All posts by Lee and Wood

Defending Against BUI Charges in Texas

Boating under the influence (BUI) is a serious offense in Texas, carrying penalties that can include fines, imprisonment, loss of boating privileges, and even the loss of a driver’s license.

If you find yourself facing BUI charges, it’s crucial to understand the unique legal landscape surrounding this offense and to engage an experienced criminal defense attorney to help protect your rights.

Understanding BUI Laws

In Texas, it’s illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for boating is the same as for driving a motor vehicle: 0.08%.

However, you can still be charged with BUI even if your BAC is below this threshold if your ability to operate the boat is impaired.

Field Sobriety Tests on Water

Unlike DUI arrests, BUI arrests often come with unique challenges related to field sobriety testing on the water. The rocking motion of a boat can affect balance and coordination, and officers must account for these factors when conducting field sobriety tests.

An experienced BUI defense attorney can scrutinize the administration of these tests, looking for inconsistencies or irregularities that may weaken the prosecution’s case.

Chemical Testing

Law enforcement uses breath or blood tests to determine BAC levels in a BUI case. As with field sobriety tests, these tests must be administered according to specific guidelines.

If there were any irregularities in how the tests were conducted or the devices were calibrated, the results can be challenged in court.

Penalties and Consequences

BUI charges can lead to severe penalties, including:

  • Fines up to $2,000 for a first offense, with higher penalties for subsequent offenses
  • Jail time ranging from 72 hours to 180 days for a first offense, with longer sentences for repeat offenders
  • Loss of boating privileges
  • Potential impact on your driver’s license

These penalties underscore the importance of taking BUI charges seriously and seeking experienced legal representation.

Strategies for Defense

Defending against BUI charges requires an understanding of both boating laws and DUI defense strategies.

Here are some common defense approaches:

  • Challenging the stop: Was the initial stop by law enforcement lawful? If there was no reasonable suspicion to stop you, the case might be dismissed.
  • Examining the tests: As mentioned above, the administration of field sobriety tests and chemical tests can be scrutinized for mistakes or inconsistencies.
  • Exploring other explanations: Medical conditions, medications, or even the natural movement of the boat may have contributed to the appearance of impairment. These factors can be explored as part of the defense.

The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney

A criminal defense attorney with experience in BUI cases can provide invaluable assistance. From the initial stages of the case through trial, an attorney can guide you through the complex legal process, work to protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome.

Choosing the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

Getting charged with a BUI is not something you should take lightly. Getting the guidance of a criminal defense lawyer is paramount.

If you want to learn more about the services we provide at Lee and Wood, LP, please call us today at 817-678-6771 or send us a message.

The Impact of False Domestic Violence Accusations

In the sphere of domestic relationships, domestic violence is a deeply troubling and unfortunately common issue. The laws surrounding domestic violence exist to protect victims and bring perpetrators to justice.

However, there is a side to this coin that often goes unaddressed. What is the impact of false domestic violence accusations?

False accusations can have devastating consequences on the accused, affecting their reputation, career, personal life, and even their legal standing.

If you are falsely accused of domestic violence, a criminal defense attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and help clear your name.

Personal and Professional Repercussions

Legal troubles are only the beginning if you’re falsely accused of domestic violence.

Those falsely accused of domestic violence can have immediate personal and professional fallout.

Friends and family may distance themselves, perhaps due to the stigma attached to the accusation or uncertainty about the truth.

Professionally, you may face suspension or termination, especially if you work in a field where background checks and moral character are paramount.

Legal Consequences

From a legal standpoint, a false accusation can lead to arrest, court appearances, and even a potential conviction if not appropriately handled.

If children are involved, a restraining order may limit your access to your home or children.

Even if the charges are dismissed or cleared, the legal costs and the toll on your personal life can be devastating.

Emotional Impact

It’s easy to focus on the legal, professional, and personal impact of being falsely accused of domestic violence.

However, The emotional strain of being falsely accused can be just as overwhelming. The feelings of betrayal, anger, confusion, and fear can have long-lasting effects on your mental health.

