In case you live in a bubble, on February 5, 2017, Houston will host the 51st NFL Super Bowl. While the game will attract millions of worldwide viewers, it is the events leading up to the game that will draw the most attention. Houstonia Magazine has been running a feature, highlighting everything you need to know in preparation for Super Bowl LI. Perhaps more important than the parties is understanding what to do when the wheels come off during one. So if you or your mate’s motto is “bad decisions make for good stories”, keep reading.
First Quarter: 5th Amendment.
You didn’t plan on being out long, but you bumped into Johnny Football. Before long, you’re dropping your flag football college intramural stats. Next thing you know someone in his entourage hands you a shot. And another. And another. Time flies when you are partying with JFF and now it’s 2:00 AM. Uber is running 5X their normal rate and, besides, you feel invincible. You hop in your car to head home. It’s just a few blocks away, but valet turned your auto lights off and the eyes of Texas are now staring down upon you. Red and blue flashing lights appear in your rear-view mirror. Two officers approach your driver side window. “You had anything to drink tonight?”
You have the right to remain silent, but you also need the ability. Know that anything you say will be used against you. Remember two lines: “Am I free to leave?” If the answer is “yes”, leave. If the answer is “no”, then “I’d be happy to cooperate with my attorney present.” No more, no less.
You drop $250 for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to attend the Playboy Party. You’ve fallen in love eight times tonight, but the ninth time it’s for real. That is until some bro slides in on your wife-to-be. Words turn to insults. Insults turn to shoving. Unknown to your adversary, you’ve been trained by Miyagi Dojo and unleash a crane kick in the middle of the crowd. Of course, crane kicks are better suited for 1980s Hollywood, and yours lands on the face of wife-to-be number nine. “That’s assault Brotha” and the men in blue have taken notice. Walking away in cuffs, you get the attention of your buddy, “get me outta here.”
There are 2 ½ options for bail in Harris County:
(1) Post a Surety Bond: Contact a bonding agency or Harris County criminal defense attorney who will cover the bond for a fee of approximately 10-15% of the total bond, So if the bond was $20,000, you would pay $2000 to the bondsman and he would cover the total bond. The $2000 fee is non-refundable.
(2) Post a Cash Bond: If you post a Cash bond, you will pay 100% of the bond amount. For example, if the Bond is $500, you pay $500. If the bond is $10,000, you would pay $10,000. Once the person’s case is disposed of or complete, the amount posted will be refunded.
To post a cash bond:
- Go to the Jail Public Information Inquiry or call the Jail Information Line at 713-247-5400 / 713-837 – 0311 and type in the necessary information.
- Print the search result page or write down the person’s location, arrest number, name and date of birth.
- For any offense greater than a Class B Misdemeanor take cash along with your photo ID to 49 San Jacinto, Houston, TX 77002 (phone: 713-755-8040). Be prepared to wait in line.
(1/2) Hope for a Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond: a PR bond is where the person is released upon his or her own promise to appear. These bonds are reserved for low-level, low-risk persons with no criminal history. Neither a bondsman nor a cash bond is needed for release. While still unique in Harris County (hence the ½), these bonds are gaining traction.
Bail has been posted, you have been processed and 6-8 hours later you are saying goodbye to your new jailhouse friends. You are dazed. You are confused. You are tired and you are hungry. If anything, keep track of your bond papers. On them, you will find your court number, court date, and court time. In Harris County, the court date could be as soon as the next day. Don’t be late for court, your bond may be revoked. Time to lawyer up.
Fourth Quarter: Odds and Ends
Phone Call: In jail, there will be phone access. If you receive a collect call, answer it and keep it simple. These phone calls are recorded. If the person in jail is calling your cell phone, you’ll need to set up an account at www.GTL.net in order for them to get through to you.
Vehicle Towed: If the person was arrested for an incident involving a car, it was likely towed away. Call the Wrecker tow line, 713-308-8580, or go to houstonpolice.Org, Find my Towed Car, where you can search by license plate and/or VIN number.
If you learn there is no bond (i.e. the person is on probation for another case, on bond for another case, violent charges, or the person is considered a flight-risk) contact a Harris County Criminal Defense Attorney, who will get a bond set (same advice applies if an extremely high bond is set).
