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Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer for hate crimesAs increased awareness of racial discrimination has circulated across the country, many are left wondering whether the words and actions that they are seeing in news reports are considered hate crimes or other types of criminal offenses. Many racial attacks that have occurred over the last several months have been targeted at Asian-Americans, and in many cases, this violence has been in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with some people falsely blaming Asians for the origin and spread of the virus. In fact, just a few weeks ago, a video was released of a violent attack in an Asian-owned beauty store in Houston. Some may be wondering whether violent crimes of this nature qualify as hate crimes.

Texas Hate Crime Laws Explained

Texas legislators took a strong stand against racial discrimination in 2001 after James Byrd, Jr. was violently killed by white supremacists in 1998. In response to the Black man’s death, previous state senator and now Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis pushed for sentencing enhancements for those found guilty of committing a hate crime. In other words, those who commit a hate crime will face increased jail time when compared to other crimes of that same magnitude. In order for an action to be considered a hate crime, one must prove that the person “acted out of bias towards the victim’s perceived color, race, religion, disability, national origin, gender, age, and/or sexual preference.

While proving that someone’s actions classify as a hate crime may seem like an easy task, this is more challenging than it often appears. According to ProPublica’s 2010-2015 analysis, there were 981 potential hate crime cases, and only five, or 0.5 percent, led to specific hate crime convictions. The reason it is so difficult? One must prove the intent of the person behind the crime. Pointing out that the statements or actions were discriminatory is often not enough to be convicted of a hate crime. Hate crime cases require the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the intent behind the person’s actions was motivated by the victim’s protected status. 

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Dallas, TX DWI defense lawyer for breathalyzer testsWhen a police officer pulls someone over, they will often be looking to determine whether the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If an officer suspects that you are driving while intoxicated (DWI), he or she may ask you to submit to a few tests to determine your level of intoxication. But as a Texas driver, are you required to submit to such testing?

Types of Sobriety Tests

There are several different types of tests that police officers may ask a driver to take, including preliminary blood alcohol tests and field sobriety tests that are meant to gauge the driver’s balance, reaction time, and ability to drive safely. These tests may include:

  1. Nystagmus: This is often the first field sobriety test that officers will use, since it does not require the driver to get out of the vehicle or use any devices. The officer will place a pen in between the driver’s eyes, asking him or her to follow the pen with their eyes. This measures the driver’s ability to focus and follow directions.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney domestic abuse

Domestic violence has been a long-standing epidemic for American women and men, especially for Texans. In the past decade, awareness regarding sexual harassment and assault in the workplace has led to major changes when it comes to employee training and discipline, including for those in positions of power. One Texas legislator, in particular, has made it her priority not to just make these changes in the workplace, but also to help those who are victims in their own homes. In 2018 alone, there were 212,885 victims of family violence in Texas, not including the number of victims who go unreported. While 71.6 percent of these victims were female, men are also victims of domestic violence, but they often let this crime against them fly under the radar. Those guilty of domestic violence should undoubtedly be held accountable for their actions, but if you are facing false accusations, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.

Proposed Bill Calls for Advocacy

Hairstylists, barbers, and cosmetologists work in an environment where their customers come to them with an intimate request--help me with my appearance--and are comfortable chatting about the details of their lives. While clients may only see these individuals every few weeks or months, they build a trusting relationship with them in which they update them on what is currently going on in their life. State Representative Ana Hernandez recognized the intimate role of these professionals; not only do they hear about their clients’ lives from an outside perspective, but they also get a close look at their clients’ bodies or faces while working on them. 

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Denton County criminal defense attorney human trafficking

Since the Biden administration came into power just two months ago, immigration policies have changed from the previous administration’s “build a wall” mentality. Trump declared a state of emergency at the border at the beginning of 2019 to impose stricter immigration policies and reduce the influx of illegal immigration and crime along the Texas-Mexico border. One of President Biden’s first actions in office was to end this policy and cut the famous Trump administration’s border wall funding. Since then, Texas has seen a sharp increase in unaccompanied minors arriving at the border. Many believe that human traffickers are helping migrants cross the border, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott intends on getting to the bottom of things.

Increasing Security to Protect Children

This past week, Gov. Abbott referred to the recent influx of unaccompanied minors along the Texas-Mexico border as a “humanitarian crisis.” These migrant numbers have increased so much that the Dallas convention center is being converted into a temporary shelter for these children. The converted convention center housing thousands of migrant children will allow these young kids and teens to socialize and exercise after experiencing incredible trauma. The governor requested access for the Texas Department of Public Safety officers to the children so that they can interview the kids about their experiences and try to identify human traffickers. Gov. Abbott is adamant in obtaining this information so that “America can combat these human traffickers and prevent other children from being victimized.” 

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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is never a one-man operation. In some cases, the drug sales may be moving locally across various hands while in others the drug trafficking operation can span across the globe. A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas indicted eight individuals for their illicit involvement in an international drug trafficking conspiracy. Only one of the people involved is actually from Texas despite the case happening in a Texas court. So why is the case taking place in the Lone Star State and what are the charges being made?

Texas As Home Base

Eight individuals, including 40-year-old Carlos Villaurrutia of McAllen, Texas, were charged with conspiracies to manufacture and distribute cocaine, commit money laundering, commit wire fraud, commit export violations, and commit federal registration violations involving an aircraft. According to the indictment, these eight people have been involved in approximately $350 million in alleged criminal offenses over the past five years. 

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