Probation and Parole: What’s the Difference?

Parole and probation are rehabilitation initiatives designed to reintegrate offenders back into society. While parole is a privilege granted to offenders who have served a portion of their sentence (i.e., they’ve been released early), probation is sometimes granted as an alternative to incarceration, allowing offenders to avoid jail time altogether. Both programs have strict conditions …

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What Does an SR-22 Look Like? Explaining Its Appearance and Purpose

An SR-22 is a form that no driver ever wants to see. If you’ve been ordered to get an SR-22, you’ve likely committed a serious traffic offense, such as driving while intoxicated. What’s the purpose of an SR-22? This document, issued to high-risk drivers by insurance companies, proves to your state’s department of motor vehicles …

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The Comprehensive Guide to the “Good Guy/Gal Packet”: Navigating Plea Negotiations

You may never have heard of a “good guy/gal packet.” But if you’re a criminal defendant or ever become one, this packet — sometimes called a “mitigation packet” — could be a blessing.  These packets generally come into play during plea negotiations. Information in the packet, such as evidence of a solid work history or …

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Personal Bonds in Texas: Do You Have to Pay the Full Bail Amount?

You don’t always need to pay the full bail amount if you’re charged with a crime. In criminal cases, a judge might release a defendant from custody without requiring an upfront payment under what’s known as a personal bond. But if the defendant violates conditions of the personal bond arrangement, such as failing to show …

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Firearm Possession: Can a Felon Legally Purchase a Gun?

Can a felon legally purchase a gun? In general, they can’t. Usually, it’s not only illegal for a felon to buy a firearm, but it’s illegal for them to ship, transport, possess, or receive a firearm or ammunition. Both federal and state laws control whether a felon can purchase or use a firearm. Understanding Firearm …

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Texas Temporary Driver’s License: A Comprehensive Guide

In some situations, a Texas temporary driver’s license isn’t a big deal. For example, you normally receive a temporary driver’s license during in-person renewal of your driver’s license. Having a Texas temporary driver’s license can be a big deal, though. That’s especially true if the temporary license resulted from a DWI arrest. What Is a …

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Do Car Insurance Companies Cover DWI Accidents?

A DWI conviction usually puts a big dent in your car insurance. On average, your insurance premium for full coverage goes up roughly 70% after a DWI conviction. An insurer might even refuse to provide coverage if a DWI shows up on your driving record. The consequences might be even more severe if a DWI …

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What Happens if a Prosecutor Decides Not to Prosecute?

Some criminal cases brought to a prosecutor might not result in criminal charges being filed. A prosecutor may decline to proceed with a case for various reasons, such as insufficient evidence, an uncooperative witness, or a violation of the suspect’s constitutional rights. Understanding the Prosecutor’s Decision Several factors influence a prosecutor’s decision to file criminal …

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Success Rate of Representing Yourself in Court: Understanding the Odds

People with limited resources or with some knowledge of the legal system — but without a law degree — might choose to represent themselves in court. But how successful are they? Sometimes they are, but many times they’re not. Here, we take an in-depth look at self-representation in court, including the chances of success along …

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TDPS Online Database: A Comprehensive Guide

The Texas Department of Public Safety operates an online database where you can search for information about criminal arrests and convictions. The public has limited access to this information, but authorized law enforcement agencies, authorized government agencies and authorized private entities can obtain far more information. Overview of the TDPS Online Database The Texas Department …

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