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fort worth drug crime defense lawyerIn recent years, there has been a great deal of public debate about the power and authority given to police officers in various situations. Among these concerns is the issue of conducting a search for controlled substances and illicit drugs.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution promises American citizens the right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” of their homes, papers, effects, and persons. The same amendment also specifies that all warrants must be based on probable cause, and they must describe in detail “the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” If you are facing charges based on evidence found during an illegal or unreasonable search, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to get the case against you dismissed.

Consent Supersedes Everything Else

Most people will never have the police come to their house wanting to conduct a search. It is much more common, however, for such a situation to develop during a traffic stop. If you have been stopped by the police, and the officer wants to search your vehicle, they will almost certainly start by asking for your permission. If the officer obtains your clear consent, the search becomes lawful, and you will no longer have the option of challenging the evidence on the basis of an unlawful search.

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Tarrant County Criminal Defense LawyerEvery year, the Texas legislature and the federal government pass new laws, and in many cases, these laws go into effect on January 1 of the following year. Keeping abreast of changes to the law is not always easy, but in some cases, it can be important to understand how these changes may affect the lives of regular people. One law that recently went into effect involved the Protective Order Registry of Texas (PROTECT), which is a database of orders of protection that are issued in cases involving domestic violence and some other types of crimes. 

What Is the Protective Order Registry of Texas?

In 2019, the Texas legislature passed a bill known as "Monica's Law," which was named after a woman who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend. In this case, the ex-boyfriend had a history of domestic abuse, and he had previously had protective orders issued against him. However, law enforcement officials in the county where the murder occurred did not have access to information about the previous protective orders, and they did not respond appropriately to help prevent violence from occurring.

In response to this issue, Monica's Law created a registry of protective orders that have been issued in the state of Texas. This registry is maintained by the Texas Office of Court Administration, and there are a variety of different types of protective orders that must be entered into the system. These include temporary "ex parte" protective orders, final protective orders issued by a court, magistrate's orders for emergency protection, and even applications for protective orders. Law enforcement officials and others involved in the criminal justice system can access this registry, including police officers, prosecutors, and court clerks. The general public has limited access to the registry, and information about a particular order will only be available if the victim in the case has given authorization.

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fort worth criminal defense lawyerDespite what the news would have people believe, crime has been on a downward trend in the United States in recent years. Fewer crimes are being committed, fewer arrests are made by law enforcement, and fewer people are convicted of criminal offenses. However, this does not mean that crime has been completely eradicated or that those who commit crimes will go unpunished. In Tarrant County alone, tens of thousands of people are arrested and charged with crimes each year. Recently, the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney released a report detailing some statistics related to crimes that were prosecuted over the past year. This report provides an indication of the types of offenses that are most likely to lead to arrests and criminal charges. Those who are facing these or other charges can seek representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney to determine the best approach to take during their cases.

Top 3 Criminal Charges in Tarrant County in Fiscal Year 2022

For the fiscal year of 2022, which covered the time between October 2021 and September 2022, the following types of charges resulted in the most criminal cases:

  • Felony drug possession - 2,462 people were charged with possession of less than one gram of a controlled substance. Even though this is only a minuscule amount of drugs, an arrest for possession of a controlled substance can result in serious charges. For drugs that are included in Penalty Group 1 or 2 as detailed in the Texas Controlled Substances Act, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines, possession of less than one gram is a State Jail Felony. A conviction on these charges will result in a minimum sentence of 180 days in a state jail and a maximum sentence of two years. A person who is convicted may also be fined as much as $10,000.

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fort worth domestic violence lawyerDomestic disputes can occur in a variety of situations, and they can sometimes escalate to the point where a person may be arrested and charged with domestic assault or other offenses involving family violence. Many people believe that domestic assault only occurs when there is a physical altercation between spouses, family members, or people who are in a romantic relationship. However, domestic assault charges can be filed in other situations as well, even in cases where there was no physical contact between the alleged victim and the accused (Terroristic Threat). It is important to understand the specific charges that may apply in these situations and the consequences you may face if you are convicted. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, you can determine your best options for defending against domestic assault or family violence charges.

What Is Domestic Assault in Texas?

The Texas Penal Code states that a person can be charged with assault if they do one of the following:

  • Intentionally cause someone else to suffer a bodily injury.

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fort worth criminal defense lawyerIn Texas, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated. However, DWI charges do not just apply in situations where a person drank alcohol before driving. Intoxication may also occur in situations involving the use of drugs, including illegal controlled substances, prescription drugs, and marijuana. If you have been pulled over by a police officer, questioned about your use of marijuana or other drugs, and arrested on DWI charges, you will need to understand the specific criminal charges that may apply. By working with an experienced lawyer, you can determine your best options for defense.

Texas DWI Laws Regarding Drugs

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal offense in Texas. When it comes to alcohol use, intoxication is defined as having a blood alcohol content of at least .08 percent. However, the Texas Penal Code also states that a person may be considered to be intoxicated if they do not have the normal use of their physical or mental faculties due to the use of alcohol, marijuana, or other controlled substances. The combination of different types of substances, such as alcohol and prescription drugs, may also cause a person to become intoxicated.

The penalties for DWI can be very serious. At minimum, DWI is charged as a Class B misdemeanor, and a person who is convicted will be required to spend at least 72 hours in jail. Class B misdemeanor convictions may result in up to six months of jail time, as well as fines of up to $2,000. A person's driver's license may also be suspended for up to two years. More serious charges may apply in certain situations, such as when a person has previous DWI convictions or when they had a child passenger in their vehicle.

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