First DWI in Texas

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), nearly 100,000 individuals were arrested on DUI charges in Texas in 2013. Also referred to as DWI, a charge of driving while intoxicated carries steep penalties. These consequences vary by state, but Texas law outlines that offenders face the possibility of jail time, heavy fines, and a suspension of their driving privileges.

Drunk Driving

In conjunction with National laws, a driver’s level of intoxication is established through a measurement of their blood alcohol content (BAC). By analyzing a breath, blood, or urine sample, law enforcement can record BAC levels. For most drivers over 21, a BAC above .08 is grounds for an arrest and charge for DUI, while commercial drivers can only have a BAC below .04 and drivers under 21 cannot have any detectable level of intoxication while behind the wheel. Continue reading

Moving a Child Out-of-State in Texas

Child Custody

Unfortunately, when a marriage begins to get rocky, couples may be concerned over their rights concerning their children. In some situations the mother or father may elect to leave their spouse, taking their children with them. When this decisions takes the children across state lines, however, there are actions that that the other spouse can take in order to protect their parental rights.

When a court is involved in deciding child custody and visitation arrangements, one of the most influential factors is the current residence of the children. Under the terms of the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, this is determined by where they have lived the past 6 months. This means that if the children are relocated to another state for 6 months, the actions of the remaining spouse may become quite limited. Before this period is complete, however, a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) or a divorce may be filed. This essentially petitions the court to temporarily keep the children from moving out of state until the question of their relocation has been decided in court. Continue reading

DWI general issues

Over the past few years, the state of Texas has been buckling down on drunk driving. Many of the DWIs during the year are recorded around the holidays, especially the fourth of July, Christmas and New Years Eve. Not everyone arrested for DWI is intoxicated, to help those out who are not intoxicated and those who are, we at Foster Law Firm are dedicated to handle DWI cases for all of our clients. Don’t get unfairly lumped into the statistics. Just because you had something to drink and drove a car does not mean that you have broken the law. The law is that you can not be intoxicated and operate a motor vehicle in a public place. You, by law can drink and drive so long as you are not intoxicated. This means that you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher or you have lost the normal use of your mental and physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof. Continue reading

Why every adult in Texas should have a Will!

By: Logene Foster, Lynn Foster and Lonnie Foster

Everyone in Texas who has attained the age of eighteen or who is or has been lawfully married, or who is a member of the armed forces of the United States  or of the  auxiliaries thereof or of the maritime service at the time the will is made, being of sound mind should consider a Will regardless of age.

Even if you have only a house and certainly if you have children. This is true if you are young or old. Texas has a very simple method of probating a Will and provides for an Independent Administration which will save having to be subjected to an expensive method of dealing with your property.

Once the Will is probated the only requirement of the Court is to provide a final inventory of property. Your appointed Executor will not have to go back to the Court under most circumstances.

You can provide for a Trust for minor children in the Will and appoint a Trustee.  The Trustee will be able to take care of the kids as you would have if you were still alive.  It is important to pick someone who is financially stable and has the same beliefs and morals a you.  The money from the trust can be turned over to the kids at any age that you choose, not just at eighteen  (18).

You can also appoint a guardian for your children if something happens to both parents or something has already happened to your spouse.  This gives the parents to tell the court who they want to raise their kids if they are gone.  Typically the court will honor this request unless they are not qualified to serve at that time or it is not in the child’s best interest.

Further, having a Will allows you to make provision that might save you money if yours is a taxable estate for Federal Estate provisions. You can also make specific bequests of items that you want to go to a certain person.  You may have some item that has been handed down through the family that you want to stay in the family.  You may have certain jewelry you want to go to a certain child or niece.

Without a Will, you may have to go to the Court for Administration which is very expensive, requires bonds, inventories, and court approval of nearly everything that is required. It also prevents your property from going to the people you want it go to.  The court will divide your property between your heirs at law.  You will also have not say in who is guardian for your kids. There is a provision in the Texas Probate Code that deals with Descent and Distribution. This covers division of community property, separate property and married person with children. This will affect you if you have no Will. This may not be the way you want your property to go. Making a Will is much less expensive then not having one and you control what happens with your children and your property.

