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TX criminal lawyerPeople in Texas who have been arrested, taken to jail, and charged with a crime are usually required to see a judge to set a bond before they can get out of jail. If someone is arrested over a weekend, or if a judge is not immediately available, he or she may have to wait in jail for several days. This is not ideal for many reasons. People have jobs, families, and lives they have to maintain, and none of those things are manageable from inside a jail.

Fortunately, there may be another option. In this article, we will discuss what an “attorney writ bond” is and what it can do. If you are seeking an attorney writ bond for someone you love who is currently in jail, or if you are potentially facing arrest and want to know more about your options, contact a Texas criminal defense attorney right away.

What Is an Attorney Writ Bond?

Attorney writ bonds are arrangements between a licensed, qualified Texas attorney and the local sheriff’s department that allow people to leave jail without having to wait to see a judge.

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TX defense lawyerCrimes involving family or domestic violence in Texas can carry penalties substantially greater than similar violent crimes that are committed against people who are not family. Texas law not only punishes past family violence crimes but contains provisions intended to prevent future crimes against family or household members.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is imperative that you speak with a qualified Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These crimes can carry serious penalties that could permanently impact your future.

What Is Considered Family Violence in Texas?

Before we can understand what constitutes family violence in Texas, we need to know exactly who is considered a family or household member. Texas includes the following relationships in this category:

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TX defense lawyerA Magistrate’s Emergency Order of Protection (commonly referred to as a “protective order” or “EPO”) is a legally binding order that immediately restricts the behavior of someone arrested for an alleged act of family violence (known as the “respondent”).

Among other things, an EOP may prohibit the respondent from communicating with the alleged victim, going within a minimum distance of the alleged victim or their residence, or speaking to or going near the alleged victim’s children. This is true even if the respondent lives at the same residence as the victim.

When Will a Judge Remove or Amend an Emergency Order of Protection?

An EOP is often a necessary protection for victims of domestic violence. However, because EOPs are powerful orders that have serious consequences, sometimes an alleged victim may make false allegations that result in an EOP. Other times, an EOP may be issued for a family violence arrest but the respondent needs it modified so they can return home to take care of work or family responsibilities.

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texas defense lawyerGun rights advocates are celebrating the new law set to go into effect in September that removes firearm silencers from the list of items prohibited by the state, but there are a few things you should know before you run out and try to buy one. 

The new law, dubbed House Bill 957, deregulates sound suppressors made in Texas from federal law as long as they stay in Texas. However, you can only buy silencers from a licensed dealer. Under federal gun law, gun dealers -- and subsequently you -- still have to comply with the lengthy federal process. 

House Bill 957

The Texas governor signed HB 957 into law in June alongside a number of other gun bills designed to loosen restrictions on firearm ownership. These include measures like making Texas a Constitutional Carry state, meaning any law-abiding Texan can carry a gun without a license, and another declaring Texas a Second Amendment sanctuary, which prohibits state officials from enforcing future federal gun laws. 

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plano defense lawyerStarting on Sept. 1, 2021, if you are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) after you were in a car accident that caused someone a serious injury or death, you will be required by law to have your blood drawn. Despite legal scholars raising concerns about government overreach and Fourth Amendment violations, the state governor signed the bill into law in June 2021 without comment. 

Background on HB 558

According to news reports, the bill was introduced in November 2020 after a Denison school teacher was struck by a vehicle and killed, but the driver was never held accountable. The teacher was on a morning walk with her husband when their neighbor hit them with his truck. The teacher died as a result of her injuries and her husband was seriously injured.

While investigating the case, the responding officer smelled alcohol on the driver’s breath and the driver said he had been drinking the night before. The officer thought his observations were enough to administer field sobriety tests, but the driver passed them and then blew a .06 on the breathalyzer test, which is under the legal limit. Because of those factors, the investigating officer did not request a warrant for a blood draw. Later on, a grand jury reviewed the evidence and declined to indict the driver for manslaughter or criminal negligence. 

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As of Sept. 1, 2021, Texans who are being treated for cancer at any stage or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will be able to use cannabis products under the Texas Compassionate Use Program, which allows doctors to prescribe cannabis products with low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a treatment. 

When the program was created in 2015, lawmakers limited who could be prescribed cannabis products to only those who suffer from epilepsy. They expanded it in 2019 to include patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, incurable neurodegenerative disease, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorder, spasticity, or terminal cancer. 

According to The Texas Tribune, lawmakers accepted two arguments for adding cancer at any stage and PTSD to the list of approved conditions. First, THC is thought to alleviate cancer treatment side effects like nausea, loss of appetite, and body pains. THC affects the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls fear. Marijuana products may help those who suffer from PTSD, particularly veterans, by calming them down when they encounter something that triggers trauma. 

