Russell D. Hunt Sr., Attorney at Law
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Waco Texas Legal Blog

What is a Glasgow Coma Score?

As you begin to cope with the news that your family member or friend has suffered a traumatic brain injury in Waco, one singular point may start to dominate your thoughts: what is next? Depending on the severity of the injury, they may require extensive care for the rest of their lives, or they may be able to make a complete recovery (albeit with the assistance of rehabilitation services). Understanding this will no doubt impact your decision of what action to take, particularly of your loved one's TBI came as the result of another's negligence. 

Yet how are you to know in the immediate aftermath of them suffering a TBI what their long-term prognosis may be? The clinicians treating them may be able to give you an indication through your family member or friend's Glasgow Coma Score. A GCS is based on your loved one's responses to external stimuli after having sustained a TBI. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the point categories (and associated values) used in determining a GCS are as follows: 

  • Eye opening (1-4)
  • Verbal response (1-5)
  • Motor skills (1-6)

Understanding the definition of aggravated assault

When a person has been accused of violence, they are generally accused of some type of assault. However, the assault charge that they will be subject to will depend on the exact circumstances regarding the situation. Aggravated assault is a type of crime that is much more serious than simple assault.

If you have been accused of aggravated assault, it is important that you do everything that you can to defend yourself from this accusation. If you are to be successful, you must understand the detailed aspects of the law so that you can apply it to the specific circumstances of your case.

Judge releases former Texas State student over FBI objections

It is sometimes difficult to make a distinction between behavior that is off-putting, upsetting or disturbing and behavior that is illegal. In November 2018, the FBI received a tip about a social media account making posts involving alleged hate speech, bomb-making and a desire to commit violence. An investigation traced the account to a 20-year-old former student of Texas State University. When the authorities caught up with the former student, he complied with their request to turn over his cell phone for analysis, which resulted in his arrest on child pornography charges.

At a bail hearing last week, FBI officials requested that the former student remain incarcerated, alleging that he has the potential to become the next bomber or mass shooter. However, the judge denied the request. Instead, he is sending the former student home to his parents and granting $75,000 unsecured bail. 

Reviewing Texas' self-defense law

Most in Waco might never dream of using violent force against another, yet there may be situations where they are compelled to do so. One's first reaction to hearing a claim of self-defense may be to be skeptical. However, enough legitimate cases of the justified use of force have occurred to merit several states to create laws addressing it (according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas is among them). Such statutes typically stipulate that people have no duty to retreat from a scenario where they feel threatened, and by extension, are permitted to defend themselves and others if the situation calls for it. 

Indeed, Section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code says that one is warranted in using force if they believe it to be immediately necessary. To justify such a belief, the following elements must be present in a situation: 

  • The actor did not provoke the person against whom force was used 
  • The actor was not engaged in criminal activity when pressed into using force
  • The person against whom forced was used was attempting to enter the actor's home, vehicle or place of business (or forcefully attempting to remove the actor from any of these places), or was attempting to kidnap, assault, sexually assault and/or murder the actor or others. 

Ignition interlock device basics

Among the many challenges residents in Texas who have been convicted of driving while intoxicated offenses face, one is the potential loss of their driving privileges. Whether or not this happens or how long a driver's license suspension or revocation may last depends in part upon the details of the particular offense and situation. However, some drivers may be able to reinstate their ability to drive legally if they install and use an ignition interlock device. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety indicates that before a person can legally be allowed to drive even with an IID, they must not only install the device but pay all reinstatement fees. If the use of an ignition interlock device is required but no device is installed, the driver's license may actually be cancelled.

Questions your attorney can ask in voir dire

In a criminal trial, picking the right jurors is critical to a defendant's chances at an acquittal. During the voir dire process, which roughly translated from Latin means "to speak the truth," criminal defense attorneys have the opportunity to find out a great deal about potential jurors.

The purpose of pretrial voir dire is to reveal biases, conflicts and other criteria for dismissing jurors who may not rule favorably for the defendant.

How does the national sex offender registry work?

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a sex crime in Texas, you will want to learn about some of the potential penalties associated with a conviction for these types of offenses. One of the penalties may be the requirement to register as a sex offender depending on the offense.

One thing people should be aware of is that there is a national sex offender public website. This is a function of the U.S. Department of Justice. This website and its associated mobile app provides a variety of information about registered sex offenders but there is no national program for collecting consistent data nor is there national responsibility for doing so. Instead, all information available via the NSOPW is fed to it via the individual states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories or Indian tribes.

Understanding field sobriety tests

If you have been arrested in Texas and charged with a driving while intoxicated offense, you may well be scared about what might happen to you next. This is very understandable, and it is important at this point to learn not only about the defense process but also about the arrest process. The tests used by officers may be important evidence used against you and you should know exactly what they are and what they mean.

It is common for officers to ask drivers to perform what are called field sobriety tests. These generally involve walking along a straight line, balancing on one foot and watching for a specific eye movement with a light. You might assume that these tests are part of how police prove that you might be drunk. However, as explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, that is not the case at all. These tests, in fact, are unable to prove impairment.

What is a walk and turn test?

Anyone who is accused by Texas law enforcement of driving under the influence of alcohol should be aware of how the prosecution will attempt to prove their case. If you find yourself in such a situation, chances are the police had administered a field sobriety test at the time they pulled you over. One of these tests is known as the walk and turn test.

According to FieldSobrietyTests.org, the walk and turn test is a simple test conducted by a police officer. At first, the officer will provide instruction on how to perform the test, after which the officer will confirm that you understood what the officer had just said. The test will then commence. A walk and turn entails taking nine steps forward and nine steps back, taking steps from heel to toe on an actual or a fictitious straight line while counting each step.

  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • The College of State Bar of Texas
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice
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Russell D. Hunt Sr., Attorney at Law

425 Austin Avenue
Suite 1202
P.O. Box 726
Waco, TX 76701

Phone: 254-304-6354
Fax: 254-753-8118
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