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November 2010 Archives

How do I file bankruptcy in Texas?

Filing bankruptcy in Texas is extremely advantageous.  As a debtor filing for protection under the Bankruptcy Code in Texas you have the ability to make a selection as to the list of exemptions that you utilize according to your situation in order to maximize the amount of property that you can keep.  If your bankruptcy is filed correctly by an experienced bankruptcy attorney then typically, debtors lose nothing at all. 

Thanksgiving DWI arrests in Dallas and Collin Counties

A recent article in The Examiner reported that DWI arrests are already beginning to increase in the holiday season.  The article indicated that with Thanksgiving and other subsequent holidays approaching, police organization all over the North Texas region have started their anti-DWI campaign on November 22, 2010.  The campaign has been named "Home for the Holidays."

Texas Community Property

Texas is a community property state much like most of the rest of the southwestern United States.  That means that all property acquired after the date of the marriage is community property.  Separate property is property that is owned prior to the marriage, property recovered for personal injuries sustained by a spouse during the marriage, and property acquired by gift or inheritance. 

Divorce and Bankruptcy

Divorce and bankruptcy often go hand in hand with each other.  First, in many marriages there are two income earners and most of the time one earner makes substantially more than the other person.  Sometimes debt is incurred during the marriage, and there is no agreement as to who is required to pay the debt.  Often times, it is credit card debt.  If it is not paid, then both ex-Husband and ex-Wife can be sued to collect the debt.

DWI Investigation

The NHTSA manual requires three parts to the HGN or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.  Most people refer to this test as the "pen test" or "eye test."  The officer is holding some sort of pen or light in front of your eyes and passing it back and forth to look for clues of intoxication.

Frisco Bankruptcy

The great recession was tough on the citizens of Frisco, Texas.   Many small businesses were hit hard by the fact that other people no longer had the disposable income to be able to support the small businesses.  Many people had to forgo spending on the pleasures in life and only spend what money they did receive from either a reduced paycheck or unemployment at large discount department stores.

HGN--Eye Test in Texas DWI Cases

The police officer who administers the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is taught to look for three clues in each eye.  There are two eyes, so the HGN test has a total of three clues.  This test is carries the least amount of weight with the jury, in my experience.  First the officer is looking for lack of smooth pursuit.  Secondly, the cop tries to determine whether there is nystagmus at maximum deviation.   Third, the officer is looking to find the onset of nystagmus before 45 degrees.  That makes a total of 6 possible clues.

Field Sobriety Tests

In a DWI case, the State of Texas is looking to prove that you were intoxicated while driving. Typically, the State is easily able to prove that the individual was operating a motor vehicle in a public place. However, there is a third and most important element of a DWI or intoxication manslaughter case: that is the element of intoxication.

Contract Interpretation

According to an article by Richard Orsinger, the most basic concept of contract interpretation in Texas is not explicitly stated by the courts, but it is inherently and nearly all they do: it is the idea that a contract is interpreted objectively and not subjectively.

Creditor Harassment Problems

Creditors can be a royal pain.  Many times they will call, and call, and call with no willingness to listen to whether or not you are going through a difficult time.  You may get nasty letters in the mail or bull-headed debt collectors calling you on the phone day and night.

Polygamy and CPS

In a 2008 case out of Austin, the Texas Appellate Court heard two decisions involving the removal of children from a ranch outside Eldorado, Texas.  The decision in Bradshaw is based on the same facts and arguments as the decision in Steed.  In those cases Writs of Mandamus were filed by several mothers of the children removed by CPS from the FLDS community in April 2008 complaining that the evidence was insufficient to support the removal and retention of the children under the Family Code.  Removal and retention was based on evidence that the children were part of a collective "household" of sexual predators and female children to become sexual abuse victims by encouraging marriage, sex and child birth as soon after puberty as possible.

Grandparent Custody

In the Interest of M.P.B., a Child, the Texas appellate court out of Dallas heard a case where the mother and the father where appointed joint managing conservators of the child, with the mother as the primary. The mother and the child lived with the grandmother for a short time in an apartment. The father moved to California and was largely absent.

Deferred Adjudication Probation

Deferred adjudication probation can be a double-edged sword.  The reason is because if you successfully complete all of the terms and conditions of probation then the charges will be dismissed upon your discharge from probation.  That is a great thing, because with many crimes you can then file a Petition for Non-Disclosure.  That will then seal your criminal record with certain limited exceptions.   Agencies like the Texas Board of Legal Examiners, the Board of Medical Examiners, the licensing agency for nurses, etc. will still have access to the fact that you were arrested for the offense but they still will see that you were never convicted.  Once the non-disclosure is signed, most potential employers would not have access to the fact that you were arrested.

Senate Vote on easing DWI surcharge

According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, the Senate voted to revamp the troubled Texas Driver Responsibility Program, under which more that 1 million Texans have been unable to unwilling to pay stiff surcharges on top of their regular fines for driving violations.

