Archive for the ‘Austin Criminal Lawyer’ Category

Facing False Allegations of Sexual Assault? Austin Sex Crimes Lawyer Charles Johnson To Your Rescue

Charles Johnson: Austin Sex Crime LawyerIf you are being investigated or have been charged with a sex crime, you need to immediately contact the best Austin Sex Crimes Lawyer you can find. Unlike many other types of criminal defense cases, sexual assault defense cases require an extremely delicate touch. Sexual assault is a term which encompasses rape, attempted rape, sexual abuse and battery, molestation, and other crimes.

One of the most difficult aspects of sexual assault defense is the fact that there are rarely ever any witnesses to sexual assault crimes. In addition to the lack of witnesses, there is usually little evidence a rape, attempted rape, molestation, or other sex crime, ever occurred. Taking away evidence and witnesses, what we are left with is one word vs. another – the victim’s claim, and the suspect’s defense, both people’s lives often drastically affected by the severity of the event and the legal outcome.

It is the responsibility of your lawyer to thoroughly research all aspects of your case and assist you with whatever legal facilitation you need through this difficult time.

Don’t Make A Serious Mistake: Make The Right Choice For Your Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

If you or someone you care about is facing a charge of rape or sexual assault, you can’t afford to make a mistake with who you hire as your Austin Sex Crimes Defense Attorney. These types of criminal charges demand an attorney that has defended these types of cases successfully for many years. Our proven results are among the best in the legal profession in Texas. We know how to very aggressively and successfully defend Texas sex crime charges, and we know how to make sure you are legally protected to the maximum extent possible.

Make the wrong move – hire an attorney who only handles these cases “occasionally,” or hire an attorney based on the lowest fee you’re quoted – and you may find yourself in prison for something you may not be legally guilty of doing. If you are in this situation right now, you probably have a hundred questions to ask. Contact Austin Sexual Assault Lawyer Charles Johnson anytime night or day at 512-832-1200 for your free consultation. Attorney Johnson will help you decide what, legally, you need to do.

What Is Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault” is any form of sexual contact or penetration that is committed against another person without his or her consent.  Victims of sexual assault can be compelled to participate through physical force, fear, coercion, deception, or the use of intoxicants such as drugs or alcohol.  Some types of sexual violence that doesn’t involve force or other forms of compulsion are still considered criminal.

Sexual Assault is broadly defined as the full range of forced sexual acts, including forced touching or kissing; verbally coerced intercourse; and vaginal, oral, and anal penetration. Researchers typically include in this category only acts of this nature that occur during adolescence or adulthood; in other words, childhood sexual abuse is defined separately. Both men and women can be sexually assaulted and can commit sexual assault. The vast majority of sexual assaults, however, involve male perpetrators and female victims.

Other examples of sexual assault include:

Date or acquaintance rape which involves non-consensual sexual intercourse committed by a date or someone known to the victim, such as an acquaintance, friend, co-worker, date, or spouse.  This includes incidents where the victim is unable to provide consent (e.g. unconscious, asleep, or under the influence of a substance). Most rapes are acquaintance rapes.

Alcohol-involved rape: Rape in which the perpetrator, the victim, or both are under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.

Attempted rape: An act that fits the definition of rape, in terms of the strategies used, but does not result in penetration.

Childhood sexual abuse: Sexual abuse that occurs to a child (the term “child” is generally defined as age 13 or younger). Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure (of the genitals, female nipples, etc.) to a child with intent to gratify their own sexual desires or to intimidate or groom the child, physical sexual contact with a child, or using a child to produce child pornography.

Date rape: Rape committed by someone that the victim is dating. Among college students, approximately one-half of all rapes are committed by a date.

Marital rape: Rape committed by the victim’s spouse. Marital rape often is committed in association with verbal and physical abuse.

Stranger rape: Rape committed by someone that the victim does not know. Less than 20 percent of rapes are committed by strangers, although most people believe that stranger rape is the prototypical rape.

Flashing” or “Exhibitionism” involves the exposure of a person’s genitals to cause alarm or fear in another person or to provoke sexual interest in the viewer.

Peeping” or “Voyeurism” is secretively observing someone, without the person’s permission, for the purpose of sexual gratification.

Stalking” or “Cyber stalking” are forms of harassment generally comprised of repeated and persistent following, calling, writing, texting, etc. with no legitimate reason and with the intention of harming, or so as to arouse anxiety or fear of harm in the person being followed or contacted.

Anyone — men, women, and even children — can be sexually assaulted.  Sexual assault is usually defined as sexual activity between two or more people in which one of the people is coerced or threatened with harm.  The sexual activity may include fondling, sexual intercourse, oral sex, and/or anal sex. The sexual aggressor can be a family member, like a husband or father, or a friend, date, acquaintance, or stranger.

