Recent Case Wins!–A busy, but productive few months

Bo Kalabus, Criminal Defense Attorney

Office 972-369-0577

Cell 214-402-4364

It has been a very busy fall for me professionally. However, the work has been rewarding because not only have the case subjects been diverse, I have also been able to obtain some great case results for clients–for example:

DWI With Car Accident – Not Guilty Verdict

Assault Family Violence (client was ultimately the victim)– Case Dismissed

Theft of Service – Case Dismissed

Theft – Case Dismissed

Harboring a Runaway – Case Dismissed

Represented a Physician Assistant before the Texas Physician Assistant/Texas Medical Board for unprofessional conduct stemming from a DWI charge. — All charges were dismissed following an Informal Settlement Conference before the Medical Board.

Defended a dog that had bitten an employee at a dog kennel.  The city wanted to euthanize the dog and would not compromise on this in negotiations even though the person that had been bitten did not want the dog killed.  Following a hearing I was able to keep the dog alive and with his owner. ** This case I did pro bono for a friend—I hate to see animals in harms way!

Explaining Texas Gun Laws

By Bo Kalabus

214-402-4364 Office: 972-562-7549

bo@kalabuslaw.com

www.rosenthalwadas.com

www.kalabuslaw.com

Texas is one of a handful of states that have relatively few gun laws. However, there are still laws in place to protect the public, and you should be aware of them. If you carry a gun or have been charged with a gun crime, you might want to read up on Texas gun laws.

Major Texas Gun Laws

Below, we’ve given you an outline of the major laws in Texas related to firearm possession, as well as how and when you’re allowed to carry:

• Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon – This crime is committed when a person knowingly carries a firearm in a way that is against the law, such as open carrying without a license or carrying a firearm while committing a crime.

• Carrying in Places Where Weapons Are Prohibited – This crime has been committed when a person knowingly carries a firearm onto a property that forbids the presence of weapons, such as certain schools or courts.

• Unlawful Carrying of a Handgun by a License Holder – This crime is committed when a person who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun intentionally displays the handgun in plain view.

• Unlawful Possession of a Firearm – A person commits this crime when he or she is not authorized under Texas law to carry a weapon. This might include convicted felons and certain people under community supervision.

• Unlawful Transfer of Certain Weapons – Intentionally selling, transferring, or leasing a handgun to someone you know is going to use it in the commission of a crime; selling or transferring a weapon to a minor; and selling or transferring to someone who is intoxicated could all be included under this rule.

• Deadly Weapon in a Penal Institute – This crime is committed when a person intentionally possesses or conceals a deadly weapon within a penal institute.

Some gun offenses can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances of the case and your criminal history.  You will need an experienced attorney by your side if you are facing a gun related charge.

DLD Violation Hearings – Consequences and How to Defend Them

By Bo Kalabus
bo@kalabuslaw.com
Office: 972-562-7549
Collin County 24 Hour Jail Release 214-402-4364
www.rosenthalwadas.com
 
An Ignition Interlock or Deep Lung Device (DLD) is a portable machine that is installed on the vehicle to prevent the car from starting if it detects alcohol in the driver’s system. Depending on certain circumstances, such as a high BAC, accident, or multiple DWIs, a person may be required to have a DLD installed on their vehicle as a condition of bond for a DWI arrest. If a person is not driving, a judge may order that the person have a home alcohol-monitoring device they have to blow into at certain times of the day. The providers of the devices send reports to the courts once a month to determine if a person is having alcohol violations.
 
If you are ordered to have one of these devices while you are on bond for a DWI charge, you certainly have to watch your step. A person is on bond until the DWI case is resolved by going to trial or by taking a plea agreement. It can take several months up to a year from the time of arrest until the case is resolved. The primary condition of a DWI bond is to not consume any alcohol. This can be a harder request for some than others. If a person consumes alcohol while on bond, these devices will certainly catch your actions at some point. If that is the case, the judge will set what is called a DLD violation hearing.
 
The stakes are high at one of these violation hearings as the judge has the power to hold your current bond insufficient, which means you are immediately taken to jail following the hearing. At this point, the judge can then set a much higher dollar bond amount and/or may add additional conditions such as AA meetings, or adding a SCRAM device—a alcohol/drug monitor attached to the ankle of the person. Depending on the circumstances of the situation the judge may also have you held with no bond, which means you will be unable to get out of jail until your criminal charge is resolved.
I have helped many clients navigate these tricky waters by getting to the heart of the issues the client is going through and developing an action plan to present to the judge. Every situation is different and there is a big difference between a malfunctioning device and a person that is struggling with addiction. If you are having problems while on bond for a DWI charge, give me a call.

