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Varghese Summersett

When clients call our law firm to discuss intoxication offenses, they often use the words DUI and DWI interchangeably. However, these two offenses are not the same thing in Texas. A DUI is reserved solely for people under the age of 21, while a person of any age can be charged DWI as long as certain elements are met.

To be sure, both offenses can have long-lasting future implications. That’s why it is so important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you or a loved one has been arrested on a DUI, DWI or any other intoxication offense.

In this article, we are going to explain the difference between DUI and DWI in Texas and what you should do if you or a loved one has been arrested for an intoxication crime. But first please take a moment and watch this video by experienced Fort Worth DUI lawyer Anna Summersett, who is also board certified in criminal law.

What is a DUI in Texas?

In Texas, DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence.  A person commits the offense of DUI if he or she is under the age of 21 and drives with any detectible amount of alcohol in their system. This offense only applies to individuals who have not reached the legal drinking age. This can be confusing because “DUI” in many other states means something very different. In most states “DUI” is the equivalent of a DWI in Texas.

What is a DWI in Texas?

In Texas, DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. A person commits the offense of DWI if he or she operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Intoxication means the driver has a blood alcohol concentration of a .08 or greater or has lost the normal use of their mental and physical faculties due to the introduction of any substance into their body, including alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription drugs. A person can be charged with DWI at any age.

What are the differences between a DUI and DWI in Texas?

In this table, our Fort Worth DUI lawyer breaks down the main differences between a DWI and a DUI in Texas, including the offense, punishment and license suspensions.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Applies to drivers under 21Age is not a factor
Charges stem from alcohol use onlyCharges stem from any intoxicant, including alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription drugs
Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $500 fineClass B Misdemeanor, punishable by 3 to 180 days in the county jail
60 day license suspension90 to 180 day license suspension
Section 106.041 Texas Alcoholic Beverage CodeChapter 49.04, Texas Penal Code

Not Guilty DWI

How much does a Fort Worth DWI attorney cost in Texas?

Quality representation for an experienced DWI lawyer will cost between $5,000-$25,000 pre-trial in most cases in Texas. The amount will depend on the quality and experience of the lawyer, as well as the facts and circumstances of the case. For the best possible outcome, you want an experienced attorney who has a proven track record of successful results.

Can a DUI be dismissed in Texas?

DUI cases can and do get dismissed. A great resolution, such as dismissal, depends on the a number of factors, including the quality of the defense lawyer, the reasonableness of the prosecutor, and the strength of the evidence. In some jurisdictions, prosecutors will rarely, if ever, consider a dismissal. To learn more about dismissals in Fort Worth and the surrounding areas, please call our office at 817-203-2220 for a free consultation with a Fort Worth DUI lawyer.

How do DWI cases get dismissed in Texas?

DWI cases are harder to get dismissed, but it does happen. We have a very thorough article on the most common ways to get a DWI dismissed, which you can check out here. Please also take a moment to watch this video by Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer Benson Varghese.

How do you find the best Fort Worth DUI Lawyer or DWI lawyer?

To find the best Fort Worth DUI lawyer or DWI lawyer, you need to put in the leg work. Read reviews, narrow down your list, and then contact them for a consultation. During the consultation ask important questions to ascertain their experience, skills, strategy and compassion. You don’t want to be treated like just a number when you are going through a difficult time in your life. Please take a moment to read our article, Five Steps to Finding the Best DWI/DUI Lawyer in 2022.

Speak to a Fort Worth DUI lawyer today.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI or another intoxication offense in Fort Worth or the surrounding area, it’s imperative to contact an experienced defense attorney right away. That is the single most important thing you can do.

Our team of former prosecutors and board certified criminal law attorneys have handled thousands of intoxication offenses and have a proven record of success. We can help. Call 817-203-2220 for a free consultation with an experienced Fort Worth DUI lawyer.

Varghese Summersett

Fort Worth Sexual Assault Defense

If you have been accused of sexual assault in Fort Worth or the surrounding areas, what you do (or don’t do) next can impact the trajectory of your case and, ultimately, your life.

Sexual assault cases are usually built on the word of the alleged victim, often without corroborating evidence, so you will not help yourself by cooperating with police or giving your side of the story. They aren’t interested in fairness or getting to the truth. In fact, giving a statement to the police is the worst thing you can do right now.

Your next contact needs to be with an experienced sexual assault defense attorney who has a proven record of success and the reputation to back it up. Our team has helped numerous people beat a sexual assault charge and we are prepared to help you, too. Do not underestimate the gravity of your situation. A conviction for sexual assault carries life-altering consequences, including possible prison time, steep fines and sex offender registration. You will need the very best defense team in your corner to beat a sexual assault charge.

How to Beat a Sexual Assault Charge

At Varghese Summersett, we have a reputation as one of the best sexual assault defense firms in North Texas – and for good reason. We have exceptional results defending rape cases, including sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and sex allegations involving children.

So what’s our strategy? We get out in front of the case fast – and leave no stone unturned when looking for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. In this blog post, we share ways to beat a sexual assault charge. But first, please watch this video by Letty Martinez, a board-certified criminal attorney and former prosecutor who has handled dozens of sexual assault cases during her legal career.

Advantages of Getting Out in Front of the Case

If you have been accused of sexual assault, formally or informally, the first thing you need to do is contact an experienced Fort Worth sexual assault attorney. Do not talk to the police – or anyone else.

  • If you heard through the grapevine that your ex-girlfriend is telling people you sexually assaulted her, you need to contact a defense attorney.
  • If a detective contacts you and asks you to come down to the station to give “your side of the story,” you need to contact a defense attorney.
  • If you are arrested on a sexual assault charge, you need to exercise your right to remain silent and contact a defense attorney.

By contacting an experienced defense attorney before you do anything else, you can level the playing field and put yourself in a much better position to defend against sexual assault allegations. The attorney will act as the buffer between you and the police, so you are not inadvertently incriminating yourself.

The attorney can also start investigating the sexual assault allegations right away and, if necessary, take steps to preserve evidence that may be helpful to your defense. For example, if there are text messages or social media posts that contradict the alleged victim’s story, an attorney can work to obtain them before they are deleted.

