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Midland Texas DWI Defense AttorneyThanksgiving is usually the kickoff for the winter holiday season. Historically, the day before Thanksgiving is known as one of the busiest travel days of the year as travelers take to the roads and the sky to visit family and friends near and far. It is estimated that more than 40 million people take to the roads for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Because so many people travel “home” for the holiday, the long Thanksgiving weekend is also a time when many friends get together at local pubs and restaurants, celebrating with mini reunions. It is not uncommon at any of these gatherings for there to be alcohol served. Unfortunately, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking can quickly “squash” your Thanksgiving weekend plans and leave you facing serious drunk driving charges.

Thanksgiving Alcohol Data

According to national statistics, the night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. The beer sales in bars throughout the country spikes more than 270 percent, while the sales of hard liquor increases by almost 115 percent. The tremendous increase in the number of patrons out drinking has led to the day before the holiday to be dubbed “Blackout Wednesday” referencing the “blacking out” many people experience due to excessive drunkenness.

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Midland Texas Juvenile Justice AttorneyUnder the Texas criminal justice system, when a minor has committed criminal offenses, jurisdiction falls under Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). The goal of the TJJD is to protect both the child’s interest and keep communities safe. Although the hope is to keep the child from being sent to a juvenile detention facility, there are many cases where the TJJD judge does sentence a juvenile offender to a detention facility.

Recently, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) announced that it is initiating an investigation into five facilities over allegations of physical violence, sexual abuse, and other mistreatment of minors being held at these locations.

Investigation Launched

According to the statement issued by the DOJ, the allegations came to the department’s attention through new reports, public documents, and social media posts. There was also information that came from people who work in the Texas prison systems relaying accounts of neglect of mentally ill detainees, sexual abuse, and horrific physical violence.

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Midland Texas Criminal Defense LawyerA new law that went into effect last month in Texas significantly increases the charges that a person faces if they are arrested and charged with solicitation of a prostitute. That crime will now be charged as a state jail felony and the penalties for a conviction means a prison sentence and steep fines.

TX HB1540

For decades, the penalties for anyone arrested and convicted for prostitution were much more severe than for those charged with being a client. The person charged with prostitution was looked at as the criminal and could face jail time, while the client was usually only given a ticket, if anything at all.

However, over the past several years, law enforcement, lawmakers, and the public have come to realize that many people who engage in prostitution are not doing so willingly. Many are victims of human trafficking and have been forced into prostitution. According to one major study, there are approximately 313,000 victims of human trafficking at any given moment in the state of Texas.

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Midland Texas Criminal Defense LawyerIn many criminal cases in Texas, when a person is arrested and charged with a crime, the judge will allow that person to be released on a personal bond, which means there is no collateral or deposit required. The defendant promises the court they will appear for all hearings regarding their case. They also are required to abide by all restrictions the court puts in place, as well as pay a personal bond fee within so many days following their release.

But that could all change for many defendants. Earlier this month, Governor Greg Abbot signed a new cash bail into law. The new law, which goes into effect on December 2, 2021, will make it more difficult for those accused of violent crimes to be released on bail while awaiting trial.

SB 6 - the Damon Allen Act

The new law was named after Texas State Trooper Damon Allen who was killed in the line of duty. In 2017, on Thanksgiving Day, Trooper Allen stopped a vehicle on Interstate 45 in Fairfield, Texas. As he was walking back to his patrol vehicle, the man he stopped fatally shot him with a rifle. The man accused of killing the trooper had a prior conviction of assaulting a police officer, and at the time of the shooting was out on $15,000 bond for new charges of aggravated assault on an officer and evading arrest.

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Austin, TX Truck Accident LawyerTruck accident cases are one of the most complex personal injury cases that victims can pursue. One reason is that there is often more than one at-fault party that may be legally liable for the losses the victim suffers because of their injuries. For example, in a trucking accident caused by a truck driver who was speeding and unable to stop in time, the current laws say that not only would the truck driver be liable for the victim’s damages, but the trucking company that employs the driver would also be legally responsible. That law, however, changes as of September 1.

