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Texas Misdemeanor Classes and What They Mean

Texas Misdemeanor Classes and What They Mean

A Range of Misdemeanors   Texas misdemeanors are punishable by a term of up to one year in a local or county jail. There are many types of misdemeanors that are divided into three classes of varying gravity. These classes influence the penalties the court can impose. For example, Class C misdemeanors carry less severe penalties than Class A misdemeanors. Learning about the different classes of Texas misdemeanors is step one if you’re facing misdemeanor charges.   Class A Misdemeanors   Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000 or both. This is the most serious...

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Loss of Firearm Rights and Family Violence Convictions

Loss of Firearm Rights and Family Violence Convictions

Consequences of Family Violence   Federal law prohibits anyone with a felony conviction, a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction or who is subject to a domestic violence protective order from possessing firearms. The State of Texas plays a role in enforcing this law and places similar restrictions on the firearms rights of those with domestic violence (i.e. family violence) convictions or those subject to protective orders. Indeed, this is one of the lesser-known consequences of a family violence conviction but not one that is without impact, especially in one of the most heavily armed states in the country.   A Flaw in the Law   Prohibiting firearm...

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Punishment for Drug Possession: Why Quantity and Penalty Group Matter

Punishment for Drug Possession: Why Quantity and Penalty Group Matter

Simple Drug Possession Isn’t Simple   The State of Texas maintains some of this nation’s strictest drug possession laws. In Texas, you can face long periods of incarceration and steep fines for even simple drug possession charges. Drug possession offenses vary by the drug type—also called the penalty group or “schedule”—and the quantity, or the amount you had. These factors provide guidelines for how to charge and sentence offenders.   Quantity and Type   The law divides controlled substances into types or “schedules” that classify drugs based on numerous factors, such as the potential for misuse and dependency. Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, possession...

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5 Deportable Offenses You Might Not Know About

5 Deportable Offenses You Might Not Know About

Anyone facing criminal charges may be rightfully concerned with incarceration, fines and incurring a permanent criminal record. For noncitizens, however, these serious consequences are just the beginning. Noncitizens can face potential immigration consequences, including deportation or inadmissibility if convicted of certain crimes. To better understand how criminal charges can affect your immigration status, let’s take a look at five deportable offenses that could lead to deportation as well as the broad categories of crimes that impact immigration.   Convictions That Could Affect Your Immigration Status   Generally speaking, under US immigration law, an immigrant can face deportation or inadmissibility if convicted of certain crimes,...

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Everything You Need to Know About Your Miranda Rights

Everything You Need to Know About Your Miranda Rights

A Right to Remember   The media paints an often-incomplete portrait of the criminal justice system. It frequently depicts the stereotypical arrest that begins with a uniformed officer stating, “You have a right to remain silent”. Most people are aware of this constitutionally protected right but know little about it other than what they’ve seen on TV and in the movies. In reality, your right to remain silent is included in your Miranda Rights, some of the most important rights an American—or a Texan—has. It is these rights that police officers will sometimes recite to a person they are placing under arrest....

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5 Tips for Meeting Your Community Supervision Requirements

5 Tips for Meeting Your Community Supervision Requirements

Community supervision (i.e. probation) seems like a break, at least initially. In lieu of jail time, you are permitted to go back to your normal life, albeit under close watch. For those facing criminal charges, community supervision may seem highly desirable. But don’t be fooled. The requirements you must meet to successfully comply with and complete your community supervision are likely to be strict. So, if you think you’re getting off easy, think again. Meeting those requirements will take sacrifices of your time, money, privacy and peace of mind. To help you meet those requirements, read through these five tips...

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Guilty of DWI in Texas? Here’s Why You Still Need a DWI Attorney

Guilty of DWI in Texas? Here’s Why You Still Need a DWI Attorney

Far too many people give up without a fight when facing DWI charges. They mistakenly believe because they had a few drinks they have no chance to beat their charges. In reality, Texas DWI cases don’t depend solely on whether or not you were drinking. In fact, several other factors can impact the outcome of your case. So, even if you think you’re guilty of DWI, you still need a DWI attorney for the following reasons.   Drinking and Driving Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You Are Guilty of DWI   I know this may sound counterintuitive at first glance. But it’s important to understand the...

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Quick Facts About Public Access to Criminal Records

Quick Facts About Public Access to Criminal Records

Under the Public Eye   Today, your criminal record is more accessible than ever. Gone are the days when someone had to go search for court records at the courthouse in person. Now, commercial background checks (available to the public) are easy to obtain online. Employers, landlords and even lenders are increasingly resorting to background checks to screen applicants. And for anyone with an arrest, charge or conviction on their record, that can make for some disappointing denials. To give you a better idea of how the public can access records of your criminal past, here are some quick facts.   What Is Public...

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Are All Texas Felonies Created Equal? A Look at Crime Degrees

Are All Texas Felonies Created Equal? A Look at Crime Degrees

Types of Texas Felonies   In Texas, felonies are crimes that are punishable by a term in a state jail or prison. Felonies are considered more serious than misdemeanor offenses. But not all felonies are created equal. They will typically fall within one of the following categories.   State Jail Felony   As the name suggests, state jail felonies are those that are punishable by six months to two years in a state jail and a fine up to $10,000. State jails are an answer to the overcrowding in Texas state prisons and typically house nonviolent felons. But, unlike in terms in county jails or state...

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The Problem With Ticket Surcharges in Texas

The Problem With Ticket Surcharges in Texas

How Much Will It Cost?   Fines for traffic tickets are an unexpected cost no one likes to pay. Unfortunately, the true cost of a traffic ticket in Texas doesn’t stop at the imposed fine. In addition to the court-imposed fine and court costs you will receive for a traffic ticket, the Texas Department of Public Safety may also impose a surcharge under the Driver Responsibility Program.   Ticket surcharges are fees you have to pay to keep your license valid. They are in addition to the initial fine for the offense. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) assesses surcharges for points on...

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