Is It a Crime to Look Like a Member of a “Criminal Street Gang”?

October 21st, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

One of the ideals of our criminal justice system is the notion that someone is not guilty of a crime simply based on how they look or appear. Unfortunately, reality does not always meet this ideal. For example, in recent years there has been a movement against individuals who are perceived as belonging to a […]

Read More →

Is It Still Considered Shoplifting If the Stolen Items Never Leave the Store?

September 23rd, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Shoplifting is one of the more common misdemeanor crimes that occur in Texas. Legally speaking, shoplifting is a form of theft, and the severity of the charge will depend on the retail value of the items involved. Regarding the actual definition of theft, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has said it is essentially the […]

Read More →

The Use of Expert Testimony in Texas Misdemeanor Cases

August 21st, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Although misdemeanor crimes carry less severe punishments than felonies, Texas prosecutors still take these “lesser” cases seriously. Indeed, it is not uncommon for misdemeanor cases to involve the use of expert witnesses. Such witnesses are used to provide a jury with information and analysis that is outside the purview of a typical “lay” witness. But […]

Read More →

What Is Considered a “Speedy Trial” When It Comes to a Misdemeanor Offense?

July 24th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

The Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant’s right to a “speedy” trial. This right applies to both felony and misdemeanor offenses. But what is considered “speedy” from a legal standpoint? If you are forced to wait more than a year for trial, is that a violation of your rights? And will a judge automatically dismiss the […]

Read More →

Travis County Defendant Convicted of Theft After Allegedly Pawning Rented Music Equipment

June 23rd, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

When you hear the word “theft,” your first thought might be of shoplifting or, say, snatching an individual’s purse. But the misdemeanor offense of theft is broadly defined in Texas to cover any unlawful “appropriation” of property without the owner’s consent. This includes situations where the owner initially gave the property to the alleged thief. […]

Read More →

What Is the Line Separating “Honest Mistake” from Misdemeanor Theft?

May 26th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

In its simplest form, misdemeanor theft involves taking someone else’s property without their consent. If you took the property by mistake, you can argue that as a defense at trial. But you will still need to prove that mistake was based on a “reasonable belief” you had the right to take the property in the […]

Read More →

Can I Be Charged with a Misdemeanor for Filing a False Police Report?

April 22nd, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Lying to the police is not just a bad idea. It can land you in serious legal trouble. Filing a “false report to [a] peace officer” is a Class B misdemeanor offense under the Texas Penal Code. This means that if you “knowingly” make a false statement to an officer–even if you are not technically […]

Read More →

Understanding the Right to “Confront” the Evidence Against You in a Misdemeanor Case

March 30th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

In a trial involving misdemeanor crimes, the defendant has the same constitutional rights as in felony cases. This includes, among other things, the right to “confront” and cross-examine the witnesses against them in court. But the right of confrontation is subject to certain procedural limits. Houston Appeals Court: Business Records Not “Testimonial” A recent decision […]

Read More →

Is Burning Someone on the Leg with a Cigarette Considered “Assault” in Texas?

February 19th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense in Texas. Assault is defined as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another” person. In this context, a “bodily injury” includes any amount of physical pain suffered by the victim. For example, a Dallas appeals court recently upheld an assault conviction that was partly based on evidence […]

Read More →

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 […]

Read More →