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Sugar Land Legal Blog

Not fighting a DWI now could result in harsher penalties later on

Red and blue lights in the rear view mirror and the sound of sirens is enough to unnerve any Sugar Land resident. Those who had a drink or two before driving may find themselves hoping for a speeding ticket instead of ending up under arrest for DWI. At that point, all they want is for the situation to be over as quickly as possible, especially if it is a first offense. However, not fighting a DWI charge now could end up resulting in harsher penalties down the road if another arrest occurs.

For instance, a 64-year-old Texas man recently received a sentence of 12 years in state prison after being convicted of a fifth DWI. His criminal record indicated convictions for DWI in 1983, 1992, and 2001. His record also showed a conviction for intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter in 2007 for which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Despite the age of his prior convictions, his status as a repeat offender meant that he could spend up to 20 years in prison for his latest and fifth offence.

Protect against these common child custody arguments

Regardless of the child custody arrangement you have with your ex-spouse, it's natural to have concerns about your ability to get along. And if you're unable to maintain a cordial relationship, it could impact the health and well-being of your children.

A sound understanding of the most common types of child custody arguments can help protect you against these in the future. Here are five to watch out for:

  • Arguments about parenting time: Rather than argue about this, turn to your parenting agreement and visitation schedule for a clear outline of what's expected of both parents. You both agreed to the terms and conditions during your divorce, so now's the time to put it to good use.
  • Arguments about parenting styles: In a perfect world, you and your ex would have the same parenting style. However, you can't expect this to be true at all times, as the both of you will have a unique style in regard to how you raise your children. You do your thing, and let your spouse do theirs.
  • Arguments about vacations and holidays: The both of you want to take vacations with your children and spend the holidays together, but there is only so much time to go around. If language associated with vacations and holidays aren't included in your parenting agreement, discuss these events with your ex as far in advance as possible.
  • Arguments about getting in the way during visits: For example, if you have visitation rights, you don't want your ex showing up early or arriving without notice. This takes time away from you and your children.
  • Arguments about your personal life: Your personal life, and that of your ex, has nothing to do with co-parenting. Keep this to yourself, and don't ask your ex for details about their personal life. If this creeps into your co-parenting experience, you can expect it to result in an argument.

7 face charges for drug crimes after investigation

One of the duties of law enforcement agencies across the country, including here in Texas, is investigating the manufacture, sale and distribution of illegal substances. Investigations into alleged drug crimes can last for months, and those under scrutiny may not be aware of it until officers and investigators arrive at their doors with a search warrant. By that time, authorities often believe they have the evidence needed in order to make an arrest.

Recently, police conducted an investigation that supposedly led to the seizure of a variety of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Specifically, police report that the search resulted in the seizure of 2.4 pounds of methamphetamine valued at around $110,300, more than one digital scale and other drug paraphernalia. Police took seven people into custody on suspicion of trafficking methamphetamine, among other things. Some of the individuals were arrested for trafficking, manufacturing and possession. Others face charges for possession of other drugs such as marijuana.

The divorce process isn't over until the decree is signed

It would be safe to say that most Sugar Land residents who are ending their marriages want the process to be over as quickly as possible. However, moving too fast could mean missing something important, which could mean having to go back to court later or failing to obtain the best deal possible. For this reason, it is essential to review the divorce settlement before the judge signs the decree and puts an end to the process.

Even a typographical error could spell disaster for a Sugar Land resident. For instance, a misplaced decimal point could mean less money than agreed upon during negotiations or than ordered by the court. The way something is worded makes a difference as well. Ambiguous terms such as "reasonable" could send the parties back to court since each party may have a different idea of what that word means. The parties need to review their settlement agreement and decree carefully and thoroughly.

Car vs. ambulance crash may lead to DWI charges for driver

Emergency vehicles here in Sugar Land and elsewhere may break certain traffic laws as long as it is deemed safe. Since drivers ordinarily anticipate the flow of traffic to follow the rules, emergency vehicles use their lights and sirens to warn them of their presence and probable defiance of them such as going through red traffic signals in order to hasten their trips. Of course, drivers must pay attention in order to react to these situations, and if a driver fails to do so, police may suspect impairment, which could lead to DWI charges.

In fact, police did suspect impairment of a driver recently involved in a crash with an ambulance. The ambulance was transporting a pregnant woman when it began a left turn against a red light. The driver, who was coming from the opposite direction, failed to obey the red traffic signal, failed to stop and crashed into the ambulance.

Sobriety misconceptions that could lead to a DWI arrest

Most Sugar Land residents have heard all kinds of theories about how to stay sober while drinking. The problem is that most of them do not affect a person's blood alcohol concentration. Following these sobriety misconceptions could lead to a DWI arrest.

For example, some say that eating bread will "soak up" the alcohol in a person's stomach, which will help sober them up. However, eating anything after someone has already started drinking does not help. Bread will not take the place of the alcohol already in the bloodstream.

Divorce, an ex-spouse and Social Security benefits

Finances are a primary concern for many people about to end a marriage. A change in lifestyle is usually inevitable after a divorce, and making ends meet may require some support. Even if a Texas resident receives spousal support, he or she may decide to take advantage of another source of income to supplement it -- Social Security benefits.

Under certain circumstances, a divorced Texas resident may have the ability to receive benefits based on the employment record of his or her former spouse. In order to pursue benefits in this manner, the parties must have been married for a minimum of 10 years. The individual may collect half of the benefits to which an ex-spouse's record entitles him or her. If the ex-spouse is deceased, the surviving former spouse may collect 100% of those benefits.

Those facing a first-offense DWI may benefit from a change in law

Everyone makes mistakes. One that some Texas drivers make is driving while intoxicated, and many feel that mistake should not necessarily negatively impact their lives. The Texas legislature appeared to agree that certain individuals deserve a second chance and changed the laws by adding a provision that could benefit those facing a first-offense DWI.

Texas drivers whose blood alcohol content does not reach or exceed .15, do not have a commercial learner's permit or do not have a commercial driver's license endorsement could take advantage of the new law, which went into effect on Sept. 1. A judge may defer the guilty verdict and the sentence of a first-time offender if he or she successfully uses an ignition interlock device for a specified period. After the period expires, the judge may dismiss the charges, which allows the driver to avoid a conviction going on his or her record.

Drug convictions can derail a young person’s future

As we grow into adulthood, we all face moments where our future seems uncertain, and these moments can have huge impacts on the paths our lives take. One of the most destructive and difficult challenges to face for any young person is a drug possession charge. Many people throw their hands up and hope that the prosecutor or judge "takes it easy" on them, but this is rarely a wise approach.

Anyone who faces drug possession charges should consider all of the legal tools and guidance that they have available and use these tools to build the best defense they can. Without a strong defense, the risks are simply too great. In Texas, and many other states throughout the country, the punishments for drug possession are much harsher than other non-violent offenses, and a single mistake can alter the course of a person's life forever.

Parallel parenting plans help children and parents

Some Sugar Land couples cannot easily envision a time when they can talk to each other after a divorce without it turning into an argument. This could make co-parenting nearly impossible since it requires a lot more contact between the parents than these couples can handle. Parallel parenting plans could provide the answer.

Parallel parenting significantly limits the contact divorced parents have with each other. In fact, this post-divorce parenting method makes it possible for parents to never speak to each other in person, which could be the best solution, especially for the children. Parents only communicate about the children and do so through some electronic method such as email, text or a smartphone app.

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The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC
1650 Highway 6
Suite 420
Sugar Land, TX 77478

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