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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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What is a Criminal Writ?

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. crime lawyer

Sealing a Criminal Record Versus Expunging the Record

When Does Possession Become an Intent to Sell? CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS FIGHTING INTENT TO SELL CHARGES IN COURTS Sometimes, possession is just possession. There are other instances where the prosecution might turn possession charges into an intent to sell or distribute charge. In this scenario, you are facing more than a misdemeanor. In fact, you are now facing punishments like drug trafficking. You could face a felony, massive financial penalties, and long-term repercussions – all for carrying too much of a controlled substance in criminal law. Many people hold misconceptions about what constitutes intent to sell versus possession. If you are arrested for possession of any kind, it is in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney to ensure that an intent to distribute is not attached to your crime in criminal law. THE TYPE OF DRUG AND THE CDS The Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) is a federal list of drugs and associated penalties. The USA has five schedules to their CDS. Where you land on the schedules can also determine the minimum amount you are carrying to receive an intent to sell charge, in addition to possession. Schedule I are the most dangerous drugs because they have the highest rates of abuse and addiction. Regardless of which schedule you possess, it is illegal to make, sell, or possess any CDS-category substance in criminal law. THE AMOUNT OF CDS DRUGS YOU ARE CAUGHT WITH MATTERS, TOO When you are arrested, officers take all CDS substances as evidence. When you are caught with a large volume of a CDS, you might face drug trafficking or intent to distribute charges. However, the term “large size” is not always clear. When it comes to marijuana, carrying one ounce or less is considered personal use. Officers do not expect that someone with one or fewer ounces is distributing. However, if you were caught with eight ounces or more, you most likely will face a felony and drug trafficking charges in criminal law. You are guilty of trafficking if you manufactured a controlled substances from Schedules I through V, or if you distributed, sold, or bartered these substances. Possession with intent to distribute applies to anyone with a controlled substance, including salts, isomers, and salts of isomers in criminal law. THE PENALTIES FOR TRAFFICKING/INTENT TO DELIVER If you are convicted of possession with intent to distribute, your charges could span dramatically depending on the amount and the type of substance you are caught with. Possession of marijuana is a felony that can involve up to 18 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,0000 in criminal law. YOU HAVE CRIMINAL DEFENSE OPTIONS Whether you intended to distribute or use your substances for personal use, you have defense options. A criminal defense attorney can argue that the substance was authorized (such as a prescription), disprove the prosecution’s case about distribution intent, and more in criminal law federal criminal defense

Offers of Leniency: Will a Confession Decrease Your Charges?

Criminal Trespassing Laws in USA Everyone Should Know CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS FIGHTING CRIMINAL TRESPASSING CHARGES THROUGHOUT THE USA While the act of trespassing is easily understood, many people commit the crime without realizing it. The USA has several laws regarding criminal trespassing; therefore, it is important that you know what these laws entail, and how a trespassing charge could be added to a series of criminal law charges – all carrying significant penalties. WHAT DOES THE USA CONSIDER CRIMINAL TRESPASSING? In the USA, you are guilty of trespass if you enter or remain on a person’s property without authorization in criminal law. There are numerous ways for a person to break this criminal law, including: Remaining on private property. Being on private property without the owner’s permission is trespassing. If you stay on the private property after being asked to leave, that is also trespassing in criminal law. Entering posted private property. If the property has a “private property” sign on the exterior or around the perimeter, and you enter that property anyway, you are trespassing in criminal law. The only exception to this rule is if you have written permission from the owner or the property is open for hunting. Entering despite public notice. Private property with signs displayed for the public indicating private ownership is off limits. If you choose to get into that property, you are committing the act of trespass in criminal law. State lands and entering without permission. State lands are protected. While they might not have fences around their entire perimeter if you knowingly enter or remain on state lands without permission, you are trespassing in criminal law. IT IS A CRIME TO REMOVE THE “NO TRESPASS” SIGN TOO You might be surprised to find that removing a “No Trespassing” sign on private property is also a crime. While it is a petty misdemeanor, you could still be forced to pay the damage of the sign, and you will be guilty of a misdemeanor. Also, you could go to jail for this “petty” crime, while it might be less than one year. Depending on the circumstances, the judge may impose the minimum or maximum in criminal law. WHAT IS THE PENALTY FOR TRESPASSING? Knowingly trespassing is a misdemeanor offense. If you violate the law in conjunction with fishing or hunting licenses, then you also forfeit your license, and you will not be permitted to receive another for up to three years by the state game commission in criminal law. TRESPASSING CAN TIE TO OTHER SERIOUS CHARGES Criminal trespassing is the least of your concerns. Sometimes you could be accused of other offenses in addition to the act of trespassing. For example, if arrested for breaking and entering, you could also be accused of trespassing. Burglary or the intent to burglarize along with trespassing is another common combination of offenses. These offenses carry harsher punishments than the act of trespassing alone. You could face a third-degree felony if convicted of invasion burglary, while aggravated robbery charges involve a second-degree felony in criminal law. SPEAK WITH A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR YOUR TRESPASS CHARGES Whether you are accused of trespass or a combination of criminal offenses, it is in your best interest to speak with a criminal defense attorney.