Harris County Criminal Justice Map:
Anyone watch ESPN’s NFL Monday Night Countdown? Have you seen the segment “c’mon man?” The main cast criticizes boneheaded plays that occurred in sports the previous days.
If there was a “C’mon Man” for forensic science, DPS would receive plenty of air time. It’s the usual song and dance with DPS; ignore fundamental principles of forensic testing while simultaneously claiming DWI results aren’t impacted.
1) Breath Test Inspections? We don’t need those.
In a letter dated April 2, 2020, DPS made the decision to suspend monthly onsite inspections of breath test machines. This decision is contrary to their own standard operating procedures and has left breath test results largely unchecked since the aforementioned letter. No inspections, no solution changes, no cleaning, no thank you!
2) Refrigerator Down
Biological evidence, like food, like milk needs to be stored properly. For blood, that means refrigerated at 4 degrees celsius. However, on the weekend of 05/30/20 to 06/01/20 a DPS employee arrived to learn that a refrigerator was down impacting 800+ blood kits. DPS fails to provide an actual temperature, but goes on to state the results are still valid.
Huh? If you made chicken salad on Friday, put it into the refrigerator, left for the weekend and returned to find out your refrigerator was no longer working would you serve your family the chicken salad? Of course you wouldn’t. You’d toss it out. Just as these blood vials should be.
DWI jury trials can’t start up soon enough!
Recently a former police officer wrote an article discussing police culture. His hope, as he put it, if the truth came “straight from the pig’s mouth” maybe folks would listen.
The jist of it, cops lie.
It begins in training where officers are bombarded with videos portraying colleagues getting shot and seriously injured on duty. Backed by the motto, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6,” officers are brainwashed everyone is out to kill them. Their safe place is their fellow officers, with whom they should do anything for, even if it includes lying, covering up, or turning the other cheek. Right from the beginning young officers develop an “us against the world” mentality.
Over time officers, even begin to desire violence. A disturbing game within the department, where those who have killed encourage first kills.
The officer goes on to give hard examples of police lying, including:
- Lying about the law;
- Lying about what cops can do to you;
- Lying about their own fear to justify using force against you;
- Lying about police reports;
- Lying in police reports;
- Lying they will “put in a good word for you with the DA”
- Lying if you cooperate it will “look good”
- Lying about what they see to conduct an unlawful search;
- Lying about what they hear to conduct an unlawful search;
- Lying about what a witness said;
- Lying about not arresting you if you’re “honest”
- Lying about what they smell to search containers
- Lying about what they can charge you with.
In calling for change, the writer incudes a laundry list of serious problems within the departments. Like a flesh eating virus eating away one’s skin from the inside-out, the disturbing footage we ultimately see, begins early on within the ranks. A system the cop calls “broken beyond repair.”
Adding to the fuel (and less spoken about) a separate article addresses prosecutors. Specifically, the many prosecutors that enable this police conduct by either not holding them accountable or even endorsing their unlawful behavior.
The bottom line, is the system is flawed, very flawed. It is unknown what changes will come, but by knowing your rights, you can protect yourself. So what should you do if you find yourself in such a situation?
- Record (you have every right);
- Request, If you are free to leave; If yes, leave. If no say, “I’d be happy to cooperate with my attorney present.”
- Refrain from talking.
