Austin Criminal Defense Blog

Understanding Guidelines for Deferred Action in Immigration Cases

By Peek & Toland on February 20, 2014

On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that certain people may request a deferral of an immigration removal action for up to two years, if they came to the U.S. as children (under the age 16) and meet other requirements. Known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA, this process gives many people who came to the U.S. as children the chance to continue working while they await a pathway to permanent residency in the United States.

A person may seek consideration of deferred action for childhood arrival if the person: Read the rest »

Posted in: Deferred Action

Eye Tests and DWI Charges: Can the Test Be Trusted?

By Peek & Toland on February 18, 2014

Upon pulling over a driver on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), many Texas police officers will ask the driver to perform one or more “field sobriety tests.” One common test is known as the “horizontal gaze nystagmus” or “HGN” test. It asks the driver to follow a moving object with his or her eyes. The action of the eyes as they follow the object is supposed to tell the police officer something about the driver’s state of drunkenness – but does it really?

Texas DWI Defense

Many studies have found the HGN test may not be as reliable as many officers believe. One of the main reasons this so-called “sobriety test” should be questioned in every DWI case is that nystagmus, or eye movement, can be caused by many things – not just alcohol. Read the rest »

Posted in: DWI

Bring Your Valentine to These Romantic Texas Towns

By Peek & Toland on February 13, 2014

Austin Criminal Defense
Texas is known for its iconic images of manliness: barbecue, rodeos, ranches, etc. Everybody knows the line, “Everything is bigger in Texas.” And while the southern state definitely lives up to its hyper masculine reputation, it also has a sensitive side. There’s beauty to Texas’ many vistas, ranges, and towns. From the Gulf Coast to the Hill Country, visitors and natives alike can find romantic places to bring their lovers to on Valentine’s Day. Read the rest »

Posted in: Holiday

Will Justin Bieber Face Deportation Charges?

By Peek & Toland on February 12, 2014

Pop star Justin Bieber made headlines recently after being charged in a Florida court on suspicion of drunk driving, driving without a valid license, and resisting arrest. A California prosecutor is determining whether or not to press additional felony vandalism charges against the singer, who is suspected of having egged a house, causing significant damage.

Bieber is a Canadian citizen. Since news of his arrest reached national networks, calls for his deportation have increased, including a petition with more than 100,000 signatures submitted to the White House. Will the pop star face deportation if he is convicted? It’s possible but not likely. Read the rest »

Posted in: Immigration

Cancellation of Removal for Lawful Permanent Residents and Non-Residents: What Are the Differences?

By Peek & Toland on January 30, 2014

If you’re facing Removal (also referred to as deportation) from the U.S., be it in Immigration Court here in Texas or elsewhere, you need to seek the help of an experienced Austin immigration attorney to help you stay in the United States. Some individuals who are facing removal proceedings before the U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review may be eligible to apply for “cancellation of removal.” But do you know the best legal option for your circumstances?

Depending on whether an individual is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. or a non-resident (aka undocumented or illegal alien), slightly different rules and conditions may apply to the cancellation of removal process. Knowing the difference and the rules of eligibility for the right process is crucial for preventing your removal from the country. Read the rest »

What Bail and Types of Bonds are Set by Texas Courts?

By Peek & Toland on January 28, 2014

Everyone arrested in Texas has to be magistrated by a judge. This is a right provided for by the Constitution and the actual Code of Criminal Procedure. “Magistration” is the process in which a judge informs the accused what he has been charged with by the arresting officer, the legal rights to which the individual has, and the amount at which the judge has decided to set his bond.

Texas Criminal DefenseA police officer in Texas has to file a probable cause affidavit (aka P.C. Affidavit) in which he justifies the legal reason (called probable cause) he had to believe a crime had been committed or was about to be committed. The Magistrate (judge) then reviews this arrest affidavit to verify that it meets the legal standard for being a legal arrest (finding there was probable cause to make the arrest). If the judge agrees the officer had probable cause, the judge will sign the affidavit agreeing it meets to the legal standard for the criminal case to proceed. At this point the arrest has been upheld but no charges have been formally filed. Charges are filed either by the prosecutor filing a charging document called an information or by the prosecutor indicting the accused. Read the rest »

Posted in: Criminal Defense

Understanding F-1 Student Visas

By Peek & Toland on January 23, 2014

An F-1 student visa is a temporary visa, which is available for certain foreign students who wish to study full time in the United States.

Many different types of schools may take students who enter the U.S. on an F-1 student visa. Before enrolling, students should check to make sure their school is approved by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) and can accept international students on F-1 visas. Schools that may take F-1 visa students include not only colleges and universities, but seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools and elementary schools, and certain language training programs. These are called SEVP schools. Read the rest »

Posted in: Visas

What are the Penalties for Theft in Texas?

By Peek & Toland on January 21, 2014

Generally speaking, “theft” occurs when a person takes something that does not belong to him or her, without permission of the owner, with the intent to permanently deprive them of the object. Texas law recognizes several different types of theft crimes. An experienced Austin criminal defense attorney can explain the specific types of theft prohibited by Texas law and the penalties that come with a conviction.

The penalties for each type of theft depend on how severe the law believes the theft was. Severity is usually defined by the dollar value of the goods stolen, with the severity going up as the amount does. For instance, a person who steals a $50 prepaid cell phone will likely face less severe consequences than a person who steals a $50,000 diamond ring. Read the rest »

Posted in: Theft Crimes

The EB-5 Investor Visa: Forms to Prepare

By Peek & Toland on January 2, 2014

For foreign investors wishing to start or invest in a business venture in the United States, the EB-5 investor visa offers a means by which to seek permanent resident status.  So-called “green card” investors must meet a number of strict requirements in order to base their green card application on their investment.  These include investing in a “new commercial enterprise,” creating or preserving at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers, and investing a minimum amount of money in the U.S.-located business venture.
Texas Investor VisasIn addition to these requirements, applicants for an EB-5 investor visa must file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, whether they are currently living inside or outside the United States. 

Read the rest »

Posted in: Visas

What Happens After an Arrest in Texas?

By Peek & Toland on December 30, 2013

An arrest in Texas is made on suspicion of criminal wrongdoing.  It does not prove that anybody did anything wrong.  To get from an arrest to a conviction, several steps must first take place.  An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney often helps an arrested person navigate these steps, protecting their legal rights and seeking the best possible outcome on the person’s behalf.

The arrest itself must be based on “probable cause” that the person has committed a crime.  After the arrest, the police take the accused to the County jail to be “booked” into the jail.  This process can take hours depending on the jail.   The police then must write a report of the arrest (probable cause affidavit) and swear to the truth of its contents, and then submit it to a magistrate for approval of the arrest and the judge will then also set the bond.  In Texas the police officer and magistrate have 24 hours to magistrate the accused on a misdemeanor and 48 hours to magistrate on a felony.  The accused cannot be magistrate until the arrest report has been received by the magistrate.

Read the rest »

Posted in: Criminal Defense

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