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Collin County criminal defense attorney DWI

Since before the time you were legally able to get behind the wheel, you have likely been warned about the dangers of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Not only do drunk drivers place themselves at risk of injury, but they also put other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in harm’s way. Intoxication levels are measured through one’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and in Texas, one’s BAC must be below 0.08 percent to be considered under the legal limit. But what happens to those who injure another party because they decided to get behind the wheel drunk? Is the blame solely on their decision to drink, or can other parties be held responsible as well?

Holiday Party Gone Wrong

Unfortunately, drunk driving incidents increase throughout the holiday season. This is often attributed to tipsy party guests making the decision to get behind the wheel rather than staying the night or calling a friend for a ride home. This instance hit close to home for a number of families this past Christmas Eve. Teenage brothers from Lewisville became victims to a drunk driver while walking home with friends on Dec. 24, 2020. Hayden, 18, and Grayson, 12, were struck by an out-of-control vehicle. Grayson made it out alive with serious injuries, but Hayden died at the scene. The driver was arrested on charges of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault. Depending on the details of the drunk driver’s night, there may have been additional parties to blame.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney child neglect

You may think that there is a clear line between child neglect and a more laissez-faire approach to parenting. When you imagine parents being charged with neglect and abandonment, you picture a child at home alone for days, struggling to care for himself or herself. The parents that you might picture in your head are risking their child’s safety to sustain their substance addiction. While this is, unfortunately, a common reality for those facing child neglect charges in Texas, others may be facing such charges based on their hands-off approach to caring for their child. Also known as “free-range parenting,” there is debate about whether or not this relaxed parenting style makes children more independent or places kids in harm’s way.

Free-Range Parenting Explained

In 2018, Utah passed a law that addressed different parenting styles and set a line for what is considered free-range parenting and what is considered neglect and abandonment. In the age of smartphones, parents have constant contact with their children, either through text message updates or actually tracking their child’s location. Many argue that this is a blessing and allows parents to fully protect their children in a way that was unavailable to previous generations. Others, however, believe that this constant contact and watchfulness can stunt kids’ individuality and ability to navigate the world on their own. Advocate Lenore Skenazy started the movement almost a decade ago after she allowed her 9-year-old son to ride the New York City subway by himself. Since then, Utah passed the country’s first law to legalize this form of parenting to give children the freedom to do things on their own, with their parents’ permission. This includes activities such as exploring a playground, riding a bike to school, or allowing your child to remain home alone at a young age without a parent’s supervision. Some view this type of parenting as a nod to “the olden days” while others see it as the failure to protect your child. Texas does not have such a law in place, leaving some of these more radically viewed parental decisions up to the court’s discretion.

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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney weapons charges

Weapon laws have been under scrutiny for the past decade, as mass shootings have increased in the United States. Those on the left-wing feel as if guns should be more severely regulated, if allowed at all, whereas those on the right-wing feel strongly about maintaining their Second Amendment rights, arguing that they feel safer with a gun in their hands. Texas is regarded as one of the more conservative states in the country, and the state’s gun rights follow suit. Despite having more relaxed gun laws, the state still has regulations on how weapons can be sold and who is able to purchase them. Because of these regulations, one man’s hobby landed him two years in prison.

An Illegal Sale Leads to Disaster

Marcus Braziel was sentenced to two years behind bars in a Lubbock, TX courtroom at the beginning of the new year. Inside the courtroom, Sharon Griffith showed a picture of her son, a man who was killed at a mass shooting in Midland and Odessa in August 2019. Though Braziel was not the man who shot Griffith’s son, the gunman used an assault rifle that was sold to him by Braziel back in 2016. Braziel admitted to dealing and manufacturing firearms without a license in addition to filing false tax returns.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney drug trafficking

Young, college-age kids are notorious for pushing the envelope. Whether that involves going against their parents’ wishes, drinking underage, or trying illegal substances, one defiant action can quickly lead to a series of poor decisions. Drinking under the age of 21 can also result in a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge depending on the circumstances, and trying a single drug can often result in a life riddled by drug crimes. Those involved in drug rings recognize young adults’ willingness to try drugs and the likelihood of them getting hooked on these substances. With this in mind, many will target college-age kids to create regular customers of their products, many of which are not the drug that they think they are.

