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Houston Texas Criminal Defense Blog

Most African-Americans feel the criminal justice system is unfair

The criminal justice system in Texas and around the country has been harshly criticized in recent years for its treatment of minorities, and the results of a recent Pew Research Center survey suggest that the vast majority of African-Americans feel these criticisms are justified. Almost 9 out of 10 of the African-Americans polled said that black defendants were treated unfairly by police and prosecutors, but only 61% of the white respondents shared this view.

Other Pew Research Center polls have revealed a similar wide disparity between the views held by white and black Americans about how criminal justice is dispensed in the United States. Black respondents tell researchers that they have been stopped by the police because of their ethnicity or race about five times as often as white respondents, and only about a third of them say that the police do a good job and use force appropriately.

Drivers on keto diets could have problems with breath tests

Many police departments in Texas and around the country use portable breath-testing devices to determine whether or not motorists have consumed alcohol. However, prosecutors do not generally rely on the results of roadside breath tests to establish impairment beyond a reasonable doubt, as the fuel-cell based devices issued to police officers are known to be unreliable in many situations.

Drivers who suffer from medical conditions including acid reflux disease and diabetes have been known to fail such tests despite consuming little or no alcohol, and there is evidence to suggest that individuals who follow strict ketogenic diets may also have good reason to be concerned when asked to blow into a portable breath testing device. Diets low in carbohydrates have become extremely popular in recent years because they prompt the body to deplete its glucose stores and go into a metabolic state known as ketosis. During ketosis, acetone is produced by the liver as it burns fat to provide the body with energy. Isopropyl alcohol is one of the byproducts of this process.

Gang members indicted for drug trafficking

On April 18, a federal grand jury in Texas indicted seven men for their alleged roles in a drug trafficking ring. The defendants are reportedly members of the East Side Bloods street gang.

According to media reports, the defendants were acquiring powder cocaine and crack cocaine from suppliers in Austin and distributing them in San Antonio. The operation was apparently being run from the Springhill Apartments, which are located on the 4800 block of Ray Bon Drive. Law enforcement officers searched the property and allegedly uncovered large amounts of cocaine and marijuana, nine firearms and a large amount of cash. They also discovered approximately 20 kilograms of methamphetamine pills, some of which had been dyed pastel colors to mimic the look of Easter candy. Over 20 different pill dyes were allegedly found during the search. Authorities believe the pills were intended for sale in clubs, but the colors could have enticed children to consume them.

What is drugged driving and what should drivers know?

While many people focus on alcohol as the cause of impaired driving, drugs are also a cause. There are many factors that people don't realize about this matter. It is imperative that anyone who has a driver's license know a bit about drugged driving.

These cases are handled in much the same manner as drunk driving charges. There are a few differences that come into the picture but things like your rights when you are stopped remain the same.

Shops turning to facial recognition to deter shoplifters

People who visit shopping centers and stores throughout Texas may be interested to learn that getting caught shoplifting in one store could result in a ban from shopping at other stores. This is due to the fact that some stores have begun using facial recognition technology to capture digital records of potential shoplifters.

As digital records can be shared, other stores may determine a particular person to be a threat if one store captures that person potentially shoplifting. As such, another shop could consider a person a threat before that person ever enters the building and ban them as a result. In theory, a person who is considered a shoplifting threat can be banned from all shops.

Judge rules search of a rapper's car unconstitutional

Hip-hop fans in Texas may be aware that the 27-year-old rapper Jeffery Lamar Williams, who is better known by his stage name Young Thug, was charged with narcotics and weapons offenses on Oct. 17 following a routine traffic stop. Police in Georgia say that they discovered a large amount of cash, two firearms and drugs including Xanax, marijuana, ecstasy and codeine in the controversial rapper's Mercedes-Benz Maybach sedan.

Attorneys representing Williams won a major victory on March 21 when the judge presiding over the case ruled that the initial traffic stop in DeKalb County violated the rapper's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. According to media reports, three police officers appeared in court and told the judge that the car was initially pulled over because its window tint appeared to be darker than the 32 percent allowed under Georgia's motor vehicle code. However, they were unable to produce any evidence to support their claims. Williams also alleges that police failed to provide him with a Miranda warning when they took him into custody.

Study reveals soaring youth arrest rates

Law enforcement agencies in Texas and around the country have adopted more aggressive tactics in recent decades, which has led to a rapid rise in the number of young people taken into custody each year according to a study from the RAND Corporation. After scrutinizing data gathered over several decades on thousands of American families, researchers from the California-based think tank found that a young person today is 3.6 times more likely to have been placed under arrest than people in their mid-60s. One of the study's authors remarked that the trend revealed the criminalization of an entire generation.

The rise in arrests encompassed all demographic groups, but researchers noticed particularly sharp increases among women and white men. Today, about one in seven women under the age of 26 have been arrested. That figure was one in a hundred just a few decades ago. The rate at which police arrest white men has almost tripled since the 1980s. The study was published in the March issue of the academic journal Crime & Delinquency.

Texas man busted with 30 pounds of meth in Kansas

A Texas man is facing multiple charges after authorities allegedly found 30 pounds of methamphetamine in his vehicle during a traffic stop on Feb. 20. The charges were filed in Lyon County District Court in Kansas on Feb. 25.

According to local media outlets, the defendant was driving a Ford F-150 on Interstate 35 outside Emporia at approximately 12:11 p.m. when a trooper from the Kansas Highway Patrol pulled him over for multiple traffic violations. These violations included driving in the middle of the road, failing to use a turn signal when changing lanes and partial coverage of the license plate's issuing state, which was Texas.

Take these steps if pulled over for suspicion of DUI

Police officers are trained to spot drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol. While they're not always correct about their suspicions, if an officer has reason to believe you're drunk, they're likely to pull you over to learn more.

There are a variety of signs that give an officer reason to believe you're under the influence of alcohol. For example, drifting out of your lane of travel is a common sign of intoxication.

What you should know about domestic violence.

This society has a major interest in limiting violence between domestic partners. Generally, judges and law officers view domestic violence (DV) as a crime of the utmost seriousness in Texas. DV covers all types of domestic injuries, threats of physical violence and unwanted physical contact. To secure a DV conviction, the state's prosecutor must show that the offending party acted intentionally. If the violent incident in question led to physical injury, the prosecutor typically must demonstrate that the injury was directly related to DV.

Assault, battery, and domestic violence are crimes that undermine the family unit, the foundational unit of society. Still, DV laws are not merely designed to protect people in marriages. These laws have application to a wide variety of people who are domestically affiliated or connected. Texas DV statutes apply to people who live together, blood relatives and people who are dating each other.

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