Texas Family Law Attorney Says Women in India are Asking for Greater Court Oversight of Divorces

April 30th, 2017

The rules of divorce are not uniform throughout the world. In many countries like the United States, divorce is a legal process that must be done through the court system to be valid. In some places, though, divorce does not always have to pass through the court system. For example, in India, a man may declare a divorce from his wife, irrevocable and effective immediately, simply by saying or writing the word “talaq” three times.

The idea of an instant and irrevocable divorce may seem strange enough because no such provision exists here in the United States, but the rules for divorce in India are even more unlike American divorce rules in that they do not apply equally to men and women. A wife may not declare “talaq” against her husband. If a woman in India would like to divorce her husband, she must consult with a cleric first, and there is a formal process that she must follow if she would like to receive financial support from him.

Women in India are becoming increasingly frustrated with the problems that come from having unequal divorce rules for men and women. One out of every eleven Indian women who have married has had one or more marriages that ended with “talaq” divorce. When women are divorced by “talaq,” it is tough for them to get financial support from their former husbands, so the divorced women and their children are at a high risk for poverty. It is evident from the accounts of many Indian women that “talaq” divorce creates a permissive environment for physical and emotional abuse. Many women remain in physically and emotionally abusive relationships because they have no way of supporting themselves and their children economically and they fear that if they stand up to their husbands and ask them to stop the abuse, then their husbands will get angry and divorce them by “talaq.” Some of the women who have experienced “talaq” divorce have petitioned the Supreme Court of India, seeking a ban on instant divorce. Lest we think that such a ban is unlikely, it is important to remember that some nations like Pakistan, Egypt, and Tunisia that once allowed “talaq” divorces have banned the practice and have given responsibility for overseeing divorces to their judicial systems.

Opposition to a ban on “talaq” divorce comes from some members of the Muslim community who feel that it is an integral practice within the religion of Islam. However, not all Muslims agree. Some Muslims say that the provisions for divorce that are in the Quran not only apply equally to men and women, they also require a couple to think things through and try to reconcile before they may divorce. The Supreme Court of India will examine the issue and determine whether a ban on “talaq” divorce would be constitutional.

In Texas, the laws of the State of Texas govern all divorce proceedings. If you have questions about your Texas divorce, a family law attorney can help you find the answers that you need. Call  (903) 753-7499 today to schedule a consultation with Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra. You may also visit us online and submit a convenient online contact form.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Says State Testing New DWI Blood Test Warrant System

April 30th, 2017

If you have experienced a DWI traffic stop in Texas before, you may have a different experience the next time that you get pulled over. The state of Texas is currently testing a new system that could make it quicker for law enforcement officers to obtain blood draw warrants. The testing is taking place in Leander and Liberty Hill. The technology lets officers in the field send DWI blood search warrants directly to a judge, which reduces the amount of time that passes between the traffic stop and the blood draw.

With the traffic stop procedures that are in place right now, a DWI stop in some locations can take between four and six hours from start to finish. The current method also involves locating a judge and meeting with them in person to obtain their signature on the search warrant. Depending upon where the traffic stop occurs, it may also involve placing the suspect in jail for some time, as well as transporting them to a hospital for a blood alcohol test.

If the testing goes well and the state decides to adopt the new system, officers will be able to get more accurate blood alcohol test results because the sample will get taken closer to the time of driving. DWI suspects will benefit because they will be detained for far less time unless, of course, their test results reveal a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit.

Some DWI defense attorneys are concerned that the new system may not give defendants enough protection. For example, electronic documents do not enable a judge to look at the warrant with the officer right there next to them and available to answer questions that the judge may have. There is also the possibility that judges may be quick to approve electronic warrants and not give them a thorough read-through before indicating their approval.

