Martin Miller Obituary

Martin MillerMartin Miller went to be with the Lord on September 27, 2019, ending his battle with cancer. He was at home, surrounded by family. Martin was born to A.P. (Pete) and Adeline Miller on December 16, 1952 in Marshall, Texas. He graduated from Atlanta High School in 1971 and was an outstanding track athlete. Martin still holds the AHS record for fastest time in the mile. He also won the state title his junior and senior years in that event. He returned to Atlanta every year for sporting events and track meets and enjoyed watching the sport evolve.

He graduated from SMU where he received a degree in Criminal Justice. Then Martin served in the US Army for three years and was honorably discharged in 1982. Following that, he earned an MBA from Texas Tech and went on to obtain a law degree from Baylor.

He served as an Assistant D.A. in Dallas County for 12 years. He then joined the law firm of Bailey and Galyen in 2002. Martin was dedicated to the entire breadth of law, enjoying the challenges of both prosecution and defense.

Martin was a Christian and held the honor of 32nd degree Mason. He was a voracious reader of history and current events. He loved the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, and his hometown team, the Atlanta Rabbits. In 2013, Martin was honored by the Atlanta Education Foundation as a Distinguished Alumnus for his achievements in business, law, and sports.

Martin was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Joan and also his sisters: Mary Lynn Sopher and husband, Jamil, and Margaret Fitts and husband, Wayne, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Accidents Involving Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers

Strategies for Recovering Compensation for Your Losses

Car accident sceneWhen you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person, especially in Texas, your first course of action is typically to seek compensation from the at-fault party’s auto insurance provider. Unlike many other states, Texas is not a “no-fault” state for purposes of motor vehicle insurance. Every driver in Texas is required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover the losses of another driver in a motor vehicle accident.

But making it a legal requirement doesn’t mean that someone will do it. It’s not uncommon for the at-fault party in a Texas car crash to either have inadequate insurance or no insurance at all. According to the Insurance Research Council, more than two million of the 15 million licensed drivers in Texas do not have any liability insurance at all! What are your options, should you suffer losses in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist? Are you simply without recourse? Not necessarily.

Do You Have Uninsured Motorist / Underinsured Motorist Coverage on Your Policy?

You may be able to pursue compensation through your own insurer. In Texas, while it’s not mandatory, insurance companies can offer additional coverage that provides some benefits in the event you sustain losses because of the carelessness or negligence of an uninsured or underinsured driver. It’s commonly referred to as UM/UIM coverage and is offered as a rider to your policy at an additional premium. There are typically limits to the amount of coverage you’ll get under your UM/UIM policy.

If you discover that the other driver either had no insurance or only had coverage for property damage, your first course of action should be to determine whether you added the UM/UIM coverage to your policy. Don’t expect your insurance agent to volunteer that information—the insurer maximized its profit by minimizing its payouts. Instead, it’s a good idea to hire an experienced attorney who can review your policy and clarify your coverage.

Are There Other Potential Defendants?

When you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to take legal action against anyone who acted negligently. That may include:

  • The actual owner of the other car, if it was being borrowed at the time of the crash — Under a theory of vicarious liability, the owner of the vehicle may have some legal responsibility. Typically, you will have to show that the owner knew or should have known that the actual driver posed an unreasonable risk. A common example of this is when a parent allows an inexperienced teen to drive a car.
  • The at-fault party’s employer, if the accident occurred during the course of employment — Under the legal theory of respondeat superior, an employer can be held liable for the acts of an employee.
  • The individual or establishment serving the alcohol, if the accident was caused by a drunk driver — The dram shop and social host liability laws in Texas may impose liability on someone who either knew a person was impaired or served a sufficient quantity of alcohol to a person that would reasonably lead to impairment.
  • The municipality responsible for road maintenance, if the accident was caused by a pothole, loose gravel, uneven pavement or other roadway defects
  • Any party in the chain of distribution, if the accident was caused by a dangerous or defective product, such as a faulty tire, brakes or automotive part

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen

At Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every personal injury client. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 844-402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

When to hire a personal injury attorney

How Soon After An Accident Should I Hire A Personal Injury Attorney?

