Deferred Adjudication and Criminal Background Checks

Will a criminal background check show my arrest if my conviction was deferred or I received a period of deferred adjudication?

ORDER OF NON-DISCLOSURE CAN SEAL YOUR RECORD FROM CERTAIN CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS

Your record of arrest will still come up on a criminal background check unless you take further legal steps after you successfully complete your period of deferred adjudication.

Texas law allows a person who has successfully finished a court ordered period of deferred adjudication to request from the court an order of nondisclosure that prohibits the government from disclosing to the public criminal information related to that offense.

Additionally, the government is permitted to release criminal history information related to an order of nondisclosure to criminal justice agencies and authorized government agencies.

ORDER OF NON-DISCLOSURE IS NOT PERMISSIBLE FOR CERTAIN OFFENSES

You may not file to seal your records from criminal background checks if you were convicted of:

  • Indecency with a Child
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Prohibited Sexual Conduct (such as Incest)
  • Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Compelling Prostitution
  • Sexual Performance by a Child
  • Injury to a Child
  • Violation of a Protective Order
  • Any Offense Involving Family Violence
  • Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography
  • Unlawful Restraint, Kidnapping, or Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Murder and Capital Murder
  • Attempt, Conspiracy, or Solicitation to Commit any of the Above Offenses

AN ORDER OF NON-DISCLOSURE IS NOT EFFECTIVE BY CERTAIN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND LICENSING BOARDS

A criminal justice agency may disclose criminal history record information that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure to the following noncriminal justice agencies or entities only:

  • the State Board for Educator Certification;
  • a school district, charter school, private school, regional education service center, commercial transportation company, or education shared service arrangement;
  • the Texas Medical Board;
  • the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;
  • the Board of Law Examiners;
  • the State Bar of Texas;
  • a district court regarding a petition for name change under Subchapter B, Chapter 45, Family Code;
  • the Texas School for the Deaf;
  • the Department of Family and Protective Services;
  • the Texas Youth Commission;
  • the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services;
  • the Department of State Health Services, a local mental health service, a local mental retardation authority, or a community center providing services to persons with mental illness or retardation;
  • the Texas Private Security Board;
  • a municipal or volunteer fire department;
  • the Texas Board of Nursing;
  • a safe house providing shelter to children in harmful situations;
  • a public or nonprofit hospital or hospital district;
  • the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission;
  • the securities commissioner, the banking commissioner, the savings and mortgage lending commissioner, or the credit union commissioner;
  • the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy;
  • the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;
  • the Health and Human Services Commission;
  • the Department of Aging and Disability Services; and
  • the Texas Education Agency.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER GETTING YOUR RECORD SEALED?

You may tell your private employers that you have not been convicted of the crime that was sealed, you may feel more confident when a criminal background check is performed by a non-government agency, and you can seal your record from the public.

Contact The Barrera Law Firm to find out whether you qualify for the application process through a free in-person or over the phone consultation.

Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action

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

You may know that if a person dies as the result of a personal injury, his or her estate can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. But are you aware of the legal procedure called a survival action?

Wrongful death and survival statutes
In Texas, when someone dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, wrongful acts or defective products, two laws exist to allow for actions to help families become whole again.

One is the Texas Survival Statute, which is so named because it allows a personal injury lawsuit to “survive” the death of a person. The other, called the Wrongful Death Act, allows a surviving spouse, children and parents of the deceased to bring about legal action. The deceased may be any person including a child not born alive.

How the laws work
A survival action is prosecuted in the same manner as an ordinary personal injury lawsuit. Damages – such as lost wages, medical bills, property damage, funeral expenses – are available under this statute. Recovery is offered as part of the deceased’s estate.

In wrongful death suits, beneficiaries can recover personally for the damages they incur as a result of the loss of their loved ones and not the actual injuries sustained to the deceased as in a survival action. The law is strictly construed to only allow recovery for the surviving spouse, children and parents of the deceased.

Prosecuting a wrongful death case
In many cases, a beneficiary of a wrongful death action and a survival action may be the same and two lawsuits may be brought for the same injurious conduct. In any wrongful death case, what can be recovered depends on a number of factors, including attempts to place a monetary value on both tangible and intangible benefits that were lost upon the death of your loved one.

