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Restitution and Criminal Punishment in Texas: How Do They Work?

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY EXPLAINS RESTITUTION FOR CRIMINAL LAW CASES

Many crimes carry financial losses. Victims are often the ones forced to endure these financial losses, including the loss of personal property, medical costs after an assault, or lost income. Under the Mandatory Restitution Act of 1996, the courts can determine whether restitution is warranted, and the amount of restitution the criminal defendant must pay to the victim or the victim’s family in criminal law in Texas.

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WHAT DOES RESTITUTION CONSIST OF?

Restitution in the criminal justice system refers to the funds that the defendant must pay to the victim for any financial harm caused by their actions. The court has the discretion and authority to force a defendant to pay restitution as part of his or her criminal punishment under criminal law. Some crimes carry a mandatory restitution, but this depends on the state. The high courts have backed the decision to order defendants to pay restitution. In fact, a case in 2010, where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state correctly ordered restitution, proves such in criminal law.
Usually, violent felony offenses include restitution, but other cases can involve restitution if there are severe financial losses. Restitution might cover the out-of-pocket costs for the victim under criminal law, including:

Lost wages
Counseling
Prescription
Therapy costs
Medical expenses
Insurance deductibles and copays
Costs related to the criminal law case (e.g., travel, child care, etc.)
Crime-scene cleanup
Lost or damaged property

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Restitution is different from personal injury compensation. A victim will not receive pain and suffering or any form of compensation for his or her emotional distress. Instead, these damages only apply to what the victim physically paid for; usually, a receipt or bill is necessary to show the courts that the amounts are justified under criminal law in Texas.

WILL RESTITUTION BE ORDERED IN MY CRIMINAL LAW CASE?

It is hard to predict what the courts will do, but restitution is more likely in two situations:

The victim has substantial proof of financial losses. If the victim has evidence of financial losses, and he or she can justify every loss claimed, the courts might order restitution to recover those costs.
A violent crime has occurred, and the request for restitution ordered. Sometimes, the courts wait for the prosecution to issue a request for restitution. Other times, the courts offer mandatory restitution in extremely violent cases. For example, the brutal beating of a victim could result in restitution automatically – regardless of whether the prosecution submits a request under criminal law.

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FULL VERSUS PARTIAL RESTITUTION

When restitution is ordered, the courts look at the defendant’s ability to pay. Obviously, if the accused has no way to pay the losses, it is hard to force them to do so. So, the court might reduce the amount until the offender can pay in full. Sometimes, the courts will still issue restitution in full but set monthly payments so the offender can pay off the balance in a specific amount of time under criminal law.

You should note that, if you are on probation or parole and have a restitution payment schedule, missing a payment could result in a revocation of your probation or parole. Typically, timely payments are part of your release conditions in criminal law.

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CONSULT WITH A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY ABOUT POSSIBLE RESTITUTION

Restitution is ordered upon conviction, and is part of your criminal punishment. Therefore, you may have jail time and other penalties in addition to restitution. To avoid these harsh penalties, speak with a criminal defense attorney.

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What is a Criminal Writ?

5 Reasons You Need an Attorney for a Domestic Violence Charge EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY FIGHTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES THROUGHOUT THE USA While you might be afraid of the costs of hiring an attorney, realize that those costs outweigh the reality of criminal punishment. If you are arrested for domestic violence charges, it is imperative that you hire a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can help you not only prove your innocence but avoid the long-term consequences of a domestic violence conviction in criminal law. 5 COMPELLING REASONS TO HIRE A CRIMINAL LAW ATTORNEY NOW You have the right to an attorney; therefore, it is in your best interest to exercise that right. From a legal standpoint, domestic violence charges mean that you intimidate someone into assuming you were going to harm them, or you attempted to hit or touch someone in an offensive way or did complete the act. You could be charged with domestic violence just because your accuser says that you harmed them; therefore, this is no charge to ignore in criminal law. Even controlling actions could be considered domestic violence. You do not have to strike a domestic partner to face domestic violence charges physically. In fact, being controlling, threatening, or mentally abusing your partner could constitute domestic violence. It is your word against the victim. Your word does not carry much weight in a domestic violence case, but the victim’s does. While the courts created this rule to ensure that battered spouses would speak up, the reality is that some spouses are not battered and abused the power that their word has over the court in criminal law. You will lose your right to carry a gun. If you are convicted of domestic violence, you are prohibited from owning, carrying, or having a gun in your home. Also, you cannot purchase or possess ammunition. While it is a misdemeanor offense, federal law prohibits you from this right after a conviction. You could lose your job. A domestic violence conviction is severe in criminal law. Some employers will not hire a domestic violence offender, especially if you are in public education, therapy, medical care, and so forth. If your career is in a particular field, you may no longer be able to work and have to seek new job opportunities. Also, a misdemeanor or felony conviction for domestic violence is grounds enough for you to not only lose your current job, but possibly be unable to obtain employment in the future due to criminal law. A domestic violence conviction stays on your permanent criminal record. If you are asked if you have been charged or convicted of a crime, you must respond that you have on your application. Also, you cannot expunge or seal domestic violence records; therefore, a conviction remains part of your criminal record for the rest of your life because of criminal law. AVOID THE HARSH REALITIES OF A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTION – CONTACT A DEFENSE ATTORNEY Avoid the harsh realities that come with a domestic violence conviction. Instead, contact a criminal defense attorney that can help you with your charges and find the best possible solution in criminal law. criminal law office

Are Ponzi Schemes Illegal?

