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.
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.
Are Ponzi Schemes Illegal?
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS DEFENDING WHITE COLLAR CRIME CHARGES
Criminal law made headlines a few years ago when the Vaughan Ponzi scheme was revealed. The plan resulted in millions of settlements for restitution and 278 victims of the real estate scheme. Vaughn received 12 years in prison for his scam, and while his sentence occurred years ago, the fallout is still being handled in the state in criminal law.
Ponzi schemes are widely misunderstood. Some refer to them as pyramid scams, while others consider any investment-like strategy a “Ponzi” scheme.
However, it is important to know the legal differences and what constitutes a Ponzi scheme. After all, a real Ponzi scheme is illegal. But, it is not a state crime. Instead, you are more likely to face federal charges if you were involved in a Ponzi scheme knowingly in criminal law.
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A PONZI SCHEME?
A Ponzi scheme is an illegal business where new investors fund payments to earlier investors. It features a trickle-down effect like other businesses, but there are fundamental differences with a Ponzi scheme to note.
New Money Funds Old Money – Ponzi schemes do not have real investments or real income. Instead, they use the money of new investors to pay old investors. However, the funds are never invested themselves. These schemes require constant investments from new participants to thrive. Once the new investors run out, the system collapses.
Offer Little or No Risk Investments – Ponzi schemes typically say there are little to no risk for investing. However, these require high investment amounts and promise outrageous returns that are improbable in even the best markets in criminal law.
Consistent Returns – All investments have odd returns, and they fluctuate with the market. A Ponzi scheme offers their investors consistently high-value and positive returns, regardless of the market, because they are not investing in the real market. Instead, they only take the investments of new participants and pay the old in criminal law.
Not Registered with the SEC – Companies that encourage new investors must be registered with the SEC and state regulatory agencies. A Ponzi scheme is illegal; therefore, it is not registered with the SEC or any governing agency. Most of these businesses have no valid license to operate either in criminal law.
ARE PYRAMID AND PONZI SCHEMES THE SAME?
No. While they are closely related, these two are different in the ways they require payments and how the structure of the scheme works. They both trickle down funds from the top of the investor chain to the bottom but are slightly different.
Note, a multi-level marketing program is not a pyramid scheme or Ponzi scheme. While they act similar, these are typically legitimate. However, there are multi-level marketing frauds out there which are pyramid schemes and not real businesses in criminal law.
BE CAREFUL ABOUT STARTING AN MLM ILLEGALLY
If you plan to start a multi-level marketing program (MLM), you must avoid the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme or pyramid scheme. Certain actions you take could constitute illegal acts, and you could face state or federal level charges in criminal law.
Some methods to avoid include:
Promising easy money, passive income, or high returns regardless of market conditions.
Not offering a real product or service with the investment.
Not documenting revenue from retail sales.
Requiring buy-in to participate. While you can buy products to resell, buying into the company specifically borders on a pyramid scheme and criminal law.
Requiring your investors and participants to recruit more than sell products or services.
We handle white collar crimes and state or federal level offenses. If you have been arrested for a pyramid scheme or another white-collar crime act, speak with one of our criminal defense attorneys today 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.