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“Magna Carta” comes to Houston

An original edition of the “Magna Carta,” is on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science for a limited time, Feb. 14, 2014 to August 17, 2014. 

 

         The Magna Carta is considered to be Great Britain’s most valuable export to the world and is a model upon which the United States Constitution was based. The Magna Carta continues to serve as the definitive document modeling basic civil liberties, and is the source of many of the most fundamental concepts of law. In more than 100 decisions, the United States Supreme Court has traced dependence on the Magna Carta for an understanding of due process, trial by jury, the importance of a speedy and unbiased trial, and protection against excessive bail or fines or cruel and unusual punishment.

 

Expunction of Criminal Arrest Records in Texas

Texas law provides for the expunction of criminal arrest records under certain very specific circumstances. (Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art 55.01) The general statutory reasons for expunction of arrest records are when:

• A person is tried for the offense for which he was arrested and found not guilty. Art. 55.01(a)(1)

• A person has been released and the charge has not resulted in a final conviction, the case is no longer pending, and there was no court ordered community supervision under Art. 42.12 for any offense other than a Class C misdemeanor. (Art. 55.01(a)(2)

In the event of an acquittal the person is entitled to have arrest records expunged provided that he or she makes a request to the trial court. There are no filing fees if this is done within thirty (30) days of the not guilty verdict.

In the event that no formal charge is filed a person is entitled to have arrest records expunged provided certain conditions set out in the expunction statute are met. These conditions are set out in Art. 5501(a)(2) and have to do with no formal charge being filed in certain specified time periods that vary depending on the level of the offense, felony vs. misdemeanor, etc. and if a formal charge is filed, whether the charge was dismissed because the person completed a qualified pretrial diversion program, whether it was dismissed due to mistake, false information or other similar reason indicating lack of probable cause. Art. 55.01(a)(2)(A)

Regardless of whether the conditions set out above are met, a person is generally entitled to have arrest records expunged if the case was dismissed and the prosecution of the person is no longer possible because the limitations period has expired. Art. 55.01(a)(2)(B)  This is an important change from previous Texas law and allows persons whose lawyers were able to negotiate a dismissal of their case, for whatever reason, to have criminal arrest records destroyed.

 

Texas Mandatory Blood Draw law and the Fourth Amendment

The United States Supreme Court recently handed down Missouri v. McNeely, a Fourth Amendment case that will change the way Texas police do business with regard to mandatory blood draw cases.  Texas Transportation Code Chapter 724 provides for mandatory blood draws, without a search warrant, in circumstances such as felony DWI 3rd, DWI’s with a child passenger, DWIs involving accidents with serious bodily injuries or death.   Continue reading

Galveston Co. District Attorney declares Mardi Gras “No refusal” weekends

DA declares Mardi Gras “No Refusal” weekends

Jan. 29, 2013
GALVESTON, TX – Galveston County Criminal District Attorney Jack Roady announced today that his office will work with area law enforcement agencies to enforce a No Refusal program covering both weekends of Mardi Gras – beginning Friday, February 1st through Sunday, February 3rd, and again on Friday, February 8th through Sunday, February 10th. Continue reading

Lone Star Motorcycle Rally/ No Breath Test Refusal Weekend

Galveston County Authorities have announced a “No Breath Test Refusal” policy for the upcoming weekend. This means that in the event a person, suspected of DWI, refuses to take a breath test, the police will request a judge to issue a search warrant to take blood. Before a judge can legally issue a warrant, the police must submit an affidavit establishing that there is probably cause to believe the person is guilty of a crime (DWI). Continue reading