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Houston Criminal Defense Blog

Roofer accused of stealing from homeowners

On June 15, a 37-year-old Texas roofer was taken into custody after he was accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from homeowners. According to the report, homeowners made payments to the man to fix their roofs and then he would refuse to answer their calls.

According to the man's attorney, the customers were seeking repairs that were not covered by their insurance. However, there have been at least six lawsuits filed against the man on similar grounds. One customer said that the man refused to talk to her even though she had paid for repairs that were never provided. Police investigators in several counties have also filed cases against the man for failing to complete the roof work. The roofer was taken to Denton County jail where he was booked and released on a $5,000 bond.

Woman charged in fatal crash

A motor vehicle accident occurred on Feb.25, 2017, and took the life of a 30-year-old woman. The fatality occurred when a 32-year-old woman from Muleshore, Texas, with a blood alcohol level that was almost three times the legal limit, drove her Mercury Mariner through a red light and collided with a Ford Fiesta that had the right of way.

On June 7, 2017, the driver was assessed a charge of second-degree felony manslaughter. If convicted, she can be incarcerated from two to 20 years. Because the prosecutors are alleging that her SUV was a deadly weapon, she may see her parole eligibility extended if she is convicted.

102 grams of dangerous fentanyl seized

An investigation into illegal opioids in Harris County led to the arrest of a 22-year-old Texas man. Law enforcement took him into custody at his apartment on Fry Road. The man had allegedly just left the post office with a package containing slightly more than 100 grams of fentanyl.

Produced synthetically, fentanyl is a potent opioid drug described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. According to information provided by police, the man appeared to have ordered the drug from China.

26 alleged mafia members taken into custody on drug charges

It was reported on May 23 that 26 alleged members of a Texas mafia were taken into police custody. The report said that authorities already had eight individuals in custody while three alleged members were still on the run.

The alleged members of the group, which is known as the Texas Mexican Mafia, have been reportedly distributing drugs, including methamphetamine and heroin, in the San Antonio region since 2015. They also allegedly collected a 10 percent tax that non-members who assisted with the distribution had to pay. Those who did not pay the tax were at risk for serious bodily harm, which could potentially include death.

2 people face felony drug charges following search

News sources in Texas report that two people were taken into custody on numerous drug charges after police executed a search warrant on a home in Nacogdoches. When local law enforcement officials entered the residence on East Main Street on the evening of May 17, they discovered a 21-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man in possession of a variety of drugs, including methamphetamine and marijuana. Both individuals were subsequently taken to the county jail.

According to the jail docket, the man resides in the home. He is being held on a charge of third-degree felony possession of marijuana between 5 and 50 pounds. Bail in the case has been set at $12,000.

David Hasselhoff's daughter charged with drunk driving

Texans might be interested in learning that actor David Hasselhoff's daughter Hayley Hasselhoff was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Hayley Hasselhoff previously appeared in the feature film "Sharknado" and in "Huge" on ABC.

According to law enforcement authorities with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Hasselhoff was driving on the 101 Freeway when she allegedly came to a complete stop on an off-ramp around 4 a.m. on May 13. Officers report that witnesses called 911. When the officers responded, Hasselhoff was allegedly found passed out behind the wheel with her foot on the car's brake pedal.

Drunk driving arrest of TV journalist in Texas makes news

A 32-year-old woman employed as an investigative reporter for KENS-TV in San Antonio became the subject of media reports after a May 28 arrest for alleged drunk driving. The report filed by a Hill Country Village police officer described her as driving a vehicle erratically on U.S. 281 North. After she failed to use a turn signal, the officer pulled her over. Other officers from the local jurisdiction also arrived on the scene.

Law enforcement administered a Breathalyzer test, which produced a blood alcohol level of 0.20. This figure approaches three times the legal limit for operating a vehicle. Because the sobriety test read above 0.15, authorities charged the woman with a Class A misdemeanor for driving while intoxicated. A conviction could result in fines and up to one year in prison.

Ruling may lead to bail reform

A judge ruled on April 28 that the bail system used by Houston-area authorities was unfair to poor offenders who cannot pay bail for low-level crimes. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a woman who was held in a Texas jail for two days because she couldn't afford her $2,500 bail. The plaintiff in the lawsuit was a single mother who was charged with driving without a license.

According to the ruling, the judge found that the bail system in Harris County violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. He ordered county authorities to release indigent defendants who were being held on misdemeanor charges. The district attorney for Harris County called the ruling a watershed moment for local criminal justice reform. Bail reform has recently become a significant issue in Houston.

Criminal charges could be based on government hacking

Hundreds of charges have been filed based on government hacking in a child pornography case. In this case, the FBI not only seized the servers used to host a child pornography site, it kept the site up and running in order to access user information and hack into the computers of site visitors in Texas and elsewhere. These included close to 9,000 devices located in 120 countries.

For many people, child pornography is an emotional issue. However, the issue of government hacking extends far beyond child pornography to all criminal cases. An alteration to procedures in federal criminal courts has allowed federal agents to use just one warrant to search and hack into vast numbers of electronic devices, without any need to specify the targets of the hacking or their location.

Drug trial suggests involvement of Chris Brown, Lil Wayne

Texas fans of rappers Chris Brown and Lil Wayne might have heard that they could become part of a federal drug investigation. On April 6, authorities said they were looking into a $15,000 wire transfer sent by Brown to a record producer who is being tried on drug charges. The authorities believe that the money was paid by Brown to the producer for purchasing drugs.

Allegedly, the producer used money from selling drugs to buy items such as firearms and luxury cars among other items. According to one federal agent, after the producer was taken into custody in October, he claimed he had sold narcotics to Lil Wayne. The prosecution has also used text messages to show the link between the three men and the selling of drugs. However, the producer's attorneys are saying that he did not sell drugs and he purchased the items to show off on social media postings.

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