Texas House Bill 19

Under the new law, truck driver liability is now separate from any liability of the trucking company. Truck accident lawsuits will now be required to go through a bifurcated trial process. This means there will be two parts to a victim’s pursuit of damages. The first part of any action is only against the truck driver where the liability of the truck driver will need to be proven. If the victim is successful in proving the driver’s liability, the next step is determining what the victim’s compensatory damages are. Compensatory damages include actual damages, such as medical expenses and loss of income, and general damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, scarring, and disfigurement. The trucking company is not included in this first part of the victim’s lawsuit.

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Austin, TX Drug Crime Defense AttorneyIn 1971, President Richard Nixon introduced a national initiative to stop the production, distribution, and consumption of illegal drugs. The so-called “war on drugs” has led to increased police efforts to stop the spread of illicit substances throughout the country. Undercover drug busts and sting operations are two tactics police may use to find and arrest individuals who manufacture and deliver drugs. If you or a loved one were arrested on drug charges after being part of an undercover police operation, it is important to understand and assert your rights.

Can Police Lie About Being Police?

Police may use sting operations in an effort to catch criminal suspects red-handed. In the context of an undercover drug bust, this usually involves police officers masquerading as drug dealers. Contrary to popular belief, police officers do not have to tell you that they are police. They are fully permitted to lie about their identity in the execution of a sting operation. Many sting operations involve a police officer posing as a drug seller. When the unsuspecting subject of the sting operation hands over cash in exchange for the drugs, officers drop the act, announce that they are police, and arrest the individual.

What is the Difference Between a Sting Operation and Entrapment?

However, there are some circumstances in which an undercover police operation crosses the line into “entrapment.” Entrapment occurs when law enforcement persuades or forces someone to commit a crime that he or she would otherwise not commit. Police officers may pretend to be drug dealers and offer drugs for sale. However, they cannot entice someone to commit a crime that the person was not already predisposed to committing. It is often hard to know the difference between a lawful sting operation and illegal entrapment. If you were arrested for a drug crime as a result of an undercover operation or sting operation, speak to a skilled criminal defense lawyer right away.  If your attorney can prove that your drug charges were a result of entrapment, the charges may be dropped, and your case dismissed.

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Austin, TX Criminal Defense LawyerBeing served with a protection order or restraining order can be a shocking experience. Often, restraining orders are issued when someone has been accused of domestic assault or another form of family violence against a current or former romantic partner, child, family member, or household member. The protection order may require the subject to relinquish possession of firearms, attend a domestic violence prevention program, and even prohibit the subject from entering his or her own home. If you have been served with a protection order in Texas, it is crucial that you understand your rights and obligations under the law.

What is a Protection Order?

A protection order is intended to protect victims of abuse and stalking against further mistreatment. However, it is possible for someone who has been falsely accused of domestic violence to find themselves the subject of a protection order.

Through a protection order (PO), a judge may:

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Austin TX criminal defense attorneyYou may have heard the term “sugar daddy” in reference to a wealthy older man who dates younger women. Websites like Seeking Arrangements facilitate these relationships through online profiles. The profiles on websites like these are often less than subtle. It is often heavily implied or even outright stated that the man is looking to exchange financial assistance for sexual contact. Many wonder if this type of exchange may be considered prostitution.

Texas Ranks Among the Top States for Sugar Daddy Arrangements

According to Seeking Arrangements, Texas ranks fifth in the nation for the highest number of “sugar babies” on the website. Although sugar babies may be men or women, the majority are women in their 20s. Many young women are loaded with student loan debt and other financial obligations. Many struggle to meet the financial demands with a typical entry-level job. Drawn by the promise of easy money and glamour, some of these women turn to “sugaring.” Basically, the woman agrees to go on dates with a man in exchange for money, gifts, or help paying the bills. Some insist that the arrangement is strictly about companionship while others admit that the relationship mainly involves exchanging sexual contact for money or property.

Is Being a Sugar Baby Illegal?

