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Solicitation refers to the sale of sexual intercourse between one individual and another in an act of prostitution. In the state of Texas, criminal charges can be brought against an individual for committing, promoting, compelling, or soliciting prostitution. These charges may be leveled against someone even if a sex act was not actually committed. An individual engages in prostitution if they knowingly participate in a sexual act or offer to engage in a sexual act for a monetary sum.

At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., we have years of experience representing individuals charged with sex crimes. With the necessary skills and resources to defend a number of solicitation-related offenses, our Plano sex crime attorney can craft a specific defense for your legal needs. We also offer free and confidential consultations, so you know we are serious about winning your case.

Understanding Solicitation Charges

Whether solicitation is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the details of the offense. While a first-time solicitation charge will usually be tried as a misdemeanor, individuals with increasing offenses risk being charged with a felony.

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The age of consent in the United States is the minimum age at which a person is legally allowed to agree to sexual intercourse and other sexual acts. The specific age ranges state-by-state from 16 to 18 years of age throughout the country.

In Texas, it is 17 years old and applies to both heterosexual and homosexual conduct. This means minors who are 16 years of age or younger in the state cannot legally consent to sexual activity and such an act may lead to statutory rape charges.

Statutory rape is broken into the following criminal offenses in Texas:

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Whether you received a subpoena or federal authorities knocked on your door, being under federal investigation for an alleged criminal offense can be stressful, confusing, and downright frightening. Despite the fact that you haven’t been formally charged, it is imperative to take certain measures to protect your rights and future.

The following are five steps you should take if you are under federal investigation:

  • Hire a lawyer – As soon as you learn about the federal investigation against you, do not wait until you are charged. Instead, get an attorney who is licensed to practice in federal court right away. Your lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of each stage of the investigation, protect your from legal pitfalls, and defend you in court in the event your case reaches trial.
  • Remember your rights – Although you are being investigated, your constitutional rights can still protect you. For instance, if federal authorities attempt to enter your property or your office without an arrest or search warrant, you have the right to refuse entrance and refuse to speak unless your lawyer is present.
  • Don’t lie to federal agents – Whether it’s the FBI or ATF, they generally send two agents to interview alleged suspects of federal crimes. The reason why they work in pairs is because each agent also is a witness to whatever the suspect says. If you lie to these agents, each offense is can result in a maximum five-year prison sentence. Furthermore, you do not need to be under oath in order to be charged with lying to federal authorities.
  • Only discuss the investigation with your attorney – While it may be natural to discuss the ongoing investigation with your friends, family, or associates, avoid doing so. Federal authorities can subpoena those your trust, forcing them to testify against you before a grand jury. Additionally, defense attorneys are not allowed at grand jury proceedings and cannot protect you against negative witness testimony. If you attempt to speak with a witness about what to say during the grand jury proceeding, it is considered witness tampering, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
  • Don’t destroy evidence – Destroying, tampering, or even modifying evidence against you is considered obstruction of justice, which is also punishable by a federal prison sentence of up to 20 years.

At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., our Plano federal crimes lawyer has 18 years of legal experience handling high-profile cases. Working with us as early in the process as possible will provide our firm with an ample amount of time to develop an effective defense strategy to help you get the most favorable outcome possible.

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Being falsely accused of a sex crime can cause substantial damage to your professional reputation and personal life—even if you haven’t been found guilty of the offense. The truth is that many people misuse these serious charges to get revenge, gain an upper hand in a family law dispute, or otherwise cause undue harm against another individual.

If you’re accused of a sex crime you didn’t commit, the next steps you take could make the difference between freedom and conviction. Not only is a sex crime in Texas punishable by a lengthy prison sentence and expensive fines, but also be required to register as a sex offender—possibly for the rest of your life.The following are the important steps to take after being falsely accused of a sex crime:

  • Seek legal representation – The first step to take is to hire a criminal defense attorney. While many people facing false allegations believe their innocence will be proven at the conclusion of the investigation, or that hiring a lawyer makes them appear guilty. However, an attorney will protect your rights and future, as well as help you avoid getting into further legal trouble.
  • Don’t say anything to police – One of the most common mistakes is talking to law enforcement in order to “clear your name” by telling your side of the story. Remember, anything you say can and will be used as evidence against you. To avoid attempting to proclaim your innocence and simply say, “I need to talk to my lawyer.” The only person you need to discuss the details with is your attorney.
  • Collect evidence – Document any interactions and experiences you recall with the accuser and include every single detail, along with the dates and time of these incidents. Gather and preserve any evidence that may support your case, such as text messages and other forms of correspondence.
  • Create a list of witnesses – Compile a witness list consisting of names of friends or peers who can support your claims. Next, contact each individual and ask them if they could share their side of your story with you and your attorney.
  • Do not confront your accuser – While you may believe it is possible to peacefully work things out with the accuser, it isn’t worth the risk. The prosecution could use any contact or attempts to reach out to the accuser against you.