In all wrongful death cases, it is important to seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible after an injury has occurred. This is because the law only provides a short period of time – called the limitations period – after an accident to bring a lawsuit.

At the Barrera Law Firm, we will work hard to ensure that the passing of a loved is given as much attention and respect possible. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you get the compensation you deserve!

I’ve Been Served With a Temporary Restraining Order With My Divorce – What Do I Do?

Under Texas law, temporary restraining orders are meant to keep the peace during a divorce, provide protection of evidence and community property, and keep the other parent from hiding the children or moving away with them until a hearing is held by a judge within 14 days of application.

  • The first thing to do is seek out a lawyer and read the entire document.  Read it thoroughly, make notes, and be sure to have your lawyer explain any word or concept you don’t understand.
  • The second thing you should do is retain a lawyer to file a counter suit and apply for your own restraining order, so that all is fair and equal for the hearing.
  • The next thing you should do is gather witnesses and evidence of any issue that is being contested. 

Very often, judges like for things to remain as fair as possible with regard to finances and as normal as possible for the children with no major changes occurring unless there is possible danger or neglect.

For more information or help with a legal issue, please call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or complete our online form.

How Do I Prove My Ex is Hiding How Much Money They Make to Pay Less Child Support?

Under Texas Law, child support is usually calculated based on the percentage guidelines in the Texas Family Code, 20% for one child, and add 5% more for each additional child up to 50% of the person’s net income.

If the person has other children, their child support may be less due to those obligations. However, the courts usually stick to the percentage-based calculation BUT they don’t have to.

A Texas court may also deviate from the guidelines based on the needs of the children, or evidence that the person is living large, brand new truck, expensive vacations, getting all their bills paid by their parents, spending more than they make.

It is never difficult to track this kind of behavior if it exists. One can always retain a competent attorney that ensures the person is served with legal and binding orders to produce proof of income, Time slips, contracts, bank statements and an inventory of what they own and what they pay for.

If you need help in a child support case, call The Barrera Law Firm at 956 428-2822 for a free consultation.

Why You Need a Good Auto Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, car wrecks are all too common. And if you’re suffering from an injury that you sustained as a result of one, then you need to act quickly to safeguard your health and property. Locating effective legal representation is one of the first, most important steps you can take to help you defend your rights.

Some people believe that it’s best to represent themselves in court. However, the fact of the matter is that doing so is as stressful as it is seldom successful. This is because insurance companies and their defense teams are looking to make sure you get the lowest amount of money for your accident claim and will use whatever tactics necessary to make this happen. When you hire the right attorney, you may be able to recover as much as double or even triple the amount of money than would be possible otherwise.

And experienced auto accident lawyer will carefully review the facts of surrounding your accident to determine how best to move forward. That professional will then attempt to seek damages for all personal injury claims including:

  • brain injuries
  • burns
  • whiplash
  • amputation
  • wrongful death

Such an attorney will also seek reparation for any emotional distress and mental anguish you may have suffered–or may continue to be suffering–as a result of the accident. If you did not cause the car wreck, then you may be entitled to receive compensation for such things as medical bills, loss of earnings and property damage.

The legal professionals at the Barrera Law Firm will carefully scrutinize all aspects of your case including the nature and extent of your injuries to establish the full scope of your accident injury expenses.  Since our number one priority is protecting your rights, you can be assured that we will fight aggressively for you in the courtroom and be available to you whenever you need us.   Contact us today and let us make the law work for you!

What to Watch Out For When Your Child Tells You They Want You to Have Custody

In Texas, it is true that a child that is 12 or older may tell the judge who he or she wants to live with. However, the judge has to examine all the factors and decide if it’s in the best interest of the child.

Here are some factors the judge may examine:

1) The grades of the child;

2) The attendance records of the child;

3) The family support for the child, including half-siblings or other factors that may worsen the child emotionally if separated from;

4) Whether the parent will be able to adequately supervise the child due to work obligations;

5) Whether the child was enticed through a vehicle or other “gifts” as conditional to them telling the judge they want to live with them;

6) A professional’s or court appointed attorney’s opinion following a full investigation.

