Wrongful Death: What is it and Why Seeking an Attorney is Vital

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If someone you know has died wrongfully, call The Barrera Law Firm for a free consultation

An area that our law firm services is the area of wrongful death. Wrongful death is the unfortunate occasion where someone dies because of the negligence of another. Whether it happened at work, whether it happened on their way to work or whether it happened in some other unfortunate circumstance, anytime somebody dies because of the negligence of another that is wrongful in Texas, our firm will advise whether there is a wrongful death case that we can assist you with. People, families, individuals who have any relation to the deceased person may be included in the recovery. The estate of that person can make a claim on the insurance company, on the individual themselves, for their actions. They will have to take responsibility for their actions and if possible, answer in the court of law.

The type of damages that are available in wrongful death can be anywhere from punitive damages to economic damages to compensatory damages. Anything that the person should have been entitled to or could have been entitled to may be entered upon this, and if there is gross negligence or acts that are highly reckless the court can also consider additional damages to compensate for as well.

If wrongful death occurs when a person is at work, the area where the person is at work may be liable for damages. It is important to see an attorney regarding what kinds of damages are available to the estate of that deceased person. It is in fact necessary for that person to move immediately in order to preserve any evidence that is associated with wrongful death. Often and occasionally, unfortunately, some evidence can be spoiled or can be not preserved and not available for later action. If you get an attorney involved quickly, that attorney can put that organization on notice and if the court decides that the entity was put on notice then that organization cannot just use the excuse conveniently in court that the evidence isn’t available. The jury may have to assume the worst possible scenario in the absence of that evidence.

Criminal Law and Your Constitutional Rights

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Our attorneys know your rights. Call The Barrera Law Firm.
One of the areas of law The Barrera Law Firm participates in is criminal law, more appropriately called constitutional law. When one is accused of a crime, when one is called before a court to answer up on a crime, people need to know they have rights, and those rights come from the Constitution and those rights come from under the law themselves. Individuals will often feel the full force and burden of the state or federal government when they are accused of a federal crime. Often, people aren’t even aware they are committing a crime. Sometimes people are inaccurately or inappropriately accused of crimes. Either way, they should immediately seek the assistance of an attorney to fight for their rights, to ensure that all avenues are explored and that the government meets its burden to provide evidence on every allegation they bring forth.

When you hire an attorney you should ensure that attorney cares about your case. You should ensure that attorney will sit down with you and listen to all your needs and concerns, and that the attorney is there for you. An important aspect of choosing an attorney is being able to feel comfortable with communicating to that attorney and feeling like that attorney is comfortable in communicating to you. Through communication you can achieve quite a bit and it is important that an attorney especially cares about you and he cares about your case.

Auto Accidents and Legal Representation

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Call The Barrera Law Firm for a free consultation following a car accident.

If you’re in an auto collision and the other person involved in that car wreck does not have insurance your options are not completely exhausted. You have other options available to you. Your own policy may have provisions included in it which will allow you to recover. An insurance contract is an agreement between you and an insurance company. You pay into it every month, or every six months or every year and you are expected to get something in exchange or in return for what you gave them. They, on the other hand, will be responsible for providing you what has been promised. In this case, you will have various things in your policy that may be included such as Personal Injury Protection, Under-insured Motorist or Uninsured Motorist. These aspects protect you when you are in an auto accident. They will provide you money that can be advanced toward hospital expenses or towards other expenses that are associated with the collision.

One thing to keep in mind is that an insurance adjuster is an individual who works for the insurance company. They do not work for you. They represent an insurance company which is a business, and that business is set up to be as profitable as possible. When you are involved in a collision, that insurance adjuster is not looking at your best interests alone. They are looking at the interests of the insurance company. Seeing an attorney is absolutely imperative when you’re in a collision because an attorney will be looking at your best interests and insuring that every possible form of recovery is granted on your end. The best thing to do before making any kind of recorded statement or communicating with an insurance adjuster is call an attorney. Call an attorney to get signed up to represent you so that insurance adjuster will have to go through that attorney who is equally or better matched against that insurance adjuster and their attorneys to represent your best interests.

