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Sobering Facts About Drunk Driving This Holiday Season

 Posted on December 14,2021 in Drunk Driving / DUI

Drunk driving is a national concern every day of the year, but arrests tend to spike around the holidays. And even though most celebrations will look a bit different this year due to COVID-19, the winter holidays and New Year’s Eve celebrations will still cause an increase in binge drinking, alcohol-related violence, and DWI arrests.

Driving While Intoxicated During the Winter Holidays

Drunk Driving in Texas — Fast Facts

  • Approximately 10.22% of Texas residents have been involved in a drunk driving crash at some point in their lives.
  • More than 24% of Texas drivers who have driven drunk have been charged with a DWI or DUI.
  • Approximately 14% of Texas drivers who have driven drunk have served jail time for doing so.
  • On average, drivers with a DWI on their record can expect to pay an extra $569 annually in insurance premiums.

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Why You Always Need an Attorney When Facing Criminal Charges

 Posted on December 13,2021 in Criminal Defense

Facing criminal charges is one of the most overwhelming, scary, and uncertain experiences a person can go through. With everything from your freedom to reputation on the line, you should never take a charge — whether misdemeanor or felony — lightly.

Regardless of how much work you believe you can do yourself, the criminal justice system makes it virtually impossible for people to adequately represent themselves. With so much on the line, it’s always best to put your trust in an experienced attorney.

Why You Should Hire a Defense Attorney

1. They understand the criminal justice system.

No one understands the intricacies of the criminal justice system better than a defense lawyer. Even if you’ve been through the system before or believe you have a strong understanding of how everything works, the nature of criminal cases is incredibly complicated. At Magaña & Van Dyke, we take pride in the fact that we walk our clients through every step of the process, explaining what they can expect and answering any questions.

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Is it Possible to Get Off Probation Early?

 Posted on December 13,2021 in Criminal Defense

After a person is found guilty of a crime, they may be put on probation — a sanction that’s been ordered by the court system. Probation allows a person to stay in the community, so long as they're supervised by a probation officer and follow any other court-ordered rules.

While probation is almost always a more preferential sanction than jail or prison time, it’s not without its own set of rules and regulations, many of which can impact your life. After a few months or years, many people begin to wonder if it’s possible to get off probation (or deferred adjudication) early.

Probation vs. Deferred Adjudication

Unlike probation, deferred adjudication is not a conviction. If you’re placed on deferred adjudication, you’ll likely have to report to a probation officer and abide by the terms of your probation while living within the community. However, you are not found guilty when placed on deferred adjudication.

If you successfully complete all of the conditions, you will be discharged from deferred adjudication and the case will be dismissed. One of the biggest benefits of successfully completing your deferred adjudication is that you will not be a convicted criminal.

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Can I Get My Criminal Record Expunged?

 Posted on December 13,2021 in Criminal Defense

Few people want a mistake they made years ago to follow them for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what a criminal record can do.

Because a criminal record can affect a person’s ability to find a job, get good housing, or be an effective parent, many people request to have their criminal record expunged.

Expunction vs. Nondisclosure

Texas allows adults two general ways to clean up their arrest record — expunction and nondisclosure.

Having your record expunged can permanently remove entries from your criminal history. However, it’s very limited and some convictions are not eligible for expunction.

Nondisclosure (also commonly known as having a sealed record) can hide certain offenses/information from public record. However, they’ll still be visible to law enforcement, other criminal justice agencies, and certain government agencies.


In Texas, expunction can only be applied to:

Public Defender vs. Private Attorney: Which is Better?

 Posted on December 13,2021 in Criminal Defense

If you’ve ever watched crime dramas on TV, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “if you can not afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.”

This is one of the cornerstones of our justice system — everyone is entitled to a lawyer, regardless of their income or circumstances. That being said, not all lawyers are created equal.

When facing criminal charges, you have the choice between a public defender or hiring a private attorney. And when facing potentially serious consequences, it’s important to understand the difference between the two and which option is best for your situation.

Understanding the Difference Between a Public Defender and Private Attorney

The Downfall of Public Defenders

If you receive a court-appointed lawyer, you’re likely getting a public defender. While this lawyer will come at no cost to you, there are several reasons why this is not in your best interest:

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The Difference Between Theft and Robbery

 Posted on December 13,2021 in Criminal Defense

Whether on TV or during conversations with friends, the words “theft” and “robbery” are often lumped together and used interchangeably. And while they share a lot of similar characteristics (i.e., taking someone else’s property), there are substantial differences between the two — especially in the eyes of the law.

The Legal Definition of Theft vs. Robbery

Theft, also known as larceny, petty theft, and grand theft (depending on the monetary value of what’s stolen), involves taking someone’s property that doesn’t belong to you. This could include scenarios like taking a wallet that was left behind in a restaurant, stealing a bike left outside of a store, or shoplifting.

Theft involves:

  • Property: Intent to take someone’s property or goods.
  • Wrongful: Theft involves deceit or trickery to take someone else’s property.
  • Deprive: To prove theft, it has to be clear that a person intended to permanently deprive the rightful owner of their property.

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Understanding Probation Violations in Texas

 Posted on December 13,2021 in Criminal Defense

Probation is one of the most common alternatives to jail after someone pleads guilty or is convicted of a crime. And while probation may spare someone jail time, it doesn’t mean they’re able to go about life as normal.

What is Probation?

Many people convicted of a crime will be given probation — a court-ordered sanction that allows a person to stay out of jail and in the community while under strict supervision.

Ultimately, a person on probation is supervised by a probation officer and must abide by the specific conditions of their sanction. Probation can mean many things — it can include fines, restitution, house arrest, community service, and more. Those on probation also often have to abstain from drugs and alcohol, undergo drug testing, and regularly check in with their probation officer.

Violating Probation Can Lead to Serious Consequences

There are many ways someone can violate their probation. Some of the most common violations are:

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