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Tarrant County criminal defense lawyerDrivers under the legal drinking age and, in some cases, drivers over 21 can still find themselves charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is not the only factor that an officer looks at to determine whether or not a driver receives a DWI charge. An attorney with DWI knowledge and the associated penalties can help defend your rights and figure out the best course of action for your case.

What is Per se Intoxication?

When a driver has a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, it is automatically presumed that the person is intoxicated. This is what is referred to as per se intoxication. Drivers with a BAC of less than 0.08 percent are not necessarily out of the woods yet, as the legal limit is not the only factor determining a DWI charge. However, a driver is no longer automatically presumed to be intoxicated. Instead, an officer will need to use other methods to determine whether or not the driver is or appears to be intoxicated.

What Other Factors Are Involved With a DWI Charge?

Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for intoxicated drivers under 21 years of age. No measure of alcohol content is considered acceptable when it comes to minors, behind the wheel, or otherwise. Presumption of intoxication is not the only reason for a DWI charge. The level of impairment can be measured through other criteria, such as:

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The Most Common Drug Charges in Texas

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Tarrant County criminal defense lawyerDrug crimes are taken very seriously in Texas. Texas imposes various penalties for those charged with drug crimes, so a better understanding of what you may be facing can go a long way. A Texas criminal defense attorney with experience in drug crime cases can provide a strong defense for the charges being levied against you.

Federal Drug Rating Guidelines

The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has outlined a few drug-related rating guidelines to classify drugs by placing them in categories. The categories range from high-risk to low-risk for abuse and dependency and are referred to as Schedules. Schedules I and II are both considered high-risk and are likely to carry felony charges with steep penalties. Schedules III, IV, and V will typically carry lighter charges depending on volume and intent.

Types of drugs per Schedule include:

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The Residency Requirements for Divorce in Texas

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Irving divorce lawyerSo, you have decided to get a divorce. There is no chance of reconciliation; you just want to move on with your life. However, amid this decision, you decided you needed to relocate out of state. In Texas, residency requirements are an important part of the filing process. A skilled and understanding divorce attorney can help you navigate the requirements for filing a divorce and represent your interests in court.

What Are the Texas Divorce Residency Requirements?

To meet the residency requirements for filing a divorce in Texas, both of the following factors must be met:

  • You or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least the previous six consecutive months
  • Either spouse must have been living in the county where you plan to divorce for the last 90 days

Exceptions to this rule do exist for military families and public servants stationed outside Texas. In this case, a Texas divorce may still be followed if:

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On What Grounds Can I File For Divorce in Texas?

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Tarrant County, TX divorce lawyerDivorce is a significant step in anyone's life, and in Texas, there are seven legally recognized grounds for it. These grounds can be broadly divided into two categories: fault-based and no-fault-based. The choice between these categories can significantly affect the divorce process and its potential outcomes. Divorce can be complex, so consulting with an attorney can provide valuable guidance through this process.

Committing Adultery

Adultery, in Texas, is defined as engaging in an intimate relationship outside of marriage, voluntarily and without the encouragement of the legal spouse. It is crucial to note that emotional affairs, explicit messages, or even kissing do not qualify as adultery. To claim adultery as grounds for divorce, you must prove physical infidelity, through photographs, messages, or witnesses. It is advisable not to engage in a new relationship until a divorce is finalized to avoid potential complications or accusations of adultery.

Lengthy Abandonment

Abandonment as a ground for divorce implies that one spouse left against the other's will for a minimum of one year with no intention of returning. To use this ground, it is essential to demonstrate that the departure was intentional and not due to temporary circumstances like work requirements or emergencies.

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Irving, TX drug crimes defense lawyerThere are a few defenses available to someone who may be facing intent to distribute drug charges in Texas. These defenses include lack of intent, entrapment, and illegal search and seizure.

Drug charges in Texas are very serious. It is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney when facing such charges. Ensure that you consult with an attorney who can help you understand the charges against you and come up with a suitable defense strategy.

What is Possession with Intent to Distribute?

