AFFIRMATIVE LINKS – WHY You Should NOT Plead to Your Friends Drugs!

A common scenario: A driver and two passengers are stopped for a traffic violation. The law enforcement officer thinks he smells the distinct odor of marijuana coming from within your vehicle.  Now, he has all of the passengers on the curb and is tearing apart the inside of your ride.  He finds illegal substances in the vehicle.

Who gets charged when the drugs are found in a vehicle with mutual access?

Good question.  Here’s a lawyer answer: it depends.  (Please read on, regardless…they must be able to affirmatively link you to the controlled substances or other contraband they want to charge you with).

OK…now I’m charged for Drug Possession, BUT THEY’RE NOT MY DRUGS!  How do they prove Possession?

Another good question, you’re on a roll.  Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, possession is defined as “care, custody, control or management,” of the controlled substance at issue.

MANY PEOPLE plead guilty to drugs that cannot be linked to them. 

It is CRUCIAL to consult with an attorney that is an expert in possession.

CALL Attorney Tristan LeGrande of LeGrande Law!

So How do they prove Possession anyway?

Possession– actual care, custody, control, or management.  TX Health & Safety Code Sec. 481.002(a)(38).

  • Driving vehicle where drugs found insufficient – you must prove: “affirmative links“:
    • State must prove the defendant exercised actual care, custody, control, or management over the contraband and (2) knew the object he possessed was contraband. Linton v. State, 15 S.W.3d 615, 619 (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2000, pet. ref’d).
    • Affirmative Links may be proved by circumstantial evidence, such evidence must affirmatively link the defendant to the offense, so that one may reasonably infer the defendant knew of the contraband’s existence and exercised control over it. See McGoldrick v. State, 682 S.W.2d 573, 578 (Tex.Crim.App.1985).
  • Affirmative links between the appellant & contraband include:
    • (1) appellant’s presence when the contraband was discovered;
    • (2) whether the contraband was in plain view;
    • (3) appellant’s proximity to and accessibility of the narcotic;
    • (4) whether the appellant was under the influence of narcotics when arrested;
    • (5) whether appellant possessed other contraband when arrested;
    • (6) whether appellant made incriminating statements when arrested;
    • (7) whether appellant attempted to flee;
    • (8) whether appellant made furtive gestures;
    • (9) whether there was an odor of the contraband;
    • (10) whether other contraband or drug paraphernalia was present;
    • (11) whether the place where the drugs were found was enclosed; and
    • (12) whether appellant owned or had the right to possess the place where the drugs were found.

Chavez v. State, 769 S.W.2d 284, 288-89 (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 1989, pet. ref’d).

So what does this mean??  It means you should not even consider pleading  guilty to drug possession charges unless they were your drugs.  Just because you are in the car with someone that is holding, does not mean you can be charged with possession of the drugs they have on them!

If charged with possession of marijuana or possession of a controlled substance, DO NOT PLEAD GUILTY – Instead, contact LeGrande Law…we have a track record of winning drug possession cases!

LEGRANDE LAW WINS DRUG POSSESSION CASES

If you are accused of any drug crime, including Possession of THC Concentrate, or other controlled substances, you need an attorney with a track record of winning drug cases.  Attorney Tristan LeGrande gets results – CALL NOW for a Free Consultation!

Contact attorney Tristan LeGrande by calling 281-684-3500

http://www.legrandelaw.com

http://www.houstondrugattorney.net

Houston Drug Attorney Tristan LeGrande

Tristan LeGrande – LeGrande Law

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Probation

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It is a tempting proposition for people when they are charged with a crime: avoid jail and go on probation / deferred adjudication.  But is it really that good of a deal?

Why it MAY be is a GOOD deal

The obvious first: you do not have to go to jail if you abide by all the conditions of your probation / deferred adjudication.  You can continue to lead a fairly normal life, so long as you abide by all the conditions.  This is great for people that want to continue to work or go to school.

If it is deferred adjudication, another reason it may be a good deal for you is that, so long as you complete it successfully, you will not have a conviction on your record.

Additionally, if you complete deferred adjudication, you may be able to get the records related to the offense “sealed’ through an Order of Nondisclosure.  However, this only will prevent its disclosure from public inquiries; Law enforcement and state licensing authorities (Eg…Board of Nursing, State bar of Texas, teachers, pretty much any licensing authority).