Sexual assault is a crime that has become an epidemic problem.  Sexual assault can be an extremely stressful, terrifying event and can severely disrupt the victim’s lifestyle and coping patterns.  During a sexual assault, the victim may have feelings of powerlessness and uncertainty about whether he or she will survive.  Frequently the victim’s life is directly threatened and the victim may be physically injured in a variety of ways.  At the same time, the victim must remain alert, trying to protect him or herself from even more harm. Children who may be present are often threatened, adding to the terror and causing the victim to feel responsible for protecting them.

Studies show that the impact of sexual assault varies from person to person.  Victims may no longer feel safe, may lose self-esteem, feel powerless, and lose the ability to trust others or develop intimacy.  The more terrifying the assault, and the more the person’s life is threatened, the more problems victims usually have afterwards.  Having suffered previous traumatic events can also contribute to greater problems.

Sexual assault of adolescent and adult women has been called a silent epidemic, because it occurs at high rates yet is rarely reported to the authorities. Several reasons contribute to the underreporting of sexual assault cases. Many victims do not tell others about the assault, because they fear that they will not be believed or will be derogated, which, according to research findings, is a valid concern. Other victims may not realize that they have actually experienced legally defined rape or sex­ual assault, because the incident does not fit the prototypic scenario of “stranger rape.” For example, in a study by Abbey and colleagues, a woman wrote, “For years I believed it was my fault for being too drunk. I never called it ‘rape’ until much more recently, even though I repeatedly told him ‘no’.”
Charles Johnson: Austin Sex Crimes Lawyer

Defendants Charged With Sexual Assault

Unfortunately in many of these cases there is a tendency to favor the victim’s claim and assume that he or she is telling the truth, no matter the actual believability of the story. The courts are supposed to be fair and equal, but that is not always the case. This is why it is imperative that you find a lawyer that believes you, is on your side, and will be aggressive in making sure your story is heard while defending your rights and fighting for your freedom.

Whether there is evidence of a crime or not, an effective and experienced criminal defense lawyer should know how the legal system works and how to best defend your rights and your case. Sexual Assault defense requires many resources including precision, experience, knowledge, and dedication, all aspects that you will find when working with our lawyers. At the Charles Johnson Law Firm, we defend each of our clients with every available tactic, legal technique, investigative research, and more to secure their vindication and release. In short, we will do our best to win your case.

If you have been charged with, or are charging someone with sexual assault of any sort, please protect your rights and contact Austin Sexual Assault Lawyer Charles Johnson anytime night or day at 512-832-1200 to discuss your case.

Victims of Sexual Assault in Society

Cultural and Religious Issues

Issues having the most profound impact on victims may, in part, be attributed to their cultural or religious backgrounds. For some victims, problems associated with poverty and discrimination, as well as inadequate access to quality health care, already have resulted in a high incidence of victimization. There may exist a general distrust of medical and law enforcement personnel who play vital roles in the aftermath of sexual assault, particularly if there has been a history of unpleasant or disappointing experiences with these professionals.

In some cultures, the loss of virginity is an issue of paramount importance which may render the victim unacceptable for an honorable marriage. In other cultures, the actual event of the assault may be a more signi?cant issue of concern for the family than is the victim’s loss of virginity.

Some religious doctrines prohibit a female from being disrobed in the presence of a male who is not her husband. A genital examination by a male physician also may be forbidden. These practices are often considered a further violation of the victim, the family or both.

The Elderly Victim

As with most other victims, elderly victims experience extreme humiliation, shock, disbelief and denial. However, full emotional impact of the assault may not be felt until the victim is alone, well after initial contact with physicians, police, legal and advocacy groups. During this time, elderly victims must deal with having been violated and possibly infected with sexually transmitted diseases. This is also when the elderly become more acutely aware of their physical vulnerability, reduced resilience and mortality.  Fear, anger or depression can be especially severe in elderly victims who are isolated, have no con?dant or live on meager incomes. Fear of losing independence as a result of family members learning about the sexual assault can be a strong deterrent to reporting.  Recognizing that the offender may be a family member, friend or caretaker is also important.

The Victim with Disabilities

Persons having mental or developmental disabilities may be confused or frightened, unsure of what occurred, or they may not even understand that they have been exploited and are victims of a crime. In sexual assault cases involving victims with mental or developmental disabilities, using anatomically detailed dolls has proven to be a successful means of communication. Only those speci?cally trained in their use should use anatomically detailed dolls. In some cases, offenders may be family members, caretakers or friends who in?ict repeated abuse because their victims are not able to report the crimes against them.

