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When Can I Get My Weapon Back?

By Peek & Toland on septiembre 1, 2018

Under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, if an individual is convicted of a criminal offense involving a weapon, he or she must forfeit the weapon at issue to the state. This is the case whether the weapon in question is a gun, knife, or another type of weapon. Once this forfeiture has occurred, the state can sell or destroy your weapon. However, there are some circumstances in which you may be able to get your weapon back from the state.

When Can I Get My Weapon Back?

An individual is entitled to get his or her weapon back after being convicted of a crime involving a weapon, unless one of the following circumstances is true:

  • The individual fails to request the weapon back prior to the 61st day following the date of conviction or order of deferred adjudication.
  • The individual has a prior conviction under Chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code.
  • The weapon at issue is a weapon that Chapter 46 of the Penal Code prohibits, such as an explosive weapon, machine gun, chemical dispensing device, or armor-piercing ammunition, among others.
  • The criminal offense involving the weapon occurred at a playground, school, video arcade, or youth center.
  • The weapon at issue is considered to be stolen property, in which case the state will return it to its rightful owner.
  • The court determines that returning the weapon to the individual would pose a threat to the community.

In any of these situations, the individual’s weapon is permanently forfeited, and he or she will never be able to get it back from the state. Additionally, you should keep in mind that Texas law prohibits individuals from carrying certain types of weapons out in public, although they are permissible in the owner’s home. These weapons include swords, tomahawks, and knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches. Although the state will confiscate these weapons if an individual is caught in possession of them, the state likely will return them to the individual upon request, unless one of the situations listed above applies.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing any type of criminal charges, whether at the state or federal level. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our Texas criminal defense attorneys today.

Publicado en Sin categorizar

What is the Difference Between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing?

By Peek & Toland on agosto 30, 2018

Adjustment of status and consular processing are both ways that you can obtain lawful permanent resident status, or a green card. Most people become eligible to apply for a green card through an eligible family member or employer who files a petition on your behalf. Once the petition has been approved and an immigrant visa is available in your category, you can apply for a green card. Whether you go through adjustment of status or consular processing, however, depends in large part on your location at the time that the petition is filed.

If you are already physically present in the U.S., you can apply for a green card without having to return to your home country for processing. You file a Form I-485 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to start the green card application process. Once you file this form, you will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment at a local Application Support Center, at which you will have to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. You also will sign an acknowledgment that all of the information that you have provided USCIS is true and complete. After USCIS reviews your application, you, and your sponsor, in some circumstances, may have to attend an interview with a USCIS official and produce all necessary original documents. When USCIS makes a decision on your application, you will receive a written notice.

 

What is the Difference Between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing?

Alternatively, if you are located outside of the U.S., you can apply for lawful permanent resident status at a U.S. State Consulate abroad for an immigrant visa so that you can come to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. This procedure is referred to as consular processing. There are certain circumstances in which you can file an immigrant petition for an immediate relative with a USCIS field office, U.S. embassy, or consulate abroad, such as if you are an American citizen and there is an international USCIS field office located in the country. This process also may be available for members of the military, in certain emergency situations, and in situations involving the health or safety of the petitioning party.

If you or a family member is dealing with an immigration law issue, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas immigration attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through the often-complex process of obtaining a visa. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our skilled immigration lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

 

Publicado en Immigration

Defining Reasonable Suspicion

By Peek & Toland on agosto 29, 2018

Texas law requires that the law enforcement officer who stops a driver have a reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver has committed a traffic offense, is driving while intoxicated (DWI), or is driving under the influence of narcotics (DUI). It is this reasonable suspicion that gives the officer the legal authority to pull over the driver. After the officer has stopped the vehicle, he or she can ask the driver to undergo a breath or blood test if he or she has reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Absent reasonable suspicion, the law enforcement officer’s stop is likely illegal, and any evidence that comes out of the stop, such as breath or blood test results or statements by the driver, may not be admissible in court.

 

Defining Reasonable Suspicion

It is not enough for a police officer to have a hunch or merely suspect that a driver has committed a traffic offense or crime. Rather, the police must have concrete, specific facts to justify the traffic stop. If a police officer doesn’t have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop, then the stop is illegal under Texas law. Ultimately, it is up to a judge to determine whether a police officer had reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle.

