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Plano Criminal Defense Law Blog

Texting While Driving: New Texas Law Needs Autocorrect

image1.jpgAs you may have heard, Texas has passed House Bill 62 which will be codified as Section 545.4251 of the Texas Transportation Code. This new law, effective September 1, 2017, will prohibit the use of a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle, unless the vehicle is stopped. Said another way, you can no longer text and drive unless you are safely stopped at a red light or stop sign. Electronic message means a text message, email, or even social media message that is being sent for the purpose of communicating with another person. Certain exceptions will apply for emergency situations.

The Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Dilemma

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Sometimes bad things happen to good people. One of the more frequent examples of this occurs when a driver obeying all of the traffic laws is involved in a car accident. Usually, if you are not at fault, the other driver's insurance will cover the damages to your vehicle as well as your reasonable medical expenses.

Most states, including Texas, have a law that requires drivers to maintain a liability insurance policy. If a driver does not have liability insurance that meets the minimum required levels of insurance coverage, they are committing a crime known in Texas as "Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility."

What does a criminal defense attorney actually do for me?

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We hear it almost daily from potential clients that call to inquire about our services. What does hiring a defense attorney do for me? Can you guarantee a dismissal? If you can't guarantee a dismissal, why should I pay you? We've probably answered these questions over 100 times over the last calendar year alone, which indicates to us that this is something that many people clearly don't know. So what can a criminal defense attorney do for you?

Often times in criminal cases there is no one on your side. The first and most important thing we can do for you is be in your corner as the only one standing between you and the state of Texas. Let's take the picture attached with the article. This is a pretty well-known picture from Tiananmen Square, with a few editorial editions. This is telling, because if you are charged with a crime, the State has the power of the tanks behind it. They have almost unlimited resources, law enforcement brotherhood on their side, multiple photos and documents they'll try to use against you, complaining witnesses determined to have you thrown in jail, etc. They can and will use all of this against you. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony, the State has the force of multiple tanks behind them, which leaves you in an extremely vulnerable position.

Miranda Warnings: When are they required?

We've all seen plenty of legal TV shows and movies that depict the "Miranda warnings" that are read after someone is arrested by the police on suspicion of a crime. You probably even have most of them memorized. (Hint: The first one is "you have the right to remain silent.") The warnings set out in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 467-73 (1966) protect a person's constitutional rights against self-incrimination during a custodial interrogation. But many people incorrectly believe that if an officer doesn't read you the Miranda warnings the second he puts the cuffs on you, your case will later be dismissed. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. An officer doesn't need to read you the Miranda warnings until you are both in custody and being questioned by the police with the intention that your answers will be used against you at trial. Much of the distinction about when an officer needs to read Miranda comes down to a.) What type of encounter you are having with the police and b.) What type of information they are asking you.

What is a Motion to Suppress?

image7.jpgA Motion to Suppress is a pre-trial motion that can be filed with the court stating that certain procedural rights have been violated in your case and which requests that certain evidence be barred from use at any potential trial. If successful, often times this results in the underlying charges being dismissed as the prosecution is prohibited from using that evidence at trial and thus would not be able to prove one or more essential elements of the crime. Other times it may result in a particular statement that you made or other specific pieces of evidence (photos, blood results, audio/video recordings, etc.) being excluded from evidence if they were wrongfully obtained, which may not end the case altogether but will make it much harder on the prosecution to prove the charges against you.

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We understand that this can be a very stressful time in your life. You want your case to go away as soon as possible, but you need to be sure you are making the right decisions to best protect your future.
We will give you honest advice about the options available to you.

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Peter & Lanzillo, PLLC

Peter & Lanzillo, PLLC
1505 Precision Drive
Plano, Texas 75074

Phone: 972-914-9601
Fax: 972-924-9789
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