UT Students at Risk

In early December, authorities busted a drug trafficking operation that targeted the University of Texas (UT) students. At least 13 people were charged in connection with the scheme, including current and former UT students. Authorities reported that the drug ring sold counterfeit prescription drugs, claimed to be Adderall and Xanax, to students that were laced with methamphetamine and fentanyl. Adderall and Xanax are regulated and legitimate prescription medications that many students will purchase in the hopes that they will improve their studying and focus before major assignments or exams. Purchasing these drugs without a prescription is a crime in and of itself, but finding out that the regulated, FDA-approved medication is laced with dangerous substances was not what the students signed up for.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney sex crimes

For the past two academic semesters, students across the country have alternated between in-person and virtual learning formats in an attempt to keep students and their families safe from contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus. Each state was presented with the ability to dictate their educational systems’ future for the fall semester, some returning to the classroom, others remaining fully remote, and even more states selecting a hybrid platform. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath required all schools in the state to open their doors to those who would like to return to the classroom while also being prepared for remote teaching for students who opt to remain at home.

These unprecedented changes to Texas classrooms have made things more challenging for teachers, students, and their families. Additionally, the dual academic options have made regulating students’ progress and teachers’ work increasingly difficult. As is the unfortunate case each year, inappropriate teacher-student relationships can continue to occur during this unique academic year. Teachers and students have an even greater virtual connection than ever before, making it easier for such relationships—and false accusations—to flourish. 

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Collin County criminal defense attorney assault

Since the conclusion of voting for the 2020 presidential election in early November, many Americans have questioned the validity of the results. The majority of suspicions come from conservative voters, and as Texas is dubbed a red state, many Texas legislators have voiced their doubts. This past Monday, the Electoral College affirmed former Vice President Joe Biden’s triumph in the 2020 election, but the 38 electors from the state of Texas provided their votes for President Donald Trump and encouraged swing state legislatures to appoint their own electors. Texas lawmakers are not the only ones taking charge in regards to voter fraud allegations, as one ex-cop took matters into his own hands.

Former Houston Police Captain Arrested

This past Tuesday, a former Houston police captain was arrested for allegedly running an air-conditioner repairman off the road and threatening him at gunpoint. In response to an unsubstantiated voter-fraud conspiracy theory, suspect Mark Anthony Aguirre was involved in a project to find evidence of voter fraud in Harris County. Aguirre was paid $266,400 by activist Steven Hotze, leader of the group Liberty Center for God and Country, to help the group investigate voter fraud in the county. According to Aguirre, he threatened a man who he believed was in charge of a slew of forged election ballots. At this time, there is no evidence that the man who Aguirre threatened was involved in a fraud scheme of any kind. 

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Collin County criminal defense attorney homicide

It is no secret that violent crime is more prevalent in urban areas, and Dallas is no exception. After seven fatal shootings occurred in the city in mid-November, Gov. Greg Abbott saw an urgent need for additional protection for Dallas residents. The city has surpassed its homicide count from 2019, with 220 homicides recorded in this year alone. In order to keep this number from rising as the year comes to a close, Governor Abbott has sent state police into the city for added protection. This is not the first time the governor has opted for these additional measures, and due to past experiences, not all Dallas residents agree with the governor’s tactic for combating crime. 

Operation D-Town

In June 2019, Dallas saw a similar spike in murders and violent crimes, and in response, Gov. Abbott deployed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) into the city to assist the Dallas Police Department in their policing efforts. According to reports from Dallas police, the targeted areas saw a significant drop in violent crimes just two months into the operation. Even with the reduction in crime, a number of residents and community officials claimed that DPS did more harm than good.

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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney

As the last few months of 2020 begin to come to a close, everyone’s sights are set on 2021. This year has been historic, to say the least, with an international pandemic, racial protests across the United States, and a presidential election all happening in a matter of 12 months. With an eventful year like this one, it is no wonder that everyone is looking forward, Texas lawmakers included. The 87th Texas Legislature will not begin their next session until January; however, state lawmakers are already filing their legislative proposals for 2021, some of which touch on criminal law.

Looking Ahead With New Laws

On just the first day in which Texas lawmakers were able to file legislation, over 450 bills were filed in the House and Senate. According to reports from the Texas Tribune, an anticipated 1,000+ bills will be submitted during the legislative session, but only a few will be seen by the governor’s eyes. This session will be especially tough for lawmakers as COVID-19 leaves billions of dollars of shortfalls in its wake. Despite this, Texas legislators have forged ahead by proposing the following notable bills:

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Collin County criminal defense attorney

According to the Fourth Amendment, Americans have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. In other words, if an officer shows up at your home without a search warrant, or pulls you over and asks to take a look in your car, you are legally allowed to deny the search until a proper search warrant is present. A recent Texas case, however, may put the limits of this protection in question for those individuals who are facing criminal charges.  