The Male Victim

It is believed that the number of adult male victims of sexual assault who report the crime or seek medical care or counseling represents only a very small percentage of those actually victimized. Although many adult males do not seek medical care unless they also have been seriously injured, male child victims are now being seen at hospitals in increasing numbers. This increase, in large measure, is a direct result of public education and more stringent child abuse reporting laws throughout the nation.

The male victim may have serious concerns regarding his inability to prevent the assault. There also may be confusion about the nature of his role as victim/participant because of a possible involuntary physiological response to the assault, such as stimulation to ejaculation. Male victims need reassurance that they were the victims of a violent crime which was not their fault, and that other sexually assaulted males have survived to function normally in every way.

The Child and Adolescent Victim

Children are not small adults either physiologically or emotionally.  Just as the physical examination protocol for children is different from the protocol for adults, the emotional needs of the child are also different. Children require the services of individuals speci?cally trained to provide the crisis intervention, medical examination and long-term treatment that will surely be needed as a result of acute sexual assault or chronic sexual abuse.

Adolescents are experiencing a transition from childhood to adulthood and show extremely variable reactions which may be a reflection of their individual developmental stage. There is no typical adolescent victim, and the approach to each is a challenge for even the most experienced practitioner.  Acquaintance or “date rape” may be the most under-reported type of sexual assault.  Clearly, access to long-term treatment by speci?cally trained individuals is essential for all child and adolescent victims.

The Domestic Violence Victim

Sexual assault by a spouse or other familial is a grave indicator of the danger a victim faces and must be taken seriously.  Forced sex is a factor in determining the potential for lethality; a woman who is raped by her partner is more likely to die at his hands. Medical personnel must determine whether the victim is a domestic violence victim so proper services and referrals can be provided.

A victim who has been sexually assaulted by a partner has likely been suffering other forms of violence during the relationship. Many victims keep physical, emotional and sexual abuse hidden from friends and family members for numerous reasons: many religions and cultures prohibit divorce, the victim believes that the abuse is deserved or does not realize a crime has been committed, the victim has no support system, the victim is ?nancially dependent upon the abuser, or the victim fears the abuser will harm or take the children.

The Homosexual Victim

Homosexual male and lesbian victims are often reluctant to seek services for a number of reasons. There is concern of encountering barriers of prejudice or homophobia, as well as fears that the assault will not be taken seriously or even perceived as a crime. Many times the homosexual community in a given area is small; this results in limited access to quali?ed service providers, and the fear that the entire community will ?nd out about the attack. Another consideration is that the victim’s family, friends or co-workers may not be aware of the victim’s sexual orientation.  Fears of ostracism by peers and family can be more traumatizing for the victim than the attack.

Bisexual and transgender victims are also at high risk for encountering prejudice and ridicule as a result of reporting sexual assault. Recognizing that sexual assault is always a crime and knowing appropriate referrals for victims who are not heterosexual is essential for all involved.

Victimization Involving Alcohol/ Drugs

Alcohol is the drug most frequently used to facilitate sexual assault. Victims often believe that because they voluntarily consumed alcohol, ecstasy or some other drug, they are to blame for the assault. It is important to understand that intoxication and the resulting diminished abilities are not causes of sexual assault; they are tools used to aid in commission of this crime.

Victims who have ingested a drug or combination of drugs may not be aware that they have been sexually assaulted. Victims may experience unexplainable soreness or injuries or a disheveled appearance. Events described as “dreamlike” or that cannot be remembered at all are strong indicators that toxicology screens are warranted and should be discussed.

Victim Reactions to Sexual Assault

After a sexual assault, victims can experience a range of responses.  However, some patterns are especially common.  Some victims report that they have repeated and frequent memories of the sexual assault that intrude on their thoughts and cannot be controlled; flashbacks, or a feeling as if they are reliving the sexual assault; nightmares; and difficulty sleeping.  In addition, sexual assault victims may experience feelings of being “on edge,” having trouble concentrating, feeling the need to continually watch over their shoulder, or being easily startled (for example, jumping at the sound of someone’s voice from behind).  Victims also report that they tend to avoid reminders of the sexual assault, including avoiding places that may resemble the place where they were assaulted; may feel less interested in things that they used to enjoy; and may feel emotionally numb.  Victims may also withdraw from social interaction or settings.  When these problems persist and disrupt daily life, mental health professionals call this group of symptoms posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In addition to PTSD, sexual assault victims frequently find that they feel depressed and hopeless about the future, which can lead to thoughts about suicide.  Many victims also report that they feel like the sexual assault was somehow “their fault,” resulting in feelings of self-blame and self-doubt.  Frequently, sexual assault victims also say that they feel generally unsafe and often have difficulties with trust and intimacy.  It is also common for sexual assault victims to have questions about their physical health and develop problems related to their sexual functioning.  Lastly, sexual assault victims may resort to using drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms.

