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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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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