Terroristic Threat: A word of warning

An Austin teenager remains jailed charged with making a terroristic threat for making a statement on Facebook. The charge can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on to whom the threat was conveyed to. As a Houston criminal defense lawyer, I have successfully defending many of these cases focusing on the lack of intent. People make outlandish statements without considering the consequences and sometimes don’t mean any harm to anyone, however, words said during an argument or simply made to get a reaction from others a friend or family member land them in jail. Prosecutors take theses case very seriously because of the subject matter involved and you needed talented representation to provide guidance and advice.

It is a criminal offense in Texas to threaten to commit violence to any person or property such as:  (1)  cause a reaction of any type to his threat by an
official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies;
(2)  place any person in fear of imminent serious
bodily injury;
(3)  prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a
building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has
access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or
other form of conveyance, or other public place;
(4)  cause impairment or interruption of public
communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power
supply or other public service;
(5)  place the public or a substantial group of the
public in fear of serious bodily injury;  or
(6)  influence the conduct or activities of a branch or
agency of the federal government, the state, or a political
subdivision of the state.

If you are charged with making a terroristic threat, call today for assistance.

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Intoxication manslaughter and Intoxication assault

The Houston Chronicle reported the latest arrest made for intoxication manslaughter and intoxicated assault in Harris County, Texas. Harris County is one of the top areas in the country for vehicle fatalities related to alcohol. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office for many years has employed specialized prosecutors and investigators to handle this very complex cases.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/HPD-says-drunken-driver-caused-fatal-SUV-crash-4618268.php

In Texas, intoxication assault is a second degree felony with a punishment range of from 2 to 20 years in TDC (prison) along with a fine. Under the right circumstances, it is possible to receive probation for such a charge in Texas, but it can also involve jail time as a condition of probation. Intoxication assault is one offense degree lower than intoxication manslaughter , meaning it is a third degree felony which a punishment range from 2 years up to 10 years in TDC (prison) along with a fine. Again, it is possible to receive probation for the this charge under certain circumstances that I can fully explore for you if you are facing this serious situation.

If you or a loved one, is charged with intoxication manslaughter or intoxication assault, call me today to assist you.

 

 

Posted in DWI, Intoxication Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter, News | Leave a comment

East Texas Man Gets Life for Kneeing, Killing Young Daughter

A man in east Texas who was accused of kneeing his daughter in the abdomen when she woke him from his nap has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole.

On Wednesday, Dramon Rashon Green, 22, pleaded guilty to the capital murder of Ayanna Webb, 2.

The district attorney in Smith County says Green could have faced the death penalty if his case had gone to trial.

When Webb was taken to the hospital for her injuries, the medical staff alerted police. Doctors performed emergency surgery to try to stop her internal bleeding, but they were unsuccessful.

Read here for the original news story.

Schedule a free consultation with Gary Miller at 713-866-6233 if you are charged with committing murder.

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Pretrial Release and Bail: Go Home After Being Charged With a Crime

After an arrest, it could be some time before a defendant goes to trial. The accused does not always pose a threat to public safety, which is why bail is allowed in many instances. By paying bail, a defendant could get a pretrial release.

What is Bail?

In Texas, bail involves the exchange of an item of value in order to obtain one’s release from jail. This is usually a set amount of money or personal property of intrinsic value. In exchange for giving up an item of value, the accused promises to return to court as ordered by the judge. Upon doing so, he or she will have the money or item returned. Should that individual fail to appear, the money or property would be forfeited to the court, and an additional arrest warrant will then be issued.

How Much Bail is Reasonable?

Defendants will be charged an amount that is reasonable under the circumstances. Judges are normally responsible for setting bail in each case. In determining how high bail should be, a few things they consider include:

  • Type of charges the defendant is facing
  • The criminal history of the accused
  • Whether or not it is likely the individual will flee
  • Financial resources of the individual and his or her family members

Since all of these factors play a part in determining bail, it can be difficult to predict the amount that will be set until a judge has made a ruling. Even when two defendants are charged together, each one could end up owing significantly different bail amounts.

Can Bail be Denied?

In some cases, a judge may deny bail altogether if the crime is very violent or heinous. When the possible punishment includes death by lethal injection or life in prison without parole, bail is typically denied. This can also be the case with many drug-related offenses if the possible sentence would be more than 10 years in prison. Even if the crime is relatively minor, judges may deny bail if there is a high likelihood of that person fleeing before the trial begins. It could also be denied if the judge feels the accused might try to hinder justice by tampering with evidence or intimidating witnesses.