Sobriety checkpoints, however, are an exception to the reasonable suspicion standard for a police officer to pull over a vehicle. Law enforcement in Texas and many other states can and often do set up these checkpoints during busy holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. During these checkpoints, police officers will stop a random number of vehicles, such as every fifth or tenth vehicle that passes by the checkpoint.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including charges of resisting arrest. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

 

Publicado en Criminal Defense, DWI

What is an E Treaty Visa?

By Peek & Toland on agosto 28, 2018

U.S. immigration law provides for two nonimmigrant visa categories for treaty traders (E-1) and treaty investors (E-2), who are citizens or nationals of countries who have a bilateral treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. If an individual receives a E-1 or E-2 visa, he or she can be accompanied by a spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21.

 

What is an E Treaty Visa?

An E-1 visa for a treaty trader allows him or her to carry on substantial trade in goods, service, and technology, principally between the U.S. and his or her country of citizenship or nationality. Substantial trade is sufficient trade to guarantee the continuous flow of trade between the U.S and the treaty country. There must be numerous transactions to constitute substantial trade; a single transaction, no matter how large an amount it involves, cannot qualify as substantial trade. More than 50 percent of the volume of trade conducted by the treaty trader must be between the U.S. and the treaty country.

An E-2 visa for a treaty investor is designed to allow him or her to direct the operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested or is actively investing a substantial amount of capital in the U.S. The treaty investor’s investment must place lawfully acquired capital at commercial risk with the objective of earning profits, and that capital must be subject to loss if that investment fails. The investment must consist of the investor’s personal unsecured funds, not of loan proceeds or a secured financial instrument. The treaty investor must either control or own at least 50% of the enterprise or show operational control through a management position.

The skilled and knowledgeable immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to assist you with all of your immigration law needs. We regularly handle many types of immigration; our attorneys have the kind of strategic experience and skills that are necessary to reach the desired outcome in your case. By calling our office as quickly as possible after your legal issue arises, we will have the best opportunity to successfully resolve your immigration law case.

 

Publicado en Sin categorizar

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Charges

By Peek & Toland on agosto 27, 2018

While Texas law has expansive laws concerning the ability to carry firearms, there are various circumstances in which carrying a firearm is illegal. If you are in one of the following situations, you could face charges for unlawful possession of a firearm. As a result, you can face significant penalties if convicted.

 

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Charges

If you are a convicted felon, you cannot legally possess a firearm for five years following your release from incarceration, or, alternatively, your release from community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision. After that five-year period has elapsed, you can possess a firearm, but only when you are on your property. Texas law further restricts you from possessing a firearm if you have been convicted of a Class A misdemeanor for family violence, or violence against your family or household member, also for a five-year period following your release from confinement or community supervision, whichever is later. Likewise, if you are subject to a restraining order or protective order, you cannot possess a firearm so long as the order remains in effect.

In most cases, unlawful possession of a firearm is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. In other cases, however, unlawful possession of a firearm constitutes a felony of the third degree, which carries a sentence of up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Fortunately, there are some defenses to this crime. For instance, you may be able to argue that you did not knowingly or intentionally possess a firearm. You also can present evidence that you had a reasonable belief that your actions did not violate the law. Additionally, you may have a defense if you can prove that possession of a firearm was necessary, such as if you were a victim of a crime that placed you in serious danger.

When you are charged with any type of criminal offense in the state of Texas, including unlawful possession of a firearm, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests from the very beginning of your case. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and provide you with the strongest defense possible. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.

 

Publicado en Criminal Defense

What is a Pre-Sentence Investigation?

By Peek & Toland on agosto 26, 2018

Before a judge sentences a defendant for a crime, he or she normally must review a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) that a community supervision or probation officer has completed and submitted. A PSI contains information about the criminal offense with which the defendant has been charged, the amount of restitution that would compensate the victim of the crime, if any, and the criminal and social background of the defendant, along with any other information that the judge has requested.

There are some situations in which a PSI is not required before sentencing a defendant. In a misdemeanor case, a PSI is not required if:

  • The defendant asks to skip the PSI and the judge agrees;
  • The judge finds that there is enough evidence in the record to go ahead and sentence the defendant without the need for a PSI; AND
  • The judge explains his or her finding on the record.

