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Austin Criminal Defense Law Blog

Drug charges don't always lead to conviction

If you were to survey Texas residents to find out approximately how many have, at some point in their lives, faced some type of legal problems, the results (if participants were to be completely honest) would likely be high for those who answer affirmatively. Some would probably say they'd had a traffic ticket or two; others perhaps have dealt with more serious matters.

You yourself might currently be facing criminal charges of some kind, maybe drug-related or a DUI, and are feeling a bit overwhelmed or alone as you prepare for what lies ahead. It's always good to remember that you are definitely not the first, and most probably will not be the last, person in this or any other state to face charges in court. However, understanding that it's no small matter, you'll be doing yourself a favor if you seek clarification of your rights and possible defense strategies ahead of time.

Preliminary alcohol screening versus Breathalyzer

Like all motorists in Texas and beyond, you're obligated to adhere to all traffic regulations and state laws that impact your privilege of operating a motor vehicle. For instance, if you drive around without a license plate on your car, it's like an invitation to police officers to pull you over. That's because you understand from the get go that your vehicle must have visible tag numbers showing while you drive.

As a licensed driver, you aren't allowed to drive if you're intoxicated. Problems can arise, however, concerning the legal definition of the word. In most states, if your blood alcohol content level is .08 or higher, the law prohibits you from getting behind the wheel to drive. If a police officer pulls you over because of a DWI suspicion, he or she may ask you to take a test from a mobile device. It's important to understand the difference between this test and a chemical Breathalyzer test.

Several factors could impact your BAC level

Over the years and through your various outings with friends, you likely noticed that alcohol affects people differently. You may have seen a friend consume only a small amount of alcohol and act very unlike his or her usual self while also watching another individual consume drink after drink without showing the slightest sign of impairment. This type of scenario happens quite often as many different factors can impact how alcohol affects a person.

You may have found your alcohol-drinking limit early on as far as when to stop before you feel impaired. However, even if you do not feel as if the alcohol has affected you, your blood-alcohol concentration level could tell a different story. As a result, if you get behind the wheel and an officer pulls you over, you could still end up facing DUI charges.

Should you just let the police into your home?

If you are like many other Texans, you may not think twice about letting police officers into your home when they come knocking without you having called them for an emergency first. However, as you wonder why they are even at your door, you may want to take a moment to consider whether you should let them in at all.

Asking a couple of polite questions may help ascertain why they are there. In some cases, officers may be asking questions regarding a possible crime they believe someone committed in your area. If they think that you are the one who may have committed a crime, you have rights. 

Understanding criminal charges involving forgery

Facing criminal charges is frightening, and it can be a threat to the personal well-being of Texas readers for years to come. If you are dealing with accusations of a white-collar crime, such as forgery, you would be wise not to underestimate the serious nature of your situation. Forgery charges can result in consequences that can change the direction of your life, and it is beneficial to build a strong criminal defense to protect your future.

Federal crimes merit the support and guidance of an experienced legal ally. Navigating the criminal justice system is complex, and when there is much at stake, you have no time to lose in taking the appropriate steps to defend your interests. Forgery typically involves making a fake document or forging signatures to sign or modify important documents.

Think twice before refusing a Breathalyzer test in Texas

You never know when a police officer is going to pull you over in a traffic stop. Well, if you are flying down a highway at speeds that far exceed the posted limits in the area, chances are you might wind up seeing some flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror at some point. However, there may also be a time when you have no clue why a Texas police officer has signaled you to pull off the road.

Of course, the officer who makes the stop is obligated to inform you of the reason. This is definitely something to keep in mind if you wind up facing charges for DWI or some other criminal offense. You do not relinquish your rights even if the officer suspects you of a crime. In fact, you do not have to submit to requests to answer questions (without legal representation present) or to take field sobriety tests, etc. You should know though, that your refusal in certain circumstances may result in penalty.

A criminal conviction may narrow your job search

Because your future plans may involve tracking down the ideal job, your recent arrest rightly causes you some concern. For many, the job interview is the most stressful part of starting on the path to a new career. However, for those with a criminal record, the background check can be a stumbling block.

It may be possible for you to find some jobs that will overlook certain misdemeanors, but a DWI or felony conviction presents a new set of complications for some industries. If your goals include seeking employment in any of these areas, you would benefit from a strong legal defense strategy to avoid a conviction.

How to lose your license in 40 days or less

The privilege of driving in Texas comes with many obligations. You likely took a driving test in Travis County to prove your knowledge of the laws of the road. Obeying those laws is crucial to the safety of you and other drivers. If you break the law, you run the risk of losing your privilege to drive.

Having your license suspended or revoked takes time, generally by accumulating points for various traffic offenses. However, if police have pulled you over for drunk driving, your driving privileges are in imminent danger. In addition to facing any criminal charges stemming from your arrest, your license will be at the mercy of the Administrative License Revocation Program.

What is drug court, and how does it work?

When faced with a drug charge, not knowing what is going to happen to you can be pretty frightening. For minor drug crimes, common penalties that accompany conviction include jail time and fines. However, the state of Texas understands that sometimes a different approach to dealing with the problem is necessary. This is where drug court comes into play.

Drug court is basically a court-supervised drug rehabilitation program. It is primarily meant for first time, non-violent offenders. In order for a judge to consider you for this program, you must make a formal request for entry must be made in court.

Law and disorder when crimes lab procedures are unreliable

When people watch crime shows on TV, they often see pristine forensics labs where confident scientists reach conclusions almost effortlessly based on only a modicum of evidence. Often, those fictional scientists appear in court to testify at the trial of the accused, and when they explain the findings of the suspect's DNA, the jurors nod in agreement, their verdict confirmed.

Your recent arrest for a violent crime may have you more than a little concerned, especially if police have warned you that a forensics crime lab has confirmed that your DNA was at the scene of the crime. However, you may be interested in learning that the recent scandals in Austin's crime lab and others across the country have brought the science of DNA testing into question, in turn, adding speculation about the convictions that resulted from such tests.