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April 2016 Archives

SCOTUS ponders criminal penalties for breath test refusal

Drivers in Texas who refuse a police officer's order to take a breath test may lose their driving privileges for up to two years, but motorists in 13 states who are suspected of driving under the influence would face separate criminal charges for doing the same. Police in these states have consistently supported mandatory breath test laws and argue that they cut down both drunk driving and road fatality rates, but civil liberties groups oppose the laws and say that they violate the search and seizure protections contained in the Fourth Amendment if no warrant is obtained. Lawsuits challenging the laws filed by drivers in North Dakota and Minnesota are now before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the justices began hearing arguments on April 20. The court is expected to rule in June.

Domestic Disputes: When Police Called Someone Gets Arrested

Domestic assault and violence-related charges in Texas are taken very seriously by law enforcement. While this is good public policy as a hopeful deterrent against domestic violence, it also creates complex issues when enforced. Especially when there was no actual domestic assault and a call to the police is made out of anger or retaliation. While there are exceptions to every situation, in almost all domestic dispute cases, when the police are called to the home someone will get arrested.

Mandatory ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders

Many Texans are charged with driving while intoxicated each year. Because of the large number of drunk driving convictions in the U.S., Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been pushing for all of the states to pass laws making the use of ignition interlock devices mandatory for anyone who has been convicted of the offense.

Texas man facing murder charge after family dispute

Houston police have reported that a 29-year-old man was taken into custody on April 3 after a family dispute turned deadly. The man is alleged to have shot the boyfriend of his child's mother several times after he became embroiled in an argument with the woman. The incident took place outside the home of the child's mother in northeast Houston at approximately 8:00 p.m.

Drug offenders receive presidential commutation

In an effort to jumpstart efforts to reform the criminal justice system, President Obama commuted the federal prison sentences of 61 drug offenders. The offenses were mostly for drug possession or intent to sell, and roughly 33 percent of those offenders were serving life sentences. All of those pardoned are expected to be released by July 28, and five of those who had their sentences commuted were from Texas.

Immediate implications for the accused: sex crimes involving minors

The second a person is accused of a sex crime, especially a sex crime involving a minor, the negative impact of the accusation begins. The sheer stigma of being associated with this type of crime is very hard to recover from. The longer this stigma is associated with the accused, the more difficult it will be to save a person's reputation, career and future.

Man and woman charged with theft from Texas Walmart

Two individuals, a man and a woman, were taken into custody by police in the early morning hours of March 25 for theft and fraud. The two individuals, both in their 30's, were allegedly attempting to steal items from the Walmart located at Amarillo Boulevard and Gem Lake Road in Amarillo.

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R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
1545 Heights Blvd. Suite 600
Houston, TX 77008

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