In the aftermath of an accident, whether it’s a car accident, a mishap at work or a slip and fall, your first thoughts will naturally turn to your health. Before you do anything else, you need to make certain you’re taking the right steps to ensure maximum recovery from your injuries. But if your losses were due to the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have the right to take legal action to pursue full and fair compensation. How soon should you hire a personal injury attorney? What are the benefits of immediately securing legal representation?

What is the Statute of Limitations for A Personal Injury in Texas?

In Texas, as in all other states, there’s a written law, known as the statute of limitations, which requires that you file a lawsuit within a specific period of time or risk losing the right to pursue damages. In the State of Texas, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim gives you two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. There are good reasons for the statute of limitations—it helps you secure evidence before witnesses die or move away, and while recollections of the facts are still fresh. It also ensures that a defendant doesn’t have to live in perpetual fear of a lawsuit.

But there’s really nothing to be gained by waiting to hire a personal injury lawyer. In fact, while it’s not necessary to place a call from the ambulance on your way to the hospital, the sooner you retain legal counsel, the more assurances you’ll have that all your interests and concerns will be protected:

  • Access to the right medical care — An attorney won’t just protect your legal rights. An experienced personal injury lawyer will also be your advocate with health care providers, ensuring that all potential conditions are treated.
  • Your rights with respect to insurance — Insurance disputes can arise almost immediately after any type of accident or injury. You may need certain types of care, but run into difficulties getting your health insurance company to approve or pay for them. If you were in a motor vehicle accident, there can be disputes about the types of coverage that apply, the deductibles you must pay or the amount of your losses. When you have legal counsel handling your injury claim, you’ll have an advocate in all matters, from legal to health to insurance needs.

    One of the typical strategies of insurance companies is to make a fairly quick offer of a settlement. You don’t ever want to have discussions about settlements, benefits or compensation from an insurer without having an attorney present. The insurance company knows what to expect, and can anticipate certain types of injuries or losses you may be unaware of. With an attorney on your side, you’ll also have someone who understands the full potential of losses you may incur.

  • Compilation and preservation of evidence — The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner you’ll have someone gathering, evaluating and safeguarding the evidence in your case. That’s the best way to ensure that evidence doesn’t get lost or destroyed, that witnesses don’t die or move away (before you can get a statement), and that memories remain intact. That’s particularly helpful when it comes to expert witnesses. In any personal injury lawsuit, you can expect that the defendants will have insurers who are seeking to minimize the damage award. They’ll most likely have their own experts—you’ll want your own, and you’ll want to make certain they have full and accurate information about what happened.

Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

At Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every personal injury client. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Minimize the Consequences of a DWI on Your Car Insurance

DWIConsequences

DWI Car Insurance Help from an Attorney

Hiring an Attorney to Defend You Can Lessen the Insurance Impact

There are many potential negative ramifications of a DWI conviction in Texas. You may spend time in jail and/or pay a hefty fine and court fees. You could lose your license for a significant period of time or be required to have an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle. Another byproduct of a conviction—your motor vehicle insurance premiums could go up substantially, or you might even have your insurance cancelled!

It may seem like the impact on your insurance coverage is the area where an attorney would have the least impact, but an insurance industry study came to a different conclusion. In fact, the data collected by researchers at QuoteWizard suggests that hiring a lawyer to aggressively defend you on DWI charges can more than pay for itself by helping you avoid both premium increases and additional fines. The analysts at QuoteWizard talked with defense lawyers, considered conviction data and examined insurance rates. When they crunched the numbers, here’s what they found:

  • If you hire an attorney to handle your DWI prosecution, you are up to three times more likely to have the charges reduced
  • The difference between insurance rates if you’ve convicted for negligent or reckless driving, as opposed to driving under the influence? An average of almost $500 every year.
  • The average annual cost of a DWI conviction (in terms of your motor vehicle insurance)—About $830!

