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texas expunction lawyerBeing arrested and charged with a crime that you did not commit can be damaging in many ways. You may have trouble obtaining employment and finding a place to live as many employers and landlords perform background checks. Fortunately, Texas law allows for some arrests and charges to be removed from a person’s criminal record through the process of expunction. If you are unsure whether you qualify for an expunction, you should speak with a skilled Texas expunction lawyer to discuss your situation.

Qualifying for an Expunction

In many ways, Texas’ expunction statute is not very expansive. In fact, it is actually rather limited. You cannot file a petition for expunction if your arrest and/or charge ended in a conviction or if you received community supervision for any offense other than a Class C misdemeanor. A criminal record is also ineligible for expunction if the record is related to a probation violation warrant or if you attempted to leave the jurisdiction after you were released on bond. 

Examples of criminal records that may be expunged include:

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san antonio criminal defense lawyerWhen you think of a person being convicted of a crime, you also likely think of them being sentenced to prison to serve out their punishment. In reality, many people who have been charged with low-level and non-violent crimes are found to benefit more and show greater rehabilitation when they are in their communities, rather than in prison. Because of this, many judges prefer to sentence these offenders to probation, which is officially known as community supervision in Texas.

What is Community Supervision?

Rather than serving out a sentence in prison, a judge may decide that a person’s sentence would be better spent while they were living in and contributing to their own community. If this is the case, a judge may sentence a person to community supervision. If a person is sentenced to community supervision, they will regularly keep in touch with their probation officers, who will help keep them on the right track. Community supervision often comes with requirements that you must abide by and things that you must not do during your supervision period to complete the sentence successfully.

What Requirements Does Community Supervision Impose?

Requirements for community supervision in Texas are not always the same from person to person. The exact set of requirements for your community supervision period will be determined based on the situation and circumstances surrounding your case. If you are sentenced to community supervision, you will submit to a risk and needs assessment that will allow the judge to better determine what type of requirements should be imposed.  In general, requirements for a period of community supervision often include:

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san antonio DWI defense lawyerBeing pulled over by the police can be a scary occurrence. It can become even more uncomfortable if the police have a suspicion that you have been driving while intoxicated (DWI). If the police do think you may have been drinking, they will likely ask you to perform a series of tests to determine if you are impaired or not. These tests are not always precise and only work correctly to determine impairment most of the time, rather than all of the time. If you have been arrested for DWI, you do not have to panic, but you should know what to expect from the next steps in the process.

Administrative License Revocation (ALR)

The first thing you should know is that you might lose your license through an administrative process, separate from any criminal penalties you may also face. The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process goes into effect if you refuse to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) or fail the chemical test by having a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. A first offense of failing a chemical test results in a 90-day driver’s license suspension, while a first offense of refusing a chemical test results in a 180-day driver’s license suspension.

Potential Criminal Penalties

In addition to any administrative penalties you may be facing, you may also be facing criminal penalties. A first-time DWI offense in Texas is charged as a Class B misdemeanor, which comes with the possibility of up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, or both. With many first-time offenders, judges tend to sentence them to probation or community supervision. Community supervision is the ideal sentence for a guilty DWI plea or verdict. Community supervision allows the offender to serve their sentence while they go about their daily life. As long as they comply with requirements, they will receive a discharge for the DWI offense at the end of the supervision period. The requirements include attending an evaluation to determine whether or not rehabilitative care for a drug and/or alcohol problem is necessary. If a drug or alcohol dependency is apparent, the offender will need to attend rehabilitative services.  An offender must also participate in a 12-hour DWI education program. If the offender wants to drive with an occupational license, he or she will need to have ignition interlock devices on all of his or her vehicles.

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texas criminal defense lawyerIn 2017, the #MeToo movement exploded on social media, encouraging those who have experienced sexual assault to share their stories. In the years since, the #MeToo movement has sparked a wave of change in many states as to how they define, charge and prosecute sexual assault offenses. In many cases, consent has been a hotly debated issue in sexual assault cases. Most states -- Texas included -- have various laws and stipulations pertaining to what consent means, who can give it, and whether or not it is a defense against sexual assault charges. 

What is Consent in Texas?

According to Texas law, sexual assault occurs when a person intentionally and/or knowingly performs a sex act or causes another person to perform a sex act on a person who does not give their consent. Because consent is such a crucial part of sexual assault cases, it is important to understand what consent means. Texas law states that consent is not given if:

  • The perpetrator makes the victim submit to sex acts through the use of or threat of use of force, coercion, or physical violence

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Texas BWI defense attorneyNow that we are easing into the springtime and soon into summer, more people will be out enjoying the warm weather. Many Texans enjoy spending time out on the water on their boats or other watercraft when the weather is nice, but what starts as a good time can turn into a serious problem if you are drinking while you are operating your boat. Just like driving while intoxicated (DWI), boating while intoxicated, also referred to as a BWI, can carry serious implications. Anyone facing a BWI charge in Texas should consult with a knowledgeable lawyer to discuss their options.

What Constitutes a BWI Charge?

Everyone has heard at some point that the legal limit for the amount of alcohol in your blood is 0.08 percent. If you have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) above this limit, you are considered to be intoxicated. The same limit also applies to those who are operating a boat. You will be considered to be boating under the influence if you have a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, or if you have lost your normal mental and/or physical capabilities because of an intoxicating substance.

Unlike with motor vehicles, the open container law does not apply to boats and other types of watercraft. This means your passengers can have open containers of alcohol aboard the boat while it is in operation -- you simply cannot be under the influence if you are operating it.

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