Whether the new blood test warrant technology gets implemented or not, the strategies for getting through a traffic stop with the least amount of damage remain the same. Be as calm and respectful as you can. Say as little as possible while complying with the officer’s reasonable requests for information like your registration, license, and proof of car insurance. Remember that it is possible to be polite and respectful while declining to answer questions regarding where you were and what you did – you can just say that you want to talk to a lawyer. Also, be aware that the officer is looking for any and all evidence that they can use to support the conclusion that they had already arrived at when they decided to pull you over – the conclusion that you are driving under the influence of alcohol. Actions can speak louder than words, so in addition to saying as little as you can, move as little as you can. In other words, do not get out of the car to perform field sobriety tests because even sober people can wobble or falter, especially when they are under pressure.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Protecting the Rights of DWI Defendants

If you are facing Texas DWI charges and you have questions, a Texas DWI Defense Attorney can help you find the information that you’re seeking.  Call Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra today at (903) 753-7499 to schedule a consultation or submit an online contact form through our website.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Says Hate Crime Sentencing Enhancements Depend on Intent

April 15th, 2017

In 2001, Texas enacted the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act in honor of a black man who was killed by white supremacists in 1998. This law lets prosecutors pursue sentencing enhancement when they prosecute cases that allege that the perpetrator of a crime committed that crime intentionally and out of a bias towards the victim’s perceived gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, disability, or religion. The law is intended to discourage hate crimes, but some say that the passage of the law has not resulted in many hate crime convictions despite the fact that many cases get reported as possible hate crimes.

Between 2010 and 2015, nine hundred and eighty-one cases were reported to police throughout the state of Texas as potential hate crimes. Only eight of those cases were successfully prosecuted as hate crimes. There are a few possible explanations for why the number of hate crime prosecutions is so low in comparison to the number of incidents that get reported as possible hate crimes. There are cases in which a crime is alleged, but there is insufficient evidence for any conviction, let alone an enhanced sentence based on the perpetrator’s intent. There are also cases in which the underlying crime is successfully prosecuted, but the sentencing enhancement is not successful because of a lack of evidence regarding the perpetrator’s intent. Sometimes, an incident gets reported as a possible hate crime and prosecutors choose not to allege a hate crime and thereby forego pursuing the sentencing enhancement. Sometimes, the problem is that an incident gets reported, such as vandalism, and no suspect is ever apprehended.

All of the reasons why many more possible hate crimes get reported than are successfully prosecuted reveals that the hate crime legislation may not be accomplishing its intended purpose of deterring hate crimes. The process for pursuing sentencing enhancement for possible hate crimes is simple and straightforward. When police officers file a crime report, they can check a box to indicate whether it is possible that the crime was motivated by bias. When the case gets referred to prosecutors, the prosecutors must first decide if a crime occurred. If a crime did occur, the prosecutors must then determine whether to attach a hate crime enhancement.

Unfortunately, the simplicity of the process for pursuing sentencing enhancement does not make obtaining sentencing enhancement any easier. Motivation is very tough to prove. Most crimes require only proof that the defendant was acting knowingly, recklessly, intentionally, or in a criminally negligent manner. Proving that the crime was motivated by hate requires evidence of motivation, which can be difficult to obtain. In the cases where hate crimes have been prosecuted successfully, circumstantial evidence often provides the necessary support for a conclusion that the crime was motivated by hate.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Defending the Accused in Texas

If you are charged with a crime, a Texas criminal defense attorney can help you know what your options are and decide what to do next. If you got arrested in Texas and you have a criminal law question, call Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra, at (903) 753-7499. You can also connect with us through our convenient online contact form.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Talks About No Refusal Periods

March 28th, 2017

If you think that “no refusal” periods are limited to holiday weekends, it’s time that you take another look at Texas DWI policy, including the provisions for “no refusal” periods. Some areas have lengthy “no refusal” periods in March, not because St. Patrick’s Day celebrations last for weeks, but because other events like Spring Break and the South by Southwest music festival bring people from all kinds of places to Texas to have a good time. It is true that many “no refusal” periods cover holiday weekends like the Super Bowl and the Fourth of July, but there are some longer periods as well, such as the current one that lasts for a significant part of the month of March, that motorists should know about.

