If a person in Texas or anywhere else in America accepts a plea, it may mean reduced penalties compared to being found guilty at trial. However, accepting a plea also means that a person has a criminal conviction on his or her record. It also may mean dealing with other consequences that come with a criminal record or spending time on probation. Furthermore, research suggests that race may play a role in what type of plea terms are offered.
The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals may not have jurisdiction over Texas, but the court is considered highly influential. For one, it's located in the District and has traditionally been a place presidents look for potential Supreme Court nominees. For another, it holds sway over many of the actions of federal agencies. Texas and the Fifth Circuit are likely to give the D.C. Circuit's opinions a great deal of weight in their own considerations.
In April, a federal judge in Houston struck down Harris County's bail system on the grounds that it is unjust to the poor. The reason is that the county requires cash bonds for misdemeanors, which many low-income defendants simply can't afford. The judge ruled it was unconstitutional for people to be held in jail simply because they can't afford bail and ordered the release of some misdemeanor defendants.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced another reversal of Obama-era criminal justice reform, against a tide of bipartisan opposition. He announced this week that he intends to increase the use of the controversial process of civil forfeiture in federal criminal cases. Moreover, he plans to reintroduce the secondary seizure by federal officials of assets seized by local police forces.
Any criminal conviction will have a lasting effect on your life and the opportunities you can enjoy. Even a misdemeanor can disqualify you from certain jobs and make it difficult to find housing. Some crimes are particularly problematic when they appear on your record. These offenses -- crimes of moral turpitude -- reflect actions that violate generally accepted social mores.
When you face minor criminal charges, you may not think it is a big deal, especially if you maintain your innocence or the evidence against you is weak. However, even if you do not end up with a conviction, having a criminal record has consequences that reach beyond the courtroom for many years.
Fourth of July is right around the corner. And as is the case with other holidays, police across Texas will be focused on stopping and arresting people for certain crimes that are particularly prevalent during Independence Day.
Eyewitness testimony is often a major element of a prosecution's case when it comes to criminal matters. After all, if someone testifies that he or she saw someone commit a crime, that statement is taken very seriously by judges and juries.
In the heat of an argument, people often say or do things they wish they could take back. Unfortunately, this is not possible, especially if someone calls the police during or after the dispute. Under these circumstances, a fight between you and someone else can become a fight between you and the criminal justice system.
It is easy to make the mistake of thinking that anything you do online can quickly be erased or concealed behind an anonymous account name. However, state and local government agencies devote massive resources to investigating cyber crimes and identifying any person involved in criminal activity involving computers. In other words, virtual misconduct has very real penalties.