How Long Does a Conviction Stay on a Criminal Record?

April 3, 2015

Originally posted on Criminal Defense Lawyer | DWI, Drug, Theft & Assault Charges:

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

Forever.

I ask this question frequently when I’m picking jurors and believe it or not, very few people know this.

I guess it’s understandable because not everyone is a criminal defense attorney or have a loved one weighted down with a conviction.

A conviction in Texas stays on your criminal record forever.  It’s hard to quantify the amount of opportunity costs which are lost due to convictions, but everyone has been asked before when renting an apartment, applying for a job, or seeking a loan, to check the ominous box asking if they’ve ever been convicted of anything other than a minor traffic ticket.

Criminal convictions can even hurt you in things such as adoptions, immigration status, and voting rights if the conviction is a felony.  The collateral consequences are countless.  Here is a good article about the…

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Why Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Guilty of the Charges?

March 30, 2015

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

We were all taught to take responsibility for our actions when we were children.  We are internally programmed that we will be rewarded by coming clean by fair treatment and a clean conscience.

The Leap of Faith

Taking responsibility for your actions is a leap of faith. You are trusting that when you take responsibility you will be treated fairly and justly by those in authority.  Parents and teachers hopefully always treated you fairly when you owned-up to a mistake.  They made the punishment fit the crime and they put your mistake in perspective.

This doesn’t always happen in the criminal justice system.  The state or government’s version of responsibility may be drastically more cruel or harsh than you might think.  Thus, taking the ‘leap of faith’ that you will be dealt with fairly doesn’t always work out.

Understanding The Disconnect

Knowing why the state’s version of justice and our own is so far apart can be complex question.  The three most common answers I can think of are as follows:

(1)  Some times the law just isn’t fair.  Police and prosecutors are bound by the law… and those laws are created by our legislature… and our legislature is comprised of politicians who probably didn’t campaign on being easy on crime.

(2)  Some prosecutors and judges can be misguided.  Many have never defended anyone accused of a crime so they don’t understand the fears, emotions and worries of criminal defendants or their families.  In their defense most do their best to empathize… they’ve just never walked in a defense lawyer’s shoes.

(3) Jurors sitting on a case have never been in trouble themselves.  Many tend to think someone in trouble is in trouble for a reason.  They think because someone made different choices than they would have made, they deserve to be punished harshly.

Why You STILL Need a Lawyer

You need an advocate who knows the mind-set of the people making crucial decisions.  This goes for plea negotiations, dealing with judges and the occasional trial where the only debate is what is a fair punishment.  An effective lawyer can translate your fears, worries, and problems to the prosecutor, Judge or Jury in a way which turns them into an ally instead of an enemy.

Collateral Consequences

Sometimes we have to get a Not Guilty verdict because of the collateral consequences of a conviction.  This can include situations where we are concerned about a divorce/ custody situation, professional licensing or immigration consequences.  Often those charged with the crime don’t understand the full implications of their guilty plea in other areas of their life.  This is precisely why they need a lawyer who knows the broader view.

Putting the State to Its Burden

Just because you’re guilty doesn’t mean you still can’t fight for an acquittal.  There is nothing illegal, immoral, or dishonest about pleading not guilty and having a trial.  What you accomplish here is keeping the system — and those in it — honest.

Police and prosecutors would have everyone believe they do a good job on big cases because they’re the good-guys in the blind pursuit of justice.  Human nature tells us even though that may be mainly true — they will also do a good job if they know their homework is being graded.  Isn’t that we all want anyway?

The framers of the Constitution knew how to keep their government in check, didn’t they?

 

 

 

 


White Collar Crime

March 23, 2015

Originally posted on Criminal Defense Lawyer | DWI, Drug, Theft & Assault Charges:

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

“White Collar Crime” refers generally to corporate crimes including but not limited to fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, computer crimes, money laundering, identity theft and forgery.  White collar allegations can be particularly detail oriented both with the facts and with the law.

What Makes Charges Scary

Having Defended multiple cases — the pattern you typically see is the investigators often decided you’re a criminal first and then go about putting their case together later.

White collar cases — with the often hundreds if not thousands of documents tend to be like huge mosaics.  Anyone can take a portion of the documents to paint a certain picture which may not reflect how a business or transaction was really conducted.

