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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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Can I Receive Immunity for an Exchange in Testimony?

Offers of Leniency: Will a Confession Decrease Your Charges? CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY DISCUSSES CONFESSIONS AND THEIR EFFECT IN COURTS During an interrogation, officers use one common tactic to elicit a confession: An offer of leniency. They might tell you that they can lower your charges if you confess. However, there is a kicker – your confession must be voluntary. So, it is important that you understand your rights, and what might happen if you do confess in hopes of lesser charges in criminal law. PSYCHOLOGICAL PRESSURE EQUATES TO INVOLUNTARY CONFESSIONS It is your right not to be pressured into a confession. Police officers using psychological persuasion – including an offer of lesser charges – is considered pressuring you. That is why statements produced through the promise of leniency are disregarded by the courts. So, your confession would likely be inadmissible in criminal law. However, your statement must be the product of an offer of compromise, whether expressed or implied. Offers that could result in an inadmissible confession include: The promise of immunity; The guarantee of a reduced sentence; or An offer to dismiss the charges upon confession. THE FACTOR OF IMMUNITY IN EXCHANGE FOR TESTIMONY Often, defendants confuse confessions in interrogations with the exchange of immunity or reduced charges to testify in criminal law. These are two different things. While you have the right to remain silent, if you choose to speak with a criminal defense attorney and answer his or her questions, that is your prerogative. A prosecutor can also override your Fifth Amendment rights by offering immunity from prosecution in exchange for your testimony in criminal law. THE TWO TYPES OF IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION Transactional Immunity – Transactional immunity is a very broad kind of immunity. It is so broad that it is referred to as “blanket” immunity. Any crime you confess to, including ones unrelated to the case, cannot be used against you in criminal law. “Use and Derivative Use” Immunity – Most prosecutors opt for this form of immunity because it is narrower and does not let a defendant get away with anything. The prosecution cannot, however, use your statements or any evidence derived from those declarations in a prosecution against you. However, it does not prevent them from gathering additional evidence and using it against you later. So, theoretically, you could still face criminal charges in criminal law. SPEAK WITH A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY BEFORE ACCEPTING ANY DEALS Whether you are being interrogated, you’re offered a deal, or you are being presented with an offer of immunity, it is imperative that you speak with a criminal defense attorney. criminal law office

What is a Criminal Writ?

5 Facts Every Defendant Should Know About the Criminal Process EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL PROCESS ATTORNEYS SERVING ALL OF THE USA The criminal process, also known as the criminal procedure, is a standard set of rights and rules that law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges must follow for criminal law. While this can be an in-depth topic, particular facts are more important. These facts help you identify your rights and prepare you for the trial and process ahead. If you do not know your rights, you may not find out when they have been violated. Therefore, review these facts. Also, realize that the process is the same whether you are a first-time offender, facing misdemeanor charges, or you have a serious felony pending in criminal law. WHAT 5 FACTS SHOULD EVERY CRIMINAL DEFENDANT KNOW? There are safeguards for federal and state-level crimes. These safeguards protect your rights and ensure you receive not only a fair trial but what the Constitution provides you with being an American citizen. 1. THE FIFTH AMENDMENT OFFERS MORE PROTECTIONS THAN YOU REALIZE The Fifth Amendment is notoriously referenced as the anti-self-incrimination right. However, did you know that the Fifth Amendment also protects you from certain acts in the death penalty, protection from double jeopardy, and offers you the right to due process in criminal law? 2. THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT ENSURES BAIL IS NEVER EXCESSIVE Via the Eighth Amendment, you are protected from a bail amount that is “excessive.” Also, you have protections against excessive fines for your crimes, and that cruel and unusual punishment is not used as a penalty for your crime in criminal law. 3. THE SIXTH AMENDMENT PROTECTS YOUR RIGHTS AT TRIAL The Sixth Amendment is there to offer you a speedy and public trial. However, fast in the eyes of the public justice system is not always as quick as you might like. 4. YOU CANNOT BE CHARGED EXCESSIVE FINES OR BAIL The amendments, specifically the eighth, were designed to ensure that federal prosecutions could not use excessive bail or impose burdening fines. However, the Fourteenth Amendment also bars the state from depriving you of your life, liberty or property without due process and says that the state must provide you with the same protections under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments in criminal law. 5. YOU HAVE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS In a criminal law case, you have basic rights, including the right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, the right to an attorney, the right to protect yourself against self-incrimination, and so forth. To protect these rights, it is in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney. Not all your protections apply every time you deal with law enforcement. In some cases, you must be under arrest for certain rights to activate in criminal law. PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS BY WORKING WITH A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY If you or a loved one has been arrested, the first step is to contact an attorney for assistance. Our attorneys are here to protect your rights and ensure you receive a fair trial for your alleged crime in criminal law. crime lawyer

Restitution and Criminal Punishment: How Do They Work?

What and When Must Prosecutors Disclose Evidence? EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS FIGHTING CRIMINAL CHARGES ACROSS USA You might be arrested for a criminal act. You could be in jail awaiting your trail. However, you have various rights given to you by the United States Constitution – regardless of whether you are in jail or accused of a crime. One important right to know is the right to evidence disclosure in criminal law. Once you have been formally charged with a crime, you are entitled to evidence and information. As the defendant, you and your attorney can receive the materials the prosecution has as part of the discovery process in criminal law. However, the prosecution does not only disclose that information at the initial trial; they are required to do so even after the trial begins. WHAT TYPE OF DISCOVERY APPLIES TO YOUR CASE? The most typical example of discovery is the police report. A standard police report includes your name, the name of witnesses, and any victims involved in the crime. Also, it contains statements from those individuals, officer notes, and information relating to your arrest. The police report is the first form of discovery you and your attorney receive in criminal law. Other types of discovery that might apply include: Recorded Interviews and Interrogations – Any recordings of police interviews with yourself, victims, and witnesses are given to your attorney. Photographs and Video of the Scene – If a crime scene is investigated, any pictures and videos of that scene are handed over to the criminal defense. Records – Records regarding the victim’s injuries (if a victim is involved), police personnel assigned to the case, and witness criminal records must also be given to your attorney in criminal law. THE RIGHT TO EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE The Constitution requires that state prosecutors give any evidence that might contradict your guilt. They must disclose this evidence, regardless of whether they feel it is exculpatory or not. If it warrants a lesser punishment or contradicts your alleged crime, they are required to give it to the defense in criminal law. This evidence also includes anything that questions the credibility of a witness, like a witness who receives leniency in exchange for his or her testimony. WHAT HAPPENS IF THE PROSECUTION DOES NOT SUPPLY EVIDENCE? If the defense learns that the prosecution withheld evidence, they may have a Brady violation. Typically, these violations are found after a defendant is convicted, and then the defendant might receive a new trial as a result. Prosecutors must share evidence as part of your Constitutional right to a fair trial. If they do not share that evidence promptly, they could be found in violation of your rights and court procedures in criminal law. HOW QUICKLY DO THEY HAVE TO TURN OVER EVIDENCE? While required to submit evidence, that does not mean that the prosecution will do so quickly. If the courts feel that the prosecution unreasonably waited to disclose such information, then they may face contempt charges. However, it is common for prosecutors to wait on evidence for a few days (or even weeks) until they consider it necessary to turn it over in criminal law. HIRE AN AGGRESSIVE CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR YOUR CASE There is no need to worry about when and how evidence is shared between the defense and prosecution. When you have a qualified criminal defense attorney representing your case, you can rest assured that evidence is collected and shared appropriately in criminal law.