An experienced sexual assault defense attorney will also be able to assess the credibility of the alleged victim and begin looking for any possible motives that she or he may have to make false accusations. For example, if the alleged victim is trying to gain an advantage in a child custody case, that is extremely valuable information.

In some instances, the attorney can provide police and prosecutors with information that may prompt them to reconsider filing sexual assault charges. For example, if the alleged victim has a history of making false accusations or there is evidence that she was not actually assaulted (i.e., she had consensual sexual contact with someone else around the same time), that may be enough to get the charges dropped.

If it looks like they are going to proceed with the investigation, the attorney can work on a presentation for the grand jury in an attempt to get the case no-billed, or dismissed, at that stage in the process.

The bottom line is this: if you have been accused of sexual assault, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you get an attorney on your side, the better your chances of avoiding charges or getting the charges dismissed.

 

aggravated sexual assault

How to Find Weaknesses in the Prosecution’s Case

In sexual assault cases, detectives and prosecutors tend to believe their alleged victims – even in the face of evidence to the contrary. It’s not uncommon for prosecutors to move forward with a case even when an alleged victim recants. Instead of dismissing the case, they may even double down and bring in an expert to explain to the jury why recantations should not be believed.

As defense attorneys, our job is to look for every weakness in the prosecution’s case – large or small – and use them to our client’s advantage. Some areas that we focus on include the timing of the allegation, insufficient evidence, inconsistent statements and motives for lying.

? Timing

The timing of a sexual assault allegation can be very important when defending a sexual assault case.

1.     When was the outcry made?

Did the alleged victim make the accusation immediately after the sexual assault occurred or weeks, months or even years later? The longer the delay, the more likely it is that there are other motives for making the accusation.

For example, if an individual alleges that she was sexually assaulted by her boss and she waits until she is about to be fired for embezzling company funds to make the accusation, that raises serious questions about her motives.

On the other hand, if an individual reports a sexual assault to the police immediately after it happens, that is much more difficult for the defense to overcome.

2.     Is the outcry consistent with the alleged victim’s conduct over time? 

If an alleged victim reports a sexual assault and then posts photos and videos on social media that are sexually promiscuous or inappropriate, it could be used to show that he or she is unfazed by the alleged sexual assault.

It’s important to look at the individual’s social media posts and conduct over time to see if there is a pattern of sexual promiscuity or making false accusations. If there is, that can be used to impeach the alleged victim’s credibility.

3.     Does the timing of the allegation make it more or less plausible – in other words, what else was going on at the time of the allegation? 

For example, if an individual accuses her ex-boyfriend of sexual assault and she makes the accusation immediately after he breaks up with her, that raises questions about her motives.

? Insufficient Evidence

In sexual assault cases, there is often very little evidence beyond the alleged victim’s word. There may not be any eyewitnesses, video footage or physical evidence. This can make sexual assault cases difficult to prove – and easier to defend.

If there is no concrete evidence linking the defendant to the sexual assault, that creates a major weakness in the prosecution’s case. Our team will capitalize on that weakness to create reasonable doubt.

? Inconsistent Statements

It is not uncommon for sexual assault victims to give inconsistent statements to the police, or even change their story completely. When investigating sexual assault cases, our defense team will spend significant time finding, gathering and analyzing any statement the alleged victim made to determine if there are any inconsistencies, including:

  • The first statement – or outcry – the alleged victim made (and to whom)
  • Statement to the patrol officer
  • Statement to the police detective
  • Statement to 911 call taker
  • Statement to sexual assault nurse examiner
  • Statement to a forensic examiner
  • Statement to therapist
  • Statements to friends, family, co-workers, teachers
  •  Family court statements, including in a divorce or child custody case
  • School records, work records, doorbell recordings, etc.

If we find any inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s statements, we will use those as leverage in an attempt to get the case dismissed or, if we go to trial, create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury.

? Motives for Lying

In sexual assault cases, the alleged victim often has ulterior motives for making a false accusation. If we find a motive or bias for lying, we will use them attack the credibility of the accuser. Some common motives for sexual assault allegations include:

  • to get revenge – sexual assault allegations are often made in an attempt to get revenge on the accused for some real or perceived wrong.
  • to obtain child custody – sexual assault allegations are often made in child custody cases as a way to try to get an advantage.
  • to get attention – some people, particularly young girls and boys, crave attention and will make sexual assault allegations as a way to get attention from their parents or others.
  • to cover up infidelity – sexual assault allegations are sometimes made to cover up an affair or other sexual misconduct.
  • for financial gain – sexual assault allegations are sometimes made in an attempt to get a large financial settlement from the accused or their insurance company.
  • mental health issues – some people who make sexual assault allegations are suffering from mental health issues, such as Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • fabricated – some sexual assault allegations are completely fabricated and the alleged victim has no memory of any sexual assault because it never happened.
  • To obtain immigration status – sexual assault allegations are sometimes made by people who are not citizens in order to try to obtain legal status in the United States.

As you can see, there are many possible motives for bringing false sexual assault allegations. Our experienced criminal defense team will carefully investigate to try to find any ulterior motives in an effort to beat a sexual assault charge.

An Experienced Attorney Can Help Beat a Sexual Assault Charge

We understand that sexual assault cases are often based on “he said, she said” testimony with little to no physical evidence, so we work tirelessly to poke holes in the victim’s story and cast doubt on the credibility of the prosecution’s case.

If you or a loved one has been accused of sexual assault, please contact our office for a free consultation with an experienced defense attorney. We have handled thousands of sex cases – first as prosecutors and now as highly skilled defense attorneys. We know how the other side thinks, which is why are in the best possible position to beat a sexual assault charge. Call 817-203-2220 now; time is of the essence.

Varghese Summersett

During criminal trials and proceedings, you will see attorneys stand up and make various objections. But what do these objections mean? And why are they being made?

Criminal courtroom terminology and proceedings can be confusing for those not familiar with the law. In this blog post, we are going to explain five of the most common criminal court objections so you can understand what’s happening if you are ever on the witness stand –  or just a curious courtroom observer.

