Category Archives: Drug Crime

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

Arrested? How to Find the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case Near Fort Worth

If you (or a loved one) have been arrested for the first time, how do you find the right criminal defense lawyer for your specific case? If you’ve never looked for a lawyer before, how do you pick one from the many lawyers available? 

This article looks at how to find the right lawyer for your kind of case, and how to find the right lawyer for you.

Where to Look for a Lawyer

Often people start their search for a lawyer by asking for a lawyer referral from friends and family. With a criminal case, that can feel awkward unless you’ve been arrested for something relatively common, like drunk driving. Even then, you may prefer the privacy of finding a lawyer online. 

How to Find a Lawyer Online

There are hundreds of lawyers in your area. To narrow your search, use several words in your online search query.  

Include the name of the town or the county where you have been arrested or where you will be going to court. It is usually helpful to work with a lawyer who has experience with local judges, prosecutors, and court personnel. They may have a better understanding of how a judge operates, how the prosecutor negotiates, and alternative sentencing options available in that jurisdiction.

That doesn’t mean the lawyer has to be officed in your exact town. Some people prefer to work with a criminal defense lawyer who doesn’t live in their town. Most criminal lawyers take cases in several nearby jurisdictions. They regularly work in several courts. 

Include the kind of lawyer you want. For most state-level criminal charges, you can just include the words criminal defense lawyer. If you are facing federal charges, search for a federal criminal defense attorney. If the accused is aged 17 or under, search for a juvenile defense lawyer. Fewer lawyers focus on juvenile crimes or federal crimes so this will narrow your search results. 

Include the type of criminal charge you need defense against. If you know the specific charge against you, type that in, but it’s usually sufficient to type in a general crime, like drug charges rather than possession of THC oil

Sometimes you do want to be very specific about the crime.

Find The Best Defense Attorney for You

Once you’ve found a few lawyers with experience in your kind of criminal case, now it’s time to determine if they are a good fit for you. You can do this in two ways:

On their website, review the About Us page to learn more about the law firm, and click on the specific attorney profiles. Their biography may tell you what courts they operate in. It will include additional certifications they have received, and honors and awards. You may find they are involved in the community in ways that connect with you. 

Some websites have testimonials, either on a page or other places on the website. Do you see anything about how they work with clients? 

Now you are ready to call and talk to one or more lawyers who seem like the best fit. You want to see if you feel comfortable with this person. You want a sense of how they handle a case like yours. 

REMEMBER, you haven’t hired this person yet so don’t share specifics of your case. 

You can ask questions like: 

  • Have you taken cases to trial in this county or city court?
  • Have you handled similar cases to mine? 
  • What do you consider a successful outcome?
  • What has been your success rate? 
  • How do you work with clients? 
  • Would you handle my case personally? 
  • What are your fees?

Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

At Lee and Wood, LP, we understand the fears and uncertainty of being arrested for the first time. We explain the criminal justice process, what you can expect, and how we can help. We represent clients in Weatherford, Fort Worth, Burleson, and Cleburne. Call our Fort Worth law office at 817-678-6771 or contact us online

Knowledge of Drug Sales Gets Nightclub Owner Convicted of Drug Premises Conspiracy

In November 2021, Dallas nightclub owner, Alfredo Hinojosa, and two of his nightclub managers were found guilty of allowing cocaine sales at his nightclubs in Fort Worth and Dallas.

An investigation that began in 2012, ended with 30 people convicted of a variety of drug crimes

Knowledge of a Crime is Enough For Charges

According to a Dallas Morning News article, the owner and managers were not themselves selling drugs or accepting money from drug sales. Their defense attorney said they did not know who was selling drugs; federal authorities said they did and allowed the drug sales to continue because it attracted customers. 

Wiretaps, Bugs and Cameras

In 2015, the FBI received court approval to install bugs and a camera in the office of the nightclub owner. They also conducted wiretaps. This FBI evidence was key in getting the conviction. The owner was recorded saying that he really couldn’t clean up the drug sales “because we lose business.” 

