Category Archive for "Criminal Procedure"

What is a Criminal Confession in Texas

What is a Criminal Confession in Texas?

Attorney Marsh

In Texas, as in other states, a criminal confession is a formal acknowledgment of guilt during a criminal investigation. This all goes back to your 5th Amendment Right to Remain Silent. When someone is suspected of committing a crime, police will begin their investigation. The investigation may start with police making direct contact with the person accused. Before, during, or after that first contact, police gather evidence to build their case against the person accused. If the person accused makes any statements to the police, they may be considered admissions instead of confessions. Under Texas law, confessions must be recorded by video/audio…

Should I Take a Plea Bargain

Should I Take a Plea Bargain? Part 2

Attorney Marsh

This post is important. It’s a follow up to my first post on Should I Take a Plea Bargain? In that post I talked about a few considerations when you decided whether or not to take a plea. So here we are in Should I Take a Plea Bargain? Part 2. Taking a plea deal is a very important life decision. Ultimately, the decision is yours alone. I don’t make plea decisions for my clients. I can only advise them about the positives and negatives of taking a plea deal. I want what’s best for my clients. Depending on your case,…

Police and Excessive Force Claims in Texas

Police and Excessive Force Claims in Texas

Attorney Marsh

Every so often a client will call me or send me an email about this topic. It usually involves someone coming into contact with the police and feeling that their rights were violated. When it comes to the police and excessive force claims in Texas, there is a high hurdle to overcome. Day in and day out the police have to deal with a variety of situations. Some of the situations require the use of force when someone gets aggressive, resists arrest, or breaks the law. Very often, when the police have to make an arrest, the person doesn’t go…

No Knock Warrants in Texas

No Knock Warrants in Texas

Q: Knock, knock? A: Police Q: Poilce, who? A: We’ve got a search warrant for your home. (Kick in door) Maybe this is what people have come to expect from police when they execute a search warrant in Texas. Most people see this type of interaction on TV or in the movies. It almost always ends with the door kicked in, police entering with guns drawn, people dragged out of the home in cuffs, and thrown into the back of a police car. While No Knock Warrants in Texas might not be an issue you confront every day, the public…

Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Community Caretaking

Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Community Caretaking

This post is about another of the exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. In previous posts I explained some other exceptions. The Community Caretaking exception is similar to the Fourth Amendment Exception of Exigency. However, the difference between the two is very important. Exigency usually deals with the pressing needs of law enforcement, investigating crimes, and collecting evidence. It is more geared toward these activities in mind. Community caretaking has much more to do with a police officer’s traditional role in the community. A warrant isn’t required because the aim of community caretaking is to ensure safety, and not targeted…

Probation Revocation in Texas

Probation Revocation in Texas

Attorney Marsh

The vast majority of criminal cases end with someone being put on some type of probation in Texas. This post is a quick summary of Probation Revocation in Texas. To find out more, go to my Probation Revocation Hearings Page. In Texas, probation is technically called Community Supervision. In a previous post I wrote about the difference between Deferred Adjudication Probation vs. Straight Probation. The difference between the two is very important. You should talk to your lawyer about the differences so that you know what you’re agreeing to and the positives/negatives of your choice. At the beginning of your case,…

Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Plain View

Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Plain View

Attorney Marsh

So I realized in my last post, Patios, Porches, Police, and Backyards in Texas I somewhat put the cart before the horse. This post is to fix that. Also, this post is the fifth part of my posts on Fourth Amendment Exceptions. The Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Plain View involves things that officers see or smell. Searches without a warrant are illegal unless they fall under legally recognized exceptions. (These are the holes in the Swiss Cheese). Read some of the past posts to get a rough idea for what I’m talking about. The past posts have included: Exigency or Immediate Need to Search…

Smartphone mit Kette und Schloss

Can Police Search Your Cell Phone in Texas?

This problem comes up more in older cases than new ones. Cell phones have become more and more important in our lives as time has gone on. Remember – ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS KEEP A PASSWORD ON YOUR PHONE. We’ve come a long way since flip phones and phones without text messaging. The reason why, is that in June of 2014 the United States Supreme Court ruled that cell phones deserve the same constitutional privacy protections as other areas in our lives. The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures by police. If you read the post on Search Warrant…

Roommates, Passengers, Searches, and Police

Roommates, Passengers, Searches, and Police

Attorney Marsh

This post is going to be an offshoot of a previous post on Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Consent. Remember, police need a warrant (approved by a Judge) to search your home or vehicle, unless there is an exception. We’re talking about a Search Warrant. There is a big difference between a Search Warrant vs Warrant of Arrest. The focus of this post is Consent to Search when it relates to Roommates, Passengers, and the Police. These issues come up when there is a passenger in your car, a roommate/spouse you live with, or even an overnight guest. Under Texas law,…

Can Police Search Through Your Trash

Can Police Search Through Your Trash?

For the most part, yes, police can search through your trash. If you’ve read some of the previous posts about Search Warrants or the Exceptions to the Need for Search Warrants, then you’d know why. If you haven’t read those, go back and read one of them. Searches without a warrant by police are presumed to be illegal. This is a Constitutional protection we have. So, what if that search happens to be trash? Trash, Dumpsters, Curbside Garbage, and the Police First, let’s use an example to show what a person’s rights are when it comes to their garbage. Let’s…