While the length of specific “no refusal” periods varies from place to place, the timing of patrols is often predictable. In many locations, patrols operate between the hours of nine in the evening and five in the morning. If a driver gets pulled over and asked to submit to roadside blood or breath testing at any time during a “no refusal” period, the officer who pulled them over may apply for a blood search warrant if they do not voluntarily participate in roadside testing.

Law enforcement officials say that they would rather see people plan ahead and arrange for safe transportation than arrest many drivers whom they suspect of driving while intoxicated. There are often multiple options for safe transportation available, including some transportation options that may be available specifically for attendees of individual events, like Spring Break or music festival shuttle services. Ride sharing services are also popular right now, and there may be many options to choose from in your local area. Whenever you and your friends make plans to go to an event, why not spend a little extra time making sure that you know how you will get around before, during, and after the event. Taking the time to arrange safe transportation for yourself and your friends can go a long way towards avoiding DWI charges and, even more importantly, reduce the risk of harm to yourself and others.

Whether you are visiting Texas or you are an experienced Texas driver who does not know the penalties for a Texas DWI, please know that a first offense DWI can carry a fine of up to two thousand dollars. It can also get you a sentence of three to one hundred and eighty days in jail in addition to license suspension. If you get convicted of a second DWI offense, you could be fined up to two thousand dollars and spend between one month and one year in jail in addition to license suspension. The penalties continue to increase for each subsequent offense, and of aggravating factors like a crash or a child passenger are present, additional penalties may be imposed.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Helping Drivers Who Have Been Charged With DWI

If you are currently facing DWI charges in Texas, you may have a few questions on your mind. Call experienced Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra, at (903) 753-7499, or fill out our online contact form to learn more about how we might be able to help you.

Texas Family Law Attorney Talks about Pets and Your Divorce

March 16th, 2017

Most couples and families regard their pets as members of the family. We take them with us on adventures, we curl up with them on the couch, we play with them, and we love them in so many ways. In return, they love us faithfully and bring so much joy into our lives. When a couple who has pets divorces, they will need to decide how they will handle the care and company of their pets.

A recent change to the divorce laws in Alaska requires courts to consider the “well-being of the animal” in divorce cases where custody of a pet is contested. The change went into effect this past January, and it makes Alaska the first state to require that courts address the needs of an animal when they make decisions about how they will assign ownership of that animal in a divorce case. The law permits courts to assign ownership of an animal to one party or the other or to order joint custody in situations where the well-being of the animal would be served best by that arrangement.

Most states, including Texas, treat animals as personal property. When a couple divorces, the issue of who will get to keep which animals gets addressed in the property settlement portion of the divorce proceedings. Even though animals are considered property under the law, divorcing couples who have pets are free to make agreements about how they want to handle issues associated with pet care and ownership.

If you have pets and you are divorcing, you might already be aware that your pets will experience your divorce on both a physical level and an emotional level. You and your pet may both already be experiencing feelings associated with the change in the amount of time that you spend together if that has already changed for you. These feelings, along with the fact that pets who spend time with each of their “people” adjust more easily to their new lifestyle, are good reasons to do your best to work things out with your spouse as far as agreeing to a schedule for pet care and making an agreement about pet-related expenses. Any agreement that the two of you create on your own will serve your needs and the needs of your pets much better than a judge-designed court order can because the court will simply consider the pets as property and distribute them as part of your property agreement.

If you have pets and you are getting divorced, be sure to take the time to talk about your pets with your spouse. Pets can be treated more like family members and less like property when a divorcing couple makes an agreement regarding their care and custody instead of leaving the matter of their disposition to a judge. If you have questions about how to address the needs of your pets in your Texas divorce, please contact Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499 to schedule a consultation. Alternatively, you may visit us online and submit a convenient online contact form.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Proposed Legislation That Would Address Cyberbullying

March 1st, 2017

Cyberbullying is not that new of a concept, but more and more states are taking steps to address it more aggressively. Soon, Texas’s cyberbullying rules may also get an update, thanks to House Bill 306, which is likely to have a hearing in March. House Bill 306 would improve upon current cyberbullying rules by providing clearer definitions of what bullying and cyberbullying are and setting up a clear set of directions for how school systems and the courts can address them.