The Breakdown of Effects to Your Car Insurance After DWI

Before seeking quotes from insurers, QuoteWizard put together a profile for a hypothetical driver. For purposes of the study, that motorist was 30 years of age, single and currently insured for 10 years. The insured vehicle was a 2010 Honda Accord, fully paid for, and the driver put an average of 10,000 miles on the car each year, primarily back and forth from work. The quotes assumed state minimums of personal liability, property damage and uninsured motorist coverage, with $500 comprehensive and collision deductibles. QuoteWizard then obtained quotes for male and for female drivers who had:

  • A clean driving record
  • A negligent driving charge
  • A DWI charge

According to the data collected, the average court fees and fines for a person without an attorney was $3,600. That average was reduced to just $1,600 when the defendant opted to hire a lawyer. In addition, an unrepresented defendant incurred, on average, a $3,400 increase in insurance premiums over a three year period. A defendant who chose to retain counsel experienced an average premium increase of only $1,500 over the same period. The average cost of an attorney was $2,500, but that expense was more than offset by the reduction in fines, fees and insurance premium increases.
Among the costs that can be reduced or avoided by hiring legal counsel are:

  • Court-imposed fines, which in Texas can be as much as $4,000 for a first time offender
  • Traffic school or treatment programs—Anywhere from $150 to $500 or more
  • Ignition interlock fees—You will be assessed an installation fee ($75 to $150) and a monthly maintenance fee (up to $100)
  • Department of Motor Vehicle fees, including license reinstatement costs

Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we aggressively defend people who have been charged with drinking and driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Legal Rights for Undocumented Immigrants

Immigration LawI often am asked what rights undocumented immigrants have in the United States. Many assume they have no rights; however, all persons living in the United States, regardless of immigration status, have certain protections.

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court held that, under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, all people living in the United States, including non-citizens, are entitled to equal protection under the law and cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Wong Wing v. United States, 163 U.S. 228 (1896). Additionally, all persons physically present in the United States, regardless of immigration status, have the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful searches and seizures and the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.

So what does this mean for immigrants? It means that, like everyone else, an undocumented immigrant has the right to refuse an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer entry to their home unless the officer has a valid search warrant signed by a judge. Interestingly, ICE officers almost never have a valid search warrant when they approach the home of an undocumented immigrant. They rely on the fact that most undocumented immigrants will not know their rights.

Undocumented individuals who unknowingly allows ICE officers into their home still have the right to remain silent when questioned about their immigration status or country of birth. Why? Because answering such questions would be self-incrimination. It may seem ludicrous that a person does not have to answer questions as to their immigration status, but answering such questions can subject the person to removal (“deportation”) proceedings. Also, many people do not know that ICE has the burden to prove a person lacks lawful immigration status. By remaining silent, an undocumented individual holds ICE to its burden of proof, and ICE must produce evidence showing the person’s unlawful immigration status. As with criminal defendants, an undocumented immigrant is innocent of lacking lawful status until ICE proves otherwise.

This background helps illuminate why Texas’s SB4 “show me your papers” bill has been so controversial. Pending a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, SB4 has not fully gone into effect, but it is a move by the State to impose stricter rules than those mandated by the federal government, and it infringes on the constitutional rights of all persons in Texas.

What happens if ICE meets its burden and proves an individual is in the country unlawfully? Immigrants do not have the right to enter the United States unlawfully, but, once here, they are entitled to equal protection and due process under the law. This means that an individual facing removal is entitled to a hearing before an immigration judge to determine eligibility for relief from removal. The term “relief” refers to certain remedies available under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for immigrants facing removal. Additionally, all persons in removal proceedings have the right to an attorney (but not at government expense), reasonable notice of the charges against them, notice of the place and time of the hearing, the opportunity to examine the evidence and witnesses presented against them, interpretation for non-English-speaking individuals, and clear-and-convincing proof that the government’s charges are valid.

Dog Bites Most Likely to Occur in the Summer

personal injury dog bite

Experts Say Children Are Most at Risk For Dog Bites During Summer

It’s summer and your kids are home from school. More likely than not, though, they’ll be outside playing somewhere. Unfortunately, during the summer months, when more small children are outside, there are typically more dogs outside as well. Statistics show that the summer vacation months are the time of year when dog bites and attacks are more likely. It’s most likely a combination of factors—more kids outside, hotter weather that makes dogs more irritable.

