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Collin County criminal defense attorney weapons charges

Over the past 10 years, the state of Texas has seen seven mass shootings, which in the aftermath of the tragedy led to conversations from lawmakers about the state’s gun laws. In August 2019, the state was devastated by back-to-back shootings in El Paso and Odessa, the likes of which left 30 people dead and dozens more injured. According to reports from the Poynter Institute, over 3,000 people are killed with a gun each year in Texas. Citizens are divided over how gun control should be handled in the state, with 40-50 percent of University of Texas poll participants stating that they want stricter gun control throughout the state. With requests like these, one may be concerned that weapons charges may become more stringent yet Governor Greg Abbott begs to differ.

A Second Amendment Sanctuary

Over the past several weeks, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have met with state lawmakers and publicly expressed their willingness to consider at least one gun control proposal which could make it more challenging for Texans to buy firearms. Yet Gov. Abbott’s words during the first 2021 legislative session reveals different priorities. According to the governor, he believes that the state needs to “erect a complete barrier against any government official anywhere from treading on gun rights in Texas.” He did not mention last year’s deadly mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa, but following those tragedies, Gov. Abbott raised concerns about Texas laws that allow private gun sales between strangers without proper background checks. Additionally, he recommended several ideas on how to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not possess them, including banning “straw purchases.” These currently legal purchases allow someone to purchase a gun for another person. In regards to stranger-to-stranger sales, Gov. Abbott did not push for mandatory background checks, but rather suggested ways that the legislature could make it “easy, affordable, and beneficial for a private seller of firearms to voluntarily use background checks when selling firearms to strangers.” 

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Tarrant County criminal defense attorney drug possession

Policing and the criminal justice system has been under intense scrutiny over the past year. With tapes being released showing police brutality and mass gatherings protesting law enforcement tactics, many government officials have been forced to rethink how public safety is being reinforced. A recent article released by Chron reveals that a number of Texas counties are not prosecuting minor crimes. For some, this may seem like a red flag for a lack of public safety, while others may see this as a nod in the right direction for the criminal justice system.

Crimes That Will Not Get You Prosecuted

With the overcrowding of prisons and the high cost of the current criminal justice system, some Texas district attorneys are changing county policies in an attempt to reduce the jail population.  Chron reporting reveals four locations that have taken a more modern, laissez-faire approach to criminal justice and policing:

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Collin County criminal defense attorney

Mental illnesses are undoubtedly an epidemic that has plagued the United States for hundreds of years. Awareness surrounding mental health has surged over the past few decades, recognizing the devastating impact that a mental illness can have on one’s life. According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness. The relationship between mental health and criminality has been under discussion as mass shootings are often attributed to the guilty party’s mental state. So, what happens if someone commits a crime and has a severe mental illness? On the opposing side, is mental illness being used as an excuse to keep people out of prison?

Incompetency to Stand Trial

Texas law recognizes that not everyone is of the proper mental state to stand trial. If the defendant’s attorney raises the question of incompetency to the court, there will be legal procedures followed to verify whether or not the claim has substance and avoid the possibility of incompetency being used as an excuse to avoid harsher criminal penalties. The court will begin by asking for evidence that incompetency is a factor in the case. If some form of evidence can be presented, the court will appoint their own experts to examine the defendant and report to the court on the competency or incompetency of the defendant. The person facing criminal charges can also be examined by an expert of his or her choice to verify the results found by the court-appointed professional.

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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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