When you implement these rights the officer must stop asking you questions and has a choice to either arrest you (if he or she has enough evidence) or let you go.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has recently release proposed regulations for the manufacturing, processing, distributing, and retail sale of consumable hemp products. While the draft is yet final, it does give a preview of what hemp & cbd businesses can expect to produce in order to receive a proper license and what Texas hemp & cbd license attorneys will need to file a complete application
Texas Consumable Hemp & CBD License Checklist
1) Application for Manufacturing, Processing, Distribution
- Legal description of EACH location – including the GPS coordinates (this includes each manufacturing, processing, and storage facility);
- Written consent from the property owner (if the applicant is not the property owner) allowing DPS (or any other state or local law enforcement agency) to enter to inspect;
- A fingerprint-based criminal background check from each applicant (ineligible if felony controlled substance conviction within 10 years);
- Name of license applicant;
- Business name (if different than applicant);
- Mailing address of the business;
- Street address of the facility;
- Primary business contact telephone number;
- Personal email address of the applicant;
- Email address of the business (if different than the applicant’s email)
- If a person owns or operates two or more facilities, each facility shall be licensed separately by listing the name and address of each facility on SEPERATE application forms;
- All Fees must be submitted with the application
- Manufacturing, Processing, Distributing Application Fees: $250 for EACH facility
2) Application for Retail Consumable Hemp & CBD
- Applications must be submitted by the owner, operator, OR owner designee and shall contain the following information:
- Business name;
- Mailing address of facility;
- Street address of each location;
- Primary business contact telephone number;
- Phone number for each location;
- Primary business email address
- All fees must be submitted with the application
- Retail Application Fee: $150 for EACH location
Feel free to contact our Cannabis Law Firm to assist you and your business with any hemp & CBD needs at 713-568-7011 or 713-237-8380. You may also email us at [email protected]
Assaults and domestic violence crimes in particular have always been hot topic crimes. Per the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) on average there are nearly thirteen million incidents per year of domestic violence.
Even so, assault and domestic violence incidents are on the rise, receiving a boost as the nation comes to grip with pandemic caused isolation. Isolation, financial concerns, employment concerns and family concerns are all heightened creating a perfect storm of sorts for an increase in domestic abuse and domestic violence.
If you find yourself in such a situation this is what you need to know.
The Law in Texas for Domestic Violence
There are a number of different Texas assault laws, but for purposes of this article, we will focus on Texas Penal Code Section 22.01 (Assault) which states:
*If you’re not interested in the statutory language of the law, scroll down for a summary)
Sec. 22.01. ASSAULT. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse; (2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or(3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative. (b) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed against:(2) a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code, if:(A) it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19 (murder), or Section 20.03 (kidnapping), 20.04 (aggravated kidnapping), 21.11 (indecency with a child), or 25.11 (continuous violence against the family) against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code; or(B) the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth;(7) a person the actor knows is pregnant at the time of the offense.(b-2) Notwithstanding Subsection (b)(1), an offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a felony of the second degree if the offense is committed against a person the actor knows is a peace officer or judge while the officer or judge is lawfully discharging an official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a peace officer or judge.(b-3) Notwithstanding Subsection (b)(2), an offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a felony of the second degree if:(1) the offense is committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code;(2) it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, or 21.11 against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code; and(3) the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth. (f) For the purposes of Subsections (b)(2)(A) and (b-3)(2):(1) a defendant has been previously convicted of an offense listed in those subsections committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code, if the defendant was adjudged guilty of the offense or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere in return for a grant of deferred adjudication, regardless of whether the sentence for the offense was ever imposed or whether the sentence was probated and the defendant was subsequently discharged from community supervision; and(2) a conviction under the laws of another state for an offense containing elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense listed in those subsections is a conviction of the offense listed.
Summary of domestic assault law: if you are suspected of domestic assault you can be charged with a class A misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail), a 3rd degree felony (up to 10 years in prison) (e.g. choking, pregnant victim, or previous assault conviction), or a 2nd degree felony (up to 20 years in prison) (e.g. choking + previous assault conviction). Serious stuff.
When the Police Come Out on a Domestic Abuse Call
In most instances the police are called out to the location of the reported domestic assault. This could be by the alleged victim, an eye witness, or a neighbor who overhears the commotion to name a few.
When the police arrive they are going to want to speak to the alleged victim, and you (if you are still on location). The police are most likely mic’ed up and wearing body cameras. This is important to know because whatever is said locks that person into the statement/s. In the heat of the moment with emotions running high, people typically aren’t at their best and have been known to say some outlandish, inconsistent stuff. We have even seen cases where the alleged victim, who initially called the police, talked their way into becoming the person arrested. Domestic assault crimes are often he said, she said situations where the officer subjectively concludes who is at fault. Many times when officer’s are dispatched to a location, the dispatcher has already given the officer a description of the “suspect”. In other officers subconsciously have already concluded who is at fault and if you are the suspect, anything you say will be later used against you.