Women who become victims of sexual assault typically experience the victimization as a traumatic event. There are common reactions to this kind of trauma or shock; but at the same time, each woman responds in her own unique way.

  1. Fear responses:  The most common victim reaction to sexual assault is fear. At the time of the assault, most victims have an overwhelming experience is fear — of being physically injured (beaten, cut, shot, etc.) or even of being killed. Fear responses associated with the assault (to certain sights, sounds, smells, thoughts, etc.) can persists for weeks, months, or even years. Victims who have been assaulted typically avoid anything which reminds them of the assault (places, situations, people, etc.). Some men and women become so fearful that they greatly restrict their activities, even to the point that they are unable to leave their homes or to be left alone.
  2.  Losing control:  After experiencing a sexual assault, many men and women fear that they are losing control over their lives. They have been forced to participate in an act that was against their wills. They lost control over their lives at the time of the assault, and this feeling of loss of control may continue after the assault.
  3. Flashbacks:  Victims may re-experience the assault over and over again in their thoughts and/or in their dreams. When this happens, it is almost as though the assault is actually occurring again. This re­experience of the event is called a flashback.
  4. Trouble concentrating: Sexual assault victims may find that they have trouble concentrating on things. It is as though they cannot keep their minds on what they are doing. This is can be frustrating and add to the sense of loss of control.
  5. Guilty feelings:  The most common source of guilty feelings are the result of self-blame. The victims tells him- or herself such things as, “I should not have been out that late,” or “I should have been dressed differently,” or “If I had been more careful about locking the door, this would not have happened.” Sexual assault victims may also feel guilty about what they had to in order to survive the assault, such as activities the victim felt he or she had to engage in in an effort to save him- or herself from serious physical harm or even death. In some instances, guilty feelings result from the fact that others may have been seriously harmed more than the victim herself. This is referred to as survivor’s guilt.
  6. Feeling “dirty”: Self-image frequently suffers as a result of the assault. Many victims report feeling “dirty” and may take frequent showers in an effort to feel clean.
  7. Depression: Another common reaction to sexual assault is a sense of sadness or depression. There may be feelings of hopelessness and despair, frequent crying spells, and sometimes even thoughts of suicide. A loss of interest in activities and things that previously were enjoyable often accompanies these feelings of sadness and despair. Nothing seems like it is fun anymore.
  8. Disrupted relationships: It is not unusual to see a disruption in relationships with others after a sexual assault. This is, in part, a result of the withdrawn behavior that frequently accompanies sadness and depression. The victim may also feel embarrassment and ashamed about what happened to them. However, the support of friends and family plays a vitally important role in the victim’s recovery from the trauma of sexual assault.
  9. Loss of interest in sex: After an assault it is not unusual for the victim to experience a significant loss of interest in sexual relations. It is understandable that sexual assault trauma would lead to an avoidance of sexual activity. There may be other factors involved, however. For instance, it is very common for people who are depressed to experience a decrease in libido or sexual drive.

Sexual Paraphilias (Sexual Deviations)

Definition: Receiving Sexual Arousal or Gratification in Response to Objects, Situations, and/or Non-Consenting Partners

Sexual paraphilias are commonly referred to as “sexual deviations”. There are four of these disorders, 1) sexual dysfunctions, 2) paraphilias, 3) gender identity disorders, and 4) sexual disorder not otherwise specified.

The essential feature of a paraphiliac disorder is reoccurring sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies generally involving: (1) Non-human objects, (2) the suffering or humiliation of oneselfor one’s partner (not merely simulated), or (3) children or other nonconsenting partners.

For some individuals with a paraphilia, the paraphiliac fantasies or stimuli may always benecessary for erotic arousal and are always included in the individual’s sexual activity (including criminal activity).

In others, it occurs only episodically, i.e. during periods of stress. At other times, the person canfunction sexually without the paraphiliac fantasy or stimuli. In some instances, the paraphiliacbehavior may become the major sexual activity in this person’s life.

It is commonly accepted that when an individual is identified as having one paraphilia, there areat least one or more additional paraphilias. These individuals rarely seek treatment on their own; usually they come to the attention of mental health professionals only when their behavior has brought them into conflict with sexual partners or society (i.e. they get arrested for criminal behavior).

