What You Need To Know About The Deep Lung Device/Ignition Interlock in Collin County

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

To start with, 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. In order to start a vehicle with a DLD, the driver must blow into the DLD and the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be below .030. As long as the driver’s BAC is below .030 the car will start. The DLD also requires the driver to blow into the machine every 20 minutes while operating the vehicle, or the car will shut down. Having a deep lung device on your vehicle is a rude awaking.

If person accused of DWI is released from jail via a writ bond, a mechanism in Collin County that a allows a person’s bond to be set if they have not seen a magistrate judge, that person will have a hearing before a Collin County Court At Law judge within 10 days to determine whether a DLD will be installed as a condition of bond. At the hearing the judge will consider:

  • The person’s driving record and see if there have been any prior alcohol related offenses;
  • Has there been an accident;
  • Is the person’s blood alcohol level above a .15; and
  • Is this a person’s second DWI offense

Even if you have never been in trouble before, DWI consequences can be political in nature. With this being the case, judges are more inclined to have the DLD installed as a condition of bond out of necessity for public safety.

If the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a .15, or this is the person’s second DWI, Texas law requires that the judge require an installation of a DLD. If there was an accident, the judge certainly has discretion to order the installation of the DLD if he/she it is in the best interest of the public.

If a DLD has not been installed as a condition of a person’s bond, it may be added later as a condition of their DWI probation. For example, if a person’s BAC is above .15, Texas law requires a DLD to be installed on the person’s vehicle for at least half the length of their probation. Also, in some situations, a DLD is required as a condition for the person’s occupational driver’s license.

The expense of a DLD adds up as well. The device costs about $100 to install and about $80 a month after that. These costs are approximates as they change over time. Also, a person is required to return to the installer at least once a month to have the device calibrated. Failure to have the device calibrated could result in forfeiture of the person’s bond, which means a return trip to jail.

You Can Be Charged With Assault Even If You Are The Victim

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

An assault case can be a very tricky situation. Even if you are the victim in an assault, you can be charged as the aggressor. Here’s why:

A fight of any sort is a very difficult situation for any police officer to come into because it is so dangerous. A responding officer has to be concerned about the participants being injured, making sure the fight is contained before any innocent bystanders are injured, and of course the officer him or herself does not want to be injured. Depending on the situation, there can also be a concern of concealed weapons being brandished or worse, used.

Fights can also happen very fast. This being the case, if you have five witnesses, you could have five different stories of who witnessed what events. Witnesses may also see the fight after it had already escalated and guess at who really started it. The same is true for 911 callers that may hear or see a fight after it had already started and not know who the real aggressor is. Also, different stories can be told from the participants themselves making it very difficult for police to ascertain who is the victim and who is the aggressor.

Arrests have to be made and usually the police don’t have a lot of time to make a call in an assault case—they have to rush to judgment and get the situation under control. As citizens this is exactly what we want the police to do—make arrests quickly and keep us safe. But sometimes the police in haste may get things wrong.

As you can see, an assault charge can be relatively simple, or it can be very fact intensive. An assault charge is also very serious whether it is simple or complex and if it is an assault family violence charge, the impact of a conviction comes with far reaching consequences. And if you happen to think you are a victim, and the prosecutor thinks you are the aggressor, well then you are in for a long ordeal.

If you happen to find yourself in such a situation, I highly recommend consulting with an attorney on how to navigate the justice system and mount a proper defense and if needed get a competent investigator and/or therapist on the case to turn up facts that may not be readily available. A prosecutor is mostly likely not going to listen to you own your own without representation—especially if he or she believe that you were the aggressor.

One thing to consider is if you are the victim and you were injured in the altercation-no matter how minor—make sure you get photographs of your injuries. Sometimes, the photographs themselves can speak volumes and give your counsel just the right amount of leverage to get the case dismissed or reduced.

How Social Media Can Hurt You in a Criminal Case

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

If you have a pending criminal case, or if you believe you may be under criminal investigation in Texas, you have to appreciate just how powerful social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can be on the outcome of your case (or investigation) before it even gets started.

Social media first became popular to young people years ago and now just about everyone is connecting online in some way. You can usually find out some basic information about a person you have just met by searching their name on Facebook. Prosecutors and investigators understand this and will do the same thing. What does you Facebook wall or Twitter page say about what type of person you are?

To help keep yourself away from potential social media legal issues, you must first understand how social media posts can impact you in criminal cases.

