What Happens if You Were Arrested, But Not Read Your Rights?

What happens if the police don’t read you your rights? Can charges against you be dropped? As experienced criminal defense attorneys, these are questions we hear from our clients fairly often. People hope they may be able to reduce the consequences they face because the police failed to follow procedure.

Know Your Miranda Rights

Before you understand what happens when your rights aren’t read, it’s important to know what your rights are. Commonly called your Miranda rights, these rights originate from a landmark 1966 Supreme Court case called Arizona v. Miranda. In the case, a suspect was held and questioned by the police for two hours before confessing to crimes he did not commit.

The case changed criminal procedure in the United States. The procedural changes were written down in the form of a Miranda Warning, which summarizes your Fifth and Sixth Amendment Constitutional rights. The warning has become familiar to almost everyone who has ever watched a detective show:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

Miranda Rights Are Only Required for Custodial Interrogation

Miranda v. Arizona changed criminal procedure by requiring the police to inform suspects of their rights. However, there are limits to this requirement. The police are only required to inform you of your rights “prior to interrogation” if your statement is to be used against you in court.

If the police were not interrogating you in custody—for example, if it was clear to you that you were free to go—then there was no requirement for them to read you your rights.

But even if you were not read your rights, those rights still exist. Even if the police don’t tell you that you can remain silent, it’s generally a good idea to exercise your right to remain silent other than to request an attorney.

A 2022 Ruling That Limits Miranda Lawsuits

Until fairly recently, some people who had their un-Mirandized statements used against them in court were able to file lawsuits under 42 U. S. C. §1983 for violation of their Constitutional rights.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court held that a violation of Miranda rights does not provide the basis for this kind of lawsuit. Still, whether you were read your rights can be an important factor in the outcome of your criminal matter. The best way to protect yourself is to talk with an attorney.

Talk With a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

If you think your rights were violated, talk to an attorney about your options. Call 817-678-6771 or send a message for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth defense attorneys at Lee and Wood, LP. 

What Happens if You’re Caught With Weed Edibles in Texas?

Whether it’s inhaled from a vape pen or consumed as an edible, it’s still illegal to possess THC in Texas. Anything that isn’t leafy marijuana is a criminal charge of felony drug possession. And if you share your edibles with friends, you can be charged with drug distribution. Here’s what happens if you are charged with possession of cannabis concentrates.

Texas Law on Weed Edibles

Weed edibles contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive component in marijuana. While it occurs naturally in marijuana, it’s also become an ingredient in many other products—from brownies to candy to gummies. You can see an incredible assortment at many high-end dispensaries, which are legal in other states.

While both contain the same psychoactive component, Texas law places marijuana and THC edibles in two different legal categories. Possession of fewer than four ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense. However, edibles are classified with other controlled substances and are subject to harsher penalties.

The Consequences of Getting Caught With Marijuana Edibles

If you are caught with weed edibles, you could be subject to charges that include:

  • Felony drug possession: Under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.116, people who possess less than one gram of a THC edible can face a state jail felony charge. For smaller amounts, a person can face between 180 days and two years in state jail. For larger amounts, a person can face between 15 and 99 years in prison. They may also face a maximum fine of up to $100,000.
  • Drug distribution: A person charged with drug distribution in Texas can face anywhere from 180 days in jail to a life sentence. They may also face fines up to $25,000.

What About Medical Marijuana?

Texans with certain medical conditions may qualify for the state’s Compassionate use program (CUP), which allows them access to medical marijuana. Certain physicians can prescribe low-THC cannabis for medical purposes, and qualifiers are limited to swallowing the prescribed dose.

CUP applies to people with the following medical conditions:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
  • Autism
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Spasticity 
  • Seizure disorders
  • Terminal cancer 
  • An incurable neurodegenerative disease

If medical marijuana is legally purchased over the Texas border, such as from Colorado, you may still be charged with possession. In this case, you’ll need the help of a skilled lawyer to help you navigate the situation and prepare a strong defense.

Charged With Possession of Weed Edibles? We Can Help.

If you have been charged with a crime related to weed edibles, get help as soon as possible. Acting quickly gives your lawyer more time to act in your defense and protect your rights. To get started, 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. 


Is it Legal to Hunt and Kill Nuisance Animals in Texas?

