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Top Tips for Job Searching With a Texas Criminal Record

Top Tips for Job Searching With a Texas Criminal Record

Looking for a Job With a Texas Criminal Record   If you are searching for a job and have a Texas criminal record, chances are good a prospective employer will discover it. More and more employers are turning to commercial background checks to quickly screen applicants that may be a “liability.” This makes their job of assessing candidates easier and lower risk. In reality, they could be denying highly qualified applicants due to an indiscretion of theirs in the past. Therefore, if you are job searching with a Texas criminal record, you could face undue discrimination. To help you overcome any barriers...

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Blood Alcohol Concentration: Why It’s Tested and How It Affects Your Case

Blood Alcohol Concentration: Why It’s Tested and How It Affects Your Case

Measuring Blood Alcohol Concentration   Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a measurement of the percent of alcohol in your blood by volume. Typically, BAC is assessed using a breath or blood test. In Texas, a BAC of .08% is the threshold of legal intoxication. Thus, if you are caught driving with a BAC of .08% or higher, you can face charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI.) Other methods of assessing intoxication, such as field sobriety tests, are far more subjective. Because blood alcohol theory is backed by science, the criminal court system relies heavily on these tests results when prosecuting DWI cases.   Accurate...

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Can an Arrest Trigger Immigration Consequences in Texas?

Can an Arrest Trigger Immigration Consequences in Texas?

If you are not a US citizen, one false move can place your ability to remain in this country in danger. Noncitizens can face deportation or inadmissibility if convicted of certain crimes. Unfortunately, even just an arrest can raise a red flag to authorities and could potentially affect your legal status in the US. You can help prevent that from happening by learning a little about your rights and the procedures for detaining and prosecuting noncitizens.   Know Your Rights   If you are arrested, you have a right to remain silent. Local law enforcement is permitted to ask about a lawfully arrested individual’s...

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Defining the Family Violence Victim in Texas

Defining the Family Violence Victim in Texas

What Is a Family Violence Victim in Texas?   Texas family violence (i.e. domestic violence) laws utilize a broad definition of “family.” Many defendants are surprised to find they are facing family violence charges when the other participant in the conflict was not a spouse. In reality, family violence can occur between many family and household members other than spouses, expanding the reach and devastation a family violence conviction can have. It helps to define family violence under Texas statute and who are family violence “victims.” Without such a clarification, it can be difficult to know what you are up against when...

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Car Searches: When They’re Legal and When They’re Not

Car Searches: When They’re Legal and When They’re Not

Search Standards   Typically, law enforcement must have a warrant to search your person or property. Cars present a unique exception where police don’t necessarily need a search warrant for numerous reasons. Because vehicles are mobile, law enforcement might not have a reasonable amount of time to obtain a warrant before the “property” (i.e. the car) is gone. Likewise, because traffic stops are conducted on public roadways, the driver should not have an expectation for the kind of privacy of one’s own home. This expectation of privacy is a key legal test used to uphold the Fourth Amendment, which protects us from...

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What Is a Grand Jury Indictment?

What Is a Grand Jury Indictment?

Filing Felony Charges   The process through which criminal charges are filed against a defendant is governed by rules and procedures that ensure efficiency and protect the defendant’s constitutional rights. For felony charges in Texas, this process involves a grand jury indictment.   The Grand Jury Indictment Process   Unlike misdemeanor charges, which are brought on by an “information” and complaint, felony charges must be brought on by a grand jury indictment, meaning the charge(s) must be brought before a grand jury of 12 jurors, who then submit a vote on the charges.   The prosecutor—the attorney for the State—is tasked with persuading the jury that probable cause...

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Offenses Ineligible for Nondisclosure in Texas

Offenses Ineligible for Nondisclosure in Texas

The Benefits of Nondisclosure in Texas   An Order of Nondisclosure can relieve those with criminal records of the requirement to disclose specific pieces of information about their criminal background on job applications. It also prohibits public agencies from releasing information about an offense for which you obtained a Nondisclosure.   While this may seem like a minor benefit for a complicated legal process, this type of relief is more valuable than ever. Employers increasingly turn to background checks to screen applicants. It’s easy, quick and cheap. Obtaining a Nondisclosure for a conviction means a potential employer will consider you based on merit rather...

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The Effect of an Affirmative Finding of Family Violence (AFV)

The Effect of an Affirmative Finding of Family Violence (AFV)

The Aftermath of Family Violence   A conviction for an offense involving family violence can restrict your rights, affect your employment prospects and raise the stakes should you commit a subsequent offense. And those consequences are not limited to assault family violence convictions. A judge may also make an affirmative finding of family violence (AFV) in cases such as assault or sexual assault if the evidence establishes family violence was involved. Regardless of your specific charge, an AFV will remain a blemish on your criminal record indefinitely. Understanding the effects of an AFV requires we first understand how Texas defines family violence.   Under...

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The Fight to Change the Dallas County Bail System

The Fight to Change the Dallas County Bail System

A Look at Dallas County Bail   Many critics argue Dallas County needs an urgent bail reform. Magistrates set a bond based on factors such as the seriousness of the charges and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Other crucial factors, such as the defendant’s ability to pay and the security risk they pose, go by the wayside. Proponents of bail reform argue this system needs to change. They argue considering the defendant’s ability to pay and using better risk assessment tools can lift the burden on the poor and keep higher-risk offenders behind bars.   An Oppressive Approach   With the current approach, financial resources...

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Was There Reasonable Suspicion for Your DWI Stop?

Was There Reasonable Suspicion for Your DWI Stop?

Cause and Effect   The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. Essentially, this protection requires law enforcement to have “probable cause“ or reasonable suspicion to search your person or property or seize anything in your possession. Even in the realm of traffic stops, law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. But what is reasonable suspicion? And what is reasonable suspicion for a DWI stop? Answering these simple questions can help you protect your rights.   A Reasonable Suspicion   Reasonable suspicion is a specific articulable basis for believing that a crime may have been, was being...

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