Many states have been strengthening their cyberbullying rules because the rules that they had in place were not addressing the problem as well as they had hoped that they would. Cyberbullying is still a major issue, and it is a dangerous problem because some of the people who are targets of cyberbullying commit suicide. The states are hoping to reduce the number of suicides related to cyberbullying by getting schools more involved in detecting and addressing cyberbullying regardless of when and where it occurs. For example, in Texas, the current laws do not allow schools to address bullying incidents that happen outside of school hours. The proposed legislation would allow schools to get involved in dealing with any bullying or cyberbullying that they become aware of, regardless of when and where it occurs.

The proposed legislation would also allow all types of schools to design policies to address bullying and cyberbullying. That would encourage each school to educate its students about cyberbullying and also assess the extent to which it is occurring within that school. In addition to whatever consequences the schools might choose to set for bullying or cyberbullying, the proposed legislation would make bullying anyone under the age of eighteen a Class A Misdemeanor. The legislation also contains a provision that would enable the family of a victim of bullying to pursue a civil action against the parents of the bully if the parents are aware of the behavior and are refusing to put a stop to it.

The proposed legislation also contains practical strategies for stopping bullying as soon as possible after it begins. For example, attorneys and investigators would have more authority to interact with the administrators of social media sites to determine the identities of bullies who attempt to avoid detection by using anonymous accounts and social media profiles. It is important that authorities be able to act quickly because critical evidence could get deleted if they do not get to it in time.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Preserving the Rights of Texas Defendants

Criminal law is in a state of constant change. Definitions of offenses are continually getting updated, and new offense categories are being added. Penalties also vary from time to time, so if you were charged with an offense in the past and you are charged with that same type of offense again, you may not be able to predict what the outcome will be based upon your experience. A seasoned Texas criminal defense attorney continually educates themselves about the changing landscape of Texas criminal law so that they are always ready to present the best defense on behalf of their clients. If you have a Texas criminal law question, please call Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra, at (903) 753-7499, or connect with us through our convenient online contact form.

Texas Family Law Attorney Discusses Proposed Bills That Would Make Divorcing More Difficult

February 28th, 2017

Two recently introduced bills could make getting a divorce in Texas more difficult if either or both of them pass. State Representative Matt Krause introduced SB 93 because he wants Texas to do away with no-fault divorce. No-fault divorce is a divorce based upon “insupportability,” which means that one or both spouses find the other intolerable, and they cannot work things out. The second bill that he introduced, HB 65, would increase the waiting period for a Texas divorce from 60 days to 180 days if the couple has minor children.

If no-fault divorce is no longer an option in Texas, the party who is seeking a divorce will have to name one of the six fault-based grounds for divorce in their divorce filing. The six options that they have to choose from are confinement in a mental hospital, cruelty, adultery, abandonment, living apart, and conviction of a felony. Not only will they have to name the grounds for their divorce, but they will also have to present evidence that their alleged grounds for divorce are true.

The potential consequences of taking no-fault divorce off of the table may include less privacy, fewer divorce cases settling outside of court, and people engaging in behaviors that they may not have chosen if no-fault divorce were an option. Some couples who do have fault-based grounds for divorce currently choose no-fault divorce because they don’t want to disclose the details of why their marriage failed in court or during alternative dispute resolution. These couples may want to focus on the legal mechanics of their divorce and address healing from the things that went wrong in their marriage through therapy. They may have other reasons for not wanting to select a fault-based grounds for divorce. Whatever their reason is, removing no-fault divorce as a choice will eliminate the privacy that citing “insupportability” currently provides.