Support from a mental health professional, alongside legal counsel, may be necessary to help you navigate this challenging period.

The Role of the Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re faced with a false domestic violence accusation, a skilled criminal defense attorney is essential.

An experienced attorney will understand the complexities of domestic violence laws and can:

  • Investigate the claim: Gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and establishing an accurate timeline are crucial to disproving a false accusation.
  • Navigate the legal system: The legal maze of domestic violence accusations requires a seasoned professional to guide the process, ensuring that all legal rights are protected.
  • Negotiate with prosecutors: If evidence suggests the accusation is false, an attorney can negotiate with prosecutors, possibly leading to dropped charges.
  • Represent you in court: If the case goes to trial, a criminal defense attorney will represent your interests, presenting the evidence and arguments needed to secure a just outcome.

Choosing the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

Going through a false domestic violence accusation is devastating. Your whole life is turned upside down in a blink of an eye.

You don’t have to go through it alone. The legal experts at Lee & Wood are here to help you navigate the legal process. We’ll stand by you and fight for your rights.

If you want to learn more about our services, please call us today at 817-678-6771 or send us a message for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP.

The Bail Process in Texas: What You Need to Know

When a person is charged with a crime in Texas, the court schedules the trial date and the judge sets the bail amount. The defendant can either choose to stay in custody until the day of trial or pay bail.

Once the bail is paid (or “posted”) the defendant can leave custody and await their trial while free. But, if the bail isn’t posted, the defendant will most likely be held in custody until trial.

It’s important to know that bail isn’t always an option. Defendants are sometimes held without bail. Courts can also release some defendants on personal recognizance. “PR release” allows defendants to await their trial at home without posting any bail at all.

How Bail Amounts Are Set

In Texas, every court has a bond schedule that guides the judges on how to set bail, but judges and magistrates are free to adjust the amount depending on the case. The amount of bail depends on things like the charges being brought against the defendant and the court hearing the case.

Other factors can influence the amount too. Under relatively recent changes to Texas bail laws, judges are required to look at a person’s criminal history before setting bail.

Bail Bonds: How to Get Money for Bail

When it comes to bail, the defendant can either get a cash bail or bond bail. If the defendant has the cash, they simply pay the total amount to the court and get a release with a pending trial. They get this money back after they appear at trial. However, if they fail to appear, the court keeps the money.

If defendants can’t raise the cash, they then apply for something called a “bail bond.” The bail bond agent arranges how the defendant will get a bond bail from the bonds company. The defendant then signs an agreement with the bail bonds company in order to post the bail.

Bail bonds do cost money. In Texas, defendants usually pay about 10% of the total bail amount to the bail bonds company. The bonds company then pays the defendant’s bail. Accordingly, the company becomes responsible and assures the court that the defendant will appear at trial.

Get a Free Consultation With a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a crime in Texas, get legal help as soon as possible. The attorneys of Lee & Wood have decades of experience defending people against a full range of criminal charges in Fort Worth, Weatherford, Granbury and all surrounding areas.

We can help guide you through the legal system and protect your rights at every step of the way. Call 817-678-6771 or email us today. We offer free initial consultations.

The Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Charges in Texas

When you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important to understand the severity of the situation.

In Texas, like other places in the United States, criminal charges can be divided into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Both can have a significant impact on your life, but there are key differences that you should know about.

Texas Misdemeanor Charges are Considered Less Serious Than Felonies

Misdemeanor charges are considered less serious than felonies and often result in less severe penalties. There are many types of misdemeanor offenses, but here are a few examples:

In most cases, misdemeanor charges carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine.

One important thing to note is that misdemeanor charges may not always involve intent. You can sometimes be charged with a misdemeanor, even if you didn’t intend to commit a crime. For example, accidentally damaging someone else’s property can result in a misdemeanor charge for criminal mischief.

Misdemeanor charges are typically heard in a lower court, such as a municipal or district court. This means the trial process is generally less formal and less complicated than for felony charges.

