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Tarrant County Criminal Defense AttorneyBeing charged with a crime can have a serious impact on an individual’s life, but when those charges involve accusations of sexual offenses, the penalties for conviction and the impact on the person’s reputation and future can be severe. A conviction for a sexual offense not only affects the individual’s liberty for the duration of their sentence, but it could also mean being required to register with the Texas sex offender registry for the rest of their lives.

Even if a person is acquitted of the charges, there is still often a stigma the person carries with them long after the case has been resolved. It is for these reasons that anyone who is accused of a sexual offense should contact a Plano, TX defense attorney immediately.

Defending Against Sex Crime Accusations

Many individuals who have been accused of committing a sexual offense worry that there is no defense against the charge and that the jury will believe they are guilty no matter what the truth may actually be. While many jury members may feel that people who commit sexual offenses should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, they are also charged with being fair and impartial, promising to listen to all the evidence presented by both the prosecutor and the defense attorney, and only vote a defendant guilty if the prosecutor has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Fort Worth Criminal Defense AttorneyThe crime of identity theft involves stealing an individual’s identity and using their personal information (including their name, Social Security number, credit or banking information, etc.) without their permission.

While many people may have heard of the crime of identity theft or may have even been a victim, one type of identity theft crime that is not as well known is the identity theft of a child.

Child Identity Theft

Because identity theft has become so widespread over the past several years, financial institutions and credit card companies are always implementing new security checks to fight against fraud. Many people have also taken steps to protect against identity theft, including putting alerts on any attempted activity connected with their credit history.

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Plano Child Neglect Defense LawyerPosted July 29, 2019 ------------ Updated November 15, 2021

A recent change in the law makes Texas the third state in the country to pass a free-range parenting law. Under the new law – which went into effect September 1 – parents will no longer have the threat of a Department of Family and Protective Services investigation for neglect or the possibility of losing custody of their child to the state for allowing certain activities outlined in the new law.

Under the Reasonable Childhood Independence law, parents are allowed to decide if their children can play outside, walk to a friend’s home, stay home alone, or engage in other activities that are age-appropriate without the fear of being accused of neglecting their child. According to the new law, the state will no longer intervene and remove a child from their home unless “the danger is so great and so likely that it outweighs the trauma of entering the foster care system.”

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Plano Criminal Defense AttorneyThere is no denying that human smuggling has turned into a major issue in the United States. Here in Texas, many human smuggling victims are brought into the country over the border from Mexico. Anyone involved in human smuggling faces serious criminal charges if caught, but now comes news that Mexican drug cartels are enticing Texas teenagers to become involved in these dangerous smuggling operations, putting the teens at risk of not only facing arrest but also the potential for serious injury in the process.

TikTok Advertisements

TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms for teens. Criminal Mexican cartels are taking advantage of this popularity and using the platform to attract teenagers into bringing illegal migrants into Texas.

According to an investigation conducted by a major news network, the cartels advertise on TikTok, offering teens one thousand dollars to drive the illegal migrants to Houston. Many of these migrants are actually drug cartel members or they have criminal records. Instead of surrendering to border authorities or being screened by immigration officials before being released, these migrants being smuggled are attempting to avoid apprehension because of their criminal histories and would be not allowed into the country by border patrol.

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Fort Worth Marijuana Defense AttorneyThe law regarding marijuana can be confusing. There may be differences between federal and state laws, and each individual state also has different laws. The federal government still considers the use of marijuana as illegal, yet some states have passed laws that make the use of recreational marijuana legal. Texas is not one of those states.

One area where Texas law and the federal government do disagree on, however, is how it classifies delta-8 THC. While federal law has deemed the use legal, Texas health officials have now put it on the state’s list of illegal drugs, leaving those that sell CBD products in the state scrambling.

Delta-8 THC

Cannabis contains 100 cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the active psychoactive compound found in cannabis. This includes various forms of THC and CBD. Delta-8 THC is almost identical to the form of THC that is banned under fede ral and state law, however, it is sourced from hemp. Three years ago, under the federal Farm Bill, the definition of lawful marijuana extracts was changed, resulting in delta-8 THC being removed from the national list of controlled substances. This means the product is perfectly legal under federal law, even though users can get high from it.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Collin County Child Abuse LawyerA Texas couple was recently charged with child neglect after someone called police to request a welfare check be done for the couple’s two children. When police arrived at the couple’s complex, neighbors were able to provide additional information. According to several neighbors, the couple was “regularly under the influence of meth” resulting in the children being without any adult supervision for long periods of time. One neighbor reported on an incident where the couple’s two-year-old child got out of their apartment and was found outside at 3 a.m. The couple has been charged with child neglect and is being held on a $5,000 bond.

