and seize your property don’t have a warrant and don’t have probable cause to be searching an area that belongs to you.

For example, let’s say a judge issues a warrant so police officers can search your car. The warrant might apply only to your vehicle, but the police also decide to search your house. While the police are acting reasonably by searching your car under the authority of the warrant, they are acting unreasonably by searching your home. However, if they saw something illegal happening through the window, they would be acting reasonably by investigating further.

If the police have a legal right to be where they are, and they see a crime or an illegal substance in your property from where they’re standing, they have the right to search and seize on your property. Likewise, if there is an emergency and seeking a warrant would allow a person to be injured or evidence to be destroyed, law enforcement is acting reasonably by conducting a search and seizure during that emergency.

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Four Things You Didn't Know About Field Sobriety Tests

 Posted on December 13, 2017 in Criminal Defense

In order for law enforcement to arrest you and charge you with driving under the influence, they must establish “probable cause” which is a legal standard for a confirmed suspicion that a crime (driving under the influence) has actually been committed. Many people know about field sobriety tests, but few people actually truly understand them and what they mean. It turns out these sobriety tests are far from perfect and that means they could actually work to your benefit in your DUI case. Here are four things you probably didn’t know about field sobriety tests.

You Don’t Have to Take Them

You’ve probably heard of the “implied consent” law which states you agree to consent to a BAC test, however what most people don’t realize is this law doesn’t apply before you’re arrested. Field sobriety tests are entirely optional, and you may decline to participate in them. However, just because you decline doesn’t mean officers can’t establish probable cause and won’t choose to arrest you anyway.

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DWI Checkpoints: What You Need to Know

 Posted on November 27, 2017 in Criminal Defense

Because December is full of holidays, law enforcement will be putting up checkpoints to prevent people from driving while intoxicated (DWI). DWI checkpoint use continues to be a hotly-debated issue, with 38 states allowing the checks and 12 states not allowing them. Texas is a state that doesn’t allow DWI checkpoint use, meaning an officer can’t arrest you for a DWI based on a roadblock or sobriety checkpoint.

In states that do allow checkpoints, they usually set up a bottleneck through which drivers must travel. They funnel through one car at a time, checking licenses and asking drivers questions. By looking at the driver and chatting with him or her, an officer can determine whether or not the driver might be intoxicated.

If you were arrested for a DWI at a checkpoint in Texas, you could easily contest the charges against you. However, if you were arrested for a DWI after being pulled over by a police officer who has probable cause to believe you might be inebriated, you will have a harder time defending yourself.

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How to Prove a Sex Assault Allegation Is False

 Posted on November 08, 2017 in Criminal Defense

Sexual assault is one of the crimes that can be particularly difficult to prosecute and to defend. Often these cases turn into battles of he-said-she-said because sexual assaults usually take place in private places with no other witnesses to the crime but the defendant and the victim. Because of the nature of the scant evidence, a false sexual assault allegation is just as nebulous as a true allegation.

Likewise, the stakes are high in these cases for people falsely accused of the crime. People accused of sexual assault can not only face lengthy prison sentences but will often experience negative impacts on their careers and reputations.

When people are accused of sexual assault, police will investigate the case and follow the facts. Complaints investigators gather evidence relevant to the allegations and assess the evidence against established standards of what constitutes sexual harassment in the state of Texas. If the allegation has merit, it will be substantiated by the evidence.

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Worst Crimes Committed by NFL Players

 Posted on October 26, 2017 in Criminal Defense

Throughout NFL history, a high number of players have been charged with utterly heinous criminal offenses. While many players have subsequently been acquitted or had the charges dropped, others have been sentenced to prison for long periods of time—even for the remainder of their lives.

The following is a list of five NFL players who were charged or convicted of horrendous criminal offenses:

  • Aaron Hernandez – On April 15, 2015, Hernandez was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for the homicide of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player. Furthermore, the investigation of the Lloyd case also uncovered evidence incriminating the former New England Patriots tight end in the July 16, 2012 murders of Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado that occurred in Boston. On April 2017, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell after an apparent suicide.
  • Rae Carruth – The former Carolina Panthers wide receiver hired a friend to murder Cherica Adams, who was eight months pregnant with Carruth’s child at the time. While the woman passed away, the child survived. He went on the run after the killing, but was captured a month later on December 15th, 1999. Carruth was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and received an 18 to 25-year prison sentence.

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What to Expect After Getting a DWI

 Posted on September 14, 2017 in Criminal Defense

There are various reasons why someone would decide to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. However, before you think twice about operating a vehicle while intoxicated, you must understand the things that will happen right after you get pulled over and arrested for a DWI.

The following are the things to expect after getting a DWI:

  • You will be arrested. If you decide to submit to a breathalyzer test, or a field sobriety test, and fail, you will be arrested and booked at the police station on suspicion of a DWI.
  • You will be obligated to appear in court. As soon as you are arrested, you will receive a summons to appear in court. During your court appearance, the evidence against you will be presented and you will be required to make a plea – either innocent or guilty.
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked. License suspension is mandatory for all drunk drivers; however, the time you will serve varies. There might be a chance to obtain a hardship or restricted license, but you must drive with an ignition interlock device.

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