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

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

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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