What is a Pre-Sentence Investigation?

In a felony case, a PSI is not required if:

  • The jury will determine the defendant’s punishment;
  • The defendant is convicted of or pleads guilty to capital murder;
  • The only available punishment is imprisonment; OR
  • The defendant signed a plea agreement under which he or she agreed to imprisonment, and the judge intends to accept and follow the agreement.

To complete a PSI, the probation officer will contact the defendant to get information about his or her version of the events surrounding the crime, as well as law enforcement’s version of the events. The officer will contact any victims of the crime to allow them to submit victim impact statements. The PSI also will contain an exhaustive list of the defendant’s criminal history. Typically, the officer also will include information about the defendant’s family, finances, educational level, and mental and physical health.

An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help build a strong defense against criminal charges, regardless of the type of criminal offense involved. Taking steps to get you released from jail and fight for your rights at the beginning of your case is typically easier than waiting until your case may be too far gone to fix. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.

 

Publicado en Criminal Defense

Court Strikes Down Texas Revenge Porn Law

By Peek & Toland on agosto 25, 2018

The Texas 12th Court of Appeals has struck down the Relationship Privacy Act, the so-called Texas “revenge porn” law, which was passed 2015 to combat the growing trend of individuals posting nude or semi-nude pictures of their ex-partners on the internet without their permission. In fact, the law targeted not only the ex-partners who posted the photos, but also third parties who may have unwittingly shared the photos online, not knowing the circumstances of the photos’ creation. The law made it a misdemeanor to post private, intimate pictures, which carried penalties of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 file. Although dozens of other states have similar laws on the books, their consequences vary, and often include no jail sentence.

The appeal stemmed from the case of Jordan Bartlett Jones, who was charged under the Revenge Privacy Act after being accused of intentionally disclosing a photo of a semi-naked woman and revealing her identity, even though the woman had a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private. The appellate court ordered that the charges against Jones be dismissed.

 

Court Strikes Down Texas Revenge Porn Law

The Court ruled that the law violated the First Amendment, due to its vague and overly broad content-based restrictions. Although the Court’s ruling currently only impacts the Northeast Texas counties that fall under the jurisdiction of the Court, other courts throughout the state likely would consider the ruling in relevant cases.

The Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney will pursue an appeal of the ruling. In the event that the appeal is unsuccessful, the Texas Attorney’s General Office ultimately may appeal the Court’s ruling to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which is the highest criminal court in the state of Texas. However, given the breadth of the Texas law, higher courts are likely to raise similar concerns.

The Peek & Toland criminal defense lawyers are here to assist you in building a strong defense against your criminal charges, no matter the circumstances. Trust us to represent your interests and advise you of the best course of action in defending your case. Set up an appointment to talk to us today and discover how we can assist you with your immigration matter.

Publicado en Sin categorizar

DHS Moves to Rescind International Entrepreneur Rule

By Peek & Toland on agosto 24, 2018

The Trump administration has formally announced its intention to scrap an Obama-era program that was designed to attract foreign entrepreneurs to the U.S. According to Reuters, the program was an inappropriate use of government authority and did not provide sufficient protections for American workers and investors. The Trump administration claims that the program was an abuse of discretionary authority and should have been created by Congress, as well as pointing out other immigration programs designed for international entrepreneurs.

This program, commonly known as the International Entrepreneur Rule, was designed to allow foreign entrepreneurs to enter and temporarily remain in the U.S. for up to five years in order to operate start-up businesses. By statute, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the discretionary authority to parole individuals into the U.S. on a temporary basis, on a case-by-case basis. The Obama administration established the program just before Obama left office in January 2017. The program was set to go into effect in July 2017, but Trump delayed the start date of the program until March 2018, and previously had announced his intention to rescind the program altogether.

DHS Moves to Rescind International Entrepreneur Rule

Meanwhile, a federal judge ordered the program to go into effect in December 2017, when the trade group National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) challenged the postponement of the program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began applications that month, and to date, indicates that it has received about 12 applications, but has taken no action on those applications. The NVCA has challenged the inaction of the DHS on these applications, as well.

