RGP Welcomes Jessica Estorga as New Partner

Rogers Garcia Patton PLLC is proud to announce the addition of its newest partner, Jessica Estorga. A well-regarded member of the San Antonio law community, she was awarded the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award in 2015 by the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association. Jessica has maintained a very active private practice

Alberto Garcia Elected Treasurer of Mexican American Bar Association SA

Congratulations go out to our own Alberto Garcia who has been elected Treasurer of the Mexican American Bar Association, San Antonio branch.

Analysis: Trump’s Executive Order of March 6, 2017

Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States?

On March 6, 2017, President Trump’s administration released the anticipated and revised second Executive Order (EO). It specifies conditions of a travel ban for nationals of six Middle Eastern countries. The following is our analysis of the new order.
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Jason Rogers Approved to Practice Federal Law in Texas Western District

On February 22, 2017, Jason Rogers was sworn in and approved to practice law in Federal Court for the Western District of Texas. 

Small Gaps in Laws Lead to Major Headaches

During the course of some years doing our job defending people, we have seen quite a few instances where the law has gaps or failures in the process that can unexpectedly catch people in messy legal situations. In some cases that we have seen, the individual might not even know that they have been put in a bad situation until a routine traffic stop. Warrants can be issued for your arrest without your knowledge. Jurisdiction for a proceeding might switch to a state with different laws unintentionally. Unethical but not unlawful debt collections can be brought against you. How can you protect yourself from these situations so you don’t get hit for thousands of dollars in court and law fees or worse, fines? Read more

Wanted: Presidential candidate who understands legal concepts before speaking on them

The majority of U.S. citizens never come in contact with the legal system. It follows that an overwhelming part of the population learns about the subject from the only authoritative source that they know: television. For example, Law and Order provides a great way to get a comprehensive history of how law proceedings are portrayed on TV. However, the show is an extremely skewed view of how the justice system actually works. Read more

Legal Trap Identified In Law For Green Card Sponsors

US Citizen Spouses who sponsor an alien spouse for a green card in the United States should be aware of the requirements and obligations involved with the Affidavit of Support.

Sponsors of an immigrant spouse are required, during the process of gaining legal resident status to sign an Affidavit of Support. It’s one of the numerous documents involved in the process and, as with many documents of this nature, has details that are quite easy to over look. Read more

New Law Makes Certain Texts a Misdemeanor

A law was passed recently that makes sharing a personal text intended for you with someone else a crime if that text meets certain criteria and causes harm to the person. Generally, this pertains to sexually explicit or suggestive photos that are texted to one individual and then passed on to another without express permission. Read more

Advocating For A Path To Legal Status For The Undocumented

Should there be a path to legal status for undocumented individuals in the U.S.? The question is polarizing, controversial. Regionally, emotions can run even higher. Mass media and groups of acquaintances reinforce founded and unfounded fears based on speculation. Rogers Garcia Patton believes that every person should decide based on impartial, accurate information. To that end, we enlisted the knowledge of our resident immigration authority, Albert Garcia. Read more

The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Legal Collateral Consequences

legal collateral consequences victim

If someone is convicted of a crime under the U.S. legal system, the court determines a punishment. In some cases, the punishment is mild. This includes fines or mandatory participation in community service. Punishments are codified and are interpreted within reason during the punishment phase. In most cases, you can be certain that if you are convicted of X, you will receive punishment X.

Unfortunately, that is just the beginning. In the event of a conviction, severe penalties are levied. Opportunities and benefits available to normal people are taken away.  Some of these losses can be severe and it is important to be aware of the consequences.

The common term for this loss is collateral consequences. When a conviction is final they are levied automatically. Application is often left to the discretion of different agencies depending on established guidelines.

What you see isn’t necessarily what you’ll get

Suppose that you were convicted of a misdemeanor in Texas. You automatically lose the right to register as a qualified air conditioning/refrigeration technician. If you work for a childcare facility, the legal system informs your employer. Physicians face a particularly long list of disadvantages if they are convicted. The list of penalties you can face is vast. In fact, there are more than 50 potential penalties you might suffer when convicted.

These collateral consequences vary depending on location and type of conviction. Some of these penalties are damaging and permanent. Curious about how bad it can get? Check here at the American Bar Association database on collateral consequences.

We want you to know how important it is to secure competent legal help. A poor result in a criminal trial can damage and restrict your future possibilities. If you are facing even minor charges, you must do whatever you have to get good legal counsel. The alternative could be quite unpleasant.

Contact Rogers Garcia Patton now if you or someone you love needs trusted, competent legal counsel.

