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Every parent dreads getting the call from law enforcement saying their child has been arrested and charged with a crime. However, sadly these things can happen and it’s important to be prepared and know what to expect if it does. Making a rash decision could have a negative impact on your child’s case, so to help you make a good decision, here is some basic juvenile crime information you need to know.

Juvenile Court Eligibility

Depending on the nature of your child’s charges and their age, their case could and most likely will be heard in juvenile court. Those who are aged 17 and below and facing misdemeanor charges almost exclusively have their cases heard in juvenile court. This is the case for most common juvenile crimes, which include simple assault, shoplifting, drug abuse, disorderly conduct, and curfew violations.

That being said, serious crimes, such as violent felonies, can be sent to general court to be heard. However, your child and their attorney will be given the opportunity to petition to have it moved back to juvenile court before the proceedings begin. For this reason, it’s important to start consulting with a McKinney criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible when your child is arrested.

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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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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.

An Officer Doesn’t Have to Offer one To You

Were you stopped by an officer and arrested straight away without so much as them even asking you to track their finger? In some cases, officers don’t even really need to take extra steps to establish probable cause. If you present enough evidence that you are driving drunk before they even ask you to partake in a sobriety test, they can arrest you on the spot.

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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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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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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.
  • Eric Naposki – The former Indianapolis Colt and New England Patriot was charged with a murder that occurred in December 1994. He conspired with his lover, Nanette Packard Johnston, to commit murder of Johnston’s boyfriend, William McLaughlin. McLaughlin was a wealthy, elder gentlemen who made his fortune in the healthcare industry, while Johnston was 25 years younger than he was. Naposki shot McLaughlin to death so Johnston could collect insurance money. Instead, he and Johnston were sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole.
  • O.J. Simpson – Once upon a time, O.J. Simpson was not only a superstar NFL running back for the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, he was also a famous television and movie star. But in 1994, “The Juice” was arrested and charged with the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Considered the “Trial of the Century,” Simpson was eventually acquitted of those charges, despite being guilty in a civil suit. However, in September 2007, Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with numerous felonies, such as armed robbery and kidnapping, after her robbed some memorabilia dealers who were selling his former football mementos. In 2008, he was convicted and sentenced to 33 years in prison, with a minimum of nine years without parole. A few months ago, he was released on parole.
  • Ray Lewis – A year before the Baltimore Ravens linebacker helped lead to his team to Super Bowl Victory, which also resulted in MVP honors, Ray Lewis and his friends were involved in a fight with two men at a Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta. These two men, Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar ended up being stabbed to death. Eleven days after that party, Lewis and his friends, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were indicted for the murders. Testifying against his friends, the former Super Bowl MVP eventually had the murder charges dropped and he received a slap on the wrist as he received a misdemeanor for obstruction of justice.

If you have been arrested for or charged with a criminal offense in Texas, schedule a free case evaluation with our Plano criminal defense attorney today.

Posted on 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.
  • You must pay fines. There are fees related to a DWI charge, which you are required to pay.
  • You may go to jail. In Texas, a conviction can be punishable by a maximum jail sentence of six months.
  • You may receive probation. Instead of going to jail, you may have to complete probation.
  • You may be required to attend DWI School. The purpose of alcohol education is to prevent you from drinking and driving again. Furthermore, you are more than likely going to pay to attend.
  • Your auto insurance rates may increase. A DWI can make an irresponsible driver in the eyes of your insurance provider, resulting in higher rates.

If you were arrested and charged with a DWI, contact our Plano criminal defense attorney at The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. today.

Whether it’s someone’s birthday or a national holiday, there is always something to celebrate. One of the main ingredients of any party or gathering is alcohol.

Unfortunately, the combination of alcohol consumption and driving once the party is over can result in a dangerous situation for party guests. Traffic deaths caused by driving under the influence occurs more frequently around major holidays.

If you plan on hosting a party where alcohol is involved, consider following these helpful tips to ensure your intoxicated guests do not get behind the wheel:

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Senate Bill 339, also known as the “Compassionate Use Act,” was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot on June 1, 2015, which legalized the restricted use of cannabis extract for severe epilepsy. This law permits the use of oils high in cannabidiol (CBD) to treat intractable epilepsy.

While CBD is naturally found in the marijuana plant, it is important to understand that this substance doesn’t produce the euphoric “high” due to its low concentrations of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive molecule in marijuana which causes the high sensations when cannabis is consumed.

A person may be prescribed CBD or low-THC cannabis if:

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

The Internet has done wonders for connecting our society in ways we never had before. It’s also opened a whole new world for criminal activity, and today there are thousands of different laws and regulations on the books to try to cut back on the amount of fraudulent or illegal activity performed online. Some common cyber-crimes are well-known while many others are actually somewhat surprising. Let’s take a look at five of the most common types of cyber-crime and discuss what the law has to say about them.