Very often an insurance adjuster will try and take advantage of an individual’s uninformed position in an auto collision and offer a sum of money, which seems very tempting at the time. They’ll bring you a check, you’ll sign for it, you’ll have money in the bank. However, what happens when you accept that check, well the insurance company has essentially washed their hands of any future medical expenses you may have, or complications associated with your claim or new and relevant information about your claim that may come up about your auto collision that will be more expensive for you. And in doing so, your business is concluded with that insurance company. However, if you inform your attorney and ask them to represent you in your best interest they will ensure that all possibilities are explored and that you get the best possible situation for you, not the insurance company.

What is Interference with Child Custody?

Anyone who has ever seen a rerun of the television show Law & Order is familiar with the term “custodial Interference”.  In the TV show, it is made to seem like a “lesser” offense. But that’s television. In real life, it is a punishable serious offence.

Interference with child custody occurs when a person takes or retains a child under 18 years of age:

  • When the person knows that the act violates a judgment or order of custody
  • When the person takes the child out of the jurisdiction while a custody suit is pending
  • When the person takes the child out of the U.S. with the intent to deprive the person with possession of the child of possession or access

It is also a violation of child custody laws if the noncustodial parent knowingly entices or persuades the child to leave the custody of his or her custodial parent or guardian.

There are some circumstances that provide an affirmative defense for those committing interference with child custody.  For instance, if the person taking or retaining the child was fleeing the commission or the attempted commission of family violence against the child or the person, or if the retention of the child was due to circumstances beyond the person’s control and every effort was made to contact the custodial parent or guardian, the court would take this into consideration.

In issues of child custody and other matters of family law, your wisest course of action is to consult an experienced attorney for advice.

Do you need help with issues related to child custody?  Call us at (956) 428-2822 or complete our online form for a confidential and no-obligation consultation.

Making a Strong Criminal Defense Strategy

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Help justice fall in your favor. Call The Barrera Law Firm for a free consultation.
Ending up on the wrong end of the law, whether you are guilty of an actual crime or not, is no laughing matter. It is a serious situation that deserves a your utmost attention. Building a strong criminal defense strategy is important as it is all that stands between you and your freedom and heavy fines. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your defense strategy as you want to give yourself plenty of time to prepare so your defense will go smoothly when you finally have your day in court.

  1. Choose your criminal defense team wisely. Always research at least three criminal defense lawyers before you decide on one. Choose one that has had experience with your specific type of situation. You may want to ask friends and family if they have had any experience with criminal defense lawyers. If you know of anyone who has had a case like yours and won, make sure you give their lawyer a try. A criminal defense team that is familiar with your type of case will better your chances of getting a verdict that falls in your favor.
  2. Discuss your defense options. Talk to your lawyer about your defense options. There are generally three versions of events that defendants of criminal defense cases have. The three options are a confession, in which you admit your guilt, a complete denial, in which you deny your part in the crime, and an admit and explain story, in which you admit to part of the story but not all of it.
  3. Disclose any and all details of your case to your criminal defense team. It is important to give your criminal defense team all of the details concerning your story. They need to know if there is any chance of surprise evidence or witnesses coming forward for the prosecutor. When your lawyer knows the whole story, they can prepare your defense around it.
  4. Decide on a strategy and then stick with your story. Once you and your criminal defense team have decided on a defense strategy, you will need to come up with a solid story. Practice your story day and night. Go over every detail until you know it by heart. Its easy to get scared and confused once you get up on the witness stand to be interrogated by the prosecutor. Having your side of the story completely planned and ready to go will help take the edge off so you wont’ appear so nervous to the jury when you are in the hot seat.
  5. Look professional when you show up in court. When you show up in court, make sure you look your best. For men, you should wear either a suit or at least a button down shirt and slacks. Try to cover, or minimize, tattoos and jewelry. Women should look professional as well, in either a pants suit or dress. Looking your best for court shows that you are serious. Since this will be the first impression the jury has of you, make sure it is a good one as they will be deciding your fate.

