Tribune article addresses the drastic efforts of school
districts statewide to combat vaping among students. Some schools are searching
students to determine if they have vaping pens when they enter school
buildings. Other schools are using vape-detecting sensors, drug-sniffing dogs,
and sign-out procedures for restroom breaks to cut down on vaping among
for students also vary widely by school districts. Students vaping nicotine
often risk suspension or removal from regular classes. In extreme cases,
students are placed in alternative schools based on disciplinary problems. If
students are vaping THC oils or waxes, which is the active ingredient in marijuana,
however, the penalties are far harsher. Students may be subject to expulsion,
but also may be subject to arrest for misdemeanor or even felony charges. Particularly
for 17-year-olds, who are adults under Texas law for criminal offenses, a
felony arrest for possession of a vaping pen containing an illegal drug can
have significant consequences and create a permanent criminal record. For these
students, a single criminal offense can substantially alter the outcome of their
lives in creating barriers to employment, housing, and more.
part, schools have had challenges responding to the vaping crisis among
students due to minimal guidance from the state on how to address these issues.
New vaping laws cannot go into effect at this point until 2021. The problem is,
schools need guidance and instruction, rather than sometime next year.
vaping THC has become the new alternative to smoking pot. In states in which
marijuana is legal, marijuana companies report that vaping products now make up
30% of their business.
Actions to crack down on teen vaping stem from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) investigations last summer into severe lung injuries and deaths caused by vaping in otherwise healthy people. In the state of Texas, health officials documented 200 injuries and one death linked to vaping.
The Peek & Toland criminal defense lawyers are here to represent your interests and advise you of the best course of action in your criminal matter. Set up an appointment to talk to us today and discover how we can assist you with your situation.
Both law enforcement agencies and
probation officers may utilize drug testing for various reasons. Police
officers may obtain warrants for tests to support charges for DWI or similar
offenses. When people are placed on community supervision, especially for
crimes involving illegal substances, they often are subject to random drug
testing. Drug courts or pretrial diversion programs also may require random
drug testing as a condition of participation. As a result, individuals may have
to undergo hair follicle testing when they become involved in the criminal
Hair follicle testing may be one of the
most effective means of detecting drug use in individuals. While probation
officers and others traditionally used urine testing to identify the use of
drugs in people on community supervision, hair follicle testing likely is more
accurate at targeting drug use. Urine tests will not reveal signs of drug use if
it has been two or three days or more since the person last used drugs. In
contrast, a hair follicle test can show drug use over a much more extended
period. Each ½ inch of hair can reveal drug use within 30 days. The standard
hairs used in hair follicle tests are one and one-half (1 1/2) inches long,
which can show if the person used drugs at any time within the last 90 days.
Labs that perform hair follicle testing
generally use hairs taken from the scalp, but they still can perform the tests
on body hairs, as well. Bleach, hair coloring, shampoos, and external
contaminants such as smoke have no impact on the results of the hair follicle
Hair follicle testing can detect all types of illicit drugs, including marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates such as heroin, and PCP. False positives are possible in some instances, usually from consuming certain foods containing specific compounds. As a result, a second screening test occurs to rule out false-positive test results.
When you are facing any criminal charges in the State of Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.
to the Austin
Chronicle, the Austin City Council unanimously approved a
resolution in late January 2020 regarding arrests and citations for low-level
marijuana offenses. The City Council ordered the City Manager to work with the Police
Chief Brian Manley to eliminate arrests and citations involving a small amount
of marijuana for personal use to the greatest degree possible under state law.
City Council, of course, has no authority to change state laws in marijuana
possession and use. The police chief also released a statement claiming that neither
his instructions to police officers nor their enforcement protocols have
changed in light of the Council’s resolution. However, Manley did acknowledge
that low-level marijuana offenses are low-priority cases for the department,
which has led to its “cite and release” policy. He clarified that possession of
marijuana remains a criminal offense under state law, and the Austin Police
Department still would enforce existing laws on this issue.
the police chief’s assurances, however, the reality is that even if officers
arrest someone for marijuana possession, they will not face criminal penalties.