Aggravated Assault in Collin County

In Collin County, Aggravated Assault cases are prosecuted in McKinney, Texas in District Court.  Most of the time, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon is indicted as a second degree felony and has a range of punishment of 2-20 years confinement in the Texas Department of Correctional Facilities and up to a $10,000 fine, or both such fine and confinement.  

How much does filing bankruptcy cost?

There are several chapters in the bankruptcy code.  The entire code was written with the intent to help those in financial hardship obtain relief from their burdensome debts and obtain a fresh financial start.  Most of the time, individuals are eligible to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a bit more expensive as far as attorneys fees go, but you are able to pay less up front before you file in a Chapter 13.

Stop Phone Calls

You cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip.  Collection agencies do not understand that.  If you let them intimidate you, then you can sometimes end up making a bad mistake like borrowing money from another creditor just to pay the debt that collector is harassing you about.   Typically, when you fall behind on a debt the creditor will try to collect from you for several months.

DUI or DWI?

Although the terms DUI and DWI are often used interchangeably, there are important distinctions between the two that Texans should know for their own benefit and that of their children's. The distinction between DWI and DUI has mostly to do with age and sometimes with the level of intoxication. If you are not of legal age to drink, under 21, you can be charged with a DUI or a DWI. If you are over 21 you can only be charged with a DWI. In Texas, Driving While Intoxicated, the first charge, is a crime that can carry with it up to 180 days in jail, and up to a $2,000 fine. The punishments for this offense are harsher than those carried with a DUI but the level of intoxication has a higher threshold than with a DUI. In order for the state to convict someone of DWI, they must prove that the driver of a motor vehicle either had above a .08 BAC, Blood Alcohol Content, or lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of the two. You can receive a DWI at any age and, with each conviction, the possible time in jail and the possible fees go up as do the personal ramifications on your part.

Same-Sex Divorce

We have generally two separate areas of jurisdiction to appeal to in case law: state and federal. Because federalism is so strong in the US (the political system in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority, the federal government, and states) states can often exert their own authority to decide what law is best for their state. This is why from state to state laws can vary quite a bit in the way that they handle everything from capital punishment to drug law, and here to marriage and divorce for same-sex couples.

Dallas Bankruptcy

People in Dallas, Texas were hit extremely hard by the great recession.  Foreclosure rates have been at historic highs, and due to lost jobs, reduction in income, a high divorce rate, illnesses, and high interest rates people have had to turn to learn their bankruptcy options.

Credit After Bankruptcy

In these times of financial hardship more and more average Americans are looking for the protection and relief found from bankruptcy. Most don't want to file; most didn't ever think they would be in this position; all are worried about their future after they file bankruptcy. They want to know how their life will change after they file. Will they now have the ability to obtain new credit, or will this be a permanent black mark on their credit history?

Family Violence Assaults

To enhance an assault for family violence, prosecutors may use extrinsic evidence--not solely a CCP art. 42.013 judicial finding of family violence--to prove that the defendant was previously convicted of such acts according to the Houston Appellate Court in 2003.

Your assets in bankruptcy

When you file a bankruptcy to get rid of unwanted and oppressive debt, then you have to claim the items that you want to keep as exempt.  Most bankruptcies that are filed are able to claim all of the assets as exempt.

Solicitation of Prostitution

Solicitation of prostitution is a crime in Texas.  Not only can it result in confinement, but it can have an enormous influence on someone's career, marriage and child custody.  

White Collar Crime Defense

There are many defenses to white collar crimes.  Many times, these types of allegations are alleged and there is a reasonable solution that both sides can live with. Also, it is important to remember that just like in state court, the U.S. Attorney must prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction in federal court.

Signs that you should consider your Bankruptcy Rights

There are many different reasons that you might want to consider speaking with a lawyer about bankruptcy.  If you are struggling with making any headway on your credit card debt, or if you have any possibility of being sued then those are two very good signs that you need to consider bankruptcy.  

Theft in Collin County, Texas

According to the Thomason Court of Criminal Appeals, when combining more than one instance of theft and aggregating the amounts, it should be examined as to whether the State used the words "continuing course of conduct" or whether there is sufficient proof of the date of the theft.

McKinney, Texas Divorce

Divorce in McKinney, Texas and all cities that are in Collin County takes place in the district courts located in McKinney, Texas in the big new courthouse just west of Highway 75.  If the divorce is has children involved, it is called a Suit Affecting Parent Child Relationship. 

Loan Modification Program

Many homeowners across North Texas and the rest of the nation have attempted to get a loan modification on their home through the "Obama Plan" over the last several years.  Unfortunately, many times the modification is denied.  Even more frustrating about the modification program is the fact that the mortgagee bank often does not seem to know the information that is being communicated to the homeowner from another of its employees only weeks or sometimes hours prior to a different message being received by the homeowner.

Plano Texas Foreclosures

Unfortunately, if you experience a loss of job, reduction of income, or some other financial or life hardship you could find yourself facing a foreclosure.  If the house is sold at an amount less than what you owe then you will likely face a lawsuit for the deficiency. 

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