With more than 20 years of experience, our Plano criminal defense attorney at The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. can help you fight a conviction and prove your innocence. We understand the gravity of this situation and will do anything possible to clear your name and get the justice you deserve. Do not wait until the legal process unfolds and take proactive steps today.For more information about our legal services, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.

In the event of being convicted of a sex crime in Texas, not only will you serve time in prison and pay fines and restitution, but you must also register as a sex offender. The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program was established to provide the public and police with information on each registered offender’s whereabouts and restrict where offenders may live, work, or even visit.

One of the most common questions asked by those facing sex crime charges is, “Does a conviction mean I have to register as a sex offender for the rest of my life?”

The answer: it depends on the specific crime.

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On Sep. 9, CNBC published a story about CBS CEO, Leslie Moonves, who was ousted after sexual harassment allegations. The allegations against Mr. Moonves came from not one, but twelve different women who claimed that his sexual misconduct damaged their careers. Moonves denied the women’s allegations and stated that some of the relationships with his accusers were consensual.“Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am. I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company. I wish nothing but the best for the organization [CBS], the newly comprised board of directors and all of its employees,” Mr. Moonves said in a statement after CBS announced his departure.In its announcement, CBS said that the company and Mr. Moonves will be donating $20 million to organizations in support of the #MeToo movement (which supports sexual assault survivors and seeks to end sexual violence) as well as organizations that support equality for women in the workplace. But how does this case relate to regular people?

What if the Accusations Are False?

Rape and sexual assault crimes are no laughing matter but there is a flipside to the #MeToo movement. A percentage of sexual assault allegations are false and there are different motivations behind these false allegations.In the case of a rich celebrity, the motivation can be money. But in the cases of non-celebrities, defendants who are not wealthy, the alleged victim’s motivation can be about seeking attention, jealousy, hatred, revenge, child custody, divorce, or mental instability. Unfortunately, there have always been people who falsely accused someone of rape but in the era of the #MeToo movement, it’s almost become socially acceptable.

Are Facing False Allegations?

Are you being falsely accused of a sex crime? If so, you cannot ignore the accusations. If you’re wrongfully convicted, it could lead to fines, imprisonment, restitution, mandatory sex offender registration, and a criminal record. To protect your freedom and your reputation, contact our Plano criminal defense firm immediately.

Law enforcement commonly uses breath tests (breathalyzers) to determine a suspected drunk driver’s level of intoxication and as evidence in a DWI case. However, these types of tests cannot directly measure BAC since it doesn’t analyze the blood. Instead, they rely on the amount of alcohol particles in a person’s breath when he/she exhales.

Mouth alcohol is a factor that can influence breath tests. It occurs when a small amount of alcohol remains in the mouth or throat, thus contaminating your breath as you blow into the breathalyzer and resulting in a falsely high BAC reading. Although most traces of alcohol are gone within 15 minutes, sometimes alcohol can end up back in the mouth, or something else produces mouth alcohol which throws off the test results.

The following are the most common sources of mouth alcohol:

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Everyone makes mistakes—that’s the way of life. But when past mistakes threaten your future, you deserve an opportunity to fix your mistakes. If your criminal record makes it difficult to find a new job, obtain a professional license, or even apply for an apartment or loan, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you clear your name.

In Texas, there are two different processes: expunction and record sealing (under an order of nondisclosure). The difference between the two is that expunction results in the destruction of your criminal record, while sealing means only criminal agencies can access it—not the public. Once your record has been expunged or sealed, you do not have to disclose any of that information.

Eligibility for Expunction

Your criminal record may be eligible for expunction if you were arrested for a misdemeanor and felony and:

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In most circumstances, a police officer needs a warrant before searching a residence. However, an officer can bypass this little detail if a legal resident of the home agrees to the police search. So what rights do you have if your roommate lets an officer into your home?