There are measures that you can take, though, to minimize the risk that your child will be a dog bite victim this summer. A four-year study reported in the medical journal Injury Prevention looked at more than 100 dog bites involving more than 40 breeds and came to the following conclusions:

  • The single greatest contributing factor to a potential bite or attack is a dog’s natural territorial response — Almost every breed of dog has some territorial instinct. The study found that children under the age of six were more likely to be bitten when going for a dog’s toy or food. The study found, however, that dogs of many different breeds will become aggressive when an unknown person comes close to them.
  • Fear or anxiety are also precursors to aggression — The study found that dogs were more likely to attack if exposed to sudden noise (including thunderstorms or fireworks) or unpredictable movements. Some dogs also showed more aggression when their owners were not present.
  • Children were less likely to recognize that a dog was in pain — A number of attacks involved canines who had suffered some type of injury or had some type of ailment. The evidence seemed to show that most children did not have the tools to be aware of that.
  • The younger the children, the greater the risk — The study found that children under the age of 10 were about five times more likely to be attacked than any other age group. Within that demographic, boys were more likely to be victims of a dog attack than girls. Researchers say that younger children tend to be louder and move more unpredictably and can often look a lot like the way young dogs play. If you’ve ever watched puppies play, they use their teeth a lot.
  • More often than not, the dog is one that’s known to the family of the victim — It may be a neighbor’s dog, a friend’s pet or a dog that frequents the neighborhood. The familiarity with the dog can give the false impression that the dog doesn’t pose a serious risk.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Children From Dog Bites

The first and most important thing is to communicate to your children that dogs need to be treated cautiously.

  • Teach your children not to run to a dog—the safest thing to do is stay put and ask if you can say hello.
  • They should never pet a dog they don’t know.
  • They should never approach a dog that is eating or chewing on anything
  • Don’t pull tails or ears and don’t wrestle with the dog (even your own dog)
  • If a loose dog approaches them, they should stand as still as possible—if they run, the dog’s instinct will typically lead them to chase and bite
  • Tell them to roll into a ball and keep their hands over their ears until the dog leaves—the more passive they remain, the less likely the dog will be aggressive with them.

Contact Our Dog Bite Attorneys Today

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Clearing Your Criminal Arrest Record in Texas

expungement

Expunging Misdemeanor and Felony Records

Are you still paying the consequences for a stupid mistake you made a few years back and want to know the cost to expunge your record? We’ve all done things without thinking, and it can be a real blessing when we’ve learned the error of our way without hurting someone else or facing criminal charges. A criminal record, of any kind, can make it difficult to find the job you want, to get credit, to live in a nice apartment and even to qualify for assistance with higher education. Fortunately, in Texas, the expungement process is available for many types of records. With expungement, you seek to erase or limit access to certain criminal records. Records that are expunged are no longer accessible by employers and others. In most instances, you can even tell others that you were never arrested or charged (except when you are testifying under oath).

Now that you’re interested, you probably have some questions—

  • How do you expunge a criminal record in Texas?
  • Are there restrictions on the types of records that can be expunged?
  • What types of records may be expunged?
  • How do I know if I qualify for expungement

Here are the situations in Texas where you can have prior criminal records expunged:

  • You were found guilty of a crime at trial, but the conviction was overturned or you were pardoned
  • You were charged, but the prosecutor or the court dismissed the case and the statute of limitations has expired
  • You were not formally charged, but only detained or arrested, and you have completed the statutory waiting period
  • You were arrested and charged and your case went to trial, where you were acquitted

Expungement is available for both misdemeanors and felonies in Texas. For felonies, if you were detained or arrested, but not charged, you must wait at least three years from the date or your arrest to request expungement. For a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, the waiting period is one year. Class C misdemeanors may not be expunged until 180 days (6 months) have passed.

How Much Will It Cost to Expunge My Criminal Record in Texas?

As a general rule, it costs more to expunge a felony than a misdemeanor. The expungement of a felony will customarily cost a minimum of $1,000, but may cost upwards of $2,500 or even more. Misdemeanors can usually be expunged for $1,000 or less.

How Quickly Can I Expect the Expungement Process to Be Completed?