It’s possible the words you write and pictures or videos you post can prove damaging in criminal cases. Although it may seem harmless at first, these communications become important when posts demonstrate you did or said something at the time it was posted. The quote will be there good or bad with no context. For example, if you post on Facebook how angry you are at a person and the next day you are in a fight with them and get arrested for assault, the State may use your quote to show your state of mind to try to prove you were the aggressor. Here are some other examples I commonly see in my practice

  • Descriptions and announcements of behavior
           Threats, anger, depression, “wanting to get hammered”, bragging about crimes, etc.
  •  Descriptions or photos of drug use, paraphernalia, or other instruments of criminal activity
          Drugs, illegally obtained firearms, and other illegal weapons
  • Statements or images that place you at a given location
         Checking in at bars (or multiple bars) at a specific times, or pictures of drinking—usually not good evidence in DWIs cases-especially if you are bond for a DWI      charge.
  •  Images or descriptions that implicate you in more serious crimes or illegal activity
         Pictures of you with large amounts of drugs, stolen property, or firearms.

Although you may believe these thoughts or pictures are protected from public view based on what you have selected in your account’s privacy settings; however, the settings guarantee nothing. Facebook and other platforms actively participate with law enforcement to reveal “protected” information. Never assume information you put online isn’t accessible to those who might be investigating you for evidence of criminal activity.

McKinney Texas Cop Pulls Gun on Black Kids at Pool Party

214-402-4364-Writ Bond Hotline
bo@kalabuslaw.com
www.rosenthalwadas.com
www.kalabuslaw.com
Office: 972-562-7549

The McKinney, Texas officer placed on leave after pulling his gun on unarmed teenagers has been identified as as Corporal Eric Casebolt.  See horrific video here:

 https://youtu.be/bpWP8aMcOo8

 

FAQs About Possession of Marijuana in Texas

214-402-4364 (24 hour jail release)
972-562-7549 (Office)
bo@kalabuslaw.com (email)
www.kalabuslaw.com
www.rosenthalwadas.com

UnknownPossession of Marijuana FAQ

Q: What does possession really mean?

A: The Texas Penal Code Section 1.07(39) defines “possession” as “actual care, custody, control, or management.” In other words, the State has to prove that someone was in actual care, custody, control, or management of the marijuana not just that someone was merely in close proximity to the drugs.

Q: What exactly is considered marijuana?

A: The legal definition of marijuana is defined in the Texas Health and Safety Code. Marijuana is in its own category and for the purposes of marijuana possession, is defined as any Cannabis sativa plant, whether it is growing or not, the seeds of the plant and any preparation of the plant such as a joint or a package containing dried and shredded buds.

Q: How serious is a possession of marijuana charge?

A: It depends. Possession of marijuana is at least a misdemeanor criminal charge under Texas law. Though most minor marijuana possession cases can be dealt with effectively, more serious charges with larger quantities or intent to sell are extremely serious charges.

Q: What are the laws and penalties regarding marijuana possession?

A: As follows:

Weight Classification Penalty

*2 ounces or less
Class B misdemeanor
Not more than 180 days in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,000

*More than 2 ounces, but less than 4 ounces
Class A misdemeanor
Not more than 1 year in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $4,000

*More than 4 ounces, but less than 5 pounds
State jail felony
180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

*More than 5 pounds, but less than 50 pounds
Third-degree felony
2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

*More than 50 pounds, but less than 2,000
Second-degree felony
2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

*More than 2,000 pounds
Enhanced first-degree felony
5 to 99 years and a fine of not more than $50,000

Q: Does having a possession of marijuana conviction on my record affect my driver’s license?

A: Yes, you can be sentenced to a suspended driver’s license for up to six months following a conviction on any violation of the Texas Controlled Substances Act, which includes possession of marijuana.

Texas Legislature Cracks Down on Regulation of Internet Mugshot Publishers

214-402-4364-Writ Bond Hotline
bo@kalabuslaw.com
www.rosenthalwadas.com
www.kalabuslaw.com
Office: 972-562-7549

Starting September 1, 2013, there is new law regarding the publishing of mugshots and associated information on the Internet. The new “mugshot law” certainly highlights why you need to hire a competent lawyer to handle your expunction or nondisclosure to make sure the mugshot businesses remove your mugshot and booking information from the web. This is because the new law does not place the burden on the mugshot business to remove or correct any of your information–unless they receive notice from you first. Now, let’s go over a little background on how we got here.

images.jpegThe mugshot publishing industry is an Internet niche of private businesses that publish mugshots of individuals arrested by law enforcement agencies. This industry has exploded over the past few years. In fact, it has been reported that more than 60 new mugshot websites have been created in a two-year period ending in March 2013. As can be imagined, this growth has in turn spawned the Internet mugshot removal industry, which is a niche industry of businesses that charge a fee to have the mugshot removed from one or more websites.

