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Dallas criminal defense attorney child pornography

Society considers crimes against children especially heinous. In the United States, a person charged with any type of criminal offense is innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, many people automatically assume that an individual accused of a child-related crime must be guilty of that crime. If you or a loved one has been charged with child sexual assault, child abuse, child pornography, or a related offense, understanding your rights is paramount to building a strong defense with the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney.

The Right to Decline Police Questions

Law enforcement may use a variety of tactics to make a criminal defendant submit to questioning. However, it is absolutely vital that you remain silent and refrain from answering police questions until your attorney is present. Being arrested and charged with a crime can be frightening, confusing, and overwhelming. When you are in a heightened emotional state, you are in no position to answer police questions. You may say or do something during the interrogation that worsens your chances of avoiding conviction. The U.S. Constitution protects your right to prevent self-incrimination. This right applies to police questioning as well as during your trial proceedings.

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Tarrant County federal criminal defense attorney perjury

Being accused of any type of crime can be an unnerving experience. However, when the prosecuting party is the federal government, the situation is even more frightening. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime relating to child trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child, money laundering, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, or another federal offense, you may feel completely lost. The first step you should take is to hire an attorney experienced in defending against federal charges. Your attorney will help you avoid making mistakes that worsen your chances of being acquitted. One such mistake that can result in additional federal charges is lying under oath or perjury.

When Can an Individual Be Charged with Perjury?

There are two types of perjury under U.S. law. The first refers to false statements made by an individual who is under oath. In order to convict someone of perjury for lying under oath, the prosecution must prove that the following elements are present:

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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney entrapment

Entrapment occurs when a government official such as a police officer compels someone to commit a criminal offense. Some people falsely believe that police must always identify themselves as law enforcement officers. In reality, police are fully authorized to lie or use deceptive techniques to obtain evidence of a criminal act. However, police cannot use extreme behavior, threats, or coercion to force a normally law-abiding citizen to commit a criminal act.  Entrapment is an “affirmative” defense against criminal charges in Texas, which means that the defendant is admitting that he or she committed the offense but is also presenting a justification for doing so.

What Is the Difference Between a Sting Operation and Entrapment?

If you have ever seen television shows such as To Catch a Predator, you may have wondered about the legality of police undercover stings. A sting operation is a law enforcement action intended to catch an individual committing a criminal offense. It typically involves an undercover police officer or detective posing as a potential victim or criminal partner in order to gather evidence that can be used during a criminal prosecution. However, if a police sting operation crosses the line into entrapment, evidence obtained during the operation may not be admissible in court. Sting operations are often used to catch individuals engaging in the purchase or sale of illicit drugs, solicitation of a minor, solicitation of a prostitute, or the possession or distribution of child pornography. The main difference between entrapment and a lawful sting operation is that a sting operation offers an individual the opportunity to commit a crime while entrapment involves the individual being coerced or persuaded into committing a crime.  

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Dallas child abuse defense attorney

For many parents, the way they raise their children is substantially different than the way that they were raised. Parents may assume that leaving their children in the car while they are shopping or otherwise engaged is not unsafe simply because they remember waiting in the car alone when they were a child. However, states are increasingly enacting legislation designed to prevent parents from leaving children unsupervised in vehicles. In 2019, 52 children passed away after being left in hot cars. In order to prevent these tragic deaths, Texas has made it illegal to leave children alone in vehicles under certain circumstances.

Leaving a Child in a Car May Be Considered a Criminal Offense

Texas is known for its extremely hot summers. Hot and humid weather makes the risk of a child developing heatstroke or dying in a hot car especially high. Many parents who leave their children in the car only intend to be gone for a few minutes, however, it only takes 10 minutes for an average car to heat up by 19 degrees. The Texas Department of State Health Services urges parents to teach children not to play inside of cars and to never leave a young child in a car unsupervised. 

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Forth Worth kidnapping defense attorney

If you are a parent, facing criminal charges for a crime against your child may be one of the last things you ever expect to happen to you. Kidnapping laws are intended to prevent children from being abducted and taken into dangerous situations. However, many people do not realize that a child’s biological parent can also be charged with kidnapping under some circumstances. A kidnapping charge can result in heavy fines, incarceration, and the loss of child custody privileges. If you have been accused of kidnapping your child, speak to a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling crimes against children as soon as possible.

Texas Laws Regarding Child Abduction

According to the Texas Penal Code, any individual who knowingly abducts another person can be charged with kidnapping. Although there is not an offense classified as “parental kidnapping” in Texas law, parents can and have been charged with kidnapping for “abducting” their own biological child. Texas law defines “abduct” as limiting a person’s freedom by holding him or her in a place where he or she is unlikely to be found or reducing the individual’s movement by the use or threat of force.

