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TX defense lawyerFamily violence is taken very seriously in Texas. Assaults against a romantic partner, relative, or household member can lead to very serious penalties. You are likely to be served with a protection order barring you from returning to your own home if you live with the alleged victim before you are even released from jail. In addition, you could be facing prison time depending on the exact offense charged.

If you have been accused of any type of family violence offense, it is very important that you work closely with a skilled criminal defense lawyer to give you the best chances of avoiding serious, life-altering penalties.

What Are the 3 Types of Family Violence Crimes in Texas?

In Texas, there are three offenses that fall under the category of family violence. Both misdemeanor and felony charges are possible, depending on the severity of the alleged offense and whether you have prior offenses. The three types of family violence crimes are:

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TX defense lawyerDUI testing has never been a perfect process. From all the problems that could potentially invalidate the results of a breath test to the inherent subjectivity of roadside sobriety testing, no type of DUI testing is foolproof. Each comes with pitfalls that could allow a skilled attorney to challenge the validity of the test in many cases. A recent recall of test tubes used in DUI blood tests could jeopardize a series of prosecutions that relied on the results of affected blood tests.

If you are facing DUI charges in Texas, it is important that you take the matter very seriously and secure strong legal representation. An experienced attorney may be able to develop a defense for you based on challenging the results of chemical or field testing.

Flawed BD Test Tubes Cast Doubt on Hundreds of DUI Convictions

Thousands of test tubes recalled by medical supply company BD may have been missing a preservative powder that is necessary for holding the alcohol level of a blood sample steady between the time it is drawn and the time it is tested. Without this preservative, the results of a blood alcohol test could be completely inaccurate.

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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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When Is It Possible to Get a DWI Dismissed?

Posted on in DWI

TX defense lawyerA dismissal is the “dream outcome” for the defendant in any criminal case. If your DWI charge is dismissed, you will have no criminal record and are free to move on with your life almost as if the whole thing never happened. Getting a DWI dismissed is difficult, but possible in some cases. Certain defects in the prosecution’s case open the door for a skilled DWI lawyer to argue for dismissal. If you are facing DWI charges in Texas, it is important that you take the matter very seriously and consult with a qualified criminal defense lawyer to begin building your best defense.

What Are Some Reasons DWI Charges May Get Dismissed?

Every state actor, from the police to the prosecutor has certain rules they must follow in order to successfully bring a case. Problems can arise at almost any stage in a criminal case that could defeat the prosecution and lead to a dismissal. If any of these apply to your situation, you should speak to an attorney to find out if your case could be dismissed:

  • BAC test error - There are procedures police departments must follow to keep their testing equipment stored and maintained properly and correctly calibrated. Tests must also be correctly administered by a trained professional. Defects in the testing can lead to dismissals for lack of evidence.
  • Illegal stop - The officer who initially pulled you over must have had reasonable suspicion that you were breaking the law to do so.
  • Rights violations - Other rights violations during the course of the stop, arrest, and any subsequent custodial interrogation could also lead to the case being dismissed.
  • Plea Bargaining - Although it is unfortunate, taking a plea bargain and agreeing to restitution or court-supervised release of some type can eventually lead to a dismissal of charges after certain conditions are met.

Even if your case cannot be dismissed, you may still be able to have the charges reduced, especially if you have no or a very minor criminal record. Going to trial under the counsel of a skilled lawyer can sometimes give you a strong chance of an acquittal, which also keeps your record clean. The important thing is that you work with a qualified attorney and follow his advice.

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Can I Be Forced to Submit to a DWI Blood Test?

Posted on in DWI

TX defense lawyerTexas state law is unusually lax when it comes to allowing forced blood draws in DWI cases. A variety of circumstances could allow police officers to take your blood without your consent and use the results against you in a DWI prosecution. This can leave you in serious legal jeopardy on top of feeling violated. If you have been charged with a DWI based on a failed forced blood test, you will need to work with an attorney who is experienced at challenging these tests. Even if the blood test you were made to submit to was legal in Texas, there are other ways to challenge the validity of the results.

