The Role of “Outcry Witnesses” in Texas Sex Crimes Prosecutions

February 21st, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

Hearsay statements are generally not admissible in criminal trials. Hearsay refers to any out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. For example, if a prosecutor wanted to prove that John committed murder, she could not have Luke testify that “Mark told me that John committed the murder.” Luke’s statement would be […]

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How You May Face Drug Charges Even if the Drugs Do Not Belong to You

February 6th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime

When it comes to drug crimes, law enforcement need not actually find illegal contraband on your person. If the police execute a valid search warrant for your property and locate illegal drugs, particularly in “plain view,” you can still be arrested, tried, and convicted of drug possession. What matters here is not what is found […]

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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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Can a Judge Revoke My Bail If I Use Drugs?

December 5th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime

The U.S. Constitution prohibits courts from imposing “excessive bail” in criminal cases. Among other things, this means that courts should not imprison a person accused of a crime pending trial, unless the charges against them are severe (e.g., murder) or there is credible evidence that the defendant poses a danger to the community if allowed […]

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Austin Man Convicted of Misdemeanor Forgery

October 25th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Misdemeanor crimes include a variety of non-violent offenses, such as forgery. Indeed, under the Texas Penal Code, forgery is a Class A misdemeanor in most cases. And forgery itself may cover any type of writing, not just items like money or stamps. “Circumstantial Evidence” Allowed Jury to Infer Defendant Forged Signature on Proof of Insurance […]

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“Reasonable Suspicion” and Traffic Violations in Texas

October 15th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses

Traffic violations are commonly used by Texas law enforcement to justify what would otherwise be an unlawful detention of a motorist. But as with any criminal offense, the officer must have “reasonable suspicion” that a traffic violation did, in fact, occur. That is to say, the officer must be able to articulate specific facts that, […]

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What Happens When the Wrong Court Tries a Misdemeanor Offense?

September 20th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

In the Texas judicial system, different courts handle different types of cases. For example, misdemeanor crimes are tried by county courts, while felony cases are handled by district courts. And this is not a technical or superficial distinction. If you are charged solely with misdemeanor offenses, a district court lacks “subject matter jurisdiction” over your […]

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“Questionable Behavior” Can Lead to DWI Arrest in Texas

September 16th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in DWI

In Texas, a police officer does need definitive proof of drunk driving before initiating a traffic stop that ultimately leads to a DWI arrest. The law only requires “reasonable suspicion” that the defendant is possibly engaged in some sort of criminal activity. In other words, if the officer can articulate specific facts that led him […]

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What Happens If I’m Caught Driving with an Expired License?

September 10th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses

Anytime that you are stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation, you must present your driver’s license. Most Texas driver’s licenses are valid for six years, after which time they must be renewed. Driving with an expired license is itself a violation punishable by a $200 fine for a first offense. Multiple violations […]

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