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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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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 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 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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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney child endangerment

The state of Texas has a number of different laws that are designed to protect children from harm. Violating these laws can result in significant consequences including punitive action and irreparable damage to the offender’s personal reputation. Child endangerment falls under the offense of “abandoning or endangering a child.” Depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense, a person convicted of child endangerment may face six months in jail to 20 years in prison. It is sometimes difficult to know exactly what actions constitute child endangerment. Some adults end up facing criminal charges and were not even aware that their behavior was illegal.

Endangering a Child

An adult can face charges for abandoning or endangering a child if he or she leaves a child somewhere without adequate supervision and care or in circumstances that expose the child to danger. Texas courts use the “reasonable person standard” when determining whether or not a parent’s actions constitute child abandonment or endangerment. This means that the defendant’s actions are compared to what the average adult would have done in similar circumstances with a child of similar age and ability. For example, most adults would not leave a toddler home alone without supervision for fear that the child would hurt himself or herself. Therefore, this action would likely be considered child abandonment.

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Dallas fraud defense attorney

Credit card fraud and debit card fraud are forms of identity theft prohibited by both Texas law and federal law. There are many different types of actions that may lead to credit card fraud charges. A person may be charged with credit or debit card fraud for obtaining and using another person’s credit or debit card information, possessing devices or computer equipment used to steal card information, attempting to open an account with someone else’s personal information, and for many other acts. If you or a loved one have been accused of fraudulent use or theft of a credit card or debit card, this is considered a white-collar crime. Speak with a criminal defense attorney right away so that you can start building a strong defense against the charges.

Understanding Credit Card and Debit Card Fraud Laws

Often, credit or debit card fraud charges are the result of an individual allegedly using another person’s credit or debit card without his or her authorization. This may involve physical theft of the card or theft of the information contained on the card. Individuals may gain access to other people’s credit card or debit card information when institutions such as banks and retailers experience a major data breach. People may also use email or phone calls to scam people into giving over their credit card or debit card details. This so-called “phishing” typically involves a person or organization requesting sensitive information while pretending to be a legitimate company such as a bank. Credit card fraud can also be the result of a person finding bank statements or credit card statements in someone’s trash. Recently, devices called “card skimmers” have been used to capture card information when someone swipes his or her card at a gas station or ATM.

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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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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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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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