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Jourdanton criminal expunction lawyer

One of the major obstacles that former offenders face is a stain on their permanent record. Whether they went to prison or not, a criminal history can add complications to their personal and professional lives. Individuals with a criminal record can lose custody of their children and have a difficult time finding employment. To help ease the transition, Texas law allows some criminals to expunge their records, but there are specific eligibility requirements that must be met in order to do so.

What Is Expunction?

The term “expunction” refers to the removal of information about an arrest, charge, or conviction from a personal record. In other words, if a person’s record is expunged, the information is removed from his or her record, and he or she is legally allowed to deny that the incident ever occurred. However, this option is not available to most offenders and has certain eligibility requirements that must be met.

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Floresville assault and battery defense attorney

In many states, assault and battery are treated as separate crimes. Assault and battery have different criminal definitions and thus result in distinctive penalties in the states that prosecute them separately. But what about the states that do not separate the two offenses? If they have different legal definitions, what are the consequences for committing them in the states that do not separate the two? For example, Texas does not distinguish between assault and battery. Therefore, it is important to know the distinction between the crimes in the event you or someone you know faces these allegations.   

What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

An action is considered an “assault” if someone threatens another person with “imminent” bodily injury. In other words, no physical harm has to be done in order for someone to be charged with assault in the states that separate the two. For instance, if an individual threw a punch and missed the intended party, the offender could be charged with assault since imminent danger was assumed by the potentially injured party. Battery charges require physical contact, which can be deemed “offensive” or “injurious.” These two offenses are so closely intertwined that Texas penal code 2201 does not distinguish between the two. Assault and battery are classified as one offense, labeled under the term “assault.” 

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Pleasanton driving while intoxicated defense attorney

Everyone has heard of the dangerous consequences that can result from drinking and driving, and sometimes, the warnings about its dangers may start to seem dramatized. However, the potential physical and legal consequences of driving intoxicated should be warning enough. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol approximately every 20 minutes in Texas. Not only do drunk drivers put themselves at risk, but they also place other drivers and pedestrians in danger. There are different charges that Texans can face when mixing driving and alcohol, and it is important to understand the laws to avoid criminal consequences.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

The most well known and common charge related to alcohol use is driving while intoxicated, or DWI. In Texas, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08. In other words, once that level of alcohol consumption is reached, the individual is considered legally intoxicated. While this charge may seem fairly straightforward, there are additional details that some may not know about. Texas law defines this offense as “operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” The term “operating” includes more than just driving. If you are sitting in the driver’s seat while intoxicated, and the car is running, you can still be charged with a DWI. Because you were technically operating the vehicle, the charge remains the same, even if the vehicle was not moving.

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Jourdanton juvenile criminal defense lawyerIt is common knowledge that children make mistakes frequently and often fail to recognize how certain decisions can affect their future. Juvenile delinquency is a significant issue that can become a vicious cycle for those found guilty. Children's mistakes can remain on their records and affect possible job opportunities in the future. According to the most recent data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were 3,572 juvenile arrests in 2014. In other words, thousands of children each year are facing possible fines, confinement, and a negative impact on their permanent records.

What Is the First Offender Program?

The First Offender Program is Texas law enforcement’s response to juvenile delinquency. Texas legislators and law enforcement officers recognize that a child’s lack of maturity and mental development can cause them to make a mistake that they do not fully comprehend as “wrong” at the time. The First Offender Program is a minor’s way to start over, even if he or she has committed a crime. Different geographic areas can have their own version of such a program. The program has certain requirements that must be completed, which will allow the child’s first offense to be removed from his or her record. These may include mandatory attendance at group meetings and/or appointments with a caseworker.

Not all children with convictions are eligible for the program. The minor must be between the age of 10 and 16 and be a first offender. Those who have committed Class A & B misdemeanors and state jail felonies may be eligible for the program. However, those who have charges that involved assaultsweapons, or sexual crimes resulting in the requirement to register as a sex offender do not qualify for the program.

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Jourdanton firearms violation defense attorney It is no secret that mass shootings have plagued Texas, along with the rest of the country, over the last decade. According to a recent NBC News report, the shooting in El Paso left at least 22 people dead and 26 injured and falls within the top 10 deadliest shootings in modern American history. These shootings involving firearms have prompted two distinct sides: Those who want stricter gun laws and those who believe access to firearms will keep more individuals safe. The state of Texas recently passed new gun laws, which go into effect soon and will potentially impact many gun owners. 

What Are the New Texas Gun Laws?

In the last session, Texas lawmakers passed nine gun-related bills, a few of which will become laws and go into effect on September 1. There are two gun law changes that affect who can carry guns and where they can carry them. One of the laws allows handgun owners to carry their concealed firearms without a permit for up to one week if a disaster has been declared. Some may say that this new law violates the original law, found in section 46.02 of the Texas Penal Code, regarding concealed carry requirements. However, the new law specifies three instances in which section 46.02 does not apply to handgun owners:

  1. The person carries the handgun while evacuating from an area after a state of disaster or a local state of disaster has been officially declared or while reentering the area that he or she just evacuated.

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Karnes City juvenile crime defense attorney

Cyberbullying is the modern version of bullying that, unfortunately, many kids experience while growing up. This term cyberbullying includes any threats, humiliation, or harassment through the use of technology. The constant connection with smartphones and tablet or laptop computers makes this form of bullying much more serious and intense than that which existed before modern technology. Rather than just facing such harassment at school, students now have this form of bullying following them everywhere they go. The perpetrator can also remain anonymous, making it somewhat difficult to pinpoint the source of the student’s bullying. 

What Does Cyberbullying Look Like?

