Archive for August, 2014

East Texas Family Law Attorney Reports: Accurate Appraisals are Important for Divorcing Couples

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Sometimes, a divorcing couple may not have much in the way of marital property to divide. If a couple owns a home, it is likely to be the biggest and most valuable asset at stake in the divorce. Marital homes are more than just an asset with high monetary worth, homes are emotionally important to many people because of the role that they play in family life. Whether the home that you and your spouse must divide up has been in one of your families for generations, or it is a newer home in which the two of you don’t yet have much equity, the question of what to do with the marital home and when is likely to be a very important issue in your divorce.

Fortunately, there is a great deal of flexibility with which couples can decide the fate of their marital home. There are many more options than fighting over which party should be able to keep the house by buying out the other party. Couples can decide upon any type of distribution of a marital home which would fit into an equitable distribution of all of the marital property. In order for a couple to be able to create an equitable distribution of their assets, they must have accurate statements of the worth of all of those assets, including the marital home. An appraiser can help you to obtain an accurate statement of value for your home so that you can have accurate numbers to work with as you decide the fate of the home and all of your other property.

Appraisers also provide services beyond estimating your home’s fair market value. As part of an appraisal, appraisers research all of the legal issues associated with the subject property. They check the chain of title, they look for liens, and they determine whether there are any other potential legalities associated with the home.  They examine your home and then they look around your neighborhood for comparable properties that have been sold recently. When an appraiser has collected all of the information that they need, they will write a detailed report on the estimated value of your home.

If you are involved in a divorce and you will be divvying up your marital home, it is advisable that you and your soon to be former spouse each get your own appraisal done, because your interests are adverse to each other. If you cannot possibly get two appraisals, choose the appraiser together and make sure that both of you are at home when the appraisal happens.

The distribution of marital property is an important element of any Texas divorce. Your East Texas Family Law Attorney can help you to understand what your options are regarding the disposition of your marital home, and help you to pursue a property distribution that will meet your current and future financial needs. If you have questions about the effect of divorce on your finances, or any other issues related to your divorce or family law case, please contact attorney Alex Tyra today, to schedule your free consultation. We can be reached at (903) 753-7499, or you may visit us online to submit a convenient online contact form.


Texas DUI Defense Attorney Discusses Boating While Intoxicated

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Did you know that in Texas, it is against the law to operate a boat while you are intoxicated? Texas law recognizes an offense called “boating while intoxicated”, or BWI, and it is different from the more familiar offense of “driving while intoxicated”, or DWI. Since law enforcement officers do patrol bodies of water, it is important that boaters educate themselves about the rules regarding alcohol and boating, so that they can be aware of their rights while they are out on the water.

People who operate boats while they are under the influence of alcohol are treated similarly to drivers who operate motor vehicles while they are under the influence of alcohol. For example, if your boat is stopped and the officer develops a suspicion that you have been operating your boat while intoxicated, they are likely to bring you to shore, where they will ask you to perform field sobriety tests and breath tests, just like an officer would do during a DWI traffic stop. If you are brought to shore for examination, ask the officers to give you some time to get acclimated to walking on dry land before they administer the field sobriety tests, because being on a boat can throw off your balance on land for a period of time after you disembark. The penalties for boating while intoxicated are the same as those for drivers who are arrested for DWI, including criminal charges, fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and jail time. If you are charged with BWI, be aware that the same rules regarding license suspension apply as in DWI cases, which means that you only have fifteen days from the date you are served with a notice of license suspension to request a hearing to contest the suspension.

There is one very important difference between DWI and BWI that boaters should be aware of. That difference is that while an officer must have probable cause to stop your vehicle when you are driving, no probable cause is required for a law enforcement officer, such as a Texas Parks and Wildlife Official to stop a boat. Not only can officers and Parks and Wildlife Officials stop your boat without probable cause, they may also come on board without probable cause.

Charges of boating while intoxicated are serious, and could have far-reaching impacts on your life if you are convicted. You could lose your driving privileges, your job (if you cannot get to work or perform job duties because you lost your license), and even your freedom, depending upon the penalties that you receive. Fortunately, there are many ways in which Texas DUI Defense Attorneys can challenge charges of boating while intoxicated. A skilled Texas DUI Defense Attorney can build an aggressive BWI defense based upon their knowledge of the law, science, and the facts of your case. If you have been accused of boating under the influence of alcohol, you need the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced Texas DUI Defense Attorney. To learn more, call attorney Alex Tyra today, and schedule a free consultation. We can be reached at (903) 753-7499, or submit a convenient online contact form.



East Texas Criminal Lawyer Discusses the Crime of Stalking

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Stalking is something which people sometimes refer to in a joking way, but it is, in fact, a serious crime which causes a great deal of harm to many people across Texas every year. It is estimated that nearly a million and a half women in Texas have experienced at least one incidence of stalking in their lifetimes. Of course, there are also male victims of stalking, and although they are fewer in number than their female counterparts, the effects of the crime of stalking on them are no less devastating.

Stalking can be described as a pattern of actions which are done by one person towards another person, such as harassment, annoyance, abuse, embarrassment, humiliation, repeated and incessant contact of any kind, or threats of harm against the person or their friends or family members, which causes the other person to become fearful. Many stalking victims are contacted by their stalking victims at least once a week, and about one quarter of all stalking victims are contacted by their stalkers on a daily basis. Stalking occurs over an extended period of time, with most incidents occurring over a period of six or more months, and some cases where the behavior has been going on for five or more years. Computers and cell phones are the most common methods used by stalkers to contact their victims, with text messaging, social media, phone calls, and email all being used for frequent and offensive or harmful contact.

Stalking is a second or third degree felony in Texas, depending upon whether the perpetrator has had prior offenses. College campuses are a common location for stalking incidents, and legislation was passed in 2013 that requires campus police to report incidents of stalking. Regardless of where the crime occurs, stalking victims can file for protective orders against their stalkers, and they can even be compensated financially for damages that they have sustained as a result of being stalked. Stalking victims may be damaged financially as a result of the activities of their stalker, if, for example, they avoid going to work because they are afraid to do so. They may incur medical expenses, in the form of treatment for anxiety, depression, troubles with sleeping, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Evidentiary issues are abundant in stalking cases, and much of the evidence in your stalking case is likely to come from the victim’s own testimony. A skilled Texas Criminal Defense Attorney can help you to identify any possible evidentiary challenges that exist in your case, and they can help you to gather evidence which could be helpful to your defense.

If you have been accused of the crime of stalking, it is essential that you get help from an attorney. Stalking charges are very serious, and you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner to help you present your very best case. An East Texas Criminal Lawyer can help you pursue the best possible outcome in your stalking case. To learn more, call attorney Alex Tyra today, to schedule a free consultation. We can be reached at (903) 753-7499, or submit a convenient online contact form.