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San Antonio Criminal Law Blog

Texas legislature drags feet on marijuana reform

Texas lawmakers have disappointed constituents who are in favor of medical marijuana and marijuana decriminalization. Reformists' hopes of granting people with medical conditions access to legal medicine and focusing law enforcement on serious crime fizzled when lawmakers took no action on bills that had been introduced in the most recent session.

Although the state has a medical marijuana law on the books, the language effectively makes it impossible for physicians to help patients. The law states that a medical provider should prescribe marijuana instead of recommending it. A physician cannot prescribe a substance classified as Schedule I by the federal government. One of the representatives sponsoring the corrected bill said that the legislature's inaction would force families with sick members to leave the state to obtain medicine.

Woman faces manslaughter charge after Texas car crash

A 32-year-old woman told an officer that she had been drinking "a lot" before she was driving home from a friend's house during the early morning hours of Feb. 25. At about 2:35 a.m, authorities had been called to an accident at an intersection in Lubbock. According to a witness, the woman's SUV was going north on Indiana Avenue when it collided with a blue Ford Fiesta going west.

The woman in the SUV had run a red light prior to the collision, the witness said. When police arrived at the scene, they found the SUV had sustained heavy damage to its front end while the Fiesta had damage to the driver side. The driver of the Fiesta was a 30-year-old woman who was declared dead at the scene. An officer noticed that the driver of the SUV had glassy eyes and slurred speech, which indicated that she was intoxicated.

22-year-old man accused of getting fentanyl in the mail

On June 5, authorities took a Texas man into custody after he was accused of picking up a package full of fentanyl from the post office. According to the authorities, the package contained about 102 grams of the drug.

The accused 22-year-old man allegedly ordered the drug from China and was then selling the drug to young adults. Authorities took him into custody when he returned to his apartment. Deputies also searched the man's apartment and found a safe that allegedly contained cocaine and heroin. He was ultimately charged with evading arrest and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

37 people indicted in alleged gang drug conspiracy

Dozens of alleged members of the Texas Mexican Mafia were recently arrested, according to the United States Department of Justice. A total of 37 people were indicted by a federal grand jury on several charges, including conspiracy, firearms crimes and narcotics offenses.

Twenty-six people were taken into custody on May 19 in San Antonio by local, state and federal law enforcement officers following the indictments. Eight others were already in custody on other charges, and three are fugitives. The people who were arrested were alleged to have distributed heroin and methamphetamine since 2015 and to have collected a 10 percent fee from non-gang members who participated in selling the drugs. People who didn't pay the 10 percent fee faced serious repercussions, including the possibility of being killed.

Types of internet fraud

Texas and federal authorities take allegations of internet fraud very seriously. Internet fraud occurs when a person or group uses internet services or software to defraud or take advantage of other individuals. There are several methods that are often used to commit this type of crime.

One form of internet fraud, called business e-mail compromise, occurs when an individual or group targets a business that works with foreign companies or suppliers. The group uses intrusion techniques to make unauthorized monetary transfers. During a data breach, individuals or groups may get a hold of confidential or sensitive information that they are not authorized to be in possession of. During a denial of service, an individual or group interrupts an authorized user's access to a network or system.

Drug trafficking consequences in Texas

Under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, it is illegal to knowingly transport or deliver illegal drugs. However, in order to be convicted of drug trafficking or drug distribution, people must knowingly transport them. If they prove that they had no knowledge that they were doing so, they may not be convicted.

Because the state of Texas considers drug trafficking to be a felony, there are a variety of punishments that a person could potentially face. The types of consequences and the severity of the consequences can depend on a number of factors. These factors include the type of drug being trafficked and the amount of the drug being trafficked. For example, the potential sentence may be lighter if the trafficked drug is from a certain group of drugs. Additionally, prosecutors may also offer plea deals with less severe sentences if the person can help them with a higher priority investigation.

3 students accused of being involved in drugs, prostitution

It has been reported that police issued arrest warrants for three University of North Texas students. Two of the students were accused of promoting prostitution while the third student was accused of being in possession of drugs.

Authorities took one of the students into custody on May 1 for possessing less than two ounces of marijuana. No other information was available on the other two students. However, the university noted that the three students who were involved in the case were not allowed on campus until there was a resolution.

Study finds ignition interlock devices increase safety

Texas motorists who have ignition interlock devices installed on their vehicles may be less likely to cause a fatal drunk driving accident. According to a study that appeared in the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine", fatal crashes in which at least one driver had a blood alcohol content over the limit were reduced 7 percent when mandatory interlock laws were in place. It is estimated that around 1,250 lives have been saved since 1993.

An ignition interlock device works by checking a driver's breath before turning the key. The car will not start if the device measures excess alcohol. The study examined the use of the devices across all 50 states from 1982 to 2013. Researchers used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and controlled for trends over time and other safety laws to reach the conclusion that states with mandatory rather than partial or permissive ignition interlock device laws had significantly fewer alcohol-related traffic deaths.

HB 81 moves forward to reduce marijuana penalties

The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee sent House Bill 81 to the House for a vote. HB 81 reduces the charges for having an ounce of marijuana or less, or marijuana as it is written in the bill. It would eliminate jail time and threat of arrest. Instead, the offense would merit a fine of $250. 

Sentencing guidelines for possession of marijuana are currently based on the weight of the marijuana. Possession of just 2 ounces or less is a Class B misdemeanor. A person could face a sentence up to 180 days in jail and have a fine up to $2,000. Having 2 to 4 ounces doubles the penalty and makes it a Class A misdemeanor. Anything over 4 ounces becomes a felony and has even stricter sentencing guidelines. 

Man charged with drug and gun possession following traffic stop

On April 16, a 23-year-old Texas man was taken into police custody for drug possession. Pinehurst authorities stated that he was accused of the drug charges following a traffic stop.

The accused man was pulled over at about 11 a.m. near the East Martin Street and Strickland Drive intersection. The police officer conducting the stop allegedly found probable cause to search the vehicle, during which he found what was believed to be marijuana. After the man was taken to the Orange County Correctional Facility, another search of the vehicle turned up two handguns. It was believed that one of the handguns was stolen.

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