Department of State Health Services recently announced that it will
remove hemp from its list of Schedule I controlled substances. Schedule I
contains drugs that are highly dangerous, addictive, and typically have no
accepted medical use. Other notable Schedule I drugs include cocaine, LSD, and
Nonetheless, the move
does little to clarify the legal status of products containing hemp that many
stores already sell in Texas, including gummies, creams, and oils. As of right
now, hemp remains illegal. Hemp, unlike marijuana, contains low levels of THC,
which is the psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant that produces a
high in user. Nonetheless, state law currently prohibits the possession and
sales of both hemp and marijuana as the same substance in most circumstances.
Only patients with intractable epilepsy and prescriptions issued by two doctors
can purchase cannabis products that contain up to 0.5 percent THC. Any other
hemp products must contain no THC to be legal in the state of Texas.
of hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance only partially brings it into
compliance with current federal law. Last year, Congress legalized hemp
containing less than 0.3 percent THC. As a result, the Texas legislature would
need to amend its current definition of hemp and the accompanying penalties for
buying and selling it to comply with federal law. Although legislation is
pending in the Texas legislature, it is debatable whether the proposed
legislation will pass before the end of the current legislative session.
confusion under Texas law is leading to different legal repercussions for shops
that sell CBD oil in different jurisdictions. While Dallas County has not
prioritized enforcing laws regarding hemp on shops selling CBD products or
consumers who purchase, the Tarrant County district attorney issued a statement
that CBD oil is illegal. This statement led to police raids of shops selling
CBD oil in Fort Worth. A complicating factor is that even if law enforcement
authorities do file charges regarding the possession or sales of hemp products,
they often end up dropping the charges because they must have each individual
product tested to prove it is illegal under state law.
Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense
against any criminal charges. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding
your case, present your options, and help you make the decisions that will be
most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek
& Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.
The Fourth Amendment
to the U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to be free from reasonable search
and seizure. This generally means that law enforcement authorities must have a
valid search warrant to enter and search your private residence. As a result,
when police illegally search your home without a warrant, a court could rule in
any criminal proceedings that since the search was illegal, the evidence was
likewise illegally obtained and thus not admissible in court. However, there
are various exceptions to this general requirement of a search warrant, one of
which is “exigent circumstances.”
Tex. Code of Crim. Procedure Article
14.50 provides that
while law enforcement officers normally may not enter a residence without a
warrant, they may do so under exigent circumstances. Whether a situation rises
to the level of exigent circumstances depends on the specific facts of each
One situation in
which exigent circumstances might be present is if the law enforcement officer
reasonably believes that entry without a warrant is necessary to assist others.
For instance, when law enforcement officers are present outside a residence and
hear a woman screaming for help, they may have exigent circumstances to enter
the residence and prevent the woman from whatever harm may be occurring.
Another example of
exigent circumstances may be when entry by police officers into the residence
is necessary to protect themselves from a person whom they reasonably believe
to be present, armed and dangerous. In other words, if someone from inside the
residence is actively shooting through the windows at police officers, they may
have grounds to enter the residence due to exigent circumstances.
Yet another instance that might constitute exigent circumstances occurs when law enforcement officers fear that failing to enter the residence could result in the destruction of evidence or contraband. If police officers are outside a home awaiting a search warrant and a fire begins burning in a back room in the house, the police might reasonably conclude that the suspect is attempting to dispose of evidence or contraband. In instance, exigent circumstances may be present.
The Peek & Toland criminal defense lawyers are here to represent your interests and advise you of the best course of action in your situation. Set up an appointment to talk to us today and discover how we can assist you with your criminal proceedings.
The “law of parties” permits one
individual to be held criminally liable for the actions of others. Tex. Pen. Code § 7.01 designates all participants to a crime as
“parties” and thus makes them all criminally responsible for the commission of
Under Tex. Pen. Code §7.02, there are several different situations in
which you may be criminally responsible for the criminal behavior of others.