The Criminal Charges Against Me Have Been Dropped, Now What?!

 

214-402-4364-Writ Bond Hotline
bo@kalabuslaw.com
Office: 972-369-0577

If you have been arrested for a crime and those charges are later dropped, or refused for prosecution by the District Attorney, that’s great news.  However, you will still need to proactively remove the arrest from your record.

I’ve seen this situation happen in both misdemeanor and felony cases for clients where the police thought at the time they had enough evidence to arrest for an offense; however, after further review, the intake prosecutor believed for whatever reason they could not make the case and refused to accept it for filing or presentation to the Grand Jury.

When the case is refused, the District Attorney issues a drop charge letter to the police agency that arrested the person informing them the arrested person will not be prosecuted by the District Attorney.  It also instructs that if the person has an outstanding warrant due to the charge, then the warrant is to be recalled.  Moreover, if the person has been released from jail on a cash bond on the charge, the bond is to be discharged and the bond money be returned to the person named in the receipt for the bond.

Even though the case has been dropped, the arrest is still on your record until you file for an expunction.  An expunction is a civil lawsuit that will need to be filed to properly clear the arrest off your record.  Even though the case has been dropped, you will have to wait the applicable waiting period to let the statute of limitations run for the offense before moving forward with an expunction.

If you have been arrested for an offense and that charge was later dropped or dismissed, give me a call to discuss your options and make sure the arrest is properly cleared from your record.

What Do I Do If A Police Detective Is Trying to Contact Me?

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

Whether you think you did something wrong or not, your first call should be to me.

When an investigator is reaching out to a person about a crime, it’s a very serious thing. Investigators are very skilled at getting people they are questioning to talk and make admissions about crimes without the person of interest really knowing what they have just done to themselves. It’s an art and they are good.

Investigators usually call a person of interest and convince them to come down to the station to talk to them. Once there, the investigator will set them at ease and tell them they have a right to a lawyer and that they are free to leave anytime—people always seem to forget that part. Then the questioning begins. An investigator is talking to you because they are missing something in their investigation-remember if they had all their evidence, they would not need to be fishing. They may act like they know everything about a case, but it just may be a theory of theirs, and they are bluffing to see if you can give them the piece of information they are missing. It’s high stakes poker, and the investigator has the high cards.

Even if a person does not confess to a crime, sometimes responses to questions don’t make sense, or stories change and this can be just as damaging as a confession. The interview is video recorded, so every grimace, or long pause, or nervous twitch is captured. This video will be played later at trial and can be the State’s best evidence in prosecution of the charge.

If an investigator is trying to contact you, you need to contact me. Once the investigator knows a criminal lawyer represents a person, they will stop trying to contact that person. At that point I contact the investigator and see what they have on the person and see if it is advisable to talk to the investigator or not. 99% of the time its not advisable to the investigator. This is not something you should try to handle by yourself.

After Dallas Tragedy-Top 5 Things You Need To Know When Pulled Over By The Police

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Dallas we must all examine how we interact with police officers if we are stopped for a traffic offense. On a normal day police have very difficult jobs. Usually they are alone and every time they approach a vehicle it is a dangerous situation. However, these are not normal times for the police or us. Tensions for both are at an all time high point. Therefore, we must examine what our actions signal to police when we are stopped. Here are a few helpful tips on how to handle yourself during a traffic stop.

1) Pull Over As Soon As You Can

The longer it takes you pull over the more suspicion this raises to the officer. They are thinking that you may have a reason for wanting to evade them such as having a warrant, or you are buying time to try to hide contraband in the car. This type of situation makes the officer think you might be dangerous and sets the tone for the questioning to come.

2) Pull Over in a Safe Place

It looks really bad if you pull over in a dangerous place, such as pulling to the left median on the Tollway or a major interstate for example. Usually in this scenario it makes the officer have to approach on the right side of the car with traffic flying right by them. This is a very dangerous situation for the officer and again it sets the tone for the questioning.