Major Differences Between Other Charges

Unlike every-day “street” crimes, “white collar crimes” can be very document-intensive and require experienced counsel that is…

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Divorce and Child Custody Related Criminal Accusations

March 11, 2015

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

Divorce brings out the worst in people.  Bitter feelings are fueled by a combination of resentment, betrayal, and/or basic loss of control over what might perceived to be the health and safety of children.

Ex or soon to be ex-spouses are much more brazen about making accusations than most every-day people for a variety of reasons — not the least of which is the fact an ex-spouse also coincidentally has much to gain by making (and following through on) accusations.

Here are some of the most common criminal accusations which tend to stem from divorce and/or custody disputes:

  • Assault
  • Criminal trespass
  • Interference with Child Custody
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child
  • Indecency with a Child
  • Injury to a Child
  • Terroristic Threat
  • Unauthorized Computer Access

Most people think of criminal charges and accusations as so far fetched that someone would only make such a claim against another if there were at least some degree of truth to the claim.  Accusers going through a divorce or custody dispute, though, have their view of the facts soured by their own emotions, agenda, and self-interested perspective.  Unfortunately accusers can also manipulate or poison their own children’s perspective in these types of cases too.

Law enforcement’s view of these types of claims also varies.  Sometimes an accuser finds a receptive audience who might not understand or is deaf to the dynamic of the underlying divorce or custody proceedings.  Often law enforcement is “stuck” in the middle because while they know claims are being fueled by self-interest — they simply must follow up on certain types of allegations as part of their public duties.

Examining and defending any of these charges means examining the details of the divorce or custody proceedings which are related.  Defense lawyers must show prosecutors, judges and jurors the context of the allegations and what other interested people have to gain by making such allegations.  This can only be done through detailed investigation of all the surrounding facts and circumstances.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Texas.  He is Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly.  Communications through this blog are not confidential.


Interference With Child Custody

March 10, 2015

Originally posted on Criminal Defense Lawyer | DWI, Drug, Theft & Assault Charges:

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

As most people know, divorces may unfortunately turn very nasty. On occasion there are collateral criminal problems which can arise from a party’s conduct either prior to or after the court makes custody determinations for the children. While the blame may often seem trumped-up or baseless — being accused of interference with child custody is as serious as a heart attack because it’s a felony accusation in Texas. Also –as with any criminal prosecution –it is important to remember that the charges are no longer between you and your divorcing spouse; it’s between you and the State of Texas.

Texas Penal Code Section 25.03 is titled “Interference With Child Custody,” and that section reads accordingly:

(a) A person commits an offense if the person takes or retains a child younger than 18 years when the person:

(1) knows that the…

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The Legal Definition of Drug Possession

February 23, 2015

Originally posted on Criminal Defense Lawyer | DWI, Drug, Theft & Assault Charges:

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

Drug crimes in Texas operate very similarly to one another regardless of the substance alleged to be possessed.  While the specific substance and the quantity dictate the level of offense, the law of “possession” in Texas is consistent.

Many people feel as though because they were in a situation where drugs were present that they are guilty of an offense.  Not so in Texas.

“Possession” is defined by Texas Penal Code 1.07(a)(39) as “actual care, custody, control or management.”

The operative word (in my opinion) is “actual.”  This means the prosecution must prove the drugs were in your possession — i.e. that the defendant ACTUALLY exercised some degree of of care, custody, control or management — of whatever contraband they have alleged the accused possessed.

If you think about how the police tend to encounter drugs…

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When You’re Entitled to a New Trial in Texas

February 13, 2015

Originally posted on Criminal Defense Lawyer | DWI, Drug, Theft & Assault Charges:

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

Regardless of whether you were convicted of DWI, marijuana or cocaine possession, assault, or any other offense in Texas, you may be able to get a new trial.

There are two main ways to get a new trail in Texas criminal cases. One is through a formal appeal to the courts of appeal (which takes lots of time and patience) and the other way is that the trial judge can grant you a new trial — but only of you act quickly after the conviction!

Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 21 governs new trials through the trial court. This means the same judge that tried the original case will be the judge that decides whether you get a new trial under this rule. Under TRAP 21.4, you only have 30 days to file a “Motion for New Trial”.  If…

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