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Texas criminal defense: 3 young men accused of gas theft

Depending on the allegations and the facts of a particular case, different legal defense strategies may be employed on behalf of those accused of a crime. One element that may affect the defense strategy is whether the charges are for federal crimes or state crimes. Also, if an individual has made statements that could be interpreted as a confession, the criminal defense strategy will be different from cases where the individual has not made such statements.

Recently, several young men were taken into custody and accused of stealing gas from multiple school districts in East Texas. Allegedly, the people stealing the fuel were pumping it into containers, and then selling the gas to informal customers. Police claim that the young man taken into custody actually confessed to the crime.

Local law enforcement had video surveillance footage of the gas being stolen and a notice was issued to patrolling officers. An officer later pulled over a vehicle that appeared to fit the description of the vehicle used in the theft. A 20-year-old and two youths were arrested immediately on charges that were unrelated to the fuel theft. Officers claim that the men later confessed to stealing the gas from various school districts. However, it is important to note that the exact circumstances surrounding the alleged confession are unknown and the statements may not be admissible in court.

Commonly, when someone is accused of one crime in Texas, the accusation will include multiple criminal violations. Prosecutors may do this in the hope that if one accusation is dropped by the court, another accusation will stick. Some criminal defense strategies may include pleading not guilty to all crimes. Others may involve pleading guilty to certain crimes and not guilty to others. A thorough legal analysis will be necessary to determine which strategy is best depending on the unique factual scenario of the case, but one thing is certain - just because police say someone confessed to a crime does not indicate a guilty plea and it does not mean those statements will be admissible as evidence against the accused.

Source: ketknbc.com, "Three arrested after confessing to fuel thefts from East Texas school districts," July 22, 2013

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