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Mark W. Bennett

Mark Bennett’s Answers

53 total

  • Texas criminal code, what happens if a grand jury "no bills" a case

    My son was stabbed & nearly died. Kid who did it had been harrassing my son for months. DA and detective felt our case was "slam dunk" indictment. Defendant's family are very, very well off. Hired detective/attorney and got some witnesses to s...

    Mark’s Answer

    A prosecutor can take the case back to the grand jury at any time before the statute of limitations expires or the case is expunged. There's nothing in the law to prevent it.

    Regardless of what the ADA and the detective told you told you, if the ADA had wanted the kid indicted, the kid would have been indicted. It's very unusual for a Texas grand jury to no-bill an accused against the wishes of the prosecutor. More often a prosecutor will present a case to the grand jury but not ask for an indictment, so that he can blame the grand jury for not pursuing charges.

    Without new evidence or political pressure on the elected DA (if it's Plano, it's Collin County, which is John Roach), it's not likely that the prosecutor will go back to the grand jury again.

    Stab wounds are terrible injuries, and if the kid's family have enough money you may be able to get a personal injury lawyer to sue the kid on your son's behalf. The burden of proof in a personal-injury civil lawsuit is lower than that in a criminal trial.

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  • What is the age of consensual sex in texas

    what is the age of consensual sex in texas?

    Mark’s Answer

    Generally 17.
    A married person younger than 17 can consent to sex with his or her spouse.
    Also, someone at least 14 years old can consent to sex with someone not more than 3 years older than him or her.

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  • Can I file a police report against an adult that is smoking pot with minors in Dallas TX

    I have recently found out that the mother of my 15-year-old daughter's best friend smoked pot with both girls (and 2 other friends) one night while my daughter was spending the night. What can I do about this? Do I need to contact the police or an...

    Mark’s Answer

    You could choose not to ask the government to solve this problem for you. Your daughter did the right thing by confiding in you. She might not want you sharing her confidence with the police, the prosecutor, and the public.

    Unless this woman forced the pot on your daughter, you can probably stop it from happening again without making your 15-year-old daughter a witness in a criminal case.

    If you're going to report it, the local police department is probably the correct agency.

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  • What are my husband's rights after being charged with DUI and evading arrest under TX criminal code

    my husband is on probation for unauthorize use of a motor vehicle he got 10 years probation back in 2001 just this month he picked up 2 charges evading arrest with motor vehicle and a third dwi. he was not trying to get away he didnt stop becau...

    Mark’s Answer

    First, your husband needs a good lawyer. He's on probation for one state jail felony, and he's charged with a second state jail felony (evading in a motor vehicle) as well as a third-degree felony (third DWI). He's facing up to two years in state jail and up to ten years in prison, assuming that he doesn't have any felony convictions.

    Evading arrest is a very subjective crime -- the cops will testify that in their opinion your husband was trying to get away from them, but the facts as you describe as you describe them don't strongly support that conclusion.

    The tests (one-leg stand, walk-and-turn, and horizontal gaze nystagmus) are the "standardized field sobriety tests." They don't have to be recorded. Without a breath test or SFSTs, the state may have trouble proving that your husband was intoxicated at the time he was driving.

    You have a short time (fifteen days from the arrest) to ask for a hearing (or, better, get a lawyer to ask for a hearing) on the administrative license suspension that could result from your husband's alleged refusal to give a breath sample.

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  • If a misdemeanor keeping me from obtaining a franchise business What can I do?

    I applied and a national franchiser rejected me. No reason was given. As I scratched my head I remembered that around 18 years ago I was on probation for a misdemeanor. Could that be the reason I was turned down. I purchased a background check fro...

    Mark’s Answer

    Generally city ordinances are class "C" violations, and "dismissed after six months" sounds like a class C deferred adjudication.

    A class "C" deferred adjudication (unlike any conviction or straight probation, or a class "B" or "A" or felony deferred adjudication) can be expunged.

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  • Tolling of Statute of limitation, misdemeanor offense, expungement period

    I am very confused regarding the statute of limitation and its tolling period for a class A misdemeanor assault case. So to clear things up, I have made-up an example: Let's say there was a report of a crime (date of offense) on the 01/01/06 for M...

    Mark’s Answer

    This is a question that lawyers argue about; as far as I know it hasn't been litigated. The government lawyers who handle expunctions in Harris County don't consider the tolling period between the filing of charges and the dismissal. Your county may be different.

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  • TX state criminal code, punishment for welfare fraud

    I know of someone that collected welfare for over 2 years now and was capable of working but lived with a boyfriend that supported her and never told anyone about it. How would I go about reporting this and is this fraud?

    Mark’s Answer

    It depends. If she had answered questions falsely to get the welfare, it would have been fraud (prosecuted generally under Texas's theft statute; a felony if the amount illegally received was more than $1,500).

    Nobody is going to give you a medal for ratting on her. So what makes it any of your business?

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  • What are possible criminal consequences for real estate fraud

    I helped a friend acquire a property with no money down and it has renters. The renters wanting to purchase with a lease purchase agreement. I put the paper work in order, they signed, she signed. Everyone has original copies. I interview severa...

    Mark’s Answer

    You should talk to a criminal attorney first, since being charged with stealing $4,000 is much more serious than being sued for $4,000. Your fact situation is jumbled; a good lawyer can walk you through it and figure out what your exposure is. There's no document you can file to stop a criminal investigation, but a good lawyer can help you gather the documents that might be useful to your defense.

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  • How to get out of jury duty?

    I just got a notice in the mail that says I need to report for jury duty. I really don't have time for this, and honestly, I wouldn't make a good juror anyway. How to get out of jury duty? Friends have told me there are certain things you can sa...

    Mark’s Answer

    There's a reason it's called jury "duty": it's our responsibility to sit on juries to make sure that our fellow human beings are judged by reasonable people like us. It's part of the cost of living in freedom. So you really should serve rather than waste energy trying to get out of it.

    That having been said, the people who are least likely to wind up on a jury are those who say the most during jury selection. If one side likes you, the other side won't. You can't get in trouble for telling the truth.

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  • Quashing a Warrant from another county

    About two years ago I was arrested for a misdemeanor, and after serving 10 days I was offered to take either time served, or deferred adjudication (which would make it possible to later clear the conviction from my record). At the time, it seemed ...

    Mark’s Answer

    This is a county-specific question; your best bet is to retain a lawyer in the county in which you took the probation. A lawyer might be able to get things sorted out informally, but there's no device for a warrant to be legally quashed. If he can't sort things out, he might be able to get bail set on the motion to adjudicate so that you can deal with it without spending time in jail.

    In some counties, however, the DA's office won't talk about a case with an open warrant until the subject of the warrant is in custody. If that's the case then a local lawyer might be able to help you plan your surrender so that you turn yourself in, appear in court, and get bail set all at the same time.

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