Have you ever wondered what the difference between murder and manslaughter is? Why do we not have a simpler legal system that calls all ending of life murder? Well, following up on a previous post, one of the major reasons for that difference boils down to intent.
the unlawful killing of another person without premeditation or so-called “malice aforethought” (an evil intent prior to the killing).
That is, the difference between murder and manslaughter has to do with whether the death that happened was planned or unplanned. On one hand, murder, by definition, implies a malicious motive that embodies the choice to end someone’s life. On the other hand, manslaughter deals more with circumstantial death that had no malicious thought or planning beforehand.
Prosecuting attorneys must weigh several elements in any court case. Of these elements, intent can be one of the most difficult to prove. Indeed, it can pose a challenge because the lion's share of intent occurs in the mind of the accused.
Yet, even with the level of internal dialogue, there are a number of markers that prosecutors can use to infer or prove intent.
...a determination to perform a particular act or to act in a particular manner. Intent is usually based on a specific reason. It is an aim, design or a resolution to use a certain means to reach an end.
Put differently, intent is the choice to perform a given task or to behave a certain way. Intent is the reasoning behind a certain action.
The law recognizes three types of criminal intent:
General/Basic Intent: Intent that is proven from the act itself (such as speeding).
Specific Intent: Intent that is rooted in replanning (such as in burglary).
Constructed Intent: Intent that is built upon the unforeseen effects of an action, as with a pedestrian death that arises from negligent driving.
While general intent is sufficient for such crimes as speeding, one must ferret out specific intent in the case of burglary and attempted murder.
What goes into proving intent? Well, in a court of law, two types of evidence are admissible.
Direct Evidence: Evidence that arises from witnessing a crime or hearing from those who have direct knowledge of a particular crime.
Circumstantial Evidence: Evidence that arises through reasoning from the facts of a crime to truths that can be inferred.
Put another way, Direct Evidence means someone saw it happen and tells what they saw. Circumstantial Evidence, on the other hand, comes from piecing the events of the crime back together and drawing clues through logic and deduction.
Intent can be proven based on any number of dynamics. Some dynamics considered include:
Behavior of those involved.
The placing of objects, such as clothing, weapons, prints, bodily discharges, etc.
The time the incident occurred.
Who was present or absent at the scene of the crime.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime in Montgomery County, you should seek a qualified attorney such as John Choate, who can handle your case with skill. Contact Attorney John Choate at Conroe Law Office.
Should a Christian file a lawsuit or not? Are lawsuits ethical or not? John Choate, Jr, a Conroe lawyer opens up the discussion biblically.
For many in the Conroe area, asking a lawyer if lawsuits are ethical might seem absurd.
However, followers of Jesus should always weigh the ethics of any situation; we walk in accordance with a different, higher standard. Every decision made should not only be weighed against whether one can do it, but also whether one should do it. Furthermore, every decision a Christian makes ought to take into consideration whether the Bible has anything to say about that decision.
The Old Testament: Our Behavior During a Lawsuit
Concerning lawsuits, there are several places in the Biblical text that assume lawsuits and other matters of jurisprudence are a normal part of society. Therefore, guidelines are provided for handling legal disputes.
First, in Exodus, Moses engaged in arbitration between Israelites. His father-in-law counseled him before departing, and provided a more efficient method of handling disputes. Further, he instructed Moses to select and teach others how to handle their disputes (see Exodus 18:13-27). Those whom Moses selected were God-fearing, trustworthy, and above reproach.
Later, the Law stipulates what our attitude should be in a lawsuit. That is, suits should be free from bribes and partiality (see Exodus 23:1-8), given these dynamics twist the execution of justice.
Besides this, subversion (intimidating either those who bring suit or those with the authority to judge a suit) as a tactic was specifically reproved in Jeremiah’s writings (Lamentations 3:36).
The New Testament: Should We Bring Suit?
Moving to the New Testament, Jesus, speaking to the crowds of poor, specifically touches on the inner motive when it comes to responding to lawsuits (Matthew 5:40). Namely, kindness should characterize our response instead of vengeance. Further, we should hunt for a solution that creates a win/win for all parties involved, rather than strife.
Indeed, the purpose of legal suits should at least be twofold :
To correct patterns of abuse or mistreatment.
To arrive at a place of equilibrium between parties instead of constant friction, and, where possible, reconciliation.
