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texas criminal defense lawyerIn most cases, criminal charges related to illegal drugs will involve accusations that a person was in possession of controlled substances. However, there are other items that may also be related to drugs, including manufacturing equipment, packaging materials, or devices used to consume drugs, and possession of these items may also lead to criminal charges. For those who are involved in criminal cases related to drugs, it is important to understand how the laws in Texas address the possession of drug paraphernalia.

What Is Drug Paraphernalia?

Under Texas law, drug paraphernalia may include any equipment, products, or materials of any kind that are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, processing, packing, injecting, ingesting, or inhaling controlled substances. In general, anything that can be used to cultivate, package, or consume illegal drugs can be considered drug paraphernalia. Common examples include bongs and pipes used for smoking marijuana or methamphetamine pipes. Other examples include syringes and needles used for injecting drugs like heroin. Devices used to package and distribute drugs may also be considered paraphernalia, such as scales and other measuring devices used to weigh drugs or baggies used to package and distribute substances. 

It is important to note that even items that are not specifically designed for use with illegal drugs can still be considered drug paraphernalia under Texas law. For example, a regular kitchen spoon can be considered drug paraphernalia if it is being used to cook methamphetamines. Likewise, an otherwise innocuous piece of paper can be considered drug paraphernalia if it is being used to roll marijuana joints. While these items would not usually be considered paraphernalia on their own, possession of drugs alongside certain items may result in charges related to paraphernalia being added to other drug charges.

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fort worth criminal defense lawyerThere are multiple reasons why Texas courts may issue a protective order (commonly known as a restraining order). These orders are often put in place in cases involving allegations of family violence, although they may also be used in situations where a person is accused of offenses such as sexual assault or harassment. In cases where a protective order has been issued, a person will be required to follow its terms, even if they believe that it was based on false accusations. Violating a protective order can result in serious criminal penalties, and anyone who is subject to this type of order will need to work with a criminal defense lawyer to determine their legal options.

Consequences for Violating the Restrictions Put in Place by a Protective Order

A protective order will generally prohibit a person from taking any illegal actions against their alleged victims, such as committing family violence or engaging in behavior that could be considered harassment. Numerous other restrictions may be put in place, and a person could be charged with violating a protective order if they:

  • Communicate with their alleged victim or other family members included in the order in a manner that is considered threatening or harassing. In many cases, a protective order will prohibit a person from attempting to communicate with family members such as their spouse or children in any way. A violation may involve directly attempting to contact someone in person, over the phone, or via email or text message, as well as sending messages through other parties. Depending on the requirements put in place by the court, a person may only be able to communicate with their family members by sending messages through an attorney or another person appointed by the court.

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fort worth dwi defense lawyerBeing arrested on suspicion of drunk driving is a serious matter. Criminal charges for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can result in a number of penalties, but even if you are not charged with or convicted of DWI, you could face the suspension of your driver’s license. By understanding when a license suspension will apply, when you can request an administrative hearing, and how you can regain your driving privileges, you can determine your best options in these situations.

Administrative License Revocation (ALR)

When a police officer has probable cause to believe that a person was driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other substances that impaired their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, they may perform an arrest. After taking the person to a police station, the officer will request a sample of their breath or blood, which will be used to determine whether they were legally intoxicated while they were driving. When requesting a breath or blood sample, the officer will provide a warning detailing the consequences the person will face if they refuse to give a sample or if they are over the legal blood alcohol limit.

Drivers over the age of 21 may “fail” a test if an analysis of their blood or breath shows that they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08 percent or that they have any detectable amount of an illegal controlled substance in their system. Drivers under the age of 21 may fail a test if they have any alcohol in their system. For drivers over the age of 21, the failure of a breath or blood test will result in a 90-day suspension of their driver’s license. For drivers under the age of 21, the failure of a blood or breath test will result in a 60-day license suspension. Any driver who refuses to submit to a test will face a 180-day license suspension. 

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tarrant county DWI lawyerAn arrest for drunk or intoxicated driving can lead to multiple serious consequences. A person convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) may be sentenced to time in prison, be required to pay thousands of dollars in fines, and their driver’s license may be suspended. Fortunately, options may be available that will allow a person to avoid a conviction, including deferred adjudication. A person who is facing DWI charges can work with a criminal defense attorney to find solutions that will allow them to move forward successfully after a DWI arrest.

What Is Deferred Adjudication?

To avoid being convicted of a DWI offense, deferred adjudication may allow a person to resolve their case and serve a sentence of probation. In these cases, a person will appear before a judge and admit guilt, but they will not be formally convicted of the charges. Instead, they will serve a sentence of community supervision. If they successfully complete the term of probation without being arrested or charged with another offense, their case will be closed without applying punishments such as fines or jail time.

Deferred adjudication is typically only available in first-time DWI cases. A person will not be eligible for deferred adjudication if they are a commercial driver’s license holder or if a chemical test performed after their arrest showed that they had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 percent or higher. If deferred adjudication is granted, certain requirements may apply during the person’s period of probation, such as regular drug testing, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicles they drive, or community service. Any violations of the terms of probation will result in the revocation of deferred adjudication. Since the person has already admitted guilt, they may be convicted of the DWI offense and face the maximum applicable punishments. 

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fort worth criminal defense lawyerThere are multiple different types of offenses that may be considered theft, and they generally involve the misappropriation of someone else’s property with the intent to deprive that person of ownership of money or physical items. Retail theft, which is commonly known as shoplifting, is one of the most common offenses that fall under this category. Those who have been accused of retail theft will need to understand the exact nature of the charges and the potential penalties they may face if they are convicted.

Misdemeanor or Felony Retail Theft

The Texas Penal Code generally does not distinguish retail theft from other forms of theft, and the charges a person may face will depend on the value of the items that were allegedly stolen. These charges may include:

  • Class C misdemeanor - This charge will apply if the value of property stolen is less than $100. A conviction will result in a fine of up to $500.

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