Any or all of the paraphilias may be exhibited by an offender during a sexual assault of a victim (adult or child). The following is a comparison of the recognized sexual paraphilias to criminal conduct:

COPROPHILIAFeces. False imprisonment, assault.
EXHIBITIONISMThe exposure of one’s genitals to a stranger. Indecent exposure.
Disorderly (lewd) conduct.
FETISHISMNonliving objects (fetishes). The individual frequently masturbates while holding, rubbing or smelling the object or asks his partner to wear the object. Burglary, theft, rape.
FROTTEURISMTouching or rubbing against a nonconsenting (or unknowing) partner. Assault, battery, sexual battery.
HYPOXYPHILIA (KOTZWARRAISM)Producing sexual excitement by mechanical or chemical asphyxiation (hypoxia). Accidental death, involuntary manslaughter.
INFIBULATIONCutting, alteration, branding, infusion of the genitals (one’s own or another’s) Assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, sexual battery, mayhem.
KLISMAPHILIAEnemas. Penetration by foreign object.
MASOCHISMThe person is aroused by being humiliated, beaten, bound, or otherwise made to suffer. Disorderly conduct; prostitution.
NECROPHILIASexual arousal with corpses. Burglary, unauthorized mutilation, theft.
PARTIALISMExclusive focus on part of a body (living). Sexual battery, assault, assault with a deadly weapon.
PEDOPHILIASexual attraction to another who is legally a child (prepubescent child). Rape, lewd or lascivious acts with a child, oral copulation, penetration by foreign object, sodomy, annoying children, child pornography, kidnapping.
PIQUERISMPiercing of the body. Assault with a deadly weapon, sexual battery, mayhem, tattooing.
SADISMReceiving sexual arousal or gratification inresponse to another’s suffering (physical orpsychological). Rape, oral copulation, sodomy, penetration by foreign object, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, murder.
TELEPHONE SCATOLOGIATalking lewdly, on the telephone, usually to strangers. Obscene phone calls.
TRANSVESTISMCross-dressing, wearing the clothing of the opposite sex. Disorderly conduct, prostitution, theft, burglary, robbery.
UROPHILIAUrine. Assault, false imprisonment.
VOYEURISMObserving unsuspecting people who are naked or engaging in sexual activity. Disorderly conduct; “peeping” and prowling.
ZOOPHILIAAnimals. Sexually assaulting an animal.

Texas law covers a long list of sex crimes, from rape and sexual assault to statutory rape and indecent exposure. They are all serious offenses, but among the most serious is involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Similar to rape, it’s a crime centered around forcible sexual intercourse. Penalties can be severe, especially if a child is involved.

Charles Johnson: Austin Sex Crimes LawyerIf you are facing involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charges in the Austin area, contact Austin Lawyer Charles Johnson, an experienced involuntary deviate sexual intercourse defense attorney in Texas. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.

We Defend All Sex Crime Charges

Our sexual assault defense practice helps people charged with, but not limited to:

  • Child molestation, possession of child pornography, sexual assault
  • Statutory rape, sodomy, rape
  • Deviant sexual assault, sexual misconduct, enticement of minors

A conviction can mean jail or prison time as well as thousands of dollars of fines. A conviction can also require lifetime registration as a sexual offender. These sex offender registrations are open to the public including family members and employers. Failure to register as a sex offender can result in new convictions and incarceration.

Through training and experience we have a unique view and ability to handle theses types of cases. These types of cases have unique and special rules that other types of cases do not. We have experience to deal with those issues such as:

  • Special hearsay rules for child witnesses
  • Dealing with forensic interviews by law enforcement or therapists.
  • Interpreting clinical medical exams such as SAFE exams.
  • Obtaining and using evidence of prior instances of abuse from state agencies.
  • Dealing with the child witness on the witness stand.

No matter what type of sex crime you are charged with, we will respect your dignity and work to protect your reputation.

Hire the Best Sexual Crimes Lawyer: Austin Sexual Assault Lawyer Charles Johnson

Sexual Assault is a serious, life-changing event and allegation, which is why the courts take the claims so seriously. However, too frequently, there is a lack of evidence and witnesses that helps the criminal defense attorney working for the defendant to win the case. A defendant may sometimes avoid prosecution and punishment simply by just claiming a rape, molestation, attempted rape or other sexual assault act never happened.

Sometimes the prosecutor’s office is so inundated with cases that your personal case may not receive the attention it deserves. With extensive expertise in the area of sexual assault, good criminal defense lawyers are in a unique position to predict the probable legal maneuvers of the defendant’s lawyers and to address and challenge those maneuvers before they become an issue or a possible way for the defense lawyers to win their client’s case.

For this reason it is an extremely smart idea to hire the best Austin Sex Crimes Lawyer to ensure your case is given the time and importance it should have. Contact Austin Lawyer Charles Johnson directly at 512-832-1200 now to discuss your case. He is available around the clock to take your call.