If You Have Been Charged or Arrested For Assault
If you are not at the scene when the police arrive a warrant may be issued for your arrest. If this is the case, you need to contact a lawyer who can guide you through the process of lifting the warrant.
If you are arrested for domestic violence you will be taken down to the county jail and eventually appear in front of magistrate (judge). The magistrate will determine whether to give you a personal recognizance bond or a surety bond. A magistrate will also likely issue a emergency protective order.
What is an Emergency Protective Order in a Family Violence Case
To protect the alleged victim, the magistrate may (shall if a deadly weapon or serious bodily injury is involved) order the arrested person not to:
- commit additional family violence;
- stalk another person, including the victim;
- communicate directly or indirectly in a threatening or harassing manner with a member of the victim’s family or household (including the victim);
- go near the residence, work place, residence, school, or child-care facility of thevictim or a member of the victim’s family or household. possess a firearm (unless the alleged offender works full time as a licensed peace officer) for the duration of the order.
You will also be given your first court date, location, and time. At your first court date a judge may order additional no contact orders and then your case will be reset for three to four weeks.
Finding the Right Domestic Violence and Abuse Criminal Defense Attorney
1. Your Lawyer, should be a Criminal Defense Lawyer.
That is, your criminal defense lawyer should primarily practice criminal defense. You would not see an orthopedic surgeon if you were having heart problems, and you shouldn’t see a family lawyer or civil lawyer with your life, liberty, and freedom on the line.
2. Your Lawyer, should be a Criminal Defense Lawyer with experience in beating assault and domestic abuse cases.
3. Your Criminal Defense Domestic Violence Attorney should come with board certification.
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization was established by the State bar of Texas and certifies twenty-one select areas of law. Of the nearly 100,000 attorneys in Texas, only 7,000 are board certified. This recognized specialization exists to acknowledge the most qualified attorneys in their respective area of law.
4. Your Criminal Defense Assault Attorney should be active in relevant defense organizations.
Any lawyer who is serious about their occupation and in turn serious about the results achieved will be active in organizations related to their craft. In Houston there is the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. In Texas there is the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Nationally there is the National Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. All of the above organizations provide guidance, assistance and support to criminal defense lawyers seeking to obtain the best possible results.
5. Your Criminal Defense Domestic Abuse Lawyer should be able to show you results.
It’s easy to talk a big game, but in this industry, it is the results that matter. Ask if the attorney has handled similar cases. Ask if the attorney can show you results from similar cases. A good criminal defense lawyer will be able to back up his or her results. How long has the firm been in business? A good criminal law firm will have continued business because their clients walk away satisfied, and subsequently refer new clients.
6. How much is the legal fee?
The all important question and unfortunately all too often the leading reason a person hires a particular lawyer. Understand lawyers, like cars, come in all different shapes, sizes, abilities and price. While you should seek the best criminal lawyer you can afford, you should not seek the cheapest. You get what you pay for! Think about it, an attorney’s fee reflects the confidence in that attorney’s ability. If they are cheap then they probably don’t place much value in their time, effort, or ability. If they are more expensive, the opposite holds true. While you may not be able to afford the most expensive attorney in town, you should expect to hire the most expensive criminal lawyer you can afford. You will thank yourself in the end.
Assault Criminal Lawyer Fee Arrangements.
Assault defense lawyer fees vary depending on many factors such as the nature and seriousness of the charge/s, the number of charges, the county the charges are pending, the stage of the charges, any prior criminal charges or convictions, and more.
The Non-Trial Criminal Attorney Fee
In a typical situation a person contacts an assault criminal lawyer because they have a warrant out for their arrest or they have been arrested and now out on bond. In these instances, most attorneys will charge a flat non-trial fee. Because of the stakes, and unlike divorce lawyers (hourly legal fee) or civil plaintiff lawyers (contingent fee), domestic violence criminal law firms choose flat fees because they typically know not only how much work is necessary to get the required result, but also understand the client and the client’s family have enough to worry about other than how much a phone call to their attorney is going to cost them. Flat fees eliminate grey area and has proven to be the best criminal lawyer fee structure.
While it will vary amongst lawyers, non-trial flat fees typically cover court appearances, client meetings, discussions and plea bargaining with the prosecutors, and pre-trial motions.
