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Longview Criminal Defense Law Blog

Texas jury acquits shop owners of drug trafficking over 'spice'

Did the owners of a chain of stores in Texas intentionally research the ever-evolving list of synthetic drugs that were illegal under federal law in order to avoid prosecution? Or, were they desperately trying to avoid breaking the law?

The jury, at least, seems to believe that the owners -- a 72-year-old entrepreneur who opened his first shop back in the 1970s and his 43-year-old daughter -- weren't intentionally trying to avoid drug trafficking laws. They were each convicted of only one charge: conspiracy to defraud the government in relation to how the products were labeled.

I was found not guilty. Do I need to petition for an expunction?

Perhaps an officer arrested you due to your physical similarities to an unidentified drug offender. The charges held sufficient evidence against you, but you know the scenario involved you being in the wrong place at the wrong time. After a lengthy court process, another officer caught the true culprit, and the court subsequently acquitted you for committing the crime.

Many individuals do not know that if they find themselves arrested or charged with various, serious crimes, these arrests stay on your record. Even if the court finds you not guilty, or if your charge was simply the result of mistaken identity, you must still petition for expunction under Texas law. Arrests and charges can affect your ability to get appropriate employment, and officers may even have reasonable cause to investigate you due to your past arrests.

Know how to assert your rights during a traffic stop

A lot of times, a police investigation starts with nothing more than a simple traffic stop and a few innocent-sounding questions. The next thing a suspect knows, he or she is being hauled away on charges of drug possession or something worse after the officer finds a little marijuana or a few prescription pills in the suspect's car.

Often, people miss out on the opportunity to assert their civil rights and stop an investigation in its tracks. Usually, that's because people either aren't sure of their rights or don't know how to assert them.

Can you get a DWI from using legal prescription or over-the-counter drugs?

Yes, you can. In Texas as in other states, the law prohibits operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol, drugs or a combination of substances. What many people don't realize is that you could be found guilty of DWI for driving under the influence of a legal drug that impairs your ability.

It's crucial to know how your prescriptions will affect you before getting behind the wheel. Drugs affect people differently, but many prescription drugs are known to impair concentration, alertness, judgment and motor skills in some people, and those impairments can be as serious as alcohol intoxication. 

Incarceration levels high in Texas

One of the top fears many individuals have when accused of criminal offenses here in Texas is fear of facing imprisonment. This is understandable, given the impacts a jail or prison sentence can have on a person’s life and how common of a penalty incarceration is here in Texas.

Texas’ state prison population is currently around 145,000. This is the largest in the entire country.

Longview man arrested for drug crimes related to methamphetamine

Since drugs are viewed as a major issue in Longview and across Texas, law enforcement is heavily engaged in trying to catch and arrest those accused of drug possession, drug dealing or drug trafficking. Drug crimes are believed to be the impetus for other criminal acts, so it is no surprise that police and prosecutors are aggressive in seeking convictions.

For example, a 41-year-old man was arrested for drug crimes in Longview. Law enforcement was called after midnight with reports of a man who was banging on the windows of a house. When they arrived, they checked the man's SUV to see if he was in the vehicle. A pill bottle was spotted inside the vehicle and there were plastic bags in it. The substance inside turned out to be methamphetamine.

DWI, intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter in Texas

When a person is charged with driving while intoxicated in Texas, there are circumstances that can lead to serious issues that go beyond the basic DWI allegations and penalties if there is a conviction. For example, if there is a car accident in which another person is injured or killed, the person who is charged might face intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter. Understanding the law is an important part of formulating a defense strategy.

If a driver is operating a vehicle in a public location while under the influence and there is a crash with a person suffering a serious bodily injury, there can be a charge of intoxication assault. With serious bodily injury, the victim will have a substantial danger of dying or having disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of a part of the body. This is a third-degree felony.

How does Texas law deal with the sale of marijuana?

Despite ongoing changes as to how marijuana is dealt with across the nation, Texas has yet to legalize the use and sale of the drug except for very specific instances for medical necessities. Drug possession and sale are still taken seriously. When a person is arrested for the sale of marijuana, there are still various penalties that can be assessed if there is a conviction. Understanding the law for amounts and the penalties that accompany it is critical when crafting a defense.

If a person is charged with selling under one-quarter of an ounce of marijuana, it will be a Class B misdemeanor provided they are not being paid (remunerated) for selling it. If there is remuneration, that same amount will be elevated to a Class A misdemeanor. For those who are caught selling one-quarter ounce to five pounds, it is a state jail felony. If it is five pounds to 50 pounds, it is a second-degree felony. Between 50 pounds and 2,000 pounds will be a first-degree felony. For those who are caught selling more than 2,000 pounds, a conviction will warrant life in prison or 10 to 99 years as well as a fine of $100,000. For those who deliver more than one-quarter ounce of the drug to a minor who is under age 17 and is still enrolled in school, it is a second-degree felony. If the sale happens in a drug-free zone, penalties will be doubled.

Will I need to install an ignition interlock device after a DWI?

When a Texan is arrested for driving while intoxicated, a conviction can carry with it many penalties that can make life difficult. That can include jail time, fines and the loss of driving privileges. Another penalty that can be problematic is the requirement that the driver install an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle. Knowing when this will be done, how it works and what the rules are is important. Similarly, it is important for a person who is confronted with DWI allegations to lodge a defense to avoid a conviction and keep from facing these onerous penalties and a negative perception in the community.

After a conviction for DWI, the judge can order the driver to use an ignition interlock device. With the ignition interlock device, the driver is required to blow into the machine before driving to determine if he or she has alcohol in his or her system and how high the blood-alcohol content is. If the driver's BAC is above a certain level, the vehicle won't start. It will then intermittently require that the driver blow into it again to ensure that there has not been any alcoholic consumption in the interim from when the vehicle was started.

Man arrested for drug crimes after vehicle stop for speeding

Allegations of drug crimes in Longview and across Texas can lead to major penalties and an extended jail term if there is a conviction. The amount of drugs that the person allegedly has in his or her possession will dictate the level of charges and whether it will be a matter of the person having a drug that is for personal use or low-level sale or is for a larger-scale operation of drug trafficking. Many of these arrests start with a traffic violation and a vehicle stop and search.

A 42-year-old man was arrested on several drug charges after a traffic stop for speeding. The incident occurred in the afternoon shortly before 1 p.m. An officer made the stop and stated that there was a smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. There were also remnants of marijuana on the passenger seat. After a search, the officer claimed to have found approximately 300 Xanax, two pounds of marijuana, material to package the substances and digital scales. The driver was arrested and later posted bond.

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