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.

Texas Family Law Attorney Talks about Divorces Involving Business Ownership

January 1st, 2017

Some couples have relatively few types of assets to concern themselves with when they divorce. Others may own real estate, investments, or even one or more businesses. If you or your spouse owns a business, or, if you own a business together, it is essential that you take great care to ensure that the hard work that either or both of you have invested into your business over the years gets preserved during your divorce.

Just as with other types of assets, the issue of how to handle business ownership in a divorce is best addressed by agreement of the parties, and not by a judge who knows little or nothing about you, your family, and your business. Regardless of the current level of conflict in your divorce, it is important that you and your spouse work together with your attorneys to discuss the future of your business, and that the two of you make every effort to reach an agreement about what that future is.

In addition to working with your attorneys to discuss the future of your business, it is often worth consulting with a financial advisor because they can provide you and your attorney with valuable information like estimates of the value of the enterprise and its assets, cash flow, and liquidity. When you have gotten a clear picture of what your business is worth, you can begin to think about how you would like to acknowledge that value in your divorce settlement. There are many ways that couples who own one or more businesses, either together or separately, can structure a divorce settlement.

If you own a business that your spouse is not involved in, you may want to think about what other assets could, when taken as a group, have approximately the same value as the business. Your spouse may be happy to take that group of assets while you retain ownership, control, and all of the other benefits of your business. Of course, it is possible that your spouse may prefer a different arrangement, or they may be the one who owns the business, and you may have to engage in discussion about what will work well for each of you. It is possible that either or both of you are interested in selling your business, or in selling your interest in the firm. These are all potential solutions that you can discuss with your spouse. As you have these discussions, keep in mind that there are many creative ways that spouses can structure a divorce agreement involving a business, and any solution that the two of you can come up with is likely to work better for your family than a solution that is devised by the court.

If either you or your spouse owns a business or you own a business together, a Texas Family Law Attorney can help you to account for your business and all of your other assets as part of your Texas divorce. To learn more, please contact attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499 to arrange a consultation, or visit us online and submit a convenient online contact form.

Texas Family Law Attorney Shares Tips for Managing Finances During and After Divorce

December 30th, 2016

If you are divorcing, you may wonder how you will be able to afford to take this much-needed step towards personal freedom. Divorce does cost money, but it is important that you do not put it off or even worse give up on it out of fear that you cannot afford it. The following tips can help you secure your finances before, during and after your divorce.

When divorcing spouses maintain a focus on agreement, they save money. Divorce is not easy, but the notion that cooperation can cut costs can be a powerful motivator to set conflict aside. One way in which agreement can reduce the financial burden of divorce is in the area of legal fees. It is important that each spouse retains his or her own attorney, but the amount of work that your attorney has to do on your behalf is directly connected to the amount that you will end up paying them. If you and your soon to be former spouse are approaching your attorneys with drafts of a divorce agreement that you have worked on together, you will not spend as much on legal fees as you would if you are fighting with each other through your attorneys about who should get which assets and what your parenting plan should look like, if you have children.

In reality, not all divorces can be resolved amicably. Fortunately, you can keep your costs down regardless of the level of conflict in your divorce. Knowing the details of your personal and household finances is one of these strategies. You can gather information about your debt and any marital debts that you and your spouse have, and you can do some research and find out what your household expenses are as well as what you might expect to pay to establish a new home for yourself.

Making financially wise decisions during your divorce can reduce not only the up-front costs of divorce but also the long-term costs. Divorce is an emotional process, but it is essential for your financial well-being that you do your best to address your emotional needs – through counseling, talking with supportive friends or whatever works for you – and make financial decisions from a purely practical frame of mind. For example, you may have to work through your feelings about your marital home before you can do an honest and sufficiently detailed calculation to determine whether it makes sense to try to keep it on either a short-term or a long-term basis.

As you and your soon to be former spouse work through your divorce, see whether the two of you can agree on whether to sell any items to make more cash available to pay off debts or divide amongst each other. There are laws that govern marital property, so you must check with your attorneys before selling anything because an improper sale is illegal. Selling items requires consulting with your attorney, but you are free to reduce your personal expenses by eliminating unnecessary spending, starting your new household with only the bare minimum of utilities and looking for ways to save money on one-time and recurring costs.

While you work to build a strong financial future for yourself, a Texas Family Law Attorney can help you pursue an outcome in your divorce that will meet your current and future needs. To learn more, please contact attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499 to arrange a consultation, or visit us online and submit a convenient online contact form.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Talks about Organized Crime

December 22nd, 2016

Two of the dozen or more individuals who are allegedly involved in an organized crime ring recently entered guilty pleas. One man received a fifteen-year prison sentence, and the other was sentenced to twenty-eight years in prison for his role in stealing approximately eighty thousand dollars’ worth of ATVs.  A third individual is alleged to have participated directly in the theft, and about ten other people were allegedly involved in indirect ways before, during, and after the theft took place.

The two men, along with a couple of accomplices, participated in a similar ATV theft one week after the first theft, this time in Louisiana. After an anonymous tip set into motion a chain of events that included gathering evidence and arresting accomplices, authorities were able to unravel the details of the ATV thefts and make connections between those crimes and other ATV thefts and rooftop burglaries which had occurred throughout several states.

The two men were apprehended earlier this year, and at the time of their arrest, authorities seized cell phones which provided multiple types of evidence that implicated them in the organized crime activities for which they recently entered guilty pleas.

