The Lawrence Law Firm strives to focus on the goals of each client individually and provide representation tailored to each client's goal. Mr. Lawrence focuses on Criminal Defense and Personal Injury. We handle these case because they permit us to work with real people with real problems. Mr. Lawrence enjoys defending his client's rights in criminal proceedings or seeking compensation for unjustified injuries. If you or a loved one need an attorney in Arapahoe or Douglas Counties do not hesitate to contact Mr. Lawrence.
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Anytime that you are detained by police, regardless of the matter, it is ideal to be careful about what you say. Never talk to the police, Ever! Law enforcement is not your friend, they are not always there to protect and serve as their oath says. When you are detained and taken to jail for. The post Why You Should Never Talk to the Police, Ever appeared first on Lawrence Law...
Anytime that you are detained by police, regardless of the matter, it is ideal to be careful about what you say. Never talk to the police, Ever! Law enforcement is not your friend, they are not always there to protect and serve as their oath says. When you are detained and taken to jail for a police interview or questioning, do not answer any questions, without an attorney being present to prevent self-incrimination or twisting of the facts from occurring.
When you speak to law enforcement officials on your own, you risk making the situation worse for yourself. Law enforcement officers need information to solve cases and always want to solve them as quickly as possible. Respectfully inform them that you have the right to an attorney and will not answer any questions or make any statements without your chosen Sugar Land criminal defense attorney being present.
Can Lead to Negative Actions by Police Officers
Some police officers take their position to astronomical levels by using force. Some see “potential offenders” as being uncooperative and use excessive force. Several cases recently, including the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri, make it apparent that police always believe that they have the upper hand. This is not always the case. In cases where someone is walking down the street, regardless of the situation, police should call for backup instead of opening fire on someone that may have talked back or seemed hostile. The thing is, when shots are fired and “potential offenders” do not survive, there is only one side of the story left to be told.
It is a good idea to keep Jason’s personal cell phone number (832) 954-5917 programmed into your cell phone. If this is not an option, keep a business card in your purse or wallet. You never know when you might need to secure the assistance of an experienced Richmond attorney.
When it comes to custody battles, most couples fear the proceedings. This is not because they have to miss time from work or because of the costs of attorney’s fees; it is the stress and the toll it takes on the children as a whole. Child custody hearings do not have to be drawn out. The post Are Lawyers the Only Winners in a Big Custody Battle? appeared first on Lawrence Law...
When it comes to custody battles, most couples fear the proceedings. This is not because they have to miss time from work or because of the costs of attorney’s fees; it is the stress and the toll it takes on the children as a whole. Child custody hearings do not have to be drawn out slugfests. Parents can work together through mediation, in some cases, to determine visitation, child support and the needs of the children.
Drawn Out Court Battle
Drawn out court battles stress every person involved. The proceedings can also take a negative toll on the children’s mental well-being. They do not always understand what is going on and they feel the stress from mom and dad throwing punches at each other in a courtroom.
These situations do, however, help to bring all evidence to the table. One parent may be irresponsible or dangerous. The court has the ability to investigate this to uncover all of the facts.
Mediation is a relaxed setting. The mediator listens to both sides of the argument and aids in providing solutions for the family. This relaxed setting helps the couple to compromise and speak freely without the structure of a courtroom.
Which is better?
Drawn out court proceedings are rarely low cost. Mediation services may take a considerable amount of time but are often more cost effective for the couple. Going through the divorce, itself is a costly process, especially when children are involved. Unfortunately, some people welcome this fight.
Decide amongst yourselves, which is the best option for your situation, as some divorced couples simply cannot communicate with each other. If you need an experienced family attorney, consider a Houston family lawyer to assist you. This may mean a court battle is forthcoming, but you will have the proper guidance to stand your ground and get your points across.
Contact Sugar Land Criminal Defense Attorney at 832-356-4404
The post Are Lawyers the Only Winners in a Big Custody Battle? appeared first on Lawrence Law Firm.
In 2007, the Texas legislature passed sweeping legislation that essentially made sure that a DWI conviction will stick on your record until you die, due largely in part to a very strong Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) lobby in Austin. As a result, DWI’s are becoming more expensive than ever, taking up the vast majority. The post Flying High: Do Marijuana Offenses Generally Fare Better Than DWI’s? (Marijuana vs DWI) appeared first on Lawrence Law...