All adults should also look into having Power of Attorney’s (POA).  There are two types of Power of Attorneys’s that you should  have.  There is the Medical Power of Attorney and the Statutory Power of Attorney.

The Medical Power of Attorney lets you designate who, whether spouse or someone else, that will make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.  Once you gain your capacity back to make your own decisions then the person having the power is removed.  If you become incapacitated again and have not revoked that Powere of Attorney then it is still good. The Statutory Power of Attorney lets you designate who is allowed to make financial decisions for you.  This Power of Attorney can be effective Immediately or upon disability.  I never recommend to have one effective immediately unless there is some specific limited need such as needing some one to sign closing papers and you are unavailable.

The Statutory Power of Attorney is very powerful.  The person appointed can do anything with  your financial holdings that you could do unless you limit the scope of the Power of Attorney.  It is important that you pick someone who is financially stable themselves and who has the same values and beliefs as you. The combination of the Medical Power of Attorney and the Statutory Power of Attorney is try to prevent the need for a guardianship upon your disability. If you have neither of these then if something happens and you are incapacitated for some period of time, thens someone will have to apply for a guardianship which can be very costly and time consuming.  Power of Attorney’s are designed to avoid guardianship but are not a gaurentee of avoiding the guardianship.

If someone wants they can file a guardianship even if POA’s exist.  However the person you name in the POA is going to be given preference by the court to be the person appointed in the guardianship unless they are unfit or unwilling to serve. Power of Attorney’s expire upon death and that is when the will directs what is to happen with your estate.

Alcohol Charge can Alter a Kid’s Life

By: Logene Foster

Parents, students in high school and college should be aware of the law on Minor in Possession of Alcohol as it carries some serious consequences. Minor in Possession of Alcohol is being illegally in possession, ownership or control of an alcoholic beverage. This involves “constructive possession” Constructive possession may exist:

  1. A minor sits at a table with several people who are drinking from a pitcher of beer.
  2. A minor gathers empty beer cans and cups to discard.
  3. A minor holds a friends beer as the friend puts on his jacket.
  4. A minor uses a beer can as a spittoon for tobacco juice.

This law covers all individuals under 21 years of age. It further provides for a fine of not more than $500.00, community service for not less than 20 hours or more than 40 hours. In addition if convicted can be a suspension of drivers license for 30 days. If the minor has 2 or more prior convictions for this same offense then the punishment is a fine of not less than $250.00 or more than $2000.00 and/or confinement in jail not to exceed 6 months. If there is one prior conviction community service is not less than 20 hours or more than 40 hours. The suspension of drivers license is for 60 days if one prior conviction or if 2 prior convictions the Drivers License suspension can be for 6 months. A conviction or even a charge for MIP can cause a student to loose a scholarship he already has or cause a scholarship offer to be withdrawn. A student can also lose the ability to play a sport even if they have been previously offered a spot on the team. Grant money could possibly be taken away from a student who is convicted of MIP.