For hunting enthusiasts, Texas is a great place to be, with several “no closed season” options for hunters. But does it include hunting and killing nuisance animals?

When owning land in Texas, it’s natural that you’ll come across nuisance animals. These are pesky critters and creatures that can wreak havoc on your land or are simply an irritation. So what can you legally do about the problem? Is killing or removing a nuisance animal a wildlife crime? Let’s find out what Texas law says in this helpful guide.

What Are “Nuisance Animals”?

Simply put, nuisance animals depredate or pose a threat to human health or safety. They may create a hazard for motorists or put housepets at risk. They may also trespass on property, make messes by tipping over garbage cans or destroy a lawn or garden.

There are many types of nuisance animals, including:

  • Raccoons
  • Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Bobcat
  • Otter
  • Skunks
  • Badgers
  • Beavers
  • Mink
  • Muskrat

Texas Law on Fur-Bearing Nuisance Animals

According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, landowners or their agents may take nuisance fur-bearing animals in any number by any means and at any time on that person’s land. There’s no need for a hunting or trapping license.

If you’d prefer to capture and relocate the animal instead of killing it, you can do so. To capture and relocate, you need to get authorization from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the owner of the property where the release will occur. 

You’ll also need to submit a monthly report on the number and kind of nuisance animals that you captured. Include the number, the location of the release site, and your name and address.

It’s important to know that no one except licensed trappers can take these animals or their pelts during their lawful open season and possession periods. It’s a crime (a Class C misdemeanor) to transport or sell live foxes, coyotes, or raccoons in Texas. It’s also a crime to take fur-bearing animals on land owned by someone else without that person’s consent. 

Why Is Knowing Texas Wildlife Law Important?

As a landowner, getting rid of nuisance animals is important. It will help keep your land pristine and help you avoid certain risks that these animals present. Knowing Texas wildlife law will help you do it safely and in the best interest of everyone. It will also protect you from potential legal issues.

If you kill and hunt nuisance animals incorrectly, you could run afoul of Texas hunting, fishing or wildlife laws. The consequences of a violation can be costly, including fines, loss of hunting licenses and even jail time.

Get Legal Assistance for Wildlife Crimes

Texas has an abundance of nuisance animals, and it can be difficult to know all the intricacies of wildlife law. The Fort Worth lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP. have extensive experience defending people against wildlife crimes, including those involving nuisance animals. If you have been accused of a wildlife crime or want to learn more, call us today at 817-678-6771  or send us a message for a confidential consultation.


What to Do If You’re Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

There are many reasons why individuals may be falsely accused of a crime they didn’t commit. Perhaps your spouse is attempting to accuse you of violence to try and secure a better outcome during a divorce. Or, maybe the individual is simply angry and wants to “get back at you” by trying to damage your reputation.

Regardless of the reasoning, domestic violence is a serious allegation that could result in severe consequences. Keep reading to discover what you should do and avoid if you’ve been falsely accused.

Do This First: Reach Out to an Attorney

First, consider reaching out to a skilled criminal defense attorney, even if you have yet to be formally charged. An attorney will get to work on your defense quickly.

The consequences of a domestic violence conviction are serious in Texas. For example, you could be subjected to fines or several years in prison, depending on the severity of the charge. A conviction will also result in a criminal record that may keep you from getting a job and owning a firearm.

Avoiding these consequences when you didn’t commit the crime is the reason an attorney is critical to your case.

4 Things to Avoid After Being Accused of Domestic Violence

After being falsely accused, there are a few things you should avoid at all costs:

  1. Contacting the accuser: If you can, do your best to avoid communicating with your accuser. This may allow them to make further accusations. Instead, allow your attorney to handle any communication that’s required.
  2. Talking about the accusation on social media: Another way to exacerbate the issue is by sharing it on social media. Remember, everything you say can be used against you. So, refrain from speaking about the accusation on Facebook or any other platform.
  3. Speaking with law enforcement: You have a right to remain silent. Before you speak to law enforcement, reach out to an attorney who can advise you on what to say and what to avoid sharing.
  4. Failing to gather evidence: If there’s any evidence that can be used in your defense, gather it. Evidence can include anything from text messages to photos.

Call Lee & Wood, LP for Support

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you must reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Lee & Wood, LP are here to support you during this time. Reach out to us today by calling 817-678-6771 or send us a message.

