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Be Cautious When Buying CBD Oil

CBD Oil

CBD oil is currently taking Texas by storm. Many people swear by this product to help manage the symptoms of many different diseases and ailments. However, CBD oil is made from the cannabis plant, so it could potentially contain THC, which would make the oil a banned substance.

Buyer beware! The state needs more manufacturing and testing standards for medicinal cannabis products. It needs more oversight of the industry as well. Until then, buyers should know the legal risks they face by purchasing this product.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of several dozen cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. CBD oil has high concentrations of cannabidiol, though it might also contain very small amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the chemical that creates the psychological high people feel when smoking marijuana. CBD does not result in any high.

What is CBD Oil Used For?

Many people have used this oil to treat a range of physical ailments, including:

  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain
  • Colitis
  • Sleep disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Epilepsy and seizures

Why Might CBD Oil be Illegal?

The legal status of CBD oil is unclear at the present moment. Currently, federal law allows hemp and hemp plant derivatives so long as they have under 0.3% THC. It is no longer illegal to grow and possess hemp plants or derivatives so long as the THC concentration is below that limit.

However, some CBD oil can have THC levels above 0.3%. Furthermore, Texas allows people with intractable epilepsy to use CBD oil to treat seizures. This law was passed in 2015 and went into effect in 2017. Under the law, only a qualified medical professional can write a prescription, and patients must obtain their CBD Oil from a licensed dispensary. Because the law did not legalize CBD oils to treat all conditions, an argument can be made that it is currently illegal to possess CBD oil without a prescription.

But what if you want to use CBD oil for something else without a prescription? In this case, you could be prosecuted for CBD Oil as a Penalty Group 2 drug if the CBD oil has any THC in it. Some prosecutors in Texas have begun bringing these cases.

What are Penalties for a Substance Penalty Group 2 Violation?

Punishment will vary depending on the amount you are caught with:

  • Less than one gram: a state felony punishable by 180 days to 2 years in state jail or a fine up to $10,000, or both
  • 1 gram but less than 4 grams: a third-degree felony punishable by 2-10 years in state prison or a fine of $10,000, or both
  • 4 grams but less than 400 grams: a second-degree felony punishable by 2-20 years in state prison or a fine of $10,000, or both
  • 400 or more grams: an enhanced first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison or a $50,000 fine, or both

Felonies also carry other collateral consequences, such as losing your right to vote and the ability to own a firearm. Criminal convictions also show up in background checks, which might interfere with your ability to rent an apartment or get hired for a job.

Buying CBD Oil in Collin County – What Should Consumers Do?

If a doctor has prescribed CBD oil, then you should get the drug from one of the three state-approved dispensaries. Buying from someone else could be illegal—regardless of what you are reading online. Many CBD oil manufacturers maintain websites that do not contain accurate legal information, all in an attempt to hype their product.

If you want to use CBD oil without a prescription, then you need to be careful about where you buy from. If the oil ends having too much THC in it, then you can be prosecuted for a felony. Look for products that emphasize they are made from industrial hemp and do not contain any THC. Of course, they still might—so you are running a risk.

Reach Out to a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Collin County

As Texas continues to grapple with the implications of medical marijuana, our state’s laws will remain muddled. For this reason, consumers should be empowered to make smart decisions when they are in the market for buying the product.

If you have failed a drug test, or if the police have come knocking on your door, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Rosenthal & Wadas, PLLC, our experienced Collin County criminal defense lawyers can help. We can make a compelling argument for why your charges should be dismissed or reduced, and we can plot to win the case before a judge, if necessary.

All you need to do is reach out to us today. Please call 972-200-9395.

Rosenthal & Wadas named “Simply the Best in McKinney”

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Rosenthal & Wadas was named the 2018 Reader’s Choice winner in the Attorney/Law Firm category.

Star Local Media gives its readers the opportunity to recognize local businesses with their annual recognition program where readers are invited to choose their favorite businesses, representing the very best in their community.

Votes were accepted from Nov. 15 – Dec. 16., and the winners were announced in the Winners Edition that was included in the Jan. 27 publication.

I was Contacted by an Investigator—Do I Need a Criminal Attorney?

