Posts by George

Theft in Texas

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Criminal Defense

There are many kinds of theft under Texas law, and even under the same kind there are different levels that dictate the kind of punishment that a convicted defendant will have to face. For example, identity theft is one type of theft if it leads to the use of identifying information to get something of value, but it is not a physical object as we normally associate with thievery. The same goes for copyright or piracy crimes.

By definition under the Texas Penal Code (Ann. § 31.03), theft is the unlawful appropriation of property with the intention to take it away permanently from the owner (paraphrased). In layman terms, you have committed theft if you take something that isn’t rightfully yours without planning to give it back without the consent of the owner or without any acceptable justification under the law. There are fine shades to this definition as competent Austin criminal defense lawyers will be quick to detect but which may not be apparent to the untrained eye, which is the reason why it is advisable to consult with a criminal defense lawyer when charged with any crime.

Basically, the severity of an offense is directly proportionate to the financial value of the property or service that was appropriated but in some instances may also be based on the type of property taken. Below are some of the general classifications and criminal consequences for theft in Texas.

  • Less than $50 – Class C misdemeanor, fine up to $500, no jail time
  • More than $50 but less than $500 or property stolen was an identity card i.e. driver’s license – Class B misdemeanor, fine up to $2,000 and/or jail time up to 180 days
  • $500 or more but less than $1,500 – Class A misdemeanor, fine up to $4,000 and/or jail time up to one year
  • $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 or certain property such as livestock or firearms valued at less than $20,000 – state jail felony, fine up to $10,000 and/or minimum jail time of 180 days but no more than 2 years
  • $20,000 or more but less than $100,000 or certain property such livestock or firearms valued at less than $100,000 – Third degree felony, fine up to $10,000 and/or jail time of two to 10 years
  • $100,000 or more but less than $200,000 – Second degree felony, fine up to $10,000 and/or jail time of two to 20 years
  • $200,000 or more – First degree felony, fine up to $10,000 and/or jail time of five to 99 years

In addition to criminal penalties, a convicted defendant may also be held civilly liable under the Texas Theft Liability Act.

If you are being charged with theft, don’t try to sweet talk your way out of it because anything you say can be used against you. Seek the advice of a criminal defense lawyer in your area before making any moves.

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Low-T Therapy is not for Everyone

Posted by on May 3, 2014 in Medical Tests, Product Liability

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is normally associated with women who are suffering through the effects of menopause or other health conditions that result in hormonal imbalance, is a risky proposition for either gender. The mechanism and effects of HRT is not well understood, which is why some doctors decline to put their patients on it until more is known.

But to hear the marketing pitch of drug companies to men who find themselves more interested in sleeping rather than sleeping with someone, Low-T medications is the easy solution for low libido and energy. Low-T therapy is not a magic pill and it definitely isn’t safe for everyone. This is the thinking that has landed a lot of men who believed the hype in trouble with their health, and fueled the recent momentum in testosterone supplement lawsuits. There are cases where Low-T therapy has had a beneficial effect on a patient, but there are no guarantees that it will not make bad to worse.

Although the products in question, specifically Androgel which is manufactured and marketed by Abbvie Inc., have been green-lighted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the regulatory agency emphasizes that the approval was contingent on a finding that the low levels of testosterone is due to injury or health disorder. But the FDA is nevertheless currently conducting a review of these Low-T supplements.

The defendants in ongoing Low-T lawsuits, meanwhile, insist that the health risks of using the products are included in the warning label. It is suggested that the labels need to emphasize these dangers more strongly to prevent harm to at-risk patients. Ongoing studies outside of the FDA investigation are also looking at other health effects that these supplements may have.

If you have been prescribed with Low-T supplements which you believe may have caused your current cardiac problems, you should find a lawyer in your area with experience in handling product liability cases. Pursuing a case against a drug company is always an iffy situation; you want to deal with a law firm with an established reputation for getting results.