Why it MAY be a BAD Deal 

It can be a tightrope walk.  You may be facing a LOT of conditions, ranging from fines, fees, ignition interlocks and home alcohol monitoring devices (and paying for their associated maintenance and calibration fees), community service, court ordered classes, the list goes on and on.

If you fail to do any of these things, any one of them by itself can be enough to revoke your probation and sentence you to jail (or adjudicate you guilty and impose a sentence).

Also, if you fail a urinalysis test, you could wind up with a conviction.

What Every Defendant NEEDS to Know Before Accepting Probation

Not all offenses qualify for an order of Non-Disclosure – that means that, although you do not have a conviction on your record, all the other information relating to the arrest, charges and disposition remains on your record forever (For example, Assault Family Violence can not be “sealed” by an order of non-disclosure).

If you mess up, you will go to jail until the Court addresses the alleged violations of the terms of your supervision.  if it is straight probation.

THE UGLY

If you mess up, you could end up doing more time than if you took jail/prison up front.  If it is Straight Probation (like a DWI), then you can be sentenced up to the length of the probationary term.  If it is deferred adjudication, however, you could be sentenced to the full range of punishment for the offense.  For example, if you are on deferred adjudication for Possession of 1-4 grams of cocaine for a period of 3 years, and you violate, you could be sentenced to up to 10 years!  This is because the range of punishment for that amount of cocaine is up to 10 yrs in TDC.

People are generally overly optimistic of their chances to complete probation.  It is a lot to deal with, and you need to b honest with yourself.  If you have been arrested before, what makes you think you can stay out of trouble now?  You certainly might be able to make a paradigm shift in your life, even though you have a wrap sheet a mile long, but you need to be realistic.

The Takeaway

Consider your options carefully, and discuss ALL the consequences of your plea of guilty and imposition of a suspended sentence with your attorney. There may be other options available that fit your situation.

CHARGED WITH CRIME?

CALL LEGRANDE LAW NOW!
Crime is prosecuted zealously in Texas, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney
To fight for your freedom and make sure that justice is done.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Tristan LeGrande IMMEDIATELY by calling 281-684-3500.

http://www.legrandelaw.com

http://www.houstondrugattorney.net

Houston Criminal defense attorney Tristan LeGrande

Do I NEED a Concealed Handgun License to Carry a Loaded Handgun in my Car?

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There is some confusion over the question of whether you need a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to carry a loaded handgun in your vehicle…so here is the skinny:

IN TEXAS, you MAY carry a loaded handgun in your vehicle WITHOUT A CHL If you are NOT:

  1. a convicted felon;
  2. a gang member (as defined under the Texas Penal Code);
  3. involved in criminal activity more serious than a traffic violation (class C Misdemeanor);
  4. the handgun is NOT in plain view; or,
  5. Otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.

In 2011 the statute was amended – and now in Texas you do not need a CHL to carry a loaded handgun in your vehicle, provided you don’t meet the above five elements.

So I can carry a loaded handgun in my glovebox or center console?

YES…IF…you are not doing anything else illegal (other than disobeying a class C traffic regulation), it is not in plain view, you are not a gang member, and not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a handgun.

HOWEVER…if you are driving while intoxicated, in possession of marijuana, or controlled substances, you still can be charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon.

AND IF you are a convicted felon, you can NEVER possess a handgun or other firearm in your vehicle.  Five years after you have been released from probation, parole or incarceration you may own a firearm in your home under Texas law (but not under Federal Law…but that is a discussion for a future post…)


Texas Penal Code

Sec. 46.02. UNLAWFUL CARRYING WEAPONS. (a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun, illegal knife, or club if the person is not:

(1) on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control; or

(2) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.

(a-1) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control at any time in which:

(1) the handgun is in plain view; or

(2) the person is:

(A) engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic or boating;

(B) prohibited by law from possessing a firearm; or

(C) a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01.

(a-2) For purposes of this section, “premises” includes real property and a recreational vehicle that is being used as living quarters, regardless of whether that use is temporary or permanent. In this subsection, “recreational vehicle” means a motor vehicle primarily designed as temporary living quarters or a vehicle that contains temporary living quarters and is designed to be towed by a motor vehicle. The term includes a travel trailer, camping trailer, truck camper, motor home, and horse trailer with living quarters.