Texas Felony Charges Can Carry Severe Penalties

Unlike misdemeanors, felony charges are much more serious and carry more severe penalties. Murder, rape, arson and robbery are generally felonies. The penalties for felony charges typically include a minimum of one year in prison and a significant fine. In some cases, the penalties may include life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

Unlike misdemeanor charges, felony charges almost always involve intent. This means that to be charged with a felony, you must knowingly commit a crime. Felony charges are typically heard in a higher court. The process can be more formal and complicated than for misdemeanor charges.

Defense Strategies for Texas Misdemeanors and Felonies

When facing misdemeanor charges in Texas, your criminal defense lawyer may show that the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence, negotiate a plea bargain, or show that you did not intend to commit a crime.

Felony charges need a different defense approach since they carry harsher penalties. Your attorney may challenge the prosecution’s credibility by arguing that there isn’t enough evidence or by presenting evidence that undermines the prosecution’s witnesses.

If you were coerced or forced to commit the crime, your lawyer may argue that you should not be held fully responsible for the offense.

Get a Free Consultation With a Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your rights. Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge, a qualified attorney can provide valuable guidance throughout the legal process.

The attorneys of Lee & Wood have decades of experience defending people against misdemeanor and felony charges in Fort Worth, Weatherford, Granbury and all surrounding areas. We’ll do everything we can to protect your rights. Call 817-678-6771 or email us today for a free initial consultation.

What Is Texas’s Zero Tolerance Law for Young Drivers?

When you hear about Texas’s “Zero Tolerance Law,” it’s referring to the state’s position on alcohol consumption by drivers under 21 years old.

The law says that if someone under 21 is driving with even the smallest detectable amount of alcohol in their system, they will be charged with DWI or DUI. The law applies to anyone under 20 who is driving a car, boat or airplane.

The DWI charge is for drivers under 21 who have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. If the underage driver has a BAC of less than 0.08, DUI is the charge. These rules apply to any driver who is under 21; they do not need to be a Texas resident or have a Texas driver’s license to face charges.

Penalties for Young Drivers Under the Texas Zero Tolerance Law

If convicted under the Zero Tolerance Law, underage drivers face these possible penalties:

  • First or second DUI offense: Underage drivers can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. If convicted, they face up to $500 in fines, 20 to 40 hours of community service and mandatory alcohol awareness counseling.
  • Third DUI offense under age 17: This is also a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties include a $500 fine, 40 to 60 hours of community service, mandatory alcohol awareness counseling, and possibly the installation of an ignition interlock device to stop you from driving with any alcohol in your system.
  • Third DUI offense age 17 to 21: This is a Class B misdemeanor with fines up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, 40 to 60 hours of community service, and a one-year driver’s license suspension.
  • First DWI under age 21: This is a Class B misdemeanor with the same possible penalties as the third DUI offense.
  • Second DWI under age 21: This is a Class A misdemeanor with fines up to $4,000, jail time of 30 days to a year, and a driver’s license suspension of 6 to 18 months.
  • Third DWI under age 21: This is a third-degree felony with fines up to $10,000, jail for two to 10 years, and the suspension of the driver’s license for six months to two years.

Driver’s License Suspension for Violations of the Zero Tolerance Law

Notice that the DWI penalties include driver’s license suspensions while the DUI penalties do not. However, in DUI cases, separate from the criminal charges above, there will be an administrative proceeding to suspend the license.

Getting an underage DUI leads to these license suspensions:

  • First offense: 60-180 days
  • Second offense: 120 days to 2 years
  • Third offense: 180 days to 2 years

To avoid the DUI driver’s license suspension, you must request a hearing. This allows you to make an argument for why your license shouldn’t be suspended. You should discuss this possibility with your attorney.

Get Help Fighting Underage DWI or DUI Charges in Texas

Don’t make the mistake of simply pleading guilty to DWI or DUI charges under the Zero Tolerance Law. There may be a weakness in the case that a defense lawyer can use to help you avoid the worst outcomes.

