Probation Violations in Texas

By Peek & Toland on December 4, 2018

While being sentenced to community supervision, or probation, as a result of a criminal offense is certainly preferable to jail, the court still has a significant amount of control over your life. Depending on the terms and conditions of your probation, you typically must report to a probation officer on a regular basis, pay fees, complete a certain number of hours of community service, undergo drug or alcohol testing, and seek permission from your probation officer before leaving the state.

If your probation officer believes that you have violated any of the terms of your probation, then he or she can file a motion to revoke your probation. If you are on deferred adjudication probation, then he or she can file a motion to adjudicate. Regardless of what is called, the results are the same; a motion to revoke or a motion to adjudicate both will result in a warrant for your arrest. After your arrest on a probation revocation, you must appear before a judge within 48 hours. However, only the judge who issued the arrest warrant can set bail for you in a probation revocation.

Probation Violations in Texas

You also have the right to be represented by counsel at a court hearing to determine whether you violated a condition of your probation. This hearing is very important, because it will be your only chance to explain why you don’t believe that you have violated your probation. As a result, contacting an attorney as soon as you believe that you may become subject to a probation violation is crucial.

Some common probation violations may include:

·         Being charged with a new criminal offense while on probation

·         Failing a drug or alcohol test

·         Not reporting to your probation officer as scheduled

·         Failing to complete community service hours as ordered

When you are charged with any type of criminal offense in the state of Texas, including probation violations, 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.

Posted in Drug Crimes, Uncategorized

SB 4 Requiring Police to Wrongfully Detain U.S. Citizens for ICE

By Peek & Toland on November 2, 2018

According to a recent policy brief issued by the Cato Institute, the passage of Texas law SB 4 will result in local law enforcement officials wrongfully detaining U.S. citizens upon a request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). SB 4 made it illegal – with jail time, steep fines, and removal from office as potential penalties – for police to fail to detain anyone whom ICE requests them to detain.


SB 4 Requiring Police to Wrongfully Detain U.S. Citizens for ICE

For example, over a 12-year period ranging from 2005 to 2017, ICE officials requested Travis County law enforcement agencies detain 814 individuals who claimed U.S. citizenship and presented officials with a social security number. Ultimately, ICE ended up canceling or declining to execute about a quarter of their original requests, which means that at least 228 U.S. citizens were wrongfully detained by police in just one county in Texas. If the same rate of wrongful detainer applies statewide, then there are thousands of U.S. citizens who are wrongfully detained by local police in the state of Texas; that number does not even take into account the number of U.S. citizens whom ICE did take into custody from local law enforcement agencies and later release after determining them to be citizens.

SB4 requires local law enforcement agencies to detain individuals under threat of jail time, even if they are quite sure that they have detained a U.S. citizen. Law enforcement should have the flexibility to review these requests for detainer and release U.S. citizens if warranted, prior to ICE declining to execute on their requests or taking the individuals into custody and later releasing them.

The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any type of relief under federal immigration laws, regardless of your situation. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your case. It is our intention to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you and your family through this difficult situation.

Posted in Uncategorized

What Crimes Under Texas Law Can Cause You to Be Placed on the Sex Offender Registry?

By Peek & Toland on September 29, 2018

Convictions for over 20 types of criminal offenses in the state of Texas require individuals to register as a sex offender. Additionally, sex offender registration can be a condition of parole or community supervision, in some cases. Individuals convicted of similar sex offenses in other states also can be required to register if they move to Texas. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 62.001 et seq. sets forth the criminal offenses that subject individuals who must register as sex offenders, as well as the requirements imposed on those who must register.

If individuals are convicted of certain sex offenses in Texas, they must register for a ten-year period. These criminal offenses include prostitution under Texas Penal Code Sec. 43.02(c)(3), online solicitation of a minor, second indecent exposure offenses under Sec. 21.08, unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping if the victim or intended victim was under the age of 17, and attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit some sex offenses, among others.

What Crimes Under Texas Law Can Cause You to Be Placed on the Sex Offender Registry?

Other sex offenses under Texas law require lifetime registration for individuals who are convicted of them. Some of these offenses include:

·         Continuous sexual abuse of or indecency with a young child or children under Sec. 21.02 and 21.11 (a)(1)

·         Sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault

·         Sexual performance by a child

·         Possession or promotion of child porn

·         Prohibited sexual conduct

·         Trafficking of a person under Sec. 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8)

·         Obscenity under Sec. 43.23(h)

Those individuals who are subject to Texas sex offender registration must comply with all of the requirements under Texas law. Some of these requirements include submission of a recent color photograph, a listing of the type of offense of which the individual was convicted, the age of the victim(s) involved in the offense, and a DNA sample. If individuals who are required to register as sex offenders spend more than 48 hours three times per month or more in a different municipality or county, they must provide certain information to the local law enforcement agency.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including sex offenses. 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.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Uncategorized

Heroin Charges Under Texas Law

By Peek & Toland on September 20, 2018

Facing heroin or any type of drug charges can be a frightening situation. Texas drug laws are notoriously harsh, and the highly addictive quality of heroin has caused it to be classified among the most dangerous of drugs. As a result, drug charges involving heroin are quite serious, can result in severe repercussions. No matter your situation, however, we are here to protect your rights and work toward minimizing any consequences of these criminal charges.

