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TX defense lawyerAs is valid in the United States and any civilized society, murder is among the most severe offenses one can be accused of and charged with committing. Yet, if you are convicted of murder in Texas, you may even find yourself on death row.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Texas has carried out more executions than any other state since 1976. Furthermore, Denton County juries have condemned seven individuals to death, six of which have been successfully carried out. In Denton County, the last person to be executed was in 2011. Simply put, Texas takes murder exceptionally seriously. Therefore, if you have been charged with murder, it is strongly advised that you seek counsel immediately, as your life may very well be on the line.

How Are Murder and Capital Murder Defined in Texas?

In Texas, there is murder and capital murder. Firstly, how is murder defined? Murder is when someone deliberately takes another person’s life. You may also be charged with murder if you engage in hazardous conduct intending to injure a person critically and kill them. Other circumstances where someone can be accused of murder is if they are committing or attempting to commit a felony and then decide to flee the scene, killing someone in the process. Such an act qualifies for murder in Texas.

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denton county criminal defense lawyerIn Texas, sexual assault is a grave offense. Furthermore, to be convicted of such an act can be altogether life-shattering. The public view sexual assault as a crime where the accused must be swiftly and aggressively brought to justice. It is the type of crime where, even if the accused is found not guilty, their life may still be ruined for having been associated with such a crime. If you were charged with sexual assault, hiring a criminal defense attorney to defend your rights is imperative.

What Constitutes Sexual Assault?

According to RAINN, every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. An individual can be charged with sexual assault when accused of sexual activity with another person without that person's consent. There are many variables at play in the case of sexual assault. These variables can have a significant impact on the severity of the charge. For example, some variables include the alleged victim's age and whether the accused allegedly used or threatened to use force.

What Are the Penalties for Sexual Assault in Texas?

The penalties for sexual assault in Texas are incredibly severe and, in an instant, can completely ruin your life. Penalties include:

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Denton County criminal defense lawyerCriminal charges should always be taken seriously. Even a "minor" offense can result in multiple types of penalties, and it may leave a person with a criminal record that will follow them for years or even the rest of their life. However, certain types of offenses are especially serious, and a conviction could result in significant jail time, as well as massive fines and permanent damage to a person's reputation.

Violent crimes, which involve causing bodily harm to another person, are often a top priority for law enforcement, and they include assault and robbery. Anyone accused of these offenses will want to work with a criminal defense attorney to determine their best options.

Criminal Convictions for Violent Offenses Resulting in Injury

Because violent crimes involve harm to others, those who are accused of these offenses will often face felony charges, which typically carry a minimum prison sentence of one year. The different types of violent crimes that may be charged when a person injures or harms someone else include:

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Denton County sex crimes attorneyThere are a variety of situations where a person may be accused of committing sex crimes. One of the most common offenses that falls under this category is sexual assault. This charge may apply if a person is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without that person’s consent. However, consent is not always easy to understand, and situations may arise in which a person accused of sexual assault may have believed that consent had been given, but the alleged victim may disagree. By understanding how the laws in Texas address consent, people accused of sexual assault or other sexual offenses can determine their legal options.

When Is Sexual Activity Considered to Be Non-Consensual?

The Texas Penal Code outlines a number of different instances in which sexual activity may be considered to be without consent and constitute sexual assault. Most people would recognize that when physical force is used, this involves a clear lack of consent and constitutes sexual assault. However, other methods of compelling a person to engage in sexual intercourse may also be used, such as threats to injure the victim or someone else or other forms of coercion.

Other situations involving a lack of consent may include cases where a person is physically unable to resist or is unaware that sexual activity is occurring. These cases often involve intoxication due to the use of alcohol or drugs. In some cases, a person may be accused of intentionally causing the alleged victim to become intoxicated, such as through the use of “date rape” drugs. If the alleged victim did not explicitly consent to engage in sexual activity, any sexual acts performed while they were unconscious or intoxicated may be considered sexual assault.

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Denton County criminal defense attorneyUnder Texas law, assault is defined in Texas law as intentionally or recklessly causing or threatening harm to or offensive contact with another person. The terms “assault” and “battery” are often used interchangeably. In some states, the offense of “battery” refers to conduct that results in actual bodily injury, but Texas does not recognize battery as an offense separate from assault. Instead, the offense of assault encompasses most behaviors that constitute battery in other jurisdictions.

A person can be charged with assault even if they do not hurt the other person. Verbal threats, threatening gestures, or contact that is offensive, such as poking someone in the chest or shoving him or her backward, may lead to assault charges. As such, many people find themselves facing assault charges because they got into a heated argument with a family member or friend. Bar fights or altercations in public can also lead to assault charges. If you or a loved one have been charged with assault, speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you build a strong defense to fight the charges.

