What Constitutes a Win?

February 20, 2020

By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

From time to time I’m asked what my win-loss record is.  It’s a fair question, I suppose, from someone whose not around defense lawyers all-day every-day.

The question assumes all cases are equal in complexity, difficulty – and all people facing the dilemma of a criminal cases have the same tolerances for risk or life pressures which affect their decisions.  So I like to joke “last year, I made the playoffs.”  It normally gets a chuckle – but the person typically gets the point.

A sexual assault allegation where consent is blurred by alcohol consumption is much different than a bank robbery caught on tape.  Also the pressures facing a pilot arrested for a DWI and the loss of a lucrative livelihood aren’t the same as a college student studying for an MBA who got arrested for marijuana.  My goal is to clear everyone’s record who comes into my office – but not all cases are equal.

It’s unethical for any lawyer to guarantee results.  This makes sense because we are in the profession of quantifying unpredictable variables.  I know what the law says should happen — but unless I’m actually both your lawyer and the judge in a case, I can’t guarantee it will happen.  I know how the prosecutor will likely approach your case — but until I’m both the prosecutor and your lawyer in a case, I can’t guarantee what will happen either.  And then there are juries.  Don’t even get me started with them.

So what constitutes a win is often relative.  Make no mistake — I hate losing and I’ll always do my best to completely clear my client’s record in every case.  Sometimes it can be a really tall mountain.  If it is a bad felony charge we can often get it reduced if winning is too unrealistic.  If we can’t win a case which might result in losing a job or even a career – then we can often get the charges reduced to something my client can live with.  I’m in a tough business.  There are cases which come in my door where a great outcome is simply less time in prison.

The one thing a lawyer can always guarantee is how they treat you and their effort.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas and is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


How Long will my Court Case Last?

January 29, 2020

By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

It depends on what type of case, where the case occurred and the court to which it is assigned.  Some cases have a tendency to be fast and others are typically slower.  The biggest single factor is typically evidence which must be analyzed such as lab evidence or computer forensics.  Cases without those components have less impediments.

This said, other complex cases obviously drag on a bit too.

Slower Cases:

  • DWI with blood draws
  • Drug Cases other than Marijuana
  • Computer Charges
    • Online Harassment
    • Hacking
    • Possession of Child Pornography
  • Sex Charges
    • Sexual Assault
    • Sexual Assault of a Child
    • Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child
  • White Collar Theft
    • Embezzlement
    • Money Laundering
  • Engaging in Organized Criminal Activities
  • Crimes against persons which  have complex medical records/ issues

 

Quicker Cases:

  • Assault
    • Assault/ Family Violence
    • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
  • Retail Theft
  • Possession of Marijuana
  • DWI without blood testing
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Crimes against persons (without medical records)

 

Just how Quick (or Slow) will a Particular Case Be?

You can expect most Collin County Misdemeanors to last between 6 and 12 months from the date of arrest until a trial/ dismissal/ or plea bargain.  Felonies tend to be more complicated so those usually take longer.

Most of our courts have efficient dockets – meaning the cases move relatively quickly.  Some courts might have a glut of cases for various reasons and by luck-of-the-draw your case may take more time.

Other jurisdictions such as Dallas County simply have more real-world issues to contend with such as insufficient funding, high turn-over with court staff, or inexperienced prosecutors which can compound delays.  It should be no surprise that in general the bigger the county, the slower the case may be.

What Control do We Have in How Fast or Slow a Case Takes?

Some.  We can’t control how long an investigation, grand jury, or prosecutor takes to do their job… but we can control whether or not any delays are because of us.  Some clients want a case to move quickly and others prefer the case take a while for their own reasons.  We can do our best to affect either.

What About My Right to a Speedy Trial?

Analysis for speedy trial is multifaceted and analyzes more than merely calendar time.  Part of the analysis is about the reaons for any delay, whose fault delay may be (the prosecutor, the defense, or in many instances — the Judge).  Another component of the analysis is what degree of harm was suffered by Defense by the delay?  Stress and anxiety are parts — but the loss of evidence (such as a witness moving) could play a role too in speedy trial analysis.

“Tough-on-Crime” Courts have done much in Texas to gnaw away much of Speedy trial rights and privileges… so normally trying to have a case dismissed for lack of speedy trial isn’t typically my first preference.

Bottom Line

You won’t get a really sharp estimate for how long your specific case will take on the internet.  Sorry!  You’ll just have to run that question by a lawyer who is familiar enough with all the players and factors involved.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in Texas.  He is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  He was Designated as a Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters in 2019.

 


What does it Mean when a Crime is “Aggravated”?

January 18, 2020

By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

It typically means “worse” or “heightened.”

The term ‘aggravated’ is applied to many different criminal charges and there is no uniform definition as to what allegation renders a charge ‘aggravated’ in any specific case.  One constant is an ‘aggravated’ allegation normally kicks the punishment range up a notch or more.  It can also affect parole eligibility if someone is sent to prison.

Here are the most common “Aggravated” offenses in Texas:

Aggravated Assault – Assault where someone either uses or exhibits a deadly weapon.  It can also mean assault which results in serious bodily injury.  See Texas Penal Code 22.02.