5 DUI Myths that Could Put You in Jail EXPERIENCED DEFENSE ATTORNEY FIGHTING DUI CHARGES IN THE USA The Internet is a reliable resource for research, but one thing it should never be used for is legal research. While there are some helpful posts out there, most of the research you find on DUIs comes from forums and opinionated writings; not fact or criminal law. Sadly, because of the internet’s popularity, many DUI defendants turn to their trusted website or forum for advice when they should consult with a criminal defense attorney. The myths and incorrect facts online lead to confusion and could result in you going to jail when you could have walked away free. The DUI laws are complicated, and the consequences of a DUI conviction is dire. Therefore, know the facts before you decide where you want to go with your case in criminal law. REFUSING A BREATHALYZER MEANS YOU CANNOT BE CHARGED WITH A DUI Refusing to take a breathalyzer might mean that your BAC is not measured, but that is not to say you will be free from a DUI or related charges. First, you have the implied consent law. Therefore, if you have a driver’s license and operate a vehicle in the state, you are required to comply with a breathalyzer test. Refusal means an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. Also, you can still be charged with a DUI and convicted regardless if you have a BAC level on file. Refusing to could justify as evidence against you and considered an admission of guilt in criminal law. A DUI IS NOT A SERIOUS CHARGE A DUI charge is extremely dangerous. Do not let the fact that it is a misdemeanor fool you. While you might only face a misdemeanor, that is a serious criminal law charge that will affect you for the rest of your life. A DUI will not only result in a license suspension, but you may lose your job, serve time in jail, and must attend court ordered classes until you can get your driver’s license back. A DUI DOES NOT REQUIRE AN ATTORNEY While the internet offers a surprising amount of information about how to avoid a DUI and why you do not need an attorney, the reality is that without a criminal defense lawyer, you are more likely to face a harsher charge than if you have a lawyer defending your case in criminal law. YOU MUST BE DRIVING TO BE CHARGED WITH A DUI Even if you are sitting in a parked car with the engine running or you have exited your vehicle after driving drunk, you could be arrested and charged with a DUI. The statute states in control or operation of a motor vehicle; therefore, the officer does not have to find you driving or in the act to arrest you in criminal law. A PERSON CAN BEAT A BREATHALYZER TEST It is a common misconception that a person can beat a breathalyzer test by various methods like drinking mouthwash, chewing gum, and surprisingly putting a penny in the mouth. None of these methods work because a breathalyzer not only registers breath alcohol but assesses the amount of alcohol in the blood based on the breath. Furthermore, a positive breathalyzer could result in an order for blood or urine test, which would further prove that you have alcohol in your system for criminal law. WANT TO PREVENT A DUI FROM RUINING YOUR LIFE? YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY If you have been arrested for a DUI, the best thing you can do is speak with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help assess your case and defend you in court. Do not assume that a DUI is not a serious conviction in criminal law. lawyers for you

5 Facts Every Defendant Should Know About the Criminal Process

Requirements that Police Must Follow to Execute a Search Warrant SEARCH WARRANT REQUIREMENTS IN THE USA AND HOW THEY CAN AFFECT YOUR CRIMINAL LAW CASE Even with a search warrant, law enforcement still has limitations. To understand those limitations, you must first know what a search warrant is, how law enforcement obtains one, and what it allows them to do in criminal law. WHAT IS A SEARCH WARRANT? A search warrant is a legal authorization issued by an authority (a judge) that allows police officers to search a particular place for evidence – without the owner or occupant’s consent. To not violate a person’s Fourth Amendment rights, police must obtain a search warrant in criminal law. HOW DO POLICE OBTAIN A SEARCH WARRANT? To get a search warrant, police officers must petition a judge, and the judge must issue the warrant. Law enforcement must show that they have probable cause, which justifies the issuance of a search warrant in criminal law. Sometimes, this means providing evidence or an affidavit to the judge. They must also state where they will search and the items that they seek. This information is then relayed in the search warrant text. If the order lacks specific evidence or areas, then it is not valid. REQUIREMENTS WHEN EXECUTING A SEARCH WARRANT Even when law enforcement has the search warrant in hand, and signed by a judge, there are protocols that they must follow. First, there is the knock-and-announce rule. This means that the officers executing the search warrant cannot force their way inside or immediately enter a private residence. Instead, the first officers must knock and announce their identities, as well as their intent. Then, they must wait for a reasonable amount of time for the occupant to answer in criminal law. EXCEPTIONS TO THE KNOCK AND ANNOUNCE RULE While officers are required to knock and announce, there are exceptions to this rule. Sometimes, officers will have a no-knock warrant, which means that they can enter the property without announcing intent or presence. These are only issued when there is reasonable suspicion that evidence might be destroyed if the police officers were to announce their identity to the occupants in criminal law. TIMING OF SEARCHES Officers are required to time their searches during the day. However, the definition of night can easily be stretched. Typically, states follow the federal rules of criminal law procedure, which means that searches can run from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. EXTENT OF THE SEARCH With the warrant, police officers only have the authority to search the places and individuals listed in the order. They may only find the evidence sought after, and they can only search in areas where they would reasonably find the evidence. For example, an officer looking for a large rifle cannot justify searching a small jewelry box in criminal law. While they have limitations on their searches, officers can detain people who they find at the site during the search. If they locate sufficient evidence while searching, they can arrest and search the people who they find – even if those people are not named in the warrant in criminal law. PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS FROM UNLAWFUL SEARCHES – CONTACT A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY TODAY If the police have searched your home and seized evidence, you have rights. Often, protocols are ignored, but police assume that defendants do not know criminal procedure. To ensure that your rights were not violated, and to receive expert-level defense, contact a criminal defense attorney.