The Assault Attorney Trial Fee
Should the case eventually get to where the prosecutor is not willing to dismiss the assault case and you do not want to accept the deal the prosecutor is offering, the case will be set for trial. At this time, most assault lawyers will require additional legal fees or what is commonly referred to as a trial fee. Prior to hiring your criminal assault lawyer you should discuss the anticipated cost should the case have to go to trial.
Other Fee Factors to Know
- While most criminal attorneys break their fees down into non-trial and trial-fees, we are aware of some defense attorneys who do not do so, choosing instead to combine both the pre-trial and trial fee into one lump sum.
- Watch out for attorneys who charge by the court appearance (e.g. $250 per court appearance). No reputable criminal attorney we are aware of structures their legal fees this way.
- Depending on the type of case there can also be additional legal fees in the form of investigation fees. expert witness fees, record sealing or record erasing fees, bond violation fees, pretrial intervention violation, deferred adjudication violations, or probation violation fees (for example a battered spouse expert may be necessary in an assault case).
- Lastly, if you have not been arrested, but have been contacted by a police officer and are concerned, a criminal lawyer may charge an investigation fee. Often, if you retain a criminal attorney to contact the officer he or she may be able to keep charges from being filed or to convince the investigating officer to file less serious charges. While it does not mean your case is doomed if you have already spoken with the police, it is best to never speak to the police if you are under investigation or if you believe you may be under investigation. If you are caught off guard, it is best to tell the police “you’d be happy to cooperate with your attoney present.” You need not say anymore or less and you need to stick to your guns. Police are legally allowed to lie to try and get you to talk. Know your constitutionally protected rights and engage those rights.
If you have been charged with an assault, you should exhaust all resources to get the best domestic violence criminal defense attorney you can afford. Whether you like it or not, whether you are willing to accept it or not, the truth about the criminal justice system is that it is a money system. Those that can gather the finances are able to deploy more lawyers, more resources, and more tools to defeat the assault charges. That is the goal to win. Because of the grave consequences an assault conviction can carry, like loss of employment, divorce issues, custody issues, enhancements and stiffer penalties, etc. it is imperative you find the best assault criminal defenses lawyer you can afford!
Appearing For Court in an Assault Case
As previously mentioned your first court date will likely end in being reset for three to four weeks. You can expect this to occur a few times, especially if you are in it to get the best possible result. Like a fine wine, assault cases tend to garner better results over time. There are a number of reasons for this and your domestic violence attorney can explain the reasons to you.
Make sure you know where your court location is and that you show up on time and properly dressed (think Sunday’s best). When you arrive, have a seat in the courtroom and your attorney will arrive shortly to speak with the court, prosecutors.
How to Beat the Domestic Violence Charge
The goal in any domestic violence case is to win. That is, to get the charges dismissed and our attorneys at the Adamo & Adamo Criminal Defense Law Firm have received many dismissals in domestic violence cases.
Getting the Assault case dismissed based on legal reasons
- Witness recants;
- 911 call inadmissible;
- 911 caller did not see the alleged assault;
- Key witness not credible;
- Key witness unavailable.
Getting the Domestic Violence Case Dismissed, Mitigation Reasons
Young age of accused;
No prior criminal history of accused;
Accused is the sole provider for family;
Loss of employment if convicted;
Mental history of accused;
And much more.
Sam Adamo Jr. is an attorney at The Adamo & Adamo Criminal Defense Law Firm, a Houston based, family-owned law firm nationally known for high quality criminal defense.
Today, effective at 11:59 pm, the county judge ordered a shelter-in-place or lockdown. While the order lists a number of provisions, because we are criminal defense attorneys we are concerned with:
Thus it is now $1000 short of a DWI to break lockdown:
Here is the authority:
Sec. 418.173. PENALTY FOR VIOLATION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN. (a) A state, local, or interjurisdictional emergency management plan may provide that failure to comply with the plan or with a rule, order, or ordinance adopted under the plan is an offense.
(b) The plan may prescribe a punishment for the offense but may not prescribe a fine that exceeds $1,000 or confinement in jail for a term that exceeds 180 days.
The concern is, it seems, police can now yield a broad sword in approaching persons out and about.
Stay safe. Stay fresh. Stay clean.