Heroin possession laws in Texas carry harsh penalties pursuant to the Texas Controlled Substances Act, as follows:

·         Less than one gram of heroin is a state jail felony with up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine.

·         One to 3.99 grams is a third-degree felony with two to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

·         Four to 199 grams is a second-degree felony with two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

·         200-399 grams is a first-degree felony with five to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

·         400 grams or more is an enhanced first-degree felony with ten to 99 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.


Heroin Charges Under Texas Law

These figures represent the maximum penalties allowable under law, so actual punishments can fall on the lower end of the range, depending on the circumstances. However, keep in mind that these are only the penalties for possession of heroin. If there is evidence that you possessed heroin with intent to sell it, there can be separate and harsher penalties. Evidence of intent to sell can be possession of a very large amount of heroin and paraphernalia commonly using in selling drugs, such as baggies and scales.

At Peek & Toland, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and defending you from any potential criminal charges. We are here to investigate the facts surrounding your case, consider your options, and help you develop the strategy that is best designed to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Do not waste time attempting to handle legal matters on your own; contact our office as soon as you are charged with a criminal offense so that we can provide you with the help that we need.

Posted in Uncategorized

What is Expunction?

By Peek & Toland on September 3, 2018

Even if an individual is never convicted of a crime, criminal records remain. An individual’s arrest record, any criminal charges that were filed, and trial proceedings all will remain public records, even if a criminal case is ultimately dismissed or an individual is found not guilty. These records can have a negative effect on a person’s career, social life, and overall ability to function normally in society. Therefore, it is not uncommon for an individual in this situation to try and have those records removed from the public record.

What is Expunction?

The process of expunction, which is often referred to as expungement in other states, is available only in narrow circumstances under Texas law. This is the process that you must go through in order to get rid of criminal records. Essentially, expunction occurs when you file a lawsuit to clear your criminal record, or to have the records resulting from a criminal arrest destroyed. You may qualify for an expunction of your criminal records if you meet the following criteria:

  • You went to trial and were acquitted or found not guilty.
  • You were pardoned.
  • You completed pre-trial diversion or intervention.
  • Your criminal charges were dismissed due to fraud, a lack of probable cause, or a similar situation.
  • Your criminal charges were dismissed and unless it was a Class C misdemeanor, you had no court-ordered probation, and the statute of limitations has expired.

Additionally, many counties have their own policies and procedures regarding expunctions, so having an attorney who is accustomed to handling expunctions in the county at issue can be key to a quick and successful resolution of your case.

If you find yourself charged with any type of criminal offense, you need legal advice that only experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys can offer you. As a result, you should immediately contact a skilled defense lawyer for help if you have been accused of a criminal offense. Peek & Toland provides strong legal representation on a regular basis for individuals who are charged with various crimes. It is our priority is to represent your interests and protect your rights. Call us at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.

Posted in Uncategorized

How to Get a Visa for Your Fiancé(e) to Come to the U.S.

By Peek & Toland on September 2, 2018

If your fiancé(e) is not a U.S. citizen, you likely will want to bring him or her to the U.S. so that you can marry and live together. U.S. immigration law provides a means for you to do so, in the form of the K-1 visa. As you will see, there are several steps that you and your fiancé(e) must take in order to complete the K-1 visa process. Perhaps most importantly, once your fiancé(e) arrives in the U.S., you have 90 days in which to legally marry and apply for lawful permanent residency, or a green card. Otherwise, the visa expires and your fiancé(e) must return to his or her home country.

How to Get a Visa for Your Fiance(e) to Come to the U.S.

To qualify for a K-1 visa, you (the petitioner) must be a U.S. citizen and must intend to get married within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s arrival in the U.S. Both you and your fiancé(e) must be legally free to marry, and you must have met one another in person at least once in the two years prior to filing the visa petition. You typically must submit evidence of your ongoing relationship to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with your visa evidence. Relevant evidence might include pictures of the two of you with family or friends, letters, cards, or email messages that you exchanged, and/or telephone records or logs.

USCIS normally approves or denies a K-1 visa petition within four to six months of its filing date. If the petition is approved, USCIS will notify the U.S. citizen petitioner and the National Visa Center. Your fiancé(e) then must submit an affidavit of support and any other necessary documentation. Thereafter, your fiancé(e) will be able to enter the U.S. on a K-1 visa.

While USCIS will approve most bona fide K-1 visa petitions, there are reasons that USCIS may deny a petition. For instance, USCIS might deny a K-1 visa petition due to a foreign national’s criminal background, insufficient financial or relationship documentation, medical problems, or a previous marriage of one of the parties that never has been terminated.

The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking a visa for you, a family member, or potential employee to enter the U.S. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your situation. It is our intention to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you with your legal immigration matter.

Posted in Uncategorized

When Can I Get My Weapon Back?

By Peek & Toland on September 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.

Posted in Uncategorized

What is an E Treaty Visa?

By Peek & Toland on August 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.


Posted in Uncategorized

Court Strikes Down Texas Revenge Porn Law

By Peek & Toland on August 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.

Posted in Uncategorized

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

By Peek & Toland on August 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.

Posted in Uncategorized

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