People come to Texas from all over the world to see many of the sights the state has to offer, but many of the same people may unknowingly break the law and find themselves facing criminal charges. It can be an extremely difficult position for a person to be in when they have a criminal case in Tarrant County while living in another state or country, so all alleged offenders will want to seek the help of an out-of-state visitor arrests attorney.
You will want to make sure that you have qualified legal help navigating the complex requirements in Texas relating to your criminal charges and also identifying all possible defenses in your case. When you invest in a criminal defense attorney, you will give yourself the best chance of possibly getting your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Out-of-State Visitor Arrests Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX
Were you visiting Texas from another state or country when you were arrested, you will absolutely need to retain legal counsel.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy defend people from all over the United States and many other countries against all kinds of criminal charges in Texas. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to get a free consultation so our firm can take the time to really examine your case and explain what you might be able to do to achieve the most favorable outcome.
Common Out-of-State Visitor Offenses in Tarrant County
A vast majority of arrests in the greater Fort Worth area can often relate to people partaking in entertainment and can involve alcohol. It is always important for alleged offenders to maintain their composure when dealing with law enforcement during these arrests, even when there seems to be no justification for the arrests.
Some of the most common offenses allegedly committed by out-of-state visitors in Tarrant County tend to include, but are not limited to:
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) — The crime more commonly called driving under the influence (DUI) in several other states involves an alleged offender operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, narcotics, marijuana, or prescription drugs in a public place. The legal definition of intoxicated in Texas is not only having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than 0.08 but also “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties because of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body,” which can lead to DWI arrests based on some very subjective conclusions.
- Public Intoxication — Texas Penal Code § 49.02 states that a person commits a public intoxication offense when they appear in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that they may endanger themselves or another party.
- Possession of Marijuana — While marijuana has been legalized in many other states across the country, including the nearby states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, Texas still forbids marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. A person in possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, but charges for more than 2 ounces may go all the way up to first-degree felonies, depending on the amount.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance — In addition to marijuana, many other drugs are also prohibited in Texas, including cocaine, heroin, and LSD. Furthermore, unlawful possession of prescription medications can also be a criminal offense. Charges, again, can range in classification depending on the amount possessed and the type of drug involved.
- Disorderly Conduct — A person commits a disorderly conduct offense if they intentionally or knowingly use abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace, make an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace, create, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor in a public place, abuse or threaten a person in a public place in an obviously offensive manner, make an unreasonable noise in a public place other than a sport shooting range or in or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy. It can also be a fight with another party in a public place, discharge a firearm in a public place other than a public road or a sport shooting range, display a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm, discharge a firearm on or across a public road, expose their anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another person may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act, for a lewd or unlawful purpose on the property of another party and look into a dwelling on the property through any window or other opening in the dwelling, while on the premises of a hotel or comparable establishment, look into a guest room not the person’s own through a window or other opening in the room, or while on the premises of a public place, look into an area such as a restroom or shower stall or changing or dressing room that is designed to provide privacy to a person using the area.
- Shoplifting — Also known as retail theft, this crime involves an alleged offender taking another party’s property without their effective consent. Depending on the value of the goods stolen, charges can range from Class C misdemeanors to state jail felonies.
- Weapons or Firearms Offense — While the right of the people to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 23 of Article 1 of the Texas Constitution, gun rights are not unlimited, and people may face criminal charges for possessing certain prohibited weapons or carrying firearms in prohibited places. Several weapons and firearms crimes involve very steep penalties, and alleged offenders may also see criminal charges for other offenses enhanced if they are accused of possessing a weapon or firearm during the commission of other alleged offenses.
- Property Crimes — A person who steals or damages another party’s property in Texas commits a property crime. Depending on the extent of the damage, property crimes could be misdemeanor or felony offenses.
- Prostitution/Solicitation — Most allegations of prostitution or solicitation in Tarrant County are the result of police sting operations. Alleged offenders in these cases may be able to argue that they never had any intention of paying for sexual activity and law enforcement improperly concluded their actual motives.