Paul’s exhortation to believers in Corinth focused on the squabbles, factions, and divisions that brought disrepute on all Christians. Within the scope of issues that caused division, Paul covered lawsuits between Christians. It appears that believers were suing one another through courts led by unbelievers. Paul told the Corinthians stop using secular courts to settle disputes, and instead see arbitration from other believers.
As believers, we should aim for resolution, and if possible, reconciliation, rather than division. Per the counsel of Scripture, if a lawsuit is going to become an option, then let it be the option of last resort, after arbitration and every other attempt at resolution has failed.
For further insight, see Focus on the Family’s article on the topic. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with John Choate, Jr, a Conroe lawyer, who has years of experience of handling cases whether by negotiations or mediation to resolve family, business or property disputes.
Drug Possession: Possession of a drug without a valid prescription in a quantity usable for consumption or sale.
The Difference Between Possession and Trafficking
Now that we understand they both can involve selling drugs, consider the difference between possession and trafficking. What is it?
Answer: the same as generic sales vs. widespread distribution. It is a question of size.
The major question that distinguishes between trafficking and possession deals with quantity. In order for a charge of trafficking to really apply, there has to be a sufficient amount of a given drug in order to make a business out of the sale. Distribution often implies there is a supplier in place, a number of people who will carry out the sale of the drugs, and a network of willing buyers and sellers.
While trafficking involves a network, possession usually only involves one or a few people.
The Penalties For Trafficking and Possession In Texas
Texas takes a strong stance against the possession and the trafficking of drugs. While penalties for trafficking are generally stronger, the bottom line is quantity of drugs present. Larger quantities can carry felony charges, and smaller quantities can carry misdemeanor charges. Mr. Choate is an experienced Conroe lawyer to direct you.
If you have been charged with possession or trafficking in Montgomery County, you should seek a competent and experienced Conroe lawyer to help you navigate the many obstacles. John E. Choate has over twenty years of successful legal experience in handling drug cases. Contact the staff online at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
Suppose you witness someone breaking the law in Texas officer is around. Are you allowed to make a citizen's arrest or not? There are elements to understand when considering the legality of this situation. First, what constitutes a citizen's arrest? Second, what must be met in order to arrest someone?
Definition and Reasoning
A citizen's arrest is any arrest made by a public citizen without a warrant. Per Lacy V. State, The Texas Court of Appeals reasoned necessity was the principle behind citizen's arrests. The Court highlighted the necessity to promptly restrain wrongdoing.
When few authorities are present, and they are slow to respond to crime, the reality is that crime will increase. When others are empowered to act, and are quicker, crime will likely decrease.
Compliance: The arrest must comply with federal and state constitutional provisions pertaining to "unreasonable search and seizure". In making a citizen's arrest, we must ensure to not abuse those we are detaining or arresting.
Location: The crime must have been committed in the citizen's presence or within his view. In other words, one may initiate an arrest if the citizen and the criminal occupy the same temporal and spatial zone.
Severity: The crime must be either a felony or a breach of peace. Put differently, we are looking at either a significant loss of life and property, or actions calculated to disturb the inhabitants of a place.
Probable Cause In Citizen's Arrests
Those making the arrest must be able to prove "probable cause". Probable cause is:
the existence of reasonably trustworthy information sufficient to warrant a reasonable person to believe that a particular person has committed an offense.
A Texas citizen may make a citizen's arrest if all are met :
a. there is probable cause
b. if they are present or an eyewitness to a crime
c. if the crime is either a felony or a breach of the public peace
d. if the arrestor is complying with constitutional provisions pertaining to search and seizure.
I would not advise making a citizen arrest for a variety of reasons. First, most citizens are not trained to understand what probable cause means and the proper use of force to make an arrest. Failure to understand the proper procedures can result in liability. The person the citizen intends to be arrested will probably over react because the “arresting citizen” is not seen as a officer and the situation will escalate. All citizens have a right to defend themselves, others and their property. Going beyond that, will only subject yourself to liability.
Have you experienced or been accused of fraud? Many attorneys understand the concept of fraud, but which Conroe lawyer will work with you for success against fighting fraud?