Dating partners of all ages often exchange gifts or help each other with financial obligations. This does not break the law. However, many sugar baby relationships do blur the lines between relationships and prostitution. In Texas, it is illegal to offer sexual conduct for money. It is also illegal to pay a fee for sexual conduct. Prostitution is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to six months in jail. Solicitation, or paying for sex, is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

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Austin TX truck accident lawyerUnfortunately, the Lone Star State leads the country in fatal commercial truck accidents. In 2018 alone, over 600 individuals lost their lives in crashes involving large trucks in Texas. If your loved one was killed in a commercial truck wreck, it is important to know your legal options. You may be able to hold the trucking company or other liable parties accountable for your tragic loss and recover monetary damages through a truck crash injury lawsuit.

Who is Legally Responsible for My Loved One’s Death?

Many truck crashes are preventable. Distracted driving including using a cellphone while driving, fatigued driving, speeding, and driver inattention are just some of the causes of truck crashes. Truck wrecks may also be caused by inadequate truck maintenance, faulty truck parts, improper loading and securement of truck cargo, and more. If your loved one died because of another party’s careless or irresponsible actions, it is understandable that you want to hold that party accountable. The liable party in a truck wreck may be the:

  • Owner of the truck

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Austin criminal defense attorneyThroughout the years, there have been many efforts to reduce the number of alcohol-impaired traffic crashes. While many of these programs have succeeded, alcohol-impaired driving remains a problem in today’s world. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 48 percent of all traffic deaths in the U.S. involved an alcohol-impaired driver in 1982, though that number has dropped to 29 percent of all deaths in 2018. Texas law enforcement continues to prosecute those who drive while intoxicated (DWI) to the fullest extent of the law, especially in DWI cases involving injury or death.

Intoxication Assault

If you injure a person while you are committing a DWI offense, you will likely be charged with intoxication assault. This charge applies when you are found to have caused “serious bodily injury” to another person out of the course of operating an aircraft, watercraft or motor vehicle while you were intoxicated. Specifically, “serious bodily injury” means an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious permanent disfigurement. In most cases, intoxication assault is charged as a third-degree felony, meaning it comes with a possibility of 2 to 10 years in prison, along with up to $10,000 in fines.

Intoxication Manslaughter

Intoxication manslaughter is said to have occurred when a person operates a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft while they are intoxicated and causes the death of another person because of that intoxication. In most cases, intoxication manslaughter is charged as a second-degree felony. This means that intoxication manslaughter can come with a punishment of between two and 20 years in prison, in addition to up to $10,000 in fines. The driver will also face a driver’s license suspension of between six months and two years, and may face other penalties such as court-ordered community service.

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Midland criminal defense lawyerIf you have ever heard someone mention the term “federal offense,” they were talking about a crime that is illegal in the eyes of the federal government. These offenses cover a wide range of subjects, from drug charges, like the sale or manufacture of controlled substances, or possibly even more serious charges, such as murder. In some cases, a crime can incur both federal and state criminal charges. Having someone by your side who handles both types of charges is important for success when you have been accused of breaking the law.

Common Factors in Federal Cases

If you have been charged with a crime, you may be wondering how the government determines whether a crime is charged in federal or state court. In typical cases, jurisdiction is first determined by the location of the crime. If a crime takes place in Texas, it will likely be under Texas’ jurisdiction for prosecution. Some crimes violate only Texas state law, however, many crimes violate both state and federal statutes. This leads to the question, “What gives a crime federal jurisdiction?” Some of the most common reasons crimes are charged as federal crimes include:

  • The crime took place in more than one state or across state lines.
  • The crime violated federal statutes.
  • The crime took place on or involved federal property, including National Parks.
  • The crime occurred off land in U.S. maritime jurisdiction.
  • The case involved an ambassador, public minister, or consul.
  • The case involved a citizen of another country.

Facing Both State and Federal Charges

In some cases, a person may face both state and federal charges for the same incident. While some people may think this violates the “double jeopardy” clause in the Constitution, it does not. The Fifth Amendment states that nobody should be subject to charges for the same crime twice. However, since the state and federal governments are two separate governmental entities under the idea of “dual sovereignty,” they both have the right to impose criminal charges under certain circumstances.