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The police often investigate a crime before making an arrest, especially if they need more proof that a person is probably the culprit. Being called into the police station or having officers show up at your doorstep is unnerving enough. But what happens if they start asking you detailed questions about where you were on a certain day? Are they digging for information to use to arrest you?

Many people are rightly worried when the police start questioning them, and they wonder, “Do I need a criminal attorney?” The answer is a definite Yes. Below, we will explain the many benefits of hiring an attorney as soon as possible.

An Attorney Can Keep You from Making Incriminating Statements

The police can use anything you say against you later during a criminal trial. Yes, the police must give you so-called Miranda warnings—You have the right to remain silent, Anything you say can be used against you, etc.

But did you know they only need to give these warnings if you are in custody? If they interview you as part of an investigation, and you are not in custody, the police can use any incriminating statement you let slip at trial.

If you have a lawyer by your side for every police interview, you won’t slip up and say something you will later regret. Your lawyer will protect your rights, including your right to remain silent. Once you suspect the police consider you the culprit, you need legal representation—even if you are innocent.

Hiring a Lawyer is Not an Admission of Guilt

Let’s get this out of the way. Many people don’t want to hire an attorney because they fear the police will assume they committed the crime. After all, why does an innocent person need a lawyer?

But hiring a lawyer does not send any signal to the police. And the state can’t charge you with a crime unless they have sufficient evidence of your guilt. By hiring an attorney, you make it as hard as possible on the state to bring charges against you.

Some people are also afraid to “anger” the police by requesting a lawyer. That’s another myth we need to debunk. In reality, it doesn’t especially matter if the police are “angry.” They have a job to do, which is to gather as much evidence as possible about a crime. By hiring a lawyer, you will guarantee that the police must respect your Constitutional rights as they go about their jobs.

You Need to Build a Strong Defense Right Away

In the event you are charged with a crime, you will need a strong defense. And the strongest defenses are those that a lawyer begins building immediately.

The fact is that evidence can disappear quickly. Alibi witnesses might move to another state, paper receipts that show where you were at a point in time can be lost, and so forth. By hiring a criminal defense lawyer, he can begin gathering all exculpatory evidence in your favor and preserve it for future use at trial.

A lawyer can also begin planning how to make an argument for bail. Depending on what our clients are charged with, it could take some effort to convince a judge that our client is not a flight risk. The more time we have to go over your criminal history and the facts of the case, the better.

A Lawyer Can Sometimes Keep Charges from Being Filed

Your attorney can review the evidence and find all the holes in the state’s case before any charges are filed. Your attorney can then go to the prosecutor and argue that no charges should be filed against you because the case is so weak.

This strategy is not effective in every case. But when successful, our clients avoid even an arrest. They also avoid the expense of trial. Instead, they can go about their lives as if the crime had never happened.

Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Collin County

It is never too early to have a criminal attorney by your side during a criminal investigation. At Rosenthal & Wadas, our Collin County criminal lawyers have represented clients at all stages of criminal proceedings, and we know how to press our clients’ advantage at each and every stage.

For more about how we defend cases, please contact us. We can discuss what you know about the case and how to handle police interviews. We can also attend any interview with you and make sure that you do not hand the state any evidence on a silver platter.

What are the Penalties for Interfering with an Emergency Call?

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Preventing or otherwise impeding a person from making an emergency call is a crime in Texas. Those who are convicted face serious penalties, which is a testament to how seriously Texas takes this offense. Many people end up interfering with an emergency call because they do not even know that this is a crime in the first place, but they could soon find themselves in jail and facing an uncertain legal future.

If you’ve been accused of interfering with an emergency call, you need to reach out to a Collin County criminal defense attorney immediately. The sooner you begin building a defense, the better your chances of beating the charge.

What is Interfering with an Emergency Call?

Texas Penal Code Section 42.062 lays out the elements of the offense:

  • A person knowingly interferes or blocks another person’s attempt to make an emergency call or to request assistance from the police, hospital, or other entity which is primarily focused on providing safety to individuals.
  • A person recklessly damages a telephone that a person could have otherwise used to make an emergency call.

