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Houston Texas Criminal Defense Blog

Former nurse arrested for drug crimes admits to addiction

The increase in illegal use of prescription drugs has led to charges being laid on health care professionals. A former nurse in Texas was recently arrested in relation to multiple drug crimes and charged with three counts of obtaining drugs through fraud and four counts of possession of controlled substances. Her co-workers reported her to police after allegedly discovering her involvement in stealing prescription pills.

The co-workers told police they noticed something amiss in Nov. 2017, when a staff nurse discovered a discrepancy between the automated dispensing machines for pills and the electronic medical records. After some investigating, she concluded that the controlled substances had been pulled out under the names of patients who had already received their prescriptions. According to hospital records, it appeared that the pulled prescriptions had not been administered to patients.

Texas has 8th most drunk driving deaths in United States

Impaired driving is a serious issue across the United States. According to recent data, Texas has the eighth highest number of drunk driving collisions that result in death. When asked about this data, police in Austin said that their goal was to decrease the number of people driving under the influence across the city.

According to the Austin Police Department, there are between 5,000 and 6,000 DWI arrests across the city annually. The police will be out in full force on Memorial Day Weekend, when researchers say there is a four-fold increase in drunk driving deaths. They have dubbed the days between May 24 and June 10 as "No Refusal Weekend." During this period, officers can forcefully take blood from those who refuse a sobriety test.

Do you know what to do when police question you after an arrest?

On television and in the movies, police escort a suspect into a blank room with nothing but a table, a couple of chairs and a two-way mirror. They sit him or her down and begin the questioning. They use "good cop, bad cop" style interrogations or lay out the alleged evidence against them. Inevitably, the suspect either begins to talk or says nothing and asks for a lawyer.

This is the impression that most people have of how the process works. An individual is taken into custody, read is or her Miranda Rights and taken to the station for questioning. The problem is that this is often an oversimplification of what happens in real life.

North Texas cashier accused of theft using falsified returns

One of the most common types of theft comes from employees stealing or embezzling money from their workplace. Cashiers often have the opportunity to commit such crimes as they work closely with often large amounts of money. In Texas, a former cashier has been charged with theft of over $4,000 in cash. The charges come following an accusation from the supermarket where he was employed.

In Texas, theft charges and associated punishments vary, depending on the amount. In this case, the 19-year-old former cashier was charged with theft in the category of "more than $2,500 but less than $30,000." The man was arrested after his supervisor called police, telling them of suspicions that the cashier had been making up returns in order to embezzle money from the store.

57 people face charges for drug crimes re North Texas meth bust

Violent organizations such as gangs are often involved in major stories about illegal activity. Recently, 57 people connected with several white supremacist groups have been charged with drug crimes. As of Monday, April 30, 51 of these individuals were in custody and six others were being sought by police.

The allegations from authorities state that those charged were members of gangs such as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Other gangs involved may include the Aryan Circle, the Soldiers of Aryan Culture and others. The allegations say the illegal activity began in Oct. 2015 and involved methamphetamine distribution, mainly across North Texas.

Texas one of few states with open-file criminal defense reforms

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1963 required prosecutors to hand over to the defense evidence they uncover, even if it is exculpatory (meaning it could potentially help the defendant). Despite the fact that this is required in criminal defense cases across the country, in practice prosecutors do not always comply with this ruling. Texas is among the states that have adopted "open file" reforms to address this issue.

One of the biggest challenges about requiring prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence is that the prosecutors are ultimately the ones deciding what is considered evidence. This is a subjective decision made by the defendant's opponent. Critics say that depending on self-enforcement is not always adequate, and there certainly have been cases where defendants have been sentenced without a fair trial due to withheld information.

Possession and use of cannabis are drug crimes in Texas

Laws governing the use and distribution of medical marijuana vary from state to state. In Texas, cannabis is illegal save for exceptions laid out in the Compassionate Use Act of 2015. It is important for anyone using or seeking to use medical marijuana to understand these laws, as those who unlawfully possess or distribute the substance can be charged with drug crimes.

Texas' medical marijuana legislation is highly restrictive, especially compared to the laws in nearby states. The only people who are permitted to use cannabis legally in the state are those with intractable epilepsy. Even then, there is a long process required to access the low-THC version of the drug given to state medical patients.

Don't allow a larceny charge to steal your freedom or future

An arrest for the crime of larceny, or theft, can leave you feeling a range of emotions, including fear, worry and even embarrassment. You may wonder how a theft charge will impact your reputation and your future.

Fortunately, just because authorities in Texas have charged you with larceny does not mean you are automatically guilty. Instead, you are presumed innocent until and unless the government can prove your guilt in court.

Teen on probation for drunk driving tries to flee to Mexico

Those who violate the law may face serious long-term consequences if convicted, even if they do not receive an initial jail sentence. For those convicted of drunk driving, strict probation terms are among these consequences. A Texas teen who made headlines by receiving only probation after killing four people in a drunk driving accident was just released from a two-year term for violating that probation.

The teen made headlines for his unusual defense, dubbed "affluenza." In his drunk driving case, defense attorneys brought in a psychologist as an expert witness. The psychologist testified that he suffered from a lack of education and limits from a privileged upbringing.

Year-long bust leads to 40 arrests related to drug crimes

The trafficking of illegal substances can often involve many different participants. In Texas, a year-long investigation has led to 40 arrests related to an alleged cartel drug ring. The alleged drug crimes are said to have originated in a mechanic shop in Austin and have ties to Mexican cartel La Familia.

The arrests were the result of an investigation named Operation Spanx. Besides discovering what is believed to be the focal point of the distribution network, authorities also believe the operation led to the identification of the Austin-area ringleader. The DEA claims that this individual had direct contact with those in control of the Mexican cartel.

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John M. Petruzzi, Attorney at Law
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Houston, Texas 77056

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