Articles Posted in criminal defense

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One of the questions I am often asked is “am I entitled to a bond on a probation revocation?”  The answer to that questions depends upon the type of probation.  In a deferred adjudication situation, one is entitled to a bond.  On ordinary communtiy supervision probation, one is not entitled to a bond setting, though in practice bonds are sometimes set. 

There are essentially two different types of probation, often called community supervision.

The first type is known as deferred adjudication.  In a deferred adjudication situation, a person is placed on community supervision with no finding, or “adjudication” of guilt.  If a person successfully completes deferred adjudication, the case is dismissed and the person avoids a conviction.  If the person is accused of violating one or more conditions of deferred adjudication community supervsion, the person’s supervison officer may file what is known as a Petition to Adjudicate.  When a Petition to Adjudicate is filed, a warrant for the person’s arrest is issued.  In Collin County, judges will sometimes set a bond amount when the warrant issues on a Petition to Adjudicate.

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Sentencing in federal criminal case is largely a product of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual.  For those that may not know, the Guidelines were established by Congress in the 1980s in an effort to bring uniformity and consistency to federal criminal cases.  The Guidelines established, among other things,  mandatory minimum sentences for many drug conspiracy cases.

In 1994, Congress passed the “Safety Valve” statute, 18 U.S.C section 3553(f)The safety valve provision of Title 18 authorizes Courts to impose sentences below the statutory minimum if the defendant meets certain requirements in cases under section 21 USC 841, 844, 846, 960 or 963.

(1) the defendant does not have more than 1 criminal history point, as determined under the sentencing guidelines;
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I noticed a newspaper article last week that discussed the potential for new and additional DWI/ drug courts for Collin County.  I was pleased to read that an additional court of this nature might be established in Collin County.

DWI/ drug courts are specialized programs for people who agree to be accepted into the program.  The DWI/drug court provides a level of intense supervision and accountability for those in the program that is above and beyond the sort of post conviction supervision typcially provided to probationers.


The DWI/drug courts are a win- win. What I mean by win-win is that the taxpayers, those funding the court system, in terms of reduced costs to the taxpayer.  The taxpayers win because by identifying appropriate candidates for the program, these type of courts can reduce the rate of recidivism for its graduates. When DWI/ drug courts graduate people who become clean and sober, those people resume their lives as working, taxpaying productive members of society. 

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This particular offense is frequently charged, and often misunderstood. The offense may be found at Texas Penal Code, Section 42. 062.   Essentially, to establish this offense, the State must prove

1. knowing

2. prevention or interference with another’s ability to place

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In most Federal Criminal cases, if a person is convicted, the sentence will be determined by using the United States Sentencing Guidelines.  The Guidelines were created by the U.S. Congress in the 1980s.  The Guidelines were created with the goal of achieving uniformity in Federal criminal sentences across the United States.

In other words, if you are convicted and sentenced for participating in a Federal drug conspiracy case in the Eastern District of Texas, your sentence should be substantially like that of a similarly situated person in another part of the country.

The Guidelines are formulaic and they operate to calcuate a prison term using several criteria.  Broadly speaking, these can be broken down into several categories.

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A Federal criminal case is very different than a state criminal case.  There exists a separate set of laws and processes that must be understood and carefully considered. 

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