The skilled and knowledgeable immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to assist you with all of your immigration law needs. We regularly handle many types of immigration; our attorneys have the kind of strategic experience and skills that are necessary to reach the desired outcome in your case. By calling our office as quickly as possible after your legal issue arises, we will have the best opportunity to successfully resolve your immigration law case.

Publicado en Immigration Reform

What is a L-1 Visa and How Does It Work?

By Peek & Toland on agosto 23, 2018

An L-1 Visa allows a foreign company to expand its operations in the U.S. Under this type of visa, the company can transfer an employee in an executive or managerial capacity or who has specialized knowledge to work in or establish a location in the U.S. L-1A visas are for Executive or Manager Intracompany Transferees, and L-2A visas are for Specialized Knowledge Intracompany Transferees. These are temporary worker, nonimmigrant visas that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will scrutinize closely to make sure that the company actually places the employee in a position that requires executive or managerial skills or specialized knowledge. As a result, the company typically must provide extensive information about its business operations and practices, as well as the qualifications of its employees.

 

What is a L-1 Visa and How Does It Work?

There are additional requirements that a company must satisfy to obtain an L-1 visa for a worker, which includes the following:

·         The U.S. company petitioning for the visa must be a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company.

·         The U.S. company and the foreign company must be doing business as an employer in the U.S. and at least one foreign country for the duration of employee’s stay in the U.S.; if the U.S. company has been doing business in the U.S. for less than one year, then USCIS considers it to be a “new office” L-1 petition.

·         The employee must be of executive or managerial capacity, meaning that he or she must supervise and control the work of professional employees and make decisions on behalf of the company with no oversight.

·         The employee must have been employed as a manager, executive, or employee with specialized knowledge for at least one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the visa petition.

An L-1 visa petition either can be an individual L-1 petition or a blanket L-1 petition. The individual L-1 visa is valid for three years and can be renewed for a total of up to seven years. USCIS processes individual L-1 petitions, whereas the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country in which the employee is located.

The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have the experience and knowledge that are necessary to represent your interests when you are facing any type of immigration law issue. We are here to gather evidence on your behalf, build a strong case, and develop the best strategy for achieving your goals. Take the first step by contacting us today and learning what we can to help.

Publicado en Sin categorizar

Will I Lose My Immigration Status if I Get a DWI?

By Peek & Toland on agosto 22, 2018

Any type of arrest potentially can trigger deportation for an immigrant who is present in the U.S. Whether you are an undocumented immigrant or a legal immigration status, you could face deportation for an arrest, even if you never are convicted of the underlying crime. DWI charges are no exception. While no individual wants a DWI conviction on his or her record, the repercussions of a DWI potentially are much more severe for an immigrant, even if he or she is legally in this country.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) evaluates any criminal offense committed based on whether it is an aggravated felony or exhibits poor moral character. In some cases, the DWI is charged as a felony, which, in the state of Texas, can occur if it is your third or subsequent DWI arrest, if you had a child in the vehicle with you, if you were driving without a valid driver’s license, or if you were involved in a car accident at the time of the DWI that resulted in death, serious bodily injury, or property damage. If you are an immigrant facing felony DWI charges, you have a much greater chance of deportation than if you are facing a first-time misdemeanor DWI charge. Immigration authorities rarely will take action on your first misdemeanor DWI arrest.

 

Will I Lose My Immigration Status if I Get a DWI?

The repercussions of a DWI arrest for an immigrant also depend upon his or her immigration status and where he or she is in the immigration process. For example, if you are in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, the U.S. Department of State may automatically revoke your visa if you are arrested for DWI, which makes you ineligible for travel in the U.S. This is the case whether you have been convicted of DWI or not and definitely poses a problem if you wish to travel abroad and then reenter the U.S. If you do travel abroad, you generally must appear before an approved physician for an evaluation of alcohol and drug dependency in order to determine whether there is a health-based reason for inadmissibility to the U.S.

At Peek & Toland, we care about keeping your family together, whether that involves defending against deportation or another immigration-related matter. We will focus all of our efforts on standing up for your rights and representing your interests as you seek to remain in the U.S. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers know the best strategies for gathering evidence to support your case and navigating the complex rules of the U.S. immigration system. Allow us to handle your immigration case by sitting down with us today and discussing your case.

Publicado en Sin categorizar

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