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frisco defense lawyerDomestic disturbances are a major concern for jurisdictions across the country and in the great state of Texas. The reason is an argument could escalate, turn into a fight, and become something worse. In fact, approximately one out of five murder victims in the U.S. were killed by an intimate partner. Needless to say, the concern about domestic violence is real, but how states require police to address it varies. 

Mandatory Arrest Policy

When police officers investigate domestic disturbances, they generally start by separating the parties involved and conducting a preliminary interview. It may feel like an invasive process given that they ask about intimate and sometimes embarrassing details about your life. The goal, however, is to see if there was physical contact. Now, this is where states may differ. 

Some states have a mandatory arrest policy if physical contact was made. Physical contact could be something a simple as a shove or something more severe as a kick or punch. Either way, the officer is required by law to arrest the aggressor. While the purpose of a mandatory arrest policy is to stop one party from hurting the other further, it also forces a cool-down period so things do not escalate. 

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texas DWI defense lawyerThere are about 28 people killed in drunk-driving accidents each day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Consequently, jurisdictions across the country prioritize preventing driving while intoxicated, or driving under the influence. The NHTSA teaches police officers to collect a host of information regarding every stage of the DWI stop. 

By streamlining the process, the authorities are hoping to build the strongest case against you and as a result increase their conviction rate. There are certainly a lot of reasons to discourage drunk driving. The first being they want to make the roads safer and prevent you or anyone else from being hurt or killed unnecessarily because of a DWI crash. 

Statute of Limitations for DWI

In the state of Texas, a DWI is usually considered a misdemeanor offense, which means the authorities must indict you within two years of the offense. So, if you are arrested for DWI on July 26, 2021, they have until July 26, 2023 to formally accuse you of the crime. Ordinarily, you are charged with the crime shortly after being arrested, but authorities might wait to charge you as they await lab results. 

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frisco DWI defense lawyerWhen a police officer believes you are driving while intoxicated, they will work through a process to build the strongest possible case against you. This process involves asking a series of questions about your whereabouts and recent alcohol consumption, they will request that you participate in a series of field sobriety tests, and finally, they will request that you submit to chemical testing. To say this a different way, building the strongest possible DWI case requires your compliance. You may wonder how you should respond to the officer’s requests.

Implied Consent

All 50 states have implied consent laws, which means that when you get your driver’s license, you inherently agree to submit to chemical tests if an officer believes you are under the influence of an intoxicant while driving a vehicle. The legal concept of implied consent does not apply to answering questions or field sobriety tests. Yet, it does apply to the breathalyzer, the device in which you blow into and then uses your breath to measure your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). 

What makes implied consent confusing is that you might only hear about it after you have been arrested for DWI. Even though you don’t technically have a choice, it is still presented as optional. So, you might be wondering why you would help the officer find incriminating evidence against you? 

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frisco criminal defense lawyerThe U.S. Attorney’s Office in the northern district of Texas filed charges against a New York man for being a felon in possession of a firearm. In late June, he allegedly flew to Dallas to visit a gun range, signed a form saying he wasn’t a felon, and posted a video of himself shooting a rifle on social media.

It is an interesting case. Under federal law, a felon cannot possess a gun but a felon in Texas can, under certain circumstances, have a gun. There are lots of misconceptions about gun laws in the United States, so it is important to understand the laws regulating firearm possession by a felon.

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

In the Lone Star State, you commit “unlawful possession of a firearm” when you have a felony conviction on your criminal record and possess a gun. The language in the law is that straightforward. But as we mentioned above, there are circumstances in which you can have a gun if you have a felony. 

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Posted on in DWI

TExas criminal defense lawyerIn local jurisdictions across the country, it is often considered a high priority for police to make arrests for driving under the influence. While laws may vary and terminology may change -- DUI instead of DWI, for instance -- most police officers follow the same procedures for identifying, investigating, and ultimately determining to arrest a driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, how do police investigate a DWI?

The NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created the standards and guidelines for DWI investigation and also provide training and instruction materials for police agencies nationwide. According to the DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Test Manual, a police officer should investigate a DWI in three phases 

Phase One - Vehicle in Motion

Phase one is often initiated when a driver makes an obvious traffic violation. In police training, the infraction might be presented as a driver swerving over the line or speeding. However, there are other noteworthy observations an officer can make like seeing a driver stop abruptly or too early at a stop sign, or driving well under the speed limit. If strange behavior is identified, the officer might follow the vehicle until an infraction is made, so he or she has probable cause to make the stop. 

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Frisco, TX criminal defense drug possession lawyerTexas is known for having strict laws prohibiting the use of drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. If you or a loved one were arrested for possession of cocaine, it is important to realize the gravity of these allegations. You or your loved one may be facing life-changing criminal penalties. The penalties you face are especially harsh if the prosecution alleges possession with intent to distribute.