Let’s look at some examples:

Example A: A boyfriend beats up his girlfriend and then grabs the phone out of her hands when he sees her trying to make a call for help. In this case, he is interfering with her ability to call the police, so he can be charged with interference with an emergency telephone call (in addition to domestic violence).

Example B: While attacking her boyfriend, a woman takes his cell phone and smashes it with a hammer so that he can’t call 911. Because she has recklessly damaged a phone that could be used to call the police, she could also be charged with interference with an emergency telephone call.

As you can see, the statute is broadly written, so many types of conduct could fall under the statute and be criminal.

How Serious are the Penalties?

Interfering with an emergency call is a Class A misdemeanor, which can net you the following penalties:

  • A maximum of a year in jail
  • A maximum $4,000 fine

If this is not your first conviction, then you could be charged with a felony, which would have disastrous consequences. Felons can face up to 2 years and jail and up to a $10,000 fine. Also, felons in Texas lose their right to possess a firearm.

Even if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, there are repercussions that will last long after you have repaid your debt to society. A criminal conviction will follow you around wherever you go. If you apply for a job or an apartment, for example, then your conviction could come up in a background check, making it harder for you to get a job or apartment.

What Defenses Can You Raise to this Charge?

Every case is different, so some defenses might be appropriate for one client but not for another. However, here are some of the more common defenses we have seen raised:

  • The defendant did not recklessly destroy or damage a phone. Instead, they might have damaged the phone negligently.
  • The defendant was not the person who disabled or damaged the phone. The person trying to make the call might have damaged it.
  • There was no emergency taking place that would have warranted a call to the police or 911. An emergency is defined as fear of imminent assault or damage to property.
  • The defendant did not know that the caller was dialing 911 or otherwise placing a call to request emergency assistance.

In other situations, the best defense might be to point to your clean criminal history and ask for leniency. This might be possible especially when the interference did not take place in the context of domestic violence. To determine which defense is best, contact an attorney right away.

Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Collin County

If you have been picked up for domestic violence or interference with an emergency call, you need to take quick action. The decisions you make in the moments after being arrested will impact whether you can successfully beat the charge.

No decision is greater than choosing the right criminal defense attorney to represent you. Some lawyers trust the prosecutor to do the right thing for their client and let the legal process play out. Other defense attorneys understand that the state has no incentive to cut a deal with a defendant unless they can poke holes in the state’s case.

For more information, please contact us today by calling 972-369-0577.

What Is Judicial Clemency?

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Under Texas law, there are certain cases where a judge may set aside a defendant’s criminal conviction while they are still serving a term of community supervision (i.e., probation). This is informally known in legal circles as “judicial clemency,” although that exact term is not used in the law. As the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals explained in a 2002 decision, Cuellar v. State, judicial clemency may occur when “a trial judge believes that a person on community supervision is completely rehabilitated and is ready to re-take his place as a law-abiding member of society.”

The decision to grant judicial clemency is completely within the discretion of the trial judge. In other words, a defendant does not earn the “right” to judicial clemency based on good behavior while on probation. After all, if a person is on probation, they are expected to abide by all of the terms and conditions of their release regardless.

Below is a brief explanation of the judicial clemency process, including the cases where it is not an option, and how judicial clemency differs from other forms of clemency or pardon under Texas law.

The Basics of Judicial Clemency

Although the term “judicial clemency” is not used in any statute, it is based on a specific law, specifically Article 42A.701 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This article addresses situations where a defendant convicted of a criminal offense may seek a “reduction or termination” of his or her probation.

By law, a defendant is only eligible to seek a reduction or termination after “satisfactorily” completing at least one-third of their original probation term or at least two years, whichever is less. For example, if a defendant is sentenced to serve three years community supervision, she could ask for a reduction or termination after just one year. A defendant may also request judicial clemency after completing the full term of his or her probation, but this typically must be done within 30 days of the end of community supervision.

Once a defendant requests a review of their probation, the judge must notify the district attorney. The judge will then conduct a review to decide whether or not the defendant has successfully complied with their probation.

