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Corpus Christi Criminal Defense Blog

Texas drug possession charges: misdemeanor or felony?

Marijuana is all over the news currently, as more and more states legalize the drug for recreational use. After the most recent midterm election, marijuana is legal to some degree in 33 states, but recreational use is still only legal for recreational use in 10.

Due to the somewhat relaxed way people in America are starting to view this particular drug, you may have questions about the legality in your state. Texas maintains the stance that marijuana use, possession and/or sale is illegal. How serious are the penalties for marijuana crimes in Texas? Could you be facing felony charges?

Texas man pleads not guilty to federal drug charges

A Texas man was ordered remanded without bond on Oct. 29 after entering a not guilty plea to federal drug charges that included possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Media accounts indicate that the man was brought into custody by members of the Waco Police Department's Drug Enforcement Unit after quantities of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia were discovered during a search of his home.

According to a WPD report, the man became the focus of a narcotics investigation when a DEU officer learned on Sept. 27 that he planned to sell several pounds of marijuana that he had stored at his residence. The officer then worked until Oct. 26 to gather the evidence needed to establish probable cause and obtain a search warrant. However, initial media accounts did not reveal the nature of the evidence that convinced a 54th District Court judge to approve the search.

U.S. attorney to seek death penalty in synagogue shooting case

Many Texas residents have probably heard that a man has been charged in connection with the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that claimed 11 lives on Oct. 27. The man faces 22 federal counts that carry the death penalty, and the U.S. attorney assigned to the case has asked the Department of Justice to allow the death sentence to be imposed. While the death penalty can be imposed for a number of crimes including murder, treason and espionage, only three federal inmates have been executed since 1988.

The DOJ will make its decision after rigorously reviewing the evidence. Factors that will be considered include the amount of planning involved, the way in which the crimes were carried out, the motive, the number of victims and the impact the shooting is likely to have on the local community. Most legal experts expect the DOJ to approve the imposition of the death penalty as it did in the case of the shooter who was sentenced to death after being convicted of killing nine people in a Charleston church in 2015.

Three busted for possession of almost 7 pounds of meth

On Oct. 17, Texas authorities arrested three people after they discovered almost 7 pounds of methamphetamine in a hotel room. The incident took place in Wichita Falls.

According to media reports, federal and local law enforcement officers were conducting a proffer interview with a 43-year-old man and his lawyer when the officers received an anonymous tip that an associate of the man was in possession of a large amount of methamphetamine. Members of the Wichita Falls Police Department's Drug Enforcement Division went to a nearby motel to investigate the claim. Once there, they allegedly witnessed a 40-year-old male and a female participate in drug-related activities. Both individuals were taken into custody later that night.

Types of felonies in Texas

Anyone who has been arrested knows that there is a lot of fear and uncertainty that come with being put in the back of a squad car. Will you serve time in jail or worse? Will you be able to pay your bail? How serious will your charges be? The uncertainty and potential implications of what your charges might be the most unsettling thought.

It goes without saying that advocating for yourself and enlisting a professional to defend you in court is absolutely critical when you face a felony charge. A felony conviction can come with several different penalties. In Texas, the punishment for being convicted of a felony can range from six months in jail and thousands of dollars in fines to the death penalty.

Alleged voter fraud ring in Texas faces charges

Four Texas women are facing criminal charges for alleged involvement in voter fraud. The four are accused of targeting senior voters in 2016 as part of an organized voter deception ring. The women would seek to obtain mail ballots for the elderly voters and then submit them for certain candidates. Arrests were made after an investigation by the state Attorney General's office. The names of the candidates who would allegedly receive votes from the scheme have not been released.

According to the indictment, 26 people in North Fort Worth were victims of the scheme. One man said that he and his wife always vote in person; his wife's name was one of those allegedly falsified on a mail ballot request. Another 78-year-old woman said that she never requested a mail-in ballot in 2016. Apparently, the ballots were intercepted and the voter fraud detected before being counted, so the scheme had no impact on electoral outcomes. In some cases, the voters canceled their mail ballots so that they could vote in person.

Former police officer sentenced for drug trafficking

A Texas judge sentenced a former Edcouch Police Department lieutenant to 39 months in a federal prison on drug trafficking charges. The sentence was handed down on Oct. 2. The 43-year-old man entered a guilty plea in December 2017 to possessing more than 500 grams of powder cocaine with the intent to distribute after entering into a negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors. Official records reveal that before serving with the EPD, the man worked with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office and the Elsa, Santa Rosa, Weslaco, Progreso and La Villa police departments.

The man's alleged activities were discovered during a federal investigation into drug trafficking in the Rio Grande Valley according to reports. He was taken into custody in April 2016 after Department of Homeland Security agents learned that a local drug trafficking gang were supplied with narcotics by corrupt law enforcement officers who staged fake drug seizures. The drugs that prosecutors claim the man planned to distribute were part of a 17 kilogram cocaine haul found in an abandoned vehicle.

How attorneys develop defense strategies

There are a variety of ways that defendants in Texas can defend themselves against criminal charges. Generally speaking, the type of defense that is chosen depends on what type of strategy a prosecutor uses in a given case. In some cases, the best defense may simply be telling the truth. For instance, an attorney may try to use the facts in the case to show that a defendant tried to avoid committing a crime.

An attorney may also explain events in the case in a manner that will build sympathy for a defendant with the judge or jury. It's also possible that a defendant will attempt to deny the allegations by presenting an alibi. For example, that person could claim that he or she was out of town at the time that a crime was committed.

Drug raid leads to arrest of 14 people

On Sept. 15, federal, state and local law enforcement officers arrested 14 people during a raid at a Texas pool hall. The defendants were allegedly involved in drug crimes and human trafficking.

Media reports indicate the arrests were the culmination of a months-long investigation conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies. They included Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the Harris County District Attorney's Office and the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

Texas man sentenced on drug distribution charges

A narcotics case that began with a tip received by the Texas Department of Public Safety reached its conclusion on Sept. 17 when a Hidalgo County man was sentenced to nine years in prison followed by four years of supervised release for distributing methamphetamine. In return for the man's guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

A DPS special agent was assigned to the case after a tip was received by the agency about an impending drug transaction involving a 50-year-old Mercedes man and several kilograms of methamphetamine. The agent says that he observed the man leaving his residence on March 1 at approximately 9:49 a.m. and pulled his vehicle over a short time later on the westbound lanes of Interstate 2.

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