The mugshots and the arrested individual’s information are published regardless of whether or not the person has been found guilty or not guilty of the crime they were arrested for. Because of this and that many of the online websites charge fees to remove mugshots and arrest profiles, the industry has become increasingly controversial. Some sites may remove information for free if the person is able to show proof that they were found not guilty, or that the charges were dropped. Typically sites will charge a fee regardless of the disposition of the case. This controversy has led some state legislatures to propose bills to regulate the industry.

Texas is one of those states enacting legislation on September 1, 2013 in an effort to regulate the websites and to provide relief to individuals that were found not guilty of the crimes they were accused of. During its 2013 legislative session, the Texas State Senate passed two bills regulating the businesses that publish mugshots and accept payment to remove the information. It now requires the business to publish a mailing address, e-mail address, or a fax number to allow people to contact the business. Any individual may contact the business disputing the accuracy of the information being published by the business. The business has 45 days to respond, in writing, about the dispute and the results of its investigation into the dispute. The bill also forbids these businesses from publishing the arrest records of anyone who has not been convicted and establishes a fine for those businesses that do so. And these fines add up if a person has had a criminal offense expunged or nondisclosed from their record and the business continues to publish the mugshot following notice of the expunction or nondisclosure to the tune of $500 a day. Also, if a person who prevails in a lawsuit against the business may recover court costs and attorney’s fees.

What You Need to Know About Drug Free Zones in Texas

By Bo Kalabus
bo@kalabuslaw.com
Office: 972-562-7549
Collin County 24-Hour Jail Release 214-402-4364
www.kalabuslaw.com
www.rosenthalwadas.com

The most common drug free zones I come across in my practice are schools. Generally possession of a controlled substance in a drug free zone (DFZ) is defined as being within 1000 feet of public or private elementary, or secondary school, or daycare center. As you can imagine, these types of schools are scattered throughout the Texas countryside.

There are two major ramifications of possessing a controlled substance in a DFZ. First, possession in the DFZ increases the punishment range one degree. For example, possession of marijuana of two ounces or less is a class B misdemeanor, however; if a person is caught possessing the same amount in a DFZ, it becomes a class A misdemeanor. Second, if the person is sentenced to the penitentiary for possession in a DFZ, that person will not receive any good conduct time for the first 5 years of incarceration. For example, if the person is sentenced to 5 years in the Texas Department of Corrections for possession of cocaine in a DFZ, the person will have to do the whole 5 years.

As you can see, if you are caught possessing a controlled substance in a DFZ, the penalties can be stiff. If you are facing such charges, you should consult a lawyer that is familiar with the law and knows how to attack the facts regarding the DFZ.

Juvenile Detention Hearings

By Bo Kalabus
bo@kalabuslaw.com
Office: 972-562-7549
Collin County 24 Hour Jail Release 214-402-4364
www.rosenthalwadas.com

Juvenile law in Texas is different than what you think it might be. It’s a mix of both civil and criminal law and uses terms that may be foreign–even to lawyers not familiar with the process. The attitude of the juvenile judge can do a lot to hinder the progress of either the defense attorney, prosecuting attorney or both. Tough love is usually the concept behind juvenile law. This because, it is similar to federal court in that a juvenile typically does not have a right to a jury assessing punishment and the judge must follow a sentencing guidelines.

The real sticking point of the juvenile system for most parents is that children accused of more serious crimes can be held in custody until the time of trial. The juvenile system is not considered a punitive system, but one of rehabilitation; therefore juveniles are not given a bond–with no bond being set you can’t bond them out of jail and there they will sit. In some cases, the child will be released pre-trial by agreement. However, if the State does not agree to the release of the child, the child will receive a hearing to determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe the child committed the offense. The hearing will also be used to determine if there is probable cause to believe various conditions apply, one of which is whether suitable supervision is being provided at home and whether the child is following the supervision. The supervision condition may be very difficult to get around considering the child is before a judge in the first place and that may speak volumes about what the judge is going to think about the parental supervision.

Juvenile hearings can be very difficult to win. And the ability for the juvenile court to detain a child pre-trial also creates a situation where the child’s confinement can exceed his maximum potential sentence. However, a major difference between juvenile law and criminal law is that a child does not get back time credit for the time he/she is confined.

If your child is facing juvenile charges, you should seek the counsel of a lawyer to help navigate the process.

 

Plano / Frisco / McKinney / Dallas Area Expunction options for those convicted of a Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charge by Bo Kalabus

If you have been convicted of the charge of a minor in possession of alcohol, hereinafter MIP Alcohol, you may have the option of having the conviction expunged, or permanently removed from your record.

The vehicle for expunction of an MIP Alcohol conviction is provided by the Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.12 which states:

(a) Any person convicted of not more than one violation of this code while a minor, on attaining the age of 21 years, may apply to the court in which he was convicted to have the conviction expunged.

