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In the United States, there are two kinds of laws – state laws and federal laws. As a result, there are state-level crimes and federal crimes. There are also state courts and federal courts. When someone violates a state law, the case will be handled by a state court and when a federal law is violated, it will be handled in federal court.

Sometimes a crime violates both state and federal law. In this case, the defendant can be tried in state court or federal court. Often, it comes down to the magnitude of the crime and what the state and federal prosecutors decide.

State laws are passed by state legislators, whereas federal laws are passed by Congress. States establish state criminal courts in cities and counties to prosecute violations of state law. In contrast, the federal courts are established under the U.S. Constitution and instead of deciding on state-level offenses, they strictly handle federal prosecutions involving violations of laws contained in the Constitution and passed by Congress.

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“Assault and battery” is a phrase most people have heard, whether on the news or on a procedural TV show. However, this phrase often doesn’t refer to a single charge. Assault and battery are two different crimes often prosecuted together because of their similar natures. In Texas, the elements of a case against a defendant for assault and battery are the same, though there are many different classifications for different degrees of the offense.

For example, assault on its own is defined as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly threatening to cause bodily injury to another person. However, following through on that threat is considered “battery.” In Texas, a charge of assault (and battery) includes causing bodily injury to another person, threatening another person with bodily injury, or causing physical contact with another person against his or her consent.

The degrees of the crime depend on whether the defendant merely threatened to cause harm or actually caused damage to another individual. It’s a Class C misdemeanor if a person threatens another with bodily harm or causes physical contact in an offensive or provocative way. For example, if you threaten to beat someone up and push them to emphasize your point, you would be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.

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While many of us have seen characters called “flashers” depicted humorously in movies and television, in reality, this kind of behavior may constitute an offense called indecent exposure. Under Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 21, Section 21.08, “indecent exposure” is defined as exposing your private parts to another person. The charge of indecent exposure is a sex crime in the state of Texas, and may carry penalties including jail time and steep fines.

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person may be charged with indecent exposure for showing their anus or any part of their genitals to another person if they do so with the purpose of sexually arousing themselves or another person. To convict someone of indecent exposure, a prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant recklessly exposed themselves to another person, ignoring the reasonable assumption that the person or people present would be upset by this act.  A charge of indecent exposure may be upgraded to sexual assault or attempted rape if unwanted touching is involved.  

What Are the Penalties for Indecent Exposure?

In the state of Texas, a charge of indecent exposure is considered a Class B misdemeanor.

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Drug trafficking is a state and federal crime, which carries severe consequences for offenders. A charge of drug trafficking may include the manufacturing, delivery, and sale of anything deemed a “controlled substance.” Drug trafficking laws can be highly complex, depending on which controlled substances and how much of them are involved in any given case. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) divides controlled substances into 5 schedules, based on the danger and effects of various drugs. As the schedules of these drugs vary, so do the penalties attached to them.

Federal Drug Trafficking Scheduling and Penalties

Federal drug scheduling breaks down controlled substances into the following categories:

  • Schedule I Substances: Schedule I drugs are considered dangerous substances with no widely accepted medical use and high potential for abuse. Under federal U.S. law, this includes drugs such as heroin, LSD, ecstasy, PCP, methaqualone (or Quaaludes,) peyote, and marijuana.
  • Schedule II Substances: Schedule II drugs are considered dangerous substances with high potential for abuse and which have a high chance of causing psychological and/or physical dependence. Under U.S. law, this includes drugs such as Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, Dilaudid, Demerol, OxyContin, fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.
  • Schedule III Substances: Schedule III drugs are considered potentially dangerous substances with a medium chance for abuse and medium chance of causing psychological and/or physical dependence. Schedule III substances include ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone, and products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine.
  • Schedule IV Substances: Schedule IV drugs are considered potentially dangerous substances with a low chance for abuse and a low chance of causing psychological and/or physical dependence. Schedule IV substances include Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, and Tramadol.
  • Schedule V Substances: Schedule V drugs are considered potentially dangerous drugs with a low potential for abuse and which contain limited quantities of narcotics. Schedule IV substances include Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin, and cough medicines with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters.

Federal penalties for trafficking high quantities of drugs are divided into several levels:

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“White collar crime” is a common term, most often associated with corporate America. Yet, it’s not just big-time players on Wall Street who can be found guilty of this type of offense. A broad distinction, the definition of white collar crime encompasses various offenses revolving around finances, trade secrets and fraud. While non-violent in nature, these crimes can still lead to serious penalties and punishments at the state and federal level. Read on to learn more about common types of white collar crimes which may even occur in your community, and contact our experienced Plano white collar crime attorney at The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. if you or someone you know has been accused of one of these offenses.

