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 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.
Exploring the Common White-Collar Crimes in the United States
EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE FOR WHITE COLLAR CRIMES
White collar crimes are committed throughout the USA annually.
They are also massively underreported in most states. White collar crimes are often thought of as “innocent” crimes, but they are no such thing. Often these crimes leave people financially devastated. That is why the punishments for white collar crimes are much harsher than defendants realize.
WHERE DID WHITE COLLAR CRIMES COME FROM?
White collar crime is a term coined in 1939. It was a crime initially committed by a respected person of society that had a high regard in their occupation.
Today, white collar crimes are broad and take over any crime that is done for financial gain. They could be commercial but are often done by government officials, business people, and professionals. White collar refers to the area of professionals that person has, such as wearing a suit or business attire. Today, white collar crimes are not even in person. Most are done over the Internet.
THE MOST COMMON WHITE-COLLAR CRIMES
White collar crimes are a comprehensive category. However, some types of white collar crimes are more often committed in the United States than others. These include:
Insurance Fraud – Insurance fraud can include automobile insurance, but also medical insurance and homeowner’s insurance policies. Filing false claims or amounts on the claims can also constitute insurance fraud.
Insider Trading and Stock Crimes – Stock market and financial crimes, like securities fraud, insider trading, hedge fund fraud, and manipulation are all crimes.
Computer Fraud – Computer fraud includes wire fraud, and sometimes adds mail fraud.
Identity Theft – Identity theft involves taking another person’s identity for financial gain. Such as taking loans or credit cards out in their name.
Bribery – Bribing a person requires money in return for an act or omission.
Tax Evasion – It is a crime to avoid paying taxes to the state or federal government purposely. If you purposely avoid paying taxes or you move assets and hide funds to avoid taxes, then you are committing tax evasion.
Embezzlement – Another common type of white collar crime is embezzlement. Embezzlement is the act of stealing funds from a trusted position, such as a CEO stealing money from their company or a broker stealing from his or her clients.
THE TRUE EFFECT OF WHITE COLLAR CRIME
White collar crime is not victimless. Instead, it affects businesses and the victims for years. A person could have their entire life savings gone in a moment. Moreover, the widespread tactics used often affect hundreds of people. Businesses might have to file for bankruptcy because of a criminal act, and the toll of these crimes for the United States averages $3 billion per year.
CHARGED WITH A WHITE-COLLAR CRIME? YOU MUST CALL AN ATTORNEY
White collar crimes carry harsh punishments and could constitute a felony charge. To avoid the penalties of the federal government, you must contact an attorney with experience in these types of cases.
Sealing a Criminal Record Versus Expunging the Record
SHOULD YOU SEEK EXPUNGING OR SEALING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD? A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER EXPLAINS.
Often, sealing and expunction are confused for one another, but these are two very different processes with varying qualifications required under criminal law. If you seal a criminal record, you are engaging in judicial proceedings that will limit others’ access to the file. The record still exists, and certain parties could access it, but it is sealed from most individuals. An expunction (expungement), on the other hand, deletes the criminal record entirely under criminal law.
Only certain circumstances allow for a criminal record to be sealed, and if you do have a record sealed, it will not appear on a regular criminal background check.
The USA does not have a statute that applies to expunction; therefore, it is tough to perform a successful expunction of any criminal arrests. If you have been convicted of a crime, you cannot expunge your record in the state, regardless of the circumstances under criminal law.
CAN YOU SEAL A CRIMINAL RECORD?
Yes, you can. However, Statutes Section 32A-2-26 strictly governs it. A record can only be sealed if it is a juvenile criminal record under criminal law. Your criminal defense attorney must petition the court, and then your files can be sealed after the court determines that the juvenile is not a delinquent offender.
If you are an adjudicated delinquent, you can still seal your juvenile criminal record, but your defense attorney must file a motion. You are required to wait two years before the records are sealed. There must also be no further convictions of a felony or misdemeanor in that two-year waiting period to qualify under criminal law.
You can only apply for a record sealing if you are 18 years of age, or if there is just cause for sealing the record before reaching 18. Your sealed record is treated as if it were never there.
EXPUNGING CRIMINAL ARREST RECORDS
While you cannot expunge a criminal conviction or seal an adult criminal conviction, you may be able to expunge a criminal arrest record. You can petition the department to expunge the arrest information, but only if it was a misdemeanor offense that did not involve moral turpitude under criminal law.
While there is no statute in place for record expunction, there are several questions in front of the Supreme Court regarding the matter. Hopefully, an ordinance will be created that specifically addresses record expunction under criminal law.
In conclusion, sealing is only available for a juvenile criminal record, and only after the waiting period has been completed with no further crimes committed by that juvenile. A record expunction is available for an adult, but only for arrest records and minor crimes. An adult must prove that he or she was innocent at the time of the arrest to qualify for record expunction.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO CLEAR UP A CRIMINAL RECORD?
If you have a juvenile criminal record that is affecting your life, you may qualify for a record seal under criminal law.