Possession with intent to distribute is a charge under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, which prohibits the possession, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances. To be convicted of possession with intent to distribute, the prosecutor must prove that you knowingly possessed a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it.

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How Do I Divide My Debt in a Divorce?

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Irving, TX divorce lawyerDivorce can be a difficult and emotional time, and the division of debt can add to the stress. In Texas, debt acquired during the marriage is considered marital debt, and it will be divided between the spouses, regardless of who incurred it. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

To better help you understand these exceptions, you should hire a Texas family law attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options and negotiate a fair settlement with your spouse.

Marital Debt vs. Separate Debt

There are generally two kinds of debt: marital debt and separate debt. Marital debt is debt that was incurred by either spouse during the marriage. This includes credit card debt, student loans, car loans, and mortgages.

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Tarrant County, TX probation violation lawyerWhen on probation in Texas, it is important to be aware of the protocol for violating your probation proceedings. These proceedings are delicate matters and can be intimidating as well. However, understanding the guidelines can safeguard your rights.

Proper Investigation

The first step in a probation violation proceeding is an investigation conducted by the probation officer. They will examine the alleged violation and assess if there is enough evidence to proceed with a hearing. If the probation officer believes there's sufficient evidence, they will file a petition for a probation violation hearing.

A Formal Hearing

The probation violation hearing is a formal event held in front of a judge. During this hearing, the judge will listen to statements from the probation officer, the prosecutor, and you. You will have the chance to present evidence and witnesses to defend yourself. Subsequently, the judge will determine whether you violated the terms of your probation.

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Irving, TX child support lawyerTexas law makes much about paying child support as automatic as possible. Not only is there a set formula for determining child support, but it is automatically paid, so long as you have a job. Most child support orders are satisfied by directly subtracting the amount from your paycheck. However, your paycheck could also be garnished when you owe child support. 

Most Child Support Is Paid Through Wage Garnishment 

Under the Texas Constitution, wages can only be garnished for unpaid child or spousal support. It does not matter whether the child support is owed in Texas or another state. Your employer could receive a garnishment order that they must enforce by withholding some of your paycheck. 

Now, all child support orders in Texas call for automatic garnishment from your paycheck unless the payor shows good cause or the two parents reach a mutual agreement. Instead of writing a monthly check to the other parent, the money comes straight from your check and is given directly to the other parent through the Child Support Division. Garnishment is just a way of saying that child support is taken directly from your paycheck right when the money is earned. While the word garnishment has a negative connotation, it can actually ensure that you pay child support in full and on time. Either way, it will be how your child support is paid. Nearly 80 percent of Texas child support is paid through garnishment. 

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Irving, TX family lawyerDomestic violence is a pervasive issue that affects millions of individuals worldwide. While the immediate victims of domestic violence undoubtedly suffer the physical and emotional consequences, often overlooked are the silent witnesses—children who are exposed to these traumatic events. It can have long-term, serious consequences on a child's development and general health. People seeking a divorce to get out of situations involving domestic violence should have the help of an attorney who understands the way domestic violence is handled from a family law perspective and from a criminal defense perspective. 

The Consequences of Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

Children who observe domestic violence may suffer severe psychological trauma. Anxiety, sadness, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result from constant exposure to fear, aggressiveness, and instability.

Exhibiting behavioral issues is not uncommon for children who have witnessed domestic violence. They may become aggressive, disruptive, or exhibit regressive behavior, such as bedwetting or clinging to caregivers. After witnessing domestic violence, a child may come to view violence as a normal part of relationships. This normalization can perpetuate a cycle of abuse, with some children becoming perpetrators or victims of violence later in life.

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Tarrant County, TX criminal defense lawyerIn alleged drug crimes, law enforcement often finds the evidence that they are relying on to make their case in the defendant’s car. Police do not have an unlimited right to search your car, however, especially when they do not have a search warrant. But there are some exceptions that allow them to search your car during a traffic stop. If you have been arrested for items found in your vehicle, a drug crimes defense attorney could possibly help you have evidence against you suppressed if it has been illegally seized.