Stopped for Speeding, Arrested for Drugs

In early November, two Austin residents were pulled over for a routine traffic stop after they were allegedly found speeding on US HWY 87. According to reports from local station San Angelo LIVE, couple Andrew Garlinghouse and Lee French-Todd provided their driver’s licenses to the police officer upon request. After noting Garlinghouse was acting “suspicious and very nervous” during the traffic stop, the officer was denied his request to search the vehicle. The law enforcement officer suspected additional criminal activity going on due to Garlinghouse’s refusal and visible discomfort, so he called a K-9 unit to the scene to check the vehicle for illicit drugs. During the search, the officer recovered several bags of methamphetamine, small baggies, a scale, Adderall, and Xanax from the couple’s vehicle. The two individuals were then arrested on multiple drug charges.

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Tarrant County criminal defense attorney DWI

College Station, the home to Texas A&M University, has seen a significant decrease in the number of driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests in the past year. As 2020 has been a unique year in the history of the United States, these reduced numbers may be attributed to the restrictions enacted on Texans since COVID-19 began to surge. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 800 drivers across the state were killed in accidents involving DWI. While this number may not seem particularly significant in such a large state, it only accounts for those who were in fatal accidents, not those arrested or injured. If you are arrested for DWI, it is important to know the severity of the criminal charges that you may face and where to turn for legal guidance.

A Texas Town Considers the Implications of Reopening

In a KBTX news report from October 29, Police Officer Tristen Lopez from College Station, Texas notes an approximate 25 percent decrease in DWI arrests this past year. According to the report, College Station police have made 227 DWI-related arrests this year, compared to 303 arrests in 2019 by this same date. The same is true of DWI-related crashes in the area. COVID-19 restrictions in the state of Texas have left local bars closed for months in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus. As of October 14, however, county governments were given the option of allowing their local bars to reopen at 50 percent capacity moving forward. Though these bars may reopen, they are still required to stop selling alcohol at 11 p.m.; the same is not true of restaurants, creating a gray area on which many bars and restaurants can tread. Officer Lopez connected the reduced DWI numbers to local bar closures and noted that the trend will likely change now that the bars have reopened. 

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Collin County criminal defense attorney child abuse

Child abuse is a tragedy that happens all too frequently across the world. In Texas, an average of more than four children die from abuse or neglect every week and 184 kids are confirmed victims on a daily basis. As a parent, it may seem unimaginable how an adult can hurt a child or how the statistics can be this high in a single state alone. The cruelty behind child abuse is undeniable, which can unfortunately lead to quick judgments from the court and unfounded convictions. False accusations of child abuse or neglect are not uncommon when it comes to divorce or adjustments in child custody orders. Criminal actions like those committed by Justin Fountain, a father from East Texas, should be charged in a harsh manner, as shown below. However, those facing false accusations should seek out immediate legal help from a reputable criminal defense attorney to avoid facing severe consequences for a crime they did not commit.

Texas Man Found Guilty of Injuring Daughter

In early October of this year, a man from Cherokee County was convicted of child abuse. Fountain is the father of an infant daughter whom he caused serious bodily injury to in 2019. He admitted to shaking and throwing her down after he became upset with her. Her father also blew marijuana smoke into her face to “calm her down.” According to the child’s pediatrician and adoptive parents, she still suffers ill effects from her injuries that were inflicted last year. A year later, Fountain has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after being convicted of child abuse in Texas.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney drug crimes

As of late, a number of large-scale drug operations have been discovered and shut down by Texas law enforcement. Some spanning from Mexico, through Texas, and all the way to West Virginia while others are bringing down small Texas communities. Those found guilty of possessing, manufacturing, and distributing these illegal substances will face hefty charges in the state of Texas. Depending on the substance at hand, drug charges can span from a relatively minor misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. 

