Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Ball & Hase, P.C.

Long road to a good ending:
I have an older gentleman, who is a disabled vet. He walks his neighborhood for exercise. He carries a handgun for protection. During one afternoon stroll, a dog that is running loose (violation of leash law) is running at him barking and snarling. He draws his weapon and points it at the advancing dog. The dog never bites him and he never fires the weapon, although his prepared to do so to keep from getting bit.

As the dog darts from side to side, he follows with the barrel of his gun. A juvenile (child of owner) appears and retrieves the dog. During this episode, undoubtedly, the barrel of the weapon was at times pointed not only at the dog, but the boy now holding the dog.

"Some" neighbors are upset and call the police. Uniforms arrive, confiscate client's gun and tell him he can pick it up the next day. These officers acted admirably. The upset neighbors become more upset at his not being hauled off to the pokey. They call the PD complaining. Some rocket scientist detective gets an arrest warrant for this gentleman and he goes to jail for disorderly conduct, "displaying a firearm in a manner calculated to alarm."

I was outraged that they filed a charge on this man who spent many years serving this country and the shabby treatment he received by a police department who shall remain nameless, but it rhymes with Darlington. I set the case for a jury trial, as I was not going to plead this guy guilty to something as lame as this.

After several months of resistance, the prosecution came to their senses and are dismissing this case. This is absolutely the right thing to do. In Texas, citizens have extensive rights, not only under the Second Amendment, but under Texas laws pertaining to handgun. Those of us that exercise our rights as gun owners, should be mindful to review the complexities of Texas gun laws. Knowledge of gun laws and rights can many times avert legal problems. In this instance, my Vet was correct in everything he did, but it ended up righting itself in the end.
Add a comment...

The firm is pleased to announce that once again, both Wes Ball & Don Hase have been named Texas Super Lawyers by Texas Monthly Magazine for 2017 in the area of Criminal Law. Both was have been presented with this recognition every year since 2008 for Wes & 2009 for Don. Both Wes & Don also have the privilege of being rated AV Preeminent (5.0) by Martindale Hubbell, the leading attorney review organization.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Relief on its way for those with low level DWI convictions in Texas to have their records sealed (non-disclosed). Up to this time, these criminal convictions were matters of public record permanently. New law effective September 1st.

The basic eligibility requirements are:

1. Must be a class B misdemeanor DWI (alcohol level below 0.15 offense of conviction).

2. Must have no other convictions or deferred probations (except class C traffic violations).

3. Must have been placed on probation and successfully completed probation. (jail sentence or labor detail in lieu of jail sentence will not qualify).

4. There must have been no automobile accident involving another person (includes passenger).

There are 2 waiting periods to file for this record sealing. If the probation required an Interlock for at least 6 months, you can file 2 years following successful competion of the probation.

If the probation did not require an Interlock, then you can file 5 years following successful completion of probation.

For those currently charged with DWI that are considering a plea agreement, they should be mindful that a labor detail (available in Tarrant County and a limited number of counties) will prohibit this relief. It becomes more important to avoid a conviction for class A (BAC over 0.15) DWI. It may be advisable for those that want to have the conviction sealed as soon as possible to agree to an Interlock for at least 6 months. Defense attorneys need to be aware of these changes when advising their clients so that this opportunity is not missed.

At Ball & Hase, PC, Wes & Don are available to consult with those who have DWI convictions in their pasts to determine eligibility. For those that are eligible, we can file the petition in court to obtain this relief. If this may apply to you or someone you know call 817-860-5000.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Wes Ball secured dismissal of a Capital Murder case this week. Texas law does not permit the conviction of a citizen based on the uncorroborated testimony of a criminal codefendant. This protection has existed in Texas law for many years. It prevents wrongful convictions based on less than credible evidence.
Add a comment...

Kudos to prosecutors that have an understanding of human frailties. Client who typically carries large sums of money from his business to his bank forget he is carrying a pistol when he heads to the airport to go see his wife. He is a frequent flyer. The forgotten pistol is of course discovered in his bag at airport security. TSA summons law enforcement some of whom appear sympathetic on body-cams and others not so sympathetic to his protestations of forgetfulness. They arrest him and take him to the cross bar hotel.

He posts bail. The charge can actually be a felony under the Texas Penal Code. The local DA has a practice in most cases of filing a misdemeanor. In the end, the prosecutor on the now misdemeanor agrees to cut the charges down to basically a traffic ticket type offense, we pay some fees, go to a class & stay out of trouble for a short period and case will be dismissed and we can get the whole thing expunged as though it never happened. The right result for a good guy who just made a mistake.

