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How Can I Stop Someone From Sending Me Harassing Text Messages?

By Peek & Toland on June 4, 2019

Harassment consists of any unwanted or repeated conduct, which includes harassing text messages. This definition also encompasses in-person contact, phone calls, emails, and any other types of contact via the Internet. In fact, the text messages or other unwanted communications do not have to be specifically threatening in any way to constitute harassment. So long as the contact is unwanted, the text messages qualify as harassment.

There are some practical steps that you can take to fight back against unwanted harassing text messages. First, you should take screenshots or photographs of the text messages. Go one step further to protect your documentation of the messages by protecting or locking them on your device and creating backups of the images so that you don’t lose them in the event of a system back-up or accidental deletion.

Next, download your cell phone activity records. If you have difficulty accessing these records, you can contact your cell phone service provider for help. Save the downloaded files and print out a hard copy to review. On the printed copy, you can make it easier for law enforcement authorities to review the records by highlighting the number of harassing text messages or phone calls that you have received.

If you have taken any action to stop the harassment yourself, you also should provide documentation of those actions. For instance, if you sent the harasser a text message asking him or her to stop texting you, you should include a screenshot of that text message.

As most people know the person who is harassing them, whether due to a prior relationship or friendship, co-worker relationship, or another context, you should detail the history of your relationship and contact with that person. If you exchanged Facebook messages, text messages, email messages, or had other forms of communication, you should document as many details as you can remember so that law enforcement authorities have a clear understanding of any prior relationship that you had with the person who is now harassing you.

Finally, you should make a copy of all your documentation for your own files, add your contact information, and go to the local police state to make a formal police report about the harassment that you are enduring. This is the best way to document your efforts to make the harassment stop.

When you are charged with any type of criminal offense in the state of Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests from the very beginning of your case. Taking steps to get you released from jail and fight for your rights at the outset of your case is typically easier than waiting until your case has progressed. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.

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Bill Proposes Addition of Felony Samples to Texas DNA Database

By Peek & Toland on May 12, 2019

Under current Texas law, law enforcement officers collect DNA samples from suspects only when they are facing certain felony charges. A proposed measure filed by State Rep. Reggie Smith would expand the collection of DNA samples from more defendants in criminal investigations. According to the bill, law enforcement officers would take the DNA samples at the time of arrest.

In 2001, Texas passed the first law in the country to mandate the collection of DNA samples from some felony offenders. Eighteen states require DNA samples by given by all individuals facing felony charges at the time of their arrests. In these states, the mandatory collection of DNA samples has resulted in more DNA matches in pending criminal cases, more arrests, and more convictions. Even if the proposed measure passed this year, Texas still would not require the submission of DNA samples in all felony arrests.

Bill Proposes Addition of Felony Samples to Texas DNA Database

However, these DNA samples often remain on file even if the individuals later are exonerated of the crime, which drew objections from at least one state representative. State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, a member of the public safety committee, raised concerns about the DNA of individuals remaining in a law enforcement agency DNA database even if they later are found innocent of the crime. He would like to see a mechanism to remove the DNA from the database in these situations.

The usage of DNA in law enforcement investigations in Austin has been the subject of many media reports over the last few years due to the large number of unprocessed rape kits that came to light due to backlogs in the police lab. The city has taken measures to remedy the problems with processing these samples. If you or a family member is facing any type of criminal charges, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

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What is the Open Container Law in Texas?

By Peek & Toland on April 2, 2019

Under Texas law, an open container includes any unsealed bottle, can, flask, or other container used to hold alcohol. As a result, a completely sealed bottle of wine, beer, or liquor would not qualify as an open container.

Having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle becomes a crime only when it is present in the passenger compartment of your vehicle. In other words, the container must be visible and accessible from the driver’s seat. It would be illegal, therefore, to have an unsealed bottle of liquor in your cupholder or in the passenger seat. It would not be illegal, though, if the unsealed bottled was in the glove compartment or another locked storage compartment, in the trunk, or in the area behind your seat, if your vehicle doesn’t have a trunk.

 

What is the Open Container Law in Texas?

 

These rules regarding open containers apply not only when you are in a moving vehicle, but when you are parked or stopped on or immediately next to a public road. Additionally, these rules apply not only to drivers, but to passengers, as well. Plus, you can be charged with a violation of open container laws even if you are 100% sober.

There are some exceptions to the open container law. For instance, you may be able to legally transport an open container while a passenger in taxis or limos. An exception also exists for transporting open containers in recreational vehicles (RVs) or motorhomes.

Violation of the open container law is a Class C misdemeanor, which means that you are likely to be given a ticket and a fine that is not excess of $500. As long as you are sober at the time of the traffic stop and aren’t committing any other crimes, you are not at risk of a jail sentence.

When you are charged with any type of criminal offense in the state of Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests from the very beginning of your case. Taking steps to get you released from jail and fight for your rights at the outset of your case is typically easier than waiting until your case has progressed. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.

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Peek and Toland Partner and Criminal Defense Attorney Steve Toland was interviewed by KEYE-TV News about the criminal charges faced by two men in the deadly accident in Cedar Park caused by street racing.

By Peek & Toland on January 22, 2018

Peek and Toland Partner and Criminal Defense Attorney Steve Toland were interviewed by KEYE-TV News about the criminal charges faced by two men in the deadly accident in Cedar Park caused by street racing.

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Get Your Lazy Kids to Help with Spring Cleaning

By Peek & Toland on March 26, 2014

The fridge is full of expired food and strange smells, the floor has some spots and stains, and clouds of dust reveal themselves in the spring sunlight that streams through the windows. It’s about time to engage in some spring cleaning.
Austin Criminal DefenseYou look forward to having an immaculate living space again, but you dread all the work that goes into it. And there your kids are, the ones responsible for the mess, lying around, browsing the internet, playing video games, and just being plain lazy. Whip those kids into shape; have them help around the house! Teach them a valuable lesson on responsibility and lighten the burden of spring cleaning for yourself – that’s two birds with one stone. Here’s how you do it. Read the rest »

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