Because that demonstrated knowledge of drug activities on the property, they were found guilty of managing a drug premises, conspiracy to manage drug premises, and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Informants and Witnesses

Security guards testified against the owner and managers as well as drug traffickers themselves who sold out of the clubs. While it’s unknown what happened behind the scenes in this case, it’s not unusual for prosecutors to cut a plea deal with some parties in order to get evidence against other parties. The owner and the managers were the last people to go to trial. 

Two former Dallas police officers who worked at the clubs were also charged and convicted. One received three years’ probation; the other – the supervisor of nightclub security – faces a possible prison sentence. 

Indictment in 2017; Court Case in 2021

The nightclub owner was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2017. When he appeared before a judge, he initially pled guilty. He later changed his plea to not guilty. Hinajosa’s case was originally intended to go to trial in March of 2020 but was delayed until September 2021 due to COVID. COVID safety precautions have led to many long delays in the justice system.

He made statements to federal authorities after his arrest that were recorded and played to the jury at his trial. 

Talk to a Defense Lawyer If You Are Facing Drug Charges

Before you make any statement to law enforcement, talk to a lawyer. The drug crimes defense attorneys at Lee and Wood have extensive experience defending people against all types of drug crime charges.  Call our Fort Worth law office at 817-678-6771 or contact us online

Arrested? How to Find the Best Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case

If you (or a loved one) have been arrested for the first time, how do you find the right criminal defense lawyer for your specific case? If you’ve never looked for a lawyer before, how do you pick one from the many lawyers available? 

This article looks at how to find the right lawyer for your kind of case, and how to find the right lawyer for you.

Where to Look for a Lawyer

Often people start their search for a lawyer by asking for a lawyer referral from friends and family. With a criminal case, that can feel awkward unless you’ve been arrested for something relatively common, like drunk driving. Even then, you may prefer the privacy of finding a lawyer online. 

How to Find a Lawyer Online

There are hundreds of lawyers in your area. To narrow your search, use several words in your online search query.  

Include the name of the town or the county where you have been arrested or where you will be going to court. It is usually helpful to work with a lawyer who has experience with local judges, prosecutors, and court personnel. They may have a better understanding of how a judge operates, how the prosecutor negotiates, and alternative sentencing options available in that jurisdiction.

That doesn’t mean the lawyer has to be officed in your exact town. Some people prefer to work with a criminal defense lawyer doesn’t live in their town. Most criminal lawyers take cases in several nearby jurisdictions. They regularly work in several courts. 

Include the kind of lawyer you want. For most state-level criminal charges, you can just include the words criminal defense lawyer. If you are facing federal charges, search for a federal criminal defense attorney. If the accused is aged 17 or under, search for a juvenile defense lawyer. Fewer lawyers focus on juvenile crimes or federal crimes so this will narrow your search results. 

Include the type of criminal charge you need defense against. If you know the specific charge against you, type that in, but it’s usually sufficient to type in a general crime, like drug charges rather than possession of THC oil

Sometimes you do want to be very specific about the crime.

Find The Best Defense Attorney for You

Once you’ve found a few lawyers with experience in your kind of criminal case, now it’s time to determine if they are a good fit for you. You can do this in two ways:

On their website, review the About Us page to learn more about the law firm, and click on the specific attorney profiles. Their biography may tell you what courts they operate in. It will include additional certifications they have received, and honors and awards. You may find they are involved in the community in ways that connect with you. 

Some websites have testimonials, either on a page or other places on the website. Do you see anything about how they work with clients? 

Now you are ready to call and talk to one or more lawyers who seem like the best fit. You want to see if you feel comfortable with this person. You want a sense of how they handle a case like yours. 

REMEMBER, you haven’t hired this person yet so don’t share specifics of your case. 

You can ask questions like: 

  • Have you taken cases to trial in this county or city court?
  • Have you handled similar cases to mine? 
  • What do you consider a successful outcome?
  • What has been your success rate? 
  • How do you work with clients? 
  • Would you handle my case personally? 
  • What are your fees?

Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

At Lee and Wood, LP, we understand the fears and uncertainty of being arrested for the first time. We explain the criminal justice process, what you can expect, and how we can help. We represent clients in Weatherford, Fort Worth, Burleson, and Cleburne. Call our Fort Worth law office at 817-678-6771 or contact us online

Texas Businesses | Customers Surprised to Learn They’ve Been Selling and Buying Illegal THC

The Dallas Morning News carried a news story that may have come as a surprise to producers, resellers and users of some hemp/THC products. The Texas Department of State Health Services updated its website in October to clarify that delta-8 cannabis extract and delta-9 products over .3% THC were still Schedule 1 controlled substances. 

Meaning, you can still be arrested for possessing them. And according to the news story, at least six Texans were charged with felony possession of delta-8 THC products in the prior three months.

Why would resellers and legal buyers be confused? 

The 2018 federal Farm Bill made delta-8, a cannabinoid, legal at the federal level. And in 2019, Gov. Abbott signed House Bill 1325 legalizing hemp products with less than 0.3% THC in them. These two actions caused CBD shop owners and customers to think delta-8 THC products were legal. They come in the form of edible candy, oil tinctures, and even vape cartridges. 

But Texas doesn’t have to agree with the federal government. 

And it didn’t. Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner for the Texas Department of State Health Services, objected to the federal drug schedule. Texas state law on hemp didn’t specifically discuss delta-8 so the agency’s interpretation is that it is not allowed for manufacture or sale. In May 2021, the Texas Health Department issued a clarification stating that delta-8 THC and “other THC isomers” remain on the list of Schedule 1 drugs. 

So, what was legal in the rest of the country became, or remained, illegal in Texas … until November. 

That’s when a Travis County judge blocked the state from adding delta-8 to the list of Schedule 1 drugs, according to a Texas Tribune article. THC retailers said they were not given adequate notice of the classification change. The judge agreed that the DSHS didn’t comply with the state’s rule-making requirements. 

It’s too soon to say what will happen with this ruling. In the meantime, enforcement of the state’s marijuana/THC possession laws are up to local and state law enforcement. Texas residents who face felony drug charges for possession of a Class I controlled substance (delta-8) could be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. 

If you are facing criminal charges for possession of marijuana, a THC extract, cannabis oil, or a vape pen with THC residue, you need a strong defense. Call the Weatherford drug crimes defense attorneys at Lee and Wood, LP. at 817-678-6771 or contact us online

Possession of “Drug Paraphernalia” is Also Illegal in Texas

Although Texas is becoming slightly more lenient with its prosecution of marijuana possession, if you’ve been arrested with marijuana, THC oil or dabs, you may also be facing charges for possession of drug paraphernalia. That is, the things commonly used to smoke or ingest cannabis, such as:

  • A dab rig,
  • E-rig, or
  • Vaporizer.

You could also face possible drug charges for possession of an e-cigarette (e-cig), or vape pens, if police think that you used it to ingest illegal drugs. Generally, people aren’t charged for possession of drug paraphernalia on its own. It’s a charge that gets added on when you are charged with possession of marijuana/cannabis, THC oil or dabs. 

Being found guilty of possession of drug paraphernalia can enhance other criminal charges, with penalties from fines to time in jail. 

  • The lowest level charge for possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500. 
  • Were you giving or selling a dab rig or vape pen that police think was intended for use with THC? Intent or attempting to deliver drug paraphernalia can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. That could result in a fine of up to $4,000 and up to a year in jail. 
  • If the person receiving the e-rig or dab-rig is under 18 (and the provider is at least 3 years older), you could face felony charges, a fine up to $10,000, and prison time. 

What Is Considered Drug Paraphernalia?

The police and DA have a pretty loose definition of what is drug paraphernalia. A lot of everyday household items could fit that description: a scale, a blender, mixing bowls, plastic baggies, balloons, envelopes. 

Other not-so-typical things that you could be charged with using as drug paraphernalia include a grow tent (which you could also use for sprouting veggie seedlings or growing food hydroponically) and gardening supplies. It could be cigarette papers and a rolling machine, which people use to make their own loose-leaf tobacco cigarettes more cheaply. 

