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Corpus Christi Criminal Defense Blog

What the penalties associated with drug smuggling are in Texas

Drug trafficking is a significant problem here in Corpus Christi and along many of the border areas of the Lone Star State. Texas has some harshest penalties for those convicted of drug-related crimes as a result. The distribution and delivery of illicit drugs are unlawful per both the Texas Controlled Substance Act and federal law.

The penalties associated with drug trafficking crimes vary depending on the type and amount of drugs involved. For example, someone who was caught transporting pounds of cocaine or meth may face significantly higher charges and penalties than someone who sold a few leftover pain pills from a prescription. A defendant who stands accused of distributing an illicit substance may face anything from state to first-degree federal felony charges. Plus, a judge may sentence a defendant to a lengthy prison sentence if a jury convicts them of such a crime.

What are your rights when police question you before arrest?

When an officer approaches you outside of your home, comes to your place of employment or knocks on your door to ask for your help in a criminal investigation, your first instinct is probably to do whatever you can to help. After all, you know that you haven't committed any crimes, and you likely want to help keep your community a safe place.

Unfortunately, it's possible that the officer involved might think you committed a crime and might be trying to build a case against you. Talking to an officer in an informal situation could still result in the officer using what you say against you later on when they bring criminal charges against you. You might not even realize that you're at risk during the conversation.

How simple and aggravated robbery charges differ

There is a difference between simple robbery charges and those related to aggravated robbery. A person must have committed the act of theft, and while doing so, knowingly, intentionally or recklessly caused bodily injury or harm to another person to be charged with aggravated robbery in Texas. Prosecutors can also prove robbery charges by establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant threatened or caused the victim to fear that bodily injury or death was imminent.

A defendant may also be convicted of an aggravated offense if prosecutors can show that the defendant either threatened to or used a deadly weapon in the commission of their crime. If a robbery victim were 65 years old or older, mentally, physically or developmentally disabled, then the charges would also be upgraded to aggravated ones.

Why do prosecutors offer plea deals?

Plea deals are very common in the US legal system. Approximately 90% of all criminal cases end up with such an outcome every year. Thus, the chances are that prosecutors will offer you a plea deal if you're facing criminal charges. It often involves your acceptance of and sentencing for reduced charges versus taking your chances in court and facing maximize penalties.

Prosecutors often offer plea deals as a way to expedite the legal process. Court dockets are generally overcrowded. Prosecutors usually have heavy caseloads and prefer to focus their efforts on their most serious cases. Defendants can benefit from plea deals by having reduced legal costs and less uncertainty of a trial outcome.

Prescription and illicit drug possession are illegal in Texas

When most people hear that someone is facing drug possession charges, they often assume that they have to do with substances such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin or methamphetamine. Few individuals fail to take into account how the possession of prescription drugs can be illegal here in Texas.

Title 6, Subtitle C, Chapter 481, Section 481.115 - 481.123 of the Texas Health and Safety Code spells out how it's illegal for someone to knowingly possess a controlled substance that a doctor hasn't prescribed for them.

What motivates individuals to commit white collar crimes?

White collar crimes are nonviolent offenses. They can include crimes such as bribery, cybercrimes, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, identity theft, insider trading, money laundering, Ponzi schemes, intellectual property infringement and racketeering. The annual revenue loss associated with white collar crimes is over $500 billion, which is 10 times higher than the cost of personal property crimes.

There are a variety of reasons why white collar crimes occur. The incentive packages at an employee's job may be put together poorly, motivating a worker to circumvent the law to increase their earnings. A company's administration may have a laid-back attitude toward ethics, including insider trading information. A worker's employer may perceive their employee's actions as harmless or victimless.

Those who enable drug traffickers could face legal consequences

Drug trafficking is a very serious issue in Texas. Texas is a state that has a significant issue with drug traffickers in part because drugs can be smuggled across the border from overseas. This is one of the reasons why penalties for drug trafficking in Texas are so high.

Those found guilty of drug trafficking will be charged under state laws if they were found to be trafficking drugs within Texas. However, if they were found to be trafficking drugs across state lines, they'll be subject to federal laws. It's important to note that those who enable drug traffickers can also face legal consequences. In 2019, a former police officer was found guilty of aiding drug traffickers through corrupt activity.

Corpus Christi drug courts offer the help addicts need

Drug addiction is a serious issue both here in Texas and elsewhere in the United States. One of the reasons it's so problematic is because the courts tend to focus more on the criminal aspect of drug abuse rather than the human element of addiction. The latter often involves families being torn apart as defendants spend an extended time inside of the prison system.

Nueces County has created a Family Drug Treatment Court in recent years. It aims to keep families together and to get defendants the substance abuse help that they so desperately need.

What are the most commonly prosecuted federal crimes?

There are many crimes committed both here in Texas and the United States as a whole every year. While many of the defendants that are arrested are charged with municipal or state offenses, others face federal ones. At least 76,656 federal cases resulted in sentences in 2019. As many as 118 of them involved a corporation or organized offender. The others were tried against individuals.

There's been an uptick in federal charges filed in recent years. The number of cases had declined from 2011 until 2018. They then started to increase again.

What crimes of moral turpitude are and why this matters to you

The United States is a very moralistic society at its core. Its laws are reflective of its belief system. Crimes of moral turpitude are those offenses that go against the morality of public consciousness.

There's no clear definition as to what moral turpitude is in any of the U.S. laws. The concept has been used in the immigration law context here since 1891 though. The Immigration Act of 1952 mentioned the terminology as a basis for excluding individuals from entering the U.S. when they'd been convicted of specific crimes.

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