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Texas HB 3016 amends the Texas Government Code and now allows certain nonviolent misdemeanors to be eligible for a nondisclosure. When certain conditions are satisfied, the new law allows for some individuals convicted of a DWI to receive a nondisclosure.

DWI Cases: Who is Eligible for a Nondisclosure?

You may be eligible for a nondisclosure if you were convicted of a first DWI, your blood alcohol was less than 0.15, there was no accident involving another individual, and you have satisfied the proper waiting period. If you were ordered to have ignition interlock on your vehicle for at least six months, you must wait two years. If you did not have ignition interlock on your vehicle, then you must wait five years.

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At a summit addressing the opioid addiction problem in the United States, Trump suggested executing drug dealers. These comments came after other speakers, including members of his cabinet, discussed focusing on treatment and therapy to combat the problem. Some speakers also focused on disrupting the supply coming into the United States from countries like China and Mexico. Trump then repeated his death penalty ideas a few weeks later at rally in Pennsylvania. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already issued a policy to his prosecutors to seek the harshest penalties in drug cases. In the past Trump has condoned Singapore’s use of the death penalty in drug cases. Trump has also praised the controversial President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte for his use of extrajudicial police killings to wage his war on drugs.images

Many opioids, however, are made legally by manufacturers and then distributed by doctors to their patients for treatment purposes. On the other hand, illegal drugs such as heroin also belong to the opioid class of drugs.

Some counties around the country, such as Bexar County, Texas, have elected to sue opioid manufacturers and distributors. The suit is targeting big pharma companies such as Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Cephalon and Johnson & Johnson. Express-News reported that, “The county named a combination of 11 manufacturers, promoters and distributors to be sued, though the list is not exhaustive.”

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A 12-year-old girl that attends Roy J. Smith middle school in Killeen, Texas was arrested for making terroristic threats on social media rape, shoot, and torture other students at her school. The threats the student made on social media prompted thousands of students and their parents to be too scared to attend school on Wednesday. In fact, over 4,000 students missed school.computer-keyboard-1242933-300x226

Students, family, and friends are encouraged to report these types of threats from students on social media; especially in the wake of yet another mass school shooting. However, these types of threats on social media, although very concerning, raise First Amendment freedom of speech protections as well as intent to commit a crime. Similar cases have been addressed recently by the Supreme Court of the United and the Texas Appellate Courts.

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in Elonis v. U.S. that the Government  was required to but failed to prove that Elonis, who was going through a divorce and posted threats to kill his wife, had the intent to kill his wife. The Supreme Court did not reach the First Amendment issue that was raised. In 2017, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals also addressed the constitutionality of Texas Penal Code 22.07, the Terroristic Threats section. In denying his pretrial writ of habeas corpus, the Court of Criminal Appeals found that Carter was actually challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, which cannot be raised in a pretrial writ. Justin Carter’s case has been say for trial in May 2018.

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San Antonio residmarijuana-300x225ents and visitors who are found in possession of marijuana by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office may be eligible for a new “cite and release” program that the Bexar County District’s Office has initiated. The program is currently in its trial phase and currently only working with the Sheriff’s Department. Individuals who are eligible would be entered into a pretrial diversion program and ordered to pay a $250 fine, any restitution, perform eight hours of community service, take a course and provide a urine sample.

The stipulations of the program are not entirely clear, however, and there is no indication what would happen to an offender if they fail to complete the pretrial diversion. Other pretrial diversion programs implemented by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office come with an agreement that if the offender does not finish the program, a guilty plea is entered on their behalf. This program also allows an officer to use his discretion in who will be arrested and taken to jail and who will be cited and released on the scene.

Possession of marijuana in Texas can have some serious consequences. Possession of 0-2 ounces is a Class B misdemeanor with a possible punishment of up to six months in jail and a fine up to $2,000.00. Possession of 2-4 ounces has a possible punishment of a year in jail and a fine up to $4,000.00. There are severe collateral consequences as well. For example, someone convicted of misdemeanor possession with have their driver’s license suspended. Some offenders who are convicted may not be able to receive federal financial aid.

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The Bexar County legal community is still reeling from the loss of Assistant District Attorney Charles ‘Chip” Rich III. He passed away on Monday, November 5, 2012. Colleagues remember him as outstanding, caring, professional, courteous, top-notch, and an integral part of the District Attorney’s office. He was the type of prosecutor who took time out of his day to assist younger prosecutors and despite working in an adversarial system, he genuinely cared about the personal lives of his colleagues, including defense attorneys.

Rich studied at the University of Denver-Strum College of Law and began his career in the Denver area in 1993. He joined the Bexar County District Attorney’s office in 2002. He became chairman of the DWI Task Force in 2011.

Rich was involved in many community programs. Recently he was a guest speaker at the Shattered Dreams program at Saint Mary’s Hall Upper School campus. This program was developed to teach students and families the consequences of underage drinking.