The field of internet sex crimes has quickly become an important part of skilled criminal defense attorneys’ jobs.  While sex crimes defense is already a specific area of practice unto itself, the rise of the internet has quickly given way to new kinds of sex crimes, all punishable under the law and requiring unique strategies for fighting charges in court. Conviction of one of these crimes may result in prison time and/or steep fines, as well as require guilty parties to register as a sex offender.

Texas, like most other states, has specific statutes and punishments for various types of internet sex crimes. Read on to learn more and find out what you need to know to protect yourself; then, call The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. for an internet sex crimes attorney you can trust.

Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Visual Material Law

Under Texas state penal code, Section 21.16(d), it is illegal to post, send, or otherwise distribute specific types of images online.  The statute defines this behavior as criminal if you are posting images of someone’s private parts without their express consent. Posting images in which the person depicted believed said images would stay private may also carry criminal misdemeanor charges.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Diversity of citizenship establishes an important legal precedent related to the difference between state and federal jurisdiction. Yet most Americans have never even heard this term. Read on to learn more, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been accused of a federal crime.

What Is Diversity of Citizenship?

Diversity of citizenship refers to cases where opposing parties involved in a lawsuit are citizens of different states or countries. If one of these parties is a corporation, they are defined as a citizen of the state where their business operates or is incorporated. If diversity of citizenship is in play, a case between two parties will fall under federal court jurisdiction, per Article III, section 2 of the United States Constitution.

This is significant, given the standard rules regarding state and federal court jurisdiction. Most civil cases, i.e. cases between two parties, start at the state rather than the federal level. However, a civil case will become a federal case under diversity of citizenship law.

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Solicitation refers to the sale of sexual intercourse between one individual and another in an act of prostitution. In the state of Texas, criminal charges can be brought against an individual for committing, promoting, compelling, or soliciting prostitution. These charges may be leveled against someone even if a sex act was not actually committed. An individual engages in prostitution if they knowingly participate in a sexual act or offer to engage in a sexual act for a monetary sum.

At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., we have years of experience representing individuals charged with sex crimes. With the necessary skills and resources to defend a number of solicitation-related offenses, our Plano sex crime attorney can craft a specific defense for your legal needs. We also offer free and confidential consultations, so you know we are serious about winning your case.

Understanding Solicitation Charges

Whether solicitation is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the details of the offense. While a first-time solicitation charge will usually be tried as a misdemeanor, individuals with increasing offenses risk being charged with a felony.

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The age of consent in the United States is the minimum age at which a person is legally allowed to agree to sexual intercourse and other sexual acts. The specific age ranges state-by-state from 16 to 18 years of age throughout the country.

In Texas, it is 17 years old and applies to both heterosexual and homosexual conduct. This means minors who are 16 years of age or younger in the state cannot legally consent to sexual activity and such an act may lead to statutory rape charges.

Statutory rape is broken into the following criminal offenses in Texas:

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Whether you received a subpoena or federal authorities knocked on your door, being under federal investigation for an alleged criminal offense can be stressful, confusing, and downright frightening. Despite the fact that you haven’t been formally charged, it is imperative to take certain measures to protect your rights and future.

The following are five steps you should take if you are under federal investigation:

  • Hire a lawyer – As soon as you learn about the federal investigation against you, do not wait until you are charged. Instead, get an attorney who is licensed to practice in federal court right away. Your lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of each stage of the investigation, protect your from legal pitfalls, and defend you in court in the event your case reaches trial.
  • Remember your rights – Although you are being investigated, your constitutional rights can still protect you. For instance, if federal authorities attempt to enter your property or your office without an arrest or search warrant, you have the right to refuse entrance and refuse to speak unless your lawyer is present.
  • Don’t lie to federal agents – Whether it’s the FBI or ATF, they generally send two agents to interview alleged suspects of federal crimes. The reason why they work in pairs is because each agent also is a witness to whatever the suspect says. If you lie to these agents, each offense is can result in a maximum five-year prison sentence. Furthermore, you do not need to be under oath in order to be charged with lying to federal authorities.
  • Only discuss the investigation with your attorney – While it may be natural to discuss the ongoing investigation with your friends, family, or associates, avoid doing so. Federal authorities can subpoena those your trust, forcing them to testify against you before a grand jury. Additionally, defense attorneys are not allowed at grand jury proceedings and cannot protect you against negative witness testimony. If you attempt to speak with a witness about what to say during the grand jury proceeding, it is considered witness tampering, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
  • Don’t destroy evidence – Destroying, tampering, or even modifying evidence against you is considered obstruction of justice, which is also punishable by a federal prison sentence of up to 20 years.

