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TX defense lawyerThe state of Texas has strict laws concerning domestic violence, which is generally referred to as "family violence" in the state's statutes. If you are accused of family violence, you may face severe consequences, including criminal charges related to domestic assault, sexual assault, child abuse, or other offenses. However, in many cases, the most immediate concerns may be related to protective orders that could affect multiple aspects of your life. If you are worried about how you may be affected by an order of protection after being arrested for or accused of family violence, you can work with a criminal defense attorney to determine how to respond to these issues.

Protective Orders in Texas Family Violence Cases

A person who believes that they or their family members may suffer harm due to domestic violence may apply for an emergency protective order, and they will usually be required to appear before a judge and explain why the order is needed. This is also known as an "ex parte" order, which means that only one party needs to be present at a court hearing, and a protective order may be issued without the person who is accused of family violence being given a chance to defend themselves against the accusations.

If police are called to respond to a domestic incident, and they believe that one party has committed family violence, they may perform an arrest and pursue criminal charges. In these cases, a judge may choose to issue a Magistrate's Order of Emergency Protection, which is similar to an ex parte protective order. Either of these types of orders may place restrictions on the person accused of domestic violence, including prohibiting them from committing any form of abuse, excluding them from their family home, and preventing them from contacting their spouse, partner, children, or others named in the order. An emergency protective order will usually remain in effect for 20 days, and a Magistrate's Order of Emergency Protection may last from 31 to 91 days depending on whether a case involved serious bodily injuries or the use of a deadly weapon.


TX defense lawyerBeing charged with a sex crime is a serious matter, and the consequences that come with a conviction can be severe. In addition to facing lengthy prison sentences, large fines, and periods of probation, a person who is convicted of this type of offense will have to register as a sex offender. Being on the sex offender registry can limit a person's employment prospects, make it difficult to find housing or pursue education, and cause irreparable damage to their reputation and personal relationships. Anyone who has been charged with a sexual offense will need to understand the potential sex offender registration requirements that may apply if they are convicted. By working with an experienced criminal defense attorney, they can determine the best steps to take to avoid these consequences.

Texas Sex Offender Registration Requirements

In Texas, anyone who has a "reportable conviction or adjudication" will be required to register as a sex offender. The offenses that require registration include:

Notably, sex offender registration requirements may apply even if a person was not convicted of a sex crime. An adjudication of delinquent conduct in a juvenile law case or a deferred adjudication may require sex offender registration. Registration may also be required as part of the terms of community supervision (probation). People who were convicted of sex crimes in other states or countries will be required to register as sex offenders in Texas if they will be living, working, or attending school in the state.


TX divorce lawyerDivorce can be a complex and emotionally charged process, particularly when it comes to dividing assets. Retirement benefits are often a significant part of a couple's financial planning, and they are just one of many important factors to consider during a divorce. It is important for divorcing spouses to understand the various types of retirement benefits they may need to address, how these assets may be divided, and what factors are involved in the process.

Types of Retirement Benefits

There are several different types of assets that spouses may rely on to provide for their financial needs when they retire in the future. Each of these assets may be treated differently during a divorce. Here are some common types of retirement benefits:

  • Defined contribution plans - These plans are funded by an employee, usually by deducting a certain amount from their income and depositing these funds into a retirement account. A person's employer may also make contributions on the employee's behalf, such as by matching a certain percentage of the amounts deposited into an account. Examples of these types of plans include 401(k) accounts, Thrift Savings Plans, and individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
  • Defined benefit plans - These plans provide a guaranteed benefit to employees upon retirement. The amount a person will receive will usually be based on a formula that takes into account factors such as their average salary and their years of service. Examples of these types of benefits include pensions and annuities.
  • Military retirement benefits - People who have served in the U.S. military, including active-duty servicemembers, retirees, and veterans, may be eligible for benefits that will provide them with income after they retire.

Dividing Retirement Benefits Between Divorcing Spouses

If retirement benefits were earned or if contributions were made to retirement savings accounts during a couple's marriage, these assets will be considered marital property that will need to be divided between spouses during the divorce process. In many cases, spouses are able to negotiate agreements in which the funds in retirement accounts will be divided fairly along with other marital assets. Funds may need to be transferred from one account to another during this process.


