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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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fort worth criminal defense lawyerThe state of Texas is known as one of the most gun-friendly parts of the United States. The state’s lawmakers have emphatically stated their support for citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Even though many people have called for increased gun control to prevent firearm deaths, including those in mass shootings such as the incidents that took place in El Paso and Midland in 2019, Texas has taken steps to allow more people to own and carry firearms. While the passage of a new law has lifted some restrictions, Texans should be sure to understand their rights so they can avoid potential weapons charges.

“Constitutional Carry” of Firearms

On June 16, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new bill into law that will allow people in the state to purchase and own handguns without the need to obtain a license, and these weapons may be carried without the requirement to obtain a permit. This law eliminates the previous requirements that applied to gun owners, including submitting fingerprints, completing four to six hours of training, passing a written test, and demonstrating proficiency with shooting firearms. The new law goes into effect on September 1, 2021.

With this law, Texas has implemented a system known as “constitutional carry,” which gives most people over the age of 21 (or members of the military over the age of 18) the right to own and carry firearms. However, those prohibited by law from owning or carrying a firearm, such as people convicted of certain types of crimes, will continue to face these restrictions. In addition, people are prohibited from carrying handguns in certain locations, including courthouses, amusement parks, bars, airports, racetracks, sporting events, correctional facilities, and polling places.

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