Related News Stories – Sexual Assault Arrests in Austin, Texas

Coach arrested again on sex-related charges

A former Holliday softball coach and assistant football coach has been arrested … David Austin Norris, 30, was booked into the Wichita County Jail just before 5 p.m. Saturday. The charges against him include: 2 counts of sexual assault …

Wichita Falls Times Record News – Dec 09 2012

New Sex Assault Charge for Colo. Slaying Suspect

Prosecutors said Wednesday they have filed an additional sexual assault charge against … a crime of violence alleges that 17-year-old Austin Sigg used physical force and threats to sexually assault 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.

ABC News – Dec 12 2012

NY sexual assault suspect arrested in Austin

AUSTIN — A man wanted across the country for the sexual assault of a child has been arrested by a special task force in Texas. Leslie Lloyd, 46, of Binghamton, New York was arrested Tuesday morning by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force in North …

KVUE – Dec 04 2012

New Sex Assault Charge For Colorado Slaying Suspect

(AP) — A teen accused of kidnapping and killing a 10-year-old Colorado girl now faces an additional sexual assault charge. Prosecutors said Wednesday that they’ve charged 17-year-old Austin Sigg … Police arrested Sigg on Oct. 23.

denver.cbslocal.com – Dec 12 2012

Jessica Ridgeway’s ‘killer’ faces another sexual assault charge after ‘physical force and threats used in girl’s abduction’

Prosecutors said today that they have filed an additional sexual assault charge against the teenage boy accused of kidnapping and killing ten-year-old Jessica Ridgeway. Austin Sigg … or release the suspect. Police arrested Sigg on October 23.

Daily Mail – Dec 12 2012

Posts Related to Facing False Allegations of Sexual Assault? Austin Sex Crimes Lawyer Charles Johnson To Your Rescue

Marijuana Possession and Distribution Charges: Defend Yourself With Experienced Austin Drug Lawyer Charles Johnson

Finest Austin Criminal Defense AttorneyMarijuana Possession and Distribution are not a minor matter in the eyes of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. If you were arrested for marijuana possession or distribution, you may be charged with a state or federal misdemeanor or felony. Either way, it’s best to have a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney from The Charles Johnson Law Firm acting on your behalf. You have legal rights, and these rights will be protected by your defense attorney.

The Charles Johnson Law Firm is one of the foremost criminal defense law firms in Austin in defending people from drug convictions, including the possession and sale of marijuana. Our unique strategy gives our clients the best opportunity to avoid criminal penalties, and our criminal defense law firm’s familiarity with drug laws, both felonies and misdemeanors, is unrivaled. We provide each client a high-quality legal defense that is superior. Austin Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson can defend against any criminal drug charge in both federal and state courts, and our firm’s track record of success continues to grow.

Hire the Best Austin Drug Lawyer: The Charles Johnson Law Firm

Criminal Marijuana Penalties

Marijuana possession and sale charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies, but both carry serious penalties. Jail time, heavy fines, probation, mandatory rehab programs and more are all possible penalties for drug charges. Attorney Johnson’s finely tuned defense techniques have evolved from years of experience, and he brings that knowledge and experience to those facing marijuana-related criminal charges.

Marijuana Possession

Of all the marijuana laws in Texas, possession of marijuana may be the most unfair. It punishes otherwise responsible citizens merely for keeping some pot for personal use and who have no intention of ever doing anything hurtful with it or profiting from it. Nonetheless, it is an offense to possess, distribute or cultivate marijuana in Texas. Depending on the quantity, possession of marijuana can be charged as a misdemeanor of felony in both state and federal court.

The prosecution may argue that you’re “in possession” of marijuana in Austin, TX, if you’re found smoking marijuana or if you knowingly “exercised control” over the marijuana. Therefore, the location of the marijuana is very important:

  • If the marijuana is found on your person, in your car, in or around your home, in a storage unit belonging to you, or in any other place that you have some authority over, the prosecution will argue that you were in possession of the marijuana since you had some control over the location.
  • Furthermore, if marijuana is found in your system during a drug test or you were caught driving under the influence of marijuana in Texas, the prosecution may try to use that to prove you’ve been in possession of marijuana since you presumably “exercise control” over your body.

Marijuana Possession Penalties in Texas

  • Two ounces or less include a fine up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail or both
  • More than two ounces, but less than four ounces. Penalties include a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
  • Four ounces or more, up to and including five pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, between 180 days and two years in prison, or both.
  • More than five pounds, up to and including 50 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, between two and ten years in prison, or both.
  • More than 50 pounds, up to and including 2,000 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, between two and 20 years in prison, or both.
  • More than 2,000 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $50,000, between five and 99 years in prison, or both.

Sale of Marijuana

Various states have different marijuana laws, and Texas is no different. Texas treats marijuana sales as a much more serious crime than possession, which is reflected in the penalties. The sale of any amount of marijuana can lead to prison time, even for small amounts.