3) Keep Your Hands Where The Officer Can See Them

Keep your hands on the steering wheel up high where they can be seen or on the window frame while the officer approaches. Nothing puts an officer on point more than movement in the car as they approach. They have no idea if you are looking for your insurance or your trusty .357.

4) Let The Officer Talk First

The officer is going to want the first word. Let them have it and follow the lead. Being interrupted is frustrating for the officer. Don’t make a minor situation worse by being a know it all. The officer is in control.

5) Be Polite

Golden rule time–be polite and courteous. Remember you are being videotaped too. Remember your rights, but stay cool. You can politely refuse to take field sobriety tests and then keep your mouth closed. Don’t make a scene by yelling at the officer asking if you are detained.

If you are charged with a crime, you should contact a competent Collin County Criminal Lawyer to represent you and examine all the possible defenses you could have with your case.

Police Body Cameras Cut Both Ways

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

More and more Collin and Dallas County police agencies are using body cameras these days. Being filmed during a police investigation is not an entirely new concept, as police in-car dash video recorders have been around for quite some time now. However, the police body camera can show much greater detail during a police encounter, which can be both helpful and harmful to defense of a criminal case.

In defending a criminal case, I find for the most part having events videotaped is very helpful. The video recording is the best objective evidence of an event and I would rather have a dash camera or body camera video in a case I’m working on than not. Take a DWI for example, an officer may put in his report that he just witnessed the worst driving ever and that’s why he stopped the vehicle.   But when we review the patrol car video the driving doesn’t look near as bad as the officer described. In fact, the driver may not have violated any traffic law and the officer may not have had an objective reason for pulling the driver over. This type of video evidence will keep the officer from exaggerating his testimony at trial. However, the dash camera can have limitations. Often the footage is grainy and the audio can be muffled.

Police body cameras take the recording to the next level in detail. Take the same DWI example, when the officer goes to the window of the car that body camera will be focused right on the driver’s face. If the driver is impaired due to alcohol and exhibiting slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or is slow to respond to questions this will be very apparent on the recording. That type of scenario may not play to well for the client. However, if the driver is not obviously impaired and officer exaggerates these details in his police report the video recording will be our best evidence in defense of the case.

The body cameras are also recording all audio. As a result, I can hear the conversations between the police officers when they huddle up to discuss the status of an investigation and the radio calls. Back on the DWI example, if a back up officer arrives and is being briefed by the arresting officer there is no limit to what information I can find out about how they think the investigation is going. This is a great tool in identifying any bias the police officer may have or whether they think the evidence they have is strong or not. Sometimes the officers forget they are being recorded and you would be surprised as to what you hear.

The body cameras are also very helpful in identifying the exact timeline of events and the behavior of both the arrested person and police officer—especially if there is a dispute on any of these issues.

Overall, body cameras are going to be here to stay. My experience with them so far has been very positive in defense of my clients.  If you are charged with a crime, you should contact a competent Collin County Criminal Lawyer to represent you and examine all the possible defenses you could have with your case.

Synthetic Cannabinoids Are Not Only Illegal, But Dangerous

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

What Are Synthetic Cannabinoids?

Synthetic cannabinoids refer to a growing number of man-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked, or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes.

These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are related to chemicals found in the marijuana plant. Because of the similarity, synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called “synthetic marijuana”, and they are often marketed as “safe,” and legal alternatives to marijuana. In fact, they may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, severe or even cause death.

Manufacturers sell these herbal products in colorful foil packages and sell similar liquid incense products, like e-cigarette fluids, in plastic bottles. They market these products under a wide variety of specific brand names; in past years, K2 and Spice were common. However; now hundreds of other brand names exist, such as Joker, Black Mamba, Kush, and Kronic.

For several years, synthetic cannabinoid mixtures have been easy to buy in drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores, and gas stations. This easy access and the belief that synthetic cannabinoid products are “natural” and harmless have contributed to their use among young people. Another reason for their use is that standard drug tests cannot easily detect many of the chemicals used in these products.  However, in Texas these products are now illegal and carry the same penalties as marijuana possession cases.

What Do Synthetic Cannabinoids Do?

Synthetic cannabinoids act on the same brain cell receptors as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana.

So far, there have been few scientific studies of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the human brain, but researchers do know that some of them bind more strongly than marijuana to the cell receptors affected by THC, and may produce much stronger effects. The resulting health effects can be unpredictable, which makes this drug dangerous.