Aggravated Sexual Assault – Sexual assault is generally where a person conducts one of a number of prohibited sexual acts to another (Tex.Pen.C. 22.011).  Aggravated sexual assault can be committed where defendant inflicts serious bodily injury on the victim, assaults a person younger than 14, or a disabled or handicapped person.  Tex.Pen.C. 22.021).

Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child – sexual assault committed against a child younger than 14 years old.  Sexual assault of a child is committed where a child is between the ages of 14 and younger than 17.

Aggravated Perjury – perjury is making a false statement under oath.  It could be in an affidavit or an official document of some sort.  Aggravated perjury is a false statement during a court case which is considered material in nature to the proceedings.  Perjury is typically a Class a misdemeanor.  Aggravated perjury is elevated to a third degree felony.

Aggravated Robbery – Robbery is typically defined as theft plus assault regardless of how minor either is.  Aggravated Robbery is where a person uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the commission of the robbery, causes serious bodily injury, or places in fear of imminent bodily injury of a person over 65 years of age or a disabled person.  Robbery is a 2nd Degree felony and aggravated robbery is a 1st degree felony.

Aggravated Kidnapping – Kidnapping is abducting a person.  Aggravated kidnapping is where someone is abducted with the intent to be held for ransom, intent to be used as a human shield, intent to sexually violate, or with intent to terrorize.

Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution – This offense is for those who invest in, finance or promote prostitution of two or more persons.  See Tex.Pen.C. 43.04.

Aggravated Promotion of Online Prostitution – Promotion of prostitution done in a fashion which is online.  Tex.Pen.C. 43.041.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is licensed to practice in the State of Texas. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice.

 

 

 


What is a “Sanctions Hearing” in Collin County for Probationers?

January 14, 2020

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

Great question.   If you do a control+f search of the Code of Criminal Procedure, you won’t find it anywhere.  That’s because it’s not in there.  Or anywhere else in Texas law.

Probation officers frequently invite probationers to voluntarily amend their own probation, “or else…”  On the bottom of the form, the Probationer is required to either accept the sanction or face the wrath of the Judge.

Those who dare say no find themselves typically face to face with the Judge – normally without a lawyer.

Here’s What the Law Says the Probation officer Can Legally Do if they Think You’ve Violated Probation:

  1. They can do nothing;
  2. They can recommend the prosecutor file a “Motion to Revoke” probation or a “Motion to Adjudicate” if you are on deferred adjudication.  Those are functionally the same thing – they are seeking to take away your probation and either put you in jail or make your probation tougher.  See Tex.C.Crim.P. 42A.752; or
  3. They can offer you an oral modification to your probation.  That is, they can sit you down and ask you  if voluntarily agree to modify your probation on your own accord – but only for the limited programs they are authorized by law known as “the continuum of care” programs” which generally consist of drug and/or alcohol treatment. See Tex.C.Crim.P. 42A.052(c) and Tex.C.Crim.P. 42A.752(c).

What if you Say No to the Oral Modification?

The law is clear.  The probation officer shall file a motion to revoke or motion to adjudicate your probation.  See 42A.052(c).  That sounds ominous, but remember, it also means you get a lawyer.  And also remember most contested revocations result in some sort of compromise involving changes to probation… as in what the probation officer originally wanted as a sanction often goes away.

There are times you should seriously consider the oral modification.  Full blown revocation may very well be worse than what the probation officer threatens.  Then again, there are often times where the sanctions make very little sense and would be worse than a revocation.

What Happens at the Sanctions Hearing?

The probation officer might ask the judge to impose the sanction with or without your consent.  A trial judge DOES have the legal authority to modify probation or deferred adjudication in any manner they see fit.  Often the judge may just ‘rattle your cage’ by threatening you or warning you without taking any action.

The argument I typically make in these scenarios is the probation officer isn’t really interested in any type of hearing — they are interested in using the power of the Judge to threaten the probationer so the probationer bends to the will of PO.

I also argue the Judge lacks the power to modify probation through such a hearing because the hearing itself is a nullity.

Oh, and I’ve won.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is licensed to Practice Law in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bringing Medication With You on Vacation

December 9, 2019

By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

Disclaimer – I’m writing this blog as a public service, not because we handle or help coordinate this type of situation.  We would only get involved if you actually got arrested – and did so in Texas.  We’ve just gotten enough calls about this topic for me to throw up a blog about it.  Also, I’m licensed in Texas so I can tell you laws here but not elsewhere.

That said – possessing drugs without a perscription is typically a criminal offense.  Texas has an affirmative defense that if you have a prescription for the medication then it isn’t an offense.  So it would always seem safest to travel with the prescription bottle or container right there on the label.  I can’t imagine that isn’t the law everywhere in the U.S.

Don’t mix medications within one container, consolidate medications in one container, or take your medications in an unlabled baggie or container.  Those would all be recipes for getting hassled.  Bring only the amount you need or anticipate needing while budgeting for an emergency.

Here is a good article from the NY Times about traveling with medication.  Good luck and enjoy your safe travels!  If you have any additional questions then you should contact an attorney directly.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is Licensed in Texas and is Board Certified in Criminal Law.