Cocaine Possession Laws in Texas

The state of Texas categorizes illicit substances into several penalty groups based on the drug’s perceived severity. Cocaine is in penalty group 1, which means that cocaine-related offenses are penalized more harshly than offenses involving drugs like marijuana. Being caught with even a small amount of cocaine or crack cocaine is a felony offense punishable by significant jail time. The greater the amount of cocaine allegedly in your possession, the harsher the penalties:

  • Less than one gram of cocaine is a state jail felony punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $10,000 fine

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Frisco, TX criminal defense traffic lawyerThere is no doubt that law enforcement officers are a crucial component in a safe and functioning society. However, the U.S. Constitution, as well as other legislation, Limits the authority of police officers and other government officials in order to protect citizens’ rights. If you are ever stopped by police or arrested for a criminal offense, it is crucial that you assert your rights and avoid these common mistakes.

Acting Suspiciously or Aggressively During a Traffic Stop

If you are pulled over for speeding, running a stop sign, or another alleged infraction, it is important to remember that many traffic stops result in little more than a warning or minor fine. The actions that you take during the traffic stop can directly influence how the traffic stop ends. When you see flashing lights, pull over and turn the vehicle off. When the officer walks over to your car, roll down the window and respond politely in a non-aggressive tone. Give the officer your license, registration, and insurance information if asked for it.  

Answering Police Questions Without Your Lawyer Present

Being calm and polite can help prevent a police interaction from escalating. However, this does not mean that you should incriminate yourself by answering police questions. You have a Constitutional right to remain silent and decline police questions without your lawyer present. If the police ask you questions like “Do you know why I pulled you over?” or “Do you know how fast you were going?” The best answer is usually “No.” Trying to explain yourself or offering additional information can give the officers more evidence to use against you in any future proceedings. If you are arrested, immediately invoke your right to remain silent and inform officers that you will not answer questions without your lawyer.

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Frisco, TX attorney writ bondIf your friend or a family member has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you may be confused and overwhelmed. You want to help your loved one, but you do not know what to do to help them. Fortunately, individuals arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), possession of an illicit substance, theft, or certain other non-violent offenses can take advantage of an option called an “attorney writ bond.” An attorney writ bond can be used to get someone out of jail – often within hours of his or her arrest.

An Attorney Writ Bond Can Speed Up the Bond Process

When someone is arrested for committing an alleged criminal offense, they are immediately taken to jail. The suspect is eventually taken before a judge who sets the suspect’s bond and the conditions for his or her release. Unfortunately, some suspects must wait several days before they can attend the bond hearing. This is especially common when someone is arrested on a Friday night and must wait until Monday to see the judge. An attorney writ bond can speed up this process considerably. Often, an attorney writ bond can secure a suspect’s release within two or three hours.

How Does a Writ Bond Work?

A writ bond is essentially a promise that the suspect will return to court for his or her hearing. The hearing will be scheduled for a later date. When you contact an attorney qualified to file a writ bond, the attorney goes to jail and gets the subject’s signature on the bond paperwork. The attorney files paperwork with the court. The bond is set and the suspect is released.  Only attorneys licensed in Texas are authorized to file a writ bond in Collin County. 

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Frisco, TX criminal defense attorney unlawful searchIt is not always easy to understand where police officers’ authority ends and citizens’ constitutional rights begin. If you are like many people, you may be unsure of what rights are afforded to you by state and federal law. You may also be unsure of how those rights apply to police searches and seizures. It is crucial for every citizen to know when police do and do not have the right to search personal property. If police officers discover evidence of a crime in an unlawful search, that evidence may be inadmissible or unusable during criminal proceedings.

Rights Protected by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The Fourth Amendment enforces our right to be free of “unreasonable searches and seizures” by government officials like police officers. A government official cannot simply search a person’s home or belongings or take a person’s property for no reason. However, police searches that meet certain criteria are permissible under the Fourth Amendment and other legislation. Our expectation of privacy also varies depending on the type of property in question. For example, police do not have to obtain a search warrant before they search a motor vehicle.

When Can Police Search My Car?

In order to legally search your car, truck, van, or another vehicle, at least one of the following elements must be present:

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TX defense lawyerThere are a variety of situations where someone may cause harm to someone else. In cases where someone acted in a way that was intentionally meant to injure someone, they may be charged with assault. While this can be a serious charge, the penalties can be even more severe if the offense is increased to aggravated assault. Because of this, anyone who is charged with assault involving bodily injury will want to understand the nature of their alleged offense, the potential penalties they may face, and the possible defense strategies that may allow them to avoid being convicted or reduce the offense to a lesser charge.

