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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The Top 6 Things You Should Know Before Pleading Guilty

January 29, 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

Pleading guilty may be the best option in a case – but it should never be the first option.  The decision to plead guilty is often not much different than the decision to get a permanent tattoo everyone can see.  You should fully know and understand the consequences and alternatives before making this choice.

1.  What does it mean if I Plead Not Guilty?

It means you are exercising your right to a trial by judge or jury.  Every person has the right to a trial and every person has the right to plead “Not Guilty” to a criminal charge regardless of whether they committed the crime alleged.  There is nothing dishonest or immoral about pleading “Not Guilty” because your claim is essentially the state or government is unable to prove your case beyond all reasonable doubt.  Some backwards…

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Silly Traffic Law = Excuse for Profiling

January 12, 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

Texas probably has thousands and thousands of laws on the books.

There is no such thing as a silly or unimportant traffic law and here’s why:  police profile people and those laws — silly as they may sound — legitimize otherwise bogus traffic stops.  Those stops turn into DWI’s, drug possession charges… and if the citizen isn’t doing anything wrong… the stop turns into general harassment.

To be clear, not all profiling is racial.  Sometimes officers will act on “hunches” about how someone looks, what they drive, or how they act.  Usually, though, there is simply nothing illegal about looking different, driving a particular car, or having a nervous disposition.  The law is clear that these reasons alone aren’t enough for police to detain drivers or passengers on the roads.

In order to stop a car, a police officer…

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Texas Criminal Appeals 101

January 7, 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

Appealing a conviction in Texas can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.

Criminal trials are extremely complex and if the judge, prosecutor, or even your own lawyer have made mistakes — a conviction can potentially be over-turned by the Texas appeals courts.  While an appeal can often represent a great hope — you should know that statistically the odds are long at having a case overturned.  That being said — convictions are over-turned all the time.

The most important thing to remember with an appeal is time is critical.  Some issues can be appealed months and even years after a conviction — but the vast majority of appeals MUST BE FILED WITHIN 30 DAYS of the judgment under the Texas Rules of Appellate procedure.  Also, sometimes a motion for new trial can be granted and the trial judge can…

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Frisco Theft Jail Release

January 4, 2015

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

By  Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(214) 724-7065  – 24 hour line

(972) 369-0577  – Office line

Frisco has policies in place to expedite the release from jail for offenses such as misdemeanor thefts.  A misdemeanor theft is where the value alleged to be taken is less than $1,500.

If you’ve never gotten anyone out of jail before, then here’s a shotgun course — to get someone out of jail in Texas, you need to pay the bond set for the person.  Here’s the problem with most arrests though:  there is a lag time between when the cuffs are put on the accused and when the bond is set by a magistrate judge.  Sometimes that lag can be as high as 24-hours on misdemeanors.  No bond = no release.

Generally theft under $50 (a Class C Misdemeanor) are done at the municipal level and bond is usually…

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What Does a Jury Do?

December 16, 2014

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

There are two core questions which a trial resolves.  The first question is what is the applicable law given the charges and the second question to be answered is what are the facts we accept as true.  When you put those two together, you have a verdict.

A judge decides what the applicable law is in any case and the jury decides which facts are true.  If the parties “waive” a jury, then a judge can decide both the law and the facts and render a verdict on his/her own.

Let’s take an assault trial for example.  Typically an accuser will testify x, y and z happened to them.  Let’s just say for argument sake they say the defendant pushed them into a wall and hit their face with an open hand.

Perhaps others present during the incident testify as well and maybe a police officer who came later too takes the stand.  Let’s also suppose for our hypothetical the defendant also testifies and admits to the conduct — but says they did so in self defense.  The Judge will monitor the testimony, rule on objections of the parties and allow the jury to hear evidence and testimony lawfully admitted.

When the evidence is complete, the Judge will issue a Jury Charge to the jurors which guides their deliberations.  The charge will contain the applicable law and will request the jury to answer one or more questions based on what they saw and heard in court.

In an assault case like the one described above, the judge would give the jury the legal definition of assault and possibly the definition of self defense — depending on the specific facts Defendant testified about.  The jury charge is typically three or four pages long and in a criminal case only has one question to answer — is the defendant guilty or not guilty.

If the jury finds the defendant guilty, they may also decide the punishment, again based on jury instructions from the judge.  Criminal defendants in Texas have the right to elect a judge or jury assess punishment in the event they are found guilty.

As lawyers we take for granted everyone knows what a jury does but we sometimes forget that unless you went to law school — or have served on a jury — the entire process can be a bit fuzzy.  I hope this helps!

 

 


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