Disengagement – Threats to your Estate Plan

Under current law, most of us who live in Texas are not concerned with estate taxes. While there has been concern in the past in other jurisdictions, and probably will be in the future, estate taxes currently do not impact the average Texan.

Understanding IRS Penalties

April 15 is the deadline to file your 2018 federal income tax returns or request an extension to file. As that date rapidly approaches, you might be asking, “What can the IRS do to me if I do not file my return or request an extension?” Or “What happens if I do file but don’t have the money to pay the tax due?”

Why You Want an Experienced Attorney After 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.

The 2018 Federal Tax Law Changes You Need to Know

Last year, President Trump signed a new tax-reform bill into law. This new law can have a substantial impact on individual taxpayers starting with the tax year 2018, for which returns are due to be filed by April 15, 2019.

CONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENT vs PERMANENT RESIDENT

Family LawPermanent residency can be obtained by immigrants who marry U.S. Citizens. This is a green card renewable every 10 years. There are also cases in which the foreign spouse is given what is called “Conditional Permanent Residency” status. In short, this is only a temporary 2-year residency card that cannot be renewed.

If you are given the conditional permanent residency, how do you become a permanent resident? Well it is important to understand what must be done prior to the expiration of the conditional permanent residency. There is an application that must be submitted to USCIS in order to remove those conditions and become a permanent legal resident.

What if your family situation has changed since your conditional permanent residency was granted? There are many family circumstances that may alter or affect the application process of removing conditions. Such changes include a divorce, abuse or battery, or death of a spouse. It is important to review these changes with an attorney before your deadline approaches to ensure you are filing for removal of conditions properly or you may risk losing your residency all together. Speak with an immigration attorney today to discuss the next steps in your immigration process.

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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.

The Difference between a Felony and a Misdemeanor Traffic Offense

Man pulled over in car worried about police

Understanding the Different Types of Traffic Violations

In Texas, as in all other states, the criminal laws make a distinction between those that are considered misdemeanors and those that rise to the level of a felony. Many states also have lesser offense, labeled as an “infraction” or “petty offense.” There can be a significant difference in the way a case is prosecuted, in your options, and in the potential penalties for conviction. Let’s take a look at what distinguishes a misdemeanor from a felony, and then identify how that applies to traffic citations or violations.

What is a Misdemeanor?


As a rule, a misdemeanor is typically considered to be a less serious offense. There are certain types of crimes that are only prosecuted as misdemeanors, but there are also crimes that may be categorized as either, based on the specific facts of the offense. For example, some drug crimes may be charged as misdemeanors, including most types of possession, but others may be prosecuted as felonies, including trafficking or possession with intent to sell.

As a general rule, a misdemeanor results in a shorter period of incarceration, typically less than a year. In addition, a sentence for a misdemeanor it customarily served in a city or county jail, rather than a prison. You can be charged with multiple misdemeanors in the same legal proceeding and may be sentenced to serve time concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one sentence after the other).

You have the same constitutional rights with a misdemeanor that you have when charged with a felony. You have the right to representation by legal counsel—an option you should always take. Jury trials may or may not be available, depending on the jurisdiction and the offense. Typically, the jury for a misdemeanor is smaller than for a felony.

What is a Felony?


Felonies are considered much more serious. As a result, the penalties are more severe and certain basic rights, such as the right to vote or own/possess firearms, may be lost upon conviction. Many violent crimes are prosecuted only as felonies, including most forms of homicide and many sex crimes. Other offenses, such as theft, may be charged as petty theft (a misdemeanor) or grand theft (a felony), based on the value of the goods stolen.

As a general rule, conviction for a felony will result in incarceration in a state or federal prison for a minimum of one year. Felony convictions can also lead to substantial fines, payable to the state.

Traffic Offenses


In most instances, a traffic violation will be charged either as an infraction/petty offense or as a misdemeanor. In fact, most traffic citations don’t even rise to the level of a misdemeanor, unless there was damage to property, someone suffered a personal injury, or there was a legitimate threat of personal injury/property damage. A traffic offense will seldom constitute a felony, unless the defendant is a repeat offender or there’s death, great bodily injury or substantial property damage.

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.

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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.

Imperfection – The Art of Drafting an Estate Plan

Often, when I speak to a group about our practice, I claim that we draft imperfect estate plans. This may not sound like a good marketing plan, but it is the truth. We don’t set out to be imperfect or incomplete. It is not that our analysis or protocol is lacking. Our imperfect plans are not the result of a lack of experience or inadequate communication skills, but perfection eludes us. What we produce are excellent estate plans, but never perfect.