At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., our Plano federal crimes lawyer has 18 years of legal experience handling high-profile cases. Working with us as early in the process as possible will provide our firm with an ample amount of time to develop an effective defense strategy to help you get the most favorable outcome possible.

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Being falsely accused of a sex crime can cause substantial damage to your professional reputation and personal life—even if you haven’t been found guilty of the offense. The truth is that many people misuse these serious charges to get revenge, gain an upper hand in a family law dispute, or otherwise cause undue harm against another individual.

If you’re accused of a sex crime you didn’t commit, the next steps you take could make the difference between freedom and conviction. Not only is a sex crime in Texas punishable by a lengthy prison sentence and expensive fines, but also be required to register as a sex offender—possibly for the rest of your life.The following are the important steps to take after being falsely accused of a sex crime:

  • Seek legal representation – The first step to take is to hire a criminal defense attorney. While many people facing false allegations believe their innocence will be proven at the conclusion of the investigation, or that hiring a lawyer makes them appear guilty. However, an attorney will protect your rights and future, as well as help you avoid getting into further legal trouble.
  • Don’t say anything to police – One of the most common mistakes is talking to law enforcement in order to “clear your name” by telling your side of the story. Remember, anything you say can and will be used as evidence against you. To avoid attempting to proclaim your innocence and simply say, “I need to talk to my lawyer.” The only person you need to discuss the details with is your attorney.
  • Collect evidence – Document any interactions and experiences you recall with the accuser and include every single detail, along with the dates and time of these incidents. Gather and preserve any evidence that may support your case, such as text messages and other forms of correspondence.
  • Create a list of witnesses – Compile a witness list consisting of names of friends or peers who can support your claims. Next, contact each individual and ask them if they could share their side of your story with you and your attorney.
  • Do not confront your accuser – While you may believe it is possible to peacefully work things out with the accuser, it isn’t worth the risk. The prosecution could use any contact or attempts to reach out to the accuser against you.

With more than 20 years of experience, our Plano criminal defense attorney at The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. can help you fight a conviction and prove your innocence. We understand the gravity of this situation and will do anything possible to clear your name and get the justice you deserve. Do not wait until the legal process unfolds and take proactive steps today.For more information about our legal services, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.

In the event of being convicted of a sex crime in Texas, not only will you serve time in prison and pay fines and restitution, but you must also register as a sex offender. The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program was established to provide the public and police with information on each registered offender’s whereabouts and restrict where offenders may live, work, or even visit.

One of the most common questions asked by those facing sex crime charges is, “Does a conviction mean I have to register as a sex offender for the rest of my life?”

The answer: it depends on the specific crime.

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On Sep. 9, CNBC published a story about CBS CEO, Leslie Moonves, who was ousted after sexual harassment allegations. The allegations against Mr. Moonves came from not one, but twelve different women who claimed that his sexual misconduct damaged their careers. Moonves denied the women’s allegations and stated that some of the relationships with his accusers were consensual.“Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am. I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company. I wish nothing but the best for the organization [CBS], the newly comprised board of directors and all of its employees,” Mr. Moonves said in a statement after CBS announced his departure.In its announcement, CBS said that the company and Mr. Moonves will be donating $20 million to organizations in support of the #MeToo movement (which supports sexual assault survivors and seeks to end sexual violence) as well as organizations that support equality for women in the workplace. But how does this case relate to regular people?

What if the Accusations Are False?

Rape and sexual assault crimes are no laughing matter but there is a flipside to the #MeToo movement. A percentage of sexual assault allegations are false and there are different motivations behind these false allegations.In the case of a rich celebrity, the motivation can be money. But in the cases of non-celebrities, defendants who are not wealthy, the alleged victim’s motivation can be about seeking attention, jealousy, hatred, revenge, child custody, divorce, or mental instability. Unfortunately, there have always been people who falsely accused someone of rape but in the era of the #MeToo movement, it’s almost become socially acceptable.

Are Facing False Allegations?

Are you being falsely accused of a sex crime? If so, you cannot ignore the accusations. If you’re wrongfully convicted, it could lead to fines, imprisonment, restitution, mandatory sex offender registration, and a criminal record. To protect your freedom and your reputation, contact our Plano criminal defense firm immediately.

Law enforcement commonly uses breath tests (breathalyzers) to determine a suspected drunk driver’s level of intoxication and as evidence in a DWI case. However, these types of tests cannot directly measure BAC since it doesn’t analyze the blood. Instead, they rely on the amount of alcohol particles in a person’s breath when he/she exhales.