1. Hearsay

“Objection! Hearsay, your honor.” Hearsay is one of the most common criminal court objections and basically refers to second-hand information. The basic concept is that statements made by an out-of-court third party cannot be used to establish the truth. This is because the opposing party can’t cross-examine them and test their credibility.

Simply put, when someone is testifying in a criminal trial, they are not allowed to say what someone else told them. That is referred to as “hearsay” and is generally inadmissable. For example, if Bill tells his friend John that he saw Joe commit a murder, and then John testifies in court about what Bill told him, that is hearsay.

The hearsay rule is in place to prevent people from testifying about things they did not hear or see with their own two eyes. It’s important to have first-hand testimony in criminal trials so the jury can make a decision based on what they heard directly from the witness, and not just what that witness was told by someone else.

If a statement is deemed hearsay, it will be inadmissible unless it falls into an exception. If there is an exception to the hearsay rule (and there are many of them), the judge will let the witness know and allow them to answer the question.

2. Leading Questions

“Objection Judge – Leading!” When a prosecutor or defense attorney is questioning a witness, they are not allowed to ask a question in a way that suggests an answer or puts words in their mouth.

For example, a leading question would be, “You saw the defendant hit the victim with a bat, didn’t you?”

Asking leading questions is not allowed because it can bias or influence the witness’s testimony. The attorney is supposed to let the witness answer the question without giving them any hints as to what they should say. If an attorney asks leading questions, the judge will usually sustain these criminal court objections and tell them to ask a different question.

3. Relevance

“Objection, Relevance.”  This objection is typically made when an attorney is questioning a witness about something that doesn’t have anything to do with the case before the court.

For example, if a witness is testifying about a fatal car crash, and the prosecutor starts asking the witness questions about a shoplifting incident that happened 20 years ago, the defense attorney would object on relevance grounds.

The judge will usually sustain criminal court objections on the grounds of relevance and tell the attorney to move on to something else. The reason relevance matters is because jurors can be easily distracted or influenced by information that doesn’t have anything to do with the case they are supposed to be focusing on. If something is not relevant, it can also be unfairly prejudicial, meaning it could make the jury unfairly biased against the defendant.

4. Speculation

“Objection, Speculation.” This objection is typically made when a testifying witnesses is asked to guess, estimate, or make assumptions about something.

For example, if the prosecutor asks the witness how fast the defendant was going when they hit the victim with their car, that would be speculation. The witness would not be able to know for sure how fast the defendant was going.

When an objection is made on speculation grounds, the judge will usually sustain the objection and tell the attorney rephrase their question or move along.

5. Non-Responsive

“Objection! Non-Responsive.” This objection is typically made when a witness gives an answer to a question that doesn’t directly respond to what was asked.

For example, if an attorney asks the witness what the defendant was wearing at the time of the robbery, and the witness starts talking about what they had for breakfast that day, the attorney could object on non-responsive grounds.

The witness is supposed to answer the question that was asked, and not go off on another direction. If a witness is non-responsive, the judge will usually sustain the objection and tell them to directly answer the question that was asked.

Questions about other criminal court objections?

These are just a few criminal court objections. There are numerous others. If you have questions or want to know about criminal court objections, please leave us a comment below.

And remember, if you are ever called to testify in a criminal trial, it’s important to listen to the questions carefully and answer only what is asked. If you don’t understand a question, let the attorney know and they will rephrase it. Try not to get too flustered on the stand, and most importantly, always tell the truth.

Varghese Summersett

If you have been on social media or following the news lately, you’ve probably heard the term “ghost guns.” Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced a new rule regulating this type of firearm. But what exactly are ghost guns and are they illegal in Texas?

In this blog post, we are going to explain ghost guns, how they are made, and discuss their legality in the Lone Star State. We will also explore the new federal law and the potential consequences of building a ghost gun in Texas.

What is a ‘ghost gun?’

Ghost guns are homemade firearms that do not have a serial number. Because they do not have a serial number, they are untraceable – which makes them almost impossible to track back to crimes. Hence, the term “ghost guns.” They are also sometimes referred to as “80 percent lower receivers.”

Ghost guns lowersHow are people making homemade guns?

Ghost guns are made from unfinished kits that can be purchased online or at a gun store and assembled in about half an hour. Licensed gun manufacturers are required by federal law to engrave or cast a serial number on firearms. However, because ghost guns are made by an individual with a kit – not a federally licensed manufacturer – they are considered “unfinished products” and do not require a serial number. The new law changes this.

What is the new federal rule about ghost guns?

In April 2022, President Biden announced a new rule that modernized the definition of a “firearm.” The rule specified that key components in gun kits now qualify as “firearms” and, therefore, must be sold by licensed firearms dealers and include serial numbers on the gun kit’s frame or receiver, which is the primary piece of the firearm that all parts are attached to. The regulation will also require background checks for anyone purchasing a gun kit. The new rule also requires any federally licensed dealer or gunsmith that comes into contact with a ghost gun to serialize it and keep permanent purchasing records.

The new rules are designed to make it more difficult for people to purchase ghost guns and make them illegal without a background check.

When does the new ghost gun rule take effect?

The new law takes effect in August 2022, but pro-gun activists, advocates, and organizations, such as Gun Owners of America, have vowed to challenge the rule in court.

So, is it illegal to make your own firearm in Texas?

The short answer is no. Under state law, it is not illegal to purchase a gun kit and make your own firearm for personal use in Texas as long as you are not a prohibited person and you comply with all other state and federal laws, including passing a background check. Although some states have laws restricting building your own firearm, Texas is not one of them.

Is it illegal to sell a ghost gun in Texas?

In Texas, it is illegal to manufacture or sell a ghost gun without a license from the ATF.

Facing a gun charge in North Texas? Contact Us.

If you have been charged with a gun crime or any other type of criminal offense in North Texas, contact the law office of Varghese Summersett for free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney. We will fight to protect your rights, freedom, and future. Call us today at 817-203-2220

Varghese Summersett

What is Keeping a Gambling Place in Texas?

