arrests

Prosecutors Sue Federal Government Over ICE Courthouse Arrests

By Peek & Toland on July 19, 2019

There have been various media reports from around the country showing an increasing number of courthouse arrests of immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Under the Obama administration, official ICE policy was to avoid making arrests in sensitive locations, such as courthouses. The Trump administration rescinded this policy and have made many courthouse arrests of immigrants over the past few years. Local courts have complained that ICE enforcement in courthouses has deterred immigrants from coming to court on other matters.

Prosecutors in Massachusetts now have sued the federal government to block ICE agents from making arrests at courthouses. They claim that the threat of arrest by ICE and eventual deportation for immigrants suspected to have no legal immigration status makes it more difficult for them to prosecute these individuals for unrelated crimes and obtain justice for the victims of those crimes. Aside from defendants, witnesses and victims of crimes also are not appearing in court out of fear of arrest and deportation by ICE.

Prosecutors Sue Federal Government Over ICE Courthouse Arrests

This issue came to a head recently when federal prosecutors in Massachusetts filed charges against a state court judge and court officers for obstruction of justice due to their roles in helping a man sneak out the back door of the courthouse to avoid an ICE agent.

Nor is Massachusetts the only state fighting back against the increasingly common practice. Earlier this year, New York state court officials banned immigration agents from entering courthouses without judicial warrants or orders.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration claims that ICE agents are targeting only immigrants who may pose a threat to public safety when they are in courthouses, and that is generally safer to make arrests in courthouses, as all individuals must go through metal detectors before entering. Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today at and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.

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Mistakes to Avoid When You Get Arrested

By Peek & Toland on July 6, 2019

When police arrest people, their first thought may be to try and explain the situation so that they can get themselves out of trouble. Talking to police about the allegations against you, however, is a significant mistake. You may inadvertently incriminate yourself or give the police evidence against you that they didn’t already have. In other words, you can make your situation substantially worse. As a result, you should not say anything to police other than to request to speak with a lawyer.

Another potential mistake that people often make following an arrest is to discuss the charges or arrest with family members or friends. While people may find it comforting or useful to address these issues with loved ones, doing so can backfire quickly. For example, jails typically monitor or record phone calls between inmates and others. By speaking to your mother about details related to your criminal charges, you risk incriminating yourself by admitting that you violated the law or giving the police evidence to use against you at trial. While it is fine to seek emotional support from friends and family, you should not discuss your charges, your arrest, or your criminal case at all.

Mistakes to Avoid When You Get Arrested

Another mistake that many people make after an arrest is to be less than truthful with their lawyers. While you may be reluctant or embarrassed to admit wrongdoing, even to a stranger, you should understand that the attorney-client privilege binds your lawyer. This means your lawyer generally cannot tell anyone what you said. Failing to be truthful with your lawyer can hurt your case. If you want a lawyer to be able to adequately assess your situation and determine the defense strategy that is most likely to be effective in your case, then you must be truthful. Attempting to blame someone else for a criminal offense that you committed or something that you did wrong is likely to hurt you rather than help you.

Our goal is to assist you with your criminal law concerns, whether you are facing criminal charges or only under investigation for a crime. We can evaluate your situation and develop a strategy that is most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the criminal law 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 at (512) 474-4445. =

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Marijuana Arrests Still Dominate in Some Counties and States

By Peek & Toland on July 2, 2019

According to a recent article relying on FBI data, marijuana possession led to six percent of all arrests nationwide in 2017. This arrest rate, however, is not consistent from one state to the next, or even from one county to the next within the same state. In some counties, the arrest rate for marijuana possession is in the 20 percent range, which tops out at 55 percent in one Georgia county.

Various reasons support these high rates of arrest. First, the federal government provides generous funding for drug task forces. Forfeiture laws also often allow law enforcement agencies to seize and keep money and other assets from those accused of drug crimes. Furthermore, marijuana may be easier for law enforcement authorities to spot, simply because it is bulky, meaning that individuals cannot easily conceal it, and has a strong and distinctive odor, especially in comparison to other controlled substances.

Marijuana Arrests Still Dominate in Some Counties and States

With the legalization of marijuana occurring rapidly in many states, however, the emphasis that some law enforcement agencies place on prosecuting individuals who use marijuana may be unwarranted and a waste of precious resources. Moreover, law enforcement efforts to stop drug activity most commonly result in the prosecution of drug users and small distributors who deal solely to support their habit, as opposed to the major distributors or those who run high-level drug dealing enterprises.

Nationwide, more conservative states, including Texas, who have not legalized any marijuana usage, have had higher arrest rates for marijuana possession than the national average. Two counties in Texas had the third and fourth highest arrest rates for marijuana possession in the U.S. In contrast, states that have legalized marijuana to some degree have much lower than average arrest rates for marijuana possession. When facing any criminal law issue, you are likely to need the legal advice that only experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys can offer you. Peek & Toland provides strong legal representation regularly for individuals who are dealing with criminal law problems. It is our priority to represent your interests and protect your rights.  Call us at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.

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Bill Pending Before State Legislature that Would Limit Class C Misdemeanor Arrests

By Peek & Toland on May 15, 2019

Although 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.

Even as 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.

Bill Pending Before State Legislature that Would Limit Class C Misdemeanor Arrests

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

In 2017, 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. If 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.

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New Study Shows Younger Americans Far More Likely to Be Arrested Than Younger Americans

By Peek & Toland on May 13, 2019

According to a new study by Rand Corporation researchers, Americans 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 youth.

New Study Shows Younger Americans Far More Likely to Be Arrested
Than Younger Americans

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 arrested.

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 arrested. 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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Bill Proposes Addition of Felony Samples to Texas DNA Database

By Peek & Toland on May 12, 2019

Under current Texas law, law enforcement officers collect DNA samples from suspects only when they are facing certain felony charges. A proposed measure filed by State Rep. Reggie Smith would expand the collection of DNA samples from more defendants in criminal investigations. According to the bill, law enforcement officers would take the DNA samples at the time of arrest.

In 2001, Texas passed the first law in the country to mandate the collection of DNA samples from some felony offenders. Eighteen states require DNA samples by given by all individuals facing felony charges at the time of their arrests. In these states, the mandatory collection of DNA samples has resulted in more DNA matches in pending criminal cases, more arrests, and more convictions. Even if the proposed measure passed this year, Texas still would not require the submission of DNA samples in all felony arrests.

Bill Proposes Addition of Felony Samples to Texas DNA Database

However, these DNA samples often remain on file even if the individuals later are exonerated of the crime, which drew objections from at least one state representative. State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, a member of the public safety committee, raised concerns about the DNA of individuals remaining in a law enforcement agency DNA database even if they later are found innocent of the crime. He would like to see a mechanism to remove the DNA from the database in these situations.

The usage of DNA in law enforcement investigations in Austin has been the subject of many media reports over the last few years due to the large number of unprocessed rape kits that came to light due to backlogs in the police lab. The city has taken measures to remedy the problems with processing these samples. If you or a family member is facing any type of criminal charges, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

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