Sale of Marijuana Penalties in Texas

  • 1/4 oz – 5 lbs: 6 months – 2 years, $10,000 fine
  • 5 lbs – 50 lbs: 2 – 20 years, $10,000 fine
  • 50 lbs – 1 ton: 5 – 99 years, $10,000 fine
  • 1 ton or more: Mandatory minimum of 10 – 99 years, with a $100,000 fine

These are for either the sale OR delivery, meaning it is irrelevant whether or not you are actually paid or just just giving it to someone. On top of that, if the delivery or sale is to a minor (in ANY amount), that is punishable by an additional 2 – 20 years in prison. Also, sale within 1,000 feet of a school or within 300 feet of a youth center, public pool or video arcade increases the penalty classification to the next highest level (which in some cases is a difference of many years).

The Austin Lawyer Charles Johnson understands the unique nature of Texas marijuana laws, and can provide a skilled defense. His unparalleled knowledge of state and federal drug laws gives him a unique ability to provide excellent legal services for you and your loved ones. If you are in need of criminal defense legal representation in the Austin area, contact Attorney Johnson anytime day or night at 512-832-1200 to discuss your situation.

What Is Marijuana?

Cannabis sativa: There are two species of Cannabis. One species is Cannabis sativa, originally cultivated to make hemp. The stalks of the plant contain fibers that are woven to make rope, cloth, and paper. The other species is Cannabis indica, known for its psychoactive properties. Hashish is derived from Cannabis indica. In Africa, cannabis is know as “dagga,” in China as “ma,” and in India as “ganga” or “bhang”. Marijuana is the Mexican colloquial name for Cannabis sativa. Marijuana is a greenish-gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant.

THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is found in the plant’s resin. The amount of THC determines the potency of the marijuana. The resin is mostly concentrated in the flowers of the plant. Because of various cultivation techniques the amount of THC varies considerably in the flowers of individual plants.

Other Chemicals: Marijuana is a complex drug and is made up of 420 chemical components. Sixty-one of these chemicals are called cannabinoids and are unique to marijuana. Many scientific studies focus on the primary psychoactive chemical, THC but don’t know how these other cannabinoids affect the various organs, brain, and behavior.

Grades of Marijuana

  • Low-grade marijuana is made from leaves of both sexes of the plant.
  • Medium-grade marijuana is made of the flowering tops of female plants fertilized by male plants.
  • High-grade marijuana is made of the flowering tops of female plants raised in isolation to male plants. This marijuana is called sinsemilla because it does not produce a seed.
  • Hashish is produced when resin is collected from the Cannabis indica plant. The THC-rich resin is dried and then compressed into a variety of forms, such as balls, cakes, or cookie-like sheets. Pieces are then broken off, placed in pipes, and smoked or rolled into a cigarette along with tobacco or low-grade marijuana. The Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are the main sources of hashish. THC content of hashish can vary from 8% to 20%.

What are the Physical Effects of Marijuana usage?

When marijuana is smoked, the affects are felt in minutes. The high usually peaks within a couple of hours. Marijuana affects users differently. The “high” can include a feeling of relaxation, improved sense perception, and emotional well-being. Music and visual images may seem more vibrant and intense. Time seems to slow down. Some people experience physical hunger and a range of emotion from laughter to introspection. Marijuana does not always produce pleasant feelings and may cause paranoia and hallucinations. Emergency room visits have increased because some people feel anxious or fearful after smoking high-grade marijuana. Whether the marijuana is smoked or eaten, THC can remain in the body for days. About half the THC is in the blood 20 hours after smoking. Although the initial high has disappeared, physical and mental functions may be affected for days.

The physical effects of marijuana depend on many individual factors such as personal health, the time of day that marijuana is used, the problems it causes, and how well a person is able to control his or her use. Research studies have shown that one of the primary concerns for those who use marijuana is cardiovascular damage. Marijuana causes damage to lungs that is similar to that caused by cigarettes. For people who inhale deeply or hold the smoke in their lungs longer, the risk can be greater. One study that compared cigarette and marijuana smokers found that marijuana smokers absorbed five times the amount of carbon monoxide, and had five times the tar in their lungs, as compared to cigarette smokers. For those who smoke both marijuana and cigarettes, the damage can be exponentially greater than that caused by marijuana or cigarettes alone.

