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Texas intoxication manslaughter defense attorneyWhile we may not be inclined to admit it, most of us have gotten into a car and driven ourselves home after having too much to drink. Most of the time, taking such a foolish risk results in little or no consequence; other times, however, making the mistake of drinking and driving can change lives forever. If you are facing charges for getting into a car accident while drunk and accidentally killing someone, you need to know the penalties you may be facing. 

Intoxication Manslaughter

Under Texas law, the term for causing a fatal car, truck, or other vehicle accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is “intoxication manslaughter.” Manslaughter is a legal term that recognizes that, as opposed to murder, in which the act was premeditated, the crime of killing someone can happen without malice or forethought. Instead, manslaughter charges are brought when someone’s actions amount to an extreme, reckless disregard for life in the form of criminal negligence. 

What Are the Consequences of Intoxication Manslaughter? 

As with most serious crimes, the exact penalties for a particular person will depend somewhat on their past criminal history and the circumstances of the case. However, intoxication manslaughter cases are often very severe and are at least second-degree felonies. This carries punishments that include: 


Texas federal criminal defense attorneyImagine a fairly common scenario: A group of college buddies from Texas goes on a road trip to California, where marijuana is legal. Visiting several dispensaries, the group stocks up on flower, vape pens, and dabs, and then gets ready to head back home. The group figures they might share some of the product with friends, sell a little of it, or maybe keep it all for themselves. No big deal, right? 

But when the group is driving back through Texas, they get pulled over by a highway patrol officer for driving nine miles over the speed limit. The officer claims he smells marijuana on the group, orders them out of their car, and then searches the car. He finds the friends’ stash, arrests them all, and suddenly an entire group of friends without a criminal history is facing federal drug charges

Federal Drug Charge Penalties

While there is increasing talk about making marijuana legal on the federal level, it has not been done and in many states, including Texas, recreational marijuana is still against the law. Furthermore, moving restricted drugs of any kind over state lines is a serious crime that can trigger a federal prosecution. 


Collin County criminal defense attorneyOpioid abuse is a major problem in Texas. About 5,000 people are known to have died of an overdose in Texas in 2021 alone, and officials fear that number underestimates the true number of opioid deaths because postmortem toxicology tests can be expensive. Nearly 10,000 people visited emergency rooms for opioid-related problems in previous years and Texas’s program to provide medicine that can save someone from an overdose ran out of funding in January. 

Federal law allows a drug dealer who sells opioids to someone who later dies of an overdose to be held responsible for that person’s death, but Texas state laws are not yet in line with other states that have implemented harsh drug homicide laws that match federal penalties. For now, despite charges for drug-related homicide being somewhat difficult to prove, prosecutors are still eager to punish alleged drug dealers to the fullest extent of the law. Defending against these charges requires the help of an experienced drug crimes defense attorney. 

Issues of Evidence

The main problem standing the way of an effective prosecution for a conviction of drug-induced homicide is that it is often very difficult for prosecutors to collect evidence linking the dealer to the victim. When the main witness is dead, how can officials prove that a specific person provided the drugs that caused the overdose? Extensive investigations are necessary, including search warrants and a lot of time spent combing through text messages, voicemails, and more. 


Texas homicide defense lawyerYou may have heard horror stories in the news - friends being careless while driving, tragic accidents between family members out hunting, or a night of partying gone wrong - but never thought such a thing would happen to you. Yet accidental killings do sometimes happen, and when they do, they change lives forever. While the victim’s family and friends suffer the greatest loss, the person responsible for an accidental death will also have to deal with terrible consequences, whether or not criminal charges are filed. When criminal charges are filed, an excellent criminal defense attorney is essential for preventing even more suffering. 

Criminal Charges for Accidental Killings in Texas

Killing someone in Texas can be prosecuted as murder, capital murder, involuntary manslaughter or voluntary manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide. Involuntary manslaughter charges can be brought after an act of recklessness that kills someone, but which was not committed with the intent to cause serious harm or death. Driving drunk and crashing and killing someone is a classic example of involuntary manslaughter. But what about when a death is truly an accident? In these cases, charges of criminally negligent homicide may still be brought. 

Consequences for Criminally Negligent Homicide

To successfully prove someone is guilty of criminally negligent homicide, the prosecution must show that the person knew, or should have known, that the action they took was risky and could have caused someone else to die. Even if the defendant claims they did not know the action was risky, they may still be found guilty if a reasonable person would not have committed it in the same circumstances. 


