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TX defense lawyerThe term “kidnapping” may conjure images of someone taking a child and attempting to keep him or her from his or her home. However, kidnapping can involve children or adults. Furthermore, the circumstances that can lead to kidnapping charges may surprise you. Disputes about child custody or even family or romantic disagreements can sometimes lead to kidnapping allegations. Kidnapping is usually a state-level offense, but it is also possible for kidnapping to be a federal offense.

If you or a loved one were charged with kidnapping, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away.

What Constitutes Kidnapping?

In order to convict someone of kidnapping, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person intentionally deprived another person of his or her personal freedom by:

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TX defense lawyerThe way we shop for groceries, household items, and other goods has changed dramatically in recent years. Before the technological advances of the last few decades, shoppers paid cashiers directly with either cash or credit cards. Self-checkout kiosks started gaining popularity in the 90s and early 2000s. Now, many stores have a greater number of self-checkout systems than human cashiers. Shoppers also have multiple ways to pay for their items including contactless credit cards and smartphone applications.

It can be hard to keep up with all of these changes. Sometimes, a person may think that they paid for all of their items when they actually failed to pay for an item or underpaid for an item. In some cases, a simple mistake like this can even lead to criminal charges for shoplifting.

Is it Possible to Shoplift by Accident?

Consider the following scenario. A busy woman struggling to shop with her two young children uses a self-checkout machine to scan and pay for her items. As she is scanning items and placing them into the bags, she accidentally skips an expensive makeup palette. Not realizing her mistake, the woman places the items in the bags, pays for her items, and walks out of the store. As soon as she has exited the store, she is confronted by loss prevention staff and accused of stealing the makeup palette. Did the woman steal the makeup if she did not actually intend to leave the store without paying for it? Can the woman face legal consequences for shoplifting because of a simple mistake?

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TX defense lawyerBeing charged with a crime can be confusing and overwhelming. If you or a loved one are facing charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI), drug possession, or another offense, you may have many questions. One issue that frequently arises in criminal defense cases is interpreting legal jargon and unfamiliar phrases. You may have heard that police need “probable cause” to make an arrest but are unsure exactly what this phrase means. Whether you are the person facing charges or a family member has been arrested, it is important to understand the rights afforded to criminal defendants.

Fourth Amendment Protections for Individuals Accused of a Crime

The U.S. Constitution offers many legal protections to criminal defendants. The Fourth Amendment establishes the “probable cause” prerequisite for arrests, searches and seizures, and search warrants. Probable cause means that officers have a reasonable belief that the law is being broken. Police and other government officials cannot conduct a traffic stop, arrest, or search without a good reason for doing so. Police may not assume that a person has committed a crime based on the way he or she looks or the neighborhood the person is in. Arrests cannot be made on a hunch or guess. Searches, seizures, arrests, and traffic stops must be justified.

How Does the Probable Cause Standard Influence Criminal Cases?

Ultimately, the party who decides whether the probable cause standard was met is the judge presiding over a criminal case. If a criminal defense attorney can demonstrate that police did not have probable cause to take certain actions, the case could even be dismissed.

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TX defense lawyerWhen someone is being threatened or attacked, it is natural for him or her to want to defend himself or herself. Unfortunately, many family violence cases are “he said, she said” situations. The police arrive at a scene and do not know who is the aggressor and who is the victim. Sometimes, the wrong person gets arrested and charged with a crime.

If you or a loved one were charged with assault, domestic assault, violence against the family, or a related crime, contact a criminal defense lawyer for help right away.

Understanding Self Defense Laws in Texas

Self-defense is an “affirmative defense.” This means that the person accused of the offense agrees that he or she committed the offense, but his or her actions were justified.

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TX defense lawyerJail can be a drastically unpleasant if not outright unsafe place. If your loved one has been arrested, getting them released as quickly and easily as possible is probably your most pressing concern. In most Texas criminal cases, the arrested person must be brought before a judge before bond is set and there is an opportunity to be released - assuming bond is not prohibitively expensive. This can take days, especially if the arrest happened over a weekend.

However, in some misdemeanor cases, it is possible to get out of jail before seeing a judge using an attorney writ bond. Only people accused of certain misdemeanor offenses qualify for attorney writ bonds. You will need to contact a lawyer to determine your or your loved one’s eligibility.

What Charges Could I Use an Attorney Writ Bond to Get Released For?

An attorney writ bond can get a newly arrested person out of jail within just a few hours. These bonds allow a licensed attorney to bypass the requirement that an arrested suspect see a judge before being released by making an agreement with the Sherriff’s Department and promising that the defendant will show up for court.

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