In 2007, the Texas legislature passed sweeping legislation that essentially made sure that a DWI conviction will stick on your record until you die, due largely in part to a very strong Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) lobby in Austin. As a result, DWI’s are becoming more expensive than ever, taking up the vast majority of misdemeanor prosecutors’ dockets. Another crime that is also clogging most misdemeanors prosecutors’ dockets is possession of marijuana offenses. In the most recent Texas legislative session (2013) there was a bill that proposed lowering the offense of possession of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor. The bill never made it to the house floor for a vote.
I would bet my bottom dollar that no District Attorney in Texas would venture to say that they were soft on driving while intoxicated, simply because they would never get re-elected if they took that stance. Subsequently, the prosecutors that work for them do not have the same leverage in plea bargaining that they have with possession of marijuana offenses. Since a DWI can never be expunged nor can deferred adjudication be offered, people have to either take a DWI conviction, or if the state has a weak case, often a reckless driving or obstruction of a highway conviction. Someone who is arrested with 2 ounces of marijuana, however, often receives a much better and attractive plea deal since the state can offer deferred adjudication, essentially delaying the judge’s adjudication of guilt until after the defendant completes a probationary period. If the defendant completes probation successfully without any hiccups, that individual will not have a misdemeanor conviction on their record at the end of probation, unlike their DWI counterparts.
Since a possession of marijuana case is often much more objective than a very subjective DWI offense, it is generally relatively straightforward for both the prosecutor and defense attorney. Generally “you had weed or you didn’t” is much easier to determine that “you were intoxicated or you weren’t.” So, why does it make sense financially to smoke more weed and cut out the booze? Well, the plain and simple truth is that you are likely going to pay significantly less in legal fees and do much less probation if caught.
At the end of the day, the many people who have lost loved ones or have been negatively affected by drunk drivers are angry and will always be angry, and that is why most of the attention has shifted to harsher punishments for DWI offenders over the recent years and less attention has been given to those who choose a smokier route to committing a crime. Perhaps it is because over 50% of Americans are now in favor or legalizing marijuana and many states, such as Colorado and Washington, are beginning to legalize consumption. With a strong pro-alcohol lobby in Austin, it is unlikely that DWI checkpoints are going to come to Texas any time soon, despite consistent efforts made by MADD every legislative session. Thus, Texas citizens are going to continue to feel more comfortable driving home after they’ve been drinking than they would if they knew there was a chance of a sobriety checkpoint.
So, for the time being, it’s not unfair to say that those who feel like feel like trading a beer for a joint can often expect far less punishment than those who choose to drink one too many beers and drive home. And by a joint, I mean more than 2 ounces of marijuana but less than 4, roughly two standard Ziploc bags of marijuana completely full. Getting caught with this amount of marijuana yields the same punishment as driving with a BAC >.15 (a Class A misdemeanor: maximum $4,000 fine and 1 year in jail), the difference being that you can receive deferred adjudication for having two Ziploc bags of weed on you but that DWI will stay with you forever. If in either case someone is arrested, it’s undeniable that those facing an alleged possession of marijuana offense will likely fare much better in their punishment and their pockets than those facing an alleged DWI offense in the majority of cases across the state.
The post Flying High: Do Marijuana Offenses Generally Fare Better Than DWI’s? (Marijuana vs DWI) appeared first on Lawrence Law Firm.
The subject of domestic violence appears too often in news headlines. It occurs every minute of every day in the United States. Now, there are several types of domestic abuse stemming from verbal to physical. Many states, including Texas, are putting measures in place to stiffen penalties for offenders. A lot of attention has been. The post Why Domestic Violence Will Become the New ‘DWI’ in 2015 appeared first on Lawrence Law...
The subject of domestic violence appears too often in news headlines. It occurs every minute of every day in the United States. Now, there are several types of domestic abuse stemming from verbal to physical. Many states, including Texas, are putting measures in place to stiffen penalties for offenders. A lot of attention has been drawn to domestic violence cases recently due to the publicized Ray Rice case. Attorneys in Harris County and Fort Bend County await the new laws and legislation that will be forthcoming in 2015.
