Snarky Lawyer

How a Misdemeanor Conviction Can Lead to “Forfeiture” of Your Property to the State of Texas

January 24th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Normally, the maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor offense in Texas is one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. But this is only the maximum criminal penalty. Some misdemeanor convictions can also lead to the civil forfeiture of assets that prosecutors believe were proceeds or byproducts of the crime. By law, however, the […]

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Is an Incorrectly Administered HGN Test Admissible as Evidence in a DWI Case?

January 20th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

In deciding whether or not to charge a person with DWI, Houston-area law enforcement officers will often rely on the results of a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. This is where the officer displays a penlight in front of the driver’s eyes and asks the driver to follow said light as the officer moves it […]

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What Happens When a Judge Fails to Give Proper Jury Instructions in a Domestic Violence Case?

January 16th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

Every Texas criminal defendant has the right to a trial by jury. This includes criminal allegations of domestic violence, or “family violence” as it is known in the Penal Code. A key element of a jury trial is that the judge must properly instruct jurors on the applicable law of each alleged offense. This means […]

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How an Apparent “Wide Right” Turn Can Lead to More Serious Legal Problems in Texas

January 13th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses

Traffic violations often lead to the pursuit of other criminal charges, such as DWI or possession of illegal drugs. That is why it is critical to challenge any potential problems with the traffic stop itself. If the traffic stop is illegal, that can affect the admissibility of any evidence found of other potential criminal activity. […]

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Can Police Seize Drugs From Me If They Are in “Plain View”?

January 9th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution normally requires police to obtain a warrant before searching you or your property for potential contraband, such as illegal drugs. But there are several exceptions to this rule. For example, if a police officer observes drugs in “plain view,” the officer can seize that evidence without a warrant. […]

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What Is a Prosecutor’s Obligation to Disclose Evidence to the Defense in a Criminal Trial?

January 6th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

There is a basic rule in criminal defense law that a defendant cannot advance a legal theory on appeal if they did not raise the same argument during the trial. The reason for this is simple: An appeals court is there to review possible legal errors made by the trial judge, not retry the entire […]

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Federal Court Upholds Houston Doctor’s Sentence in Healthcare Fraud Conspiracy

December 23rd, 2019 by Tad Nelson in White Collar, White Collar Crime

White collar crimes such as fraud often involve multiple defendants accused of participating in a conspiracy. While prosecutors must prove that each defendant had “knowledge” of the conspiracy, that does not necessarily require proof of direct knowledge. In fact, the prosecution may prove its case by showing a defendant acted with “deliberate ignorance.” Put another […]

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Understanding the Prosecution’s Duty to “Elect” in Sex Crimes Cases

December 20th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

When a person is charged with a sex crime, they have the right to understand the exact charge against them. But there are situations where prosecutors may allege one criminal sexual act in an indictment but present evidence of multiple acts at trial. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has said that in this situation, […]

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What Is the Statute of Limitations for Misdemeanor Crimes in Texas?

December 18th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

In most criminal cases there is a strict time limit that must be followed by prosecutors. This is known as a “statute of limitations.” It is legislation that specifies the maximum length of time that may pass between the commission of an alleged crime and the bringing of formal charges against the defendant. For misdemeanor […]

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Do I Have to Go to Jail If I’m Convicted of a DWI in Texas?

December 12th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in DWI

In Texas, a first-time drunk driving offense is typically prosecuted as a Class B misdemeanor under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. Normally, a Class B misdemeanor refers to a crime that is punishable by either a fine of no more than $2,000, a jail term of not more than 180 days, or both. […]

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