If the court does decide to discharge the defendant from community supervision, the judge must then decide whether or not to “set aside” the original conviction, i.e. grant judicial clemency. This applies to both guilty pleas entered voluntarily by the defendant and jury verdicts following a trial. If clemency is granted, it has the legal effect of dismissing “the accusation, complaint, information, or indictment against the defendant.” The defendant is then “released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense.”

Now, this does not completely erase the defendant’s criminal record in the way an expunction would. There is still a public record of the original arrest, but the case will be listed as “dismissed” and not resulting in a conviction. And proof of the original conviction (or guilty plea) will still be available to the court in the event the defendant is convicted of a future crime. Texas officials may also consider the arrest in making certain occupational licensing decisions regarding the defendant.

On the other hand, judicial clemency can restore a person’s legal right to possess and carry firearms under Texas law. Indeed, this was the subject of the Cuellar case. The defendant pleaded guilty to felony drug possession in 1976. A judge set aside the conviction in 1981 after the defendant completed his five-year community supervision term. Fifteen years later, the defendant was charged with “unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.” But the Court of Criminal Appeals held that since the conviction was set aside, it did not bar the defendant from owning a gun.

When Is Judicial Clemency in Texas Not an Option?

Although most felony convictions can be set aside under the process discussed above, the law does not permit the use of judicial clemency for the following crimes:

  • intoxication-related offenses, including DWI, intoxication assault, and intoxication manslaughter;
  • any offense where conviction requires the defendant to register as a sex offender; or
  • so-called 3G felonies, such as capital murder, murder, aggravated robbery, or violent crimes involving injury to a child, elderly, or disabled person.

Judicial vs. Executive Clemency

Judicial clemency should not be confused with the executive clemency power granted to the governor of Texas. The Texas Constitution authorizes the governor to issue “reprieves and commutations of punishment and pardons” to a convicted defendant on the recommendation of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles. This clemency power is much broader in scope than judicial clemency, as the governor can issue full pardons for any crime–aside from treason and offenses subject to impeachment–including 3G felonies like murder.

If you have additional questions or concerns about how the judicial clemency process works in Texas and would like to speak with a qualified Collin County criminal defense lawyer, contact Rosenthal & Wadas, PLLC today. Our criminal lawyers in Collin County are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.

Arrested for DWI With a Child In the Car? Here’s What You Need to Know.

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If you’re pulled over on suspicion of DWI in Collin County, Texas, you need to know that who is in your vehicle with you can make a significant difference in how you are charged. The reason for this is simple: Under Texas law, it is considered a more serious offense to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated if there are also children in the car.

Typically, a person arrested for DWI is charged with a either a Class A or B misdemeanor, assuming they have no prior drunk driving convictions. While a misdemeanor is obviously less serious than a felony, it still carries a potential jail term of between 72 hours (3 days) and 180 days (6 months) and an optional fine not to exceed $2000 for a Class B, and up to one year in the county jail and an optional fine not to exceed $4,000 for a Class A. But there are a number of special circumstances that may elevate the DWI charge to a felony.

One of these circumstances involves the presence of children. Under Section 49.045 of the Texas Penal Code, a driver may be charged with a state jail felony if all of the following is true:

  • The driver was operating a motor vehicle in a “public place”;
  • The driver was intoxicated while operating said vehicle; and
  • The driver’s vehicle was “occupied by a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age.”

What does a “state jail felony” mean? This represents the lowest class of felony in the Texas legal system. But it is still a felony. This means if convicted, you face a minimum of 180 days in jail–and a maximum term of up to 2 years. The court can also fine you up to $10,000.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind here. First, you probably already know that you can be charged with DWI if your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is at least 0.08 percent. But that is not the only way the state can prove driving while intoxicated. Texas law also defines intoxication as “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances.” In other words, a prosecutor can prove you were drunk based on the testimony of a police officer who observed you during the course of a traffic stop and performed various field sobriety tests, even if your BAC ultimately tested below 0.08 percent.

The second thing to note is that DWI with a child passenger is a strict liability offense in Texas. That is to say, all the state needs to prove is you were driving while intoxicated and there was a child in the car. It doesn’t matter if the child was unharmed or you thought you weren’t intoxicated at the time.

Do Multiple Children Mean Multiple Charges?