TX DWI lawyerThe dangers of drunk driving have been well-established. The use of alcohol or drugs can significantly impact a person's ability to operate a vehicle safely, and a person who is intoxicated is much more likely to be involved in an accident that could result in serious injuries or fatalities. Because of these risks, anyone who is accused of operating a vehicle after using drugs or alcohol may face criminal charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI). In most cases, a first-time DWI will be charged as a misdemeanor, and while a variety of penalties will apply, a person usually will not face a lengthy prison sentence if they are convicted. However, there are some situations where a DWI arrest may result in felony charges, and a person may be sentenced to one year or more in prison.

What Constitutes a Felony DWI?

In Texas, the basic charge for driving while intoxicated is a Class B misdemeanor, although a charge may be elevated to a Class A misdemeanor if a person had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 percent or more. A second DWI may also be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors have a maximum sentence of six months in prison, and Class A misdemeanors have a maximum sentence of one year.

A DWI charge may be elevated to a felony in the following situations:


TX defense lawyerThere are a variety of different situations in which a person may be charged with theft in Texas. The specific charges for theft will usually be based on the value of the items that were allegedly stolen. However, additional considerations may apply in cases involving retail theft. If you have been accused of shoplifting or charged with retail theft in Texas, it is important to understand the possible penalties you may face. This offense can be very serious, and you could potentially face a sentence in prison as well as large fines. Fortunately, with the help of a criminal defense lawyer, you can determine how to address and defend against these charges.

Specific Charges for Retail Theft and Their Penalties

Retail theft may involve any situations where merchandise is taken from a retail store without the permission of the owner. Many cases involve people pocketing items and walking out without paying for them, but there are other situations in which a person may be accused of taking actions meant to deprive a store owner of merchandise or the money they would have received from customers. For example, people may switch price tags on items or ring up items incorrectly using self-checkouts in order to pay less than the full retail price. These actions may also lead to criminal charges for retail theft.

It should also be noted that Texas law defines the offense of "organized retail theft," which involves any situation in which a person possesses, receives, conceals, sells, or disposes of retail merchandise that they knew was stolen. This means that a person who holds stolen merchandise for a friend or receives and resells stolen items may also be charged with retail theft.


Keeping Teens Safe Behind the Wheel

Posted on in Personal Injury

Denton County Personal Injury LawyerAccording to the National Safety Council, approximately half of all teenagers will experience an car accident before they graduate high school. Many of them will walk away from their accidents with little more than a few bumps and bruises. Others will suffer severe injuries and may even be killed. Thankfully, parents can minimize their child’s risk by staying actively involved. It is important to take steps to keep your teen safe while on the road.

Continue Riding with Your Teen

Statistics indicate that teens who continue driving with their parents in the car are less likely to experience a crash than those who have little to no driving time with an adult after obtaining their license. There may be several reasons for this, such as a lower likelihood of engaging in risky behavior when a parent is present and more practice time with an experienced adult. Whatever the reason, the reduced risk makes spending time in the car together well worth the effort. As an added bonus, extra time with your teenager can strengthen your relationship as well.

Enforce Rules for Teens Driving on Their Own

Parents should also enforce strict driving rules for teens, and they should have clear consequences if the teen directly violates those rules. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration specifically suggests that parents expressly talk to their teen drivers about the dangers of speeding, alcohol use, cell phones while driving, extra passengers, and a strict adherence to seatbelts. If you decide to place limitations, the consequences are completely up to you, of course, but you should be sure that they highly discourage risky behavior behind the wheel.


Cooke County Restraining Order LawyerIn Texas divorce cases, protective orders are not uncommon. Unfortunately, domestic violence and other circumstances that place the safety of others in jeopardy are, too often, key factors in a person’s desire to file for divorce in the first place. 

While getting a divorce may be an important step in distancing yourself from a partner who places you or your children in harm’s way, the divorce process can sometimes take a long time. For people who need protection sooner than later, there are options, known as protective orders, that can keep children out of their partner’s reach before the divorce is finalized. 

Who Can Obtain a Protective Order?