The Harris County Joint Processing Center (JPC) where people are brought after an arrest will refuse to book anyone accused of a non-violent misdemeanor, except DWIs or if there is reason to believe the person is an immediate threat to society’s safety.
In situations involving a non arrestable crime, people we be cited and released with a future court date to appear in court.
The Harris County Sheriff Office will only be confirming warrants for felonies and misdemeanors involving violence against a person.
I am not a doctor. I am lawyer and despite popular belief, i am a human being. Like you, i have family, friends, and colleagues i care about and want to protect. I am also a Houstonian, born and raised. I have recent accounts of Houstonians putting aside differences and laying it all on the line to band together for the greater good; for the well being of this great city. It’s time to do it again. Distance yourself. Be prepared, not panicked. Quit buying hundreds of rolls of toilet paper. Be a human being. If you’re young, help an elder. Support local restaurants and businesses through gift cards. Urge county commissioners to encourage county employees to work from home and pay them. Short of potential meds or a miracle vaccine, it is incumbent on us to do what is necessary to flatten the peak; to bide our doctor’s time. Take it personal; save a life.
In an effort to assist, i have compiled information gathered from various sources written by folks who know much more than I when it comes to infectious diseases. I’ll update as I can. Hope it helps.
Below are some practical social distancing tips from a physician at the Harvard School of Public Health.
I know there is some confusion about what to do next in the midst of this unprecedented time of a pandemic, school closures, and widespread social disruption.
What I can say as a physician and public health leader, is that what we do, or don’t do, over the next week will have a massive impact on the local and perhaps national trajectory of coronavirus. We are only about 11 days behind Italy and generally on track to repeat what is unfortunately happening there, as well as much of the rest of Europe very soon. At this point, containment through contact tracing and testing is only part of the necessary strategy. We must move to pandemic mitigation through widespread, uncomfortable, and comprehensive social distancing. That means not only shutting down schools, work (as much as possible), group gatherings, and public events. It also means making daily choices to stay away from each other as much as possible to Flatten The Curve.
Our health system will not be able to cope with the projected numbers of people who will need acute care should we not muster the fortitude and will to socially distance each other starting now. On a regular day, we have about 45k ICU beds nationally, which can be ramped up in a crisis to about 93k. Even moderate projections suggest that if current infectious trends hold, our capacity (locally and nationally) may be overwhelmed as early as mid-late April. Thus, the only set of interlinked strategies that can get us off this concerning trajectory is to work together as a community to maintain public health by staying apart.
So what does this enhanced form of social distancing mean on a daily basis, when schools are cancelled?
1. No playdates, parties, sleepovers, or families visiting each other’s houses. This sounds extreme because it is. We are trying to create distance between family units and between individuals across those family units. It is uncomfortable, especially for families with small children or for kids who love to play with their friends. But even if you choose only one friend to have over, you are creating new links and possibilities for the type of transmission that all of our school/work/public event closures are trying to prevent. The symptoms of coronavirus take 4-5 days to manifest themselves. Someone who comes over looking well can transmit the virus. Sharing food is particularly risky – I definitely do not recommend that people do so outside of their family. We have already taken extreme social measures to address this serious disease – let’s not actively co-opt our efforts by having high levels of social interaction at people’s houses instead of the schools. Again – the wisdom of early and aggressive social distancing is that it can flatten the curve above, give our health system a chance to not be overwhlemed, and eventually may reduce the length and need for longer periods of extreme social distancing later (see what has transpired in Italy and Wuhan). We need to all do our part during these times, even if it means some discomfort.
2. Take walks/runs outside, but maintain distance (ideally 6 feet between people outside your family). Try not to use public facilities like playground structures as coronavirus can live on plastic and metal for up to 3 days, and these structures aren’t getting regularly cleaned. Try not to have physical contact with people outside of your family. Going outside will be important during these strange times, and the weather is improving. Go outside every day if you can but stay physically away from others. Try not to have kids play with each other (even outside) if that means direct physical contact. Even basketball or soccer involve direct contact and cannot be recommended. If people wish to go outside and have a picnic with other families, I strongly recommend keeping distance of at least 6 feet, not sharing any food at all, and not having direct physical contact. Invariably, that is hard with kids, so these shared, “distant” picnics may be tricky. Do not visit nursing homes or other areas where large numbers of the elderly reside, as they are at highest risk for complications and mortality from coronavirus. We need to find alternate ways to reduce social isolation in these communities through virtual means instead of physical in-person visits.