Collin County sex crimes defense attorneyMost people know that using the internet to look for sex with minors in Texas is a crime. Likewise, many people know that police conduct “sting” operations to find people looking to engage in criminal behavior. But sometimes, police conduct crosses a line and people get caught in sting operations and charged with crimes of which they are innocent. 

If you were caught in an internet sting operation, you may feel shame and fear and wonder what will happen to you. With a great criminal defense attorney, you can fight these unfair charges and have hope for a better future. 

What Counts as Online Solicitation of a Minor? 

When someone 17 years of age or older tries to use any form of electronic communication to get a minor to engage in sexual activity, including just sexual conversation, this is considered online solicitation of a minor whether the sexual activity occurs online or in person. Sending explicit photos and “sexting” with explicit language - two very common activities among young adults - are included in this crime. 


Plano sex crimes defense attorneyThere is no accounting for taste, as the old saying goes, and nowhere is this more true than when it comes to sexual preferences. Yet there is growing concern that some people - men in particular - are successfully using their personal taste as an illegitimate defense in horrific murder crimes. When violent sex results in inadvertent injury or death, is the perpetrator truly culpable of assault or murder? And do people who enjoy BDSM need to be worried about potentially facing criminal penalties in a Texas court? 

Is BDSM Legal in Texas? 

Bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, and sadism, or BDSM, is a broad term that is used to describe sexual behaviors that are often considered deviant in nature. While some types of BDSM are objectively harmless, others can be violent, humiliating, and sometimes dangerous. 

When it comes to potential criminal prosecutions for sexual behavior, things can get complicated. Most criminal acts are considered criminal not only because of the act itself but because of the intent behind the act. For example, slapping someone in the face at a bar without their consent and with the intent to provoke or offend could be a Class A misdemeanor. Yet the same act, done in the consensual context of BDSM, is almost certainly legal. What determines whether sexual acts are criminal ultimately comes down to whether the acts were consensual, whether someone was, or could have been, seriously injured, and what the intent of alleged perpetrator was. 


Texas criminal defense attorneyTexas law considers the welfare of children, disabled persons, and the elderly of the utmost importance. The inability of these protected groups to speak out for their wellbeing or to take action against predatory adults makes it all the more important for the law to protect their best interests at all times. Because of the internet’s saturation with child pornography and the difficulty of catching those responsible for creating and distributing indecent images, Texas has created laws that crack down all the harder on people who sexually exploit children

But while there are many types of child exploitation, Texas law means something very specific when it comes to charges of sexual exploitation of a child. If you are facing charges for this serious crime, it is important to understand what it is and what the consequences are. 

What is Child Sexual Exploitation in Texas? 

When someone knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly exploits a child (or an elderly or disabled person), they have broken Texas Penal Code section 32.53. Exploitation is defined as the improper or illegal use of a child for personal benefit, including financial benefit. This includes forcing a child to do anything against the law, including sexual acts, illegal labor, child sex trafficking, production of child pornography, and even using a child to transport drugs or weapons. This law dovetails with several other laws prohibiting inappropriate sexual behavior with children and someone charged with child sex crimes can be prosecuted under all relevant sections of the law. 


Collin County criminal defense attorneyAccusations of child endangerment are easy to make and difficult to defend against. After all, in some cases whether a child is being endangered is somewhat subjective; discipline that one person finds reasonable may be seen as abusive to another. Texas law has specific definitions of what kind of behavior constitutes legal child endangerment or abuse, but it can be a long, uphill battle for a parent, neighbor, or teacher to clear themselves of charges.

If you have been accused or charged with a crime against a child, you may feel as though explaining your situation and trying to defend yourself is a reasonable approach. But the police, Child Protective Services, and prosecutors often have an agenda and are not so eager to see potential child abusers as innocent. Instead, learn as much as you can about how these accusations could impact you, and then contact a Texas criminal defense attorney with experience conducting a rigorous defense against child endangerment charges. 

What is Considered Child Endangerment in Texas? 

Any time a person exposes a child under 15 years old to a situation that could cause the child harm, the act may be considered child endangerment. Clearly, this is somewhat subject to interpretation; for example, it is illegal to leave a child without reasonable care. But while a parent may consider their child to be responsible enough to be safely left at home, a jury may see that as child endangerment. 