When you file a petition to have a criminal record expunged, you’ll first have to appear before the court. That hearing usually comes about a month after your filing. The court may grant the expungement at the hearing, but it can take upwards of six months for the decision to be registered.

If you don’t qualify for expungement, you may still be able to limit access to your criminal records by seeking an “order of non-disclosure” with the court. This seals your criminal record from the general public while making it available on a very limited basis to specific governmental agencies.

Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment or to discuss the cost to expunge your criminal record, contact us by e-mail or call us at 844-402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Legal Rights for Undocumented Immigrants

Immigration LawI often am asked what rights undocumented immigrants have in the United States. Many assume they have no rights; however, all persons living in the United States, regardless of immigration status, have certain protections.

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court held that, under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, all people living in the United States, including non-citizens, are entitled to equal protection under the law and cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Wong Wing v. United States, 163 U.S. 228 (1896). Additionally, all persons physically present in the United States, regardless of immigration status, have the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful searches and seizures and the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.

So what does this mean for immigrants? It means that, like everyone else, an undocumented immigrant has the right to refuse an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer entry to their home unless the officer has a valid search warrant signed by a judge. Interestingly, ICE officers almost never have a valid search warrant when they approach the home of an undocumented immigrant. They rely on the fact that most undocumented immigrants will not know their rights.

Undocumented individuals who unknowingly allows ICE officers into their home still have the right to remain silent when questioned about their immigration status or country of birth. Why? Because answering such questions would be self-incrimination. It may seem ludicrous that a person does not have to answer questions as to their immigration status, but answering such questions can subject the person to removal (“deportation”) proceedings. Also, many people do not know that ICE has the burden to prove a person lacks lawful immigration status. By remaining silent, an undocumented individual holds ICE to its burden of proof, and ICE must produce evidence showing the person’s unlawful immigration status. As with criminal defendants, an undocumented immigrant is innocent of lacking lawful status until ICE proves otherwise.

This background helps illuminate why Texas’s SB4 “show me your papers” bill has been so controversial. Pending a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, SB4 has not fully gone into effect, but it is a move by the State to impose stricter rules than those mandated by the federal government, and it infringes on the constitutional rights of all persons in Texas.

What happens if ICE meets its burden and proves an individual is in the country unlawfully? Immigrants do not have the right to enter the United States unlawfully, but, once here, they are entitled to equal protection and due process under the law. This means that an individual facing removal is entitled to a hearing before an immigration judge to determine eligibility for relief from removal. The term “relief” refers to certain remedies available under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for immigrants facing removal. Additionally, all persons in removal proceedings have the right to an attorney (but not at government expense), reasonable notice of the charges against them, notice of the place and time of the hearing, the opportunity to examine the evidence and witnesses presented against them, interpretation for non-English-speaking individuals, and clear-and-convincing proof that the government’s charges are valid.

Fisher-Price Announces Recall of 4.7 Million Infant Sleepers

Mattel building

Fisher-Price Recall – Product Tied to More than 30 Infant Deaths

In April, 2019, retail giant Fisher-Price announced that it is recalling all models of its infant sleeper marketed under the product name “Rock’n Play.” Company officials say that the product, first introduced in 2009, has been linked to more than 30 infant fatalities and more than 700 injuries to children under the age of six months. The company warned consumers to immediately discontinue use of the product and said customers could contact the company for a “refund or voucher.” The American Academy of Pediatrics, a professional organization of nearly 70,000 doctors, has called for the removal of the product from store shelves nationwide.

An earlier warning from the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended that parents cease use of the Rock’n Play when the child reaches the age of three months or has shown the ability to roll over. The Rock’n Play is similar to a hammock in construction, with a cloth sleeping surface suspended from a metal frame. The sleeper is also designed so that the infant’s head is elevated above the rest of its body. It also vibrates and plays music, replicating the experience the child had in the womb. Industry analysts say it developed a cult following among sleep-deprived parents and earned glowing reviews from many, as it successfully put infants to sleep without the need to be held. Many parents saw the product, which sold for less than $100, to be a highly affordable alternative to many products on the market, which could sell for upwards of $1,300.