At most, they will face a citation, which is akin to a traffic ticket. With the
statewide legalization of hemp last year, prosecutors statewide realized that
they could not prosecute these cases, as they have no ready access to
technology that allows the crime lab to distinguish between hemp and marijuana.
the Austin City Council also forbade the Austin Police Department from using
any city funds or personnel to acquire the technology needed to test for THC
and be able to prosecute these low-level crimes. Manley admitted that they had been working
with the lab to acquire this technology, but that their efforts would cease
with the passage of the City Council’s resolution.
An experienced 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 and explore your options. We can
then help you make the decisions that are mostly like to be beneficial to you
based on your situation. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today
and see how we can help.
As more and more people across the United
States use various social media platforms to document their daily lives, it is
not surprising that people put photos of themselves online engaging in illegal
behaviors, such as drinking or doing drugs. Teenagers and young adults, in
particular, seem to be especially vulnerable to this need to broadcast every
aspect of their lives online, which can land them in a great deal of trouble.
Individuals who are already facing
drug-related criminal charges generally should refrain from posting pictures of
themselves using or displaying illegal drugs. If individuals are on probation
or pre-trial release, they could face additional charges or probation
violations if law enforcement authorities see their posts. As most law enforcement
agencies now regularly monitor social media accounts to obtain evidence against
individuals, they should be increasingly careful about what they choose to
Furthermore, even if individuals are not
facing criminal charges, displaying large quantities of illegal drugs or
highlighting drug use can lead to constant surveillance by law enforcement. If
these individuals are involved in drug possession or distribution, their social
media presence can give law enforcement officials a strong indicator that they
are engaged in criminal activity.
Likewise, continually displaying large
amounts of cash, flashy cars and jewelry, and expensive trips also can be red
flags to police that individuals are engaged in illegal dealings. Since an unemployed
person usually does not have such a large cash flow, social media posts can be
instrumental in alerting police to illicit activities.
Despite what many people think, prosecutors can and do use social media as evidence in criminal cases. Although the rules of evidence concerning social media posts still are evolving, linking people to their social media profile is often not too challenging. These social media posts have the potential to constitute evidence used to convict you on criminal charges.
Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to assisting individuals in resolving their criminal charges. We know that criminal proceedings can be intimidating and overwhelming for those who are facing potential penalties for criminal charges. We will work with you to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled criminal defense attorneys today.
the more than six months since the State of Texas legalized hemp, marijuana
prosecutions have decreased by more than half their previous levels. Prosecutors
are not filing lower-level marijuana charges, and they’re spending more at
private labs to rule out the possibility that seized substances are hemp rather
than marijuana. Although the Texas Department of Public Safety and government
crime labs are expected to roll out a new testing method that will allow them
to distinguish between hemp and marijuana, the test only will work for plant
material. Authorities are unsure if or when they will be able to implement
testing that determines whether vape pen liquid or edibles contain hemp or
more significant problem may be that even if government crime labs can perform
the testing, they cannot complete all the testing that is now necessary for
low-level marijuana prosecutions across the State. Before the State legalized
hemp, these tests were unnecessary. Although legislators had ample warning that
passing the hemp legalization bill could bring much of the State’s marijuana
prosecutions to a halt without boosting funding for government crime labs,
lawmakers disregarded the warnings and approved the bill without any provisions
for additional funding.
As a result of the legislation, many district attorney offices are refusing to prosecute marijuana offenses unless law enforcement officials obtain expensive private lab tests showing that the substances found are pot rather than hemp. Furthermore, if the matter goes to trial, law enforcement agencies may need to pay lab employees to testify in court, which makes it even more expensive. This mandate has come at a considerable cost to city and county law enforcement agencies. When compared to the interest in prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana offenses, law enforcement authorities often cannot justify the enormous expenses involved.
If you or a family member is facing any 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.