Acting in Self Defense in Texas

People have the right to defend themselves against those who mean them harm. Unfortunately, some individuals find themselves in handcuffs for simply trying to protect themselves. According to the Texas Penal Code, an individual is justified in using force against another if he or she reasonably believes that the force is needed for protection. However, the force must be reasonable considering the circumstances.

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Denton criminal defense attorneyIt has been a fun night out enjoying some drinks with friends at a local bar. You make the right decision and decide not to drive home, fearing you would be driving while intoxicated. But can you still be arrested for public intoxication when you are walking down the street? It is important to know your rights and when you may be committing an offense. If you have been arrested for public intoxication, an experienced defense attorney can fight this permanent mark on your record.

When Is Being Drunk in Public a Crime?

Under Texas’ public intoxication laws, it is illegal to be intoxicated in public when you may be a danger to yourself or the people around you. If you are walking home, not falling over, and not trying to pick a fight with passersby, then you are not breaking the law. This includes your actions in places considered to be public, such as bars, parks, restaurants, and hospitals.

If you do cross the line and your drunken behavior attracts the attention of law enforcement, you may be charged with public intoxication, which is a Class C misdemeanor. The penalty is a fine of up to $500, but it does not carry any jail time. However, this is still not a charge that anyone wants on their criminal record for the rest of their life. Also, you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor if you have more than two public intoxication convictions, risking a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail.

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Denton probation violation attorneyWhether you are on probation in lieu of jail time or are serving out the remainder of a jail sentence under community supervision, violating the terms of your probation could have severe consequences. Depending on the severity of the original crime and the actions that led to your accused probation violation, you could face community service, increased fines, or even being sent back to jail. No matter what circumstances or actions led to the violation of your probation, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer who can help you make your case to the judge.

Probation Violations and Consequences

Being sentenced to probation may seem like a great alternative to spending time behind bars. The justice system recognizes the opportunity you have been given and subsequently imposes terms you must abide by to remain on probation. 

There are a number of actions that could lead to a probation violation. These include:

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Texas dog bite injury lawyerAs you are probably well aware, dog bites can be dangerous in many different ways. While the most severe bites can result in broken bones, disfigurement, and internal injuries, the most common risk is infection. It is important to take immediate action after a dog bites to prevent further health complications. Following medical attention, you may also wish to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer, who can learn about the details of the case and see if your case meets the burden of proof for civil action.

Important Steps to Take After a Dog Bite

Whether it is a dog you know or just encountered, you should make sure any dog bite is treated quickly after it occurs. Here are some important steps to take if you have been bitten:

  • Treat the wound quickly – After suffering a dog bite, you should wash the wound with soap and water. You should then apply an antibiotic cream if you have one and cover the wound in clean, sterile bandages.
  • Call your doctor or visit an emergency room or urgent care center – A trained medical professional can examine the bite, further clean the wound, and prescribe antibiotics if necessary. They can administer a tetanus shot if you need a booster. They will also ask for any information you have about the dog, including whether it is vaccinated against rabies.
  • Watch for signs of infections – Dog bites are known to spread bacteria in up to 50% of cases. People who have diabetes or are immunocompromised are at a higher risk of infection. After being treated by a doctor, make sure you are cleaning your wound regularly and changing the bandages to prevent an infection from occurring.
  • Call a lawyer – If the dog bite was the result of an owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages from the time you are forced to take off work, as well as pain and suffering and emotional distress. For many people, the pain of a dog bite can linger for much longer than the initial attack.

Call a Denton County Dog Bite Lawyer

If you have been the victim of a dog bite, it is time to call a Cooke County, TX personal injury attorney at Marsala Law Group. We can pursue compensation for your economic damages as well as your pain and suffering. In Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations for dog bite cases, so call us today at 940-382-1976 for a free consultation.

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Denton illegal search lawyerThe Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides protection from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. However, it only provides protection from searches and seizures that are deemed unreasonable under the law. One type of search that is not prohibited by the Fourth Amendment is a “protective sweep.”

What Is a Protective Sweep?

Under the Fourth Amendment, the police cannot just enter a person’s home unless they have a warrant to do so. In order to obtain a warrant, law enforcement must show the court there is probable cause of criminal activity to justify that warrant.

Police are allowed to conduct a search without a warrant under the Protective Sweep Doctrine. Under this doctrine, police can conduct a search after they have arrested someone. The purpose of this search is to provide officers a way to ensure their safety, as well as anyone else on the scene, searching for anyone who may pose a threat.