Industry watchdogs say the product design is contrary to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends that infants sleep on their backs on a flat, firm surface in a bare crib, play yard or bassinet. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 10 infants have died in the last four years—all had rolled onto their back or side while unrestrained in the sleeper. All of those infants were at least three months old. Of the 32 infants who have died, though, some were younger than three months, but all had the ability to roll over.

Though Fisher-Price has agreed to recall the product, the company issued a statement that it “stands by the safety of the Rock’n Play,“contending that it” meets all applicable safety standards.” The company asserts that the product contains warnings, advising parents not to use it once a child has developed the ability to roll over or has reached the age of three months. Fisher-Price contends that the infant deaths are a result of parents not following product warnings.

Product Liability Law – Fisher-Price Recall

Under product liability law, any entity with the chain of distribution may be found liable for certain defects. A party may have responsibility for dangerous or defective design, manufacture or marketing of a product. Negligent marketing of a product includes the failure to provide reasonable notice or warning of any safety risks that the defendant knew or should have known were present.

Within a couple weeks of the notice of recall, a number of lawsuits were filed, with many seeking to establish a class action for parents of infants who suffered injury because of the Rock’n Play.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys About The Fisher-Price Recall

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What Does No Refusal Weekend Mean in Texas?

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No Refusal Weekend in Texas

Understanding Implied Consent and the Texas “No Refusal” Program

In Texas, often at holidays or times when police know that there will a greater volume of traffic on the roads or more likelihood of people drinking and driving, counties within the state will institute what’s known as a “no refusal” program. You may or may not have heard of such an operation and may wonder what it is. The “No Refusal” program relates to the implied consent laws in Texas, which deal with your rights and obligations related to blood alcohol testing after an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

No Refusal Weekend – What Is Implied Consent?

In Texas, as in all other states, the law of “implied consent” applies whenever a motorist gets behind the wheel. Under the principle of implied consent, when you decide to operate a motor vehicle in the Lone Star State, you “imply” that you will agree to submit to a blood test if you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI or DWI. If a law enforcement officer asks you to take a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) test and you refuse, you will automatically have your driving privileges suspended for 180 days. Some courts, though, have held that implied consent violates a suspect’s 4th Amendment right to unreasonable search and seizure.

How Does the “No Refusal” Program Change the Consequences of a DUI/DWI Traffic Stop?

Under Texas law, when a motorist refuses to submit to a blood alcohol test, law enforcement officers must have a valid search warrant to compel the suspect to provide a blood sample. In most instances, that requires that the police officer appear in court and provide the judge with probable cause to issue the search warrant. Blood must be drawn by a medical professional. Furthermore, the number of people who are available to provide such services is limited during late-night hours, the time when most DUI/DWI arrests are made. As a practical matter, in the time it would take to obtain the search warrant, the suspect would most likely sober up and fail the test.

Under the “No Refusal” program, police officers may submit an electronic request for a search warrant from the scene of the traffic stop. The court may then transmit the electronic warrant to the officer’s dashboard computer or cell phone. Once the electronic warrant has been received, the law enforcement officer is legally authorized to use force to obtain a blood sample.

It’s fairly common for counties or municipalities to set up “No Refusal” weekends or put such programs in place during holidays. During such times, police departments will typically have more judges available to issue warrants, and more nurses available to take blood samples.

Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mediation

Family LawAs I am sitting here today in Mediation it got me to thinking about what a large role it plays in the domestic or family law litigation. About 30 years ago the legislature passed a law encouraging the use of alternative dispute resolution methods in family law cases. One of those methods is Mediation. Most divorces are referred to mediation and the overwhelming majority of them are settled in mediation. Lots of people have heard of Arbitration such as a forced arbitration clause in a credit card dispute or with Ezekiel Elliot’s ongoing dispute with the NFL.

Arbitration is when the parties present their case to an arbitrator who decides the evidence and renders a decision much the same as a judge. However, Mediation is different because the mediator DOES NOT render a decision. Instead the mediator simply assists the parties find areas of agreement or “common ground.” If the parties are able reach agreement the mediator files something with the court that the parties reached agreement. If the parties do not reach agreement the mediator files something with the court that the parties did not reach agreement. The mediator cannot be subpoenaed to testify.