Call the Fort Worth DWI and DUI defense attorneys of Lee & Wood, LP today at 817-678-6771 or email us to get a free case evaluation.

Failed Senate Bill Highlights the Ongoing THC/Cannabis Struggle

When you count not falling further behind as a victory, you know you’re in a tough position. All over the country, legislators are easing restrictions on the use or possession of marijuana and THC products.

The rapid changes may lead to confusion and tragedy. Something that is legal in Oklahoma can lead to a felony conviction in Texas. While advocates are also fighting for cannabis reform here in Texas, other people are looking to push us even further down the road of criminalization.

Senate Bill 264

Hemp, which was once illegal across the country, has been legal federally and in Texas for several years. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal, provided they have a low enough concentration of delta-9 THC. The makers of these products have sought to avoid higher delta-9 THC concentrations in several ways, including by creating products that contain delta-8 THC from a laboratory.

Senate Bill 264 attempted to take aim at these lab-created products, basically expanding the current ban to more products. Fortunately, SB 264 died in committee. That means the Texas laws against cannabis and cannabis-related products, which are already among the most restrictive in the country, will not be getting harsher.

No Move Toward Legalization

Public attitudes regarding marijuana have undoubtedly softened in recent years. Many people are shocked to learn about the severity of the penalties for possession of THC oil, cannabis concentrates, and related products. While the general population would likely favor an easing of these restrictions, Texas lawmakers remain committed to the status quo.

A teenager caught with a vape pen containing THC oil residue could be jailed for up to two years. If you are arrested in connection with any of these products, you cannot afford to underestimate the trouble you’re in. While other states may have free-wheeling attitudes and laws to match, Texas law makes THC possession a deadly serious criminal matter.

Medical Marijuana Is Strictly Limited

The Compassionate Use Program (CUP) carefully regulates who has access to medical marijuana and what they can use or possess. It is only available to people with qualifying health conditions. Only a limited number of registered doctors can prescribe the products, and those products are restricted to low THC concentrations. Even if you have one of these conditions and use marijuana to treat it, you are breaking the law if you don’t go through CUP.

The people suffering these conditions may find that the available products don’t meet their needs. If you get the products you need in another state, just know that bringing them back to Texas is a crime, and you can be arrested and charged for your actions.

Strong Marijuana Defense Attorneys in the Fort Worth Area

If you have been arrested for possession of THC oil or cannabis concentrates, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Without a lawyer on your side, you will likely find the criminal justice system almost impossible to navigate.

At Lee & Wood, LP, we have the skill to protect your rights with a strong defense. Call us today at 817-678-6771 or contact us online to learn more.

Exoneration Numbers Highlight the Importance of Criminal Defense Attorneys

The viewpoint that putting an innocent person in jail is worse than letting a guilty person go free helps shape criminal defense law. It might not be how the jury sees it, however. The number of wrongful convictions that were overturned in 2022 reached an all-time record. Every exoneration is proof that everyone, innocent or not, needs a strong criminal defense lawyer.

Exonerations Are too Rare to Be a Reliable Strategy

A criminal trial and, potentially, an appeal are generally the end of the line. The record number of exonerations set last year was still a meager 238 nationwide. Your best chance of a good result in the criminal justice system is to be found innocent in your initial trial.

As soon as you are arrested or charged, you need to speak to an attorney who understands criminal defense. Misdemeanors, felonies, and juvenile offenses should all be handled by an experienced legal team. You are far more likely to beat the charges by acting quickly than you are by hoping for an exoneration after your conviction.

Unreliable Evidence

According to the Innocence Project, most of the wrongful convictions they’ve helped overturn included eyewitness misidentification and the incorrect use of forensic science. While this type of evidence is not a part of all criminal cases, it’s worth considering that criminal courts can make mistakes.

In addition to evidence problems, the Innocence Project cites coerced pleas, misconduct by government officials, and inadequate defense as problems that can lead to a wrongful conviction. Importantly, each of these issues can be mitigated or even avoided by a skilled criminal defense attorney.