Mouth alcohol is a factor that can influence breath tests. It occurs when a small amount of alcohol remains in the mouth or throat, thus contaminating your breath as you blow into the breathalyzer and resulting in a falsely high BAC reading. Although most traces of alcohol are gone within 15 minutes, sometimes alcohol can end up back in the mouth, or something else produces mouth alcohol which throws off the test results.

The following are the most common sources of mouth alcohol:

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Everyone makes mistakes—that’s the way of life. But when past mistakes threaten your future, you deserve an opportunity to fix your mistakes. If your criminal record makes it difficult to find a new job, obtain a professional license, or even apply for an apartment or loan, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you clear your name.

In Texas, there are two different processes: expunction and record sealing (under an order of nondisclosure). The difference between the two is that expunction results in the destruction of your criminal record, while sealing means only criminal agencies can access it—not the public. Once your record has been expunged or sealed, you do not have to disclose any of that information.

Eligibility for Expunction

Your criminal record may be eligible for expunction if you were arrested for a misdemeanor and felony and:

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In most circumstances, a police officer needs a warrant before searching a residence. However, an officer can bypass this little detail if a legal resident of the home agrees to the police search. So what rights do you have if your roommate lets an officer into your home?

The Roommate Scenario 

Luckily, your roommate isn’t the same as a family member. Even though you share the same space, there are specific areas and items that belong to each of you individually. A police officer cannot search the private room of someone who is not present to grant consent. So, even if your roommate grants consent to a police offer, any evidence discovered in your private spaces may not hold up in court. This rule also applies to any closed boxes or bags. If they are specifically yours and pointedly closed, then the officer cannot touch them without your explicit consent or a warrant.

It is, however, up to the court to decide if your roommate has the authority to let an officer search your private rooms and items. For example, if you are in a romantic relationship or just happen to share a bedroom with your roommate, then that space is fair game. Luckily, an officer is unable to search your residence without a warrant if you have two roommates and only one grants consent.

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If you are caught shoplifting in Texas, you’ll have to deal with not only an embarrassing social experience, but also significant and overwhelming legal consequences. According to the Texas Penal Code, shoplifting offenses are aggressively judged and punishable as theft.

Shoplifting offenses include:

  • Stealing items
  • Intentionally writing bad checks
  • Altering price tags

Your Charges

The legal penalties for a theft charge increase depending on the value of the stolen merchandise and your prior offenses.  Adult shoplifters can also be sued by retailers for actual damages and additional damages up to $1,000. If a child is caught shoplifting, a retailer can sue the parents and guardians for actual damages up to $5,000.

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Intentionally setting a fire may qualify as arson, but when is the charge escalated to attempted murder? Below, we discuss the laws concerning both arson and attempted murder, as well as how the court associates the two crimes.

How Texas Law Defines Arson

Arson is the use of fire or an explosive to destroy property. Defined under Texas Penal Code 28.01, destroying another person’s property, any property within city limits, or any property with a mortgage or insurance policy is a form of arson. Additionally, you can face arson charges if you were reckless in starting the fire; i.e. the fire endangers, or has the opportunity to endanger, another person.

State law generally classifies the crime as a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If the arson resulted in bodily harm or death, whether intentional or unintentional, the charge escalates to a first-degree felony punishable by life imprisonment, or up to 99 years in prison. If the court finds that the harm or death was intended, you could be charged with arson in conjunction with an attempted murder charge.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

There are hundreds of forms of fraud, but few deal directly with a financial institution.  Mortgage fraud is one of them. What is mortgage fraud, how is it committed, and what punishments could you face for committing the crime in Texas? We answer these questions and more below.

Definition of Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud occurs when you intentionally deceive a financial institution, often by falsifying information, in order to obtain a mortgage. Under Texas law, mortgage fraud can be committed in a variety of ways and is subject to harsh punishments.

Types of Mortgage Fraud

Some of the most common forms of mortgage fraud are as follows:

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Planning to commit virtually any crime—murder, mail fraud, drug distribution, etc.—is considered to be conspiracy and can lead to criminal charges. As conspiracy is linkable to any crime, there are a variety of defenses you can use to fight the charges. We’ve listed the 4 most common below. Read on to learn more.

1.You Never Agreed to Participate with the Co-conspirator

In order to convict you of conspiracy, the court must prove that you and a co-conspirator agreed to commit the crime you’ve been accused of. Unless you or one of your co-conspirators admit to the conspiracy agreement or the court finds some other evidence that you and your partner intended to carry out the crime, this can be difficult to prove.

Another possible defense would be that you were charged with conspiracy while having no knowledge that your co-conspirator actually planned on committing the crime. Fantasizing or conversing about committing a crime is not a crime if you can prove that you believed the conversation was hypothetical.

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