Assault vs. Aggravated Assault

“Simple” assault may be charged if a person knowingly and intentionally caused someone to suffer a bodily injury, and these charges may also apply if a person threatened to injure someone or even if they made physical contact with a person in a way that the person believed was provocative or offensive. Aggravated assault charges may apply if a person allegedly committed an act that could be considered assault that inflicted serious bodily injury on someone. An assault charge may also be increased to aggravated assault if the alleged perpetrator used or was carrying a deadly weapon when they committed the act of assault.

In many cases, whether an offense is considered assault or aggravated assault will depend on the level of the injuries suffered by the alleged victim. Under the Texas Penal Code, “bodily injury” includes any form of physical pain or illness or any other issues that impair a person’s physical condition. However, to be considered a “serious bodily injury,” a person must have suffered harm that put them at a substantial risk of being killed, or they must have been permanently disfigured or experienced the loss or long-term impairment of an organ or part of their body.

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TX DWI lawyerDriving while intoxicated by alcohol or other substances is unlawful in all fifty U.S. states. However, knowing when a driver is too intoxicated to drive safely is not always easy. Portable breath alcohol tests like breathalyzers are designed to measure the amount of alcohol on someone’s breath and use that information to calculate the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). The results of these tests are not always accurate, however. As a result, many people wonder, “Will I go to jail for drunk driving if I fail a breathalyzer test?”

What Happens During a DWI Stop?

When a police officer suspects that a driver may be under the influence, he or she has a few options. Sometimes, the officer asks the driver to complete a field sobriety test. These tests assess a person’s coordination and body responses to determine if they are under the influence. However, illnesses, injuries, and a host of other issues can interfere with these tests. Breath tests are often used in addition to or in place of a field sobriety test.

There Are Two Types of Breath Tests in Texas

Police officers carry portable breath tests which are often referred to as breathalyzers. These tests can be inaccurate. Consequently, the results of this preliminary breath test are usually not admissible as evidence during legal proceedings. A preliminary breath test is used to determine if there is enough evidence of intoxication to make an arrest. You are under no legal obligation to take a preliminary breath test.

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TX defense lawyerTexas is known for having some of the most lenient gun laws in the country. However, there are still a number of rules and regulations regarding the possession, use, sale, and transport of firearms. If you violate Texas firearm laws, you could face criminal charges and jail time. This is why it is essential for every Texan to know the law regarding unlawful possession of a firearm.

Who Is Prohibited from Owning a Firearm in Texas?

Certain people are prohibited from owning a gun by federal law, including people who are:

  • Convicted of a felony crime
  • Subject to a restraining order
  • Convicted of certain domestic violence offenses
  • Addicted to illicit substances
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Deemed “mentally defective” or have been committed to a mental institution
  • Illegal immigrants or individuals who entered the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa
  • Dishonorably discharged from the military

In addition to these federal restrictions, Texas state law prohibits people who are convicted of family violence assault or individuals subject to a family violence protective order from possessing a firearm.

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TX defense lawyerShoplifting is one of the most common crimes in the country. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 500,000 incidents of shoplifting every day in the U.S. Most people know that taking something from a store without paying for it is against the law. However, few realize the consequences that retail theft can lead to. Shoplifting in Texas can damage your personal reputation, limit your employment opportunities, and in some cases, even lead to jail time.

Shoplifting Falls Under the Category of Theft

Unlike other states, there is not a law in Texas that specifically deals with shoplifting. If you are caught shoplifting, you face charges for theft. While shoplifting often brings to mind images of someone stuffing stolen items in a jacket or bag, this is not the only form of shoplifting that can result in criminal charges. Other situations that can lead to theft charges include:

  • Using a self-checkout register and not scanning every item
  • Returning a stolen item for cash or store credit
  • Changing barcodes or price tags on items
  • Working with a cashier who agrees to under-ring items or “forgets” to scan items

It is also a criminal offense in Texas to possess a device used to facilitate shoplifting. For example, some individuals use aluminum-lined bags nicknamed “booster bags” to prevent anti-theft devices from functioning correctly. Manufacturing, distributing, or merely possessing a device such as this is punishable by a heavy fine and jail time in Texas.

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TX defense lawyerWhen we think about driving while intoxicated (DWI), alcohol or illicit drugs typically come to mind. However, this is not the only substance that may lead to DWI charges in Texas. Many Texans are surprised to learn that driving after taking a prescription medication can sometimes lead to criminal charges – even if the driver was prescribed the medication by a doctor. The penalties for driving under the influence of a prescription drug are the same as those for drunk driving. If you or a loved one have been arrested for DWI because of driving while under the influence of prescription medication, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.

Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicating Medicine Can Lead to Criminal Consequences

Over two-thirds of US adults take at least one prescription medication. Understandably, there may be a time when someone who takes prescription medication needs to drive. However, Texas law states that driving while under the influence of any intoxicating substance can lead to DWI charges. Even if you are taking the drug legally for a legitimate medical purpose, you can still face criminal consequences.

Texas law defines “intoxicated” as:

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