One thing you might be wondering is, “What if there were multiple children in the car with me when I was arrested for DWI? Can I be charged with a separate felony for each child?” A number of Texas appeals courts have looked at these questions in recent years, and the consensus seems to be that a driver can only be charged once for the act of DWI with a child passenger regardless of the number of victims.

For example, in the 2016 case Gonzalez v. State, a woman was involved in a car accident with her three young children, ages 10 months to 7 years. Police officers at the scene noted the woman “had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes” and under questioning she “admitted to drinking several alcoholic beverages prior to the accident.”

The state charged the woman with three counts of DWI with a child passenger. She was convicted in the trial court and appealed her conviction. On appeal, she argued this violated her constitutional protection against “double jeopardy”–i.e., a person cannot be punished multiple times for the same offense. The appeals court agreed. Noting another Texas appeals court had recently reached a similar decision, the judges in this case held the “allowable unit of prosecution for DWI with a child passenger is one offense for each incident of driving or operating a vehicle,” not one offense for each passenger.

Contact Our Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

No matter how many children are in the car, if you are the driver and charged with DWI, you are facing serious consequences. Although many DWI with child passenger cases can be resolved without jail time–Collin County judges can sentence an offender to community supervision (probation)–you will also likely face a six-month suspension of your driver’s license. And conviction of a state jail felony can also impact your civil rights in a number of areas, from your ability to legally possess or own a firearm to the loss of child custody or visitation rights. So if you are charged with DWI and need assistance from an experienced Collin County DWI lawyer, contact Rosenthal & Wadas, PLLC today.

What’s Legal in Your State Might Not Be Legal in Texas

Gun and Knife

Many of us will be traveling during the holiday season. When you cross states lines, however, you need to be aware that there are certain items that may be legal in your destination but not Texas, and vice versa. And we’re not talking about your grandmother’s fruitcake–we mean potentially dangerous weapons, like firearms, knives, and stun guns.

Here is a brief rundown of how laws differ among states with respect to some of these items and what is legal in Texas:

Firearms

Texas is well-known for its permissive gun laws. Just about anyone can purchase a firearm with a state-issued ID. Texas does not require any waiting period for firearms purchases, and you can travel with a handgun in your case so long as it is concealed.

However, you do need a license to carry a concealed handgun in Texas. If you already have such a permit, you may be wondering if that applies when you travel outside of the state. The answer to this depends on where you are going. Texas has negotiated “reciprocity” agreements with a number of other states with respect to concealed handgun permits. For example, such an agreement exists between Texas and Oklahoma. This means that if you hold a concealed handgun permit from either state, you can freely travel to the other state with your weapon.

But what about states with more restrictive firearms laws? Suppose you are flying to New York City to visit a family member. The State of New York does not have a reciprocity agreement with Texas. And in fact, New York does not allow anyone to own–much less carry–a handgun without a license. So the mere fact you have a concealed-carry permit from Texas will not help you. If the New York police find you with a gun, you can and will be arrested.

On the other hand, if you are among the select group of people who do have a license to carry a handgun from New York, Texas will allow you to bring your weapon into this state. In 2006, then-Gov. Rick Perry issued a unilateral proclamation “granting full faith and credit to valid concealed weapon permits issued by the State of New York.” There are a number of states where Texas has similar “unilateral” policies. The Texas Department of Public Safety maintains a current list of each state and its present relationship with Texas with respect to concealed firearms agreements.

Note that it is important to check the gun laws of the state you are traveling to before getting on a plane. Do not assume that your weapon is legal at your destination simply because you were able to check it with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TSA regulations simply require firearms be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container that is checked baggage. But you can still be arrested if the laws of your destination state do not permit concealed carry of weapons.

Knives, Knuckles & Stun Guns

Up until recently, Texas actually had fairly strict laws banning the use of certain knives. That changed in 2017 when the legislature largely deregulated the possession of knives with blades over five and one-half inches, including switchblades and even larger items like machetes and swords. Such blades are now classified as “location-restricted knives,” and cannot be carried in certain places, such as schools, hospitals, churches, and amusement parks. Shorter knives may generally be carried anywhere without restriction.