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Texas boating injury lawyerThere are roughly 4,000 boating accidents in the U.S. each year, resulting in the deaths of approximately 500 victims and leaving thousands more injured. In just about every boating accident, there is usually a liable party whose negligent or reckless actions caused the accident and just like in vehicle accidents, Texas law allows those victims to pursue legal action against the at-fault party for financial compensation for the losses their injuries have caused them.

Why Do Boat Accidents Happen?

Statistics show that alcohol is the leading known contributor to boating accidents. In fact, when the cause of the crash was known, alcohol was involved in almost 25 percent of all fatal boat accidents.

But there are other common causes of boating accidents, including the following:

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Denton Tax Fraud LawyerApril 15th has come and gone, our annual reminder that we need to file our income taxes. Some people file early – usually those who are receiving refunds, while others wait until the very last day to file. Those last-minute filers often owe taxes. There are also those who file extension requests because they need more time to get their documents together. The bottom line is, however, that no matter how we feel about our tax obligation, we are legally required to pay our taxes or face serious civil and/or criminal consequences.

Tax Fraud

No matter what the type of tax fraud that is being committed, the IRS has the tools in place where taxpayers can report the fraud directly to them. The agency has different forms that taxpayers can use, depending on what type of tax fraud is being committed. These forms do not require the individual reporting the alleged fraud to identify themselves, however, the IRS does encourage people to do so. Those that do identify themselves may be asked to testify against the party they are reporting should an investigation result in criminal charges being filed. If someone has reported you for tax fraud, contact a white-collar crime attorney immediately.

The following are some of the more common types of illegal activities that are reported to the agency and the form that they are reported on:

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Texas divorce lawyerWhen a couple decides to get a divorce, there are several different ways it can go. While every divorce has their own set of unique circumstances, there are certain constants in the divorce process no matter what has occurred in the couple’s marriage. One constant that anyone who has decided to divorce their spouse should adhere to is seeking out the legal advice of an experienced Texas divorce lawyer, regardless of whether it is a friendly divorce or a contentious one.

Requirements

Before you are even permitted to file for a divorce in Texas, you must meet certain requirements. The primary qualification you must have is residency; Texas mandates that you have lived in the state continuously for at least six months and that at least one of the spouses must have resided in the county in which the divorce is being filed in for a minimum of 90 days. As long as this residency requirement has been met, one of the spouses can file a petition of divorce.

In the petition, the spouse must cite a reason why they are seeking to end the marriage. Although Texas law does not require a person filing for divorce to have an attorney representing them, it is always a smart idea for your own protection to at least consult with an attorney to ensure that you are proceeding correctly.

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Denton County DWI defense lawyerIn Texas, the charges of driving while intoxicated (DWI) are considered very seriously by the courts, and penalties for a conviction are significant. One of the most common ways drivers are arrested for DWI is being stopped by some other traffic violation when the officer suspects they have been drinking. The officer will then proceed with a breathalyzer test and field sobriety tests, which the driver will fail.

While the state of Texas does require drivers to submit to a breathalyzer test (or face serious consequences for refusing), the law does not require drivers to submit to field sobriety tests.

Field Sobriety Tests

There are several types of field sobriety tests that law enforcement use when they suspect a driver has been drinking:

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Denton County criminal defense lawyerWhen people think of drug possession charges, they usually think of illegal drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. However, the drug epidemic that has gripped this country and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths has prescription opioid medications at the center. The majority of people who end up developing addictions all share a common theme: Due to an injury or illness, their doctors prescribed an opioid medication, and they quickly became addicted. It is well documented that a person can become addicted to opioids after just a few days of using the drugs. If your one of those people and you now are facing drug charges, you need a compassionate defense attorney advocating for you.

Opioid Epidemic

The current epidemic resulted because of the overprescribing of oxycontin, a powerful narcotic that was originally developed for pain relief for terminally ill cancer patients. Tragically, many doctors began prescribing these drugs for many other nonterminal conditions, creating the horrific epidemic mess we are in.

Instead of addressing this issue as it was occurring, drug companies not only continued to mass produce and push these drugs, but they also developed even more powerful – and deadly – opioids. One of these drugs, fentanyl, has found its way onto the streets and is responsible for the taking of thousands of lives and countless overdoses each year. The drug is almost 100 times more powerful than morphine and highly addictive.