State and federal laws largely overlap
when it comes to drug crimes. Both state and federal law prohibit the
possession, manufacture, and distribution of illegal drugs. As a result, a drug
crime typically can be prosecuted under federal or state law. On the whole,
however, penalties for a federal drug conviction generally are more severe than
those for a state drug conviction.
However, there are some circumstances in
which you may end up facing federal drug charges rather than state drug
charges. For instance, if federal authorities arrest you instead of state or
local authorities, you are more likely to face federal drug charges. If you are
arrested on federal property, you also may face federal drug charges. Likewise,
if you are caught with a large amount of drugs, federal authorities may seek to
prosecute you at the federal level as opposed to the state level.
Another situation in which you may face
federal instead of state drug charges is if you crossed state lines in
committing the crime. For example, if you allegedly trafficked drugs from Texas
into another state, or brought drugs from another state into Texas, the crime
arguably affects interstate commerce. Therefore, the federal government has
jurisdiction to prosecute the crime. Likewise, if you are accused of
participating in a large-scale multi-state drug operation, you likely will face
federal rather than state drug charges.
Furthermore, if you allegedly are involved in a drug scheme that goes beyond mere possession, such as trafficking or manufacture of illegal drugs, you may face federal drug charges instead of state drug charges. Similarly, if you are charged with others in a conspiracy to distribute or manufacture drugs, you also routinely may be charged at the federal rather than the state level.
At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you through your criminal proceedings. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout your case. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers know the best strategies for defending you and working toward your desired objective. Allow us to handle your criminal case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.
other states, Texas has strict laws that govern the possession of controlled
substances. Some controlled substances, however, are available for legal use.
Consumers authorized to possess these controlled substances generally must have
a valid prescription for the drugs issued by a doctor or other medical
provider. Commonly prescribed controlled substances include Xanax, Valium,
Ritalin, Clonazepam, and hydrocodone.
on the schedule of the drug, however, a single pill could result in felony
charges for possession of a controlled substance. If charged with possession of
these substances, however, individuals have a defense if they possess a valid
prescription for the drug that they had before their arrest on possession
charges. Nonetheless, there are some exceptions in which this defense may not
instance, if you possess an extremely large amount of a controlled substance,
you may still face possession charges. If your prescription does not match the
amount of the controlled substance that you have in your possession, you still
could face possession charges.
Furthermore, you can run afoul of DWI laws if taking a prescription drug impairs your ability to drive. As a result, you can face DWI charges even if you are taking a legally prescribed medication. To avoid these charges, you should refrain from driving while taking the medication if it makes you overly sleepy or otherwise impaired. Some prescription medications are known for causing side effects like drowsiness. These medications include Xanax, hydrocodone, and Ambien, among others. While everyone’s body reacts differently to taking medications, you should be cautious when driving after taking these drugs.
If you are prescribed a new drug, you also should avoid driving until you see how the medication will affect you. 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. Our goal is 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.
Federal law has historically provided for
harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug trafficking offenses. Judges
had no discretion to deviate from these mandatory minimum sentences. The First
Step Act of 2018, however, which President Trump signed into law in December
2018, modifies some of these mandatory minimum sentences and other penalties
for drug trafficking and related drug offenses.
Individuals with one prior qualifying
conviction previously were subject to a 20-year mandatory minimum prison
sentence. The First Step Act decreases the mandatory minimum sentence to 15
years. Likewise, for individuals with two prior qualifying convictions, the
mandatory minimum prison sentence decreases from a life sentence to 25 years in
The First Step Act also modifies mandatory
minimum prison sentences for some drug traffickers with prior convictions. The
Act increases the threshold for prior convictions that trigger higher mandatory
minimum sentences for repeat offenders. Now, for mandatory minimum sentences to
apply, the prior convictions must qualify under the Act’s new definitions for
“serious drug felony” or “serious violent felony.” Previously, mandatory minimum
sentences applied if individuals had a prior conviction for any felony drug
offense. This change can lead to lower mandatory minimum prison sentences for
some drug traffickers.