3. Reduce the frequency of going to stores/restaurants/coffee shops for the time being. Of course trips to the grocery store will be necessary, but try to limit them and go at times when less busy. Consider wearing gloves (not medical – but perhaps washable) and of course washing hands before and after really well. Leave the medical masks and gloves for the medical professionals – we need them. Maintain social distance from folks. Take-out meals and food are riskier than making food at home given the links between the people who prepare food, transport the food, and you. It is hard to know how much that risk is, but it is is certainly higher than making it at home.
4. If you are sick, definitely stay home and contact a medical professional. If you are sick, you should try isolate yourself from the rest of your family within your house as best as you can. If you have questions about whether you qualify or should get a coronavirus test, you can call you primary care doctor or the health dept. Don’t just walk in to an ambulatory clinic – call first. Obviously if it is an emergency call 911.
5. We need to push our local, state, and national leaders to close ALL schools, events, gatherings, and public spaces now. A local, town by town response won’t have the needed effect. We need a statewide, nationwide approach in these trying times. Contact your representative and the governor to urge them to enact statewide closures. As of today, 6 states had already done so. We should be one of them. Also urge them to fund emergency preparedness and make increasing coronavirus testing capacity an immediate and top priority.
I realize there is a lot built into these suggestions, and that they represent a real burden for many people, businesses, and communities. Social distancing is hard and may negatively impact others, especially those who face vulnerablities in our society. I recognize that there is structural and social inequity built in and around social distancing recommendations. We can and must take steps to bolster our community response to people who face food insecurity, domestic violence, and housing challenges, along with the many other social inequities.
I also realize that not everyone can do everything. But we have to try our absolute best as a community, starting today. It is a public health imperative. If we don’t do this now voluntarily, it will become necessary later involuntarily, when the potential benefits will be much less than doing so right now.
Asaf Bitton MD, MPH
Brigham and Women’s Hospital | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Allergies vs. Flu vs. Corona
If You Think You May Have Coronavirus
Thanks Sarah King Johnson
PSA: I know we’re all tired of hearing/talking about it, but one thing I HAVEN’T really seen going around is advice for what happens if you DO get Coronavirus (many of us will), we’re only seeing advice for how to try to AVOID it. So as your friendly neighborhood RN, here we go:
Things you should *actually* buy ahead of time (Um, not sure what the obsession with toilet paper is??): Kleenex, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) in 325 mg tablets, Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) in 200 mg tablets, Mucinex, Robitussin or DayQuil/NyQuil, whatever your cough medicine of choice is. A real oral thermometer because we are in a game for guessing.
If you don’t have a cool vapor humidifier, that would also be a good thing to get. (You can also just turn the shower on hot & sit in the bathroom breathing in the steam). Also a good time to make a big batch of your favorite soup to freeze & have on hand.
If you have a history of Asthma & you have a prescription inhaler, make sure the one you have isn’t expired & refill it/get a new one if it is.
You basically just want to prepare as though you know you’re going to get a nasty respiratory bug like Bronchitis or Pneumonia. You just have the foresight to know it’s coming. Prepare.
For symptom management, use the meds I mentioned. For a fever over 101, alternate Tylenol & Advil so you’re taking a dose of one or the other every 3 hours. In the ER we dose healthy adults (those with it liver or kidney issues) with 1000mg of Tylenol and 800mg of Motrin every 6-8hrs. That’s dosed timing Tylenol to Tylenol and Motrin to Motrin. You can stagger the doses to keep fever down. Use both cough suppressants & expectorants (most cough meds have both). Drink a ton of water, hydrate hydrate. Rest lots.
If you’re sick, you should NOT be leaving your house except to go to the doctor (call ahead) You DO NOT NEED TO GO TO THE ER unless you are having trouble breathing or your fever is very high & unmanaged with meds. I cannot stress this enough. Take the meds. We will believe you and test you the same if you tell us you’ve been running fevers at home. Do not let yourself become septic to prove to healthcare that you’re sick!!