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Fort Worth firearms violations defense attorney

The use of firearms and other weapons is strictly regulated at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Federal weapons violations often carry harsher penalties and longer jail sentences than state weapons charges. Legal penalties associated with a federal weapons charge will depend on whether the weapon was used during the commission of a crime, whether bodily harm or death was caused, the defendant’s criminal history, the type of weapon found in his or her possession, and other factors. Firearm violations and other weapons charges can lead to years or decades in prison, so it is crucial that you speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney if you are facing any type of federal weapons charge.

Federal Weapons Violations

Federal law regulates who is permitted to own a firearm, the types of weapons that may be possessed or transported, the locations in which firearms may be lawfully discharged, and the maximum number of firearms and other weapons a person is allowed to own. Often, weapons charges are investigated by the federal government because they involve interstate transactions. Federal weapons charges may involve:

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Plano check fraud defense attorney

The hit movie Catch Me if You Can is based on the incredible true story of Frank Abagnale. In addition to a number of other cons, Abagnale was one of the most notorious check forgers of the 1960s. He created fraudulent payroll checks, printed his own account number on blank deposit slips at the bank, and used other schemes to defraud financial institutions. Abagnale was eventually caught and sentenced to prison. Although it may look glamorous in movies, white collar crimes such as check fraud can result in severe criminal consequences. Check fraud is commonly prosecuted by the federal government and may be punishable by prison sentences up to 30 years as well as extremely steep fines.

What Actions May Be Considered Check Fraud?

Many people have accidentally overestimated their bank account balance and written a check that “bounced” at least once in their lifetime. Mistakes such as these typically only result in a small bank fee. However, when a person intentionally writes bad checks for the purpose of defrauding a bank, he or she may be guilty of check fraud. There are other actions that constitute check fraud, including:

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Fort Worth child pornography defense attorney

There is no doubt about the tremendous influence smartphones have on our everyday lives. The use of text messaging has especially skyrocketed in recent decades. Research shows that over 15 million texts are sent every minute, and this number is expected to continue to increase. The use of text messages to send sexually explicit photographs and messages has been nicknamed “sexting.” Although it may seem harmless, sexting can sometimes lead to child pornography charges and other criminal charges. If you have been accused of creating, distributing, or possessing child pornography, speak to a Texas criminal defense attorney right away so you can start building a solid defense strategy.

Sexually Explicit Photos Between Minors May Be Illegal in Some Situations

Although many parents may not realize it, teenagers commonly send nude photographs of themselves to their peers. They may assume that these images do not constitute child pornography because the images are not being sent to an adult. However, under Texas law, it is illegal for anyone, including minors, to transmit any images or videos depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct. In some cases, sexting between minors can be considered a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. The law does provide defenses for those who receive unsolicited photos and for minors who are in a dating relationship, who are within two years of age of each other, and who share the images privately.

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Tarrant County child abuse defense attorney

The terms “domestic violence” and “abuse” are used so often, it can be hard to know exactly what they mean. For example, is spanking your child after he or she misbehaves considered child abuse? What about forcefully grabbing your child’s arm when he or she is about to run into a busy street? Can non-physical actions like shouting at a child result in domestic violence charges? Being convicted of a crime against a child can result in life-changing consequences. You may lose the right to spend time with your child or may only get to see him or her under close supervision. You may even face years in prison. If you or a loved one has been accused of child abuse, child sexual abuse, injury to a child, domestic violence, or a similar crime, speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so you can start building a strong defense against these charges.

Definition of “Abuse” Under Texas Law

According to the Texas Family Code, abuse of a child includes:

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Forth Worth crimes against children attorney

Criminal consequences for crimes against children in Texas can be life-changing. If you are convicted of child pornography, sexual assault of a child, kidnapping and abduction, or a similar offense, you could face years behind bars and a lifetime of stigma. You may also be required to register as a sex offender and appear on the public sex offender registry. Even false allegations of any criminal act can dramatically damage your reputation. If you have been accused of a crime against a child, there are several steps that you should immediately take in order to give you the best possible chances of avoiding a conviction.

Do Not Say Anything to Police Until Your Lawyer Is Present

You have probably heard the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent” in the past, but you may be unsure as to what this actually means. In the United States, anyone who has been placed under arrest has the right to remain silent and not respond to police questioning. Never allow police to interrogate you without your lawyer present. An experienced criminal defense attorney will ensure that your rights are not violated and that you do not inadvertently say something that could incriminate you.