While Texas law has a very specific statute regarding child neglect, the determination of what constitutes child neglect can be subjective, especially to members of a jury. For example, leaving an 11-year-old child alone for an hour to run to the store can be considered reasonable by some parents, but other parents may think that the child is too young, and the parent is being neglectful.

If you have been accused of child neglect, a Collin County defense attorney can help.

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Collin County Criminal Defense AttorneyThe month of October is designated as National Domestic Violence Month. The goal is to bring awareness of how prevalent the issue of domestic violence is. According to national statistics, 10 percent of the nation’s domestic violence homicides occur right here in Texas. The Texas Council on Family Violence estimates one in three Texans will be a victim of domestic violence during their lifetime.

While there is no doubt domestic violence is a national issue that must be addressed, it is also true that there are many people who are arrested for domestic violence that should not be. False accusations are levied against innocent people for a variety of reasons – as leverage in a divorce or child custody battle, revenge for a romantic breakup, and more. Not only do these false accusations wreak havoc on the lives of those falsely accused, but they also are unfair and hurtful to those who are true victims of domestic abuse.

Texas Family Violence Laws

In Texas, domestic violence is legally referred to as family violence. The Texas Code defines family violence as follows:

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Plano Criminal Defense AttorneyAs written in a recent prior post, although Texas lawmakers are working on legislation that would change the state’s bail system, the current system does provide options for a person who has been charged with a crime to be released on bail while they are awaiting trial, depending on the circumstances of the crime they have been charged with and their prior criminal record.

But what happens if a defendant who has been released on bail fails to show up for their trial? What are the legal consequences they may be facing?

Operation Washout Silver Bear

Last month, during a one-week operation, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Texas Lone Star Fugitive Task Force worked together with local law enforcement and other agencies and captured 66 people who were wanted for jumping bail. The majority of those arrested were classified by the task force as “violent fugitives and gang members.”

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Fort Worth Crimes Against Children LawyerLast month, Apple announced its new policies and programs in an effort to protect children from people who use electronic communication tools in order to recruit and exploit children to produce and distribute Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). In addition to certain safety features that will be available to parents for monitoring their children’s phones, Apple has also announced it will begin monitoring iCloud photos for child abuse photos and forwarding what they find to authorities.

Scanning Photos

It may come as a surprise to some users, but the majority of cloud services, including Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, already scan user files for any content that may be illegal or that violates the company’s terms of service. In the past, Apple has refused to participate in this policy, but that is all changing with the recent announcement.

The company has developed a new technology called NeuralHash. Apple will use the technology to search for “hashes” on a user’s electronic device. Apple will store a database of hashes that will match up with known CSAM. The database CSAM hashes are being provided to the company by child protection organizations, such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and others.

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Plano Criminal Defense LawyerA major Dallas Police Department data deletion could have a significant impact on many of the department’s criminal cases currently pending. According to information released to the public, the deleted data includes case files, evidence, case notes, videos, and audio recordings. To compound the issue, the Dallas County District Attorney's office did not learn about the issue until months after it occurred.

How Was All the Data Lost?

According to information finally provided to Dallas city officials, an IT worker who was employed by the city accidentally deleted approximately eight terabytes of police data. Officials originally found out about the deletion through media reports or from the District Attorney, who had only recently learned of what had happened. The data deletion occurred in March, but the District Attorney’s Office did not learn of the incident until August when they questioned the police department about why there were missing files in pending cases.

Once city officials were informed of the issue, they had their own internal audit done. That audit identified an additional 15 terabytes of missing files, with the potential of discovering even more as the internal investigation continues.

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Fort Worth Weapon Charges Defense AttorneyThis month, permitless carry became legal in the state of Texas. Although this means that anyone who legally owns a gun is now allowed to carry it in public without a license, there are still some stipulations to the law that citizens should be aware of in order to avoid any issues with law enforcement and possible criminal charges.

Recent Gun Law History in Texas

In 1995, then-Governor George W. Bush signed the Texas concealed carry law. This law gave Texans the right to carry a licensed gun in public. Almost 20 years later, lawmakers passed the Texas Motorist Protection Act which made it legal for people who do not have a handgun license to keep a weapon in their vehicle. Several years later, laws were passed that allowed open carry and the allowance of guns on state university campuses.

Even with all of those laws passed, Texans were still required to have a handgun license in order to take their guns outside of their homes or their vehicles. However, this new law changes that. For the first time since the United States Reconstruction Era, Texans who legally own a gun can now carry it in public for the first time without a carry license.

