When you face drug charges, you quite literally face a turning point where your life may go any number of directions -- and most of them are unfavorable. A drug conviction can make living a healthy, productive, safe life much more difficult.
Texas residents interested in the justice system might like to know about the role sleep plays in acquiring confessions. A study that has been published in a National Academy of Sciences journal indicates that fatigued individuals are more likely than rested individuals to sign false confessions.
A law enforcement office in Texas helped contribute to the record number of exonerations in 2015. Around 28 percent of the 149 people who were exonerated last year were freed due to the work of one Conviction Integrity Unit in Harris County. The exonerated people had been serving time for drug offenses, murders and other serious crimes that they did not commit.
"Making a Murderer" is a crime documentary series that has captivated viewers in Texas and around the country. The film features a confession by 16-year-old Brendan Dassey which many people believe was fabricated. According to one expert, the confession portion of the case bears similarity to another case that occurred in Minnesota. Unlike Brendan Dassey, the suspect in the latter case was acquitted.
Texas residents may wonder why individuals accused of crimes committed while under the influence rarely claim diminished capacity as a defense. While drinking or taking drugs may sometimes make it difficult for individuals to resist their impulses or tell right from wrong, temporary insanity caused by drugs or alcohol will only be recognized by the law in a handful of very specific circumstances.
Texas business owners who face criminal charges for violations of OSHA regulations or other federal workplace safety laws should know that in December 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice stated its intention to change the way certain crimes would be prosecuted. According to news sources, committing the crimes in question could result in some employers being indicted for felony level offenses. If convicted, the accused may be subjected to penalties that include stiff fines and jail sentences of between five and 20 years.
Texas readers may be interested to learn that prosecutors at a prominent national wiretapping hub in California likely violated federal law when they permitted police eavesdropping in hundreds of drug cases. According to an investigation by USA Today and The Desert Sun, the violations could call into question the legality of up to 738 wiretaps approved by the Riverside County facility.
Texas criminal courts often use sworn testimony from law enforcement officers, witnesses and the defendant as a basis for their verdicts and associated sentences. Those who knowingly mislead the court in an attempt to sway the judge or a jury into making a certain decision may be accused of perjury.
Most Texas criminal cases are resolved through plea bargaining rather than going to trial. Though many advocate on behalf of plea bargains because courts would be overwhelmed if all cases went to trial, others believe that they often provide defendants with too easy of a way out.
Those who face criminal charges in Texas could potentially avoid spending time in prison even if they are convicted. Because judges have the ability to hand down alternative sentences, defendants may be able to complete their punishments via means like performing community service, serving probation or paying fines. In some cases, judges can decide to impose suspended sentences on those who haven't been convicted of crimes in the past or who face minor misdemeanor charges.