Common Wildlife Crimes in Texas

In Texas, wildlife and the land that our animals call home are highly protected. Many laws and regulations exist for hunting, fishing and other activities. Unfortunately, wildlife crimes are still quite common in our state. Here, we dive into the basics of these crimes, including common violations and consequences.

Common Wildlife Crimes in Texas

Many wildlife crimes are committed throughout our state each year. In some cases, these crimes are committed willingly. In other cases, these crimes are committed by individuals who simply don’t know Texas law.

Some examples of common wildlife crimes include:

  • Hunting or fishing without a license or permit
  • Lying about your information to obtain a license or permit
  • Hunting endangered species
  • Purposeful destruction of wildlife
  • Trespassing on private property to hunt or fish
  • Illegal use of a motor vehicle while hunting or fishing
  • Hunting or possession of out-of-season wildlife
  • Failure to tag game properly
  • Weapons violations

What Are the Consequences of a Wildlife Crime?

Wildlife crimes are taken seriously in Texas. There are various consequences you may be subject to if you are found guilty of a violation. For example, you may be subject to a fine or may need to pay restitution to the state.

Depending on the severity of the wildlife violation, this could cost you thousands of dollars. You may also have your fishing or hunting licenses permanently revoked.

In other severe cases, jail time isn’t off the table. For example, a felony charge may result in a fine of up to $10,000 and two years in jail.

The best way to prevent a violation is to increase your knowledge of Texas law. For example, you can check out the Texas Parks & Wildlife resources for information on the specific regulations involving wildlife.

Accused of a Wildlife Crime? Consider an Attorney.

If you’ve been accused of a wildlife crime by a game warden, conservation officer, or someone from the Department of Natural Resources, you’ll need the help of a skilled attorney. An attorney can help protect your rights in court and, in some cases, may be able to minimize the consequences.

Reach Out to Lee & Wood, LP Today

Have you been accused of a wildlife crime in Texas? We can help you. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have years of experience working with clients just like you. To discuss your case with a qualified attorney, give us a call at 817-678-6771 or send us a message.

Defending Yourself Against Assault Charges in Texas

Assault charges can feel overwhelming and confusing. The actions usually arise in the heat of the moment, often involving alcohol and adrenaline. But, it is possible to overcome assault charges, especially if you were acting to protect yourself or someone else.

Self-Defense As Your Defense

Acting in self-defense is the most common way to beat assault charges in Texas. Under Texas law, a person isn’t guilty of assault when he or she acted in self-protection that was reasonable at the time.

To prove to the court that you were acting in self-defense, you must show several things:

  • There was a threat of harm
  • You had a real fear of harm
  • You did not harm or provoke anyone before the threat occurred
  • There was no chance of avoiding the situation

To use self-defense as your defense, your lawyer must also show the court that the amount of force used was “reasonable.” That means that you used the minimum amount of force necessary to fend off the attack—not more.

Protecting Another Person or Property

Protecting another person or property is also a defense to assault charges in Texas. Just like the court understands why you would resort to violence to protect yourself, the court allows a defense for protecting someone you care about.

Further, Texas’s Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law says that a person may use “reasonable force” when protecting their home or vehicle. The law gives you the right to stand your ground against a home invader instead of having to retreat.

Consent to the Assault

In certain situations, consent can also be used as a defense to assault charges. This is especially true in sexual assault cases where the court tries to discern he-said, she-said situations. The alleged victim may have consented or appeared to consent to the encounter, only to decide later that it was actually an assault. 

Can Assault Charges Be Dropped?

Assault charges can also be dropped if the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to pursue them. That’s one of the reasons that it’s important to hire a lawyer as quickly as possible, even before charges are formally filed. 

Your attorney can start advocating for you from day one. By acting early, they may even be able to get charges dropped or help the prosecutor see why charges should never be filed at all.

Get a Strong Defense to Assault Charges

If you have been accused of assault, call 817-678-6771  or send us a message for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP. It’s important to get legal help as soon as possible after an arrest so that your attorneys can take immediate action to protect your rights, reputation and freedom.


Is Fishing Without a License a Crime in Texas?

Is fishing without a license a crime in Texas? It’s a common question. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department publishes the many fishing rules and penalties that apply to residents and nonresidents fishing in Texas, and many sections of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Code pertain to fishing.