Chemistry lab equipment and testing equipment can be considered paraphernalia, as can empty capsules. 

If you are facing criminal charges for drug possession along with possession of a dab rig or vape pen with THC residue, the Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys at Lee and Wood, LP. Call 817-678-6771 or contact us online

Tarrant County Law Enforcement Changes the Way They Handle Some Marijuana Arrests

In June 2021, some Tarrant County police agencies announced a new policy. People detained for some misdemeanor crimes, including low-level marijuana arrests, will be ticketed instead of taken to jail. The new program is called Cite and Release.

Instead of an immediate arrest, the person will receive a citation. Later, they will receive notice to appear before a county magistrate. When the person appears in court, law enforcement can file a case with the DA’s office and the DA can decide whether to prosecute them. 

Not getting arrested and spending time in jail certainly sounds good, but this isn’t a big difference. Just because you weren’t immediately arrested, that doesn’t mean you won’t face criminal charges later. Call a Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer to find out how the change in marijuana arrests and prosecution could affect your case. 

Eligible Criminal Charges

People can be cited and released – and charged later – if they would have been charged with:

  • Possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana
  • Possession of 2-4 ounces of marijuana
  • Possession of less than 2 ounces of synthetic cannabinoids (“spice” or K2, for example)
  • Possession of 2-4 ounces or less of synthetic cannabinoids
  • Criminal mischief that results in damages between $100-$750
  • Graffiti damage between $100-$2,500
  • Theft of property valued at between $100-$750

This change follows on a policy change in 2020 where the Tarrant County District Attorney said some people charged with possession of small amounts of certain drugs, including marijuana, can get those charges dismissed. Now that’s a much more meaningful change for people charged with low-level drug crimes like possession of marijuana. 

Who Would Get Cited Instead of Arrested?

Police get to decide who they Cite and Release. 

To even be eligible for Cite and Release, the “offender” must be an adult who lives in Tarrant County and committed the alleged offense in Tarrant County. They have to be able to prove their identity. And they can’t have any outstanding warrants for a Class B misdemeanor or higher. It can only be used for non-violent, low-level offenses. 

If you received a citation for a drug offense, theft, graffiti or criminal mischief, call the Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys at Lee and Wood, LP, before you appear before a court magistrate. Call 817-678-6771 or contact us online. You still face criminal charges. Know your rights. 

Teen Drug Crimes: Fentanyl-Laced Drugs Increasing Concern in Tarrant County

The Fort Worth Weekly reported in May that ambulance services have seen an increase in drug overdoses and emergency calls from teens who have taken pills containing fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin.

Where MedStar used to get 8-10 calls a month for drug overdoses, they have been fielding as many as 26 calls a month since January. Emergency responders say that young people think they are buying Xanax or Percocet or Oxycodone, but instead they are getting a pill with caffeine and fentanyl, which is cheaper for drug manufacturers to produce and sell. 

That’s what happened with two 16-year-old boys in Venus, Texas, who died of overdoses in April. They thought they were taking Oxycodone. Two other teens now face drug crimes charges for providing the pills. 

It’s easy for teens to get their hands on – and to share – these counterfeit drugs containing fentanyl. Drug dealers are selling them for as little as $5 a pill, according to the paper. 

A teen who has experience using Xanax or Oxycodone legally for anxiety or pain could easily find themselves in deep trouble buying a few pills from “a friend” or through a social media contact. 

A Fort Worth police officer who works in the schools said it’s not unusual for students to be offered the drug as a “sample” at teen parties. Some teen drug dealers who usually sell marijuana have added pills to their inventory.   

Young people selling fentanyl in Tarrant County are the “little guys” taking the fall for drug manufacturers and drug trafficking rings in Mexico and China. These Texas teens face the consequences while drug cartels make millions of dollars trafficking in deadly pills. 

Everyone accused of a crime deserves a strong defense. If your teen has been arrested for selling drugs, possession of fentanyl, or giving fentanyl to a friend (drug distribution), talk with a Fort Worth juvenile defense lawyer at Lee and Wood, LP. Call 817-678-6771 or contact us online