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Avoiding prescription drug charges

The whole country has been buzzing about the current problem with drug addiction and prescription pills -- some people claim that prescription narcotics are killing more people these days than car accidents.

Predictably, the nation's law enforcement agencies don't totally agree on how to handle the problem. Some are focusing on dealers and charging them with murder whenever an addict dies, while others are focusing on the few "pill mills" that are in operation. Yet others focus their attention on addicts -- which means that anyone with a legitimate prescription for a narcotic is a potential suspect.

When is a bench trial better than a trial by jury?

If you stand accused of a crime, you have the right to a trial by a jury of your peers -- but is that always a good thing? Are there times when it makes more sense to take your chances with the judge rather than with a jury?

Under normal circumstances, a bench isn't the best route to take. However, the same things that make a trial by jury beneficial for defendants in most cases can work against them in others.

How do you handle supervised visitation?

If you have been allowed only supervised visitation with your children, you need to prepare yourself for the process if you ever want to get back to a standard visitation schedule again.

Here's a list of tips to commit to memory before the first visit starts:

  1. Make sure you understand the rules for the visitation and follow them to the letter. For example, find out -- in advance -- what time you are expected to arrive and who to notify if an emergency happens that will prevent you from coming.
  2. Don't skip a visit unless you absolutely have to do so. You want to show that you're committed to your relationship with your children.
  3. Never ask the monitor to bend the rules or do you any special favors. You can bet that the judge in your case will hear about it.
  4. Never use profanity in front of your children or raise your voice. Part of the monitor's job is to evaluate how well you handle the stress of parenting.
  5. Don't complain to your kids about the supervised visitation, your ex-spouse or the judge handling your case, no matter how unfair you think the situation is. Focus on making the visit happy for your children.
  6. Have a plan for your time. You probably won't be able to take the kids outside of the visitation center, so that means thinking of creative ways to entertain your kids. Pick a favorite book, find a board game you can all play or buy a box of Legos to share.
  7. Show interest in the details of your children's lives. Ask about school, their friends, their favorite television shows and video games.
  8. Do not press your children for details about your ex-spouse's life or try to find out what your ex is saying about you. If your child brings up the subject, gently steer away from the subject by saying that you'd rather talk about something else.

How can you get parole in Texas?

A criminal defense attorney's job doesn't end when a trial comes to its conclusion or a defendant accepts a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence. Many people who are convicted of crimes eventually become eligible for parole -- but that eligibility doesn't always equal early release.

Parole is not automatic -- the parole board has to review each case individually and make a decision about whether or not that individual is ready to return to society. Many times, they don't even meet the inmate, relying instead on what's in the inmate's file.

Cut divorce costs down by understanding what makes them rise

One of the biggest problems people face during a divorce is the cost. While there's no escaping the fact that divorce can be expensive, you can keep the cost down by understanding what makes the cost of a divorce rise.

A divorce is estimated to cost anywhere between $10,000-$20,000. What causes couples to come out on the high end of that spectrum?

  1. Not knowing their own financial information. If you want to keep costs down, educate yourself about the family finances before you start filing for divorce. If you have to involve experts in order to determine your family's net worth, you'll start to see your costs rise dramatically.
  2. Changing goals. If you aren't 100 percent certain that you're ready to file for divorce, don't initiate the process. Try counseling first. Starting and stopping the divorce process -- then starting all over again if you realize that you really can't make the marriage work -- will make your costs escalate.
  3. Fighting over inconsequential issues. If you want to keep your divorce costs low, try to negotiate directly with your spouse over small issues. You don't want to pay an attorney to argue over things like who gets to keep the wedding china or the record collection when there are more important concerns like child custody and support to settle.
  4. Letting emotions control the show. One of the worst things that you can do during a divorce, from a financial perspective, is try to use your divorce to air your grievances with your spouse and look for vindication. Since the advent of no-fault divorce, a spouse's misbehavior usually doesn't affect the outcome of a divorce very much. You'll come out of the divorce happier -- and wealthier -- if you focus on the future instead of the past.

What can influence a plea bargain?

Plea bargaining has become the norm in most courtrooms, as the justice system seeks to handle ever-increasing caseloads without backing up the courts.

That means that you should understand some of the factors that can influence what kind of deal you may be offered in exchange for your guilty plea.

Texas parents face conviction, custody issues over marijuana use

You can't look at the news these days and be unaware of the fact that the legal landscape regarding marijuana usage is constantly changing.

Except in Texas -- where the laws have remained steadfast and rigid when it comes to marijuana use for any reason.

Your divorce and your property - what you should know

While some divorces are simple, many are complex. They often involve negotiations around custody and property division issues. As you prepare for divorce, these will be the two main items that you and your husband will fight over during the proceedings.

Before you sit down at the negotiation table or stand before a judge, you should take time to become familiar with the laws that will apply to your divorce. You may think that custody is the most important issue at stake, however, without a sufficient property settlement, you may find yourself suffering from economic hardship. If you win full custody of your children, this could be problematic.

Understand when your 'Miranda' rights actually apply

Your "Miranda" warnings are actually just pointed reminders of your Fifth Amendment Constitutional rights, including your right to refuse to answer when the police ask you questions. You are also reminded that if you do choose to talk to investigators, they will record everything you say and use it against you in court if possible. You are also reminded that you have the right to an attorney to help mount your defense in court -- even if you can't afford a private one.

That's it.

Do false arrests really happen in drunk driving cases?

If you're pulled over for a traffic violation, you may be startled to find yourself the target of a drunk driving investigation -- especially if you haven't been drinking.

However, the moment that the officer says that he or she smells alcohol on your breath, you know that's exactly what is happening.

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