Because the chemical composition of many synthetic cannabinoid products is unknown and may change from batch to batch, these products are likely to contain substances that cause dramatically different effects than the user might expect, that again makes these products dangerous.

Synthetic cannabinoid users report some effects similar to those produced by marijuana:

  • elevated mood
  • relaxation
  • altered perception—awareness of surrounding objects and conditions
  • symptoms of psychosis—delusional or disordered thinking detached from reality

Psychotic effects include:

  • extreme anxiety
  • confusion
  • paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
  • hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they are not

Serious Health Effects

There can also be serious health effects associated with synthetic cannabinoids. People who have used synthetic cannabinoids and have been taken to emergency rooms have shown severe effects including:

  • rapid heart rate
  • vomiting
  • violent behavior
  • suicidal thoughts

Synthetic cannabinoids can also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart, as well as kidney damage and seizures. Use of these drugs is associated with a rising number of deaths.

The State is Trying To Revoke My Probation–What Can I Do About It?

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

Probation is technical and expensive. To be successful on probation you have to be organized, disciplined, and have a little bit of luck. People complete their probation obligations every day, but for many the road through probation is hard.

For example, if you plead guilty to a possession of marijuana charge in Collin County Texas and were put on probation in the fall of 2015. The deal you took was 90 days jail probated for 12 months and a $600 fine plus court costs. The terms and conditions of your probation were to take a substance abuse evaluation, complete a drug class, submit to random drug checks, and complete 45 hours of community service.

How the Revocation Process Begins

Fast forward to the summer of 2016 with 3 months to go on probation. You forgot to report to your probation officer in May, and you are also behind on your community service hours and payment of your fine. You meet with your Collin County probation officer in June and the first thing he hits you with is a drug test—which you fail because it was your best friend’s birthday the week before. At this point, the probation officer believes you are no longer a good candidate for probation and files a motion to revoke your probation based on the mistakes you made in May.

Once the motion to revoke is filed, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. You will have to turn yourself in, or you will be arrested for the outstanding warrant, which usually happens at an inconvenient time. If it is a motion to revoke misdemeanor probation, you will be entitled to a bond, so you will have the ability to be bailed out.

What Happens Next?

The next step will be going to court. This process will mirror the court appearances you had with the original case—you will have a first appearance that will allow your lawyer to take a look at the motion to revoke and the State’s punishment recommendation. Yes, get a Collin County criminal lawyer if this is happening in Collin County. A motion to revoke is a tricky process and I highly recommend you get a lawyer on board to represent you considering the State will most certainly take the position that you have already been given a chance and don’t deserve a second one. It will be very difficult for you by yourself to argue otherwise to the prosecutor.

What Happens to Me?

On a typical motion to revoke, you will either be extended on probation, or you will receive a jail sentence and be done with probation. If there are defenses to the allegations of the motion to revoke, the lawyer may be able to get the motion withdrawn. If you do not like the State’s recommendation you can set the motion to revoke for hearing and make the State prove-up the allegations in their motion. Here’s the problem—take the example above—the State need not prove up every allegation in the motion to revoke to win, the State only needs to prove up one allegation to win the motion. If the State can prove you failed to report in May, the State has won the motion to revoke. As you can see, there is very little room to maneuver if your probation is being revoked for legitimate allegations.

After reviewing the facts and negotiating with the State, a lawyer can advise you of your chances of winning the motion to revoke at a hearing. Or perhaps buy you some time to get caught up on the items the State wants to revoke you on to get your probation extended or the get the motion dismissed outright.

A motion to revoke your probation will create a difficult time for you. You should have competent legal counsel review your case to put the most options on your table based on the specific facts of your case.

Can I Be Arrested If I Have Prescription Medication Without the Prescription?

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

YES! However, if you can provide a copy of the prescription (and show it was valid at the time of the arrest), the case against you will most likely be dismissed. A valid prescription is a defense to the prosecution of the case, but it will not stop the arrest if the prescription is not on your person.

If a person is carrying prescription medication without the prescription, they can be arrested if they come in contact with the police. Usually, I see these charges in connection with being stopped for another reason and the medication is either in plain view or in the person’s pocket. Be careful when you are driving around with your prescription medication.

Another scenario I commonly see is where a friend or family member gives an individual leftover prescription medication for an ailment. If this is the case and the person gets arrested in possession of someone else’s prescription medication, then they do not have prescription defense to the prosecution of the offense.