These situations include those in which you:
Cause or help an
innocent person to engage in criminal activity,
promote, help, encourage, direct, or solicit others to commit a crime, or
attempt to do the same, or
Have a legal duty
to prevent a crime from occurring and you purposely promote it, assist in
committing it, or fail to make any reasonable efforts to stop it from occurring
Another related provision under Texas law is the felony murder rule. If you have conspired with others to commit a felony offense, then you may be criminally responsible for any other felony offense that one of your co-conspirators commits, if it was one that you reasonably should have anticipated. For instance, if you and a friend decide to commit an armed robbery of a gas station so that you can steal all the money from the cash register and safe, you should reasonably anticipate that someone could end up shot. If that person dies or suffers severe injuries, you can face additional felony charges for that death or injury, even if it was your co-conspirator and not you that pulled the trigger. In the state of Texas, the felony murder even applies to capital offenses. This means that if you are committing an armed robbery with a co-conspirator, and the co-conspirator intentionally shoots and kills another patron in the store, then you could face first-degree murder charges and the death penalty.
The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal representation of countless individuals facing various immigration-related issues. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys today.
The U.S. Supreme
Court recently issued its much-awaited ruling in Nielsen v. Preap. This case concerned whether a federal
statute, or 8 U.S.C. 1226(c), provided for mandatory immigrant
detention for a certain class of noncitizen immigrants. If the statute applied
to these immigrants, then they would be subject to detention indefinitely
without the opportunity for a bond hearing. These immigrants argued that mandatory
detention without bond as provided for in the statute did not apply to them because
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not take them into immigration
custody until many years after they had been released from custody for a
criminal offense. In many cases, these immigrants were legal permanent
residents who had not had additional criminal charges or trouble during the
interceding years. As a result, these individuals maintained that they should
be entitled to a bond hearing to determine whether their detention was legal.
plurality of the Supreme Court agreed with the federal government’s argument
that these immigrants fell within one of the four specifically-defined groups
of immigrants contemplated in the statute. Therefore, the Court concluded that the
lapse of time between the immigrants’ criminal detention and immigration
detention was irrelevant and did not remove them from the application of the
plain language of the statute.
The dissent criticized the broad reach of the ruling, as it effectively subjected a whole class of immigrants to indefinite mandatory detention without even a bond hearing to challenge their detention. Thus, even if the immigrants later prove themselves to be not subject to removal for one reason or another, they still will have spent months or even years detained without bond. The dissent saw this as a major constitutional problem. At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you obtain through your immigration problems. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout the immigration process. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers know the best strategies for gathering documentation to support your goals. Allow us to handle your immigration law case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.
A bill recently
introduced in the House of Representatives may give new hope to both immigrants
under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Dreamers, or DACA recipients. The American
Dream and Promise Act of 2019 would allow over two million TPS holders and
Dreamers adjust their status by obtaining legal permanent residency, or green
cards. The bill also makes similar provisions for Liberians with Deferred
Enforced Departure (DED), another group who has work authorization and some
protections from deportation but who have no legal immigrant status.
immigrants from four different countries now have seen their TPS status extend
to at least January 2, 2020. TPS holders from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador,
and Sudan have received this extension due to ongoing federal court litigation
and rulings in Ramos v. Nielsen. Additional
litigation in Bhattarai v. Nielsen
also has prompted DHS to extend TPS status to January 5, 2020, for immigrants
from Honduras and Nepal.
In April, TPS holders from South Sudan also received an 18-month extension of their status. Natives of three other countries – Somalia, Syria, and Yemen – are still awaiting their fates. The federal government formally ended the Liberians with DED program on March 31, 2018, but instead gave the recipients a one-year wind-down period. As a result, DED status for Liberians was set to expire on March 31, 2019, but the Trump administration extended their status until March 30, 2020. DED recipients also will have work authorization during this extension. Liberians with DED status have been residing in the U.S. at least since 2002.
Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to helping both individuals and businesses resolve their immigration-related issues. Immigration law is a complex, ever-changing area of the law that necessitates legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers who keep up-to-date with all relevant changes in law and policy. We will work with you to achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled immigration attorneys today.
According to a recent NBC news report, immigrants start new businesses on
a far more frequent basis than American, notwithstanding the visa challenges that
they continue to face. In a 2016 report, the National Foundation for American
Policy found that immigrants were responsible for more than half of American
start-ups that were worth $1 billion or more. A more recent report from
researchers at George Mason University that when immigrants run start-up
businesses, they have a far higher level of innovation than American
There is no dispute
among economists who study the issue that immigrants starting new businesses do
not replace Americans who also choose to do so; rather, these immigrants have a
universally positive effect on all aspects of entrepreneurship and the general
economy. Researchers point to the success of Silicon Valley, which long has
been a world-wide gathering place for individuals from all corners of the earth
to focus on innovative tech issues.
benefits, however, many businesses and entrepreneurs are accusing the U.S.
government of making the visa process more and more difficult. There only are a
few potential visas that allow immigrant entrepreneurs to come to the U.S., and
neither of them present a perfect route. There is no exclusive route for a visa
or a green card for immigrant entrepreneurs, which means that they must find
alternative ways to enter the country. The available alternatives are the E-2
visa, the EB-5 visa, and the H-1B visa, all of which have their own drawbacks.
Even these routes have
become more complicated. H-1B visas, especially, have come under heightened
scrutiny, and the processing of all types of visas is becoming more and more
lengthy. These delays in processing have created a level of uncertainty that
may deter some immigrants from coming to the U.S.
goal is to assist you with your immigration concerns, whether family or
business-based. We can evaluate your situation and develop the strategy that is
most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the
immigration matter that you are facing, the
attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge and reputation that you want and need to
advocate on your behalf. When results matter most, contact us
The American Immigration Council and
the American Immigration Lawyers Association recently filed a formal complaint
with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Executive Office of Immigration
Review (EOIR) about the judges at the El Paso Servicing Center. In their
complaint, the lawyers state that the bias of these judges against their
clients is preventing them from having fair hearings. The complaint relies
heavily on statistics on the approval of asylum petitions at this location.
In FY 2017, the judges in the El Paso
court approved only four of the 92 asylum cases that it heard, which is an
approval rate of 4.5%. In FY 2016, the judges in this location approved asylum
in three out of 133 cases. The nationwide average for the approval of asylum
petitions by immigration courts is 40%.
The complainants also state that the
judges are openly rude and hostile to their clients, treating them all with
contempt. Furthermore, the judges have imposed an arbitrary 100-page limit on
evidence in support of asylum claims and now require that all evidence be
submitted prior to even scheduling a hearing. This requirement places a
hardship on these immigrants, who often must request written documentation from
their distance home countries. As a result, immigrants must either proceed and
request a trial date based on the evidence they already have, or wait for more
evidence, which only prolongs the court date and their detention, which may
Furthermore, Judge Abbott rarely grants bonds in asylum cases, which gives these immigrants little access to counsel, even by pro bono attorneys. While about 66% of non-detained individuals have the benefit of attorney representation, only about 14% of detained immigrants have an attorney. In assessing whether to grant bond, Abbott reportedly considers the strength of the immigrants’ asylum claim rather than assessing whether immigrants are flight risks or dangers to the community. Our Texas immigration lawyers are here to offer you the experienced legal representation and advice that you need in order to resolve your immigration law matter. We can act as your guide through the complicated immigration process to obtain the relief that you are seeking. Call our office today and learn about the type of assistance we can offer you.
state lawmakers in the House have passed a HB 63, which is a bill that lowers
minor possession of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor, their victory was
short-lived. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who controls the state Senate, already
has stated that the bill is “dead on arrival.” He reportedly has no interest in
decriminalizing any amount of marijuana, as to do so would lead to the
legalization of marijuana, which is a path that Texas has long resisted.
other states continue to pass increasingly broad medical marijuana and even
some recreational marijuana bills, Texas has remained firm in allowing the use
of medical marijuana only to treat otherwise untreatable epilepsy, an extremely
narrow exception to the state’s blanket ban on marijuana.