Gambling on Sports

Pretty much wherever you find sports, you’ll find someone placing bets on them. Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and other casino hotspots have made a fortune off sports books, but you won’t find them online. Gambling on sports via the internet is actually against the law, nationwide. However, other forms of gambling, such as online poker or slots, are legal in some places, provided local and state laws allow it.

Blackmail/Extortion

It’s easy to get ahold of nearly anyone online, thanks to publically-listed email addresses or databases filled with personal information. This has made it easy for criminals to obtain personal or embarrassing information and use it to attempt to blackmail their target. Extortion is a federal crime that usually carries a hefty fine and prison sentence of anywhere between five and 99 years in length.

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Are you a fan of crime dramas or court TV shows? While some of them have been lauded for their ability to show what life is like on the police force, others have unquestionably taken a few creative liberties with the process in order to up the entertainment value. We often find this leads to some myths about the nature of criminal law, such as the terms “murder” and “homicide,” which we find some shows use interchangeably. This is a mistake: there is a difference between these terms, and that difference could radically change your case should you ever find yourself facing charges.

Homicide

In a legal sense, the term “homicide” indicates any situation in which someone’s action directly causes the loss of life of another. This can include everything from drunk and reckless driving causing a fatal car accident to a robbery gone south and a victim being killed in the escape attempt to a police officer acting in the line of duty and shooting a suspect who is threatening to harm others.

This highlights an important difference: homicide can be justifiable. The law does allow for those in life or death situations to kill another in order to save their life or the life of their loved ones, and when this happens, the public record simply shows that a justifiable homicide occurred. However, if no charges are brought forward then the individual who killed out of self-defense is usually allowed to go back to their normal life.

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You’ve gone through your trial and despite your best efforts, a jury of your peers has found you guilty of your charges, and your judge has sentenced you to jail, fines, and other penalties. However, there’s one flaw: you’re innocent and you know it. This is an obvious misapplication of justice, so what can you do to protect your rights? Are you doomed to suffer the consequences?

Not necessarily. Provisions exist which allow you to petition for a new trial, known as an appeal. This allows you to have your case re-tried, often with the inclusion of new evidence, new arguments, and hopefully a better opportunity to prove your innocence. Not everyone qualifies for an appeal, however. Let’s take a look at the limitations on appeals or new trials in more detail.

New Evidence

A motion for a new trial can be filed within ten days of the entry of conviction, meaning you only have a short time to actually petition for an appeal, so you and your attorney should move quickly to file your petition and start assembling your appeals case. However, this limit may not apply if your appeal is based on new evidence that was not known prior to the trial. In this instance, you could possibly petition the court for a new trial long after your conviction was entered.

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When you face your charges and choose to plead guilty or are found guilty by a jury of your peers, you will be issued a sentence which you will have to serve. Your sentence can vary depending on the nature of your charges, but usually includes some fairly common and well-known consequences like jail time, fines, probation, or community service. But what many people who are facing criminal accusations don’t realize is how many consequences they’ll face that are not handed out by the court. Criminal convictions go on your permanent public record, and those entries can create a lot of additional hardships that you may have to deal with for the rest of your life.

Let’s take a closer look at these added consequences of a criminal conviction.

Financial Consequences

If you’re awaiting your trial, you might be weighing the costs and benefits of hiring a criminal defense attorney. Is it really worth it? Should you just plead guilty to save the money? You might be surprised to find out that’s almost always not a wise idea.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Texas is a unique place. Not only is the culture vastly different from any of the other states in the nation, but the laws which regulate us are also unique, and in many ways more strict than the rest of the United States. So when visitors from other states come across the borders to visit, it’s actually fairly common for them to accidentally break the law and find themselves facing the harshness of our criminal justice system. For those who aren’t familiar with our laws or are used to their own state, this can be an intimidating experience. If you’re from out of state and facing these charges, then this blog is for you: we’ll explain how these cases are handled and what you can expect during your trial.

Will I Be Extradited?

The first question we often hear is either “Will I be extradited?” or “Will I have to go back to Texas to go to court?” The answer may not be straightforward at first. Depending on the nature of your charges, you may be able to simply take care of your accusations while staying at home, though this is usually reserved for things like traffic tickets, and only if you wish to plead guilty and pay your fine.

If your charges are more serious, such as misdemeanor or felony accusations, then the chances are good that you may have to come back to Texas in order to answer for your charges. However, working with a qualified Plano criminal defense lawyer can help you resolve the issue quickly so you don’t have to keep coming back to attend court dates.

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