Annulment of Marriage in Texas

Annulment of a marriage is not the same as a divorce. Divorce is the dissolution of a valid marriage. Annulment ends a marriage that was not valid to begin with.

Grounds for annulment include:

    1.  Impotence.  If one spouse is permanently unable to have sex and the petitioning spouse did not know about the impotence at the time of the marriage, the marriage may be eligible for annulment.
    1.  Intoxication.  If one of the spouses was too intoxicated during the wedding ceremony to have had the capacity to consent to marriage, the marriage may be eligible for annulment provided that the spouses did not continue to live together after the effects of intoxication wore off.
    1. Incest.  Spouses who have a familial relationship closer than first cousins do not form a valid marriage.
    1. Fraud.  If one of the spouses “tricked” the other into marrying him or her by hiding or lying about something essential to the marriage, the marriage may be eligible for annulment.
    1. Bigamy.  If one of the spouses was already married, the later marriage is not valid.  However, if the earlier marriage is dissolved and the spouses of the later marriage continue to live together, the later marriage is not eligible for annulment.
    1. Underage.  Marriage between spouses, either of whom was under the legal age to get married, is not valid.  Annulment does not necessarily have to be filed by the underage spouse; a parent or guardian can file on their behalf.  If the marriage continues past the legal age of 18 (or 16 with parental consent or a court order), it is no longer eligible for annulment.
  1. Duress or force.  If one of the spouses was threatened, forced or coerced into the marriage, the marriage may be eligible for annulment as long as the spouses did not continue to live together after the duress was no longer present.

Is your marriage eligible for annulment? Call us at (956) 428-2822 or complete our online form for a confidential and no-obligation consultation.

Divorce: Why You Need Good Representation

When a marriage has reached a point where the only solution to problems are separation, its time to talk about divorce. When you are married, it is often the case that finances become intertwined. A divorce is the process of legally separating a couple’s finances in a way that is, hopefully, fair to both parties. While in a perfect world people would be able to do this simply between themselves, without the assistance of a lawyer and judge, most of the time the emotions that are a natural part of divorce prevent this from being a possibility. A good family lawyer, specializing in divorce, is a critical part of obtaining a fair settlement from a divorce proceeding.

  1. Calm and clear guidance. A good divorce lawyer will give you calm and clear guidance during your divorce. While your emotional state may prompt you to irrational and hasty decisions, the lawyer, who is emotionally neutral, will be able to guide you to make more productive choices.
  2. They know the way the system works. Going through a divorce is a complex task. There are many laws, statutes, and protocols that must be followed. While this may be your first divorce, it is one of many for a good divorce lawyer. This experience with divorces and having good divorce representation at your side will help you to navigate the waters of the divorce system and steer you clear to the other side with as little trouble as possible.
  3. Better chance of child custody going your way. When a divorce involves children, things can get even trickier. Choose your divorce lawyer very carefully if you will be fighting for custody of your children. Make sure that the lawyer you choose has had good success in the past with child custody suits.
  4. Will act as a mediator between you and your spouse. While you and your spouse may have trouble talking rationally about how to divide up your common estate items, a lawyer has no emotional ties to either of you and can act as a neutral mediator between you and your husband. For this reason, you want to make sure the divorce representation you choose is someone you feel comfortable with and who has a history of getting his clients fair divorce settlement.
  5. Why would you want anything less than great legal representation? A divorce can be one of the most challenging, and life changing, events in your life. Depending on how your divorce is settled, you could end up with, or without, your property, children and financial security. Why wouldn’t you want the best possible divorce representation to guide you during this difficult time? Choosing the least expensive divorce lawyer could end up costing you way more than you bargained for in the end, so do your research and make sure you choose a good one.

Having the best divorce representation possible is vital to getting a fair divorce settlement. With the right lawyer at your side, your divorce will proceed much more smoothly and result in a much quicker, and more amiable, split with your soon to be ex-spouse.

What is a Sealed Record?

