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


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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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
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.


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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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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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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Accomplices, Accessories, Aiders, and Abettors 101

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. probation lawyer

Can I Receive Immunity for an Exchange in Testimony?

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. probation violation attorney

Can I Receive Immunity for an Exchange in Testimony?

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.