Fort Worth Drug Ring

In mid-October, 30 members of an alleged methamphetamine distribution ring were taken into custody and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. According to reports from KWTX, the group was led by Jonathon Rodriguez, the 30-year-old owner of Funky Town Swag, a clothing store located in Fort Worth. Investigators took possession of 16 kilograms of meth, 9 ounces of heroin, and 9 firearms during the arrest. According to sources, methamphetamine has been an ongoing issue in North Texas for some time. Law enforcement discovered that Rodriguez and his team had allegedly attempted to create a meth conversion lab inside a Fort Worth residence. Reports claim that the drug ring allegedly distributed kilograms of crystal meth out of Funky Town Swag’s back office, a number of trap houses, a car wash, and a local motel. If they are found guilty, the 30 members each face up to 40 years in federal prison.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney child sexual assault

A 24-year-old former educational assistant was indicted by a grand jury in Bowie County, Texas, earlier this month on two counts of an improper relationship between educator and student. The former aide was also indicted on a single count of sexual assault of a child. All three criminal charges are felonies, and they stem from interactions she allegedly had with students between November 2019 and May 2020.

Overheard Conversations

According to reports, a teacher at Texas High in the Texarkana Independent School District overheard a group of boys talking in June about how one of the boys might have gotten the instructional aide pregnant. After being confronted, the 17-year-old boy allegedly said that he had had sex with the aide but that she told him he was not her baby’s father. He also claimed that other students had sex with the assistant as well.

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Dallas criminal defense attorney violent crimes

A small city in East Texas was thrust into the national spotlight in recent days—and for all of the wrong reasons. On the morning of Friday, October 9, police in New Boston, TX, were called to a residence where they found the body of a young woman who had apparently been murdered. To make matters even worse, the victim had been pregnant at the time of her death, and a preliminary investigation indicated that the woman’s unborn baby had been cut from her body. The gruesome scene prompted action by several local and state agencies, looking into the case as both a murder and kidnapping investigation.

Pregnant Woman Found Dead

At a little after 10 a.m. last Friday, New Boston police responded to a 911 call reporting a deceased person. New Boston is a small city of approximately 4,600 people in Bowie County near Texarkana. When the police arrived, they discovered the body of a 21-year-old woman. According to officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the woman was clearly the victim of a homicide. She had also been almost eight months pregnant when she died, and her baby had been cut from her womb, presumably by her killer. Following the horrific discovery, an investigation was initiated by multiple law enforcement agencies throughout the region, including the Department of Public Safety, the New Boston Police Department, the Texarkana Police Department, and the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney federal crimes

As it currently stands in the United States, most computer-related crimes can be charged as federal offenses, as they largely utilize the online infrastructure of the Internet. Computer-related federal charges may stem from using the Internet to traffic drugsweapons, and even people, in addition to illegal materials such as child pornography. Interstate and international scams conducted via the Internet can also be prosecuted as federal crimes. “Hacking” or gaining illicit access to computer systems or networks is usually a federal crime, as well.

With all of this in mind, it may come as quite a shock to learn that the U.S. justice system currently does not have a clear process in place for prosecuting those accused of hacking into a federal voting system. However, the U.S. House unanimously passed a bill last month that would give federal prosecutors the statutory support they need to prosecute voting system hacking. The bill cleared the Senate in 2019 and is now awaiting President Trump’s signature so that it can be enacted into law.

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Fort Worth federal criminal defense attorney

Under Texas law, a person commits criminal homicide if he or she intentionally or negligently causes the death of another individual. Criminal homicide is considered murder when the offender knowingly causes the death of the individual, causes death while intentionally causing serious bodily harm, or causes the death of the individual during the commission of a felony. Depending on the facts of the case, murder may be charged as a first-degree or second-degree felony offense in Texas. However, there are some situations in which murder may also be considered a federal crime

Circumstances in Which the Federal Government Prosecutes Murder Cases

Most federal murder charges result from murders involving drug trafficking or weapons trafficking, or attacks on U.S. government officials. Deaths resulting from certain crimes against children may also result in federal murder charges. Murder is typically a federal criminal offense if:

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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney child endangerment

The public’s opinion of drugs and alcohol has changed dramatically throughout our nation’s history. Alcohol was common in many American homes until the 18th Amendment banned the consumption of liquor, beer, and wine in 1919. Then, the 21st Amendment repealed the ban on the manufacture and consumption of alcohol. Today, marijuana is a subject of great controversy across the United States. Some consider it a dangerous “gateway drug” while others believe that the substance offers significant medicinal benefits. Although the laws surrounding drugs and alcohol are constantly changing, one certainty has remained consistent: Drugs and alcohol should not be consumed by children. Allowing a child to consume drugs or alcohol or consuming an illicit substance in the presence of a child can result in child endangerment charges.