For more information on paying bail, a criminal defendant or his family member should contact Gary Miller at 713-866-6233.

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Arrest Warrant Issued for Former NFL Wide Receiver Chad Johnson

An arrest warrant has been issued for the arrest of former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson.

The warrant was given on May 7 in Florida. Johnson, 35, was scheduled to meet with his probation officer on Feb. 15 and March 15, but he was a no-show both times. He also did not present proof of enrollment and completion of the Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP).

Johnson was previously accused of headbutting his ex-wife, Evelyn Lozada, when the couple had an argument last August. The altercation ensued when she supposedly found a receipt for condoms in the car they shared.

Johnson was taken in to police custody on Aug. 11 and charged with domestic battery. He soon entered a “no contest” plea and started his one year of probation.

The Miami Dolphins removed Johnson from their roster after his arrest.

Read here for more on this story.

If you are accused of violating the terms of your probation, dial 713-866-6233 to schedule a free initial consultation with Houston attorney Gary S. Miller.

Posted in Assault and Battery, News | Leave a comment

The Plain View Doctrine: When Can the Police Seize Your Property?

In most cases, officers are required to obtain a search warrant before seizing incriminating evidence. One of the major exceptions to this rule involves the plain view doctrine. This doctrine stipulates that any evidence that is in “plain view” of an officer when he or she is in an authorized area can be seized without obtaining a warrant first.

Lawful Traffic Stop

The plain view doctrine most often comes into play during a routine traffic stop for a crime such as drunk driving. In order to use this warrant exception, an officer must have made a lawful traffic stop. These are the primary conditions for a “lawful” stop by police:

  • The officer had reasonable suspicion that criminal activity took place.
  • The motorist violated a traffic law.

Upon making a stop, officers may seize any evidence that is left out in the open. Government agents must be able to identify this evidence upon sight, rather than having to examine it to determine its legality. Evidence seized under the plain view doctrine can result in a lawful arrest, with the evidence typically being admissible during a court trial.

Questioning the Validity of Plain View

Defense attorneys normally try to determine whether an officer was in an area where he or she was authorized to be when challenging plain view evidence. If the evidence was seized during a traffic stop, lawyers may question whether or not the stop was valid under Texas law.

In determining if evidence was indeed in plain view, courts generally give wide leeway to officers who act inside the scope of their duties. For example, officers may move around a vehicle and look into various sections of it in order to find evidence that is in plain view. When making stops at night, the use of a flashlight is also permitted.

Courts have also ruled that marijuana growing in a field is in plain view of officers flying overhead in search helicopters. That’s because it is easily visible by anyone who might be flying over that particular area. The use of infrared technology to pinpoint marijuana inside a house is forbidden, since it essentially looks through walls and is therefore not in “plain view.”

A criminal defense attorney can help you determine if a traffic stop by police violated your rights.

For a free consultation with a knowledgeable defense lawyer, contact the Miller Law Group today at 713-866-6233.

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Missing Teenager Found Safe in Mexico With Alleged Kidnapper

Police announced at a press conference on Thursday that a teenage girl from the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills and her alleged kidnapper were found safe in Mexico.

Ruby Contreras, 14, and Stephan Cox, 26, are being detained by the Mexican police. Warrants were recently filed in Columbus, Ohio for Cox’s arrest because he supposedly had sexual contact with another 14-year-old.

It is not known how or where Contreras and Cox were found, but agents in Mexico contacted the North Richland Hills police on Thursday morning.

Contreras will be reunited with her family as early as Friday, while it could take longer than a week to return Cox.

Read here for more on this news story.

Call the Miller Law Group today at 713-866-6233 if you are facing kidnapping accusations.

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American Citizens and the Right to Bear Arms

Americans were granted the right to bear arms in 1791, which was when the Second Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. It is very difficult for lawmakers to interpret the amendment, but the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that most American citizens have the right to protect themselves and their property when necessary.

Why is It Confusing?

The Second Amendment is confusing because of the first sentence, which includes the phrase “a well-regulated militia.” Some lawmakers interpret this to mean that only the militia should be allowed to carry arms in order to protect and defend the nation’s citizens. In this case, only military personnel and law enforcement officers have the right to carry firearms. However, the same sentence addresses “the right of the people to bear arms.” For this reason, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress ratified the Second Amendment so that the militia could defend the country, but that the right to bear arms is not limited to law enforcement officials and military personnel.

