Monthly Archives: August 2017

The Difference Between Burglary and Criminal Trespass Charges

Burglary and Theft

Burglary and criminal trespass are two related, yet distinct, property crimes with different penalties. Criminal trespass occurs when a person enters or remains on or in the property of another, including residential land, agricultural land, an RV park, a building or a vehicle without effective consent. The person must notice that entry is forbidden, or must receive notice to depart and fail before police can levy criminal trespass charges. For a conviction, prosecutors must prove…
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What Are Defenses Against Federal Drug Crimes?

Drug Possession and Abuse

Recently, an East Texas man plead guilty to federal drug crimes after police discovered cash, a meth pipe, 12 ounces of methamphetamine, marijuana and other drugs in his vehicle. After searching his home, police also found more drug paraphernalia and a firearm. As a result, he is facing a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. Enforcement of Federal Drug Crimes and the Penalties Examples of federal drug…
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Harris County Police Conduct Potentially Illegal Cavity Search

Two years ago, a 21-year-old college student with no criminal record was pulled over by Harris County Police (Houston). What followed was what some are calling an egregious violation of this woman’s rights. According to her attorney, as well as dashcam footage, Charneisha Corley was pulled over for allegedly running a stop sign. After claiming they smelled marijuana, police subjected Corley to an 11-minute body cavity search. The dashcam footage was released by her attorney…
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“Police Protection Act” to Take Effect Soon

What is the Police Protection Act, going into effect on September 1? On June 6, 2017, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into effect a bill that he claims is intended to create a culture of respect for law enforcement. The act will increase penalties for crimes targeting law enforcement and judges, adding them to the list of people protected under Texas hate crime statutes. Texas follows Louisiana and Kentucky, which passed similar statutes last year. Several…
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How Are State Governments Reforming Criminal Justice?

The goal of criminal justice reform is to reduce the numbers of Americans who are kept away from society and deprived of freedoms while simultaneously making sure we aren’t making people unsafe. Every year, about 650,000 people are released from prison. Within a year, two-thirds of them are unemployed. Two-thirds of them will be rearrested within three years. How do we end this loop of recidivism while preserving a safe society? Criminal Justice Reforms Between…
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Is There a Reliable Roadside Test for Marijuana Impairment?

There is no reliable roadside test to measure marijuana impairment. But police are trying to make one. Testing for THC In states like Colorado, there is a THC blood test that law enforcement uses to show “presumed” impairment. The test seeks delta-9-tetrahydrocannibol, also known as THC, in the blood. If a person has more than five nanograms of THC, under Colorado law a court or jury can infer that they are impaired. However, there is…
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Do I Have to Consent to a Search of My Vehicle in Texas?

In late July, two men in Texas were arrested after police discovered 56 pounds of marijuana and 38 pounds of liquid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the part of marijuana that gets you high) in their car. According to police, a state trooper saw the vehicle drive on an improved shoulder and stopped it for the offense. He then asked the driver to step out of the vehicle and sit in the patrol car. As the driver moved,…
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How Social Media Can Land You in Jail

Social media is a powerful tool, and not just for sharing photos of food. Police (and prosecutors) are increasingly using social media as a means of solving and proving crimes in a court of law. How Police Use Social Media Take, for example, a partnership between Boerne, TX and Seguin, TX police departments (Bourne and Seguin are located just outside of San Antonio). These two police departments have been highly effective in using social media…
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Heat-Related Illnesses in Texas Prisons a Huge Problem

Are inmates in danger of heat-related illnesses in Texas? The answer is an overwhelming yes. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison of Houston recently ordered a geriatric prison in Texas, Wallace Pack Unit south of Navasota, to help inmates overcome extreme heat and rising summer temperatures. In his ruling, he slammed the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for continuous violations of inmates’ Eighth Amendment rights (“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor…
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