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 […]

Read More →

When Are DWI Penalties “Enhanced” Under Texas Law?

February 14th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, DWI

In a Texas DWI case, prosecutors may seek an “enhanced” sentence against a defendant under certain circumstances. For example, if the defendant has a prior criminal conviction, that could lead to additional jail time if they are subsequently convicted of drunk driving. But such an enhancement is only justified when there is evidence presented related […]

Read More →

Does Admitting to a Possible Crime at a Probation Hearing Prevent Me from Arguing Self-Defense at Trial?

February 4th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Any criminal charge is a serious matter. But if you are already on probation–or community supervision, as it is known in Texas–for another offense, you are now facing a possible two-front battle. On the one hand, prosecutors can use the new charge as grounds to revoke your probation. On the other hand, you now face […]

Read More →

What Is the “Rape Shield” Law in Texas?

January 27th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

In a criminal trial, the defendant has the right to introduce evidence that may serve to undermine the state’s case against them. This right is not unlimited, as there are a number of restrictions on the types of evidence that may be admissible at trial. One such restriction that specifically applies to defendants facing sex […]

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 →

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 […]

Read More →

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. […]

Read More →

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. […]

Read More →

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 […]

Read More →

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 […]

Read More →