San Antonio Police Department Has a Significant Issue

The San Antonio Police Department boasts some of the finest officers that any department could hope for. They work day in and day out to grind out the tough yards while building trust among the lawful citizens of our city. This post isn’t about them. Read more

Two Not Guilty Verdicts for Rogers Garcia Patton

RGP attorneys have returned two not guilty verdicts for clients wrongfully accused of criminal offenses this month. In May, a jury returned a not guilty verdict in a misdemeanor assault case for a woman who found herself on trial for defending herself against an attack by her significant other. Attorneys Jason Rogers and Joseph Patton argued zealously to the jury that it was a case of self-defense and the investigation was woefully inadequate. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty in less than 30 minutes. Read more

Routine Traffic Stops and Marijuana Smell

There is a great deal of concern lately regarding abuse of police powers. That’s not what this post is about.

This post has been written to provide information for what is allowed during a police stop should the officer smell marijuana in your car. Read more

Social Media and Divorce

With the prevalence of social media, we’ve seen a variety of changes throughout our culture today. From politics to our professional lives, everyone has to answer for the things that they put on the Internet through various social media accounts. Unsurprisingly, social media has also changed the landscape of divorce. Read more

RGP Gives Back to Our Community

March 2016, San Antonio—Our own Albert Garcia addressed the San Antonio area YMCA members for this year’s fundraising kick off. The evening showcased all that the YMCA does for the San Antonio community, from providing fun and safe work-out facilities, to inspiring families to live healthier lives regardless of financial resources. Read more

Immigration and Crimes: The Intersection of Prosecution and Deportation

The number of people deported continues to rise. However you feel about immigration, the fact remains that thousands of families are affected by deportations. This becomes even more complex when non-US citizens (including Legal Permanent Residents) encounter law enforcement. The process that follows becomes even harder to navigate when the criminal process and immigration process intersect. The following will explain the procedure a non-citizen faces after an arrest. Read more

Your “Liberties” During a Police Encounter in Texas

We place a special emphasis on “liberties” because we need to start with the premise that your constitutionally protected rights belong to you but you do not decide when you use them. Your “liberties” will be exercised for you at a future time and will be invoked for you long after your “liberty” has been violated. This concept extends across a broad variety of situations including a police encounter. Read more

1984 in 2016

“…if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself.”

– George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

 

On January 26, 2016, The Economist published an article titled The StingRay’s tale addressing some the concerns regarding the Government’s surveillance capabilities.[1] The article addressed two specific devices – StingRay and Hailstorm. Read more

Dividing Assets In Divorce: Texas

In a divorce, one of the most important issues is dividing all of the property, assets, and debts that a married couple has accumulated over the years. One of the scariest questions facing a person seeking a divorce in Texas is what can I keep for my new life and what will I have to give up to my former spouse? Read more

Beyond Stop and Frisk: An In-Depth 4th Amendment Definition

The law allows citizens to “consent” to certain procedures or investigations, sometimes without being aware of it. We all know that the Fourth Amendment of our United States Constitution is meant to protect us from unreasonable searches and seizures. That is, law enforcement is not allowed to Read more

Setting Bail

So how does a court in Texas set bail? Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 17.15 tells us:

  1. Bail should be sufficiently high to give reasonable assurance that the [defendant will appear in court];
  2. The power to require bail is not to be used as to make it an instrument of oppression;
  3. The nature of the offense and the circumstances under which it was committed are to be considered;
  4. The ability to make bail is to be regarded and proof may be taken upon this point; and
  5. The future safety of a victim of the alleged offense and the community shall be considered.

The trial court has wide discretion in analyzing these factors. Read more

Facts Regarding Syrian Refugee Issues

As a law firm that works on cases dealing with immigration, we are quite interested in the Syrian refugee situation as we regularly see cases involving individuals and families wanting to enter the United States for a variety of reasons. In each case a dizzying array of laws and regulations need to be applied to satisfy the requirements of United States Law. Read more

Joe Patton Named One of 2015 Best Lawyers

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – June 2015 Rogers Garcia Patton partner Joe Patton has been named to San Antonio Scene magazine’s 2015 list of Best San Antonio Lawyers. Read more

Rights and Responsibilities of (Same-Sex) Marriage

Although same-sex marriage was already legal in 37 states ahead of last weeks landmark ruling from the Supreme Court, the impact felt across the media landscape is stunning. Whether you celebrate or scorn, the legality of the matter is legit and brings to light new legal standing for the LGBT community. Read more

Albert Garcia Honored for Volunteer Work

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – June 2015 The YMCA of San Antonio has honored RGP partner Albert Garcia with the 2014 Strengthening the Community Award for his work as a volunteer coach for the Kennedy High School mock trial team. Read more

Rodriguez v. United States

The Supreme Court this week handed down an opinion that should be celebrated by Fourth Amendment advocates as a step forward in the fight against government and law enforcement overreach. In a 6-3 opinion the Court held that police officers may not unnecessarily prolong a traffic stop to perform a dog-sniffing drug search. Read more

FIESTA AND DWI’S

It is that time of year in San Antonio: Fiesta. For the next few weeks San Antonio will be home to countless events filled with live music, great food, and a lot of alcohol. Read more

Business Immigration

It Is Difficult for U.S. Businesses to Hire Highly Skilled Foreign Workers.