Criminal Charges Can Result from Exposing a Child to Danger

Children are unable to adequately provide for their own safety. Consequently, they are dependent on adults to protect them from harm. When an adult fails to protect a child or allows a child to be in a dangerous situation, he or she may be charged with the criminal offense of child endangerment. One Texas woman was recently arrested and charged with child endangerment after a video surfaced of the woman allowing her 3-year-old brother to smoke marijuana. The video, which was shared on Facebook and quickly shared with Texas police, shows the boy’s 18-year-old sister and another individual actively encouraging the toddler to inhale. Child Protective Services is currently investigating the situation. It is unknown if further criminal charges will be brought against the young boy’s parents. If the sister is convicted of child endangerment, she faces up to two years of imprisonment in a Texas state jail facility.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney child abuse

Breakups and divorce can sometimes lead people to make choices they would never make otherwise. Some individuals even fabricate stories of child abuse or neglect in order to “get back” at their former partner. Unfortunately, even if an accusation of child abuse is completely unfounded, the allegation can have dramatic effects on the wrongfully accused. He or she may be investigated by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or even arrested and charged with a criminal offense. If you or a loved one has been accused of causing injury to a child, it is crucial that you take swift action to protect your rights.

Responding to Allegations of Child Abuse

Understandably, being accused of a crime you did not commit can be infuriating. However, it is important to remain calm and avoid taking actions that could be used against you in any criminal proceedings. Do not confront your accuser in any way. If you have been served with a protective order or restraining order, comply with the provisions contained in the order. You may be required to surrender your firearms and/or concealed carry permit, stay away from the alleged victim’s school, or even temporarily move out of your own home. Even if the grounds for the protective order are fraudulent, you should comply with these requirements. By doing so, you show the court that you are a law-abiding citizen. Even more importantly, violating the terms of the protective order can result in additional criminal charges which will make your situation even worse.
Injury to a child is a felony offense in Texas. If you are accused of causing bodily injury or mental impairment to your child or any other child through reckless actions or inaction, you could face up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. If the alleged injury was intentional, the maximum punishment for causing injury to a child is 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. If a serious bodily injury or mental impairment was allegedly caused, the crime is a first-degree felony, which is punishable by life in prison. As you can see, the punishments for harming a child in Texas are severe. This is why it is critical for you to obtain legal support from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Do not respond to police questioning without your lawyer present. You could say or do something incriminating that is later used against you.

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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney sexual assault

Because children’s brains are not fully developed and they have not had the same life experiences as adults, it is assumed that children cannot consent to sexual activities. In the eyes of the law, this makes any sexual conduct between a child and an adult non-consensual and therefore unlawful. However, the “age of consent” or age at which a person is considered to be capable of agreeing to sex, varies from state to state. This can make it difficult to know when a sexual relationship is in violation of the law. If you have been charged with sexual assault of a child or accused of statutory rape, you could be facing life-altering criminal consequences. That is why it is important to contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Texas Law Regarding Statutory Rape

The age of consent is 17 in Texas. This means that it is unlawful for an adult to participate in sexual activities with someone who is 16 years old or younger. Texas law does not use the term “rape” for nonconsensual sex but instead refers to the act as sexual assault. Many people do not realize that they can be charged with sexual assault of a child even if the underage person agreed to the sexual activity. Sexual activity does not need to be forced or involve drugs such as Rohypnol in order to be a criminal offense. Sexual assault of a child is a second-degree felony in Texas. If convicted, you could be imprisoned for 2-20 years and fined up to $10,000. If you are accused of participating in non-penetrative sexual activities with a person under 17, you could be charged with indecency with a child. This is also a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. You will also be required to register as a sex offender.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney money laundering

Money laundering is a term used to describe the act of hiding funds that are obtained through criminal activities. It is a criminal offense that is prosecuted by the state and federal government and punishable by steep fines and significant prison sentences. If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense related to money laundering, contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney right away. Do not speak to the police without your attorney present. Take advantage of your Constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination by remaining silent and asking for your lawyer right away.

U.S. Federal Money Laundering Laws

The term “money laundering” refers to the process of making illegally obtained or “dirty” money appear legitimate or “clean.” If you concealed or attempted to conceal profits from a crime, you may be charged with offenses related to the crime as well as the offense of money laundering. For example, if you received money from selling illicit drugs and then funneled those profits into your small business, you may face charges for drug distribution as well as money laundering. Money laundering typically involves three main steps. First, the cash obtained from the unlawful sources is disguised as money from a legitimate business or another lawful source. Next, the origin of the funds is obscured so that it is difficult for law enforcement to determine the original source. Lastly, the laundered funds are reintroduced or integrated into the economy -- often through financial institutions.

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