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Collin County Criminal Defense AttorneyAccording to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT), pedestrian fatalities account for one in five traffic accident deaths in the state. More than 600 pedestrians are killed each year and at least 1,300 victims are left seriously injured. Unless the driver who struck the pedestrian was committing a crime, such as driving under the influence, the most serious consequence the driver could face was a traffic citation. But a new law that went into effect September 1 changes all that – drivers who hit a pedestrian can now face criminal charges.

The Lisa Torry Smith Act

Under the new law, a driver who hits and injures a pedestrian who is legally using a crosswalk can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If the victim suffers serious injuries, the charges can be upgraded to a state jail felony. In addition to pedestrians, the law also applies to victims using bikes, electronic personal assistive mobility devices, golf carts, motor-assisted scooters, and wheelchairs.

The law was named after Lisa Torry Smith, a Missouri City woman who was killed in 2017 while she was walking her six-year-old son to school. The two were struck as they were walking in a crosswalk. Her son suffered a shattered pelvis and broken femur from the impact of the vehicle.

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Tarrant County Criminal Defense AttorneyIn Texas, if you are arrested for a crime, there are three possible things that could happen while you are awaiting trial, depending on the severity of the crime you are accused of. The judge could order you to stay in jail until your trial, he or she could release you on your own recognizance with the stipulation that you agree you will appear for your trial, or the judge could require the posting of bail so you can be released pending trial. 

In the majority of criminal cases, a defendant is either released on their own recognizance or allowed to post bail so they can be released. However, a new bill in the Texas legislature could make it more difficult for many defendants to post that bail, leaving them to sit in jail until their trial. 

Current Bail System in Texas

The more serious the crime, the higher the bail amount usually is.  That full amount of bail needs to be posted in cash. The amount is often too high for most people to be able to access that amount of cash on their own. In these cases, the defendant can go to a bail bondsmen or bail agency. 

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Tarrant County DUI Defense AttorneyUnder Texas law, if a driver has a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 percent or higher, they are considered legally intoxicated. In order to measure that concentration, police will usually take a breathalyzer test at the scene and may request or obtain a warrant for the driver to submit to a blood test for a more accurate reading. It was recently announced, however, that a medical supply company’s recall of test tubes used in the blood tests may put the results of hundreds of DWI blood tests in Texas in jeopardy.

Recalled Test Tubes

In 2019, the manufacturer issued a recall notice for a total of 247,000 test tubes because there was a concern that some of the tubes in that lot were missing preservative powder. The preservative powder is a critical component in the testing process because it is supposed to keep the blood alcohol level from changing before the blood in the tube is finally tested in a lab. In the notice, the company stated that blood alcohol levels could be “either falsely low or falsely high” if the preservative is missing.

At the time of the recall, the company urged any agency using the tubes to immediately review the inventory they had and return the tubes subject to the recall.

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Fort Worth Sexual Offense AttorneyThe U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced the indictment of a Denton, TX man on federal sex offender registry violations. According to the indictment, in 2011, the man was convicted of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in Iowa. The conviction also required he register as a sex offender. In early 2020, the man moved to Texas and registered as a sex offender as required, however, he moved back to Iowa a short time later and deregistered in Texas. In October, he moved back to Texas and failed to register again in Texas as required.

The man has pleaded not guilty to the crime and is currently being held until trial. Failing to register can be charged as both a federal or state crime and carry the potential of lengthy prison time and hefty fines.

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Tarrant County Sexual Offense AttorneyAccording to statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the state of Texas has the second-highest rate of human trafficking in the country. Texas lawmakers have just passed a new bill that takes aim at human trafficking, making it a state felony offense for buying sex instead of a misdemeanor offense under the current law. Texas is the first state in the nation to elevate these charges.  

The New Law: HB 1540

According to a report prepared by the Statewide Human Trafficking Mapping Project of Texas, there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking just in the state of Texas. Almost 80,000 of those victims are minors. The report found that sex trafficking of minors reaps approximately $600 million for traffickers, while the consequences of trafficking minors cost the state of Texas about $6.6 billion each year.

Historically, state criminal justice systems – including Texas – have treated prostitutes as criminals, often harsher than the traffickers or buyers. Studies show that many prostitutes are actually victims of human trafficking who have been forced into the sex trade. Instead of criminal charges, convictions, and jail, advocates argue that these victims should be given protection, mental health treatment, and assistance in finding jobs, education, and housing.

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plano defense lawyerAny time a person is charged with physical or sexual abuse of a child, the consequences can be severe. However, if the alleged offender is subject to a protective order at the time, they may face an additional layer of criminal penalties. If you are the subject of a protective order, or if you have been charged with violating a protective order, a criminal defense attorney can help you understand what is at stake and advise you on how to proceed.

