Small Gaps in Laws Lead to Major Headaches

During the course of some years doing our job defending people, we have seen quite a few instances where the law has gaps or failures in the process that can unexpectedly catch people in messy legal situations. In some cases that we have seen, the individual might not even know that they have been put in a bad situation until a routine traffic stop. Warrants can be issued for your arrest without your knowledge. Jurisdiction for a proceeding might switch to a state with different laws unintentionally. Unethical but not unlawful debt collections can be brought against you. How can you protect yourself from these situations so you don’t get hit for thousands of dollars in court and law fees or worse, fines? Read more

“You might beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.”

constitution-preambleIf we want to protect our honest law enforcement officers from unjustified acts of aggression, if we want to protect our fellow citizens from unlawful government intrusion and excessive force, if we want to actually achieve “law and order” rather than use it as a political catch phrase, we must resurrect our Fourth Amendment. Without it, all of our rights and protections against unlawful government intrusion and excessive force will be limited only to the amount of attention you receive from the Government. Read more

Routine Traffic Stops and Marijuana Smell

There is a great deal of concern lately regarding abuse of police powers. That’s not what this post is about.

This post has been written to provide information for what is allowed during a police stop should the officer smell marijuana in your car. Read more

Your “Liberties” During a Police Encounter in Texas

We place a special emphasis on “liberties” because we need to start with the premise that your constitutionally protected rights belong to you but you do not decide when you use them. Your “liberties” will be exercised for you at a future time and will be invoked for you long after your “liberty” has been violated. This concept extends across a broad variety of situations including a police encounter. Read more

Beyond Stop and Frisk: An In-Depth 4th Amendment Definition

The law allows citizens to “consent” to certain procedures or investigations, sometimes without being aware of it. We all know that the Fourth Amendment of our United States Constitution is meant to protect us from unreasonable searches and seizures. That is, law enforcement is not allowed to Read more

Setting Bail

So how does a court in Texas set bail? Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 17.15 tells us:

  1. Bail should be sufficiently high to give reasonable assurance that the [defendant will appear in court];
  2. The power to require bail is not to be used as to make it an instrument of oppression;
  3. The nature of the offense and the circumstances under which it was committed are to be considered;
  4. The ability to make bail is to be regarded and proof may be taken upon this point; and
  5. The future safety of a victim of the alleged offense and the community shall be considered.

The trial court has wide discretion in analyzing these factors. Read more