Under the Code, it is unlawful to fish on public water from private land without a fishing license. Fishing licenses are required of anyone who fishes in public waters in Texas, with some exceptions.

Penalties for Fishing Without a License in Texas

While fishing licenses are generally required, the penalties for fishing violations are sometimes minor. In most cases, people caught fishing without a license are fined less than $500. In those cases, it usually makes more sense to pay the fine than to hire a lawyer to fight the charges. However, it is important to pay the fine or resolve the issue. Failure to pay a fine can be considered a misdemeanor.

But, not all fishing violations are minor. The penalties can be steep when people fish for commercial purposes without a license, or when they fish rare and protected species of fish. Class B misdemeanors can lead to up to six months in jail, Class A misdemeanors can lead to up to a year in jail, and felonies can lead to up to two years in jail. Fines can also mount into the thousands of dollars.

Exceptions to the Fishing License Requirement

In some cases, you may not need a license to go fishing in Texas:

  • People under the age of 17 do not need a fishing license. The law encourages kids and teens to learn to fish at no cost.
  • Visitors to Texas State Parks can fish without a license. However, they must be within the boundary of the state park, and not all Texas parks are state parks.
  • People with intellectual disabilities may fish without a license. Fishing must be part of medically approved therapy, and the person must be accompanied by staff and carry authorization. People with intellectual disabilities can also fish under the supervision of licensed anglers who are family members or who have permission from their families to take them fishing. To do this, a doctor’s note is required.
  • People fishing on private land do not need a license. No license is required when fishing from a stock tank or other private body of water. However, if you are transporting the fish, you should carry documentation about where they came from. It is also unlawful to fish from private land into public waters without a license.

Get Legal Help After a Fishing Violation

If you have been accused of a fishing violation, call 817-678-6771 or send us a message for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP.  We have extensive experience defending people against wildlife crimes, including fishing violations.


When Teens Are Caught With THC Vape Pens

If you’re the parent of a teenager, you’re probably already aware of just how popular vape pens are. You may have seen other kids using them, but it can still come as a shock when your own is caught. 

The truth is, good kids can make mistakes, and the best way to protect your teen’s future is to talk with a well-qualified defense attorney

Vape Pens and Teenagers

When it comes to tobacco, teens can get in some pretty serious trouble. Texas law prohibits the purchase, possession, and use of vape pens (also called e-cigarettes) by people under 21 years old or 18 years old and in the military. Teens caught with vape pens for inhaling tobacco products can be fined up to $100.

Vape pens are also prohibited on school premises. If a teen is caught with a vape pen on their high school or college campus, they may also face additional, separate consequences, including being suspended or expelled and losing critical financial aid.

THC and Juvenile Drug Charges

The law is much more strict when it comes to THC. Adults caught with THC vape pens can be charged with a felony and face jail time of six months to two years. For teenagers, charges involving small amounts of drugs—like a vape pen with trace amounts of THC in it—are usually juvenile court matters.

However, sometimes teens can be tried as adults in these matters. This can happen if the teen is almost an adult, for example, if they are 17. It can also happen if the quantities involved are large or if there are other factors that make the situation more serious.

Teens caught with vape pens containing even small amounts of THC can face juvenile drug charges that result in consequences such as:

  • Fines up to $500
  • Probation
  • Educational course on substance abuse requirements
  • Rehabilitation or treatment requirements
  • Suspension or expulsion from school (if on school property)

If Your Teen Is in Trouble, Call Our Fort Worth Lawyers

Teens caught with THC can face serious consequences. It’s important to get legal help right away. The sooner you act, the more time your attorney has to take action in your teen’s case.

If your teenager has been accused of possessing a vape pen with THC in it, call 817-678-6771 for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth defense attorneys at Lee and Wood, LP. You can also send us a message.


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Can a Partner Drop Domestic Violence Charges in Texas?

Domestic violence charges often result from things that happened in the heat of the moment. An argument may have escalated until the neighbors reported the shouting to the police. Police may have mistaken an injury for a sign of domestic abuse. A household member may have made a report motivated by jealousy or anger, or to gain leverage in a family law proceeding.

Later the household member may want to drop their allegations. This is very common. In fact, it’s well documented that 80 to 90% of domestic violence victims recant their statements to police and investigators. 

