Open Thread (and Ad Hoc FAQ)

I thought I’d add a type of post where I listed some internet searches that some folks had used to stumble across my blog, and see whether there might be fodder for future posts. Actually, I’ve seen some good questions asked of the search engines, and not always ones that I have answered.

Sometimes there are other resources I know about that can provide answers for the questions. Since one of the stated purposes of this blog is to provide information for people about Texas criminal charges, here goes:

Inmates in Del Valle and Travis County inmates information Austin, Texas:

For anyone looking for specific information on currently housed inmates at the Travis County Jail, I’d recommend the Inmate Population Reporting System page provided by the Travis County Sherriff’s Office. You’ll need to know the name of the inmate, of course, but it will provide you with booking number, charge(s), class or level of offense charged, bond amounts, date of arrest and other useful information.

Texas DPS code DWLS and driving with suspended license Austin:

            Technically speaking, the statute criminalizing driving while license suspended is actually in Texas Transportation Code Section 521.457. Surprisingly, this statute is not easy to find with several online searches I tried, primarily because most common sense phrases you might use to look for it bring up a host of DWI sites. That makes sense, because several different types of DL suspensions can arise out of just one DWI arrest, but still, I’m sure sometimes folks want to read the DWLS statute itself.

Does violation of probation DWLS always get a jail term?

            Great question, and one that I’m sure folks ask in a variety of forms, and for all sorts of offenses. There’s a big difference, however, between the probation officer filing a motion to revoke, and actually being revoked. If revoked, a defendant is sentenced to jail (or for a felony revocation: prison), but there are several sanctions available to a judge other than revocation. This is true not just for DWLS, but for all offenses up to and including first degree felonies. I need to blog soon about probation violations in general.

How long would a person be in jail for violating parole in Texas?

            Another great question, however, this also can’t be answered in a quick blog post. The short version is: it depends on how much time was left on the sentence at the time of the parole. Any street time (time spent out “on the street” while on parole) will not be credited if the defendant is revoked, so they could potentially face whatever the rest of their original sentence was. I typically don’t handle parole violations; I usually refer folks to Gary Cohen because he’s the best Texas parole attorney I know.

Is use of cocaine a strict liability crime?

            Actually, neither use of nor ownership of cocaine is criminalized. Possession of Cocaine is the offense. (Although, I’d point out, its rare to “own” it, and as far as I know, impossible to “use” it without meeting the definition of possession.)

            But to answer the question: absolutely not. The statute criminalizes intentional or knowing possession of controlled substances. The perfect example of this would be the “mailman defense”. If the U.S. Postal Service delivers a box filled with marijuana to your door, the carrier would not be guilty, because while he undoubtedly had management, care, custody and control of the package, and thus “possessed” it under the law…he did not do so knowingly or intentionally.

            Strict liability crimes are ones in which there is no mental state (or “mens rea”) involved. The classic example here is speeding: the Austin Municipal Court prosecutor is not required to prove that you knew you were going over the speed limit in order to obtain a conviction.

Texas punishment for horse theft

            This is my favorite search of the week. And actually, Texas does still include special penalties for theft of horses, cattle, and exotic livestock or fowl. Normally classification of theft under Chapter 31 of the Penal Code depends on the value of the property stolen, but any theft of horses starts at the State Jail Felony level, and theft of ten or more is a third degree felony. 

Well, this post was fun for me. I’ll add probation violations, concepts about strict liability and possibly the Texas “value ladder” for theft offenses as potential future topics. Last thing: if any regular readers, or first timers to this blog want to ask me a question, or submit ideas for future topics, please feel free to use the comments section to this post or to email me.

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Comments (9) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Flinehite - March 9, 2008 8:11 AM

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Flinehite - March 9, 2008 8:12 AM

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Flinehite - March 9, 2008 8:13 AM

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Karyn Trantham - June 24, 2009 5:06 PM

I live in Orange County TX. I have horses and one of my friends had a horse stolen. Someone in the group stated that the punishment for horse theft in the state of Texas is still death by hanging. Is this true, and if not, what is the strictest punishment if the thief is caught?

Grindmign - October 1, 2009 9:03 AM

Hi

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Thanks.

bemnerpafeVef - October 25, 2009 3:33 PM

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genemilia - November 9, 2009 2:17 AM

Hi nto All.
My PC worked not correctly, too much mistakes and buggs. Help me, please to fix errors on my computer.
I used Windows XP.
With best regards,
genemilia

lisa - March 26, 2010 2:24 AM

what is a 3rd degree felony & what happens to the individual if he resides in Austin,TX?

April J - January 14, 2011 9:05 PM

My brother was in TDCJ for 5yrs. Oklahoma had a warrant for his arrest and picked him up from TDCJ. Now TDCJ has a violation of parole warrant for his arrest for not reporting! How can we fix this??

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