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 DUI Myths that Could Put You in Jail
EXPERIENCED DEFENSE ATTORNEY FIGHTING DUI CHARGES IN THE USA
The Internet is a reliable resource for research, but one thing it should never be used for is legal research. While there are some helpful posts out there, most of the research you find on DUIs comes from forums and opinionated writings; not fact or criminal law.
Sadly, because of the internet’s popularity, many DUI defendants turn to their trusted website or forum for advice when they should consult with a criminal defense attorney. The myths and incorrect facts online lead to confusion and could result in you going to jail when you could have walked away free.
The DUI laws are complicated, and the consequences of a DUI conviction is dire. Therefore, know the facts before you decide where you want to go with your case in criminal law.
REFUSING A BREATHALYZER MEANS YOU CANNOT BE CHARGED WITH A DUI
Refusing to take a breathalyzer might mean that your BAC is not measured, but that is not to say you will be free from a DUI or related charges. First, you have the implied consent law. Therefore, if you have a driver’s license and operate a vehicle in the state, you are required to comply with a breathalyzer test. Refusal means an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
Also, you can still be charged with a DUI and convicted regardless if you have a BAC level on file. Refusing to could justify as evidence against you and considered an admission of guilt in criminal law.
A DUI IS NOT A SERIOUS CHARGE
A DUI charge is extremely dangerous. Do not let the fact that it is a misdemeanor fool you. While you might only face a misdemeanor, that is a serious criminal law charge that will affect you for the rest of your life. A DUI will not only result in a license suspension, but you may lose your job, serve time in jail, and must attend court ordered classes until you can get your driver’s license back.
A DUI DOES NOT REQUIRE AN ATTORNEY
While the internet offers a surprising amount of information about how to avoid a DUI and why you do not need an attorney, the reality is that without a criminal defense lawyer, you are more likely to face a harsher charge than if you have a lawyer defending your case in criminal law.
YOU MUST BE DRIVING TO BE CHARGED WITH A DUI
Even if you are sitting in a parked car with the engine running or you have exited your vehicle after driving drunk, you could be arrested and charged with a DUI. The statute states in control or operation of a motor vehicle; therefore, the officer does not have to find you driving or in the act to arrest you in criminal law.
A PERSON CAN BEAT A BREATHALYZER TEST
It is a common misconception that a person can beat a breathalyzer test by various methods like drinking mouthwash, chewing gum, and surprisingly putting a penny in the mouth. None of these methods work because a breathalyzer not only registers breath alcohol but assesses the amount of alcohol in the blood based on the breath.
Furthermore, a positive breathalyzer could result in an order for blood or urine test, which would further prove that you have alcohol in your system for criminal law.
WANT TO PREVENT A DUI FROM RUINING YOUR LIFE? YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY
If you have been arrested for a DUI, the best thing you can do is speak with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help assess your case and defend you in court. Do not assume that a DUI is not a serious conviction 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.
Offers of Leniency: Will a Confession Decrease Your Charges?
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY DISCUSSES CONFESSIONS AND THEIR EFFECT IN COURTS
During an interrogation, officers use one common tactic to elicit a confession: An offer of leniency. They might tell you that they can lower your charges if you confess. However, there is a kicker – your confession must be voluntary. So, it is important that you understand your rights, and what might happen if you do confess in hopes of lesser charges in criminal law.
PSYCHOLOGICAL PRESSURE EQUATES TO INVOLUNTARY CONFESSIONS
It is your right not to be pressured into a confession. Police officers using psychological persuasion – including an offer of lesser charges – is considered pressuring you. That is why statements produced through the promise of leniency are disregarded by the courts. So, your confession would likely be inadmissible in criminal law.
However, your statement must be the product of an offer of compromise, whether expressed or implied. Offers that could result in an inadmissible confession include:
The promise of immunity;
The guarantee of a reduced sentence; or
An offer to dismiss the charges upon confession.
THE FACTOR OF IMMUNITY IN EXCHANGE FOR TESTIMONY
Often, defendants confuse confessions in interrogations with the exchange of immunity or reduced charges to testify in criminal law. These are two different things. While you have the right to remain silent, if you choose to speak with a criminal defense attorney and answer his or her questions, that is your prerogative. A prosecutor can also override your Fifth Amendment rights by offering immunity from prosecution in exchange for your testimony in criminal law.
THE TWO TYPES OF IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION
Transactional Immunity – Transactional immunity is a very broad kind of immunity. It is so broad that it is referred to as “blanket” immunity. Any crime you confess to, including ones unrelated to the case, cannot be used against you in criminal law.
“Use and Derivative Use” Immunity – Most prosecutors opt for this form of immunity because it is narrower and does not let a defendant get away with anything. The prosecution cannot, however, use your statements or any evidence derived from those declarations in a prosecution against you. However, it does not prevent them from gathering additional evidence and using it against you later. So, theoretically, you could still face criminal charges in criminal law.
SPEAK WITH A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY BEFORE ACCEPTING ANY DEALS
Whether you are being interrogated, you’re offered a deal, or you are being presented with an offer of immunity, it is imperative that you speak with a criminal defense attorney.