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 […]

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I Just Received a Traffic Ticket? What Do I Need to Know About My Legal Rights?

April 10th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses

For many Houston-area residents, dealing with a traffic ticket is usually their first interaction with the local court system. Many people in this situation do not fully understand their rights and obligations under the law. With that in mind, here is a brief overview of what happens after a police officer issues you a traffic […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Can I Be Ticketed for a Traffic Violation as a Pedestrian?

February 10th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses

Not all traffic violations involve actions you make while driving a vehicle. Even if you are simply walking down a public street, an officer may stop and ticket you for violating certain traffic laws applicable to pedestrians. And if in the course of this “pedestrian stop,” an officer suspects you may be guilty of some […]

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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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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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Is Burning Your Trash a Misdemeanor Offense in Texas?

November 18th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

As a general rule, you are not supposed to conduct any sort of “outdoor burning” in Texas. There are limited exceptions. For instance, if a local government does not provide trash collection services, residents may burn household trash and rubbish on their own property. But even where this exception may apply, individuals need to be […]

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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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Ex-Houston 911 Operator Found Guilty of Misdemeanor for Hanging Up on Caller

July 24th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Most of us have had a bad day at work. And that can affect our ability to do our jobs properly. But is failing to do your job a misdemeanor offense? It can be if you work for the Houston Emergency Center (HEC). At least, that was the conclusion of the Texas First District Court […]

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