Keeping a gambling place in Texas is the criminal offense of allowing someone to use premises for gambling. This offense is commonly used to bust gaming rooms and mom-and-pop gas stations that have gambling machines that give out tokens or tickets that could be exchanged for something of value.

Texas has some of the strictest gambling laws in the nation – and most confusing. While it’s legal to bet on horse races, buy a lottery ticket, or participate in office pools, basically any other semblance of gambling is against the law. This includes operating game rooms with eight-liners or video slot machines that pay out cash prizes.

In Texas, keeping a gambling place is a criminal offense. This law was created to help prevent the proliferation of illegal gambling operations in the state. However, some feel that this law goes too far and unfairly targets business owners. In North Texas, it is not uncommon for owners of gas stations, truck stops, or convenience stores with eight-liners to be arrested and for police to seize motherboards from the machines or the machines themselves.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the law against keeping a gambling place in Texas and explore the controversy surrounding it and the consequences of violating it. If you or a loved one have been accused of a gambling offense in North Texas, call 817-203-2220 for a free consultation with an experienced gambling attorney and find out how we can fight your charges.

What constitutes illegal gambling in Texas?

Under Texas law, a person commits illegal gambling if he or she:

  • makes a bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest;
  • makes a bet on the result of a political nomination, appointment or election;
  • plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, balls or any other gambling device.

So, it’s illegal to gamble on sports, elections or play games like poker or eight-liners for money in Texas.

What is the law against keeping a gambling place in Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code 47.04, a person commits the offense of “keeping a gambling place if he or she “knowingly uses or permits another to use as a gambling place any real estate, building, room, tent, vehicle, boat or other property whatsoever owned by him or under his control or rents or lets any such property with a view or expectation that it be so used.”

As you can see, this is a very broad definition that basically encompasses everything and anything that could be used as a gambling venue. This includes not only eight-liner rooms or video poker bars, but also vehicles, boats and even tents. Casinos are also illegal in Texas.

What’s the controversy surrounding eight-liners and game rooms?

The use of eight-liners and video poker machines has been a source of controversy for decades. Texas outlaws the use of gambling devices, such as eight-liners. However, there is a loophole – known as the “fuzzy animal exception” – which allows game rooms to operate eight-liners under the condition that they award cashless prizes or prizes that aren’t worth more than $5 or 10 times more than the game’s cost.

Oftentimes, undercover officers will go into gas stations, truck stops or game rooms with eight-liners to ensure that the machine or business owner is not paying out cash or exceeding the statutory minimum prize amount. If they see a violation, they will obtain a warrant and arrest the business owner on the charge of keeping a gambling place and seize the motherboards or machines.

What is the punishment for keeping a gambling place in Texas?

Keeping a gambling place in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine. The gaming machines or their motherboards can also be seized by police.

Class A misdemeanor

Class A Misdemeanors in Texas

What is the punishment for keeping a gambling place if alleged as Engaging in Organized Crime?

Alleging that the offense was engaging in organized crime bumps it up to a State Jail Felony in Texas.

State Jail Felony

State Jail Felony Punishment in Texas

What are some examples of people being arrested for keeping a gambling place in Texas?

Busts of gambling establishments often make headlines. Here’s a look at some arrest stories around the Lone Star State:

  • In April 2022, Azle police arrested two men in after receiving a tip that The Smoke Garage, which bills itself as a smoke or vape shop, was paying cash prizes to players of its eight-liner machines.
  • Laredo police issued arrest warrants in April 2022 for two employees of the Sure Stay Hotel on allegations that they were operating an illegal eight-liner business. Undercover operations revealed that the slot machines were paying out cash.
  • In 2019, a game room employee was arrested and eight other people were issued citations after a police raid involving eight-liners at the Gift Shop game room in South Fort Worth
  • In 2018, a Waco woman was arrested after an investigation into the use of eight-liner machines and allegations of illegal cash payouts at Shisha Smoke Shop and Game Room.
  • Corpus Christi police served a search warrant on a game room in March 2022 and arrested three men and a women on suspicion of illegal gambling. Fourteen other patrons were also issued warning citations for gambling. Officials seized gambling equipment, two vehicles and cash.

Are there affirmative defenses to keeping a gambling place in Texas?

Yes, there are several affirmative defenses to keeping a gambling place in Texas. An affirmative defense allows a defendant to avoid criminal responsibility for the offense. If you can show that any of the following occurred, you can avoid prosecution for keeping a gambling place in Texas:

1) The gambling occurred in a private place;

2) No one received any economic benefit other than personal winnings; and

3) Except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all participants.

It’s important to note that, just because there are legal defenses available, doesn’t mean you won’t get arrested. These defenses would likely be raised until the case progresses through the system, or even goes to trial. It’s important to contact an experienced attorney who understands the intricacies of Texas’ gambling law if you have been accused of any gambling crime, even if you believe you were operating legally and under the law.

Accused of keeping a gambling place in North Texas? Contact Us.

The law against keeping a gambling place in Texas is confusing and often results in unfair arrests and charges. If you’ve been accused of keeping a gambling place, contact Varghese Summersett today at 817-203-2220 for a free consultation with an experienced gambling attorney. We have defended numerous people in your situation and we can help you, too.

Varghese Summersett

In Texas, it is not uncommon for judges to issue gag orders in high-profile criminal cases. But what exactly is a gag order and why are they necessary? In this article, we will discuss gag orders in Texas, their purpose, and the consequences of violating one.

What is a gag order?

A gag order is a court order that prohibits the parties in a criminal case from publicly discussing the details with the news media or the public. That means those associated with the case, including attorneys, witnesses, and the defendant, cannot make extrajudicial, out-of-court public statements about the case until the trial is over.

What’s the purpose of a gag order?

The purpose of a gag order is to prevent information about the case from becoming tainted or biased before it reaches the jury. If potential jurors are exposed to statements made by those involved in the case, it could impact their ability to render a fair and impartial verdict. In addition, gag orders help ensure that both the prosecution and defense have a level playing field during trial.

Who can request gag orders in Texas?

