J. Michael Price II
J. Michael Price II - Criminal Defense
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  • Criminal Law Specialist certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification
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Drug offenses a major factor in mass incarceration

Many Dallas residents might be surprised to learn that the United States leads the world in incarcerations. Last week the White House released a report, "Economic Perspectives on Incarceration and the Criminal Justice System" and its findings are alarming to say the least.

Although the United States holds just five percent of the world's population, it has approximately 35 percent of the world's prisoners? This amounts to approximately 2.2 million people in either local jails or state or federal prisons. Fifty-eight percent of inmates are held in state prisons, one third in local jails and nine percent in federal prisons.

What is the National Sex Offender Registry?

For Texans found guilty of certain sex crimes, fines and time in prison are not the only penalties. Depending on the severity of the crime, convicted sex offenders may also have to register Texas's registry system. They may also be included in the National Sex Offender Public Registry, or NSOPR, run by the United States Department of Justice.

The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, or NSOPW, was named in honor of a 22 year old North Dakota college student who was kidnapped and murdered. The sex offender was from the neighboring state of Minnesota. The database helps partner states, territorial and tribal governments to keep track of sex offenders for the safety of all.

Federal charges following fatal crash

Last month, a Texas man illegally swerved into the wrong lane on State Highway and crashed with another vehicle. The crash killed a 36-year-old father and his two children, aged 4 years and 22 months, respectively. The man is now being charged at the Collin County Jail for criminal negligent homicide.

The man, an illegal Mexican immigrant, also was charged in 2008. He was subsequently deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The 33-year-old was driving without a license at the time of the accident.

Truck, Boy Scout money stolen in Keller

Crimes sometimes cause additional unforeseen heartaches to their victims. Such was the case in Keller, Texas, last week when a truck was stolen from a parking lot over the weekend. Not only did the family lose their vehicle, but the truck was stolen immediately following a Boy Scout fundraiser. The local troop had just collected over $600 selling gift cards in front of a grocery store.

According to the father, he had his back turned momentarily from his idling truck when the 2006 Chevrolet Silverado was stolen. At the time of this writing, the truck had not yet been recovered. Police are still investigating and looking at security footage to determine the identity of the thief.

What are the penalties for prostitution in Texas?

It is considered to be the world's oldest profession: prostitution. And, even today, throughout the United States and across Texas, prostitution exists, often exploiting vulnerable people, including children. The crime is taken seriously in the state of Texas, for both parties committing the act, as well as others, such as pimps who coordinate the crime.

Penalties for sex crimes, such as prostitution, extend beyond just the act of intercourse with a prostitute. Promoting prostitution, whether off a website, through social media or in person through a third party, is also a crime. If it is done as a business venture, including, but not limited to, financing or investing, controlling or supervising, it may be elevated to aggravated promotion of prostitution, which carries even stricter penalties.

An overview of the penalties for kidnapping in Texas

Kidnapping is a very serious offense, and is subject to both Texas and federal felony charges for someone found guilty. Kidnapping is defined as, "the taking of a person from one place to another against her or her will, or the confining of a person to a controlled space." This may also be applicable to instances of extortion or even for parents who have taken a child against a child custody ruling.

As with many crimes in the state of Texas, there are very severe penalties for someone found guilty. Kidnapping is considered a third degree felony, and a defendant found guilty of kidnapping is subject to between two and 10 years in state prison, and fines of up to $10,000. If the incident is defined as aggravated kidnapping, the penalties ramp up to between five and 99 years in prison, as well as fines.

How are field sobriety tests performed in Texas?

Texans that have been pulled over under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated, may be asked to perform a field sobriety test to determine whether they are impaired. Field sobriety tests, also called roadside sobriety tests, are typically done before a breathalyzer. These tests are often done in three parts, called the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, which is endorsed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

The test consists of "the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn, and one-leg stand." The horizontal gaze nystagmus is performed by an officer who analyzes a driver's gaze as he or she follows a moving object from side to side. If a driver cannot follow a moving object or shows distinct eye jerking, it may be an indication of intoxication.

Dealing drugs to Texas youths leads to serious penalties

As we have stressed in the past, the state of Texas has some of the most severe penalties in the United States for drug charges that lead to convictions. Whether it is recreational use, drug manufacturing or drug distribution, if you are charged and found guilty of a drug crime, it may lead to life-long consequences. These consequences include substantial prison time and financial fines and penalties.

A study in 2012 by the Texas Department of State Health Services, along with the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University, conducted a study with over 130,000 students between grades 4-12 in 78 schools across Texas on substance abuse. The findings were alarming.

How serious is identity theft in Texas?

With the rise of technology over the last few decades, Texans are seeing an increase in identity theft. With internet access and public Wi-Fi available seemingly everywhere, it has become increasingly easier for people to access the records of others, often illegally with ill-intentions.

Identity theft is defined as any attempt to access one's personal information, typically through fraud or deception for economic gain. This information can be personal information, such as a social security number, birth date or home address, or financial information, including a credit history or information regarding a victim's bank accounts or investments. It is often done digitally, though the internet, but may also include the physical replication or use of a victim's identification, credit card or through lost or stolen mail.

Drunk Driver leads police on chase, crashes in Dallas

Last week, in Plano, Texas, a drunk driver led police on a wild chase that ended in Dallas when the driver crashed while exiting a highway. According to the report, the incident began when police tried to stop the suspect after he was speeding and weaving around traffic on the North Central Expressway. Things only escalated from there.

The 31-year-old suspect fled onto the Bush Turnpike into Far North Dallas. The officer continued to follow the drunk driver, but backed off when the chase started to reach high speeds, going as fast as 115 miles per hour at its peak. The driver then exited the highway and lost control of his BMW around a curve and crashed into a gate. Thankfully, no other vehicles or drivers were involved in the chase and subsequent accident.