Some crimes are isolated incidents, but other crimes are part of something more complicated. When people work together to plan and carry out a series of crimes, they are subject to organized crime charges in addition to charges for whatever criminal activities they have allegedly participated in. Chapter 71 of the Texas Penal Code describes organized crime and sets out the penalty scheme for various activities that fall into the category of organized crime. Basically, a defendant who is accused of any crime or any combination of crimes can also be accused of being a part of organized criminal activity if it can be shown that they committed the crime or combination of crimes “with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination or as a member of a criminal street gang”. (Texas Penal Code Section 71.02)

It is important that people understand that actual participation in the crimes is not a prerequisite for organized crime charges. In addition to direct involvement or indirect involvement, an individual may be charged with conspiring to commit organized crime.

Sometimes, one or more of the people who are participating in an organized crime scheme withdraw fully from it before it is completed. Some of these people may even go so far as to renounce their involvement in it, and they might even inform authorities of the plans that had been made. Renunciation is a defense to organized crime charges, but just like any other defense to any crime, its effectiveness is directly tied to the facts of the situation.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Defending Texans against Criminal Charges

If you have been charged with organized crime, you need someone in your corner who can safeguard your rights and build the best possible case on your behalf. If you have been charged with organized crime and you have questions, please call Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra, at (903) 753-7499. Alternatively, you may contact us online.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Talks About DWI Penalties

December 1st, 2016

Did you know that the penalties for DWI in Texas are relatively light compared to those in other states? Did you know that despite what the law says, penalties for DWI in Texas vary from case to case? People in Texas are wondering what the state’s DWI laws really mean, in light of recent repeat-offense DWI cases that have made it apparent that drivers who are arrested for DWI are not always kept off of the road for very long, even after a subsequent offense.

First and second offense DWIs are misdemeanors in Texas. The Texas Penal Code lists fines, jail time, loss of drivers’ license, and increased fees to reinstate the license as penalties for driving while intoxicated. As is the case with any type of crime, not all first offense DWI defendants pay a two thousand dollar fine, not all of them receive a sentence of one hundred and eighty days in jail, not all of those who receive a sentence must serve all of it in jail, and not all of them receive the standard loss of license and increased fees that are listed as possible penalties.

The differences in outcomes in DWI cases is not necessarily a sign that something is wrong with the criminal justice system in Texas. Rather, it illustrates something that is true for all criminal defendants regardless of what crimes they are charged with – every crime is a unique occurrence, and each defendant is a unique individual. Criminal cases are not decided uniformly because they should not be decided uniformly. The facts of each case can be argued by defense counsel in a way that supports an outcome that is appropriate for what actually happened. In other words, DWI defendants and their attorneys do have the ability to affect the outcome of their Texas DWI cases. This is good news for DWI defendants because it means that they can work with a DWI defense attorney to pursue workable outcomes in their DWI cases.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Defending Texas Drivers Against DWI Charges

If you are facing DWI charges, the thought of facing those charges in court on your own might be rather intimidating. It is important that you know that you do not have to face your DWI charges alone and that working with a Texas DWI Defense Attorney can help you work towards the best possible outcome in your DWI case. The consequences of a Texas DWI conviction are serious and a conviction could affect just about every area of your life. Your freedom, your license, your job, your relationships, and your future are all at stake. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, take the important first step of protecting your rights today, by calling an experienced Texas DWI Defense Attorney. If you have questions or concerns about DWI in Texas, please call Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra, at (903) 753-7499, or contact us via our online contact form.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses DWI Penalties for Minors

November 28th, 2016

When you think about a typical situation involving a minor being charged with DWI, you might imagine a teenager who has a driver’s license being caught driving after having a few beers at a party. While situations like that do happen, there are some minors who do not even have their drivers’ license when they get their first DWI. For example, a twelve-year-old is currently under investigation for DWI following a police chase that ended with a crash. Fortunately, the driver’s injuries are not severe, but he will face legal consequences as the result of his actions.

When a law enforcement noticed the young driver weaving in and out of traffic, they believed that the driver was texting and driving. As the officer continued to observe him, the driver crossed the center line, and the officer began to suspect that the driver as intoxicated. The officer tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver did not stop. The driver kept going and hit another car head-on, but the impact was not sufficient to stop the vehicle, and he kept driving. Eventually, the young driver collided with a utility pole and that collision prevented the vehicle from being driven any further.

The minor is now being investigated for DWI, evading police, and failing to stop and render aid after an accident. He is likely to encounter substantial consequences as the result of his actions, especially if he gets convicted of any or all of the three crimes that are under investigation. Under Texas law, anyone who is under twenty-one years of age is a minor. A minor may not drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. The penalty for DWI for a minor depends both on the amount of alcohol in the driver’s system and the number of times that they have been stopped for drinking and driving.

First offenders who are minors could be fined up to five hundred dollars. They receive a sixty-day license suspension; they must attend an alcohol awareness class, and they must do between twenty and forty hours of community service. Penalties increase for second and subsequent offenses.

Minors can also receive an enhanced penalty if they are over seventeen years of age but under twenty-one, and their blood alcohol level is .08 or higher. Under these circumstances, a minor can be fined up to two thousand dollars and have their license suspended for at least ninety days and up to one year. They could also have to spend anywhere from three to one hundred and eighty days in jail.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Defending Minors Who Are Charged With DWI

If you are a minor, a DWI investigation can be incredibly intimidating. The consequences of a potential conviction are serious, and you are probably wondering what you should do. Fortunately, you do not have to face those charges alone. If you are a minor and you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, protect your rights by calling an experienced Texas DWI Defense Attorney today. If you have any questions about DWI in Texas, call Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra, at (903) 753-7499, or contact us online.