Plano sex crimes defense attorneyWhile most of us think of the term “sex offender” and think of serious sex offenses like rape, child sexual assault, or prostitution, the truth is that even crimes like indecent exposure, which are typically only a Class B misdemeanor, can result in the requirement to register as a sex offender as well. Once someone’s name is caught up in the Texas sex offender list, it is very hard to get it removed and the consequences associated with being a sex offender are devastating. 

Fortunately, it may be possible for some people to deregister as a sex offender. Different sex crimes have different lengths of sex offender registration, but if you meet certain requirements, you may be able to get your name taken off the list. Talk to a Texas criminal defense attorney to learn more about your options. 

How Can I Get My Name Taken Off the Texas Sex Offenders List? 

Only people convicted of certain offenses may be removed from the sex offender list. The offense must have been a first-time, non-aggravated defense, meaning that those convicted of sex crimes against a child under 14, using drugs to incapacitate a victim, causing bodily harm to the victim, etc. may not apply for deregistration. There is a list that shows whether a particular crime is eligible for deregistration. An applicant must also have completed treatment and have spent least ten years on the sex offender list.


Plano sex crimes defense attorneyMany Texas churches have come under close scrutiny for their handling of cases involving child sexual abuse by clergy members. The clergy members were often powerful, well-protected men in their communities and even in the world at large, making successful prosecution difficult for many years. Now, however, victims of child sexual abuse are finally getting their day in court and thousands of esteemed clergy members from worldwide religions are being sent to prison for their crimes. 

In the midst of rightfully-placed compassion for bona fide victims of abuse, many clergy members who are innocent have also been caught up in accusations of child sexual abuse that they did not commit. And, whether an individual is guilty or not, he or she is always entitled to a vigorous defense against the charges they face. That is where a Texas child sex abuse defense attorney comes in. If you are a clergy member who has been accused of sexual abuse, get a criminal defense attorney right away. 

What is the Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse Charges in Texas? 

In 2019, Texas changed its statute of limitations such that victims of sexual abuse had twice as much time to bring a civil lawsuit against their abuser. Now, someone can bring a case 30 years after their 18th birthday. This lengthening of the statute of limitations also applies to institutions, such as schools, nonprofit organizations, or religious institutions that protected or enabled an abuser to commit the sexual assault. 


Texas federal criminal defense lawyerA well-known star of a reality TV series recently received a sentence of 12 years in federal prison for receiving and attempting to receive child pornography, and trying to solicit minors to engage in sexual contact with him. The 22-year-old man is accused of using his fame as a prominent cheerleader and media star to solicit the minors, who lived in Florida, Illinois, and Texas. Although he initially pleaded not guilty, he later did plead guilty to two of the charges.

Convictions for child pornography and soliciting a minor carry serious consequences under Texas and federal law. This case illustrates perfectly how prosecutors are eager to pursue sex offenders and punish them to the fullest extent of the law, using victims’ testimonies to bolster their case and minimize public sympathy for perpetrators who are very often victims of sexual abuse themselves. If you are facing charges of this nature, get help right away from a Texas criminal defense attorney who will aggressively defend you. 

Federal Child Pornography Charges

When a defendant’s actions involve sending or receiving material over state lines, even if that material is over the internet and is deleted or destroyed after receipt, the federal authorities may get involved. Someone convicted of knowingly possessing child pornography can face up to 10 years in federal prison and up to 20 years if the child is under age 12. Someone distributing pornography faces even higher prison sentences. All penalties can be increased if the defendant has a prior criminal history. 


Texas criminal defense attorneyTexas law defines manslaughter as an offense that occurs when one person recklessly causes the death of another person. In contrast to homicide, in which a killing is deliberate or even premeditated, manslaughter is more akin to an accident—albeit a very serious accident in which the guilty party should have known better. Add a car or other vehicle to the situation, and you have vehicular manslaughter—although in Texas, vehicular manslaughter is just called “manslaughter.” 

The consequences of a conviction for manslaughter are serious. If you have been charged with manslaughter, it is important to learn more about the topic and then get the help of an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney. 

What Is an Example of Vehicular Manslaughter? 

Any action in which one person’s recklessness behind the wheel of a vehicle kills another person could be vehicular manslaughter, giving authorities wide leeway when bringing vehicular manslaughter charges. Examples of behaviors that may allow for vehicular manslaughter changes include: 


Plano criminal defense attorneyChild custody disputes are often heated affairs and one or both parents frequently disagree with the outcome of custody negotiations. Furthermore, the terms of a custody agreement may sometimes be unclear, leaving parents with questions about what is allowed in terms of taking children out of town, whether for vacation, relocation, or other purposes. 

