Author Archives: Stephenson

Texting and Driving is Legal in Texas

Published / by Stephenson

Texting and Driving is Legal in Texas: When Will That Change?

Considering what a conservative state Texas is, I was shocked to learn that there is no state law in Texas that prohibits texting and driving for the general public. I was not just shocked, I was appalled.

After learning about this, I went on the DMV site for Texas and almost laughed at what I read. The page about distracted driver’s states that 23% of car accidents are caused by distracted drivers. After stating that, ironically enough, it lists the laws that Texas has implemented to fix that problem. After reading those laws, I realized that they enabled the problem more than fixing the problem.

The only time that texting and driving is prohibited state wide, is when Texas residents are texting and driving in designated school zones, when a driver is under 18, and when a bus driver is driving. Really? So after a person is 18, or when a bus driver hops into his personal car, he or she is allowed to text and drive? This blows my mind. How is that ok? I understand that it is physically impossible to catch everyone who texts and drives, but that does not mean that Texas should just allow them to do whatever they want. If more people got fined or were given a little bit of jail time for texting and driving, I think that there would be a definite decrease in the number of horrific accidents that happen due to texting and driving.

I am not trying to pick on Texas; I have not researched other states who do not have any general laws banning texting and driving. However, I live in Texas, and I am really disappointed to learn this information. I love Texas, but with us being one of the largest states in America, I would have hoped that we would do a better job of protecting and regulating our citizens, while also being an example to other states.

On a more positive note, there are lot of cities in Texas that ban texting and driving. I was happy to see that major cities like Austin and San Antonio are a part of that group. However, I was extremely disappointed to learn that Houston, one of the largest cities in the United States, does not ban texting and driving. Houston should be the main city that prohibits texting and driving. Dallas, another large city, does not have a law that bans texting and driving as well.

I am trying to be rational and figure out what the logic is behind this. Something that came to mind, was that a lot of people would simply deny that they were texting and driving, or perhaps cops would be easily triggered to stop people all of the time. I don’t know. Regardless, this is a huge safety issue. I think that Texas should make a law that bans texting and driving in all cities. I do not know if this is based off of a Supreme Court ruling that says that cities have the power to make that decision on their own or not. I have to do more research. But if that is not the case, then this needs to be changed; not just in Texas, but in all states. Also, to those of you who text and drive. Please, please, please stop. You are not only putting yourself in danger, but you are also putting the lives of other innocent people in danger. Here is an article about the potential to make texting illegal.

Gun Alternatives for Police Officers

Published / by Stephenson

I can only imagine what it is like to be a police officer today. The world we leave in is a dangerous place. Although I feel that racial profiling does, unfortunately, ignite a lot of fear in police officers, their overall fear on the job is not completely unwarranted.

I try to imagine stopping a random stranger on the side of the road and approaching his or her car. I try to imagine going to a stranger’s home to investigate a domestic dispute call and not knowing how violent the aggressor is. That is certainly not a job that I could personally take on, and I commend police officers for taking on that role.

With the fear of the unknown, I understand the need for protection. I certainly would not roam the city without a sufficient method of protection. That being said, I often wonder why guns are the primary method of choice. I also wonder why there are not more alternative uses of protection available. I know that there are Tasers, and I think that they are an excellent alternative to guns. However, I do not understand why they are not used more. I read an article written by a retired cop who said that guns are used more often, because you may only have one option of defense if the aggressor comes at you with deadly force. The article also explained that for Tasers, there needs to be contact of the skin with both electrodes. If that contact does not happen, the Taser will be ineffective.

After reading that article, I can understand why guns are used more often. I just don’t understand why we have not improved the Taser or worked on creating another alternative. Guns are extremely deadly, yet very easy to use. A lot of police officers are not in danger of “deadly force” when they are dealing with citizens. They panic, and they immediately grab their guns, because they know that that will stop the problem. But at the end of the day, it does not stop the problem, and a lot of innocent people are killed.

I am not the one creating these weapons, so I cannot speak on how easy it is to create a new weapon that will be effective while also protecting police officers. However, I do know that we spend a lot of money and time arresting and incarcerating people for marijuana charges, but we cannot seem to spend the time and money on finding an alternative to guns for police officers. Police officers are not the only ones who need to protected, citizens do too. A misunderstanding should not lead to a gunshot wound to the chest. I think that we have enough intelligent individuals who can come up with a non-deadly form of protection for police officers, that it is more effective than the Taser.

5 Reasons to Hire a Divorce Attorney

Published / by Stephenson

Divorce is messy, complicated, and expensive. If you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse have financial assets or children, your divorce may involve a legal and financial battle that can last for years. Most people find the process to be extremely confusing, emotional, and overwhelming, but an experienced divorce lawyer can help you make it out alive. Here are the top five reasons to hire a divorce attorney:

1. You don’t know how to complete the paperwork.
Divorce involves more paperwork than you could possibly imagine. If you accidentally omit or misrepresent something on the paperwork, the repercussions will be severe. An experienced family law attorney knows how to handle the paperwork correctly and persuasively, thus potentially avoiding disaster.