When a Child Turns 17 in Texas

In Texas it seems to be very complicated as to what happens to a child when they turn 17. In the eyes of the criminal courts they are treated as an adult and prosecuted as an adult.  In the Family court they are still under the courts control as a child until they turn 18.  The big problem comes when a child turns 17 and leaves on parents house, against that parents will, and goes to live with the other parent or some other adult, maybe even an adult boyfriend or girlfriend. The police typically will not get involved and will tell you it is a civil matter.  I have although experienced that some agencies will actually go to the house where the 17 year old is and threaten to take them to juvenile detention if they do not go back.  I have not seen too many District Attorney’s here in the Sugar Land, Fort Bend County Texas area excited to file a runaway charge on a 17 year old. When they go to the other parents house it creates two problems.  The first problem is dealing with the police and the issue of possibly harboring a runaway.  I think it is  very difficult argument to make that you should turn your own child out in the street.  The second problem is the possible ramifications in the family court.  The court order, if one is in place, still controlls till the child turn 18.  The court can summons the child to court to talk to them, and I suppose even charge them with contempt of court if they refuse to follow the court order.  The parent could be held in contempt if they are encouraging the child to come and stay.  I think the parents job is to encourage the child to go back to the other parent and make the child available to the other parent to allow them to convice the child to come back.  This is all in theory and with a 17 year old it is nearly impossible to get them back if they are set on not going back and are not willing to follow the parents instructions, which is an issue for a whole other blog. When the child goes to stay with some other adult, such as a friends parent or with an adult boyfriend that is where the adult could be setting themselves up for possible criminal penalties.   I have not had any cases where the police or the district attorney’s office have actually pursued an adult who offered shelter to a 17 year old.  The best thing the adult can do is make the child available to the police or the parent to attempt to get them to go back.  If they try to hide them or refuse access then that tends to get the authorities wanting to flex some power. Let me know what you think or what your experiences have been from the parent side, the child side, the adult who takes one in, the police side or attorney’s who have had experience with it.

Facebook and Freedom of Speech

The issue of free speech has now come to the younger generation not through a protest but through their facebook “like” button. The court has come down that it is not speech.  However, the issue is probably still far from decided. Facebook says the “like” button is the equivalent of today’s yard sign. This is probably true, as if a young person today wants to support a political candidate or a resturaunt for that matter they will go to the facebook page and “like” it. The question still is whether the language is protected to keep you from being fired. If the employee had been outside going from house to house with signs supporting their employers competition should they have been fired. If this were in Texas, and a private employer, I think the answer would clearly be yes.  They can be fired. If you want to support you employers competition, why should you not just go work for them. Why should your employer keep someone who does not believe in them. If this is free speech and should be protected, how does it differ from the comments made from the CEO of Chick-Fil-A who was only expressing his opinion through speech. I think this is an area of the law with many different issues and possible angles.  It may be a while before the courts get this sorted out.  None the less, we must all be cautioned when participating in social networking sites.  Once you post, it becomes very public.

So tell us, do you believe the “Like” button on Facebook falls under Freedom of Speech?

Family Law Part I

Family law can be a very complicated and emotional issue that affects so many people today. With our office in Sugar Land Texas we handle these cases in Fort Bend County , Harris County, Brazoria County, Waller County and other surrounding counties.  There is also lots of misinformation that about the laws in Texas that can make things even more confusing and frustrating for Husband’s and Wives going through divorce. This is why it is important that you consult a Family Law Attorney if you are considering or in the process of Divorce. When there are kids and property issue to be handled it creates so many possible options. We offer a free consultation to prospective clients so that they can get some accurate information as it relates to Divorce in Texas. Whether it is Custody issues or Property Division issues it is important to informed about your rights and what you can expect. Many people get their information from friends who have been through divorce but this information may not be accurate as it pertains to your case. If someone had a divorce that was completely agreed terms then it may be nothing like what a court can and will order. Parties should work to settle their cases as much as possible, especially when kids are involved. Results can also vary from County to County to some extent as each judge has certain things that they think are important and how it should be decided. There are many issues in Family Law which I hope to go in to more detail  in future Blogs.

United States Olympic Athletes

I just wanted to take a moment to say how proud we are of all the Athletes and especially the U.S. Olympic Athletes. It was so great to see the Gold medal moments such as Soccer, Track and Gymnastics but it was also great to see all the athletes compete. Great job by all and you should all be so proud, we are!

The Start of Our Blog

We are kicking off our new Blog. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our customers we have had over the years. We have been lucky to keep this firm operating for over 44 years because of our loyal clients. I also like to think this is because we have always offered top notch services for a fair fee.

We again thank you and our team is here to help you how ever we can. We still offer free consultations for those with questions.