Fraud is a large category of crimes and carries severe penalties in Montgomery County. Not only does a fraud conviction garner steep legal penalties, but it also carries significant negative social stigmas. Fraud can affect something as small as a friendship or as big as a group of businesses. Furthermore, the consequences that follow fraud can last a lifetime.
Fraud is…an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage. Fraud [also can occur in the context of] an omission or purposeful failure to state material facts, which nondisclosure makes other statements misleading.
In short, fraud happens when one person misleads or withholding information from another. That misleading or withholding results in personal or financial enrichment of the one at the expense of the other.
Ultimately, the root of all fraud is some form of deception.
Some Common Types of Fraud In Texas
Adoption Fraud: Providing false or misleading information in an adoption processes.
Consumer Fraud: Deception that results in financial enrichment at the expense of consumers.
Money Laundering: hiding the origin of illegally-obtained money. Transferring that money through legally-established businesses is one way of hiding the true source of that money.
Identity Theft: Using the identifying information of another to obtain the financial benefit for yourself.
Insurance Fraud: Presenting false circumstances to an insurance company in order to obtain coverage they would not otherwise provide.
Tax Fraud: Falsifying records to tax authorities in order to avoid paying the full amount owed.
While the above list shows common types in Texas, these are not the limits of fraud. Fraud can also affect marriages, child support, child custody, and business negotiations.
If you are a victim of fraud, you should seek an experienced Conroe lawyer to help you through the process. Contact the Conroe Law Office for your free initial consultation.
Texas activist march on the State capital espousing “It’s mans right to consume the plants that come from the earth,” known as “natural rights” movement. The Endocannabinoid system, exist in the human body for a reason, but what happens when, that natural plant is concentrated with chemical process to make it concentrated in ways nature never intended? is it still a natural right?
How concentrated is it?
The concentration of THC (the active ingredient in a normal marijuana cigarette) is between 13 and 20% normally and normally a person only feels the need to smoke less than 10-30mg to feel a strong high and the desire to consume more THC is sated. The contracted butane resins (at a purity of 70-90%) bypass the desire to stop but supersaturating the body with the compound before the user realizes how much they have consumed, having consumed as much as 600 mg.
The real controversy is the penalty group this class of drug falls into. Normally marijuana, which as you may know takes four ounces to become a felony, instantly becomes a fellony when in the form of concentrated oil become a felony regardless of weight, as is treated in the same penalty group as meth.
Can I be searched without a warrant? It depends and it’s more complex than you ever would have imagined, especially at the border.
Exceptions to the 4th amendments prerequisite to legal search and seizure exist, among such exceptions the “border search exemption” is expected to play a big part in the coming migrant caravan and the surrounding chaos that many illegal importers of illicit substances are looking to take advantage of border security attention being on the group of aliens attempting to cross.
Other reasons you can be searched without a warrant exist too.
If the time it takes to obtain the warrant, would result in the evidence being destroyed or altered in some way, police are allowed to make a warrantless search.
For example, the police are called about the smell of cat urine coming from a house in the country (the strong smell of urine in the air often times linked to meth labs) and the police see a man entering the house with a bottle of bleach (bleach makes meth oxidize into an unstable form of salt that is no longer chemically meth and cannot be tested or the accused tried as such, the police are within their rights to engage an exception known as “exigent circumstances exception.”
The border officers seem to be gaining power, as more creative criminal activities require more and more right given to law enforcement.
Is this a violation of my 4th amendment? Are we living in a police state?
The reason exceptions are normally written into law is that higher laws exist, for example, the government has the mandate to control the border, in cases that the border could be in danger in some way, the government argues that the higher law succeeds the lower and it’s really that easy sometimes.
In a general sense, the police must demonstrate probable cause. However, this isn’t the case for checkpoints, the U.S. supreme court rules several situations that can result in the setting up of such checkpoints. All the stops the police want-no 4th amendment violation.
What they can’t do
However, the supreme court has ruled that “general crime control” does not qualify as a reason to initiate a checkpoint. The checkpoint must have a clear aim. To asses the sobriety of individuals, the citizenship status of vehicle occupants, etc.
It all comes together by the border, several legal reasons that authorize checkpoints to converge
Since local police cannot use traffic checkpoints for drug interdiction, but federal officials can use permanent checkpoints for immigration enforcement, various law enforcement agencies use permanent immigration checkpoints to also look for illegal drugs. The border search exception assists them in this effort. This has led to a wide range of drug seizures, showing evolving tactics among both the people charged with interdicting illegal drugs and those accused of transporting them. These include allegations of transporting marijuana in a van disguised an oil field service vehicle, in a casket in the back of a hearse, and within shipments of local produce.