While kidnapping laws in Texas are meant to protect children from abduction and other dangerous situations, parents can actually be charged with kidnapping in certain circumstances. This may seem offensive and hard to believe, but parental kidnapping charges are real and carry serious consequences. If you have been accused of or charged with kidnapping, abduction, or unlawful restraint without consent, contact a Texas criminal defense attorney right away. 

Interference with Child Custody

It is a crime in Texas for a parent to take or restrain a minor child when there is an existing custody order that contradicts the parent’s movements. This includes those rare situations in which one parent takes a child out of the country without the permission of the other parent. It also includes a much more common situation: When one parent has filed for divorce and the other parent takes a child out of the court’s jurisdictional area to prevent the court from making decisions about custody or the child’s welfare. This is true even when the parent does not remove the child himself, but rather entices the child away from their other parent. 


Plano abuse of a child defense lawyerFor perhaps most of human history, spanking has been a discipline most parents have used with their children. As recently as thirty years ago, few people thought twice about manually spanking and even using instruments like belts or switches. But norms about child discipline have changed dramatically in recent years and many people now have strong feelings about whether certain types of physical discipline cross the line into abuse. In Texas and many other parts of the United States, this can lead to phone calls to the police for behaviors that can surprise the parent on the receiving end of abuse accusations. Some of these calls even result in criminal charges. 

Texas has strict laws in place to protect children from domestic violence, endangerment, sexual assault, and other forms of child abuse. Because of this, it is useful to know when spanking may be considered child abuse in Texas, as well as the potential penalties for physically abusing a child. If you have been charged with abusing a child, even if you are confident that you are innocent, get legal help right away. 

When Does Discipline Become Child Abuse? 

All parents must discipline their children, but in Texas, the force a parent uses to discipline must be reasonable. Reasonable can be somewhat subject to interpretation, but the general idea is that if other reasonable people would find the discipline to be excessive, the discipline can be considered child abuse even if the parent disagrees. 


Texas criminal defense attorneyRaising children is never easy, but for some parents, the process is harder than others. We live in a time where the expectation of accountability for sexual crimes is the highest it has ever been, and while this is a good thing, it also opens the possibility that false accusations will be made and readily believed. A false and completely unexpected accusation that a parent committed childhood sexual abuse against their own child is every parent’s worst nightmare. These types of accusations are often as fantastical as they are offensive. If your adult child has made a post on social media, told their therapist, or confronted you with false accusations of sexual abuse you allegedly committed in the past, seek legal help right away. 

How Often Are Sexual Assault Complaints Falsified? 

While it is true that both men and women have been sexually assaulted and failed to obtain justice for their suffering, it is also true that people use allegations of sexual assault to obtain vengeance and control, or because of mental illness. It is difficult to obtain accurate estimates of false sexual abuse complaints, but estimates range from two to eight percent of all reported claims.  

Sometimes false accusations are intentional and other times alleged victims really believe the abuse happened. Certain types of leading questions by therapists and psychologists have been found to trigger false memories of sexual assault, causing a person to create “repressed” memories of sexual abuse where none really exist. 


Plano criminal defense attorneyAs marijuana continues to be legalized in many states and the idea of legalization becomes increasingly popular in others, it may seem like owning, growing, or selling weed is not a big deal. But, according to Texas state law – and federal law, for that matter – the  possession of marijuana is still very much illegal. Oddly enough, Texas does not have a specific law against growing marijuana, per se; however, because any type of possession is illegal, growing weed even in your own backyard can get you into serious trouble. 

Is Private Marijuana Cultivation Illegal in Texas? 

Growing, cultivating, and harvesting marijuana are all considered forms of possession, whether it is leaves, buds, or entire plants, regardless of whether a person is using marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. The only people who can legally possess marijuana in Texas are those who have a medical cannabis card. For everyone else, knowingly possessing marijuana is completely off-limits. 

What are the Consequences for Possessing Marijuana in Texas? 

