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.

Who Gets the Family Pet in Property Division?

Divorce is a very difficult time for most people.  Apart from the obvious issues like support, child custody issues and access, and property division issues, there’s also the matter of who gets the family pet.

Many pet owners have a strong mutual attachment to their furry friends.  A recent report from the American Pet Products Association reveals that pet industry revenues were expected to be more than $75 billion in 2019.  The expenditures are for food, veterinary care, gifts, clothes and even portraits of the pet. In fact, the term “fur babies” has become quite common as more and more people have come to regard their pets almost as children.

Some jurisdictions have taken the divorcing parties’ emotional attachment and the welfare of the pet into consideration.  In 2010, an Alabama appeals court ruled that “where a pet is the subject of a division of property, the courts sometimes consider the best interest of the animal”.  The Vermont Supreme Court said that family courts “may consider … welfare of the animal and the emotional connection between the animal and each spouse”.

However, contrary to how many “pet parents” In Texas view their pets, the courts in Texas (and many other states) regard them as being “marital property” to be awarded or disposed of like any other piece of property such as cars and appliances.   

In property settlements, whether the “property” be animate or inanimate, your wisest course of action is to get the best legal representation available.  

Call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation or complete our online form.

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.

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.

Adoptions in Texas

Under Texas law there are strict procedures as to adoption and termination of parental rights. Very often a step-parent has been raising a child for years while the biological parent has chosen to make little to no effort to support the child or manage the child for whatever reason.

Texas law supports the best interest of the child and recognizes that’s what’s best for the child isn’t always a biological parent. Steps may be taken to begin the process for either a voluntary relinquishment of parental rights and consent to adoption, or to fight it out in court and leave it to a judge’s discretion as to grounds for termination, such as not paying child support for a year, or conviction of certain criminal offenses, and others.

Texas adoptions are relatively complicated, and many factors come into play. Some such factors have to do with the criminal history of the adoptive parent, the length of marriage, the presence of family support by the biological parent and more.

For more information on Texas adoptions, call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or complete our form for a free 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.

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.

Do I Need A Geographic Restriction in my Child Custody Order?

Texas law provides that a non-custodial parent may ask for a geographical restriction to an identifiable area as large as the United States or a small as a school district or street address. A Geographic restriction protects the non-custodial parent from a situation where the custodial parent up and leaves with the children, making access and visitation more difficult and more expensive.

Although most orders have “notice” provisions built into them as regards to providing notice of a relocation, it does not prohibit the other party from moving. A geographical restriction does. Sometimes, a court will allow an emergency hearing, once it is known that a person is moving, and a geographic restriction may be asked for then. However, it is always best to get one immediately.

Call The Barrera Law Firm, PC, at 956 428 2822 to get a free consultation, in order to inform of you of what your rights are and how to get started with taking action so that you are definitely an undeniable part of your child’s life.

Do I Need a Temporary Restraining Order For My Divorce Even If We Get Along?

woman returned wedding ring to  husband

Texas law provides that one may apply for a restraining order in a divorce case to simply keep the peace, reduce problems between the parties, ensure no one sells off, gifts or gives away property, and to lay the ground rules on what happens while a divorce is pending.

A hearing is set where the matters in the original temporary restraining order are decided as to whether they remain in effect.  Other provisions such as those below are also considered:

1) alcohol around the children;

2) who has control over the home and vehicles;

3) child support;

4) visitation;

5) geographical restrictions;

6) spousal maintenance;

7) and much more.

Temporary restraining orders are a useful tool in ensuring that a well prepared and orderly divorce occur with as little damage as possible.

If you need help with your divorce, call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation or complete our online form.

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.

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