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San Antonio Criminal Law Blog

Marijuana testing options on the road

While Texas residents may be accustomed to drug testing for jobs, the increasing access to marijuana across the country may increase the need for roadside testing of marijuana intoxication. Various methods have been evaluated, but there has not been much success in finding an efficient and minimally invasive solution. However, a method being developed by a Stanford University team takes only a few minutes to identify the amount of THC in the system through the collection of a saliva sample.

It is important to substantiate suspected DWI charges with objective evidence such as a chemical test. With alcohol, breath testing is a common standard. Saliva testing offers a comparable option as it only requires a small amount of time and can be completed at the scene. The sample is exposed to THC antibodies, and when these antibodies are activated, they provide a positive indication of the presence of the substance. Further, the number of antibodies acting upon THC can be computed to provide a numerical value for intoxication levels.

Process exists for sex offenders to request entry to public parks

Sex offenders in Texas have many limits imposed on where they can go. This includes entry into a public park. However, there is an exemption process that could allow an offender to gain approval to visit one or more parks. The application for an exemption on the restriction of park use can be obtained at the Sex Offender Registration Office in San Antonio.

The person can complete the paperwork at the office or take it home and return it later. Upon submission, the Office of the Chief will consider the application. Several weeks could pass before the request is approved or denied.

A comparison of misdemeanor and felony assault

When an attack or altercation breaks out in Texas and authorities file assault charges, the circumstances of the situation will determine the severity of the alleged offense. The extent of harm caused and the target of the violence or threat play significant roles in the application of the laws.

In general, an assault would be a Class A misdemeanor when a person "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" inflicts physical injury on a person or threatens to do it, according to the penal code. Additionally, physical contact that a reasonable person would consider upsetting or provocative counts as misdemeanor assault. Such actions committed against a public servant, like uniformed emergency services personnel, would escalate the charge to a third degree felony. The same level of felony occurs if the assault targets a family member or date and the accused person has been previously convicted of an assault or attempted to choke the person.

Texas Rangers pitcher faces DWI charges

On August 26, Texas Rangers player Jeremy Jeffress was taken into custody for DWI. According to police, he was stopped after he cut off a driver by changing lanes without a signal. The officer who pulled him over said that his eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol. Jeffress said that he had three or four drinks of cognac and Coke in a one-hour period.

Jeffress said he had to urinate prior to the field sobriety test, but the officer asked him to wait until the test was over. During the test, he was unable to maintain balance and also urinated on himself. He did so a second time while he was being searched, and police say they found a substance in the glove compartment that may have been either marijuana or its synthetic form. Jeffress and his passenger both denied that it was theirs, and neither were charged in connection although Jeffress was tested for the drug.

Elements of an accomplice

If a Texas resident is said to be complicit in a crime, it means that he or she helped or played a role in the commission of the felony or misdeameanor. In some cases, an accomplice may face the same penalties as the person who actually committed the crime. This is generally true if a person encouraged an illegal act to take place or didn't do anything to prevent it from happening.

There are three elements that a prosecutor must prove to show that an individual is liable as an accomplice to a crime. First, a crime must actually take place. This differs from a conspiracy charge in which penalties may be levied even if the crime was never carried out. Next, it must be shown that aid, counsel or encouragement was given to the person who then went through with a criminal act.

Kidnapping charges in Texas

Individuals in Texas and elsewhere across the nation who are finding themselves involved in a situation that could be interpreted as kidnapping may want to know more about the state and federal laws that might apply to their unique set of circumstances. Kidnapping is defined as the intentional or knowing abduction of another person. In some cases, the taking of a child by a non-custodial parent could result in the filing of kidnapping charges against that party.

The kidnapping of a child within the context of a divorced or separated family is the most commonly publicized type of kidnapping case. However, taking any person from one place to another against that individual's will or confining a person to a controlled space may also lead to kidnapping charges dependent upon the particular circumstances surrounding each individual situation.

Yes, your first drug arrest could send you to prison

You ended up in the county jail after being arrested for drug possession at a party on Saturday night. Your friends had handed you their stashes to hold and then vanished. Now, the detective said something about you holding enough drugs to be facing a felony charge.

No way, you think. It should be simple possession. And you're still in high school, so they'll just call your parents and you'll be home by noon. Right? Wrong.

Uber ineffective against drunk driving

Texas residents should know that the popular ride-sharing services offered by companies like Uber have no effect on drunken driving fatality reductions, a claim Uber uses to encourage use of its service. This rebuttal is supported by a study conducted by the University of Southern California and Oxford University.

There are multiple examples in which Uber has used a reduction in drunken driving claim as a reason to use its riding services. A blog post added to its website in 2015 detailed a survey it conducted jointly with Mothers Against Drunk Driving that claimed people were not as inclined to drive while drunk since the availability of the Uber service.

Alleged hitman could face life in prison

A Texas resident who authorities say worked as a hitman for the Mexican Mafia could face life behind bars for several murders. On July 28, the 38-year-old man pleaded guilty to five counts of murder in the aid of racketeering and five counts of firing a gun in retaliation for a violent crime.

Prosecutors say that the accused man was only charged for the murders that could be proven, though he admitted that he had killed 11 other people. Four of the federal crime charges were for incidents where the man had allegedly killed gang members, and one of the charges was for an incident where the man had allegedly ordered other gang members to kill a crooked police officer.

Testimony from a competent layperson

A person who has been charged with committing a crime in Texas may present witness testimony and other evidence to uphold their defense. Witnesses are people who answer questions during a trial but who typically do not express their opinions.

The Federal Rules of Evidence allows some individuals to express their opinions about aspects of a criminal case. Courtroom testimony from a non-expert witness expressing an opinion is referred to as a lay opinion. A court will only allow a layperson to express their opinion on certain subject matters, and a layperson is only allowed to testify in court if they are competent.

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