In the state of Texas, a panel of experts has been conducting a study on these situations. Their goal is to have stiffer penalties in place for violators. Some cases of domestic abuse are volatile and leave the victims with permanent injuries. A slap on the wrists is not enough, and Texas is stepping up to make sure that the appropriate punishments are put in place for these crimes.
Stepping it up in Texas
Texas lawmakers are working hard to understand how to detect domestic abuse situations early by awaiting the results of the study being wrapped up by a panel of experts. This will help them to recreate stiffer penalties and provide more services to the victims. The changes coming to Texas law in 2015 stem from 112 reported domestic abuse related deaths in the state in 2012. The Ray Rice case has heightened the need for stiffer penalties for abusers.
Attorneys like Jason Lawrence in the Houston area work hard to make sure that their clients’ voices are heard when they are wrongfully accused of domestic violence. A Fort Bend criminal defense attorney can negotiate plea bargains for alternative punishment as recourse for committing a domestic violence crime such as counseling or anger management. This not only keeps clients out of jail, but helps solve the issues that got the client there in the first place.
The post Why Domestic Violence Will Become the New ‘DWI’ in 2015 appeared first on Lawrence Law Firm.
Texas law prohibits minors from buying, possessing, or consuming alcohol, as well as, providing false information for the purpose of alcohol sales or consumption (Texas Statute and Code Sections 106.02(a), 106.04(a), 106.05(a), &106.07(a).) The crime is a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by fine only (maximum $500.00 dollars). Exceptions to this are if the minor. The post Texas Minor Alcohol Possession Laws appeared first on Lawrence Law...
Texas law prohibits minors from buying, possessing, or consuming alcohol, as well as, providing false information for the purpose of alcohol sales or consumption (Texas Statute and Code Sections 106.02(a), 106.04(a), 106.05(a), &106.07(a).) The crime is a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by fine only (maximum $500.00 dollars). Exceptions to this are if the minor is in his or her home and under parental supervision.
For example, should there be a holiday celebration or wedding where everyone is toasting and the parents are present its acceptable for a minor to consume alcohol under their supervision. An exception would not be for a minor to drink at home, alone without his parent’s permission or oversight. Most often, however, minors in possession of alcohol in violation of these laws are usually at a party where alcohol is present and police have been called, in an outdoor location, or in a vehicle that has been stopped by police.
According to Tommy Hastings, a renowned medical malpractice lawyer, “The law is the same wherever you go in Texas. However, each county or region has different attitudes on enforcement.” Police who routinely encounter underage drinking at the University of Texas at Austin, for example, may be less aggressive in handing out MIP tickets than Sugar Land or Greatwood.
What should I do when questioned by police about alcohol?
This is often a difficult question to answer because the Fifth Amendment certainly guarantees you the right to say nothing at all, but at the same time (usually) if the minor in question is polite and cooperative the that will go a long way in helping him or her receive deferred adjudication or an outright dismissal if he is fact cited for minor in possession at all.
While there is a time and a place for exercising your right to remain silent, there is also a time to be honest, humble, and express your remorse. When possible say nothing, but do it politely. Never lie to a police officer, just be silent. If you are non-confrontational, use “Sir” or “Ma’am” when asking to exercise your right to silence you’ll get much farther than lecturing a police officer on the Constitution. If, however, you choose to tell the truth and be polite and show that you acknowledge your misconduct, the officer will usually testify to that in court or mention it in the police report.
Can it be expunged from the juvenile record?
The Fort Bend, Sugarland, and Greatwood area certainly do not have a forgiving judicial system when dealing with a minor in possession of alcohol charge. Regardless of the jurisdiction, if someone is a first offender, is polite, and shows a lot of understanding and remorse about their actions that will go a long way in helping them deal with their minor in possession charge. With the right attorney you can often get your record expunged immediately upon turning 21, even if you were less than polite when confronted by the police officer. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure has procedures for automatic expunctions of minor in possession charges but needs to be taken care of by a qualified Fort Bend criminal attorney. Call today if you received a minor in possession charge while in high school, college, or otherwise, but need it taken off your record as you search for employment.