One category of weapon that remains illegal in Texas is “knuckles.” In the Texas Penal Code, this refers to “any instrument that consists of finger rings or guards made of a hard substance and that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with a fist enclosed in the knuckles.”

Although we commonly associate knuckles with brass knuckles, there are other devices that fall within the state’s ban. Indeed, the Dallas Morning News reported earlier this year that some people have been arrested for carrying “plastic self-defense keychains” that qualify as knuckles. These inexpensive devices, which are “usually shaped like cats or other animals with pointed ears” are popular among women looking to defend themselves from potential attackers. And while they may be perfectly legal in other states, they remain prohibited under Texas law.

Another popular self-defense tool, stun guns (i.e., Tasers), are perfectly legal to possess in Texas, so long as they are used solely for self-defense. But as with firearms, there are some states–notably New York and New Jersey–that ban stun guns. Individual cities, such as Philadelphia and Washington, DC, also restrict the use of such devices. So once again, it is important to check all local laws before you travel.

Marijuana

The most important thing to remember is if you are from a state where marijuana is legal, once you cross state lines into the Lone Star State, Texas laws go into effect. You may have bought the marijuana legally for example in Colorado, but it is illegal as soon as you cross into Texas.

In Texas, the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana could translate to six months in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. Marijuana intoxication can also be used as grounds to charge someone with a DWI.

It’s never legal to fly with cannabis, even if you’re traveling within a legal-weed state like California or between states that both permit marijuana. Air travel falls under federal jurisdiction, and under federal law it remains illegal to possess or transport any amount of cannabis. When TSA officers do find a stash, they hand the incident – and the weed – over to local law enforcement. This can also include Cannabis oil (CBD oil) and cannabis infused products (edibles).

No matter how much of an extract you possess, if caught, you are facing felony prosecution. And remember that Texas will hold you accountable for adulterants and dilatants. In other words, if you are caught in Texas with a brownie that contains THC extract or an edible, expect the state to charge you for the entire weight, even the part that does not contain THC.

Bottom line – Don’t travel with cannabis across state lines.

Need Help from a McKinney Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you do find yourself in hot water here in Texas for an item brought into the state, and you need to speak with a Collin County criminal lawyer, contact Rosenthal & Wadas, PLLC today.

Porch Pirates Could be Arrested for Federal Charges

Christmas Presents

With the increase in people shopping online comes an increase in the number of packages left on people’s porches or doorsteps for them to pick up when they return from work. But as many people are finding out, those packages sometimes go missing before they return home.

The culprit? Porch pirates. Seeing a package sitting out on a porch can be very tempting for people to pick up and run away with. In fact, social media is filled with home surveillance videos showing people running onto a neighbor’s property to grab a package before dashing away. According to one survey, about 30% of people have had a package stolen from them, and these numbers could be climbing.

If you are tempted to take a package that does not belong to you, think twice. Not only is stealing a state crime, but you might find yourself caught up in federal charges, in particular, theft.

Federal Theft Statute

Theft is typically a state crime, and Texas vigorously prosecutes those who steal from another person. However, when someone steals mail, then they have also violated federal law, in particular 18 U.S.C. § 1708.

Under this statute, it is a crime to steal, take, or obtain by fraud any mail or to destroy or embezzle any mail. It is also a crime to attempt to commit this crime as well. You can be punished with a fine of up to $250,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.

Other Crimes

Depending on what you take, you might have also committed other crimes. For example, if you stole something that contains identifying information, then you might be guilty of identity theft depending on whether you use the information. Personal information includes things like:

  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Tax ID numbers
  • Social Security numbers
  • Passport or driver’s license information

Someone you know might take this information and use it to obtain loans or credit cards, even if you do not use it. Either way, you are vulnerable to prosecution.

Why You Want to Avoid Federal Court

The federal government has much more resources to commit to prosecuting federal crimes than Texas does prosecuting state crimes. For this reason, we always recommend that you try to avoid violating federal law. Federal prosecutors will throw the book at even a small-time criminal defendant. Think of that the next time you are tempted to abscond with someone’s Amazon package.

Federal criminal law and procedure also differs from state law, and not every attorney is prepared to defend you in federal court. An inexperienced attorney does not know how to negotiate a plea agreement with a federal prosecutor or how to get charges reduced or dismissed.