(a-3) For purposes of this section, “watercraft” means any boat, motorboat, vessel, or personal watercraft, other than a seaplane on water, used or capable of being used for transportation on water.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), an offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed on any premises licensed or issued a permit by this state for the sale of alcoholic beverages.

ARRESTED ON WEAPONS CHARGES?

If you have been arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm,
These types of crimes are prosecuted with vigor in Texas, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney
To fight for your freedom and make sure that justice is done.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Tristan LeGrande IMMEDIATELY by calling 281-684-3500.

http://www.legrandelaw.com

http://www.houstondrugattorney.net

Houston Criminal defense attorney Tristan LeGrande

So I Got Arrested, Now What Happens?

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The Most obvious answer is of course, the metal bracelets are squeezed down tight onto your wrists and you take the long ride to one of the many local “bars & locks motels” around town.  BUT THEN WHAT?

Booking

First you will be booked into the jail.  This includes taking a booking photo, fingerprinting, and evaluating your mental state to see if you need specialized or segregated detention.  A final warrant check is done to see if you have any holds from other counties in Texas, felony out of state warrants, or Federal warrants.

Bond Out or Magistrate Presentment

Depending on many things (among them how crowded the jail is that night and what staff happen to be working), you will get to make the infamous one-phone-call.  At this point you want to call someone that will find you a bondsman, or a bondsman directly.  They make money off of people in your situation and they want your business, any number of them would be glad to assist you in getting out of the clink.

If you do not bond out, you will be presented before a magistrate, usually within 12 hours (although it can take somewhat longer due to the factors I listed earlier).  The magistrate will read the charges against you, the probable cause for your arrest, and detail the potential range of punishment.

Arraignment

After you bond out you will be given a court date.  Depending on the size of the county and the way that they handle their dockets (and, again, those factors I listed above), this will be anywhere from within a week to 6 weeks or so.

If you are charged with committing a Misdemeanor, your case will be presented to one of the District Attorneys of the County and if they accept the charges, you will be charged by Misdemeanor Information.

If you are charged with a Felony, your case will be presented to a Grand Jury that will decide if there is probable cause to believe the offense you are suspected of committing.  In some situations, your attorney may present a grand jury packet.  Basically this is information that your attorney wants the Grand Jury to review in deciding whether or not you will be charged with the crime.  In other situations, your attorney may waive indictment.

If you do not bond out, the same process occurs.  The only difference being that you will wait it out from within the jail.

Retaining Counsel

At your arraignment the court will read over the charges against you, inform you of the range of punishment, take your plea, and ask if you have retained an attorney.  This will be a repeat of what you have already heard if you did not bond out within the first day after you were arrested; the judge will again go over the same information the magistrate did at that time.

If you cannot afford an attorney, you will be appointed one immediately if you are still in jail on your arraignment date.  If you are on bond, the procedure for obtaining a court appointed lawyer varies from court to court.  Some Judges will ask you questions about your financial situation on the spot and assess whether they think you are truly indigent and in need of appointed representation.  Others will tell you they will reset your case, and want you to contact 4 or 5 attorneys and come back with their names, numbers, prices, and why you can’t afford it.  Still others will send you to fill out paperwork for appointed counsel immediately after you assert your need for appointed counsel.

Discovery

Once you have an attorney, your attorney will engage in the discovery process along with the District Attorney handling your case.  This a critical point in the process, and can include discovery requests, hiring investigators, reviewing evidence (including video or audio recordings), interviewing witnesses, and issuing subpoenas, etc.

Making a Deal or Going to Trial

After discovery is complete (or mostly complete), your attorney will bring any plea offers from the state to you, and the two of you will make the decision to accept a plea, or set the case for a trial by judge or by jury.

If you are charged with a crime –

YOU NEED HELP!

If you are accused of ANY CRIMINAL OFFENSE it is crucial to have

An aggressive criminal defense attorney in your corner.

You need someone that will fight for your rights.

You need a tenacious lawyer that will put the state to their burden.

Contact attorney Tristan LeGrande IMMEDIATELY by calling 281-684-3500.

http://www.legrandelaw.com

http://www.houstondrugattorney.net

Houston Criminal defense attorney Tristan LeGrande