When Is a Blood Test Mandatory in DWI Cases?

When you are suspected of a DWI, there is a chance you could be forced to submit to a blood test without your consent. This can happen if the arresting officer reasonably believes you are intoxicated and one of these circumstances exist:

  • Fatalities - You caused a crash, and someone died or will die as a result.
  • Serious harm - Someone was seriously hurt in a DWI accident you caused.
  • Medical transport - Someone was transported to the hospital because they were hurt in an accident you caused, even if their injuries are minor.
  • Community control - You are on probation, parole, or another form of community control.
  • Unconsciousness - You cannot be woken up, so you may be considered to have consented.

Suspected felony DWIs can also form the basis for a forced blood draw in Texas. A DWI is a felony if one of these circumstances exists:

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TX defense lawyerIt is a common beginning to many Texas drug possession prosecutions - during a traffic stop, a police officer spots a substance he thinks could be an illegal narcotic. The suspected contraband could be something as suspicious as a small bag of white powder, or as mundane as an unidentifiable sticky substance on an object in the back seat. The officer reaches for an inexpensive field test kit, and the results show that the substance is indeed a narcotic - much to the surprise of the driver.

Texas police officers rely heavily on these field test kits to back up their suspicions in order to make arrests and kick off criminal prosecutions. However, these tests sometimes produce false positives, sending innocent Texans to jail. If you have been charged with a drug crime, finding a strong attorney should be your first priority right now. Texas drug laws are notoriously strict.

How Do Field Test Kits Result in False Convictions?

Police officers across the state rely on field test kits when they are unsure whether a substance they have found is a narcotic. Even for the most qualified officers, it is very difficult to accurately identify some substances without using some kind of scientific testing. Field test kits seem like the perfect solution - they cost little and give officers something objective and demonstrable to go on. Unfortunately, these field test kits are far from perfect.

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TX defense lawyerIn Texas, stalking and harassment are both criminal offenses. You may sometimes hear them used interchangeably, but while they have similarities, they are separate crimes. Harassment is usually a misdemeanor and can be charged based on a single incident. Stalking is generally a third-degree felony and must be based on a pattern of behavior. If you have been charged with either stalking or harassment in Texas, it is important that you take the charges very seriously and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What Do Stalking and Harassment Have in Common?

Both offenses are considered a form of “mental assault.” This means that both stalking and harassment are a sort of attack on a person that does not involve actual physical violence. In fact, neither offense requires that the perpetrator gets anywhere near the victim - both offenses can be carried out entirely online or over the phone. Harassment and stalking both involve, to varying degrees, frightening or abusing the victim.

What Makes Harassment and Stalking Different?

Harassment is a lesser offense than stalking. While harassment may involve making threats or putting the victim in fear of bodily harm, it does not have to. Harassment is unwanted communication designed to annoy, embarrass, or upset the victim. Sending unsolicited obscene pictures, placing a prank call stating that the victim’s loved one has been injured or playing a prank intended to embarrass the victim could all be examples of harassment.

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TX defense lawyerAfter an arrest, defendants must typically put up some type of bail bond before they can be released from jail. The amount of bail set is proportionate to both the crime alleged and the defendant’s personal flight risk. Bail is used as a way of ensuring that a defendant will show up for his court appearances if he is allowed to leave the jail and go free until sentencing.

Unfortunately, for some, posting bond can be difficult. Yet, when you or your loved one is stuck in jail, nothing seems more important. There are a handful of ways to pay bond in Texas. In some cases, an attorney writ bond can be used to get out of jail faster. If you or your loved one has been arrested and is in jail, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

What Ways Can I Pay Bail in Texas?

