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Sugar Land Criminal Defense Blog

Understanding constructive possession

Facing drug charges in Texas is no laughing matter. Depending upon the type and quantity of drugs you allegedly possessed at the time law enforcement officers arrested you, you could spend a considerable period of time in prison and/or be required to pay substantial fines if convicted

It goes without saying that to convict you of any drug crime, the prosecutor must first prove that you possessed the drugs in question. (S)he can do this in two ways, however, by proving that you actually possessed them or by proving that you constructively possessed them.

Consider college expenses in parenting plans

When couples divorce with young children, paying for college may be far from their minds. However, child custody plays an important role in a person's eligibility for financial aid in university. Some Texas colleges will consider the income and assets of both parents' households, including shared assets with new spouses, while others only look at the custodial parents' finances. Different divorce agreements and a parenting plan may also result in different obligations to pay for college expenses.

When applying for college, the college will define the custodial parent as the parent who a child has lived with most in the past 12 months. In shared custody situations, the custodial parent is the one who has provided the most financial support in the past 12 months. Students must determine which parent is custodial to fill out financial aid applications.

Retirement accounts may be only way to avoid 2019 alimony taxes

Divorces can often drag out over a long period of time, but high asset individuals may want to take steps to finalize their agreements sooner than later. Under new tax laws, people who divorce after Dec. 31, 2018 will no longer be able to deduct alimony payments unless they use retirement accounts to transfer funds. Trying to get ahead of this change may be best for many individuals in Texas, especially those with a high net worth.

Historically, Americans paying alimony have been able to deduct these payments from their taxes. Approximately 600,000 payer spouses use this deduction each year. There is no limitation on the amount that can be deducted, which is critical to the 20 percent of alimony payers who are in the top 5 percent of household income earners.

Can your child lose financial aid because of a drug conviction?

If you live in Texas and are preparing to send your son or daughter off to college for the first time this year, you may have concerns about how he or she might behave in your absence. Often, kids who go out on their own for the first time experiment and test boundaries, and while sometimes, it proves harmless, it can also have considerable effects on your child’s future.

If, for example, your child begins experimenting with drugs and authorities arrest him or her on some type of drug charge, in addition to criminal penalties, your college student may lose his or her access to financial aid.

Misunderstanding of separate versus community assets in divorce

Couples or individuals can often get tripped up with common mistakes during a divorce. For Texas divorcees, these often result from misunderstandings of family law and financial mismanagement. Whether it's a misunderstanding of separate versus community property or reckless financial behavior following a separation, these common issues can make it extremely difficult to rebuild after a marriage ends.

Many people enter a divorce unaware of what is truly separate versus community property in a marriage. This can result in people giving up too much in a divorce settlement, or conversely not asking for something that is justly theirs. It is important to clarify this when negotiating a settlement. Additionally, divorcing couples should define whether settlement details, such as alimony, are subject to change should financial circumstances change.

Local teacher and coach arrested on DUI suspicion

Being accused of a crime can often have personal and professional consequences as well as legal ones. Recently, a teacher and volleyball coach was arrested on DUI charges by a Texas State Trooper. The situation has resulted not only in a police investigation, but also an investigation from her employer, a local school.

The incident occurred after authorities and first responders arrived at a crash on U.S. Highway 87. According to those involved, a pickup traveling south had spun out after being hit on its right rear tire. According to a report, the pickup had not yielded right of way at a yield sign. 

Disputing rights to possession of a child can lengthen divorce

Getting a divorce can often take a long time, and many people seek ways to shorten the process. This is sometimes possible with mediation, but other time contentious issues like rights to possession of a child require added attention. While it can be necessary for some Texas divorces to involve a judge or multiple rounds of disputes, it is important to remember that this process can lengthen the divorce process.

While some divorces are straightforward, the majority have an issue or two that require special attention. This could range from division of assets to rights to possession of a child to spousal support. Most couples try to go to mediation to solve these issues while others land in court. When the legal system gets involved, the wait to get in front of a judge can stall the finalized divorce.

Are bartenders responsible in juvenile DUI/DWI cases?

When people drive home after going out and consuming alcohol, there can be serious criminal consequences. Recent DUI/DWI charges against minors in Texas has led to bars and restaurants in the state questioning their ID policies. While it is understood that young drivers could face DUI/DWI charges after driving under the influence, there are lesser known consequences for businesses and bartenders who serve them.

In addition to potential charges against bartenders who serve young people in DUI/DWI cases, those who buy drinks for minors at the bar can be charged with supplying alcohol to minors. This can be a challenging charge to face, as the people who buy and serve these drinks may argue that they did not know the people were minors. This can be especially tricky if they are using a fake ID. 

3 reasons to fight for full custody

In an ideal situation, parents divorce on amicable terms and remain committed to parenting their kids collaboratively. This is not always how things go, though, of course—a divorce often involves animosity, and that animosity often bleeds into custody negotiations. If you are unsure that your ex is fit to co-parent your children, you might be considering advocating for full custody rights. 

There are a number of reasons why this move might be the right one for your children. According to data from the Census, most custodial parents live at or below the poverty line, so if you fight for full custody for any of these reasons and win, you should receive child support, too. 

Juvenile defense and corrections system looks to make changes

Juvenile justice systems are often the target of much controversy and criticism. This has particularly been the case in Texas, where turmoil and scandal have plagued the state's juvenile defense and corrections system. Recently, a new set of goals were handed down to the agency in order to support young offenders in rehabilitation, in hopes of refocusing the Texas Juvenile Justice Department as a whole.

The new goals will clarify the department's mandate of "correcting" rather than simply punishing young offenders. The move comes after reporting from the The Dallas Morning News revealed that several guards in the system had been arrested for abuse. Immediate changes were made as a result of these revelations, such as changes in top-level staff and a thorough investigation.

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