Another feature of the First Step Act is that it eliminates the “stacking” provision. This provision allowed federal prosecutors to charge individuals with a second and subsequent use of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking or a violent crime in the same criminal incident. The stacking provision led to a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Now, prosecutors only can impose this mandatory minimum sentence if they have a prior conviction for the use of a firearm in a drug trafficking or a violent crime from a previous criminal incident.
If you or a family member is facing accusations of drug trafficking or any other 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.
Drug possession and trafficking charges can result in
extremely severe penalties in the event of a conviction. Trafficking offenses
tend to cause harsher sanctions than those for drug possession. However,
possession of some drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, can
result in first-degree felony charges, which carries the potential for a life
Fortunately, various defenses to drug charges may apply
to your case. By taking advantage of these defenses, you may be able to reduce the
charges and penalties that you are facing, or even achieve an outright
dismissal of the charges in appropriate cases.
For instance, to be convicted of drug possession, you
must have knowing control over the illegal drugs. If you were riding in a vehicle
belonging to another person in which police found drugs, you might not have
known that the drugs were in the car. Likewise, if a friend hands you a
backpack containing drugs, but you didn’t realize that it contained drugs, then
you arguably didn’t knowingly possess the drugs.
Another potential defense to drug charges may be if you
have a valid prescription for a controlled substance from a licensed doctor. If
you legitimately possess the drug to treat a medical condition, then you may
have a valid defense to any drug possession charges.
Furthermore, when police search and seize drugs from
you or your vehicle during a traffic stop or similar circumstances, they must
do so legally. You have a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable
searches and seizures. If the police fail to respect your constitutional
rights, you can argue that any drugs that they found were the result of an
illegal search and seizure. In many cases, this can result in the court
rejecting the drugs as inadmissible evidence. When a search is unlawful, then
the products of that search are illegally obtained and cannot be used against
you in court.Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of
its practice to assisting individuals in resolving their criminal charges. We
know that criminal proceedings can be intimidating and overwhelming for those
who are facing potential penalties for criminal charges. We will work with you
to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in your situation. Call our
office today and set up a consultation with our skilled criminal defense
The introduction of drug dogs to search
vehicles is a relatively recent development in the war on drugs. Nonetheless,
using dogs as a tool to detect drugs has become more and more common. However,
drivers need to be aware of their rights when it comes to traffic stops and
Police officers only may stop a vehicle if
they have reasonable suspicion to believe that a driver has committed a crime.
Often, this alleged crime is some traffic violation. However, even a legitimate
traffic stop does not automatically give police the right to search your
vehicle. You have a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable
searches and seizures.
For police to legally search your vehicle,
you either must give consent to the search, or they must have reasonable
suspicion to believe that you have committed a crime. The crime must be some
offense other than the traffic violation that the police stopped you for in the
first place. You should understand that under no circumstances are you required
to consent to police searching your vehicle. Once you give your consent, they
legally can search your car. If police then find anything illegal in your
vehicle, you could face other criminal charges.
If a police officer pulls you over for
speeding and has a reasonable suspicion that you may be carrying drugs, then
the officer can delay you long enough to bring in a drug-sniffing dog. This
sort of delay and resulting search by a drug-sniffing dog does not violate your
Fourth Amendment rights.
immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that
you need when you are seeking any 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
situation. We intend 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.
Use of this website, does not constitute, in any manner, an attorney-client relationship between Peek & Toland and the receiver. While the information on the Peek & Toland website is about legal issues, it is not intended as legal advice or as substitute for the particularized advice of your own counsel. If you are seeking specific legal advice or assistance, you may contact us through our contact page or the phone number provided above, or you may seek legal advice or assistance through another source. Filling out the contact us form, calling our office or emailing our attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship and will not be treated as confidential. Transmission of information from this site or any use of e-mail is not intended to create or establish an attorney-client relationship between Peek & Toland and anyone else.
The information provided on the Peek & Toland website should not be relied on as accurate or correct as laws in specific jurisdictions change frequently. Please consult an attorney in your jurisdiction for specific question about the law in your area.