What is a Sealed RecordCourt proceedings are a matter of public record and, in most cases, can be easily accessed by anyone, often on line. Not only are there companies that will provide you with court records (for a fee), but the State of Texas has a website devoted to providing the general public “with an easy and straightforward method to search for, examine, and obtain public records, arrest records, court records and more”.

It is possible to seal some records through the process of obtaining an “order of nondisclosure”. A sealed record still exists but is not available to the general public. However, this does not mean that your records are unavailable to everyone. The court may disclose the information contained in the sealed court records to:

  • criminal justice agencies for criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes;
  • an agency or entity listed in Section 411.0765; or
  • the person who is the subject of the order.

The agencies and entities listed in Section 411.0765 that may see sealed records is a fairly long list and includes other criminal justice agencies who may obtain the records in some circumstances such as: various state departments and licensing agencies; and financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and their federal regulatory entities. The list of exceptions to the non-disclosure also includes some schools and fire departments.

Not all records are eligible to petition the court for an order of nondisclosure. The records of many sexual offenses and some crimes of violence may not be sealed.

To determine whether your petition to the court for an order of nondisclosure would be successful, you should consult an attorney.

The Barrera Law Firm is here to help you. Call us at (956) 428-2822 or complete our online form for a free and confidential consultation.

Types of Wills in Texas

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The Barrera Law Firm can assist you with creating a will
No one likes to think about what will happen when death comes to them. However, legal planning is necessary so that in this event friends and family members will be able to make sure your wishes are followed. There are several types of wills that can be created, and depending on your financial portfolio and the depth to which you want to control how your estate is treated at the time of your death.

Wills

A will, as defined by Law, is a legal declaration in which a person, or a couple, names those they wish to transfer their property to at the time of their death. Wills can be written by an individual as long as they are over the age of majority and of sound mind. The age of majority is defined as over the age of 18 in America. Sound mind simply means that a person is rational when they create the will, or not clinically defined as insane or incompetent. Typically, however, an attorney is used to create a will. There are several laws that exist, different from state to state, that define rules regarding wills. For example, in community property state, a surviving spouse cannot be left out of a will. Using an attorney to create a will ensures that it is completely legal and that upon your death, your wishes will be carried out just as you dictate.

Living Wills

Living wills are those that a person creates to make known their wishes regarding life support and medical treatments in the case that they are left incapacitated and unable to make their wishes known. If you are involved in an automobile accident that leaves you in a coma and hooked up to life support, if you do not have a living will, your relatives will have to make the decision of whether to leave you hooked up to life support indefinitely or allow you to pass on without it. This can be an emotionally devastating decision for family members to make, and knowing your wishes through a living will makes the decision simpler and ensures your wishes are followed even though you cannot express them physically at the time.

Living Trusts

A living trust is actually a mechanism that is used to hold and distribute a persons assets in order to avoid probate. A probate is a function of wills that involves a third party inventorying and appraising the property, and they paying debts and taxes accrued before distributing what is left over from the estate to the surviving family members. A living trust allows the entire state to be transferred to your surviving family at the time of your death without having to use a probate.

Advanced Planning

Advanced planning is the creation of a course of action, which you set down in legal form, in the case that you become ill and unable to plan for yourself. Some of the areas covered under advanced planning include estate tax planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, planning for disabled or problem beneficiaries and creating a family or charitable legacy.

False Reports of Child Abuse

Child abuse is an ugly subject.  It’s hard to imagine anything more despicable than deliberately harming a defenseless child.  

What, exactly, constitutes child abuse?

Child abuse includes:

    • Mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning
    • Causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning
    • Physical injury that results in substantial charm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child
    • Failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury causing substantial harm to the child
    • Sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare
    • Failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child
    • Compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct
    • Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographic or other depiction of the child that is obscene
    • Using a controlled substance in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child
    • Causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance
    • Child trafficking
  • Forcing a child into marriage

Penalties for child abuse are swift and certain, as are penalties for false allegations of child abuse.  If it is established that a party knowingly made false allegations of child abuse, that false report can be used against the one making the false allegation during custody proceedings.

If you have been falsely accused of child abuse, contact us for help.  Call us at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation or complete our online form.

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