In Texas, there are five situations in which someone may be eligible for an order of protection. In order to obtain a protective order in Texas, one of the following details must be true: 


TX injury lawyerAmerica is full of busy people. There are workers rushing to their jobs, and parents shuffling their children off to school and soccer practice. Then there are those who are running late to a doctor’s appointment, or in a hurry to get to the airport. Unfortunately, all that hustle and bustle means that some drivers are going faster than they should. This type of driving can increase the risk of causing an accident and may also lead to more serious injuries for victims. If you or someone you love has been injured, you should know your rights—including your right to pursue full and fair compensation.

Respect for Speed Limits is Deteriorating

While most people do recognize that speed limits are the law, not a suggestion, researchers suggest there is an erosion of respect for those laws. In fact, a 2002 study found that one-third of drivers admitted to regularly driving at least 10 miles per hour faster than other road users. These were all self-reported incidents, which suggests the actual numbers could be much higher.

In a more recent study, researchers from Purdue University asked 988 drivers a single question: at what point did they feel like speeding became a personal threat to them or their family. They were given three options to choose from: 5, 10, and 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. Nearly half (43 percent) said they felt safe driving up to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. Another 36 percent asserted that safety did not become a concern until they exceeded 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.


TX DWI lawyerDrunk driving suspects are often asked to blow into a breath-testing device during traffic stops. The device measures the alcohol in the person’s breath which can be used to assess their intoxication level. According to Texas law, a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is considered to be intoxicated and subject to prosecution for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Therefore, the results of breath tests heavily influence most DWI cases.

Many people are unaware that there are two different types of breath tests used by police officers in most states, including Texas. It is important to know how these breath tests can affect a DWI case and what to do if you were charged with drunk driving based on a breath test result.

Portable Breath Tests Are Preliminary Tests

When police suspect a person of driving under the influence of alcohol, they may require the person to complete field sobriety tests or a breath alcohol test—commonly referred to as a “breathalyzer.” Police must have “probable cause” to arrest someone, which means that the officer must be able to cite an objective reason why they believe the person committed a crime. The small, easily transported breathalyzers that most people are familiar with are preliminary breath tests. These tests have only one purpose: establishing probable cause.


TX family lawyerThe divorce process can be emotionally and financially draining. When you and your ex cared for your children together under one roof, it may have been easier to work together to take care of your family’s financial needs. However, things change significantly after divorce, and both parents may struggle to make ends meet.

If your ex has not been paying child support, this can cause a great deal of difficulty for you. It may be hard to understand why your ex would be avoiding payments, but here are some common reasons that may explain why the money you need for your child is not coming your way:

Changes in Finances

Your ex might not be paying child support because they do not have the money to give. The amount of child support payments specified in a divorce judgment is based on the paying parent’s net income at the time of the divorce. Issues such as a job loss or large medical expenses can affect how much your ex is able to pay. If you think this may be the reason why you are not receiving child support, you may wish to talk to your ex or even request a modification so that they can at least pay what they are able to. Setting a payment that your ex can afford is better for everyone than you not receiving any payments at all.


TX defense lawyerMany people have heard the term “plea bargain” but do not know exactly what it means in the context of a Texas criminal case. Whether you or a loved one are facing charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI), intoxication assault, or another offense, it is important to understand what a plea bargain is and the advantages and disadvantages associated with plea bargains. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy that works for dealing with DWI charges. The best way to explore your legal options after a DWI arrest is to speak with an experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.

What Exactly is a Plea Bargain?

When someone is charged, or formally accused, of a crime, they have the option to plead guilty or “no contest” or plead not guilty. If they plead not guilty, the case typically advances to trial where the defendant and prosecution are each given an opportunity to present evidence and arguments. The jury evaluates both sides, deliberates, and reaches a verdict.

Before the trial starts, the prosecution may offer reduced charges or a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Essentially, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to an offense in exchange for some type of benefit. In many cases, taking a plea bargain or plea deal is in the defendant’s best interest.


When Can the Police Search My Car?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

TX defense lawyerIt is not uncommon to hear or read about a person who was arrested for drug possession or a similar crime after being stopped by police for a traffic violation. Situations such as these lead to an extremely important question: How does a traffic stop transform into a search which leads to the discovery of illegal drugs, guns, or other contraband? The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution addresses the rights of citizens regarding searches and seizures. However, the way in which the courts have interpreted the Fourth Amendment over the years has created a deal of confusion for many people.