Complex laws? you have no idea how complex it can be
Laws, in general, are kinda complex, exceptions exist and even experienced attorneys many times have to research when I interview people, we spend a lot of time just talking about details because many times the details or some strange exception are just what a person needs to make a strong case as to why the charges need to be dropped.
The issue of consent is tricky, very tricky, sometimes the only difference is sexual assault and consensual sex might be the rise of an eyebrow expressing interest, the tone of voice expressing inclination of interest, expressing those events to a jury is a job best performed by a serious, experienced and well-trained lawyer.
We can all agree that a line exists that actions match the definition of sexual assault, but as with all human relationships, gray areas exist. For example, consent can, in theory, be taken away? It’s commonly understood from case law that the act of having sex after a fight equals reconciliation? What if the woman is saying that the what the man understood as reconciliation sex was perceived as an assault on her?
Each specific situation has legal defenses tailored to the situation, and the good news is that many times tailored legal defenses have the most positive outcomes. The #metoomovement has created a situation in which it becomes a tad trendy to be included in the victim-hood of having been a helpless woman. We don’t want to deter from the illegitimacy of real rape and sexual assault, the pain and consequences it causes is unimaginable, but we are saying that a lot of gray area situations are being sold to the public as legitimate rape, when in actuality a strong argument could be made that the women in such cases were, in fact, profiting from the situations more than they were taken from.
Forcible, violent and non-nonsexual sex are crimes
We are not proponents of lawlessness in any form, we take on our clients problems and demonstrate the surrounding evidence that contributed to the situations, many many times troubled women have been known to create and imagine situations in which they need a villain, and sometimes, healthy strong normal boys are (excuse the Don Quixote reference) but the imaginary dragon, the scourge of society and at this office we feel we have more realistic understandings of the working dynamics of such relationships.
Victims of sexual assault in Montgomery County can also contact The Montgomery County women’s center for assistance at-http://mcwctx.org/.
Priorities for Montgomery County divorcing parents of children with disabilities
Special considerations for Conroe divorce cases.
Divorce is always a difficult time for kids, children with disabilities might need different considerations to process the situation, we have a few tips that we wanted to share
The clarity of your final decree of divorce is key
For example, a statement like visitation will be bi-monthly might mean every other month or every other week. The order involving medical care and community events also needs to be clearly laid out. “It’s a saying that he who signs an order in haste signs twice.” It’s not that we want to drag anything out, in fact not at all, our experience shows that as fast as prudent is the most responsible, but the details all need to be attended to.
Inventory your child’s needs
We use a systematic approach to thoroughly divide the needs into two categories, short-term, and long-term. The short-term normally are normally repeating daily, monthly and yearly. long-term needs are normally one-time expenses, but can also involve short-term goals such as savings plans for higher education.
It’s highly likely that choices about schools, the reoccurring medical cost will not be contested, but the agreement still needs a language that gives a framework these eventualities
It is important for divorcing parents to decide where their child will attend school and what accommodations they will need, how medical costs will be covered and where the child will receive any necessary medical care. Depending on your child’s needs and the specifics of your divorce, these decisions may be easy to make. If one divorcing parent is moving away or if your child needs extra care, both divorcing parents will need to decide what changes should be made.
Long-term visitation is on the table for the noncustodial parent, if planned correctly
Most of the time, one parent steps up to be the caregiver, while one parent is normally tasked with being more productive in business, one thing to consider is that if you plan your personal life to live near your child as a non-custodial parent you can arrange for longterm visitation
Make Communication a Priority
The best way for divorcing parents and their children to handle a divorce is through clear communication. When divorcing parents communicate effectively with one another, their child’s needs are more likely to be met. Additionally, honest communication between divorcing parents will make it more likely that each party gets what they want from the divorce.
What to do about disagreement
It’s the opinion every relationship is different and every situation needs to find a mutually enriching agreement in which all parties give and take to achieve harmony, some pieces of music will be simple and others complex, but ultimately mutual satisfaction needs to be the goal. I’m willing to fight your spouse and their counsel to make sure you get fair representation in your divorce.