Police Can Search Your Car with Probable Cause

Without a warrant, police must have probable cause to conduct a search of your person, residence, or possessions. Probable cause is defined as a reasonable person believing that a crime was in the process of being committed, had been committed, or was going to be committed. However, there is an exception to the requirement to obtain a search warrant when there are exigent circumstances. When you are driving a car, there is a high probability that police might think whatever evidence of a crime is there might disappear if they are not able to immediately search your car. So when police have probable cause, they can carry out a reasonable search of your car, which can even include your trunk. 

Probable Cause v. Reasonable Suspicion

Even if police do not initially have probable cause to carry out a full search of your vehicle, they may have cause for reasonable suspicion  based on a driver's behavior while driving or during the traffic stop. Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause, but it can easily lead to a police officer seeing something that gives them probable cause which then allows them to search your vehicle. For example, if a police officer sees someone swerving out of a lane, he may pull over the driver on reasonable suspicion that the driver is drunk. However, this does not give the officer permission to search the car for drugs or alcohol; the officer must then speak with the driver, and if the driver smells like marijuana, the police may then have probable cause that justifies a search of the car's interior. 

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shutterstock_2303009867-min.jpgCommercial driver’s license (CDL) holders are subject to specific regulations and responsibilities while operating commercial vehicles. In Texas, CDL violations can have serious legal and professional consequences. Suppose you are a commercial truck driver facing a CDL violation. In that case, it may be wise to contact a lawyer, as doing so may go a long way in protecting yourself professionally and legally. 

Reporting CDL Violations in Texas

As a CDL holder in Texas, you have a legal obligation to report any CDL violations to your employer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates that CDL holders notify their employers within 30 days of receiving a conviction for any traffic violation, regardless of whether it occurred while driving a commercial or personal vehicle. Failure to report violations can result in penalties and potential job consequences. 

Examples of CDL Violations in Texas

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) – Operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or higher is a very serious CDL violation. This includes both alcohol and drug-related offenses. CDL holders found guilty of DWI or DUI offenses may face license suspension, fines, and potential job loss.

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Dallas Family LawyerIn Texas, a sole managing conservatorship is a legal arrangement where one parent has the exclusive rights and responsibilities for a child. While joint conservatorship is the preferred option in most cases, there are situations where a sole managing conservatorship may be more appropriate. If you are going through a divorce and have concerns regarding child custody and other matters related to family law and divorce, contact a lawyer to secure the legal guidance you can rely on.  

Circumstances Where a Sole Managing Conservatorship Makes Sense 

  • Absence or unfitness of the other parent – A sole managing conservatorship may be appropriate when the other parent is absent or deemed unfit to fulfill their parental obligations. This could be due to various factors, such as substance abuse, a history of neglect or abuse, or a pattern of unavailability or disinterest in the child’s well-being. In such cases, granting a sole managing conservatorship to the more capable and responsible parent ensures that the child’s best interests are protected.

  • Domestic violence or safety concerns – When there is a history of domestic violence or safety concerns, a sole managing conservatorship may be necessary to protect the child from the threat of harm. If one parent has a documented history of abusive behavior or poses a danger to the child’s safety, granting sole managing conservatorship to the other parent can provide a more secure and stable environment for the child’s upbringing. This arrangement can help safeguard the child’s physical and emotional well-being. 

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Irving, Texas Child Custody LawyerIn Texas, unmarried and divorced parents are often subject to a child custody order. While the terms “child custody” and “visitation” are still sometimes used in casual conversation, Texas law specifically refers to custody issues in terms of “conservatorship” and “possession and access.”

Texas courts allow modifications of a child conservatorship or possession and access order in certain situations. However, you will need to meet specific criteria to be granted a modification. Read on to learn more.

A Custody Modification Must Be in the Child’s Best Interests

In any child-related legal matter, Texas courts are primarily focused on doing what is best for the child. For the court to grant you a custody modification, you will need to demonstrate that the modification is in the child's best interests. Additionally, you will need to prove that at least one of the following is true:

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