- Sex Crimes — Common kinds of sexual offenses in Tarrant County include sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, child pornography, indecency with a child, invasive visual recording, online solicitation of a minor, and rape. Sex crimes always carry major penalties, so alleged offenders will need competent legal representation.
- Traffic Offenses — Many alleged offenders from other states do not think too much of the tickets they receive from law enforcement in Texas, but you need to keep in mind that paying a ticket is effectively pleading guilty to a traffic offense. By simply paying a ticket instead of contesting it, you could subject yourself to possible increases in your insurance rates and risk the status of your driver’s license. When you hire a lawyer to handle your traffic crime, they may be able to get the ticket thrown out and help you avoid any consequences.
Texas Consequences for Offenses Committed in Tarrant County
Criminal penalties in Texas usually relate to how crimes are classified. Most crimes are graded as being either misdemeanors or felonies, and there are multiple grades.
Some of the possible punishments associated with convictions for these offenses are as follows:
Class C Misdemeanor
- Fine of up to $500
Class B Misdemeanor
- Fine of up to $2,000
- 180 days in jail
Class A Misdemeanor
- Fine of up to $4,000
- One year in jail
State Jail Felony
- Fine of up to $10,000
- Two years in state jail
- Fine of up to $10,000
- 10 years in prison
- Fine of up to $10,000
- 20 years in prison
- Fine of up to $10,000
- 99 years or life in prison
- Life in prison without parole
- Death penalty
The penalties outlined above are in accordance with state law, but certain counties or municipalities in Texas can also have their own unique complications to criminal penalties. You will want to be sure you have an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense attorney who understands the true extent of the consequences you are facing.
Fort Worth Out-of-State Visitor Arrest Resources
They messed with Texas: Celebrities busted in the Lone Star State — Review this My San Antonio article showing how even famous people can face legal troubles in Texas. Some of the celebrities included here are Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Fiona Apple, Willie Nelson, Vince Neil, Wiz Khalifa, Nelly, Randy Travis, Daryl Hannah, Armie Hammer, and Chace Crawford. Read about many others.
Evers v. State, 576 S.W.2d 46 (1978) — Michael S. Evers faced a conviction for unlawfully carrying a handgun, and his punishment was assessed at 60 days in jail and a fine of $500, but he asserted seven grounds of error, including claims of illegal search and seizure. On May 13, 1976, Dallas Police Officers Fambrough and Gary saw Evers operating a car on Harry Hines Boulevard in Dallas, Texas, and after observing tape on the windshield covering the safety sticker area, the officers stopped Evers to investigate a “possible violation of the safety sticker.”
Upon investigation, Officer Fambrough discovered that the tape concealed an expired Louisiana inspection (safety) sticker. Officer Fambrough issued a written citation for an “expired inspection sticker” and, upon Evers’ written promise to appear, permitted Evers to drive away. Accelerating quickly, Evers’ vehicle threw mud and gravel on Officer Fambrough and the police car before getting back onto the roadway and “squealing the tires” on the pavement. Officer Fambrough pursued Evers, stopping him a second time. Following the second stop, Officer Fambrough made a custodial arrest of Evers for “improper start from a parked position.”
An inventory of Evers’ car at the scene produced a handgun from an unlocked briefcase in the front passenger’s seat. Evers’ motion to suppress the handgun as evidence was overruled, and at trial, the handgun was admitted over objection. Evers testified and admitted possession of the handgun but claimed the “traveler” and “business” exemptions. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, Panel No. 1, ultimately affirmed the lower court’s ruling.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Out-of-State Visitor Arrests Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
If you were recently arrested anywhere in Tarrant County while visiting from another state or country, do not think that you have to handle your criminal case on your own. You will want to find a local criminal defense lawyer who can defend you even while you are living outside of Texas.
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area. Our firm can look at your full case and determine the applicable defenses for you.