The CDC is still trying to figure out how this virus spreads (Community Spread, Contact &/or Droplet). ALWAYS wash your hands.
90% of healthy adult cases thus far have been managed at home with basic rest/hydration/over-the-counter meds. We don’t want to clog the ERs unless you’re actually in distress. The hospital beds will be used for people who actively need Oxygen/breathing treatments/IV Fluids.
If you have a pre-existing lung condition (COPD, Emphysema, Lung Cancer) or are on Immunosuppressants, now is a great time to talk to your PCP or specialist about what they would like you to do if you get sick. They might have plans to get you admitted & bypass the ER entirely.
One major relief to you parents is that kids do VERY well with Coronavirus— they usually bounce back in a few days, no one under 18 has died, & almost no kids have required hospitalization (unless they have a lung disease like CF).
Just use pediatric dosing of the same Tylenol and Motrin. You can also use cool baths to lower temperatures.
Please, please, please just stay home if you are NOT feeling well, whether you think you might have COVID-19 or not. The hand washing and sanitizer isn’t just about protecting you. We should also be protecting the vulnerable. Be respectful and considerate of others. The elderly & the Immunosuppressed are at the highest risk of getting Coronavirus.
As always, the only sources to get real information from should be the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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To be continued . . .
As the nation scrambles to reign in the novel coronavirus (COVED-19), the Adamo & Adamo Law Firm is taking a safe and proactive approach to its impact on the greater Houston area. We make this announcement from our offices, where we will continue to accept new criminal cases and continue to work on our existing client’s criminal matters. At this time we are following best practices to protect both our and our client’s health.
New Criminal Cases
We are encouraging potential new client consultations by email ([email protected]), phone (713-568-7011), facetime, skype, or similar means. All necessary case details and information can be ascertained in this manner and it is a practice we are familiar with and widely use when consulted by clients outside of the greater Houston area. Payment can be made by credit card, debit card, or bank transfer.
Existing Criminal Cases
Our offices and staff are equipped with the latest technology to work remotely and we will continue to work on our client’s cases during this uncertain time from both our offices and homes. We are and will still remain in constant communication with our clients, relevant district attorney offices, investigators, witnesses, etc. As always, your matter is still of high importance. We will provide case and court related updates as needed.
Lastly, wash your hands!
See also Can I go to Jail for Ignoring a Quarantine in Texas for an explanation on relevant quarantine criminal laws.
Thus far, Texas has encouraged individual action, rather than government intervention, to prevent the spread of the corona virus, suggesting measures such as washing your hands, covering your sneezes and coughs, and staying home if you feel symptomatic or ill. You know, the kind of hygiene we should be using everyday.
Government and health officials, however, are preparing for the possibility of an outbreak and if you were too disregard a quarantine you can most definitely expect to be arrested.
In fact, ignoring a Texas quarantine can bring some stiff criminal penalties.
1. Under Texas Health and Safety Code Section 81.085 it is a third degree felony for failing to abide by a quarantine order with a punishment range of two to ten years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine (same punishment range as kidnapping).
2. Under Texas Health & Safety Code Section 81.068, refusing to allow health officials or police officers to enter or inspect a property for possible infection is a Class A misdemeanor punishable up to one year in county jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine (same punishment range as domestic assault).
3. Under Texas Health & Safety Code Section 81.066, knowingly concealing exposure to a communicable disease during an investigation by state or local health officials can be punished by up to 180 days in jail and/or a $2000 fine (same punishment range as driving while intoxicated).The hope for all is that this pandemic subsides and this article was a waste of time to write. In the meantime, though it doesn’t hurt to know disregarding an order to protect Houstonians and Texans can result in an arrest and costly penalties.
Texas officials have seen and expect to see more burglary and family violence cases throughout this pandemic. This of course makes sense given that not only are people losing their jobs and source of incomes, but are cooped up inside with nowhere to go. Stress is running high. Stay safe.
Recently Sam Adamo Jr was asked to give his take on the status of hemp and cbd in Texas.
Also the USDA has approved Texas Hemp plan, now the TDA will adopt these rules and then shortly thereafter licensing will begin. Be ready!