With so much at stake, why put your future in the hands of an inexperienced Texas criminal defense attorney?

Defenses to Theft

If you are caught red-handed with someone else’s package, then it might be hard to build a credible defense. Nevertheless, in some situations, our clients have legitimate defenses to raise:

  • The person caught on the video is not you. Someone else who took the package might look like you.
  • The package was left on your doorstep and you opened it. Sometimes, delivery drivers make mistakes. It is not a crime to have a package if it is erroneously delivered to you and you did not notice that the package was not addressed to you when you opened it.
  • The police illegally searched you. If the police found a small package on your person, they need to have had probable cause to search you. They might have lacked it, which means you can often get the goods excluded from trial.

Each case is different. Porch pirates often face both state and federal charges in Collin County, so the process of defending against these claims is lengthy.

Speak to a Criminal Lawyer in Collin County Today

If you have been arrested for theft or another crime, you need an attorney to help protect your rights. At Rosenthal & Wadas, we see clients make critical errors in the days following an arrest. For example, far too many make incriminating statements to the authorities which are very difficult to suppress or explain away later.

As soon as you realize that the police suspect you of committing a crime, reach out to us. You can call 877-538-8640 or send us an online message. One of our Collin County criminal defense lawyers will meet with you to assess your situation and come up with a plan for your defense.

Avoid delay. The sooner we get to work defending you, the better our chances of obtaining a favorable resolution.

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Jeremy Rosenthal & Kyle Therrian Co-Authors For Study

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Jeremy Rosenthal and Kyle Therrian were co-authors for the study “Police Discretion and Racial Disparity in Organized Retail Theft Arrests: Evidence from Texas.” The primary author of the research, Michael Braun, an associate professor at the SMU Cox School of Business worked with Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Therrian to publish the study in the December 2018 issue of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

The new study estimates that for a typical Texas police department arresting the same number of blacks and whites for “property theft” of less than $1,500, nearly twice as many blacks than whites were arrested for the more serious offense of “organized retail theft.” The researchers conducted a statistical analysis of arrests for both property theft and organized retail theft from 2012 to 2015. They estimated an association between the arrest charge and the race of the arrestee for 669 Texas police departments and predict that a “typical” department would make about twice as many organized retail theft arrests of blacks than whites, and about 20 percent more of Hispanics than whites, given the same number of property theft arrests.

Visit this site to read the entire article.
https://www.smu.edu/cox/Learning-Culture/ResearchPapers/20181206_Braun

Criminal Defense Never Takes a Holiday

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Many people take vacation in December, which would seem to lower stress levels, but with financial obligations, busy schedules and family issues, holidays can be extremely overwhelming.

If a loved one is arrested during the holiday season, they may be sitting in a holding cell for 48 to 72 hours before they go in front of a judge for arraignment. Courts are closed on major holidays (including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) so an arrest during this time, may cause a longer time in jail than usual.

DWI

The holidays season includes parties, happy hours and social gatherings. Be responsible and designate a driver that evening that is not drinking or have Uber or Lyft drive you around town. If you are driving keep your car in good condition. Broken tail lights or other defects on your car give police officers an opportunity to pull you over and question you.

Shoplifting

Retail stores of all sizes will frequently increase their security and loss-prevention measures during holiday weekends, as there is no doubt they will see increased traffic in the store. Even a misdemeanor shoplifting charge can carry heavy fines and even jail time. If you are accused of shoplifting or retail theft, the most important step is to seek legal counsel quickly.

Domestic Violence

Sometimes the holiday stress can be overwhelming, and people lash out towards those people they feel closest to. A holiday argument could very well escalate into allegations of domestic violence. When a case of domestic violence is reported to law enforcement, the state will likely press charges even if the alleged victim does not want to pursue criminal charges.

Discuss Your Case and Defense with a Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney

While we hope you never have to contact our office, it is important to have our phone number in your cell phone just in case. Just like your insurance agent you want to have a plan of who to call when you need assistance. If you or a loved one is arrested, Rosenthal & Wadas is available to assist you 24 hours a day, including holidays ~ 972-369-0577.