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.
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.
Can I Receive Immunity for an Exchange in Testimony?
CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS DISCUSS OFFERING TESTIMONY IN EXCHANGE FOR IMMUNITY IN CRIMINAL CASES
It is your Constitutional right to remain silent when police or prosecutors ask information that forces you to self-incriminate yourself in criminal law.
However, you might be asked to provide information that is incriminating in return for immunity. Offering protection is a prosecutor’s way to override your privilege and access information you know, but also protects you against self-incrimination.
Note that in this post, you are only learning about the types of immunity you can receive. By no means does it constitute legal advice, and we do not necessarily suggest taking immunity in exchange for your testimony. Instead, you must always consult with a criminal defense attorney to see if immunity is best for your case and the consequences of testifying in criminal law.
TRANSACTIONAL IMMUNITY: COMPLETE PROTECTION
Out of the two types of immunity from prosecution offered, transactional is the broadest and most complete. Anything mentioned in your testimony becomes protected. That is why transactional immunity is often referred to as “blanket” immunity in criminal law.
Here are a few things to know about transactional immunity:
You cannot be prosecuted for admittance to criminal activity. If during your testimony you must admit to crimes, the prosecution cannot charge you with a crime or any crimes related to the information you say in that statement in criminal law.
Prosecutors can seek evidence elsewhere. While you have broad immunity, do not think that you would not be prosecuted. Prosecutors can learn elsewhere about your actions in a crime, gather evidence, and charge you with that crime later, especially if the crime is unrelated to the events you testify to in criminal law.
Prosecutors rarely offer such generous immunity. Rarely will you see a prosecutor offer this generous form of immunity. They do not want to allow a person to get away with a crime or escape punishment. Therefore, they might provide another type of immunity or no immunity in criminal law.
DERIVATIVE USE IMMUNITY
Also referred to as “use and derivative use” immunity, this is a common form of immunity issued by state prosecutors. If they decide that your testimony is worthwhile, they could extend derivative use immunity, but the scope of this protection is much narrower in criminal law.
The prosecution cannot use your statements or evidence that derives from your statements against you in a prosecution. However, there is more to this form of immunity than meets the eye:
Prosecutors can obtain independent evidence. During your testimony, if you indicate or hint that you played a role in the crime, prosecutors have the right to seek independent evidence. That independence evidence is not produced from your testimony, which gives them the right to prosecute you in criminal law.
Prosecutors might find another witness against you. Immunity for testimony becomes a vicious cycle at times. You not only receive protection, but the prosecution can also find a witness who will testify against you in exchange for immunity in criminal law.
Stipulations always apply. Typically, stipulations apply to all types of immunity. Therefore, it is important to review these stipulations, have them in writing, and have a criminal defense attorney by your side to ensure these stipulations do not increase the likelihood you will be charged with a crime too.
DO NOT ACCEPT IMMUNITY UNTIL YOU SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY
When prosecutors wave immunity in front of you, you might be tempted to take it. They might even tell you that the offer goes away if you speak to an attorney in criminal law.
Never accept an offer of immunity in exchange for your testimony without consulting an attorney. A criminal defense lawyer is better equipped for negotiating such deals and ensuring that you cannot be charged or arrested in the future based on what you testify to in criminal law.
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.