Under HB 63, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana would become a civil penalty rather than a criminal offense; the only punishment possible under this bill would be a fine of up to $250. Currently, possession of this amount of marijuana is a
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg infuriated some state officials by
enacting a policy that essentially decriminalized possession of less than four
ounces of marijuana in the county. Under this policy, individuals will not be
arrested, ticketed, or ordered to appear in court if they take a marijuana
education class. The District Attorney’s office established the policy to focus
more law enforcement efforts toward combatting violent crime and drug
trafficking, among other priorities.
you find yourself charged with any type of criminal offense, you need legal
advice that only experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys can offer you. As
the consequences of any criminal conviction may be severe, you should
immediately contact a skilled defense lawyer for help if you have been accused
of a criminal offense. Peek & Toland
provides strong legal representation on a regular basis for individuals who are
charged with various crimes. It is our priority is to represent your interests
and protect your rights. Call us at (512)
474-4445 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.
The U.S. Supreme
Court is poised to consider whether the Immigration Reform and Control Act
(IRCA) preempts states in using information taken from Form I-9 Employment
Eligibility Verification to prosecute individuals for state criminal offenses.
The case at issue concerns a Kansas state law prosecution of individuals for
identity theft. The high Court will hear arguments in the case in its term that
will begin in October 2019.
Prosecutors in Kansas
convicted three individuals of identity theft for using other people’s social
security numbers to fill out I-9 forms to gain employment at different
restaurants. After a series of appeals, the Kansas Supreme Court reversed their
convictions, ruling that ICRA prohibited states from using information taken
from I-9 forms as evidence in state law prosecutions due to preemption of
federal law over state law.
IRCA only expressly
limits the states’ ability to use information about individuals that is found
on or attached to I-9 forms. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that even if the
prosecution could find the same information elsewhere, the state still could
not use it in its prosecution for identity theft. In these cases, the men had
provided the same fraudulent social security numbers on their tax withholding forms
as they had on their I-9 forms. Nonetheless, the Court still held that ICRA
barred the state from using that information.
If the Supreme Court agrees with the Kansas Supreme Court, then no state would be able to use false employment data from I-9 forms to prosecute the individuals under state law for offenses based on the fake data. The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any type of relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your case. It is our intention to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you through this complicated situation.
According to a new study by Rand Corporation
who currently are under the age of 26 are almost four times more likely to be
arrested than Americans who are over the age of 26. Other factors that made
individuals more likely to be arrested included being single, fewer weeks
worked, less education, and lower wages when working. Likewise, the number of
individuals arrested between the ages of 26 and 35 was still 3.6 times more than
arrests of those over the age of 66.
This study involved 5,000 families,
including 35,000 people over a span of 50 years, which makes it one of the
longest-running household surveys in history. The individuals featured in the
survey are representative of the current American population, excluding those
who have multiple criminal convictions.
The study revealed that black men (33%)
still are more likely to be arrested than white men (23%) during their youth,
although those numbers seem to be growing closer as time passes. Overall, about
one-third of men between the ages of 26 and 35 had been arrested during their
Education also emerged as a huge
factor indicating the likelihood of arrests. Six out of ten men ages 26 through
35 with only a high school education had been arrested by age 26. Conversely,
only 23% of the men in this age group with college educations had been
Arrest rates also had a direct impact
on earning capacity in adulthood. Individuals who were arrested once in their
youth made an average $6,000 less in adulthood than those who had never been
arrested. Those with multiple arrests in their youth made a whopping $13,000
less per year in their adults lives as compared with those who had never been
The criminal defense lawyers of Peek
& Toland have handled the legal defense of countless
individuals who are facing criminal charges. We are here to protect your rights
and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your
case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our
criminal defense attorneys today.
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