Gag orders in Texas can be requested by the prosecution or defense, but judges can also decide to issue one on their own. In most cases, the decision will be made based on how high-profile the case is and whether there is a risk that public statements could influence the jury.

How does a judge determine whether a gag order is appropriate?

To justify a gag order, the court must make specific judicial findings, consider less drastic alternatives, and narrowly tailor the order to address the identified harm. For example, in a recent high profile case in Tarrant County involving a police officer accused of fatally shooting a woman inside her home, the gag order contained the following findings:

“The court finds that out-of-court statements relating to the investigation and pretrial matters of this cause pose a serious and imminent threat to the Defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial, the ability of the Court to maintain a fair and impartial jury, and to the fair administration of justice. The court further finds that other less restrictive means will not adequately protect the Defendant’s right to a fair trial and the interest in the State and the Defendant in a fair and impartial jury.”

Who does a gag order in Texas prohibit from talking?

The gag order can apply to anyone who is participating in the case, including but not limited to:

  • the defendant
  • witnesses
  • attorneys (the prosecutors and defense attorneys)
  • law enforcement
  • court personnel
  • jurors

Let’s look at the same high-profile case in Tarrant County referenced above. A gag order was issued ahead of the trial of Aaron Dean, a former police officer accused of killing Atatiana Jefferson inside her home. The judge issued a gag order that prohibited “any attorney participating in, or any attorney associated with the trial of this cause, their office associates, assistants, staff members, investigators and employees under their supervision, as well as the defendant and any personnel of the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office” from making an extrajudicial statement.

Click here to read the gag order in its entirety.

Does a gag order prohibit parties from speaking to the media at all? 

A gag order shouldn’t be overreaching and prohibit parties from speaking to the media entirely. An attorney or other person subject to the order would not be prohibited from reciting, without comment, the information contained in public records, such as the time or date of a hearing, or the general nature of the proceedings.

What are the consequences of violating gag orders in Texas?

If someone violates a gag order in Texas, they could be held in contempt of court. In Texas, contempt of court is punishable by up to six months in the county jail and a maximum $500 fine.

When is a gag order lifted?

The judge presiding over the high-profile case can lift the gag order at any time. However, once the trial has concluded, the parties will be free to discuss the case.

Questions about gag orders in Texas?

We hope you found this information about gag orders in Texas helpful. Our team has handled numerous high-profile cases over the years, first as prosecutors and now as highly-regarded defense attorneys. If you have questions or comments about gag orders in Texas, feel free to leave a reply below. If you or a loved one has been arrested or accused of a crime in North Texas, call 817-203-2220 for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.

Varghese Summersett

Over the past several years, a crime trend called “bank jugging” or “jugging” has grown in popularity in Texas. Jugging occurs when a suspect watches a bank or high-end store and then follows a customer after they leave to steal their money or valuables. Law enforcement has been warning the public about the scheme, and some cities have created a task force to crack down on this crime. Here’s what you need to know about jugging in North Texas, including potential charges and penalties.  

What is bank jugging?

Bank jugging is a term used to describe suspects who sit in bank parking lots watching customers withdraw money from an ATM or go in and out of the financial institution. The suspects then follow the customer and look for an opportunity to take their cash. Similar schemes have also been committed outside of high-end stores that sell jewelry or other valuables.

How are jugging schemes carried out?

Jugging can be committed by one person, but it’s often carried out by two or more perpetrators. The suspects sit in a vehicle surveilling the comings and goings of the bank or business and then target a customer, who is often carrying a bank bag or envelope. The juggers then follow the customer to their next stop and take their money or valuables, either by breaking into their vehicles or by force.

Why is it called “jugging?”

The origin of the word isn’t entirely clear. Some reports that the name comes from the nickname of a bank bag. Urban Dictionary defines jugging as “making money” or “stealing.”

Is “jugging” an actual crime in Texas?

The term “bank jugging” or “jugging” isn’t defined by Texas law, but that doesn’t mean it’s not illegal. Individuals who engage in such conduct are committing a crime and can face serious charges, such as robbery or burglary. The specific charge depends on the conduct of the actor and whether or not force was used.

What offenses can stem from bank jugging in Texas?

There are a number of charges that can stem from jugging in Texas, including aggravated robbery, robbery, burglary of a motor vehicle, burglary of a habitation. Here’s an overview of each offense and how it could apply to jugging: 

  • Robbery: Under Texas Penal Code Section 29.02, a person commits robbery if, while committing a theft, he or she intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another or intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.
    Example: If a jugger pushes down a bank patron and grabs their envelope full of cash, the jugger would face a charge of robbery.
  • Aggravated Robbery: Texas Penal Code §29.03 defines aggravated robbery as a robbery that inflicts serious bodily harm, involves the use of a deadly weapon, or causes bodily injury or fear of bodily harm or death to a disabled or elderly person.
    Example: If a jugger pulls out a gun and demands that a bank customer hand over the cash, the jugger would face an aggravated robbery charge because a weapon was displayed.
  • Burglary of a Motor Vehicle: Texas Penal Code §30.04 defines burglary of a motor vehicle as breaking into or entering a vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or a theft without the owner’s consent.
    Example: If a jugger follows a bank patron’s vehicle to their next stop and then breaks into their vehicle and steals the money after the customer runs another errand, the jugger would face burglary of a motor vehicle.
  • Burglary of a Habitation:  Under Texas Penal Code Section 30.02, a person commits burglary of a habitation if he or she enters or remains concealed within a habitation with the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault, or once inside, they actually commit or attempt to commit a felony, theft, or assault.
    Example: If a jugger follows a bank patron’s vehicle to their home and later breaks into their residence when they leave to steal money, the jugger would face a charge of burglary of a habitation.

What are the potential punishments for bank jugging?

The punishment for jugging depends on the crime for which the jugger is charged, but likely will carry the potential for jail or prison time. Here’s the punishment for common crimes that stem from jugging.

* Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony punishable by 5 years to life in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
* Robbery is a second degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,00 fine.
* Burglary of a habitation is a second degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
* Burglary of a motor vehicle is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,00 fine. If the defendant has two or more previous convictions for BMV, he or she faces a state jail felony punishable by six months to two years in state jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.