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Proving the Case: Going Beyond the Law

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 in Criminal Defense

Knowing and proving are often two different things. One may know the law but may not be able to prove its relevance in a particular case. In the US, the prosecution has the burden of proof in a criminal or civil charge. All the criminal defense lawyer has to do is to disprove the evidence against the defendant, or to introduce reasonable doubt.

In jurisprudence, the reasonable doubt standard in the jury system is actually instructions to members of that jury that as reasonable people they must believe in the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. This may seem like a very vague and highly subjective standard, which is why in most cases brought before the jury or judge, it is important that the lawyer on either side is able to present their arguments persuasively and convincingly. It is not enough that the lawyer knows the law and how it applies to a case; the jury or the judge must understand and see it in the same way as well. This is not to say that lawyers have to deliberately mislead; rather, they need to be able to make the jury members or judge see the case from a particular perspective.

While perhaps not as dramatically portrayed as on television, in a real court case the bare facts of the case in point can take on a radically different meaning depending on how it is presented. The defense lawyer has to be able to find a plausible explanation for the facts as they appear to the advantage of the defendant. This is not to say that the prosecution’s interpretation of it is wrong; it merely suggests that another explanation is possible. And this introduces reasonable doubt. In a court case, it is important that the lawyer establishes a relationship with the client, the jury and the court officers in order to determine the right approach to a particular case. As pointed out by a co-counsel of Bryan Bleibdrey on the website of The Woodlands based BB Law Group PLLC, his interaction with the client and his cross examination of witnesses helped to prove the case in point.

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Additional Violations of Intuitive while already in the midst of Crisis

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Medical Tests, Personal Injury, Product Liability

Negative press release, denial of insurance firms to cover robotic surgeries, increase in the number of lawsuits and decrease in demand have all resulted to a quite significant drop in Intuitive Surgical Inc.’s projected shares and sales for 2013.

But probably worse than all those stipulated above is the US Food and Drug Administration’s July 16, 2013, warning letter to Intuitive, due to the latter’s failure to inform the FDA about the communication it sent only to a few medical providers. This warning, which the FDA declared was due to Intuitive’s violation of a federal rule, comes in the midst of lawsuits and product recall that the company is facing.

A number of the violations Intuitive is guilty of include failure of Intuitive to notify the FDA regarding:

  • The robot’s damaged tips, which could definitely injure patients
  • Problems during thyroid surgeries (worse, da Vinci has no clearance to perform this type of surgery)
  • Concerns on the proper flushing and inspection of cannulas
  • Use of the device in surgeries involving children

These issues stem from accusations that the company’s da Vinci surgical robot is dangerous. In the hands of improperly trained surgeons, errors can lead to lifestyle changing injuries in patients who were expecting minimally-invasive procedures with quick recovery times. On top of the challenges Intuitive is facing from the FDA, it is also facing many surgical robot lawsuits.

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A New Painless and More Effective Way to Test for Tuberculosis

Posted by on Sep 3, 2013 in Medical Tests

A new patch designed with small biodegradable needles able to penetrate the skin provides a more convenient and precise way to check for tuberculosis. Compared to the usual hypodermic needles, this patch is easier and much simpler to use, less painful, and has the potential to be more effective, especially where children, who fear needles, are concerned.

While using a hypodermic needle may result to a failed test if the needle is inserted at an incorrect angle or if the solution to check for the disease is injected too shallow or too deep into one’s skin, the patch, which uses micro-needles are guaranteed to deliver results.

Microneedles are actually the latest painless alternatives to hypodermic needles in injecting drugs into the body. These are made from synthetic polymers, metals and silicon and, recently, from natural, eco-friendly materials, like silk and chitin, which are taken from the hard outer shells of certain crustaceans and insects. The tips of these micro-needles are coated with protein derivative, which is actually a necessity when testing for tuberculosis.

Using the patch is just like using a bandage, which may be placed either on an arm or leg. Once applied, the tiny needles create small holes on the skin as the medicine coated on each needle is diffused into the body. With this patch millions of US residents who get a tuberculosis skin test will get the result they want fast and easy. This is also because the micro-needle test leaves a little room for user error.

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