The Right to Remain Silent and Why You Should Use it

False confessions are another key factor in many exonerations. If you’ve never been through the criminal justice system, it might be easy to wonder why anyone would confess to a crime they didn’t commit. There are many reasons why false confessions occur, but most of them are the intentional result of police interrogation tactics. Investigators know how to pressure and even lie to people to get them to admit to wrongs they never committed.

A police interrogation is unlike anything people experience in their ordinary lives. False confessions are often secured after many, many hours of interrogation. People don’t understand what it’s like until they go through it. That’s why it’s always a good idea to remain silent when it comes to police questioning. Nothing you say will get the police on your side. They are only looking for ways to convict you. Saying nothing makes that much harder for them to do.

If You’re Facing Criminal Charges, Contact Us Now

Our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys have the experience and skill you need. Getting through the criminal justice system takes careful guidance, hard work, and planning.

At Lee & Wood, LP, you will get a strong defense carefully tailored to your situation. The goal is to get the best possible result for you, whether through pretrial negotiations or in the courtroom. Call us to schedule a confidential consultation at 817-678-6771 or contact us online to get started as soon as possible.

What if You’re Accused of Violating a Protective Order?

Protective orders, more often called restraining orders, are issued frequently by Texas courts in cases involving domestic violence or stalking. An order might be issued if you are arrested for alleged family violence or if a spouse or partner requests one from the court.

Being subject to a restraining order can greatly disrupt your life. It can prevent you from going near someone’s home or work. You could be forced to attend a battery prevention class, and you might have to give up possession of your firearms.

These disruptions can affect you for a long time because restraining orders can be effective for up to two years, or up to a year after you are released from jail.

What it Means to Violate the Conditions of a Restraining Order

Violating a protective order is a serious matter. It’s so serious that police can arrest you without a warrant as long as they have probable cause to believe you violated the order.

Officers can get probable cause by getting statements from witnesses, seeing physical evidence such as cuts or bruises on the victim, or from statements you make yourself.

Most Texas restraining orders spell out the things that you cannot do while you’re under the order. Typically, you can be found in violation if you:

  • Make direct or indirect threats against the protected person
  • Commit domestic assault
  • Get caught with a gun
  • Go too near the person’s house, school or workplace
  • Vandalize or damage the protected person’s property
  • Commit any other crime or act of violence against the protected person

What Happens if You Violate a Protective Order in Texas?

After your arrest, there will be a bail hearing. Here the judge will determine whether you violated the order with the intent to commit stalking or violence. If the judge believes that was indeed your intent, you could be detained without bail until your trial date.

Even if this is your first offense for violating a restraining order, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.

For first-time offenders, lawyers can often convince judges to sentence you to probation or community supervision, plus counseling and possibly substance abuse treatment if needed.

If you have two or more previous convictions, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. This means a possible sentence of two to 10 years in prison.

If you’re accused of violating a restraining order, contact a lawyer right away. You may have defenses available. For example, you might not have even known a restraining order existed. A lawyer can also argue for more lenient punishments such as anger management or counseling instead of jail.

Call Our Fort Worth Lawyers if You Are Accused of Violating a Restraining Order

At Lee & Wood, LP we help clients fight against alleged protective order violations in Fort Worth, Weatherford, Granbury and all surrounding areas. We provide a free initial consultation where we’ll listen compassionately to you, and explain how we can help. Call 817-678-6771 or email us today.

What to Do if Your Child Is Arrested for Drug Possession

What to Do if Your Child Is Arrested for Drug Possession in Texas

Most parents don’t expect to get a call from the police about their child. And hearing that your child has been arrested for drug possession can be especially distressing. Even though it’s an overwhelming situation, it’s essential to know what to do next so you can help your child.

What Is Drug Possession in Texas?

Drug possession in Texas is defined as having the custody, care or control of an illegal substance. Even if your child says that the drugs don’t belong to them and they were holding them for someone else, your child is still breaking the law.