What are some real examples of jugging in Texas?

In Frisco, surveillance video showed a man parking his pick-up truck after withdrawing a large amount of cash at a bank. He left his bank bag in his truck when he went inside an establishment to get a bite to eat. Two men in an SUV approached his truck and one got out and broke the truck window. The suspect grabbed the bank bag and they sped off.

In New Caney, two men were arrested after a task force spotted them following potential targets from a bank. The suspects lost their potential targets on two separate occasions. However, on the third attempt, they followed a vehicle to a nearby Walmart. When the bank patron left the vehicle, the suspects approached it and attempted to break the window.

In Richardson, a woman withdrew money from a bank and then headed to the post office. After she exited the post office, a man approached her, asked if she had been to the bank, told her he had a gun and grabbed her purse. She struggled with him but he got away with her purse.

Accused of Bank Jugging in North Texas? 

If you or a loved one are facing charges in North Texas, it’s crucial that you contact an experienced defense attorney immediately. Our team has decades of experience and a proven track record of success handling robbery and burglary cases, both as defense attorneys and former prosecutors. These are serious allegations that could jeopardize your future and your freedom. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get to work on your case. Call 817-203-2220 now for a free consultation

Varghese Summersett

You may have heard about someone getting “doxed” or someone “doxing” a person. But what does that mean, and most importantly, is it illegal in Texas? Doxing, also spelled “doxxing,” is a form of cyberbullying that is surging in popularity across the state and country. In this blog post, we are going to explain what it is, what crimes are related to the practice of doxing, and what to do if you are accused of doxing in Texas.

What is Doxing?

Doxing, short for “dropping dox,” is a term that originates from the abbreviated form of documents or “dox.”  It refers to the act of spreading or posting private information about individuals or organizations to the public, mostly through the Internet. Doxing is committed without the victim’s knowledge or consent, and it is often done to harass or get revenge. The practice of doxing has gained popularity and notoriety over the years, and while the practice of doxing is not explicitly illegal in Texas (yet), there are various crimes that can stem from the act of doxing.

What are some Examples of Doxxing?

While doxing ranges in severity, it basically entails releasing private or personal information to the public in an attempt to harass, extort, or shame. Examples include:

  • Releasing personal photos of an individual
  • Posting an individual’s phone number or address on the Internet
  • Releasing information about an individual’s family, work or other private information
  • Encouraging others to use released information to harass an individual

doxing in texasYou may remember many years ago when creepy distorted videos of individuals wearing Guy Fawkes masks were being circulated on social media. These individuals are a part of the hactivist group, “Anonymous,” which is a collective group of online hackers who release private information or “dox” individuals or groups for political purposes, such as KKK members and law enforcement members.

More recently, the group reemerged to target the Minneapolis police department’s website in protest for the death of George Floyd. While this is an extreme example of doxing, other forms can be as simple as when news anchor Lou Dobbs tweeted the address and phone number of Jessica Leeds, a 74-year-old woman who told the New York Times Donald Trump groped her three decades ago.

Is Doxing Illegal in Texas?

Because doxing is a relatively new phenomenon that is constantly evolving, there is currently no specific law that makes doxing in Texas illegal. However, various charges can stem from doxing including harassment, cyberbullying, stalking, and swatting.

What Charges Can Stem from Doxing in Texas?

Although there is not a specific charge for doxing in Texas, there are a multitude of charges that can be filed against someone engaged in doxing. Some include:

  • Harassment: Harassment is a common charge that results from doxing. In the state of Texas, harassment is described in Penal Code Section 42.07 as an intent to “harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass” another person. If the intent of the alleged perpetrator includes any of the above when doxing, they could be charged with harassment.  Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and $2,000 in fines. However it can be elevated to a Class A if the defendant has a previous conviction for harassment.
  • Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying takes place when someone is bullied, harassed, or threatened over the Internet or on social media. This crime typically applies to teenagers and young adults. Cyberbullying can stem from doxing if any personal information of the alleged victim is shared without consent in order to harass them or bully them. Although punishments typically are handled by schools, if the harassment is severe enough, criminal charges can be filed under the harassment statute.
  • Stalking: Stalking is a crime defined by Section 42.072 of the Texas Penal code. It occurs when a  person on more than one occasion, engages in actions which are directed at one specific person or a person’s family or property, which is done with the intent to cause fear of death or serious bodily injury in the person being threatened. Essentially, the defendant must make repeated actions that cause fear of harm toward a specific person or their family – this can be done in person and online. Stalking in the state of Texas is considered a third-degree felony which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. People with a previous criminal record could have their charge elevated to a second-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
  • Swatting: Swatting involves calling 911 and reporting a fake emergency in order for police to respond to a specific address, usually to prank or harass an individual. A person is guilty of swatting under Texas Penal Code Section 42.061 if they call 911 when there is not an emergency. Swatting is classified as a Class B misdemeanor and can involve up to 180 days in jail and $2,000 in fines.
  • Targeting a Police Officer: After the tragic killing of five police officers in Dallas in 2016, Texas passed a law making threats and violence towards law enforcement officers hate crimes – in person or online. Under HB 2908, the punishment for threatening a police officer was elevated from a misdemeanor to a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years in jail. Punishments can be increased even more if prosecutors can prove the offender specifically targeted a police officer because of their occupation.

What Federal Charges Could Stem from Doxing?

