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.
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:
Insurance deductibles and copays
Costs related to the criminal law case (e.g., travel, child care, etc.)
Lost or damaged property
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.
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.
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.
What is a Criminal Writ?
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND CRIMINAL CASE WRITS
Most criminal defendants will never see a writ, but there are a select few that do. A writ is a formal document or order that comes from a higher court and directs the lower-level court to take action in criminal law. Writs in criminal cases are seen in appeals. While the defendant only has one chance to appeal, it has multiple opportunities to present writs.
A writ from the higher court is difficult to obtain, and it involves advanced legal knowledge that only a criminal defense attorney possesses. If you are considering an application for a writ, it is imperative that you speak with a criminal defense attorney. The procedures for writs are highly involved; to ensure success, you need someone who understands case criminal law.
EXPLORING THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF STATE AND FEDERAL-LEVEL WRITS
The federal court system deploys only a handful of writs today, and many have been abolished slowly over the years. Writs that are still acceptable in federal court include:
Writs of Certiorari – This writ permits a review of your case in criminal law.
Writs of Habeas Corpus – Your detention is challenged in this form of writ.
Writs of Injunctions or Prohibition – This writ can compel or outright forbid actions by the government or lower-level court.
Writs of Error Coram Nobis – This writ sets aside the lower court’s conviction in criminal law.
State courts have different views on writs, and some take notice of the federal court’s approach when designing their writs. The State Court of Appeals does have similarities to the federal writs. They recognize federal writs and deploy others that are necessary to complete the exercise of their authority. Therefore, if a writ is necessary for the court to exercise its power over the government or lower courts, they will use it.
The USA recognizes writs of certiorari, injunctions, habeas corpus, and prohibition. Also, it allows additional writs like:
Writs of Attachment – This writ allows the seizure of a person or a person’s property.
Writs of Capias – This writ gives permission to issue a warrant for arrest in criminal law.
Writs of Fieri Facias – This writ gives the government authority to seize property and auction it for debt.
Writs of Venire Facias – This writ summons jurors to appear in court.
OTHER EXTRAORDINARY WRITS
The Court of Appeals also handles extraordinary writs that are needed to exercise jurisdiction in criminal law. However, these are dire measures, and the courts only grant a writ when they feel that there is no other remedy. Courts adjudicate writs quickly compared to how fast they adjudicate appeals. If a defendant is wronged in a lower level court, he or she (through an attorney) can request a writ.
Some common reasons to request a writ before an appeal include:
Inadequate defense or inappropriate objections over the errors of the case in criminal law.
An issue of urgency in the case.
The attorney did not investigate the defense.
The judgment has not been entered by the trial criminal court.
SPEAK WITH A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY ABOUT YOUR ELIGIBILITY FOR A WRIT
Writs are incredibly complex, and even harder to get from the appeals court. Therefore, you need a criminal defense attorney who can represent your case and help you receive a writ in criminal law.
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.
Accomplices, Accessories, Aiders, and Abettors 101
ACCUSED OF ASSISTING WITH A CRIME? YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE TEAM ON YOUR SIDE
Every state and federal statute has one hidden feature: Casual accomplices and the primary defendants both can face similar punishment.
The state classifies criminals in many forms, including the principal offender, accomplice, accessory, aider, abettor, and the conspirator. These classifications depend on the person’s role in the crime. The primary offender is the person who commits the crime or intends to commit the crime in criminal law. However, the definitions become muddled when it moves down the line and examines accomplices, aiders, and the like in criminal law.
WHAT IS AN ACCOMPLICE?
Assisting persons who directly assist the principal offender are accomplices. An accomplice intentionally helps the principal offender to commit the crime, and knows what they are doing is wrong. Even if the accomplice does not carry out the criminal act, the law considers all pre-crime assistance enough for accomplice status in criminal law.
The prosecution must prove that the accomplice intentionally aided the primary offender in the commission of the crime before, during, or after the actual criminal act. Realizing that the principal intends to commit a crime and not stopping them could constitute accomplice-like acts, as well in criminal law.
THE MORE COMPLICATED ASSISTANT DEFINITIONS
Once you pass as an accomplice, the definitions and classifications become more involved. All it takes is a single act or non-action to differentiate a person from one classification into the other. Some standard assistant definitions in criminal law include:
Aider and Abettor – The aider and abettor is the principal in the second degree. They were present at the crime scene but carried out a passive role. Their role, however, ensured the crime was carried out. For example, a person watching out for witnesses during a bank robbery would be an aider and abettor in criminal law.
Accessory Before the Fact – An accessory before the fact is a category of an accomplice who helps before the crime. They were not present at the crime scene but helped the principal prepare for the criminal act.
Accessory After the Fact – Accessory after the fact is the person who knows the principal committed a felony and helped them avoid arrest or trial. They did not know about the crime or help prepare but instead help avoid prosecution. An accessory after the fact is not as harshly punished as an accessory before the fact or an aider and abettor in criminal law.
Conspirator – Conspirators can consist of one or more people who agree to commit a criminal act together. Conspirators are all principals; therefore, they do not assist. Instead, they decide to commit a crime together. This is a highly controversial charge, however, because a conspirator does not have to commit the crime or follow through with the act in criminal law.
AVOID THE HARSH PUNISHMENTS OF HELPING WITH A CRIME
The crime of aiding and abetting means you have contributed to carry out a criminal offense in criminal law.
The punishment for this offense is severe; therefore, it is best if you speak with a criminal defense attorney. Aiding or abetting a criminal act could result in a range of punishments, including a misdemeanor offense, jail time, and possibly a prison sentence if you help with a felony act in criminal law.