Citing a fault-based grounds for divorce and then having to provide evidence to support it can increase the amount of conflict between divorcing spouses. It is possible that an increase in conflict could stand in the way of some couples being able to resolve their divorces through mediation or reach divorce settlements before their scheduled trial date. Divorces that get mediated or which settle before trial cost less; and both parties are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome of their divorce than parties whose divorce cases were decided by the court. This makes sense because when parties go to court, one “wins” and the other “loses”.

In a marriage where the spouses have fallen out of love and have no desire to try to fall back in love, being able to call it quits without some major event happening can provide relief for both spouses. Unfortunately, if no-fault divorce is taken off of the table, a spouse may decide to have an affair or engage in an activity that falls under one of the other fault-based grounds for divorce. After all, they would need some “reason” to end their marriage when they would have preferred to end their marriage amicably with a no-fault divorce and then pursue a different relationship, live apart, or otherwise move on with their life without engaging in that behavior.

If you would like to learn more about divorce in Texas, please contact Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499 to schedule a consultation, or visit us online and submit a convenient online contact form.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Talks about Legislation That Could Change the Minimum Age for Prosecution

February 12th, 2017

Did you know that only seven states prosecute seventeen-year-olds as adults? Did you know that Texas is one of those states? It’s true. In Texas, a seventeen-year-old who gets charged with a crime can be prosecuted as an adult and sent to serve their sentence along with the adult population in the county jail. That could change soon, though, if two recently introduced bills pass. The bills would change the age of adulthood in Texas to eighteen, which is also the federally recognized age of adulthood, as set by a series of decisions by the United States Supreme Court.

Changing the age of adulthood to eighteen could impact a lot of lives. For example, over twenty thousand individuals who would have been considered juveniles got prosecuted as adults in Texas in 2015. Raising the age of adulthood would result in an increase in juvenile arrests that matches the decrease in adult arrests, which would in turn place a greater demand on the juvenile justice system while reducing the number of individuals in the adult prison system. Proponents of the bills say that the overall effect over time could be a reduction in the demand on both the juvenile justice system and the adult prison system due to the participation of juvenile offenders in rehabilitation programs which would reduce the likelihood that the will commit additional offenses as juveniles and as adults. If the bills pass, there would also be an immediate effect of relief on county jails throughout the state, because under current law seventeen-year-old inmates are not permitted to be housed with the general inmate population. The current situation puts a strain on available space, human resources, and financial resources, where changing the age of adulthood would provide those resources for seventeen-year-old offenders through the state’s juvenile facilities.

The types of offenses that most seventeen-year-olds get arrested for in Texas are nonviolent crimes like possession of marijuana and misdemeanor theft. When juveniles who commit these offenses engage in rehabilitation programs that are made available to them through the juvenile justice system, they often become healthier and more successful overall, and more likely to avoid future offenses

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Working Hard to Protect the Rights of Texas Defendants

A change in the age of adulthood could result in a change in the way that your case gets handled if you are seventeen years old when you get arrested. Whatever your age, know that you do not have to navigate the juvenile justice system or the adult criminal justice system alone. If you have been arrested, it is likely that you have many questions and concerns. An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights and understand the processes and procedures that apply to your case. To learn more, please call Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra, at (903) 753-7499. Alternatively, you may contact us online through our convenient online contact form.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses DWI with Additional Charges

January 19th, 2017

Sometimes, DWI is the only charge that results from a traffic stop or a motorist’s encounter with law enforcement. DWI is a serious charge with harsh consequences, and a driver who is charged with DWI has a tough road ahead of them to navigate. Unfortunately, some drivers end up getting charged with additional crimes along with their DWI charges.

Recently, a Texas driver got charged with fleeing from a police officer and resisting arrest, search, and transport, in addition to DWI after he failed to stop for the law enforcement officers who tried to pull him over. The police had to use their vehicles to prevent the driver from escaping. Once he exited his vehicle, the driver refused to cooperate with the officers, disregarding what they asked him to do and even attempting to walk away from the scene. When the officers tried to arrest him, he resisted. He even resisted getting into the police car, even after the officers Tasered him to get him to comply.