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Midland, TX criminal defense attorney for embezzlement

White collar crimes come in various forms and can be complex to investigate. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), white collar crimes are characterized by typically being nonviolent crimes that involve concealment, deceit, or violations of trust. One of the most common white collar crimes committed in the U.S. is embezzlement. Embezzlement happens on both a small scale and in larger operations. You can also face both state and federal criminal charges for a single embezzlement crime if you violated both state and federal laws. An embezzlement charge can quickly become serious. Anyone facing any type of white collar criminal charge should seek representation from a Texas white collar criminal defense lawyer. 

Texas Embezzlement Laws

In Texas, embezzlement is not a separate charge, but is charged under the state’s theft statute. This means that the severity of the charge will depend on the amount of money that was embezzled. Because of this, there is no specific definition of embezzlement that the state follows. Embezzlement typically refers to situations where a person is legally entrusted with money and they misappropriate or steal it.

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Austin,TX personal injury attorney Everyone who is on the road or drives a vehicle has a responsibility to operate that vehicle in a safe manner. When a person does not drive in a safe manner, they endanger themselves and everyone else on the road. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is highly irresponsible and can end up being extremely dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 10,000 people who died from a motor vehicle accident involving a drunk driver, and many more injured. These accidents are typically severe and can result in serious injuries to those who were involved. If you have been in an accident with a driver who was intoxicated, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries and losses.

What is Negligence in a Drunk Driving Accident?

The key to successfully claiming any sort of compensation after a drunk driving accident is proving that the other driver was negligent. In Texas, recovering compensation requires proof of “gross negligence,” which is defined as an action or failure to act that involves an “extreme degree of risk,” when considering the potential consequences and severity of harm to others. Gross negligence can also refer to an action or failure to act when the person has awareness of the risk involved, yet continues the action or failure to act, knowing it will interfere with the rights, safety, and/or wellbeing of others.

Typically proving negligence in a drunk driving accident is fairly easy. A person driving or operating a vehicle while they are intoxicated is committing gross negligence, as they could not operate the vehicle safely in the state they were in.

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Georgetown, TX criminal defense attorney

Some of the most serious crimes you can be charged with are sex crimes. In recent years, issues such as sexual assault, rape, and other types of relationship and interpersonal violence have been brought into the public spotlight, notably, through social media like the #MeToo movement, which encourages participants to share their stories. As a result, laws surrounding sex crimes have changed across the country. In Texas, sexual assault is a serious crime that can follow you for the rest of your life, affecting you even after your sentence has long passed. A skilled Texas sexual assault defense lawyer can help you understand the crime you have been charged with and the penalties that come with a conviction.

Defining Sexual Assault

If you have been arrested for sexual assault, you should understand what actually constitutes a charge for the crime you have allegedly committed. According to Texas law, a person commits sexual assault if they knowingly or intentionally:

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Hays County criminal defense attorney

In today’s world, most people realize that it is extremely irresponsible and reckless to operate a vehicle while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For decades, state and federal agencies have pushed campaign after campaign to attempt to decrease the number of drunk driving arrests that occur each year. While the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities has decreased in past years, the number of DWI arrests still remains high. Penalties for DWI can be severe in Texas, but they can become even more serious when a child is in the vehicle when you are arrested

DWI Charges for Driving With a Child

In the state of Texas, driving a vehicle with a child in it while under the influence, can bring upon a charge separate from that of a regular DWI charge. To be charged with DWI with a child passenger, the prosecution must prove that you were:

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Williamson County slip and fall accident attorneyWhen you first hear that someone tripped and fell, you may not consider their injuries to be that serious. However, slipping and falling can cause serious or even life-threatening medical conditions. The severity of an injury often depends on where the accident took place and the type of surface, as well as the body part on which a victim landed. Although many people might think it would be the person’s own fault because they slipped or tripped, a negligent property owner may actually be responsible for causing harm if they failed to properly maintain their grounds. Understanding Texas premises liability law is important when filing a personal injury claim for injuries suffered in a slip, trip, and fall accident

The Consequences of Slipping, Tripping, and Falling 

Several factors may impact the nature of a slip, trip, and fall injury. Inclement weather conditions can cause surfaces to become slick and unstable. The recent winter storm that hit Texas wreaked havoc on roads as well as power grids. If the temperature drops, rain that accumulates can turn to ice. In addition, snow that is not removed in a timely manner from a parking lot or public space can hinder visitors’ or guests’ ability to safely maneuver in or around establishments such as restaurants, stores, offices, or apartment buildings. 