  • Stalking: The federal government also has an anti-stalking law, which is found under 18 USC 2261A. While similar to Texas’ stalking law, the main difference is that the alleged offender would violate federal law if they traveled across state lines while stalking, or if the offender used a telephone, the Internet, or the US Postal Service to stalk.So, if an individual only stalked by showing up to a house multiple times in Texas, they would not violate the federal stalking law. However, if any form of communication to the alleged victim took place over the phone, internet, or mail, or if the victim lived in a different state, the alleged offender could be guilty under federal law. A person convicted of stalking under federal law could face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
  • Protecting Individuals Performing Certain Official Duties: 18 USC 119 is perhaps the most explicit in making doxing illegal, however, it only applies to “covered” persons. Under this law, it is illegal to knowingly make restricted personal information about a covered person or their family available with the intent to threaten, intimidate, or incite violence toward that individual.A covered person is any officer or employee of the United States government, including soldiers. It also applies to those working with such employees in the performance of their duties, any member of the US Court System, or any informant or witness in a federal criminal investigation. The punishment for violating this law is up to 5 years in prison and potential fines.
  • Interstate Communications Statute: The Interstate Communications Statue, found under 18 U.S. Code 875, contains laws preventing the extortion of individuals through electronic communication forms. While it contains four sections, the one most relevant to doxing is found in section D, which states the illegality of making any threat to injure the property or reputation of another individual over some electronic communication medium, with the intent to extort a certain individual.In simpler terms, this statute makes it illegal to attempt to extort someone by threatening to release information about them that could damage their reputation. The punishment for violating the Interstate Communications Statute is up to two years in prison and fines.

What are Some Examples of Individuals Who have been Arrested for Doxing?

  • Two men in New York were arrested in September of 2019 for releasing the home addresses and social security numbers of more than 36 law enforcement officers. They were charged with related crimes such as harassment and stalking.
  • A U.S. House of Representatives intern was arrested in October of 2018 for releasing the home addresses and phone numbers of several Republican lawmakers in an attempt to intimidate them during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.
  • A man from New York was arrested for doxing and swatting in July of 2016 for releasing the information of more than 50 individuals and making false bomb threats to a university in Arizona. He was charged federally and was sentenced to 2 years in federal prison.

Has Legislation Been Proposed to Make Doxing in Texas a Specific Crime?

Yes, in recent years, bills have been proposed that would make doxing in Texas a crime and carry specific punishments. Although they gained traction, none have been passed by the Texas legislature.

Accused of a Doxing-Related Crime in Texas? Contact Us.

If you or a loved one is facing charges related to doxing, such as harassment or stalking, it is crucial that you get legal representation immediately. Our team of defense attorneys at Varghese Summersett have decades of experience and a proven record of exceptional results  Call 817-203-2220 today for a free consultation with a doxing lawyer.

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Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse in Texas

In Texas, anyone who suspects a child has been abused or neglected has a legal obligation to report it. Educators are held to an even higher standard and can face harsher punishment for trying to conceal abuse. Here’s an overview of Texas mandatory reporting laws and the crime and consequences of failure to report child abuse or neglect.

Who is required to report child abuse and neglect in Texas?

In Texas, if you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, the law requires that you report it to the appropriate agency – this is true for everyday citizens and for professionals who work with children. 

Where are people supposed to report suspected child abuse?

An appropriate agency to report child abuse would be the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or local law enforcement.  

Are educators held to a higher standard when it comes to reporting child abuse?

Yes, teachers, administrators and other school personnel are classified as mandatory “professional reporters” by the state of Texas. This designation requires that they report suspected mental or physical abuse within 48 hours. By law, they may not delegate their duty to report to another person to make the report. 

Who is considered a mandatory professional reporter of child abuse and neglect in Texas?

According to Texas Family Code Section 261.101, a mandatory professional reporter is anyone who is licensed or certified by the state or who works for a facility licensed, certified or operated by the state and has contact with children in the normal course of their duties. People who fall into this category are required to report suspected mental or physical abuse within 48 hours and must not delegate that duty to anyone else, such as a co-worker and family member.

child abuse report texas

 

Professional reporters include but are not limited to:

  • Teachers
  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Day-care workers
  • Juvenile probation officers

What about people whose communications are considered privileged? Are they also required to report child abuse and neglect?

Yes, the reporting requirements apply without exception to individuals whose personal communications may otherwise be privileged, including an attorney, a clergy member, a medical practitioner, a social worker, a mental health professional, an employee or member of a board that licenses or certifies a professional, and an employee of a clinic or health care facility that provides reproductive services.

What constitutes failure to report child abuse or neglect in Texas?

Under Texas law, a person commits this offense if he or she has reasonable cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect and knowingly fails to make a report.

What is the punishment for failure to report child abuse or neglect in Texas?

The offense is generally a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $4000 fine.

Class A misdemeanor

Class A Misdemeanors in Texas

However, the offense becomes a state jail felony, punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine if the following apply:

  • The offense becomes a state jail felony if the child had an intellectual disability, resided in a state-supported living center, and the defendant knew the child suffered serious bodily injury as a result of the abuse or neglect. 

 

  • The offense also becomes a state jail felony if
    State Jail Felony

    State Jail Felony Punishment in Texas

    the defendant is a mandatory/professional reporter and intended to conceal the abuse or neglect.

The educators in a recent Midland case are each facing a state jail felony, as it is alleged they attempted to conceal the assault.

Accused of failing to report child abuse and neglect? Contact us.

If you are a loved one is accused of failing to report child abuse or neglect in North Texas, it’s essential that you contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. We can help. Our team can intervene between you, the police and Child Protective Services. It’s important to get in front of it as soon as possible and launch the most aggressive defense strategy as possible.  Call 817-203-2220 today for a free consultation with an attorney who is experienced defending child abuse and neglect cases. 

Varghese Summersett

On March 11, 2020, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas handed down Holder v. State, an opinion stemming from a capital murder case that could have far-reaching consequences regarding the way investigators obtain cell site location information in the future. Specifically, the high court held that obtaining 23 days of cellphone location tracking dates without a warrant violated the Article I, Section 9 of the Texas Constitution and that the defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his cell site location.

What is Cell Site Location Information?

Cellphones are the most commonly used electronic device by individuals in the United States, providing an intimate window into a person’s life. An estimated 96 percent of Americans own cell phones, allowing friends, family, and others to track an individual’s location through Find my Friends, Snapchat, A-GPS Tracker, and other free phone applications. Yet, people fail to realize that their cellphone providers have access, and regularly store, their cell site location information.

Cell site location information refers to the time-stamped information cell phones transmit to nearby cell towers every time a phone call is made, a text message is sent, or a web browser is opened. Police officers, during ongoing criminal investigations, may request an individual’s cell site location information. This allows authorities to triangulate the general location of a suspect.