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Dallas sexual assault defense attorney statutory rape

The age of consent is 17 in Texas. This means that, according to Texas law, individuals under 17 years of age are incapable of consenting to sex or sexual contact with an adult. The crime commonly referred to as “statutory rape” falls under the law prohibiting the sexual assault of a child in Texas. If you have been accused of sexual assault against someone under age 17, you could face serious, life-altering criminal consequences. It is essential to consult with a criminal defense attorney experienced in handling cases involving crimes against children as soon as possible.

What if the Sex Was “Consensual?”

Most people know that forcing someone to have sex against his or her will is wrong both ethically and legally. However, you may not realize that you can be charged with sexual assault against a child even if you did not force the alleged victim to participate in the sexual act. Because the age of consent is 17 in Texas, it is against the law for an adult to have sex with someone aged 16 years or younger, even if the underaged person did not object to the sexual activity. This is true even if the defendant did not know that the alleged victim was under age 17.

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Fort Worth federal conspiracy defense attorney

Most people are aware that acts such as fraud, drug trafficking, and certain weapons violations can be prosecuted by the federal government. However, you may not realize that a person can face federal charges even if he or she never actually committed a federal crime. Simply conspiring or planning to commit certain crimes with one or more other individuals can constitute a criminal act under federal law. Crimes prosecuted under federal law are often punished more severely than crimes prosecuted under state law. If you are being investigated for conspiring to commit federal crimes, it is imperative that you consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately.

Conspiring to Commit a Federal Offense

The United States Code states that it is against federal law for two or more people to conspire to commit a federal crime or to defraud the United States or a U.S. agency. Even if the actual offense or fraud never occurred, the individuals involved in discussions about the planned offense can face federal prosecution. In order for a U.S. prosecuting attorney to obtain a conviction for federal conspiracy, he or she must prove several elements, including the following:

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Collin County white collar crimes attorney

You may be surprised to learn that an estimated 2 to 5 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) is represented by money that is laundered across international borders. The criminal offense of money laundering occurs when a person conceals the identity, source, or destination of money that has been acquired unlawfully. Both state and federal laws prohibit money laundering. If you are being investigated by a federal government agency for possible money laundering, it is imperative to seek help from a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Federal Money Laundering Charges

It is important to note that money laundering involves the concealment or attempted concealment of profits from criminal activity. If you sold an expensive diamond ring and then failed to report that money to the IRS, for example, this may be in violation of tax law, but it is not money laundering. Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court mandates that federal money laundering laws do not apply if an individual is only making money from a crime but not hiding it. For example, if a criminal defendant runs an illegal lottery, he or she is receiving money from a crime, but this does not constitute money laundering if he or she does not hide the proceeds. A conviction for money laundering requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is concealing profits from the illegal activity.

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Tarrant County criminal charges defense attorney

“You have the right to remain silent. Whatever you say can potentially be used against you in a court of law.” You have probably heard this phrase, called the Miranda warning, many times before, either in real life or on television and in movies. However, have you ever really thought about the importance of your right to remain silent? Invoking your Constitutional right to stay silent can sometimes be the difference between an acquittal and a criminal conviction. It is imperative for everyone to understand what their rights are with regard to self-incrimination.

Miranda v. Arizona Requires Police to Inform You of Certain Rights

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution established several crucial rights, including the right of citizens to avoid incriminating themselves. The Constitution states that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This right was further defined by the 1966 Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. The Supreme Court held that a criminal defendant cannot be interrogated by police until he or she has been made aware of his or her right to say nothing. The landmark case also established that law enforcement officers must make criminal defendants aware of their right to consult with an attorney and the right to have an attorney present during any police questioning. Under the “exclusionary rule,” if a defendant does not receive the Miranda warning, any statements he or she makes could be inadmissible in court.

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Fort Worth solicitation of a child defense attorney

The Internet has revolutionized the way that we communicate with each other. However, there are several ways that online discussions or digital communication can be a criminal offense. An individual can be charged with online solicitation of a minor if he or she uses the Internet to send sexually explicit messages or media to a child under 17 years old or to a person who the actor believes to be under 17 years old. A conviction for online solicitation has the potential to impact the rest of your life. If you or someone you know has been charged with solicitation of a child or any crime against children, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney right away.

What Constitutes Solicitation of a Child in Texas?

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person over the age of 17 commits online solicitation of a child if he or she communicates with a child under 17 years old via email, the Internet, or text messages with the intention of committing one of the following crimes: trafficking of persons, indecency with a child, continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual assault, prohibited sexual conduct, compelling prostitution, aggravated promotion of prostitution, possession or promotion of child pornography, or sexual performance by a child. An adult can also be charged with online solicitation of a child if he or she uses email, text messages, or a commercial service to intentionally solicit a minor to meet another individual, including himself or herself, for the purposes of sexual contact.