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Denton DWI defense attorneyDriving while intoxicated (DWI), whether it is due to alcohol, prescription medications, or any illegal substance, is a serious matter in Texas. The state has some of the harshest DWI penalties in the country, which include heavy fines, lengthy driver’s license suspensions, and potential mandatory minimum jail sentences. If you are arrested and charged with any type of DWI, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney working on your case. While you may think you are saving yourself money and can defend these charges on your own, these charges can have a significant impact on both your personal and professional life.

DWI Defined Under Texas Law

Under the Texas law, it is illegal for a person to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance. Regular motor vehicle drivers can be charged with a DWI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) registers .08 percent or higher.

For commercial vehicle operators, including tractor-trailer, taxi, and ridesharing drivers, a BAC of .04 percent or higher will result in a DWI charge. For those under the age of 21, any amount of alcohol is illegal under the state’s Zero Tolerance policy.

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Denton County criminal defense attorneyAccording to national statistics, there are more than six million police-reported vehicle accidents in the United States each year. It is estimated that a person will be involved in four crashes during their driving lifetime, so odds are that you will find yourself at the wheel of a car accident at some point.

Vehicle accidents usually happen when you least expect them. Each crash has an at-fault driver and in an accident you are involved in, that at-fault driver could be you. Whether the crash occurred because you were engaged in reckless driving behaviors or not, it is important to stop immediately at the scene to protect yourself against criminal charges. Hit and run charges are a serious matter in Texas. In addition to being held liable for injuries others suffer as the result of your actions, you could end up facing severe criminal penalties. 

Understanding Texas Law

Under Texas law, drivers who are involved in a car accident where there is injury, death, damage to another vehicle or property must stop. If a victim has been injured, you are required under the law to stop and render aid, including calling 911. Drivers must also exchange information, including their name, address, vehicle registration, name of insurance company, and proof of driver’s license.

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Denton family violence defense attorneyWhile domestic violence and assault are closely related offenses, domestic violence is seen as much more serious. The main difference is who the victim is. Assault can be charged no matter who the victim is, while domestic violence is committed typically against a family or household member, or a romantic partner. However, it can be confusing to keep track of who might be considered a qualifying victim for the purposes of charging domestic violence. 

If you are facing charges of domestic violence or assault in Texas, the penalties could be severe if you are convicted. It is important that you approach handling your charges carefully and with the assistance of a qualified attorney. 

Who Can Be the Victim in a Texas Domestic Violence Case?

You may hear the terms “domestic violence” and “family violence” used interchangeably. Neither term fully covers the bases of who might be included as a victim in a Texas domestic violence case. The definition can even include people you have never lived with in some circumstances. It is a common scenario for Texans arrested after a physical altercation to be taken by surprise when they learn that they are being charged with domestic violence rather than simple assault. Potential qualifying victims include: 

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Denton criminal defense attorneyProbation comes with many rules to follow. You may be required to meet regularly with a probation officer, perform community service, submit to random drug testing, or meet other requirements imposed by the court. There are numerous ways to violate the conditions of probation, ranging from minor technical violations to serious willful violations. The sanctions for a violation will depend heavily on the circumstances, including what type of violation was involved and whether you have prior violations. 

In the most severe cases, your probation could be revoked entirely, and you could be required to serve your full jail sentence. It is important that you are represented by an experienced attorney who can make the case that your violation does not warrant this type of consequence. 

What Are Some Less Serious Probation Violations? 

A minor technical violation probably will not lead to jail time, but it is important to tread carefully. Repeated violations, even of a minor nature, may result in increasingly harsh consequences if the court begins to believe that you are not taking your probation seriously. Less serious violations include: 

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Denton sex crimes defense lawyerTexas takes sex crime offenses very seriously, especially when they are perpetrated against a minor. It is illegal to create, sell, distribute, or possess sexual images, videos, and other media of children under 18. Convicted persons who have violated Texas child pornography laws face heavy fines, prison time, and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Registered sex offenders have to provide personal information to the public, including their photograph, where they live, and the charges they have been convicted of. If you have been charged with child pornography-related crimes, a sex crimes defense attorney will be essential to helping you build a strong defense. 

Possession of Child Pornography in Texas

Texas law enforcement has many different ways of finding child pornography in someone’s possession. In addition to getting a search warrant and searching someone’s home for physical evidence, they may also try to catch perpetrators in the following places: 

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It’s a common misconception that only those found guilty of a crime have a criminal record. However, if you’re arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime, Texas will put this information on your criminal record.

After “paying your debt to society” through fines, jail time, or probation, many people believe they can now put this chapter behind them and start fresh. Unfortunately, a person’s criminal history can make that a difficult thing to do.

The Effects of a Criminal History

Employment

Employers can disqualify candidates for a number of reasons, including a previous arrest or conviction.

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