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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Crimmigration Presentation at Tarrant County Bar 2016

Presentation at CrimmigrationContinuing Education 2016 Tarrant County Bar Association Office I simply stole this from the paper. I believe it provides great advice on both sides of the Immigration Issue. Criminal defense lawyers needs to consult and expert as soon as possible. Unfortunately, attorneys allow their desire to avoid ineffective assistance claims or grievances to conflict with their duty to remain loyal to their clients. Always, be mindful of how what you put on the record can be used against your client. Also, remember your client must give consent for you to disclose attorney-client conversations. The criminal defense attorney is responsible for advising her client. This is not a responsibility that can be delighted or abandoned. Unfortunately, sometimes clients are […]

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Parental Kidnapping Child Abduction in Texas

Parental Abduction: Can a Parent Kidnap Their Own Child in Texas? Unfortunately, many divorces, civil suits, and child custody battles result in a nasty game of tug-of-war over the children in a family. Many parents believe that hiding their children and keeping them from seeing the other parent is a good way to “get even.” Some even attempt to flee with the child. Not only can this lead to significant ramifications for the offending parent in a custody suit court, but it can also lead to criminal charges. Parental kidnapping is a complex area of the law involving a mixture of the Penal and Family Codes. Here we address one notable area: the taking of a child by his or […]

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Is a butterfly knife legal in Texas?

Butterfly Knife Legality Originating in the Philippines, the butterfly knife, also known as a balisong or fan knife, is a type of folding knife consisting of a blade concealed between two handles that is opened by gravity. There is a variety of butterfly knife laws across the United States that outlaw the knife in some form or fashion because of its quick, single-handed deployment and potential use as a weapon. Some states completely ban the possession or sale of the butterfly knife, while others only make it illegal to carry the knife concealed. Is a Butterfly Knife Illegal in Texas? In Texas, a butterfly knife is considered a type of switchblade, which is defined in the Penal Code as any […]

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Acquittal Definition Means Not Guilty

What Does an Acquittal Mean for You? An acquittal means that you were criminally charged with an offense, but the court found that you were not guilty, generally as a result of a lack of evidence. This is an important distinction from a dismissal, for example, because an acquittal means the state cannot refile the charge or appeal the innocence finding. When a person is acquitted of an offense, they are legally freed by a court and protection against “double jeopardy” takes effect. Double jeopardy is a Constitutional right that prevents the government from filing criminal charges against you for the same offense multiple times. The government only gets one bite at the apple, so to speak. Whether double jeopardy […]

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Texas Rule of Evidence 404b Opening the Door in Opening Statement

Opening the Door to Extraneous Bad Acts in Opening Statement Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney’s Cautionary Post As a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney, I am constantly up against some of the best prosecutors in Texas. This means my colleagues and I must tread carefully in cases involving “extraneous offense evidence.” As a general rule, crimes or past bad acts of the accused cannot be offered by the prosecution besides the crime a person is on trial for. Over the years, this protection has been eroded by appellate courts and the Texas Legislature’s changes to procedural laws. Aside from the many exceptions that practically swallow the rule, a criminal defense attorney can create a situation that this, otherwise inadmissible, evidence […]

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Homosexual Bias in Texas Criminal Defense Jury Selection

Lawyer Tip: Jury Selection Examination on Homosexuality Bias One of the primary functions of voir dire (jury selection) is to identify “challenges for cause.” Basically, developing facts demonstrating that a person is not legally fit to serve on a jury. This requires skill and keeping up with current appellate decisions and legal trends. We are all used to challenging jurors for a variety of biases or prejudices. Bias against the race or gender of a criminal defendant is a reason to challenge someone for cause. A bias in favor of the prosecution or police is another reason I’ve had hundreds of prospective jurors struck. Recently, I picked a jury, and it occurred to me that views on same-sex relationships may […]

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Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is

Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is. The titular quote by Sigmund Freud divides love and work. Wrong thinking for a criminal defense attorney. I love what I do, seriously. I get tired, and I get grumpy. There are days I feel beat down. There are days I feel empty with nothing left to give. But there are days that I get to be front-and-center in the courtroom, and nothing beats that high. That helps. What really keeps us going as criminal defense attorneys is the love: the love of our families that support us; the love of our staff that work so hard for us; and the love of our clients that need us. Love is […]

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Criminal Trial Experience | Make Friends

With a Little Help from My Friends: Second Chair Criminal Defense is Best When Shared Over the years, I have sat as second chair to many great lawyers. Likewise, I have had many great lawyers sit second chair during my criminal trials. Traditionally, the criminal defense bar is made up of solo practitioners or very small firms. This along with the tremendous commitment required for trial has left many attorneys of all skill levels sitting alone at counsel table. Friends don’t let friends go to trial alone. It has been a while now since I “needed” to sit second chair to gain trial experience to qualify for higher level court appointments (i.e. First Degree Felonies) or to obtain experience for […]

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Criminal Police Interrogation Language Techniques

Language in Police Interrogations of Criminal Suspects Learn How Your Words May Hurt You Popular crime show dramas often portray police interrogations as heated and adversarial. Suspects are shown to break down and confess to crimes after long hours of brow-beating and intimidation. In the media, suspects are routinely subjected to yelling, lies and trickery. In fact, though, police interrogations are generally far subtler, and less threatening, because trained officers know that suspects generally reveal a great deal about an event simply by the way that they speak and the words that they choose to use. Seasoned interrogators will use these subtle language cues to direct their questioning and determine “guilt” based on what they learn. Suspects may be fooled […]

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