What’s the Background in Holder v State?

On November 11, 2012, police found the body of Billy Tanner in his east Plano home. Tanner had been beaten and stabbed. It also appeared that the killer had also attempted to burn down Tanner’s house.

Investigators quickly honed in on Christopher James Holder as the suspect. Holder had been romantically involved with Tanner’s step-daughter, Casey James, and the couple and her young children had lived together in Tanner’s house. In late October 2012, Tanner asked Holder to move out at the request of his stepdaughter because they were having relationship problems.

The following month, James told Holder saying she believed Tanner had inappropriately touched one of her daughters. CPS and police investigated but found no evidence that inappropriate activity had occurred between Tanner and his step-granddaughter.

The next time James spoke to Holder she told him she was going out of town for the weekend. When she returned home two days later on Nov. 11, James knew something was wrong. Tanner’s truck was missing, the garage door-opener didn’t work, and there was a horrible smell in the house. Police responded to the scene and found Tanner dead, a victim of a blunt force trauma to the head and 20 stab wounds. It also appeared that

On Nov. 12,  the police interviewed Holder,  who claimed he had been out of town the last few days — an alibi that would later be disproved by Holder’s cell site location information. That same day, police got a court order requiring Holder’s cellphone provider, ATT, to disclose Holder’s call log and cell site location information records between Oct. 20, 2012 and Nov. 12, 2012. It was a total of 23 days’ worth of data.

Holder’s cell site location information showed that on November 10 between 3:28 p.m. and 4:16 p.m., he was near Tanner’s home. The death investigation revealed that Tanner’s death mostly likely occurred during that time period. The cell site location information further revealed that Holder was near Tanner’s home, again, on November 11 at 12:41 a.m. and that he was suspiciously near where Tanner’s truck was located at roughly 2:11 a.m.

Confronted with the information, Holder changed his story, saying that he remembered being near Tanner’s house but it was only to buy drugs.

Holder was subsequently arrested and later charged with capital murder in connection with Holder’s death.

Several months later, a jail inmate told detectives that that on Nov. 10, 2012, Holder called him asking for drugs and needed help with something. They ended up at a house where a man was dead to clean up the crime scene. The inmate told police that the dead man had “molested a little girl.”

During his trial in the summer of 2015, Holder went on trial for capital murder in connection with Tanner’s death. Tanner filed a motion to suppress the cell data, claiming he had a protected privacy interest in his cell site location information. The trial court denied the motion and Holder was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Holder appealed. In Holder v State, the question for the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas was whether the cell site location information should have been suppressed?

What About Privacy Rights?

 As citizens of the United States we have a reasonable expectation of privacy so long as society considers that expectation of privacy objectively reasonable. The Fourth Amendment guarantees the right of the people, “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” U.S. Const. amend. IV.

Furthermore, the Texas Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be, “secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from all unreasonable seizures or searches.” TEX. CONST. art. I, § 9. Privacy rights are neither absolute nor explicitly listed. Caselaw clarified scenarios in which individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Ultimately, the court in Holder focused on the privacy rights provided in the Texas Constitution, Article 1, S 9, when discussing how to resolve this case.

How did the Court in Holder Handle Privacy Right’s?

The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas held that Holder had a right to privacy when it came to his cell site location information. Accordingly, the data which was used to refute Holder’s alibi should have been suppressed. Arrival at this holding required an extensive review of past cases with similar issues and a thorough discussion of the nature of cell site location information records.

  • Katz v. United States: Electronically listening to and recording an individual’s phone call, with electronic wiretaps, violates that individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy. This was a monumental Supreme Court decision because it was the first time the concept of “reasonable expectation of privacy” was thoroughly considered.  Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967).
  • United States v. Knotts: Attaching a surveillance device in order to reveal information regarding public movement, that could also be obtained through ordinary visual surveillance, is not an unreasonable search. A person travelling on public roads has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another. If, however, the beeper is used in a private place to track an individual’s location there could be an argument that privacy rights have been violated. United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983).
  • United States v. Jones: The government’s installation of a GPS device on an individual’s vehicle and the use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, twenty-four hours a day for 28 days, violated his Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. Here, the Supreme Court reasoned that the Fourth Amendment violation happened when officers attached the GPS device to the vehicle which was Jones’s private property. United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012).
  • Carpenter v. United States (2018): Warrants are required when gathering cell phone tracking information. Cell phones are a vital part of human autonomy which means tracking the location of a cellphone is almost perfect surveillance. The Court went as far as to compare a cellphone to an ankle monitor in terms of location surveillance capability. Additionally, the Court reasoned that the longer GPS monitoring takes place, the higher the probability an individuals’ privacy rights have been violated, “regardless of whether those movements were disclosed to the public at large.” Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206, 2215 (2018).

Holder v State differs from the cases above because it illustrates privacy concerns that arise from tracking someone through their cell site location information. Precedent calls for the application of the third-party doctrine to resolve the issue present in Holder. The third-party doctrine states that people who voluntarily give information to third parties –banks, phone companies, internet providers, and e-mail servers – have no reasonable expectation of privacy to that information. Accordingly, the government does not need a warrant to access these personal records. Following this reasoning, the data police officers collected in Holder should not have been suppressed – the trial court’s decision was correct. Ultimately, however, the Court chose not to apply the third-party doctrine. The Court instead adopted the ruling in Carpenter: the third-party doctrine will no longer be applicable to cell site location information under Article 1, § 9 of the Texas Constitution. Holder v. State, 595 S.W.3d 691, 701 (Tex. Crim. App. 2020). Accordingly, the cell site location information collected in Holder should have been suppressed because the defendant had a protected privacy interest in that data.

What the Effect of Holder v. State?

In the years to come, expect to see the law change as technology continues to advance. The Constitution of the United States of America and the Texas Constitution guarantee the people a right to privacy, but fail to explicitly state what privacy rights the people have. The Courts in Carpenter and Holder reasoned that as technology advances, it becomes more difficult to determine when privacy rights have been violated. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges where privacy rights may have been violated it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.