When Is a Criminal Defendant Allowed to Seek Post-Conviction DNA Testing of Evidence?

August 1st, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

You have probably heard about cases where a criminal defendant was exonerated because of DNA evidence. In some cases, this evidence is not discovered (or properly tested) until after the defendant’s original trial. It is therefore possible to file a post-conviction motion to obtain DNA testing in certain circumstances. Houston Court Rules Robbery Defendant May […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Texas Defendants’ Sentence Enhancements as “Unconstitutionally Vague”

July 8th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

A common problem faced by criminal defendants is the tendency of prosecutors to charge multiple offenses arising from the same acts. For instance, there are many criminal statutes that allow for “enhanced” penalties if prosecutors can prove certain elements, such as whether the defendant was in possession of a firearm at the time of the […]

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What Makes a Kidnapping “Aggravated” Kidnapping?

June 3rd, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

In Texas criminal law, there is often a distinction between a regular offense and an “aggravated” offense. For example, kidnapping is normally a third-degree felony under the Texas Penal Code. But under certain circumstances, a defendant may be charged with “aggravated kidnapping,” which is a first-degree felony. Section 20.04 of the Penal Code lists six […]

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How the “Law of Parties” Can Lead to Felony Charges Even If You Did Not Directly Participate in the Crime

May 2nd, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

In Texas criminal law, a person may be held responsible for a crime they did not directly participate in under what is known as the “law of parties.” Basically, this means that someone else committed the actual crime, but the defendant charged under the law of parties acted “with the intent to promote or assist […]

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What You Need to Know About Misdemeanor Sexual Offenses

April 23rd, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, Misdemeanor Crimes, Sex Crime

There are a variety of misdemeanor offenses in Texas that broadly fall within the category of sexual offenses. We are not talking about rape, sexual assault, or other violent crimes. Rather, these misdemeanors include such things as “voyeurism”–i.e., spying on someone for purses of sexual arousal or gratification–or “indecent exposure.” These crimes may seem harmless […]

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What Qualifies as “Felony Murder” in Texas?

April 2nd, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Murder normally refers to the crime of intentionally killing someone. But Texas also recognizes the criminal offense of “felony murder,” which broadly refers to an unintended murder committed “in the course of a felony.” In other words, if you intentionally commit a felony other than murder and accidentally kill someone, the state can prosecute that […]

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What the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Civil Forfeiture Means for Texas Criminal Defendants

March 1st, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

We all learned in school that everyone is “innocent until proven guilty” and that no person can be punished without “due process of law.” But the reality of the Texas criminal justice system is not always that simple. In many cases, law enforcement can seize the property of individuals who are merely suspected of a […]

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Can a Judge “Stack” Sentences for Multiple Crimes Arising from the Same Incident?

January 3rd, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

In Texas criminal law, it is possible for a defendant to be charged with multiple crimes arising from the same incident. Under the Texas Penal Code, the general rule is that when a person “is found guilty of more than one offense arising out of the same criminal episode prosecuted in a single criminal action,” […]

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What Happens If Someone Reenters the U.S. After Being Deported for Committing a Crime?

December 5th, 2018 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

With all the recent talk about illegal immigration in Texas, it is important to keep a couple of things in mind. First, illegal entry into the United States is not, in and of itself, a felony. Rather, a first-time offender only faces a possible sentence of six months in jail and a fine. But there […]

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Can I Be Convicted of a Crime Based Solely on Accomplice Testimony?

November 2nd, 2018 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Many criminal cases are based on the testimony of an alleged accomplice. Prosecutors frequently convince an accomplice to cooperate in exchange for leniency. Because this creates the potential for a conflict of interest, Texas law requires some corroboration of the accomplice testimony in order to convict the defendant. This corroborating evidence need not, standing on […]

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