Between April 2019 and January 2020, the Texas Legislature passed a wide variety of new laws – many of which affect the rights of criminal defendants and victims. Such changes are a mechanism for allowing lawmakers to keep up with the needs of the state.
The Legal Basics
Below are some of the highlights that are helpful to know and could affect your criminal case:
HB 918 – As of January 1, 2020, inmates who are discharged or released from incarceration must receive documentation of their employment, including a résumé that outlines any learned trade(s) and attendant proficiencies, a record of their job training, a record of the work they performed, and documentation that each personally completed a mock job-interview in preparation for work outside of the penal institution. Further, released inmates must be provided with copies of their identifying documents like birth certificates, ID cards, and Social Security cards in order to make finding employment outside the confines of jail less onerous.
SB 212 – Employees of postsecondary schools who either witness or receive information (within the course and scope of their work) related to alleged sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking by or against an enrolled student or employee of the institution must report it to an officer of the law – or face criminal charges for non-reporting.
HB 8 – This removes the statute of limitations for felony indictments related to specific felony indictments for sexual assault and extends the attendant requirements for collecting, analyzing, and preserving evidence in sexual assault cases and for other sex offenses.
HB 714 – This allows for a Veterans Reemployment Program for those veterans under community supervision for misdemeanor offenses. The goal is to provide these veterans with the education and training necessary to obtain work skills that can help them obtain gainful employment.
HB 1399 – This expands the number of felony offenses that require defendants to provide the legal system with DNA samples upon request. It also, however, requires law enforcement to destroy said specimens upon court notification that the defendant was acquitted or that the case was dismissed.
SB 20 – Among other things, this allows people convicted of certain prostitution offenses to receive community supervision.
SB 1801 – This expands the ability of victims of trafficking and prostitution to obtain orders of nondisclosure for their records of criminal history.
An Experienced Lawyer Can Help You Bring Your Strongest Defense
Laws in the State of Texas evolve with the state’s changing needs and priorities. Regardless of the kind of criminal charges you are facing, however, attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is here to help. Mr. Pritchard is a formidable criminal defense lawyer who is committed to building your strongest case in defense of your rights and in support of your case’s optimal resolution. Your rights matter, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.