Federal Restrictions

The Second Amendment grants most (but not all) citizens the right to carry firearms. Citizens who have been convicted of felonies cannot own guns, and there are a few types of firearms that are exempt. Federal laws prohibit guns that exceed what a typical citizen may need in order to defend himself, and they regulate how firearms can be sold and carried. These laws also prohibit citizens from carrying firearms into schools and government buildings.

State Laws

The federal government allows individual states to form their own gun laws, but these state laws must not overrule constitutional rights. Gun owners may use their firearms to hunt, but they must follow all hunting laws and restrictions. This includes hunting during the specified seasons and in specific areas, as well as buying the appropriate hunting licenses. States have gun control laws that require citizens to wait a certain period of time before receiving the guns that they purchase. Gun owners must also register their firearms according to their states’ gun control laws.

The Second Amendment and Criminal Lawyers

The laws surrounding gun ownership are confusing, and each case is taken into consideration. Criminal defense lawyers are knowledgeable about state and federal gun laws, and they can assist clients who are facing weapons- or gun-related charges.

If you would like more information about your right to bear arms, talk to the attorneys at the Miller Law Group, PLLC at 713-866-6233.

Posted in General Law, Guns and Weapons | Leave a comment

Man Tries to Sell Truck on Craigslist, is Shot, Carjacked by Buyer

A Houston man who tried to sell his Ford F-150 truck on Craigslist was shot and carjacked on Thursday night when he met the buyer.

The owner of the pickup truck and a friend met the interested buyer at a restaurant at 9:30 p.m. The man who responded to the Craigslist ad was waiting with another suspect in the parking lot. When the men met, one of the alleged suspects shot the seller and fled the scene of the crime in the F-150. The man’s accomplice got away in his own vehicle.

The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he is in critical condition. Police have not apprehended either suspect.

Read here for the original story.

If you have been accused of theft, call 713-866-6233 today to schedule a free case review with the Miller Law Group, PLLC.

Posted in News, Theft | Leave a comment

Police Dogs As Evidence In Texas

Guest Post by Lauren Williams, staff writer for Randolphwolf.com/blog

Dogs play a major role in the law enforcement operations. Dogs have a great sense of smell. According to experts, a dog’s sense of smell is up to a million times more sensitive than a human’s. They are used to sniff out bombs and narcotics. Scent dogs can detect human scent. The law enforcement officers use scent dogs to identify the criminals. The scent dogs could pick the guilty party out of a lineup based on the scent of something that was in contact with a person suspected of committing a crime. Is dog scent evidence alone sufficient for a conviction? The evidence experts and courts say that it is not sufficient.

On February 27, 2013, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas acquitted a defendant who was convicted by the trial court holding that dog scent evidence alone is not sufficient to support the conviction. (see Winfrey v. State, 2013). In Winfrey, the victim was a school janitor, murdered in 2004. The defendant, who was only 16 years at the time of the murder, was taken into custody after the enquiry that included dog-scent lineups and charged with two counts for capital murder and conspiracy. The Court held that the dog-scent evidence is only supportive and it cannot constitute itself as a conclusive evidence of guilt. If the State produced dog-scent evidence in a case, the State must produce other evidence to corroborate the dog-scent evidence to make a conclusion that the defendant has committed the crime.

Dog-scent evidence is inculpatory in nature. Inculpatory evidence means evidence that shows, or tends to show, a defendant’s involvement in a crime. In penal law, evidence that favors the prosecution’s case is called the inculpatory evidence. Exculpatory evidence means the evidence that shows the innocence of a defendant.

The supporters of the dog-scent lineup say that the dog-scent lineup is a most powerful tool for the law enforcement officers during their investigation. In dog-scent lineups, the dog walks along a line of tin cans that contain individual scent samples from possible suspects. It is similar to lineups in which a witness identifying a suspect from a group of people.

The law enforcement officers take scent samples from the possible suspects as well as others who are not involved in the crime. The dog is exposed to the scent from the items found at the crime scene and then walked by the line of tin cans that contain the scent samples. If the dog finds a matching scent, it gives a signal by barking.

Pursuant to a FBI report, the scent dogs are useful in establishing a connection to the crime. At the same time, the dog-scent lineups are criticized by many. They say that the procedures are not well-controlled and the possibilities of cross contamination are great in dog-scent lineups.

The dog experts say that the scent dogs commit mistakes unless they are trained well. Therefore, the scent-dog evidence is not always reliable. But it can be supportive if there is other corroborating evidence.

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