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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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Criminal Trespassing Laws in USA Everyone Should Know

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. criminal lawyer free consultation

Offers of Leniency: Will a Confession Decrease Your Charges?

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. embezzlement lawyer

Accomplices, Accessories, Aiders, and Abettors 101

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.