The arrival of Hurricane Harvey in Texas was associated with a few criminal charges that seemed eerily tied to the massive storm's wind and rain-making violence. In one case, a woman disappeared on the day that Harvey hit the mainland, and she did not reappear until her corpse was found two weeks later in a marshy woodland in Baytown. Authorities have charged her ex-husband with the felony of killing her, allegedly in a rage of domestic violence initiated by his need to control his ex-wife.
Texas law allows for several instances in which criminal charges may be wiped and expunged from a person's record. Generally, felony or misdemeanor records can be excised where the charges did not result in conviction. The procedure to obtain relief involves the filing of a petition for expunction of criminal records. In some states, a petition for expungement is the preferred terminology.
Cases against sports figures regarding drug usage have become rather commonplace in Texas and nationwide. A recent incident at a state university involved the arrest of D'Onta Foreman, a highly touted rookie running back for the Houston Texans. University police charged him with marijuana possession and the unlawful carrying of a weapon.
Texas residents have traditionally faced steep criminal penalties for state or federal violations of the controlled substances laws. Extended jail sentences for drug sales, and sometimes for mere possession, have been structured into the criminal justice protocol for decades since the inception of the war on drugs. Mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug charges have been harshly applied and utilized to bring about the mass incarceration of minority members.
Texas is one of the few states that requires a 17-year-old person to be tried as an adult in the state's criminal justice system. Most states designate 18 as the age of adulthood for purposes of prosecution in the adult court. Of course, young people under 18 are always subject to being prosecuted as an adult if they are charged with violent offenses, such as murder.
Sometimes a defendant may be arrested for what appears to be an outlandish reason. When that happens, the defendant may have a strong defense to assert, especially if the dispute is taken to a jury trial for determination. In a recent incident in Montgomery County, Texas, for example, Sheriff's deputies arrested a man on felony gun charges because he shot at two masked men who were attacking and kidnapping his fiancée.
A first DUI offense typically gives you some leeway in how you're charged and the penalties you face, but if you've found you're facing a second or third, the court will become more strict with you. Fortunately, you still have the right to a strong defense to help make sure you receive fair treatment. Your attorney may talk to you about potential defenses and will work to help you avoid penalties if possible. Here are some things you should consider when you're facing a second or third DUI.
A proposed bill has been submitted to the Texas legislature that would lessen the penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana down to a fine of $250 and no jail term. Importantly, the bill is apparently being supported by law enforcement agencies in the state. Various current and former police officers testified in Austin in favor of the bill to reduce marijuana penalties and, in effect, decriminalize a small amount for personal use.
Criminal trespass in Texas involves going onto someone else's property without consent. The crime is a misdemeanor under state law. For a conviction, the law requires that the accused must have received effective notice not to trespass. Alternatively, the accused will be found guilty if he or she does not leave the property after being told to do so.
Criminal mischief in Texas is the intentional destruction, tampering with, or damaging of another person's property. It can consist of making marks, graffiti, inscriptions, drawings and the like on another's property. Generally, criminal mischief can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the seriousness of the facts and upon the value of the property damage.