(b) The application shall contain the applicant’s sworn statement that he was not convicted of any violation of this code while a minor other than the one he seeks to have expunged.

(c) If the court finds that the applicant was not convicted of any other violation of this code while he was a minor, the court shall order the conviction, together with all complaints, verdicts, sentences, and other documents relating to the offense, to be expunged from the applicant’s record. After entry of the order, the applicant shall be released from all disabilities resulting from the conviction, and the conviction may not be shown or made known for any purpose.

(d) The court shall charge an applicant a fee in the amount of $30 for each application for expungement filed under this section to defray the cost of notifying state agencies of orders of expungement under this section.

If you have been convicted of an MIP Alcohol and have since turned 21, you should contact a lawyer to determine if you are eligible for an expunction.

 

 

Minor in Possession of Tobacco by Bo Kalabus

Texas Health & Safety Code, Sec. 161.252 prohibits the possession, purchase, consumption, or receipt of cigarettes or tobacco products by minors, hereinafter “MIP Tobacco”. The statute reads as follows:

(a) An individual who is younger than 18 years of age commits an offense if the individual:
(1) possesses, purchases, consumes, or accepts a cigarette or tobacco product; or

(2) falsely represents himself or herself to be 18 years of age or older by displaying proof of age that is false, fraudulent, or not actually proof of the individual’s own age in order to obtain possession of, purchase, or receive a cigarette or tobacco product.

However, there are defenses to MIP Tobacco:

(b) It is an exception to the application of this section that the individual younger than 18 years of age possessed the cigarette or tobacco product in the presence of:
(1) an adult parent, a guardian, or a spouse of the individual; or

(2) an employer of the individual, if possession or receipt of the tobacco product is required in the performance of the employee’s duties as an employee.

(c) It is an exception to the application of this section that the individual younger than 18 years of age is participating in an inspection or test of compliance in accordance with Section 161.088.

If convicted the punishment is applied as follows:

(d) An offense under this section is punishable by a fine not to exceed $250.

However, tobacco awareness classes will also mostly likely be required. Texas Health & Safety Code, Sec. 161.253 governs the Tobacco Awareness Program; Community Service:

a) On conviction of an individual for an offense under Section 161.252 (possession of tobacco), the court shall suspend execution of sentence and shall require the defendant to attend a tobacco awareness program approved by the commissioner. The court may require the parent or guardian of the defendant to attend the tobacco awareness program with the defendant.

(b) On request, a tobacco awareness program may be taught in languages other than English.

(c) If the defendant resides in a rural area of this state or another area of this state in which access to a tobacco awareness program is not readily available, the court shall require the defendant to perform eight to 12 hours of tobacco-related community service instead of attending the tobacco awareness program.

(d) The tobacco awareness program and the tobacco-related community service are remedial and are not punishment.

(e) Not later than the 90th day after the date of a conviction under Section 161.252, the defendant shall present to the court, in the manner required by the court, evidence of satisfactory completion of the tobacco awareness program or the tobacco-related community service.

(f) On receipt of the evidence required under Subsection (e), the court shall:
(1) if the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under Section 161.252, execute the sentence, and at the discretion of the court, reduce the fine imposed to not less than half the fine previously imposed by the court; or

2) if the defendant has not been previously convicted of an offense under Section 161.252, discharge the defendant and dismiss the complaint or information against the defendant.

(g) If the court discharges the defendant under Subsection (f)(2), the defendant is released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense except that the defendant is considered to have been convicted of the offense if the defendant is subsequently convicted of an offense under Section 161.252 committed after the dismissal under Subsection (f)(2).

In short, under the current law, if a minor convicted of a first offense MIP Tobacco completes the tobacco awareness classes within the required 90 days, the charges against the minor are dismissed–unless the minor gets a subsequent MIP Tobacco. If the minor has a prior MIP Tobacco conviction, the sentence will be executed, but the judge has discretion to lower the fine.

Texas is very serious about the tobacco awareness classes. In fact, failure to complete the tobacco classes within the 90 day period can result in a driver’s license suspension.

Texas Health & Safety Code, Sec. 161.254. Driver’s License Suspension or Denial:

(a) If the defendant does not provide the evidence required under Section 161.253(e) within the period specified by that subsection, the court shall order the Department of Public Safety to suspend or deny issuance of any driver’s license or permit to the defendant. The order must specify the period of the suspension or denial, which may not exceed 180 days after the date of the order.

MIP Tobacco can turn into a serious problem. If you or a loved one is charged with MIP Tobacco, be sure to consult a lawyer to determine what your rights and options are.