Once you have seen a judge and your bond has been set, there are several options for paying it and being released from jail. However, if you do not want to remain in jail until you can see a judge, an attorney writ bond is likely your best - and only - option to get released. In Texas, the main ways to post bail include:

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TX defense lawyerIf you get arrested over the weekend, an attorney writ bond may be the only way to get you out of jail before Monday morning when you could see a judge. People charged with most misdemeanors are eligible to be released from jail on an attorney writ bond before seeing a judge. There are, however, exceptions. If you are trying to find a way to get yourself or a loved one out of jail on an evening or weekend, the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson may be able to help. After being arrested for any charge, it is important to get in contact with a qualified attorney as soon as you can, even if that means calling from jail.

Who Is Eligible for an Attorney Writ Bond in Texas?

Most misdemeanor arrestees are eligible to get out of a Texas jail before seeing a judge if a qualified attorney is willing to sign a writ bond. You may be eligible for a writ bond if you were arrested for:

  • First or second DWI
  • Marijuana possession
  • Misdemeanor possession of controlled substances
  • Certain simple assaults
  • Misdemeanor theft and shoplifting

Who Is Not Eligible for an Attorney Writ Bond in Texas?

Certain crimes are considered serious enough that people arrested for them are not able to leave jail without seeing a judge. You are not eligible to be released on an attorney writ bond if you were arrested for:

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What Is "Reasonable Suspicion" in a DWI Stop?

Posted on in DWI

TX DWI lawyerTexas police officers cannot pull over a vehicle unless they have what is called “reasonable suspicion” that the driver is breaking the law. Arguing that the officer who arrested you for DWI did not have reasonable suspicion for the initial stop is one way that a lawyer can challenge a DWI charge. If the traffic stop was illegal in the first place, any charges stemming from it are likely to be dismissed. This is a very important standard to understand in the context of DWI defense.

If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas, you will need an experienced attorney to give you the best odds of beating the charge. Texas’s DWI laws can be harsh and have a negative impact on your life for a long time.

What Does “Reasonable Suspicion” Mean?

An officer has reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop if an objective person who has observed what the officer has observed would come to the conclusion that the driver is violating a law. The officer must be able to point to observable, objective facts that led him to believe you were doing something illegal. A traffic stop cannot be based on a mere “hunch” or “gut feeling.”

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TX defense lawyerDrug tests are administered all the time, by employers and probation officers alike. Most people have had to take one at least once, whether to satisfy a potential employer’s policy or to satisfy a condition of parole after previous drug charges. Drug tests can be particularly frustrating for legal users of medicinal low-dose THC. For some people, it may be tempting to find a way to cheat the test. Unfortunately, in Texas, falsifying the results of a drug test may be a crime that could land you in jail - depending on how you go about faking the results. If you have been arrested for falsifying the results of a drug test, contacting an attorney should be your first priority.

When Is Falsifying the Results of a Drug Test a Crime?

Actually, it is not the act of falsifying the results (“cheating the test”) that is a crime under the drug test falsification statute. Instead, this statute actually criminalizes “knowingly or intentionally us[ing] or possesses[ing] with intent to use any substance or device designed to falsify drug test results.” It is also illegal to manufacture or deliver such a product.

What does this mean? In short, that falsifying the results of a drug test under this law becomes illegal when you use a device, such as a fake urine dispenser, or a substance, such as a “detox” drink, in an effort to cheat a drug test. Other means of attempting to fraudulently pass a drug test, such as by drinking large amounts of water, are not banned under this statute because water is not a substance designed to falsify drug test results. However, drinking a beverage deliberately designed to produce false-negative results on a drug test would be a crime under this law.

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TX defense lawyerThe state of Texas takes crimes of violence seriously, and this is especially true if these crimes involve family or household members. Although a conviction for certain types of domestic violence, such as threats or offensive conduct, may carry only misdemeanor penalties, other domestic assault convictions can carry far more serious penalties.

One of the more serious domestic crimes a person can commit is continuous violence against the family. It is important to understand what acts can allow for this charge and what the penalties are. If you have been charged with continuous violence against the family, contact a Texas criminal defense attorney right away so you can start building a strong defense.

What Is Continuous Violence Against the Family?

A crime committed against a family or household member, including current and former spouses and dating partners, parents of a child (even if they do not live together), relatives, foster relationships, and roommates, is domestic assault.

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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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