Archive for July, 2016

Texas Family Law Attorney Says Reasonable Expectations are Helpful for Divorce Clients

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Did you know that the expectations that you have regarding your divorce have the potential to either leave you open to the possibility of pleasant surprises throughout the process or leave you feeling dissatisfied most or all of the time? As with many things in life, in divorce, the expectations that you have will shape your experience. If you keep this in mind, you may be able to keep your expectations realistic, or even avoid having any expectations at all regarding certain things. The following examples provide a look at some aspects of divorce cases where your expectations could help or harm you.

Timing is a moving target when it comes to divorce cases. While it is possible for an attorney to provide an estimate of how long your divorce case is likely to take, committing this estimate to your memory as an expectation of when your divorce will be final can be problematic. It is understandable to want to plan ahead as you move your life forward. However, if you expect your case to be complete by a certain date and that date comes and goes before your case is over, you may experience frustration and disappointment. If instead, you take the estimate that you have, and you double it, there is a chance that you might resolve your case within that time frame. It may even be finalized earlier, which could leave you feeling rather satisfied. Divorce cases involve many different people, courts and attorneys have schedules and case loads, and clients often need time to think through many different decisions throughout the process. When you think of a divorce case in this way, you can see how all of those moving pieces can affect the timing of the outcome, and how it will benefit you to keep a flexible mindset about when your case will be complete.

Expectations about the cost of your divorce can also cause trouble. Whether you run into trouble because the household budget that you created so carefully is not working with how things are going for you or unexpected issues have come up that will increase the amount of work that your attorney will be doing on your behalf, you may encounter some surprises. If you received an estimate of how much your divorce is likely to cost, it might be helpful to double that and then be pleasantly surprised if it costs less, instead of expecting that the estimate was the final word on cost and feeling upset each time an unexpected expense arises.

When it comes to expecting a particular outcome for your divorce case, it is a good idea to know what you want to get out of your divorce. It is also good to know which things mean the most to you and which have more room for discussion and debate. The only thing that you can reasonably expect regarding an outcome is that you are not likely to get everything that you would have liked to. However, it is reasonable to think that you will resolve your case in a way that helps you retain most of what is most important to you and accomplishes some of what you would like. Approaching divorce with reasonable expectations helps you to be flexible and make the best decisions that you can make during the divorce process.

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Learn more about Texas divorce today – call Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Wrongful Drug Convictions

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

If you have been charged with a drug crime, you are probably rather concerned about how it will impact your present situation as well as your future. If you know that you did not commit the offense, you may be even more worried and you may wonder whether there is any way that you will be able to show the court that you did not commit the offense. This is a real concern because sometimes, individuals are wrongfully convicted of drug crimes.

One example of a wrongful drug crime conviction occurred when a Houston police officer plucked a spot of white powder off the floorboard of the defendant’s car after he had just detailed it. The officer tested the powder with a simple test kit that is known to have a high error rate, and it came back positive for cocaine. No one mentioned that the sample would be tested by a crime lab to double check the officer’s test kit result. Although the driver maintained his innocence, he accepted a plea deal because a conviction could have given him up to thirty years in prison. Seven years later, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office notified him that there had been no cocaine found in the sample. After successfully filing a writ of habeas corpus with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, he was finally exonerated.

Unfortunately, that driver’s story is not the only story where crime lab test results could exonerate a defendant who was convicted of a drug offense. Nearly three hundred similar instances have been revealed by a recent audit of drug cases by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. In all of these cases, roadside tests or officers’ observations were used to establish probable cause for the arrests. While roadside drug tests are not very accurate and cannot be used as evidence, they are still used to establish probable cause which leads to arrest.

In many of the wrongful convictions discovered during the audit, the defendants sat in jail as they awaited trial because they were unable to post bail. Drug offenders, including misdemeanor drug offenders with little or no criminal history, are often required to post bail. Some of these defendants even accepted plea deals to get out of jail faster even though they had done nothing wrong.

One of the effects of the audit was a change in the District Attorney’s policies. Prosecutors generally won’t  accept a guilty plea in a felony drug cases before they receive lab reports that confirm the evidence. However, defendants should know that plea deals are still accepted prior to lab testing in misdemeanor drug cases and in select types of felony cases which enable jailed defendants to qualify for probation.

The reason that test results are not always readily available is that lab officials had implemented system for drug testing that had test results coming back months or even years after the defendant entered their guilty plea. Some test results showed officer errors like misidentification that led to the arrests. Overall, the audit demonstrated that drug case evidence could be flawed, and that is something that each defendant can remember to explore with their attorney as they proceed through the stages of their criminal matter.

Facing drug charges can be tough, but you do not have to go it alone. A knowledgeable East Texas Defense Attorney can help you navigate your criminal case all the way through to its resolution. To learn more, call attorney Alex Tyra today at (903) 753-7499 to schedule your free consultation.


Texas DWI Defense Attorney Suggests Drivers be Cautious During Traffic Stops

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

A recent investigation involving a former Houston police officer serves as a reminder to drivers to use caution during traffic stops. During traffic stops, well-meaning drivers often provide law enforcement officers with much more information than the law requires. Sometimes this happens because of a mistaken belief that providing more information would clearly show the officer that they were innocent. At other times, anxiety or other factors cause drivers to spill the beans by volunteering all kinds of information and even stepping out of their vehicles for field sobriety tests.

The former officer who is currently under investigation failed to use his dashboard camera to record a traffic stop during which he claims the driver failed a field sobriety test and refused to provide a sample for a blood test. The investigation revealed that there was, in fact, dash-cam footage and the footage shows that the driver didn’t “fail to signal a lane change” as the former officer had claimed. Furthermore, the defendant’s blood alcohol level, as revealed by a test, was below the legal limit. Unfortunately, during the time that it took to investigate the case against the officer and exonerate the driver using police records, the driver’s license was suspended because the now former officer had claimed that she refused to submit to a blood test. She even had to buy an ignition interlock device and submit to random drug and alcohol testing. As if that were not bad enough, the aforementioned driver is not the only driver for whom the validity of their arrest is questionable.

Whether the dashboard camera is running or not, it is a good idea to know ahead of time what you can do to get through a traffic stop giving as little information to the police as you can. For example, you do not have to participate in field sobriety tests, and in fact, you are wise not to. One reason why it is best not to participate in field sobriety testing is that the test results cone from observations, which are subjective. Also, it is possible for sober people to fail the tests due to nerves, uncomfortable shoes, or some other things.

Engaging in a field sobriety test or providing more information than you are required by law to provide will not help you prove your sobriety. In fact, any additional information that you provide could very well be used against you later on. The list of unnecessary information includes providing information about where you are driving to and from and what you have been doing.

If you were arrested for DWI in Texas, there is a lot at stake. During these difficult times, you need the guidance of an experienced DWI defense attorney. To learn more about how we can defend you against your Texas DWI charges, schedule a free consultation with East Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra today. Call our office at (903) 753-7499, or visit our website to submit an online contact form.