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Your Right to Remain Silent: Why It Matters and When to Use It

Your Right to Remain Silent: Why It Matters and When to Use It

A Right to Protect   We hear a lot about our right to remain silent in the movies and on TV, and perhaps it is one of the most well-known rights we have. But the scope of this right and the specific situations under which it protects us are less publicized. Consequently, few people take advantage of this right when it counts most. In fact, many people believe that unless their rights are read, they cannot be arrested. To help you fearlessly defend your right to remain silent, here’s why it matters and when you should use it.   Why Your Right to Remain...

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Navigating Your Texas ALR Hearing

Navigating Your Texas ALR Hearing

How to Fight Your Administrative License Suspension   The Texas Department of Public Safety operates the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program. The ALR program processes the administrative license suspensions of all those arrested for a DWI in Texas. Those facing ALR action, however, have a right to request an administrative hearing at which they can contest the suspension. Administrative hearings are different than criminal court hearings and require a different burden of proof and evidentiary rules. To help you navigate the ALR program and fight your license suspension here's some helpful information to get you started.   Time Is Running Out   You only have 15...

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10 Quick Tips for Navigating Your Texas DWI Case After an Arrest

10 Quick Tips for Navigating Your Texas DWI Case After an Arrest

Navigating Unknown Territory   You never thought you’d hear the words, “I’m placing you under arrest.” by a police officer. Now it’s happened, and you don’t know what to do or who to turn to. Every day in Dallas-Fort Worth, well-meaning citizens are arrested for DWI. Maybe they just had a few drinks with dinner. Maybe they weren’t even over the legal limit, but the officer that pulled them over thought otherwise. If you find yourself in this stressful and unfamiliar territory after a DWI arrest, you are not alone. To help you navigate your Texas DWI case after an arrest, here...

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Emergency Protective Orders in Texas: Watching Your Step

Emergency Protective Orders in Texas: Watching Your Step

A Look at Emergency Protective Orders   In an assault family violence (i.e. domestic violence) case, the judge will often issue an Emergency Protective Order (EPO). Emergency Protective Orders can make it illegal for the offender to return home and fulfill his or her familial responsibilities. And in the wake of an assault case, that can make it difficult if not impossible to move on from your mistake and get back to your life. Fortunately, there may be ways you can mitigate the negative effects an EPO will have on your life.   The “Stay Away” Order   The offender may be prohibited from coming within...

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Repeat Domestic Violence Offender in Texas? You Could Face Continuous Family Violence Charges

Repeat Domestic Violence Offender in Texas? You Could Face Continuous Family Violence Charges

Repeat Offenders Can Face Serious Charges   The State of Texas takes family violence (i.e. domestic violence) very seriously. Thus, punishments for family violence offenses are harsh and geared toward rehabilitating the offender and preventing future harm. Not surprisingly, if you are a repeat domestic violence offender in Texas, expect the court to charge with you continuous family violence and enhance those penalties significantly. Now let’s take a look at the specifics of this offense and the penalties you could face for a conviction.   What Is Continuous Family Violence?   Continuous violence against the family is a charge that applies to repeat family violence offenders....

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Raising the Stakes: Aggravating Factors in Texas DWI Cases

Raising the Stakes: Aggravating Factors in Texas DWI Cases

Upping the Ante   If you are charged with DWI in Texas, you could face steep fines and surcharges, community service, DWI classes, increased insurance requirements and potentially jail time. And in light of certain aggravating factors, the court can increase those penalties significantly. Aggravating factors are elements that, if present, give the court reason to “enhance” your sentence if you are convicted. Common aggravating factors in Texas DWI cases include:   A Prior DWI Conviction   A prior DWI conviction if proven will increase the minimum jail sentence associated with the charge. The public policy behind this increase is that the person charged did not...

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The Costs and Benefits of Plea Bargains

The Costs and Benefits of Plea Bargains

Plea bargains, also called plea deals, are a crucial component in many Texas criminal prosecutions. Most people think they have only two options when facing criminal charges: plead guilty to the charges or go to trial. In reality, most criminal cases are resolved prior to trial through a plea bargain. A plea bargain is essentially a negotiated “deal” wherein the defendant exchanges his or her guilty plea for a reduced charge or lesser sentence. But plea bargains have both benefits and costs that should be considered.   Benefits of Plea Bargains   Plea bargains are negotiated between the prosecution and the defense. They attempt...

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Tips to Help a Friend or Family Member in Jail

Tips to Help a Friend or Family Member in Jail

Help in a Time of Need   Discovering a friend or loved one was arrested can be a scary experience. You want to help but, if you’re like most people, aren’t sure how. Luckily, there are many ways you can help your friend or family member in his or her time of need. To help you navigate the process during this stressful time, here are a few tips to follow when a friend or family member is in jail.   The first thing to do if you discover a friend or family member has been arrested is to locate him or her. Then, gather...

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DWI vs. DUI in Texas: Different Offense, Different Punishment

DWI vs. DUI in Texas: Different Offense, Different Punishment

Not the Same Offense   Every state handles drunk-driving cases differently. Many use the terms DWI and DUI interchangeably. But Texas distinguishes between the two. DWI and DUI are separate yet similar offenses. Thus, if you have been arrested for drunk driving, it’s essential you educate yourself on these two offenses so you can know what you’re up against.   Texas DUI   DUI is the less serious of the two offenses. It applies to minors who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This means a minor can be charged with a DUI for having any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her...

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Weighing Your Chances in a Texas Criminal Trial

Weighing Your Chances in a Texas Criminal Trial

Is Trial a Good Idea?   Criminal trials are complex legal proceedings. Weighing your chances at a Texas criminal trial is impossible without a full examination of the facts and circumstances of your case. Even then, a good attorney can only give you a general idea of what the outcome may be. For this reason, you should consult with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. But, in the meantime, here is some helpful information on the factors that can affect the outcome of a trial.   Who Decides?   Trials in Texas are most commonly jury trials, meaning a panel of...

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