Lesser Included Offense Reckless Driving Aggravated Assault

Reckless Driving as Lesser Included Offense of Aggravated Assault In criminal law, a lesser included offense is a crime for which all of the elements (essential parts) necessary for a conviction are also elements found in a more serious crime. In Texas, usually you can determine a “lesser included” by listing all of the elements of one offense and seeing if other crimes can be created by the removal of any of those elements. In limited circumstances, you must look beyond the statute to determine whether a crime has a lesser-included offense. Specifically, when the prosecution pleads (by information or indictment) allegations more specific than the bare statutory elements. This is how Reckless Driving may be a lesser-included offense of […]

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Assault vs. Battery | What is the difference?

Assault and Battery: What is the Difference? The Common Law History Assault vs. Battery at Common Law – “Common Law” is the term used for laws derived from judicial precedent made in the court system rather than codified in a statute. Common law crimes originated in England and eventually found their way to the United States. When a decision was handed down in a case, the opinion had a binding effect on later decided cases, and the principle by which judges are bound to follow a rule of law created in a previous, similar case is known as stare decisis. Today, many crimes that originated in the common law are now enumerated in both state and federal statutes. Traditionally, common […]

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Assault on a Police Officer and Other Special Rules

Assault on a Police Officer and Other Special Rules

Cops say No Purple-Nurples or Drug Testing A few of the headlines this month scream hypocrisy and -if you have a well-developed sense of humor- great irony. TCU (Fort Worth, TX) football player has been arrested for assault on a police officer. While to the North, police officers have filed suit, because they do not want to undergo mandatory drug testing for their job. If you missed it, here is why it’s funny…sad…whatever. First, police want special treatment. Assault on a Public Servant (Police Officer) is a harsh law reflecting police cries for greater protection. Assault a regular person (me or 99% of the public) by causing “pain” then you are looking at a Class A Misdemeanor. This is 0 […]

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Domestic Violence During the Holiday Season

Domestic Violence During Holidays Commonly, people believe domestic violence increases during the holiday season. However, data does not support this conventional wisdom. The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence reports regular or even lower hotline call-volume on holidays. See the chart, Image 1. Obviously, call volume is not the last word on the issue of domestic violence during the holiday season. A reasonable explanation for no increase in hotline call volume is domestic violence is under-reported during the holidays. We all know the pressures of trying to keep family tranquility during the holidays. A similar psychological pressure may cause victims to forgo reporting domestic violence. Many of the stressors associated with domestic violence are present to a higher degree during […]

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Legislative Changes to Protective Orders and Family Violence Laws

Texas Legislators Update and Toughen Protective Order and Family Violence Laws September 1, 2015 marked the beginning of some significant changes to Texas laws, including the Family Code, Penal Code, and Code of Criminal Procedure. In practice, this means crimes committed after this date will be prosecuted by these new sets of laws (while crimes committed before September 1 will still be prosecuted using the old laws). There are a number of important changes dealing with protective orders and family violence that you should be aware of. Definition of “Applicant” for Protective Orders Expanded First, Senate Bill 817 makes changes to protective order applications, and makes it clear that trafficking activities amount to family violence. Previously, the “victim” was named […]

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Family Violence, Guns, Revenge Porn and other new laws

TEXAS NEW LAW TUESDAY September 1 marks the start of over 500 new laws in Texas that will affect your life. Every September following a Texas Legislative Session, hundreds of new laws hit the books and take effect, while numerous more won’t take effect until January 1. The 84th Texas Legislature was busy in Austin earlier this year and now it’s time for Texans to see the results. Many of the laws are subtle changes that you may not even take notice of, but other are more dramatic and will cause you to stop and take notice. Here are just a few highlights of changes to Texas law. TRUANCY House Bill 2398 has decriminalized truancy in Texas. Now if your […]

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New Family Violence and Sexual Assault Data Task Force

2015 Task Force to Collect Family Violence and Sexual Assault Data Texas created a task force to “promote uniformity in collection and reporting of information” related to the history of family violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. The 85th Legislature determined that family violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking are common occurrences in Texas. Legislators are concerned that Texas does not have reliable data related to the actual frequency of these crimes. They identified the reason Texas does not have reliable data regarding family violence and sexual assault is that Texas state and local agencies do not have uniform procedures for collecting and reporting the data. The problem also relates to a system that splinters the responsibility and […]

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What Is The Difference Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault In Texas?

What Is The Difference Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault In Texas? At Cofer Law, our criminal defense attorneys are frequently asked about the difference between assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault is typically a misdemeanor charge, but can be bumped up to a third-degree felony in special circumstances such as if the victim is a family member, a public servant or emergency services worker. You can be charged with assault for punching, kicking or choking someone during a fight. However, you can also be charged with assault without even touching the victim. For example, if you tell someone you are going to beat him or her up, and that person has a reasonable fear that you are capable and […]

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Ensuring Justice through Criminal Defense and Conviction Integrity

The unfortunate fact about the criminal law system is that human errors are oftentimes unavoidable and leave huge flaws within the system.  Unclear testimonies, poor eye witness accounts, and a less-than-great attorney are all things that could land an innocent person behind bars.  Last week’s story about Dallas local, Michael Phillips, is a great example of these flaws and really shows the importance of criminal defense. When the front page of the newspaper reads “Man Arrested on Murder Charges”, most people automatically jump to the conclusion that the man was in fact the murderer.  As a defense attorney, it is my job and passion to look at it differently.  The sensitive and lengthy nature of criminal cases makes it possible […]

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Texas Man Should Be Exonerated Based On Recent DNA Testing

The ordeal began in 1990, when a young woman was raped by a black man, in a white ski mask in her room at a Dallas motel. The victim, a 16 year old white woman, pulled her attacker’s mask up while fighting back. She claimed to have immediately recognized him, having seen him in the area before. Michael Phillips, who lived and worked at the motel, fit the description. Later that week he was arrested after being picked out of a photo line-up. At the point of his arrest, Phillips felt that the cards were stacked against him. On the advice of his public defender, he accepted a guilty plea.  Fearing that a jury would believe the victim’s statement over […]

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