Taking Burglary Seriously in Texas

August 15th, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Although burglary is often portrayed in a somewhat comical light–think of the masked man wearing stripes and carrying a sack with a dollar sign on it–in reality is a serious crime. Indeed, burglary involving a residence or other “habitation” is a second-degree felony in Texas. In plain terms, if you enter someone’s house and steal […]

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How a Reduced Charge Affects Your Right to Expungement

August 10th, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Expunction (or expungement) is a process that allows you to seek removal of records related to an arrest or criminal charge that did not result in a conviction. Under Texas law, expunction is not a right, but a privilege conferred by statute and granted at the discretion of a judge. And unlike a criminal trial, […]

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What Are My Rights Before a Texas Grand Jury?

July 31st, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

You have probably heard of a “grand jury” without understanding its exact function. Unlike a trial (or “petit”) jury, a grand jury is not there to determine a person’s guilt or innocence. Rather, the grand jury interviews witnesses and reviews evidence to decide if there is “probable cause” to formally charge–indict–a defendant with a particular […]

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What Is the Appeals Process for a Criminal Conviction in Texas?

July 27th, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

If you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in Texas, your case does not necessarily end with the jury’s verdict. You do have the right to appeal, that is to seek review of the trial court’s judgment with an appellate court. Texas has an unusually complicated court system, so here is a basic […]

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How Is Shoplifting Prosecuted in Texas?

July 13th, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Theft and shoplifting are among the most common types of misdemeanor crimes prosecuted in Texas. The severity of a theft charge is tied to the value of the property stolen. For example, under Section 31.03(e) of the Texas Penal Code, theft of property is a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen […]

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Who Qualifies as a Victim Under Texas Domestic Violence Laws?

July 12th, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Texas treats crimes involving domestic violence more harshly than similar acts against other types of victims. For example, under Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code, an assault that causes bodily injury is normally prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor. But if the victim is a member of the victim’s family or household–or the defendant […]

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Can a Breach of Contract Lead to Criminal Charges?

July 6th, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Many white collar crime prosecutions in the Houston area revolve around fraud. In some cases, a civil breach of contract may escalate into criminal theft if the state can prove a defendant acted with fraudulent intent. Under Section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code, theft occurs when one person “unlawfully appropriates property” from another. An […]

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How “Serious” Injury Affects an Aggravated Assault Charge

June 27th, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

One thing that elevates simple assault to aggravated assault in Texas is when the accused “commits serious bodily injury” to another person. But what exactly constitutes a “serious” injury? The Texas Penal Code considers an injury serious when it: creates a substantial risk of death; causes permanent disfigurement to the victim; or results in a […]

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The Difficulty of Defending Against a Domestic Violence Charge

June 6th, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Texas treats domestic violence more harshly than other types of violent crime. For example, assault is normally prosecuted as a Class C misdemeanor under the Texas Penal Code. But assault can be elevated to a third-degree felony if the defendant and the alleged victim are family or in a “dating relationship,” and the prosecution can […]

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How Serious Is an Aggravated Assault Charge in Texas?

May 24th, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

In Texas, aggravated assault refers to “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” causing “serious bodily injury” to another person. Aggravated assault is normally prosecuted as a second-degree felony, but under certain circumstances the charge may be elevated to a first-degree felony. This is not a trivial distinction. The maximum jail time a person can receive for a […]

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