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment promises that the government—which means the police, by extension” shall not violate “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” It goes on to state, “No Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,” and that a warrant must describe where the search is to take place, as well as the items or individuals that are expected to be seized.

Of course, when the Fourth Amendment was ratified in 1789, the automobile was still over 100 years away from being invented. As such, our founding fathers could not have foreseen such mobility for the average citizen. Because cars and trucks are so mobile, the warrant requirement is not exactly very conducive to the efforts of law enforcement, which is why courts around the country have had to review cases of warrantless searches to set precedents that must be followed by law enforcement officers.


TX injury lawyerEveryone knows that the right thing to do in the event of a car accident is to stop and share contact information with the other driver. Not only is this the ethical thing to do, but it is also required by Texas law. When a motorist is involved in a collision, he or she must stop his or her vehicle. Failure to stop is considered a “hit and run,” and leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in the state of Texas.

If you were involved in a hit and run, you may have suffered severe injuries that incurred significant medical costs in addition to your property damage. You may also be unable to work due to your injuries. You may wonder whether or not you can pursue compensation for these losses through a personal injury lawsuit. Successfully obtaining compensation for a hit and run accident can be a challenging process, but it is possible.

Get a Police Report, Gather Evidence, Speak to Witnesses, and Get Medical Care

One of the most crucial steps to take after being involved in a hit and run accident is to call the police and get a police report. A police report that describes the details of the accident is an essential element in a personal injury claim and an insurance claim. Furthermore, the sooner you contact the police, the more likely it is that the police will be able to catch the person who hit you. Next, gather information about the accident.


TX DUI lawyerIf you have been arrested for drunk driving in Texas, you may be wondering about how your driver's license will be affected and whether you will face any restrictions on your ability to drive, as well as any other consequences. In some cases, you may be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. By understanding the issues that you may need to address following a DWI arrest, you can take steps to defend against criminal charges, protect your driving privileges, and determine how to minimize any disruptions to your life.

DWI License Suspensions in Texas

An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer device that is installed in your vehicle. This device will require you to provide a breath sample before driving. If the device detects alcohol on your breath, the vehicle will not start. IIDs are monitored by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and you may be required to provide periodic breath samples while driving. If the IID detects alcohol, the device will log the event, and you may face penalties.

An IID will be required if your driver's license is suspended following a DWI conviction. For a first-time DWI, a license suspension of up to two years may be imposed. During this period of suspension, you can apply for a restricted driver's license that will allow you to drive with an IID. A restricted driver's license will usually also be available if your license was suspended for other reasons, such as the automatic license suspension that applies if you fail a blood alcohol test after being arrested for DWI or refused to submit to chemical testing.


TX divorce lawyerThere are a variety of financial issues that can play a role in a divorce case. When one spouse believes they will be at a financial disadvantage after the end of their marriage, they may ask for ongoing support from the other spouse. In Texas, spousal maintenance (sometimes called "alimony") consists of financial support paid by one spouse to the other spouse after divorce. However, not every divorcing couple will have to deal with spousal support. This form of support will only be appropriate in certain situations, and there are a number of factors that will affect the decisions about whether maintenance should be paid, how long it will last, and the amount that one spouse will pay to the other.

Situations Where Spousal Support May Be Awarded

A family court judge may award spousal support in the following situations:

  • One spouse cannot meet their own financial needs due to a physical or mental disability.
  • A parent who will have primary custody of the couple's child or children needs financial assistance because the child has a disability that requires ongoing care and supervision, and this will affect the custodial parent's ability to work and earn an income.
  • A couple was married for at least 10 years, and one spouse is unable to earn enough income to provide for their own needs. This may be due to a spouse remaining at home during their marriage and focusing on household responsibilities rather than pursuing career opportunities.
  • One spouse has been convicted of an offense involving family violence or received deferred adjudication without a formal conviction. If an offense involving spousal abuse or child abuse was committed during the couple's marriage and within two years prior to when the divorce case was initiated, or if an act of family violence occurred while a divorce case is ongoing, the person who committed the offense may be required to pay spousal maintenance to the other spouse.

In order to determine whether or not spousal maintenance is appropriate in a particular case, the court will consider several factors, including but not limited to:


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.


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:


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:


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.


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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