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UPDATE: What to Know About Public Intoxication Laws in Texas

 Posted on May 28,2023 in Criminal Defense

Denton criminal defense attorney

Originally published: July 19, 2022 -- Updated: May 29, 2023

Update: In addition to the potential criminal charges for public intoxication described below, there are several other offenses that you could potentially be charged with in these situations. These may include:

  • Disorderly conduct - This offense may involve a variety of activities that people may engage in when they are drunk or intoxicated. Using abusive or vulgar language or making offensive gestures in a way that breaches the peace, threatening someone in an offensive manner, making unreasonable amounts of noise, getting into fights or physical altercations, or exposing one's genitals or anus may result in Class C misdemeanor charges. Displaying a deadly weapon in a way that is meant to alarm others or discharging a firearm in a public place may result in Class B misdemeanor charges.

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Will a Family Violence Arrest Result in an Order of Protection?

 Posted on May 19,2023 in Criminal Defense

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.

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When Does a Person Need to Register as a Sex Offender in Texas?

 Posted on April 21,2023 in Criminal Defense

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:

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How Are Retirement Benefits Divided in a Divorce?

 Posted on April 07,2023 in Divorce

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).

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When Is a DWI Charged as a Felony in Texas?

 Posted on March 23,2023 in Drunk Driving / DUI

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.

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What Are the Penalties for Retail Theft in Texas?

 Posted on March 13,2023 in Criminal Defense

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.

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Can I Get a Protective Order Against My Ex to Protect My Child in Texas?

 Posted on February 06,2023 in Divorce

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: 

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What Is the Difference Between a Preliminary Breath Test and an Evidentiary Breath Test?

 Posted on January 14,2023 in Drunk Driving / DUI

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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3 Common Reasons a Parent Might Stop Paying Child Support

 Posted on December 29,2022 in Divorce

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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How Do Plea Bargains Work in Texas DWI Cases?

 Posted on December 09,2022 in Drunk Driving / DUI

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.

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