The Roommate Scenario 

Luckily, your roommate isn’t the same as a family member. Even though you share the same space, there are specific areas and items that belong to each of you individually. A police officer cannot search the private room of someone who is not present to grant consent. So, even if your roommate grants consent to a police offer, any evidence discovered in your private spaces may not hold up in court. This rule also applies to any closed boxes or bags. If they are specifically yours and pointedly closed, then the officer cannot touch them without your explicit consent or a warrant.

It is, however, up to the court to decide if your roommate has the authority to let an officer search your private rooms and items. For example, if you are in a romantic relationship or just happen to share a bedroom with your roommate, then that space is fair game. Luckily, an officer is unable to search your residence without a warrant if you have two roommates and only one grants consent.

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If you are caught shoplifting in Texas, you’ll have to deal with not only an embarrassing social experience, but also significant and overwhelming legal consequences. According to the Texas Penal Code, shoplifting offenses are aggressively judged and punishable as theft.

Shoplifting offenses include:

  • Stealing items
  • Intentionally writing bad checks
  • Altering price tags

Your Charges

The legal penalties for a theft charge increase depending on the value of the stolen merchandise and your prior offenses.  Adult shoplifters can also be sued by retailers for actual damages and additional damages up to $1,000. If a child is caught shoplifting, a retailer can sue the parents and guardians for actual damages up to $5,000.

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Intentionally setting a fire may qualify as arson, but when is the charge escalated to attempted murder? Below, we discuss the laws concerning both arson and attempted murder, as well as how the court associates the two crimes.

How Texas Law Defines Arson

Arson is the use of fire or an explosive to destroy property. Defined under Texas Penal Code 28.01, destroying another person’s property, any property within city limits, or any property with a mortgage or insurance policy is a form of arson. Additionally, you can face arson charges if you were reckless in starting the fire; i.e. the fire endangers, or has the opportunity to endanger, another person.

State law generally classifies the crime as a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If the arson resulted in bodily harm or death, whether intentional or unintentional, the charge escalates to a first-degree felony punishable by life imprisonment, or up to 99 years in prison. If the court finds that the harm or death was intended, you could be charged with arson in conjunction with an attempted murder charge.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

There are hundreds of forms of fraud, but few deal directly with a financial institution.  Mortgage fraud is one of them. What is mortgage fraud, how is it committed, and what punishments could you face for committing the crime in Texas? We answer these questions and more below.

Definition of Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud occurs when you intentionally deceive a financial institution, often by falsifying information, in order to obtain a mortgage. Under Texas law, mortgage fraud can be committed in a variety of ways and is subject to harsh punishments.

Types of Mortgage Fraud

Some of the most common forms of mortgage fraud are as follows:

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Planning to commit virtually any crime—murder, mail fraud, drug distribution, etc.—is considered to be conspiracy and can lead to criminal charges. As conspiracy is linkable to any crime, there are a variety of defenses you can use to fight the charges. We’ve listed the 4 most common below. Read on to learn more.

1.You Never Agreed to Participate with the Co-conspirator

In order to convict you of conspiracy, the court must prove that you and a co-conspirator agreed to commit the crime you’ve been accused of. Unless you or one of your co-conspirators admit to the conspiracy agreement or the court finds some other evidence that you and your partner intended to carry out the crime, this can be difficult to prove.

Another possible defense would be that you were charged with conspiracy while having no knowledge that your co-conspirator actually planned on committing the crime. Fantasizing or conversing about committing a crime is not a crime if you can prove that you believed the conversation was hypothetical.

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Every crime is different, and so are the sentences that come with them. So what are the differences between infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies? How can the type of crime impact your sentence? At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., we answer these questions and more. Keep reading!

Infraction

An infraction is the least severe, finable offense the court can charge you for. It’s a petty offense that typically doesn’t appear on background checks and doesn’t involve any court or jail time. However, if left unpaid, or after multiple offenses, the violation can escalate from an infraction to a misdemeanor.

A few examples of an infraction include:

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In Texas, driving while intoxicated (DWI) cases are typically featured on the local news throughout the state. However, rarely do these stories involve individuals charged with DWI in parked vehicles. But unfortunately, if you are drunk and asleep in a parked car, you may still be charged with a DWI in Texas and many other states throughout the country.