2. You’re an emotional wreck.
Divorce can be like an emotional roller-coaster. An objective attorney can help you see clearly and use logic, rather than emotions, to drive your decision-making process.

3. Your finances are a mess.
Divorce usually involves a detailed financial accounting to identify the parties’ assets and financial needs. The accounting requires careful review of bank statements, credit card statements, stocks, retirement plans, deeds, mortgages, car loans, student loans, childcare expenses, household bills, and more. An attorney can help organize and review these documents so your head isn’t left spinning.

4. You don’t know your options.
A divorce lawyer can survey your situation and recommend the best options for you. For example, an experienced attorney can help you identify a fair settlement demand or reasonable counteroffer. An experienced lawyer can also advise you about your chances of prevailing in court.

5. You are unfamiliar with the law.
If you’re considering representing yourself, understand that the judge will not make exceptions for you. The judge is going to hold you to the same standard as a lawyer. Failure to follow the rules will test the judge’s patience and potentially damage your case. A divorce attorney, however, has the courtroom experience and expertise to handle your case appropriately and effectively.

In sum, having a divorce attorney can significantly increase your chances of success and reduce your stress. For most people, a divorce attorney is an absolute necessity. If you are on the verge of a divorce, you should definitely consider hiring an attorney.

3 Reasons to Attend Part-Time Law School

Published / by Stephenson

Many law schools offer part-time programs for students who want to continuing working while in school. These programs allow students to earn their degrees who would otherwise would have been unable to do so. Below are three reasons to take advantage of part-time law school.

1. Minimize Student Loans
It’s no secret that law school is expensive. The cost of tuition has skyrocketed, and textbooks have never been cheap. The more you take out in student loans to cover these expenses, the costlier your degree will be after interest.
Thankfully, part-time classes help you to minimize your student loans. Part-time class mean smaller tuition bills due over four years, instead of three – thus allowing you to pay more as you go. The more you can pay in school, the less loans you will ultimately need.

2. Gain Practical Work Experience
Many full-time law students graduate without any practical work experience. Those students are often disappointed to find that potential employers are looking for graduates that can hit the ground running.

Attending part-time classes will allow you gain invaluable work experience while in law school. Your practical experience will make you more attractive to potential employers upon graduation. Your experience will also give you interesting talking points for the interview process, which can help you land a job.

picture of law school books

3. Demonstrate Work Ethic and Maturity
While full-time law students were taking a full course load for the past three years, you were out there dealing with the real world. This will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a mature, hardworking adult who can handle whatever life throws at you.
This is perhaps the most appealing advantage from a potential employer’s perspective. All employers want attorneys who can multitask, prioritize, work independently, and handle stress. Your ability to graduate from law school while working will prove that you can handle the job.

The Decision to Attend Part-time Law School
Although there are many advantages to attending part-time law school, it’s not for everyone. Part-time law programs require a lot of dedication and hard work. If you decide that it’s right for you, just remember that all of your hard work will ultimately pay off.

How Do Arrests Work

Published / by Stephenson

An arrest occurs when a police officer apprehends a person suspected of committing a crime. The person under arrest is then taken into custody and they are no longer able to simply walk away. Usually, a person is arrested for being a suspect prior to being formally charged with that crime. Often, when a person is arrested they will also be formally charged. A person cannot go to court and be convicted of a crime without first being arrested and charged with it. Remember, police officers must follow set out rules when arresting a person.

When a person is being apprehended police will search that person. This is done to ensure that they are not carrying a weapon or do not have anything else on their person, like drugs or stolen items. Police may also search the property or car of the person being detained.

A person under arrest still maintains the right to not speak and to have access to an attorney at all times. Police officers must read a person their rights and grant them access to a lawyer.

guy in handcuffs

Once at the station, the police officers will officially take information like the suspects full name and date of birth. This is called being booked and the details of the person being arrested are then formally recorded. The arrested person will also have their fingerprints recorded and their photograph taken.

Then, the suspect may be formally charged with the crime they allegedly committed. The prosecutor must then decide if the apprehended person will be formally charged with committing a crime or not.

If the charges are successfully filed, then that person will need to appear in court. The charges against the alleged criminal will be read out to the courtroom and they have to state if they plead guilty or not guilty.

Depending on the nature of the crime, the person charged may be able to apply for bail. This means that person would pay a set amount of money to the court to get out of jail and ensure that they will go to all mandatory court dates. If bail is refused, that person will stay in police custody until the trial concludes!

Here is another neat article on arrests and how they work. I also wanted to share this video about arrests and excessive force.