Research shows that people who use marijuana more than one time during the day tend to have more social and physical problems than those who only use in the evenings. Those who use at multiple times may also be more likely to be smoking to avoid problems they feel unable to confront. A person who uses marijuana in addition to alcohol or other drugs can be at additional risk. The effects of some drugs become exponentially greater when taken together. In addition, the physical tolerance that one drug produces can sometimes affect another drug, and lead to dependence on multiple substances.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

While marijuana is not in the same addictive league as cocaine, heroin, and even alcohol, recent studies raise the possibility that THC affects the level of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that affects the pleasure circuits. Many addictive drugs cause the release of dopamine from the neurons. One report by the National Institute of Drug Abuse states that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction for some people. This report concludes that along with craving, withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for long-term marijuana smokers to stop using the drug. People trying to quit report irritability, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety.

Drug Paraphernalia

Texas does not prosecute possession of drugs only. In fact, Texas will prosecute a person for possession of drug paraphernalia. Thus, it is a separate criminal charge classified as a Class C Misdemeanor and typically carries a penalty of $500. Normally, if one is charged with a possession of controlled substance, then a possession of drug paraphernalia will be charged against the person, as well.

Under federal law the term drug paraphernalia means “any equipment, product or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, concealing, producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance.”

Drug paraphernalia is any legitimate equipment, product, or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Drug paraphernalia generally falls into two categories:

User-specific products

User-specific products are marketed to drug users to assist them in taking or concealing illegal drugs. These products include certain pipes, smoking masks, bongs, cocaine freebase kits, marijuana grow kits, roach clips, and items such as hollowed out cosmetic cases or fake pagers used to conceal illegal drugs.

Dealer-specific products

Dealer-specific products are used by drug traffickers for preparing illegal drugs for distribution at the street level. Items such as scales, vials, and baggies fall into this category. Drug paraphernalia does not include any items traditionally used with tobacco, like pipes and rolling papers.

With the rise of the drug culture in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, the country began to see the appearance of “head shops,” which were stores that sold a wide range of drug paraphernalia. While some of the paraphernalia was crude and home-made, much was being commercially manufactured to cater to a fast-growing market. Enterprising individuals even sold items openly in the street, until anti-paraphernalia laws in the 1980s eventually ended such blatant sales. Today, law enforcement faces another challenge. With the advent of the Internet, criminals have greatly expanded their illicit sales to a worldwide market for drug paraphernalia. For example, in a recent law enforcement effort, Operation Pipedreams, the 18 companies targeted accounted for more than a quarter of a billion dollars in retail drug paraphernalia sales annually. Typically, such illicit businesses operate retail stores as well as websites posing as retailers of legitimate tobacco accessories when in reality the products are intended for the illegal drug trade.

Identifying drug paraphernalia can be challenging because products often are marketed as though they were designed for legitimate purposes. Marijuana pipes and bongs, for example, frequently carry a misleading disclaimer indicating that they are intended to be used only with tobacco products. Recognizing drug paraphernalia often involves considering other factors such as the manner in which items are displayed for sale, descriptive materials or instructions accompanying the items, and the type of business selling the items.

Marijuana-Related Crimes

The Charles Johnson Law Firm is experienced in marijuana-related matters involving:

Contact the Best Austin Marijuana Possession and Distribution Lawyer: The Charles Johnson Law Firm

Before someone can be convicted of marijuana possession in Austin, the state must prove that the accused actually had possession or took action to control the drug. Drug possession cases are complicated and depend the police’s adherence to strict guidelines concerning search and seizure of the drug.

As you could be facing fines, probation, drug classes, community service, and jail, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced Austin criminal attorney if you have been accused of this crime. Our team at the Charles Johnson Law Firm is well-equipped to handle any type of drug crime, including those involving possession of marijuana and/or drug paraphernalia. We understand that mistakes can happen and not everyone who has been accused of a crime is guilty. No matter how serious you may believe your case to be, contact Austin Drug Lawyer Charles Johnson directly by calling 512-832-1200 anytime, day or night to discuss your case.

Marijuana Possession and Distribution Charges: Defend Yourself With Experienced Austin Drug Lawyer Charles Johnson

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News Stories Related to Marijuana Possession or Distribution Arrests in Austin:

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Justin Slivinski, 24, of Oviedo, Florida, was killed Friday night when he and accomplice Austin Lee Harvey … Prior to his arrest on Saturday, he was arrested in August after missing a court date for a marijuana-possession charge. Slivinski was sentenced …

Daily Mail – Nov 19 2012

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34-year-old Austin Lee Warchol, was arrested by Lemoore police.  Officers clocked Warchol driving down Highway 41 at about 92 miles per hour, officials said. When they pulled him over, the officers could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. 

Hanford Sentinel – Nov 27 2012

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Christian James Austin, age 25, of 6606 Shirley Pond Road Harrison, TN was arrested November 14 … GA was arrested November 15, 2012 for Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon and Possession of Marijuana Less Than One Ounce. Wimpy was released …

walkermessenger.com – Nov 27 2012

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