Indecent Exposure

December 30, 2010

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

There are very few allegations more humiliating than indecent exposure.

Texas Penal Code 21.08 governs Indecent Exposure and that statute holds, “A person commits an offense if he exposes his anus or any part of his genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, and he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.”

Though indecent exposure is a relatively minor charge, a class b misdemeanor, it can have stigmatizing long-term effects.  Additionally, multiple indecent exposure convictions can result in sex offender registration under Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.  As such — any indecent exposure charge is an extremely serious one!

Indecent exposure allegations are highly fact and evidence intensive.  Furthermore these cases are highly subjective.  Fighting these charges requires an aggressive attorney that is an experienced trial lawyer and is extremely thorough with the facts.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any specific situation, you should consult an attorney directly.


When You’re Entitled to a Bond (and When You’re Not)

December 29, 2010

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

24-hour Jail Release Number (214) 724-7065

Office Number (972) 369-0577

A bond is an amount of money set by a magistrate judge to secure the release of someone arrested.  It is the state’s collateral to assure the arrested person appears for future criminal proceedings.

As a quick reference guide, you’ll find bond statutes in the Texas Constitution and throughout the Code of Criminal Procedure in Chapters 15, 16, 17, 44, 45, 47 and 55.  So if you’re paging through the code, you’ll have to be diligent and thorough.

In some instances people are not eligible to even have a bond set.  This obviously means they can’t get out of jail.  In other instances, their right to have a bond set may be discretionary by the Court — meaning bail can be denied.  Judges can also impose limitations or conditions of bond such as a deep lung device for DWI arrests or no-contact provisions for family assault cases.

Here’s a quick cheat-sheet:

Misdemeanor arrests:  Yes (eligible for a bond)

Misdemeanor probation revocations/ adjudications: Yes

Misdemeanor appeals:  Yes

Felony arrests:  Yes

Felony adjudications: Yes

Felony probation revocations:  Discretionary (up to the Judge)

Felony Appeals:  Yes, if the sentence is 10 years or less and is not offense under 3g(a)(1) of Art. 42.12.

Felony Appeal where higher court reverses conviction: Yes (regardless of amount of imprisonment).

Felony PDR (Petition for Discretionary Review): Discretionary, set by Court or Criminal Appeals

Always contact an attorney if you have questions about a bond in certain situations.

If conditions of bond are violated, in certain circumstances, then future bond can be denied altogether.  Examples are for violent offenders or for crimes against children.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For specific legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly.


Trying to Join the Military when Facing Criminal Charges

December 28, 2010

By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

Joining the military can be a great way to serve your country and find a new meaning or direction in life.  I know because I’m a former Army Field Artillery Officer.

It can be frustrating when you’re trying to join the army and you’re facing criminal charges.

My first suggestion for anyone trying to join when facing criminal charges is to visit with your recruiter about what will or will not be acceptable to the military on your criminal record or as far as completing civilian probation.  As a lawyer licensed in the State of Texas, I am simply not in a position to advise people of current U.S. Armed forces policy on recruitment.  I know from my own military experience that policies can and do change frequently with regards to eligibility.  Your recruiter should be up to date on military side of the equation or at the very least knows how to quickly get the answer.

My experience is that there are generally two main hurdles to overcome.  First is whether the charges you are facing disqualify you altogether from military service and the second is whether, if the military is okay with your record, whether they can accept you if you are placed on probation.

Your lawyer should communicate directly with your recruiter so that your lawyer knows exactly what is needed on the criminal side of the equation to assist you in joining.  The answer may be that a deal needs to be structured in a certain way with the prosecutor or the answer may be that you need to fight the charges aggressively.

I would not put your recruiter directly in contact with the prosecutor without your lawyer being in the loop.  Prosecutors and recruiters, well meaning as they may be, have the potential to over-look important long-term consequences to quick and easy deals that solve short-term problems.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice 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 licensed in your jurisdiction directly.

Texas Legislature to Consider Deferred Adjudication for DWIs

December 27, 2010

By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 562-7549

The Texas legislature is likely to discuss legalizing deferred adjudication for first-time DWI arrestees during the 2011 legislative session according to this Houston Chronicle Article.

In Collin County, people accused of a DWI currently have two options;

(1) plead guilty and usually be placed on probation (or in jail) and in doing so accept a final conviction accompanied by surcharges to keep a driver’s license to name just a few punishment measures.  This final conviction would be enhanceable for any subsequent DWI arrest.

(2) plead not-guilty with two possible outcomes; (a) an acquittal entitling them to an expunction; or (b) a conviction along with all the headaches discussed in the paragraph above.

If deferred adjudication is added as an option, it could play-out in a number of different ways.  Though it would technically result in a “dismissal” at the end of the deferred period, it is only an actual “dismissal” in a technical sense.  The person would likely only be eligible for a non-disclosure, not an expunction.  This means it would be on the persons permanent record with the person being allowed to say that even though they plead guilty, it was not a final conviction.

Also another common trap-door the legislature likes to use is by making deferred adjudication a conviction for enhancement purposes.  This means that a subsequent DWI arrest would be a DWI 2nd and so on.  So basically the first one counts against you deferred or not.

Keep in mind that if Mothers Against Drunk Driver’s is for a plan to go ‘easier’ on people accused of DWI — you can be assured it’s for their gain and not the accused.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For specific legal advice about any legal issue you should consult an attorney directly.

Defending Injury to a Child Charges

December 26, 2010

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

Being criminally charged with injury to a child can be Earth shattering.  

These cases come with all sorts of built-in hurdles such as self-assured prosecutors or CPS members, complications from ongoing divorces, and a lack of understanding of someone being accused.  Aggressive and skillful representation is a must.

Tex.Pen.C. 22.04 is called, “Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual or Disabled Individual.”  That law states in relevant part,

“A person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission, causes to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual:

“(1)  serious bodily injury (defined as ‘bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ’);

“(2)  serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or

“(3)  bodily injury (defined as ‘physical pain, illnes, or any impairment of physical condition’).

Here are several notes about cases of injury to a child — First is that these cases are highly subjective.  Standards such as intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence are subjective enough.  If that weren’t enough, an injury sustained by a child can also be highly subjective in nature.  This means that police agencies in Texas as well as Child Protective Services (“CPS”) have very broad discretion in pursuing these cases.

Secondly, there are many defenses and affirmative defenses available to people accused of injury to a child in Texas.  The main defense is provided by Tex.Pen.C. 9.61 which allows the use of force, but not deadly force, against a child younger than 18 years of age (1) if the actor is the child’s parent or step-parent acting in loco parentis to the child (which includes grandparents, guardians, or any person acting by, through, or under the discretion of a court with jurisdiction over the child, and anyone that has the express or implied consent of the parent or parents of the child); and (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is necessary to discipline the child or to safeguard or promote his welfare.

Injury to a child can be anywhere between a First Degree Felony (5 to 99 years) to a State Jail Felony (18 months to 2 years State Jail) depending on how the offense was committed and on the nature of the injury.

Investigations of these cases can seem innocuous enough from the accused’s standpoint.  It isn’t uncommon for law enforcement or CPS to call and ask the accused to come and answer questions in an ‘informal’ setting.  Any person requested to give a statement to law enforcement or CPS about an injury to a child case should immediately contact counsel.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For specific legal advice for any specific matter you should consult an attorney directly.