A few of the most common types of injuries that can occur in a fall include:

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Travis County criminal defense attorney

The criminal justice system is a network of government and private agencies that manages  accused and convicted criminals. The system consists of different areas, including academia, law enforcement, forensic services, the judiciary, and corrections. The goal of the system is to rehabilitate offenders, prevent other crimes, and provide support for victims. Like many other states, Texas takes criminal activity seriously and alleged offenders can face severe punishments if convicted. Even though juvenile crimes are those committed by minors, they may still face stiff consequences. That is why it is imperative that juveniles who are facing criminal charges seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to learn about their rights in the juvenile justice system.

Common Offenses Committed by Minors

It is not uncommon for young people to act without thinking about the consequences. Unfortunately, this can lead them to making mistakes and doing something illegal. In some cases, these crimes are similar to adult offenses; however, the penalties are based more on their age or other factors. 

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Austin criminal defense attorneysIf you have heard the word “stalking” before, you may have envisioned a person following someone down a dark alley or hiding in bushes outside their house. In recent years, stalking has been used in casual references to searching social media pages of a love interest or former romantic partner. Whether it is done in person or online, stalking is a real crime that can incur serious punishments under Texas law. If you find yourself charged with this offense, a criminal defense attorney can build a strong defense on your behalf to help you avoid a conviction or a stain on your record. 

Actions That Constitute Stalking

Stalking is defined as the unwanted and/or repeated surveillance by a person or group toward another individual. Similar to harassment and intimidation, stalking can include following the alleged victim in person or monitoring them electronically through mobile devices or online. While stalking is most commonly associated with repeatedly pursuing someone, it may also involve different actions or behaviors, such as continuously contacting the alleged victim through the mail, telephone, or Internet. Stalking can also occur when unwanted gifts or messages are sent to a person over and over again. 

In addition, a person can be charged with stalking if they cause another person to fear bodily injury or death. In addition, the charge can result if the alleged victim believes their family or household member, or a dating partner fears for their safety. Stalking can also take the form of threats to a person's property, such as a house or vehicle, or actions that cause a person to “feel harassed, alarmed, annoyed, offended, tormented, embarrassed, or abused.” 

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Austin, Texas personal injury attorney

Texas is a state known for oil, as dramatized in the popular TV show Dallas from the 1980s. A large percentage of the United States oil production takes place in the Lone Star state, and many Texans earn their living in oil fields and offshore facilities. Due to the nature of the industry, the job duties are unique and also carry a certain amount of risk. For example, workers may be operating heavy equipment and exposed to dangerous substances in addition to the outdoor elements. Accidents in the gas and oil industry can result in serious and even life-threatening injuries. If you or your loved one was hurt while working in this type of occupation, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.  

Common Injuries in the Gas and Oil Industry 

Although there is significant risk of fires or explosions because of the flammable materials in the gas and oil industry, there are other injuries that can occur to those out in the field. Here are a few of the most common types of injuries incurred on an oil field site: 

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Georgetown criminal defense attorney DWI

Drunk driving can be very dangerous. Alcohol or drug use affects drivers in many ways, and it can lead to impairment of a person’s vision, coordination, and reaction time. Drivers need to be able to respond quickly to conditions on the road around them and take the appropriate action to avoid collisions. Drug or alcohol impairment can make it impossible to operate a vehicle safely, and because of this, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious criminal offense. While most people understand that they can face consequences if they drive while drunk, those who have not previously been arrested for DWI will likely be uncertain about the charges they may face or the procedures followed after they are arrested, and they will want to work with an attorney to determine their options for defending against first-time DWI charges.

First DWI Charges in Texas

In Texas and most other states, the legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent. If a police officer suspects that a driver is impaired, they may pull the driver over and ask them to take a portable breathalyzer test or submit to field sobriety tests. If the officer has probable cause to believe that the driver is impaired, they may perform an arrest. After an arrest, a person will be taken to a police station, and they will usually be asked to take chemical BAC tests of their breath or blood. If these tests show that a driver is above the legal BAC limit, they may be charged with DWI.

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