What if a household member wants to take back what they said? Can a partner drop domestic violence charges in Texas?

About the Texas “No Drop” Policy

Texas has passed legislation to make sure that domestic violence charges are taken very seriously. Our state’s “no drop” policy means that, even if someone in your household wants to drop domestic violence charges, they do not have the power to do so on their own.

Domestic violence charges are brought by the prosecutor—not the alleged victim of domestic violence. Under Texas law, it’s the prosecutor’s decision whether to drop charges. Even if the alleged victim later changes their mind, they do not have the authority to drop charges on their own.

Instead, the prosecutor must be persuaded to drop the assault charges. It’s not impossible to accomplish, but it requires specific legal action and strategy.

Convincing a Prosecutor to Drop Domestic Violence Charges

Your partner or household member can’t decide to drop charges on their own, so your lawyer may need to emphasize other facts of your case. Each case is different, but a lawyer may emphasize a client’s lack of any past criminal record. They may also look to the facts of the case to help convince prosecutors that the charges need to be dropped.

Why Does Texas Have a “No Drop” Policy?

Our state’s “no drop” policy is tied to psychological research about the nature of abusive relationships. Abusive relationships often follow a cycle of gradual escalation of violence until a dramatic and significant episode. That episode is often followed by a period of calm during which the abuser tries to make it up to their partner.

Prosecutors are concerned that their clients will make statements directly after a violent episode, and then take them back when things are calm again—even though there’s likely to be a gradual escalation of violence in the future. 

Prosecutors are also concerned that abusive partners will pressure their victims into recanting out of fear. The state’s strict “no drop” policy is designed to protect against these situations.

Call Our Fort Worth Lawyers About Domestic Violence Charges

If someone in your household has made domestic violence allegations against you, call 817-678-6771 for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth domestic violence defense lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP. 

We have extensive experience defending people against misdemeanor and felony assault charges. You may also send us a message.


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Warrantless Searches and Illegal Search and Seizure

The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people from illegal search and seizure by the government. It protects your personal privacy and extends to the privacy of your home, your property, your car (to a lesser extent), and your place of business. 

Search and seizure protections apply when:

  • The police stop you and ask to search your purse, backpack, or luggage. 
  • The police knock on the door of your home or apartment and ask to enter. 
  • The police stop you when driving and then ask to search your car or trunk.

In most cases, if the police don’t have a warrant, they don’t have a right to enter or search but there are some exceptions. The “plain view” exception allows the police to arrest you if there is evidence of a crime in clear view – though they still can’t search further without a search warrant. 

Warrantless Search of a Car

There is a reduced expectation of privacy in a car. 

Police can search your car without a warrant if you give them consent to do so. When the police ask to search your vehicle, you can say NO. You don’t have to give them permission, but a lot of people do. 

Police can search your car without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe there was a crime. What would qualify as probable cause? 

  • Seeing drug paraphernalia on the seat or smelling marijuana in the car would be probable cause. 
  • If the officer walked up to the car and overheard passengers talking about hiding drugs or other evidence, that would do it. 
  • If the police have a drug-sniffing dog that signals the presence of drugs, that would be probable cause. 

In the context of an arrest, police can legally search a person and their vehicle for a weapon (the police are protecting themselves) or to preserve evidence. But this ‘search incident to arrest’ (SITA) principle only applies if the arrest itself is lawful. 

And you must have been ‘in control” of the vehicle at the time to justify the search. Were you standing 5 feet away? Were you already in the back seat of the police car? They don’t have a right to search it because you don’t have the ability to destroy evidence or threaten them with a weapon.

That doesn’t mean they won’t find evidence in your car. 

The police can legally search your car if you’ve been arrested, and your car is headed to the police impound lot. They must take an inventory of anything of value in the car to ensure that when your car is returned to you, it is returned with all your property intact. If that cursory search turns up evidence, it could be used against you IF the arrest was lawful. If you’ve been arrested after for a crime because of a warrantless search, talk to a lawyer at Lee and Wood right away. Evidence obtained from illegal police search and seizure is not admissible in court. Our criminal defense lawyers will talk with you about the circumstances of your arrest and your legal rights. Call the Fort Worth area criminal defense attorneys at 817-678-6771 or contact us online