According to Texas law, a person commits a DWI when he or she is “operating” a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Although state law defines what it means to be intoxicated and what is considered a motor vehicle, it doesn’t define the term operating.

Due to the broadness of the term, it has been left up to the courts to define. Generally speaking, if the prosecution has circumstantial evidence that an individual had been operating a motor vehicle, the proofs may be sufficient to meet their burden of proof before a jury or judge, even without eyewitness testimony that a person was actually operating at the time.

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Facing a DWI charge is a stressful and frightening experience. However, despite how emotionally overwhelming the situation may appear, it is important to understand that what you choose to do after your arrest is going to affect the final outcome of your case.

With severe penalties for DWI convictions in Texas (maximum jail sentence of 180 days, fine of up to $2,000, and driver’s license suspension for up to one year), individuals facing drunk driving charges need to be extremely careful to avoid certain mistakes that could jeopardize their legal defense.

The following are common mistakes people make after a drunk driving arrest:

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The presumption of innocence—“innocent until proven guilty”—is one of the foundations of criminal justice law in the United States and other countries which follow a common law tradition. The only way to overcome this presumption in a criminal trial is for the prosecution to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed the crime that he or she has been charged with.

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the legal standard that the prosecution must meet in order to successfully find a criminal defendant guilty of a crime. This standard applies to each element of the criminal offense and is the highest standard of proof possible, which helps to reduce the likelihood of wrongful convictions, the risk of innocent people being deprived of their liberty, and ensures all citizens’ rights are better protected.

Reasonable doubt is required in criminal proceedings under the “due process clause” of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court first discussed the term in Miles v. United States (1880) by stating, “The evidence upon which a jury is justified in returning a verdict of guilty must be sufficient to produce a conviction of guilt, to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt.”

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Facing criminal charges can change your life forever. While the stress you experience in these situations can seem overwhelming, it is imperative to remember that (1) you are innocent until proven guilty, (2) you may have various viable defense options in your case, and (3) hiring an experiencing criminal defense lawyer can help you develop the most effective defense strategy possible.

Attorneys can use various arguments to protect your rights and to make the prosecution prove its case. Whether it’s during the pre-trial face or presented to the jury, these defenses can be raised at several points on the timeline of a case.

There are defenses when the defendant claims that the facts alleged by the prosecutor are incorrect or untrue. By contrast, there are affirmative defenses, which admit the factual allegations but excuse the defendant’s conduct that would otherwise be unlawful.

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Assault is either causing physical harm to someone or threatening someone to the point where they could reasonably expect that they were about to sustain physical harm. No actual harm needs to occur for this crime to be charged; merely being indicating that you might harm someone is enough to warrant a charge in most instances. While assault charges wobble between being either a misdemeanor or felony, there are some defenses you could use to justify your actions and prove that no crime was committed. Perhaps the most obvious one is to argue that your actions were committed in what’s known as “affirmative defense,” which is a fancy way of essentially saying that they were done in order to defend yourself.

Here are the three ways in which affirmative defense can apply.

Defense of Self

The law does permit you to use physical assault against someone in order to defend yourself. Say for example you were being robbed at gunpoint. If you were able to act quickly and subdue the would-be attacker with a quick, swift punch to the jaw that knocks them unconscious, then you can argue that your actions prevented the robber from harming you. The evidence would greatly support that in this instance, since your attacker did have a gun that they were using to threaten bodily harm and intimidate you into handing over your valuables.

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If you’ve been arrested and charged with a simple misdemeanor, you may be tempted to think that you can get away with simply handling the matter yourself. Whether you want to just accept the penalty, pay your fine, and move on with your life, or attempt to defend yourself and see if you can get your charges dismissed, many people think they can handle their issue on their own. However, should they try? Turns out, that may not be the best idea.

Serious Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction

When you face misdemeanor charges for things like loitering, disorderly conduct, or being intoxicated in public, you may be tempted to think that these are minor charges that won’t have much of an impact on your life. To a certain extent, you’re right. These offenses rarely carry jail time, usually have a minor fine of around $500 or so (sometimes even less) and you can move on with your life without issue.

However, what you may not realize is that your crime could be more serious than you thought. Those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor could face serious consequences when it comes to things like finding housing, seeking employment, and much more. What you may think was just a minor consequence of a crazy night could come back to haunt you later when you find out that you’ve been passed over for a new job or you’ve even been terminated as a result of your no longer clean criminal history. It might seem harsh, but it happens.

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