One of the great things about mediation is that it is confidential. Rather than airing your laundry for the whole world to see in a courtroom you meet privately with your attorney and a mediator and resolve your dispute. Another great thing is you can resolve your case much quicker. According to an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram last week there are over 60,000 divorce or child cases filed each year in Tarrant County. What ends up happening is they sit on a court’s docket often times for a year as there simply are not enough hours in the day to hear them all.

Perhaps my favorite thing about mediation is that it allows the parties to craft their own solution. A judge is pretty limited in what they can do. They must strictly follow the guidelines in the Family Code. The parties are not bound as tightly. They can decide what is most important to them. They can decide how to craft their solution. I try and most attorneys and judges I know try very hard to do a good job. But no matter how hard we try we will never know your life and your situation as well as you do. I liken mediation versus litigation as the difference between having someone give you a blue Toyota Camry (litigation) or giving you $20,000 and telling you to pick out the car that works best for your needs (mediation). Unless you happen to want a blue Toyota Camry the second option will work better for you.

When hiring an attorney make certain they are familiar with and make mediation a regular part of their practice. I can promise you, you will be happier with the result.

Contact Us

To set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 844-402-2992. For your convenience, we answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request.

Department of Justice Announces $9.1 Million Settlement in Defective Ear Plug Case

American soldiers

3M to Pay $9.1 Million to Settle Defective Ear Plug Claim

Injured Military Personnel May Have Claims Over Defective Earplugs

If you served in the armed forces of the United States between 2003 and 2015, and use the dual-end or reversible “Combat Arms” earplugs, you may be entitled to compensation, provided you can show that you were subsequently diagnosed with tinnitus or any type of combat-related hearing loss. According to lawsuits already filed, the earplugs, designed and manufactured by the Minnesota-based company 3M, did not create a tight seal in the ear, allowing high-decibel sounds to enter the ear canal, unbeknownst to users. 3M boasted that the design would allow users to hear commands from comrades or senior officer, and even approaching enemies, without impairment, but would protect against any hearing loss. Accordingly, users suffered hearing damage while believing they were protected from hearing loss.

In July, 2018, the United States Department of Justice announced that 3M had agreed to settle a federal claim against the company for $9.1 million. That claim, however, was made under the False Claims Act, a federal statute that allows the government to recover compensation from individuals and companies that commit a fraud on the government. Because the 3M contract was with the military, and because there was evidence that 3M employees knew as early as 2000 that the earplugs were defectively designed, the federal claim against 3M was strong.

The evidence in the False Claims Act case also included documents that showed that 3M had conducted testing that showed that the earplugs were ineffective, but misrepresented the test results in certification proceedings, wrongfully alleging that the product met military standards and specifications. According to estimates, the company provided the armed forces with approximately 750,000 pairs of the earplugs every year, from 2006 until 2015, when the product was discontinued. However, the earplugs were never recalled, so have been in continual use since 2015.

A federal lawsuit under the False Claims Act is essentially a whistleblower action. In the 3M case, one of 3M’s competitors, Moldex, brought the defective design to the attention of the federal government. Under the provisions of the False Claims Act, Moldex is entitled to share in the proceeds of any verdict or settlement. Moldex received nearly $2 million of the $9.1 million settlement.

Are you Suffering from a Defective Earplugs Injury?

It’s important to understand that the settlement under the False Claims Act does not have any impact on the rights of individuals who suffered personal injury because of the defective design of the Combat Arms earplugs. That settlement only addresses the fraud perpetrated on the U.S. military and the federal government.

Accordingly, if you or someone you love served in any branch of the armed forces from 2003 until the present, used the 3M Combat Arms earplugs, version 2 (known as CAEv2), you should immediately contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. A number of lawsuits have already been filed, many of which include demands for punitive damages, based on 3M’s gross negligence.

Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers to Fight your Defective Earplugs Claim

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Admissions Scandal Rocks Higher Education

Wrongdoing Includes Bribes, Cheating on Entrance Exams and Misrepresentation of Athletic Ability

college students on campusIn March, 2019, federal prosecutors announced a total of 50 indictments in what officials say is the most extensive college admissions fraud ever uncovered in the United States. The FBI investigation, codename “Operation Varsity Blues,” led to charges against coaches and parents, including some celebrities. Among the charges levied were conspiracy, racketeering and wire fraud. The colleges and universities at which the fraudulent acts affected admissions included Stanford, the University of Southern California, Yale, Wake Forest, Georgetown and the University of Texas at Austin.

Of the 50 indictments, 33 named parents, who prosecutors say paid as much as $6.5 million to ensure that their offspring would be admitted to one of the elite institutions. The alleged brains behind the scam, William Singer, allegedly coordinated bribes to coaches, test proctors and others. Singer purportedly ran a private “counseling” firm and foundation through which the bribe money was funneled.

According to documents obtained by the FBI, Singer boasted that his company “help[s] the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school.” Singer told prospective parents that he offered a “guarantee,” which he could secure because he had created a “side door” to various institutions of higher learning.

Apparently, the side door most often involved the falsification of student athletic profiles, so that the children of the wealthy parents would be admitted based on alleged athletic ability. In wiretaps, FBI agents overheard one parent detailing plans of how he would get his son into the University of Southern California as a football recruit (listing him as a highly sought after kicker/punter), even though the high school the student attended had no football program. The parent talked about taking a picture of the youth and using Photoshop to create a false impression that the student was a talented athlete.

The coaches indicted represented a number of “second-tier” sports, including men’s and women’s tennis, volleyball, soccer, sailing and water polo. One athletic director was also named.

Singer allegedly charged different fees, based on the college to which the parents sought admission. He also coached parents on how to describe the transaction if it came to light, saying he told the IRS that it was money being used to “help underserved kids.”

The indictments also contend that the participants conspired to cheat on college entrance exams. Some of the children of the indicted parents were encouraged by Singer and others to file requests for extra time on ACT and SAT exams, alleging that they had learning disabilities. Test proctors were also bribed to allow someone to take the test in the applicant’s place. There was also evidence that some test proctors either gave student correct answers or reviewed and corrected their answers after the test was completed (for which they received payments).

Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Why You Want an Experienced Attorney After a Car Accident

Car Accident

Protecting Your Rights When You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident

Often when you’ve been injured in a car accident, the facts and circumstances can seem pretty clear cut, giving you the false assumption that you can probably handle your claim without the assistance of a lawyer. That’s always a bad strategy, for many reasons.

Most importantly, you can expect that the other motorist will have insurance, and that the insurer will retain legal counsel to protect their interests. Don’t expect any assistance from the judge, should you try to go it alone. Your opponent will have a comprehensive knowledge of the laws and procedures governing personal injury claims. That will put you at a significant disadvantage.

In fact, even if you’re not planning on filing a lawsuit for any losses incurred, it’s a wise move to retain an attorney help ensure you get the benefits to which you are entitled from your insurer. Insurance companies have a vested interest in paying you as little as possible—it’s how they maximize their profits. Without competent legal assistance, you can expect delays, denials or attempts to pay you less than you should receive.

There are other clear advantages to hiring experienced legal counsel to handle your car accident claim:

  • An attorney will make certain you file your complaint in a timely manner — The statute of limitations establishes how much time you have to file a personal injury claim. If you fail to bring legal action within the prescribed time period, you can lose your right to recover compensation. An experienced car accident attorney will know the appropriate statute of limitations and will ensure that you meet the deadline.
  • A skilled lawyer will help you recover compensation for all your losses — In the aftermath of a car accident, you may have the right to compensation for a wide range of losses, including wages and income, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium or companionship, pain and suffering, and unreimbursed medical expenses. Unless you have legal training, you may not know that you can recover for all these losses.
  • An experienced attorney will help you effectively prove the elements of negligence — Successfully bringing a personal injury claim requires more than showing that there was an accident and that you were hurt. To prove negligence, you must show that the defendant failed to act reasonably, that the failure to act reasonably caused an accident, and that you suffered actual losses in the accident. To complicate things even more, you must show two different types of cause—actual cause and proximate cause.

Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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