If your child is under 17, they may be charged as a juvenile. Penalties for drug possession range from Class C misdemeanors to first-class felonies, depending on the type and amount of illegal substance the person possessed.

Take These Steps

Stay as Calm as Possible

Your child being charged with drug possession is a tough situation, and you may feel a range of emotions. Know that it’s okay to feel anger, disappointment, fear and panic. However, it’s critical to keep calm. Very soon, you’ll need to think clearly enough and focus on the next steps.

Reach Out to an Attorney

Your child shouldn’t talk to the police without legal counsel, so you should reach out to an attorney right away. Speak to a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced with the Texas juvenile system and will take time to learn about the unique circumstances surrounding your child’s case.

They’ll assess your case, help you understand the charges and guide you through the legal process. Your lawyer can also look at getting the drug possession charges reduced or dismissed for your child, depending on your situation. They can also help you understand the Texas Juvenile Justice system so you can feel better prepared.

Don’t delay getting legal counsel. The sooner you connect with an attorney, the sooner they can review police reports, talk to you and your child and examine the details of your child’s case, allowing them to put together a proper defense.

Don’t Allow Police Searches

If the police show up without a warrant and want to search your home or vehicle, you have the right to refuse. You may worry about appearing uncooperative, especially if you believe there aren’t any drugs to locate.

However, if the police do uncover drugs during their search, even if you didn’t know about them, they could potentially seize your property.

Is Your Child Charged With Drug Possession? We Can Help

Drug possession charges can be complex and overwhelming, so don’t try to navigate this situation on your own. The Fort Worth attorneys at Lee & Wood, LP. are experienced in the juvenile court system and can help you understand your child’s case and options.

Receive a confidential consultation by calling us today at 817-678-6771 or send a us message.

What College Students Should Know About Public Intoxication

What College Students Should Know About Public Intoxication in Texas

Being a college student often comes with late-night study sessions, eating cheap meals and making new friends. However, it can also come with parties that involve drinking in public. This can put you and others in danger, and lead to legal consequences if you’re charged with public intoxication.

What’s Defined as Public Intoxication in Texas?

Texas Penal Code, Section 49.02 states that intoxication means not having the normal use of your mental or physical faculties due to your having alcohol, a controlled substance, drugs, a combination of these substances or any other substance in your body. An alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more also qualifies as intoxication.

This penal code defines public intoxication this way: “A person commits an offense if the person appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another.”

Basically, if you were intoxicated, you were in a public place and you put your own safety or someone else’s at risk, you can be charged under this statute.

But what exactly does the term “public place” mean? Under Texas law, a public place is any location to which the public has access. This includes neighborhood streets, schools, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, public parks, office buildings and bars.

Is Public Intoxication a Crime in Texas?

In Texas, public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500, which applies to both people who are 21 and those below the legal drinking age. However, underage drinkers also have additional penalties due to Texas’ Zero Tolerance Law. These consequences include community service, a 30-day suspension of their driver’s license, and mandatory attendance of an alcohol awareness class.

Even though public intoxication is a misdemeanor, it should be taken seriously. The records of your arrest and case may be part of your permanent criminal record, which can in turn impact future opportunities, from your college admission to jobs you want in the future.

For instance, during the interview process for a job, you may have to disclose and explain your criminal case to an employer.

What Should I Do if I’m Charged With Public Intoxication?

Many college students are eager to move on from their public intoxication case, often representing themselves, pleading guilty and paying the fine as quickly as possible. However, doing so can result in a permanent criminal record.

When you’re charged, don’t plead guilty. Instead, reach out to a lawyer experienced in public intoxication cases. They can assess your case, provide you guidance and determine whether they can build you a defense.

Know Your Rights: Speak With an Attorney Experienced in Public Intoxication

If you’ve been charged with public intoxication, you don’t have to go it alone. At Lee & Wood, LP., we’re experienced in helping people understand their options and guiding them forward. For a confidential consultation with our Fort Worth attorneys, call us today at 817-678-6771 or send us a message.