Add a comment...

Local police agencies, mostly one, have vice divisions that have been engaging in the practice of raiding convenience stores that have 8-liner machines on the premise that they are "gambling devices" and arresting the owners. These machines are not per se illegal and usually have State Comptroller Tax Stickers on them showing they are registered and taxes are being paid on them. Also, it is typical that the business owners don't own the machines which are placed by a 3rd party vendor. The machines are only unlawful if their payout per bet ratio reaches a certain amount. The payout ratio is typically unknown to the innocent business owner who was arrested.

I just concluded two similar cases for two different clients where the District Attorney moved to dismiss all charges. I am now working on getting the tens of thousands of dollars that the law enforcement agency essentially took without legal authority that were funds used in these businesses and had nothing to do with the machines. I see complete victory on its way. I think these vice officers have nothing important to do but conduct raids on convenience stores wearing ski masks and SWAT jackets and brandishing assault rifles like they were raiding ISIS headquarters, scaring the customers at the Slurpee machines. Ridiculous behavior. Stick to picking up hookers you lure off of Backpage.

Add a comment...

Don Hase scored a victory in the Texas Second Court of Appeals yesterday. The Court reversed a conviction and sent the case back to the trial court for a new trial. The appeal was based on the disallowance by the presiding (visiting) judge of cross examination of the State's main witness. At trial Don sought to present testimony from the complainant herself (date rape allegation) that she was under the influence of a number of substances that would affect her ability to recall the events. The visiting judge disallowed this evidence that would have likely influenced the decision of the jury and created substantial doubt about her foggy claims. Don's perseverance and skilled trial and appellate work put this client on the way to clearing his name. Case is J.G. v. State of Texas No. 02-15-00416-CR.

I have spent many hours defending a client who owns a convenience store and has worked hard to be able to do so and support his family. A third party vendor placed 2 8-liner machines in his business representing to him that they were perfectly legal. On each machine was a Texas State Comptroller's Office tax sticker showing taxes being paid to the State on these machines.

Without going into all of the details a local police department whose name rhymes with Darlington rushed in with SWAT officer, guns drawn and ski masks to execute a gambling search warrant. The problem is that 8-liners are not per se illegal, only if they are programmed in a manner where the payoff percentage is above a certain amount. Of course, my client never played the machines and had no idea they were programmed in an unlawful fashion..

Finally a diligent Asst. DA spent time on the case and ultimately dismissed it. The really funny thing is that he had the police detective interview a store employee in an effort to gather more information regarding what my client knew about the machines. The employee/witness was interviewed with legal counsel at the police department and the interview was video recorded. Much to everyone's astonishment, the detective comes in the interview room wearing a ski mask. On top of this lunacy, he then reaches his hand out to the witness to shake her hand and introduces himself by name..."Hi, I am Detective C***les." (there goes the mystery). You can't make this stuff up. Had the case gone to trial as opposed to being dismissed, someone would have had to advise the detective that we would be able to see him.

Recent jury selection in a State felony case revealed my worst fears concerning the Donald Trump style hatred toward Mexican nationals. Prospective juror (female) raised her hand to ask a question concerning why client who was wearing headphones for translation of the legal proceedings in his language (Spanish). She wanted to know if he was in the United States legally. I replied she would likely never be informed regarding that issue as the trial was about whether he had committed the felony with which he was charged.

The lady told me that if I did not prove he was lawfully in the United States, that she would hold it against him and would conclude that he was guilty of the felony offense with which he was charged. So not only did she want to know, she put the burden of proof on the defense to show the client's lawful status which is not an element of the offense charged. Needless to say, she was shown the way out. The worry is that a fair percentage of Americans feel this way which is a nightmare for Spanish speaking clients, or even clients of Hispanic origin who are accused of violating the law. We live in a different world.

The Honorable John McBryde, United States District Judge Northern District of Texas is known for tough sentencing.  Last week with a guideline range of 121 to 151 months and all objections to the PSR overruled,  a thorough sentencing memorandum secured a downward variance and a 72 month sentence.  Prison sentences are no fun, but give the evidence, law and jurist, I was relieved.  I am a firm believer in the value of sentencing memoranda.  Justice and fairness were done.
Wes Ball
Wait while more posts are being loaded