Deadly Conduct

July 13, 2015

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

What is “Deadly Conduct”?

Deadly conduct can be charged when either (1) a person ‘recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury'; or (2) discharges a firearm in the ‘direction of’ people, a habitation, or a car.

Placing another in imminent danger is a Class A Misdemeanor and discharging a firearm is a 3rd Degree Felony.

The controlling penal code section is Texas Penal Code Chapter 22.05.

Problems with this Statute

The legislature clearly wants this statute to cover situations such as drive-by shootings or any other type of improper gun-play which could have — but did not result in someone’s death.

Unfortunately the legal definition of the misdemeanor version of ‘Deadly Conduct’ is extremely subjective.  As with all vague criminal laws — it can be subject to being stretched and abused.

Consider a situation where a person is speeding excessively and well over the speed limit.  The law specifically does not allow an officer to make an arrest for speeding alone.  An angry officer could, however, try to justify an arrest by claiming it was ‘deadly conduct’ because he or she could argue the excessive speed places another in “imminent danger” of serious bodily injury.”  The same could be true of running a red light, helping someone bungee jump for the first time, or throwing a fastball to a batter high and inside… though some of the examples are a bit silly, I include them because as absurd as they are — we could actually have a debate as to whether or not those examples could actually fit the statute.

Obviously we could toy with other factual scenarios as well and police can argue many fit the very soft definition of “Deadly Conduct” especially where the police are mad and can find no other penal code infraction to make an arrest.

What Your Lawyer Should be Able to Do

Your attorney should be able to ‘read in between the lines’ in cases like these and see that perhaps an arrest under this law is pre-text for something else.  I often meet with clients and their families who feel singled out and mis-treated with arrests such as these.  These cases require aggressive work-up and aggressive representation.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed in Texas.  He is Board Certified in Criminal law.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice on this, or any other situation you should visit with a lawyer independently.  This forum is public.


Protecting a Professional License When Facing Criminal Charges

July 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

A professional license is like your personal Alamo.  It’s your livelihood and must be defended at all costs.

Any criminal charge must be evaluated to gauge it’s impact on your ability to either attain or maintain a professional license.  In some instances losing a license because of a criminal record is automatic and in other instances it may simply open the door to a licensing board to taking action.

This intersection of law is between traditional criminal law and administrative law as criminal courts don’t directly weigh-in on licenses such as medical licenses, CPA licenses, or engineering licenses.  Those decisions are made by different bodies.

Texas Occupations Code Chapter 53 governs the consequences of criminal records on certain professional licenses.  It’s structure demonstrates the complex and layered approach the legislature intended in situations when dealing with certain crimes as…

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Why Prosecutors Withhold Evidence

July 9, 2015

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

By Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

As a criminal defense lawyer my job is to try to understand people without judging.  Trying to understand why a prosecutor might withhold or actually conceal evidence in that way is no different than trying to understand why a person who committed a crime was the situation they found themselves clinically without finding fault.

There have been two clear-cut and higher profile violations (called Brady violations) by Texas prosecutors in the past year which serves as cannon fodder for the debate.  One is from the Morton case in Williamson County which you can read about here, and the other is a more recent debacle in Denton County where two assistants district attorney have been banned by a district judge from practicing in his courtroom.

Put succinctly — prosecutors withhold evidence because (1) some don’t believe people get wrongly…

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Board Certification in Criminal Law

June 30, 2015

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

I recently became Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Those who know me know I’m not big into telling everyone how many pushups I can do, what a “tough-guy” I am, or how many dragons I’ve slain in the past as a defense lawyer.

I’ve certainly taken my lumps in this profession which any lawyer (who is being honest) will admit to taking as well.  Fortunately as time goes on my lumps have become less and less and my happy results have become more and more.

I think Board Certification is important not only for professional development but also from the standpoint of my clients.

Board certification has always been a goal for me.  This is because (1) it is my profession which I take very seriously (I don’t know why someone wouldn’t want to excel in their given endeavor); and (2) I knew the process in and of itself would make me a better lawyer.

There is a strenuous application process, a large amount to study, and finally a very nasty test the likes of which I would place alongside the bar exam in difficulty.  This was a very time consuming process which took time away from my practice and my family.

I do feel the sacrifices I made in this process were worth it to help my clients.  I hope they think so too!

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should contact a lawyer directly.

 

 


What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?

June 30, 2015

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

Felonies are punishable by possible jail over 1 year and misdemeanors are punishable for 1 year or less under Texas law.

Beyond that, Felonies obviously carry a somewhat more negative stigma meaning it is more difficult to be hired for a job, get a loan, or even be allowed to coach your child’s athletic team.

Collateral Consequences

Felonies also carry more collateral consequences — or consequences which aren’t directly related to criminal punishment itself than misdemeanors.  For example, being a felon can make firearm possession illegal, can prohibit you from holding public office or even from voting.

Felonies typically have more adverse immigration consequences than misdemeanors though immigration courts tend to use their own guidelines when determining the severity of a crime.

Crimes of Moral Terptitude

Some misdemeanors can have consequences every bit as severe as felonies.  Examples can be theft charges which can make professional licensing more difficult.  A theft charge on someone’s record can cause someone to lose job opportunities where trust is required such as an being a bookkeeper or sales clerk.

Affirmative findings of family violence can also carry felony-like consequences for the purposes of future enhancement or the denial of 2nd Amendment firearm rights.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed in the State of Texas.  He is Board Certified in Criminal Law.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should consult an attorney directly.

 

 


Computer Crimes: Breach of Computer Security

June 15, 2015

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

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.thecollincountylawyer.com

The Texas Penal Code Section 33.02 criminalizes accessing another person’s computer or computer network without their effective consent.  Specifically, subsection (a) of that provision says, “A person commits an offense if the person knowingly accesses a computer, computer network, or computer system without the effective consent of the owner.”

A “Computer” is defined by Tex.Pen.C. 33.01(4) as “an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or other high-speed data processing device that performs logical, arithmetic, or memory functions by the manipulations of electronic or magnetic impulses and includes all input, output, processing, storage, or communication facilities that are connected or related to the device.”  Even though I’m no tech guru, it would seem to me this definition would fit almost any smart phone such as an iPhone or Blackberry.

“Effective Consent” is defined by Tex.Pen.C. 1.07(19).  That definition nullifies consent if the consent…

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Texas DWI Laws for Beginners

May 29, 2015

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

By Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

For Starters:

Everyone is presumed innocent and the police and prosecution must prove the case beyond all reasonable doubt… and that goes for DWI’s and DUI’s too.  Accused people are acquitted of DWI in Courthouses all over Texas every day.  Just because the Police believe something does not make it so.

The nuts and bolts:

Texas DWI law can be extremely complicated but we’ll start with the basics.  For more advanced discussions, you can read here, here, and here.

Tex.Pen.C. 49.04(a) makes driving while intoxicated illegal.  That provision says, “A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.”

Tex.Pen.C. 49.01 (A) and (B) define “intoxication” as… “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a…

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