Fleeing a police officer and resisting arrest are just a few of the types of charges that can easily end up getting added to a DWI charge. Depending on the driver’s behavior and circumstances, they might also be charged with driving with a suspended license, DWI with a child passenger, assaulting police officers or having drugs in their possession. Most people know that a DWI will have a far-reaching set of consequences for a driver who is convicted of that offense. Incarceration, fines, license suspension, potential loss of job security, possible loss of housing, and the possible loss of other freedoms and resources can have a devastating combined impact on. When additional charges are added on to a DWI, they may increase the amount of fines, incarceration, and other penalties and they can also have consequences that reach even farther into the individual’s life, affecting their home and family life, their career, and other things that are important to them.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Providing Strong Defense Against DWI and Related Charges

All Texas DWI defendants benefit from the assistance of experienced DWI defense counsel. Since there is even more at stake for individuals who are facing other charges in addition to their DWI, people have an even greater need for assistance from attorneys who are skilled at looking at all of the facts of a defendant’s situation and formulating a strong defense strategy. In Texas, DWI and criminal cases proceed through various stages, and a skilled DWI defense attorney can help you know what you can expect at every step of the way. Your attorney can also help you find answers to the many questions that are sure to arise over the course of your case. If you have been charged with DWI, whether with or without additional charges, it is time for you to take the important action step of protecting your rights today.  Call Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra, at (903) 753-7499, or contact us via our convenient online contact form.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Talks about Inappropriate Relationships between Teachers and Students

January 6th, 2017

With any crime, the consequences that an individual may face if they are convicted can be far-reaching and can affect numerous areas of their life. One category of offenses that can dramatically affect a person’s career is sex offenses, especially if the individual has a job that involves working with children.

Some examples of situations in which prosecutions for sex offenses have affected careers are the cases involving inappropriate relationships between teachers and students. This category of cases is becoming more and more common in Texas, where some of the incidents that have occurred have made it to national news headlines.

There has been such a dramatic rise in allegations of inappropriate teacher-student relationships over the past few years that the Governor has called for new legislation to be passed sometime this year. Between 2013 and 2016, the number of prosecutions for inappropriate relationships between teachers and students increased by sixty percent.

Not all cases involving inappropriate relationships between teachers and students make the news, but one recent case has been receiving a large amount of national attention. In 2016, a former teacher was having a relationship with a thirteen-year-old student, and she became pregnant. The woman was charged with continuous sexual assault of a child; however, she reached a plea bargain by admitting to having committed the crime of aggravated sexual assault on a child. She could be sentenced to prison for up to thirty years for that lesser offense. If she had been convicted of continuous sexual assault of a child, she could have faced life in prison.

The Texas Education Agency wants lawmakers to pass legislation that will require school districts to revoke the teaching licenses of sex offenders, impose criminal penalties on superintendents who fail to report improper relationships, and compel witnesses to testify. The Agency would also like to receive funds to hire investigators to look into all allegations of inappropriate relationships between teachers and students. Currently, school districts can fire teachers who have had inappropriate relationships with students, but they are not yet able to revoke their licenses. The Agency hopes that stricter rules might encourage teachers to think more carefully before engaging in any conduct that could possibly be inappropriate because they would know that there is a lot at stake.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Helping Texans Fight for their Rights

Unfortunately, although some of the allegations of inappropriate teacher-student relationships have led to the prosecution of educators who have engaged in inappropriate conduct, there have also been some false accusations. Even though the contemplated legislation has not yet been passed, there is a lot at stake for any educator who is accused of having any sort of inappropriate relationship. If you are alleged to have any type of inappropriate relationship with a student, you are likely to have many questions and concerns. An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights. To learn more, please call Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra, at (903) 753-7499. Alternatively, you may contact us online.