Cyberbullying is constantly evolving and changing as updates are made to technology and social media websites. That being said, there are some common tactics that are used to target individuals:

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Charlotte, TX criminal defense attorneyGod help the poor kids who cross the border between Colorado and Texas with hash oil thinking the consequences of getting arrested are minor. Let’s say it was bought legally in some Boulder dispensary and now they’re eastbound and down for San Antonio to share with their friends. If they think that getting caught means a minor misdemeanor and maybe some community service, they’re in for a rude awakening. 

Under the Texas Penal Code, even the smallest amount (under a gram) of hash oil or edibles will get you a felony arrest that could land you in prison for up to two years and a conviction that will tag along behind you for the rest of your life. With standard marijuana, you would need four times the amount to get a similar punishment. If you happen to be carrying four ounces or more of the oil (not a lot) and an officer arbitrarily thinks you’re carrying for the purposes of sale, you’re looking at up to life in prison. To reach that level with standard marijuana, you would need to be carrying over 50 pounds.

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atascosa county dwi defense attorneyDriving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in all 50 states. Police routinely look for drivers who break the law, sometimes setting up checkpoints to stop motorists. If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Atascosa County, you should discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer to see if the charges can be reduced or dropped.

DWI Penalties and Fines

The penalties and fines for a DWI in Texas vary depending on the number of offenses a driver has been charged with. Fines range from $2,000 for a first DWI offense up to $10,000 for a third offense. You can spend anywhere from a few days to 10 years in jail if convicted of DWI. Regardless of the number of offenses, you could lose your driver’s license for up to two years. You may also have to pay an annual fee for a few years to keep your driving privileges. Under Texas law, two or more DWI convictions within a five-year period will result in the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device that prevents your vehicle from operating if alcohol is present in your system.

DWI as a Minor

Anyone under the age of 21 is considered a “minor” when it comes to DWI cases. Minors are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol or drugs in their system. A first offense can result in fines, probation, mandatory alcohol abuse classes, community service, and more. These penalties increase with subsequent offenses and may include jail time.

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Atascosa County defense attorney

Okay, so it’s not a date, it's an interrogation by a person with a badge either on the side of your car or in a police station interview room. Unfortunately, most people in this situation make the mistake of thinking that the more you talk, the better off you’ll be. It’s natural. It’s normal. And it’s usually a complete disaster.   

First, let’s begin with the basics: You have a right to remain silent. Those words are in your history books, on every TV crime show, and by now, in your very DNA. The officer will sometimes read you that exact line along with your other Miranda warnings. Then he’ll stare at you for a long time and wait for you to speak. Silence begs to be filled.  Other times, he’ll tell you the infamous line uttered in the title: “This will go a lot better if you just talk to me.” Unfortunately, this is only similar to a date in that you two totally want different things out of it. The officer typically wants to confirm his suspicions (or he wouldn’t be talking to you in the first place) and you just want to go home and forget the whole thing ever happened.  

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wilson County family violence lawyer

Protective orders are often misunderstood and are often shrugged off as unimportant. It might be thought that because it is not a criminal charge, it is no big deal.  Wrong!  A protective order can be a huge deal.  It is a powerful tool that prosecutors and private attorneys can wield to restrict a person's constitutional rights.  A full understanding of what a protective order is, and how to respond when faced with the possibility of having one against you, is extremely important.  

What is a Protective Order?

In its most simple form, it is an order given down from a Judge restricting the access and rights of a person who was found to have committed family violence.  A person is entitled to the protection of one if the court finds that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future.  Most protective orders last 2 years.  In more serious cases involving serious bodily injury or felony assaults, the order can last much longer.    

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Posted on in Juvenile Law

Wilson County juvenile criminal defense attorneyJUVENILE LAW AND THE DETENTION HEARING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Having a child arrested can be a devastating thing for a family to go through. But it does happen. If you find yourself in this position, it is important to understand what occurs at the beginning of most juvenile cases: the juvenile detention hearing.  

What Is a Detention Hearing?

A detention hearing is something unique to juvenile law. It is similar, but not exactly like the process of granting or denying bail in an adult case.

At this hearing, the judge will determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the child committed an offense and whether the child should be detained for a longer period. By having a neutral judge decide whether there has been probable cause, rather than just the police and prosecutor, it inserts an extra level of scrutiny to the case. Release is not guaranteed, and often children will be detained for 10 working days pending further investigations into the alleged offense. 

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Testimonials

  • “Barrera was my attorney for a criminal and misterminor case it took almost three years. I couldnt ask for a better attorney. At first I was a little nervous because he is a very quiet man, but when he is up there asking questions and cross examination Stephen is amazing and I knew i would be alright. We won both cases with no plea deals. I would recommend Stephen Barrera to everyone. I wish his law firm many years of success. Thank you Stephen Barrera for helping me keep my freedom.”

    - Laura Egelston

  • “Chris was very professional and knowledgeable of what I was needing taken care of. He handled everything for me and I am so very grateful for his help. I would highly recommend him and his firm. Thank u Chris and Im looking forward to remaining friends. Thanks again, Michael Levick”

    - Michael W. Levick

  • “I was really impressed with Christopher Cavazos and how well he knew the law. On several occasions hes given us valuable legal advice and has been respectful and professional no matter how many questions we had. I recommend him to everyone I know!”

    - Tracy Garcia

  • “Stephen is wonderfully articulate. He has a very organic way of explaining things so that they are clear, concise, and comprehensible to the average person; that coupled with his level of professionalism, empathy, and direct line of communication makes for an easy endorsement and recommendation.”

    - Andrew Sanchez

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