Can I Own a Firearm?

Currently, one of the most hotly debated subjects in the United States concerns gun control laws.  Particularly, many argue that certain individuals should be prohibited from owning firearms.  On the other side of the argument are those who invoke the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.  A number of state and federal laws have been passed governing the possession of firearms, leading some to ask, “Can I own a firearm?”

Federal law prohibits certain people from owning firearms, regardless of where they live, including:

  • Those convicted of a felony
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Those who are dependent on illegal drugs or alcohol
  • The mentally ill
  • Those convicted of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence

Texas laws tend to support the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.  Therefore, the State places very few restrictions on the ownership of a firearm outside of those restrictions required under federal law.  In essence, Texas does not apply any other restrictions on owning a firearm than are required by federal law.  It may well be said that if it is illegal for you to own a firearm in Texas, it is illegal for you to own a firearm anywhere in America.

You may have questions concerning your rights to own a firearm in Texas.  Also, you may have been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.  Whatever legal needs concerning firearms you may have, an experienced weapons defense attorney can help.  Being charged with the unlawful ownership of a firearm is a serious offense and your rights are likely on the line.  Your attorney can help establish your defense and protect your rights.

Getting a Mortgage After a Divorce

Divorce is a scary and complicated time, and maintaining a roof over your head is likely one of your primary concerns.  While obtaining a mortgage after a divorce may be a little more difficult than you may think (especially in today’s challenging economic climate), it’s not impossible.

Banks have strict underwriting requirements that must be complied with before they lend money. The lender will look at the source of your money for a down payment and your debt ratios. The lender will also look at the following to determine if you are credit-worthy:

  • Whether you have other financial obligations, such as child support or alimony.  This will probably reduce your borrowing ability.
  • Whether you receive other financial support, such as child support or alimony. This financial support can be used to qualify for the mortgage, so long as there is a six-month history and the income is set to continue for the next three years pursuant to your settlement agreement or divorce decree.
  • Whether you are on the mortgage of the marital property with your ex-spouse and you make payments on that mortgage from a joint bank account. If so, your borrowing ability may be reduced even if the divorce decree awarded your ex-spouse that property. However, if you can show that your ex-spouse has solely made the mortgage payments on that home over the past 12 months, the new lender may not take this mortgage payment on your former home into account.  Another solution is to have your ex-spouse refinance you off of the mortgage.  You could then show those refinancing papers to your new potential lender to prove that you have no further obligation on your former marital property.
  • Whether you have joint credit card debt, auto loans or student loans with your former spouse. If so, those obligations will negatively affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage unless you can prove that your ex-spouse is solely responsible for the obligation.

The good news is that most borrowers today will be able to obtain a mortgage even after a divorce, with a little help.  Your San Antonio divorce attorney can help you avoid most of these negative effects by drafting a careful and clearly worded marital settlement agreement regarding which debt belongs to which spouse to help you start anew.

Top Drug Crime Defenses

Drug offenses can be very serious charges, and they carry stiff punishment under both Texas and federal law. However, there are also a number of defenses available for drug charges, and the success of the government’s case in large part depends on how the evidence was obtained.

Here are a few of the defenses available:

Illegal search

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures and provides that a warrant shall not issue unless the police have probable cause. This basically means that the officer needs to have a valid reason to conduct the search and the warrant needs to specifically describe the place to be searched, the person involved and item to be seized.  If it doesn’t, the search may be illegal.  If a court rules that the search is illegal, any evidence that the police obtained through the search will be suppressed (not be allowed in court to prove the defendant’s guilt).

Invalid search warrant

Even if the police obtained a search warrant, that doesn’t mean that it is valid. In order to obtain a warrant, an officer needs to present a sworn affidavit to a judge and request a finding that there is probable cause to search this particular location for specific evidence. If the affidavit contains incorrect information, information from unknown individuals or informants, or if the descriptions of the search location or items are unclear, the search warrant can be challenged.

Errors in laboratory testing

The government has a very specific burden to present testimony from everyone who touched, processed or tested the drug evidence. If one link in this chain of custody is missing, the evidence will not be admissible in court.  Further, the testing procedures at many labs can be challenged.  If the court agrees that there is doubt as to whether the government properly handled the drugs, the charges can be dismissed.


This occurs when a government agent uses threats, fraud or some other type of undue influence to induce a defendant to commit a crime.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, consultation with an experienced San Antonio drug offense attorney will be invaluable to determine if any of these defenses are available to you to get the charges dismissed.

Texas is Among Top States for Identity Theft

According to a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission, Texas is one of the top states in the country for identity theft. This crime is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America, and Texas ranks seventh in the nation in cases of identity theft per capita.

Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of fraud in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.  One popular scam in Texas is a Medicare scam.  The victims usually receive a phone call from a person posing as a Medicare official claiming that the current Medicare cards are being phased out and that replacement cards must be obtained in order for the person to keep receiving benefits. To obtain a new card, the seniors are told that they need to confirm their Medicare number (which is identical to their Social Security number) and bank account number. The thief then has access to this valuable information.

The Texas identity theft statute provides that a person commits the offense of identity theft when he knowingly obtains the personal identifying information of another without the consent of that person with the intent to harm or defraud that person. Personal identifying information includes many types of information, such as:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Drivers’ license numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Passport numbers
  • Employer or tax identification numbers
  • Fingerprints, voice prints or iris image
  • Passwords
  • Telecommunication identifying information or access device

If you have committed identity theft in Texas, you may face some serious punishment, as this offense is a state jail felony. The court may also order you to make restitution to the victim of the offense for lost income or certain other expenses.

If you have been charged with identity theft, it’s important that you contact a reputable San Antonio criminal defense attorney with experience in defending theft charges to get you the best possible outcome for your case.