The seriousness of the charges and the resulting consequences depend on how much marijuana is found in a person’s possession and whether they have a previous criminal history. If a little marijuana is found in your backpack, for example, and you have no previous criminal record, a judge may be more lenient in your sentencing. The law allows penalties for marijuana possession that include: 


Texas criminal defense attorneyIn 1980, Candy Montgomery, a Collin County housewife, was accused of murdering her friend Betty Gore by striking her 41 times with an ax, including 28 times in the head. On the surface, it seemed like an open-and-closed case; Montgomery had carried on an affair with Gore’s husband, and although the affair had ended before the murder, the small town was convinced Montgomery was not only a cheater, but was also guilty of a grotesque manslaughter. The story has recently been featured as a limited series called Candy, which is currently streaming on Hulu. A second series—this one called Love and Death—is set to premiere on HBO Max later this year.

Young Civil Attorney Don Crowder Takes Candy Montgomery Murder Case 

Montgomery approached Don Crowder, whom she knew from their church. Despite having no criminal defense experience, Crowder took the case, and soon, his assertive, outlandish style in the courtroom garnered nearly as much attention as the case itself. In fact, his defense was so brazen that he was thrown in jail for four days for contempt of court. In the end, however, his strategy paid off when Montgomery was acquitted after only four hours of jury deliberations. 

An Original and Effective Defense Strategy

After the prosecution presented its proof that showed Montgomery was guilty, Attorney Crowder did not present a typical defense - instead, he put Montgomery on the stand. She testified about her affair with Gore’s husband, claimed that Gore attacked her first, and that Montgomery had acted in self-defense. Crowder brought in a psychologist who hypnotized Montgomery and elicited a statement that Montgomery had been psychologically triggered by a repressed memory and had essentially killed Gore in a fugue state. 


Plano criminal defense lawyerEverybody knows that stealing is against the law. But what many people do not know, and are often surprised to learn only after criminal charges have been brought against them, is that buying something that was stolen is also against the law. This is also true if the stolen item was given to you as a gift or a loan. Receipt, possession, or purchase of stolen property is illegal - if you knew (or should have known) that the item was stolen. 

Unfortunately, sometimes people accidentally purchase or are given things they did not know were stolen. If this has happened to you, it is important to secure the help of a Texas criminal defense attorney right away so you are not punished for receipt of stolen property. 

How Can the Prosecutor Say I “Should Have Known” the Property Was Stolen? 

The law against receipt of stolen property applies even if you did not know the thing you bought was stolen - as long as the prosecution can prove that you should have known. How is it possible to read someone’s mind and tell whether they should have known? We can look at a classic example of such a situation to get a better idea. 


Plano criminal defense lawyerWhen one person in Texas causes harm to another person unprovoked, that person has usually committed a crime. And while physical harm is never a pleasant thing to experience, the law recognizes that all physical harm is not alike; a slap in the face, while provoking someone to feel anger, pain, or fright, is not the same as suffering a leg injury so serious that you lose the ability to walk for the rest of your life. For this reason, criminal charges and punishments involving assault depend on the seriousness of the physical injuries suffered. 

What is Serious Bodily Injury in Texas?

Every state defines the idea of serious bodily injury somewhat differently, and whether a specific injury constitutes serious bodily injury can sometimes be open to interpretation by the jury in a criminal defense case. Texas law considers an injury to be a “serious bodily injury” when that injury creates a substantial risk of death or causes death, permanent disfigurement, or long-term loss of any part of the body.

Examples include, but are not limited to: 


Texas federal criminal defense attorneyDuring the time following the end of WWII through the early 1970s, the United States experienced a period of massive economic growth. Automation, full employment, and a developing transportation system all enabled significant financial gains across many sectors. However, along with the opportunity to make money came those looking to game the system, and organized crime spiked. 

In response to this influx of organized crime, lawmakers in 1970 signed the Racketeer Influenced and Corruptions (RICO) Act into law and it remains in place to this day. The consequences for federal racketeering charges are serious and defending against them requires a fearless criminal defense attorney with experience combatting state and federal criminal charges

What is Racketeering? 

Racketeering is the act of obtaining money through illegal business activities or extortion. Under the RICO Act, as well as the Texas Penal Code, it is illegal for someone to plan or commit certain crimes in collaboration with an enterprise. What counts as an enterprise, however, is subject to much speculation and frustration because the definition is so vague. While the RICO Act was originally meant to cover organized criminal organizations like the mafia or motorcycle gangs, even people who do not know each other have been found to be in violation of the RICO Act as the government tries to take down allegedly corrupt organizations. 

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