It is important that one properly deals with a child who suddenly wants you to have custody, so the court understands that any other factor is addressed prior to filing with the court, and to make very certain it has nothing to do with healthy discipline and teenage rebellion.

For more information call The Barrera Law Firm at 956 428-2822 for a free consultation.

How Do I Change my Custody Order in Texas

How Do I Change my Custody Order in Texas

Under Texas Law, a previous decree for divorce, child support order, visitation order or temporary custody order may be modified if there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the children that affects the best interest of the child.

An attorney may file a petition to the court that outlines what needs to be changed and why. Changes in grades, medical conditions, school attendance and behavior are just some examples of what the court might base a modification on. 

It might be that one starts off with the intention to change custody and then realizes it may be best to change other aspects of the court order instead such as visitation, restrictions on the residence, or clarifying a part of the order that the other parent uses in an abusive way.

For more information, call The Barrera Law Firm at 956 428-2822 for a free consultation.

Protecting Your Assets In a Divorce

Let’s face it: ending a marriage is never easy. But if divorce occurs after 20 to 25 years or more, the aftermath can be especially severe, especially where your finances are concerned.

For starters, get a good lawyer. While this may be an obvious point, Fox Business.com recommends that you not “waste cash venting to your attorney.” Stick to the facts of the case and “think with your wallet, not your heart.” If you have differences with your soon-to-be ex, “look for alternative ways to resolve their differences such as mediation, to negotiate the division of your assets” and let your lawyer fight or what legally belongs to you.

The next thing to do is create a realistic budget for yourself as a single person before the divorce becomes final. The one challenge many recent divorced individuals face is learning how to effectively manage their finances. If you will be receiving a settlement, you’ll need to do some careful planning as well, particularly if you receive cash. You may find it helpful to seek the assistance of a financial adviser.

If you and your spouse owed money as a couple, you’ll also need to prepare for merged debt. Some of the repayment responsibility will fall to you even if you didn’t make the purchases. It’s possible, though, that the court will award you a greater share of you and your former spouse’s total assets. In the case of secured debts, however, “the debt follows the asset—you get the house you get the mortgage.”

Where real estate is concerned, should you be the one to keep the family home, be sure that you can “afford the mortgage and other property costs.” It would also be smart to “get an appraisal and conduct a title search right away.” Your spouse could have used the house as collateral on a loan. The last thing you need is a piece of property that has a lien on it—especially one you didn’t know anything about.

Some people who go through a divorce shut down emotionally and isolate themselves from others. This behavior is unwise: if you have adult children or other relatives who are close to you and can offer you emotional and/or economic support, you may want to consider accepting their assistance. Besides which it is far better to “talk about the challenges you have, what you would like to change, what’s working and ways to improve” than live in denial.

Walking away from a multi-decade marriage commitment takes courage and a willingness to embrace radical change. With the right legal and professional assistance, you can restart your life on the secure footing you’ll need to succeed on your own.

Claiming the Children on Your Taxes During a Divorce

Divorce can be confusing as to how taxes are filed.

Normally, as attorneys, we tell our clients to go see a tax professional relating to the preparation of tax filings. However, community property is basically characterized as any benefit, debt, or liability, acquired during the marriage, that is not acquired by gift of inheritance.

Therefore, say your spouse is quick on the draw and file his taxes as “married, but separated” and claims all of your kids as his dependents. You may feel like you missed out. You may feel like your spouse just got the best of you and now your spouse is going to live it up with their new side person on that money.

It does not have to be that way if you have a good attorney.

A good attorney can order the court to freeze that money and make a fair division of that money because it is community property. The moral of the story here is to get the right attorney who knows how to make sure you are prepared. Something can always be done about it.

For more information, please call The Barrera Law Firm, PC for a free consultation at (956) 428-2822.

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.
  2.  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.
  3. Incest.  Spouses who have a familial relationship closer than first cousins do not form a valid marriage.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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