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Tarrant County child trafficking defense attorney

Human trafficking is the term used to describe the process through which individuals are transported for the purposes of forced labor and other exploitation. Children are often the victims of trafficking in Texas and throughout the United States. Nearly a quarter of the approximately 300,000 American children forced into sex trafficking every year live in Texas. Children involved in child trafficking may be tricked or forced into working in sweatshops, restaurants, brothels, escort operations, or worse. In some cases, children are forced into acting as child soldiers or domestic servants in other countries. Texas law carries stiff penalties for all human trafficking activities, but there are especially harsh criminal consequences for child trafficking. If you are charged with child trafficking in Texas, you could face years or even life in prison.

Defining Child Trafficking According to Texas Law

Texas statutes state that an individual commits trafficking of persons if he or she knowingly:

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Plano, Texas federal drug crimes defense attorney

While many drug charges are handled at the state level, certain drug offenses are investigated and prosecuted at the federal level. Federal drug charges carry significantly harsher penalties than state charges. An individual who is charged with federal drug trafficking can face years or even decades of incarceration. If an individual is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), or another federal government agency for a drug-related offense, it is imperative that he or she contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Drug Offenses Prosecuted in Federal Court

If a federal agency like the DEA or FBI becomes involved in a possible drug crime, it is likely that any resulting charges will be prosecuted in federal court. Federal drug charges are often the result of cases that involve a considerable amount of drugs or the transportation of drugs across state lines. You could be charged with federal drug trafficking for possessing:

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Collin County crimes against children defense attorney

There is a significant amount of controversy surrounding corporal punishment in the United States. Some parents feel that spanking their children is an effective form of discipline, while others avoid any form of physical punishment. Data shows that the percentage of parents using corporal punishment is slowly declining. According to a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, approximately 37 percent of children under 18 were spanked by a parent or guardian in 2014. It is important for any parent choosing to employ corporal punishment to understand when spanking or other physical punishments may break the law and be considered crimes against children.

Understanding Texas Law Regarding Bodily Injury to a Child

It can be hard to know exactly when the physical punishment of a child crosses the line into abuse. According to Texas law, hitting a child could constitute “assault bodily injury family violence” or “injury to a child” depending on the circumstances. The Texas Penal Code states that an individual commits injury to a child if he or she intentionally or recklessly causes bodily or mental injury to a child under 15 years of age. Assault with a bodily injury of a family member occurs when a person knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causes pain, injury, illness, or impairment to a family member. Striking a child does fit these definitions; however, it is very unlikely that a parent or guardian would be convicted of these crimes for spanking alone.

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Dallas child exploitation defense attorney

Texas law prohibits certain activities from being committed against people who do not have the capacity to protect themselves or adequately look out for their own best interests. These individuals can include the elderly, disabled, and those under a certain age. The crime “Exploitation of Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual” is a serious offense under Texas law. If you are convicted of child exploitation, you may face years of incarceration and have your personal and professional reputation destroyed. It is crucial for anyone facing criminal charges related to child exploitation to speak with a criminal defense attorney experienced in defending against these types of serious allegations.

Defining Exploitation With Regard to Texas Law

Section 32 of the Texas Penal Code describes Exploitation of Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual and the criminal penalties associated with a conviction. An individual commits this crime if he or she knowingly or recklessly causes the exploitation of a disabled person, elderly individual, or child under age 14. Exploitation can include any activity which involves the improper or illegal use of a child, elderly person, or disabled person for personal or financial gain. Child exploitation can include coercing a child into sexual activities, forcing them to perform cheap labor, involving a child in drug running or sex trafficking, and more.  

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Plano injury to a child defense attorney

Crimes against children involve more negative stigma than perhaps any other criminal offense. If a person is convicted of a crime related to child abuse or sexual contact with a child, he or she could face years or even decades of personal and criminal consequences. The criminal offense “Injury to a Child” includes a wide range of actions against children or other vulnerable individuals. Section 22.04 of the Texas Penal Code describes the crime of Injury to a Child. If you are convicted of violating this statute, you could face heavy fines, years of incarceration, and significant damage to your reputation.

Understanding Texas Law Regarding Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual

Texas law includes many different offenses under the umbrella of “Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual.” You can be convicted of this offense if you knowingly, intentionally, recklessly, or by omission cause injury to a child, disabled person, or elderly person. “Injury” can include bodily injury as well as mental injury, deficiency, or impairment. You can also be charged with this crime if you owe a duty of care to the person in question, and your failure to act causes him or her to suffer an injury.

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