The Supreme Court decided two Fourth Amendment cases this week that diminish our freedom from police searches, specifically in Fort Bend County criminal cases. The Fourth Amendment says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants. The post How a Shrinking 4th Amendment Affects People Facing Crimes in Fort Bend County appeared first on Lawrence Law...
The Supreme Court decided two Fourth Amendment cases this week that diminish our freedom from police searches, specifically in Fort Bend County criminal cases. The Fourth Amendment says:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Starting with the Supreme Court’s decision in Terry v. Ohio, in 1968, police have been allowed to stop a person without probable cause if they have an articulable reasonable suspicion that the person has, is, or is about to break the law. Under the exclusionary rule, the government is not allowed to use in court evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The exclusionary rule exists to deter officers from breaking the law.
Decisions in recent years have weakened the exclusionary rule and the Fourth Amendment. For example in Herring v. United States, the Court held that the exclusionary rule does not apply where the officer did not act intentionally to violate the Fourth Amendment, but was merely negligent. In other cases, the Court has said that that the exclusionary rule does not apply where the officer has an objectively reasonable belief that his or her conduct is legal. The Supreme Court also held in Navarette v. California, that an uncorroborated anonymous tip of reckless driving can be the basis for police to stop a car, where police observe no violation of the law. And just last term, in Heien v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court held that if an officer makes a reasonable mistake of law, such as where the officer stops a person for something that is not a crime, that there is no violation of the Fourth Amendment at all. Imagine the power a Sugar Land police officer has in a Fort Bend criminal DWI stop.
Those who support greater protection of privacy were encouraged by three decisions that seemed to stem the downward flow. In Rodriguez v. United States, the Court prohibited officers from detaining a person longer than necessary to investigate a crime and issue a ticket other than one for which the stop occurred without independent articulable reasonable suspicion to support the investigation of the new crime. In Missouri v. McNeely, the Court held that in most cases police would need to get a warrant before getting a blood alcohol test in a drunk driving case. And in Riley v. California, the Supreme Court held that police must get a warrant before searching a cell phone of an arrested person and limited the reach of the search incident to arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. This would obviously apply in any Fort Bend DWI arrest.
However, this week the Supreme Court added two more opinions to the list of cases chipping away at the Fourth Amendment. In Utah v. Strieff, on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that if an officer arbitrarily stops a person without cause, and then discovers a warrant for the person, that the evidence seized pursuant to the arrest will not be suppressed. Justice Thomas’ opinion for the Court held that the discovery of the warrant “attenuated” the Fourth Amendment violation so as to not require the exclusion of the seized evidence. Justice Sotomayor wrote a blistering dissent, noting that:
“By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.”
And today the Supreme Court decided Birchfield v. North Dakota. Birchfield upheld statutes that make it a crime to refuse to submit to a warrantless breath alcohol test after a person has been arrested, even where police officers have plenty of time to obtain a warrant. Birchfield held that a breath alcohol test is a valid “search incident to arrest” despite language in Riley limiting the scope of searches incident to an arrest, and despite the holding of McNeely, that if police can get a warrant before getting a blood alcohol test, then they have to get a warrant. Justice Sotomayor dissented from this portion of the Birchfield decision, joined by Justice Ginsburg. This new decision signifacntly impacts any Fort Bend resident with an open warrant who would need a Fort Bend criminal defense lawyer.
Perhaps the only redeeming aspect of the Birchfield decision, is the “compromise” according to Justice Thomas’ dissent from it, finding that a blood alcohol test is not a valid search incident to arrest and does require a warrant. As a result of this part of the opinion, from this date forward, any consent obtained for a blood test based on an advice form stating that refusal carries a possible jail sentence is invalid, and any hospital blood test from an unconscious suspect or one who is suspected of manslaughter obtained without first getting a warrant is likely subject to suppression. Additionally, with respect to blood tests, if the driver consented based on flawed advice regarding possible jail, a defense to driver license suspension for failing the blood test could be raised. The state and federal governments may not make it a crime to refuse a blood alcohol and/or drug test.
If you are ever facing criminal charges, it’s imperative that you have a qualified and competent Fort Bend criminal defense attorney to represent you. Call Lawrence Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation.
The post How a Shrinking 4th Amendment Affects People Facing Crimes in Fort Bend County appeared first on Lawrence Law Firm.
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