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Waco Texas Legal Blog

Registration requirements for sex offenders

If you have been arrested for and charged with a sex crime in Texas, it will be important for you to learn as much as you can about the laws that relate to these types of offenses. This learning includes becoming educated about the potential consequences associated with a conviction for a sex crime. One such consequence may be the requirement to register as a sex offender.

As explained by the Texas Department of Public Safety, any person who lives, works or goes to school in Texas and who has been convicted or adjudicated of specifically designated crimes must register with the state's Sex Offender Registry Program. This includes any person who was convicted or adjudicated of a crime in another state but now lives, attends school or works in Texas.

Texas law penalizes various "computer crimes"

As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, Texas laws relating to computer crimes often change to accommodate new elements of criminal behavior. While many state residents understand that identity theft and phishing scams count as computer fraud, there are several other types of activities that are illegal under the computer crimes statute.

The National Conference of State Legislatures indicates that Texas is one of five states with laws that specifically include language relating to computer extorsion programs, such as "ransomware." The detailed language in the computer crimes law may make it easier for the state to prosecute crimes related to malware or ransomware.

Can you challenge the validity of evidence because of the search?

There are many strategies that individuals can employ in the attempt to defend themselves against serious criminal charges. Strategies vary depending on the circumstances that led to your charges, but some strategies are common for a wide range of crimes.

Challenging the validity of evidence is a common strategy, regardless of the criminal charge involved. People challenge evidence for violent crimes, as well as for impaired driving allegations. One tactic people use is to challenge the validity of the evidence itself or the chain of custody.

The role of therapy in the recovery of a sex offender

Because sex crimes are so serious in nature, many people immediately feel resentment and anger toward perpetrators of such crimes in Texas. While their feelings are justifiable, there are often deeper problems that have affected an offender for years preceding their offense. One of the many ways that professionals are actively working with offenders to help them overcome debilitating issues is with the implementation of therapy. 

A customized treatment program that breaks down an offender's past, acknowledges his or her history and personality, and is consistent in its application may have a long-term effect in preventing criminals from reoffending and being a threat to the people around them. According to ct.counseling.org, the primary purpose of a therapy approach in the first place is to teach offenders alternative ways of thinking and behaving and thus reduce the chances that they relapse into dangerous behaviors. Therapists face many difficulties including the chances that their clients are experiencing shame, other addictions, guilt and justification for his or her behavior. 

Criminal justice reform in Texas and the U.S.

Residents in Texas who are accused of crimes may understandably feel afraid about the prospect of going to prison. Family members of defendants may also worry about this potential outcome. It is no surprise that there are many problems with prison life and the high number of people being sent to prisons. Fortunately, there are many steps being taken at both the state and the federal level to address excessive prison populations and the conditions in those facilities.

As explained by the Texas Civil Rights Program, some of the state efforts underway are focusing on things like improving the environmental conditions in prisons. Many institutions find inmates living in excessive heat or other oppressive conditions. Putting an end to solitary confinement is another stated goal for some. Improving the mental health screening and treatment opportunities for people in prisons is another priority.

What is opioid addiction?

In Texas and many other areas of the country, opioid addiction is becoming an increasingly difficult problem. This category of medication includes both legal and illegal drugs and those who become addicted face possible legal reprisals as well as health problems and issues within their families. Medline Plus offers the following information on opioids and their impact.

Heroin is an opioid, but so are drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. These drugs are often prescribed to treat chronic pain conditions, or they’re used to control pain after major surgery. Opioids can also be used as a part of cancer treatment thanks to their strong pain-killing abilities. Abuse potential increases when opioids are taken for long periods of time.

What is a Glasgow Coma Score?

As you begin to cope with the news that your family member or friend has suffered a traumatic brain injury in Waco, one singular point may start to dominate your thoughts: what is next? Depending on the severity of the injury, they may require extensive care for the rest of their lives, or they may be able to make a complete recovery (albeit with the assistance of rehabilitation services). Understanding this will no doubt impact your decision of what action to take, particularly of your loved one's TBI came as the result of another's negligence. 

Yet how are you to know in the immediate aftermath of them suffering a TBI what their long-term prognosis may be? The clinicians treating them may be able to give you an indication through your family member or friend's Glasgow Coma Score. A GCS is based on your loved one's responses to external stimuli after having sustained a TBI. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the point categories (and associated values) used in determining a GCS are as follows: 

  • Eye opening (1-4)
  • Verbal response (1-5)
  • Motor skills (1-6)

Understanding the definition of aggravated assault

When a person has been accused of violence, they are generally accused of some type of assault. However, the assault charge that they will be subject to will depend on the exact circumstances regarding the situation. Aggravated assault is a type of crime that is much more serious than simple assault.

If you have been accused of aggravated assault, it is important that you do everything that you can to defend yourself from this accusation. If you are to be successful, you must understand the detailed aspects of the law so that you can apply it to the specific circumstances of your case.

Judge releases former Texas State student over FBI objections

It is sometimes difficult to make a distinction between behavior that is off-putting, upsetting or disturbing and behavior that is illegal. In November 2018, the FBI received a tip about a social media account making posts involving alleged hate speech, bomb-making and a desire to commit violence. An investigation traced the account to a 20-year-old former student of Texas State University. When the authorities caught up with the former student, he complied with their request to turn over his cell phone for analysis, which resulted in his arrest on child pornography charges.

At a bail hearing last week, FBI officials requested that the former student remain incarcerated, alleging that he has the potential to become the next bomber or mass shooter. However, the judge denied the request. Instead, he is sending the former student home to his parents and granting $75,000 unsecured bail. 

Reviewing Texas' self-defense law

Most in Waco might never dream of using violent force against another, yet there may be situations where they are compelled to do so. One's first reaction to hearing a claim of self-defense may be to be skeptical. However, enough legitimate cases of the justified use of force have occurred to merit several states to create laws addressing it (according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas is among them). Such statutes typically stipulate that people have no duty to retreat from a scenario where they feel threatened, and by extension, are permitted to defend themselves and others if the situation calls for it. 

Indeed, Section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code says that one is warranted in using force if they believe it to be immediately necessary. To justify such a belief, the following elements must be present in a situation: 

  • The actor did not provoke the person against whom force was used 
  • The actor was not engaged in criminal activity when pressed into using force
  • The person against whom forced was used was attempting to enter the actor's home, vehicle or place of business (or forcefully attempting to remove the actor from any of these places), or was attempting to kidnap, assault, sexually assault and/or murder the actor or others. 
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • The College of State Bar of Texas
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice
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Russell D. Hunt Sr., Attorney at Law

425 Austin Avenue
Suite 1202
P.O. Box 726
Waco, TX 76701

Phone: 254-304-6354
Fax: 254-753-8118
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