Types of Protective Orders

Texas courts may issue protective orders in response to a variety of situations in which a person has allegedly been a victim of abuse. One common reason for a protective order is an act of family violence, which may include child abuse and other acts that cause or threaten physical harm or sexual assault toward a member of one’s household. Protective orders may also be issued in response to various forms of abuse toward someone outside of one’s household, including sexual abuse or indecency with a child, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking.

Violations of Protective Orders

A protective order prohibits the named person from engaging in further acts of violence or abuse against the protected persons while the order is in effect. If a protective order has been issued against you in response to a prior act, committing another similar act can not only result in new criminal charges for the act in question, it can also result in criminal charges for violating the terms of the order.

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Fort Worth Criminal Defense AttorneyA person who is accused of committing crimes against children will often struggle to defend against these types of criminal charges. In addition to facing prosecution by law enforcement officials, a person’s reputation and standing in the community may be damaged. In these situations, a person will need to understand the nature of the specific charges they have been accused of. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between charges such as injury to a child and child endangerment, but with the help of a criminal defense lawyer, a person can determine how these charges may apply in their situation while also creating an effective defense strategy.

Charges Involving Child Injuries and Risky Situations

The offense of injury to a child may apply in situations where a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused a child who was 14 years old or younger to suffer a bodily injury or a serious mental deficiency or impairment. If a person intentionally or knowingly caused a child to suffer a serious bodily injury that put them at risk of death, permanent disfigurement, loss of a limb or organ, or a serious mental impairment, they may be charged with a first-degree felony. If a person caused a serious bodily injury or a serious mental impairment by acting recklessly, meaning that they were aware of a substantial risk of injury but disregarded these risks, they may be charged with a second-degree felony.

In cases involving less serious bodily injuries to children, which may include any form of physical pain, illness, or impairment, a person may be charged with a third-degree felony if an injury was inflicted intentionally or knowingly. If an injury was inflicted recklessly, a person may be charged with a state jail felony. If a person causes any type of injury to a child because of criminal negligence, they may be charged with a state jail felony. Criminal negligence involves a failure to perceive a substantial risk that an ordinary and reasonable person would have been aware of.

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Collin County defense lawyerIn the 21st century, most people use computers, electronic devices, and the internet on a daily basis for multiple types of personal and professional purposes. There are many ways someone’s personal or financial information may be exposed to others online, and the illegal access or misuse of this information could potentially lead to fraud charges. There are multiple offenses that are considered internet crimes, and those who have been accused of this type of activity will need to understand when an offense could lead to federal criminal charges, which may result in more serious penalties.

Federal Computer Fraud Offenses

Fraud may be charged as a state-level offense based on the laws in the state where the alleged offender or the person who was the alleged victim of fraud lived. However, federal charges for computer or internet crimes may apply if a person is accused of violating federal laws or if an alleged offense affected people in multiple states or countries or involved interstate or international commerce. Some cybercrimes that could potentially lead to federal fraud charges include:

  • Illegal access - “Hacking” into a computer system by obtaining access without authorization could result in fraud charges based on how the information that was accessed is used. For example, a person may face federal charges if they are accused of breaking into a company’s records and selling information about its customers to others.

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tarrant county criminal defense lawyerThere are many different types of situations where a person may be charged with crimes against children, and these cases can not only lead to serious criminal penalties, but they can also affect a parent’s custody of their children. Kidnapping is one offense that is not always fully understood by the general public. Rather than “stranger danger” situations in which a person snatches a child off the street, many of these cases involve a child’s parent or another relative holding or transporting a child without authorization. People who are involved in these types of situations will want to understand how the laws define kidnapping and unlawful restraint of children and the potential penalties they could face for these offenses.

Kidnapping and Unlawful Restraint in Texas

The offense of kidnapping involves the intentional abduction of a person in which they are kept or hidden in a place where they are unlikely to be found by others or when the offender uses or threatens to use deadly force. This offense is a third-degree felony. A person who is convicted kidnapping may be imprisoned for 2 to 10 years and fined up to $10,000. However, a person who is accused of kidnapping a child may defend against these charges by demonstrating that they did not intend to use deadly force, that they are a relative of the child who was allegedly abducted (such as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling, including those who are related to a child through marriage or adoption), and that their actions were meant to allow them to maintain “lawful control” of the child.

In cases where a person’s actions did not meet the requirements for a kidnapping charge, they may be charged with unlawful restraint if they restricted another person’s movements without that person’s consent. These charges may apply in situations involving taking a child by force or through intimidation or deception, restraining a child under 14 years old without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian, or taking a child between the ages of 14 and 17 outside the state of Texas without a parent or guardian’s consent. 

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