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Supreme Court Rules Police Can Take Arrested Person’s DNA Without Warrant

Alert: Supreme Court Ruling May Affect Your Privacy Rights  The United States Supreme Court ruled this week that police can take DNA from any person arrested for a "serious" crime -- and they don't need a warrant to do it! In a controversial 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in Maryland v King that taking an arrestee's DNA was akin to taking fingerprints or booking photos Conservative Justice...

Is there a biological basis to crime?

Recent advances in science may change the way we look at criminals and the underlying reasons for their behavior Specifically, advances in neurology and brain scanning have revealed that because of brain function and chemistry, some people are far more likely to engage in criminal behavior While researchers agree that there is still a strong social and environmental cause for criminal behavior, they argue that...

Mandatory Blood Draws Limited in Texas Due to New Supreme Court of the United States Case

A new United States Supreme Court ruling has probably rendered some Texas DWI laws unconstitutional and will have a big impact on the way DWI investigations are conducted in many cases That case, Missouri v McNeely, involved a DWI suspect who refused to provide a blood test Blood was obtained anyway, and the police did not obtain a warrant prior to doing so, relying on the "exigent circumstances" exception to...

Miranda Warnings for Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect (And All of Us)

Not long after Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was taken into custody, the federal government announced it would not give the suspect "Miranda Warnings" before interrogating him Withholding Miranda Warnings from a criminal suspect is a clear mistake The so-called "public safety exception" to Miranda is rare, and it doesn't apply to the case of the suspected Boston Marathon bomber First a...

3 Key Tools in Texas Criminal Discovery: Subpoenas, Subpoenas Duces Tecum and Writs of Attachment

Texas criminal discovery rules are continually evolving and the best criminal defense lawyers in Houston and across the state will not overlook any of the tools that may help lawyers discover evidence favorable to their clients Three key tools for discovery are the subpoena, subpoena duces tecum and writ of attachment  A subpoena is simply an order to appear in court and give testimony A subpoena duces tecum...

Be Safe and Know Your Rights This Labor Day Weekend

Several media outlets have reported that DPS has stepped up its DWI enforcement in anticipation of Labor Day Weekend, traditionally one of the biggest for alcohol related arrests (read stories here, here and here) “What we're doing is putting every available trooper out on the roadways,” a DPS official told a San Antonio Radio Station “Even those individuals who are usually behind a desk in the office will...

All I Want For Christmas Is a Little Honesty

The holiday season is in full swing, and so is Texas DWI enforcement Police agencies throughout the state are beefing up DWI patrols DWI defense attorneys in Houston and everywhere agree on one thing: the best way to avoid picking up a DWI is to avoid being behind the wheel if you’ve had too much to drink The Department of Public Safety and other government agencies are trying novel ways to discourage...

Canadian Province Moves to 0.05 BAC Limit for Drivers

Since practically the time automobiles because commonplace, our government has enacted legislation of one form or another to protect us from intoxicated drivers Amazingly, the first government sponsored study recommended that drivers with a BAC above 015 could be presumed to be intoxicated while those below could not Over the decades, criminal defense lawyers know the legal limit has steadily been decreasing...

DPS Offers Driver’s License Information Website

If you are unsure about the status of your Texas Driver's license, the Department of Public Safety has launched a website which will allow you to check your current status Additionally, the website allows users to pay fees charged for suspension offenses, and lists any outstanding compliance items that need to be completed before driving eligibility is restored The website can be accessed...

New York Times Article Discusses Overwhelming Evidence that Memory and Eyewitness Identifications are Unreliable

This past week, the New York Times featured an interesting, though troubling, article addressing eyewitness identifications This is a hot topic among criminal defense practitioners This month, the United States Supreme Court heard its first oral argument in more than thirty years addressing eyewitness identifications The article discusses a handful of the countless studies discussing the unreliability and...