2014 saw a significant barrier for over 40,000 highly skilled workers that received the bad news that their H-1B petition would not even be reviewed by USCIS because USCIS received approximately 125,000 H-1B applications for 85,000 spots. Read more

8 Legal Steps for Starting Your Business

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business. Read more

Business Succession Planning 101

What is Business Succession Planning?

Business succession planning is the process in which long-term needs are identified and addressed. The main concern in succession planning is in providing for the continuation of business operations in the event that the owner or manager retires or suddenly becomes incapacitated or deceased. This can occur by several means, such as transferring leadership to the following generation of family members or by naming a specific person to become the next owner.

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Open Your Business the Right Way!

Have you ever entertained the idea of starting your own business? The exhilaration of being an entrepreneur is not for the weak of heart. And, in legal terms, knowing what type of business you want to be is a critical question to ask from the outset. Read more

Immigration Law Changes: Now What?

As you may know, the recent changes in immigration law will affect millions of undocumented adults who have lived in the United States for years. However, many have questions about what to do next. Read more

Changes in Immigration Law

The following is an overview of the recent changes to immigration law in the United States.

A Shift in Removal Priorities

The policy builds on existing law and memoranda that will effectively use resources to interdict persons Read more

RGP Welcomes Joe Patton

San Antonio, Texas – Rogers Garcia Patton, PLLC announces that Joseph G. Patton has joined the firm as its newest partner. Read more

DUI Traffic Stops: What to know (Part 3 of 3)

This is the third of our 3-part series that takes a look at the reality of being pulled over for suspicion of DUI, what rights you have in this situation and the details of each standard field sobriety tests (SFST). Read more

Why We Do What We Do

In response to a recent blog post, we received a comment from an angry reader regarding a sentence of probation for a war veteran who was found guilty of animal cruelty:

So, are you proud you helped this despicable person with anger issues and total lack of compassion get away with a slap on the wrist by pretending he didn’t know his machete was a weapon? It’s because of people like you others considers lawyers to be scum and liars. Hope you never get to enjoy the bloody money you got paid for this case.” Read more

DUI Traffic Stops: What to know (Part 2 of 3)

This is the second of our 3-part series that takes a look at the reality of being pulled over for suspicion of DUI, what rights you have in this situation and the details of each standard field sobriety tests (SFST). Read more

Community Property in Texas: If one of ya’ll bought it, ya’ll both own it

That may be an exaggeration. But divorce in a community property state can be complex. The emotional turmoil that couples face is only one part of the equation. Dividing the tangible assets acquired while married is a factor as well. It is easy to feel that one side is receiving an unfair portion of property but doubly so when one is surprised to learn that in Texas family court, property division has strong guidelines. By understanding the rules that courts in Texas use for property division, each side can minimize unpleasant surprises.

In Texas, a divorce follows a fairly straightforward process trajectory beginning with separation and ending in a final decree which outlines what the court deems to be the correct division of assets and post-divorce responsibilities by both parties. One of the points where complexity arises is from the facts surrounding what is community property and what is not. The definition of community property is very broad and even counterintuitive if you look strictly at external appearance of the documents that describe different types of property.

Community property in Texas is defined as:

Sec. 3.002.  COMMUNITY PROPERTY.  Community property consists of the property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during marriage.

Further…

Sec. 3.003.  PRESUMPTION OF COMMUNITY PROPERTY.  (a)  Property possessed by either spouse during or on dissolution of marriage is presumed to be community property.

(b)  The degree of proof necessary to establish that property is separate property is clear and convincing evidence.

So, unless certain specific criteria are met, any property acquired by either spouse during a marriage is community property. Also, most debts acquired by either spouse are community debts. This can seem counter intuitive at times. For example, a home whose title is in the name of only one spouse, if purchased while married,  is still considered community property and, in the event of a divorce, will be factored into the list of assets that will be divided in the decree. This brings us to an important point about community property. Many people assume that community property will be divided evenly between the two parties. This isn’t necessarily the case.

The judge in a divorce proceeding has latitude in assigning how much each spouse can receive in the judgement. First, if one spouse is the primary cause for the divorce because of infidelity, cruelty, conviction of a felony, legal abandonment, living apart for more than three years or if one of the spouses has been confined to a mental institution, the innocent spouse could receive a larger monetary portion of the community property. In addition, a judge could favor a spouse with considerably less potential earning power, poor health or other factors by giving that spouse a larger share of the community property to assist that spouse in supporting him or herself, post-divorce.

It is very important to understand how all of the elements of a particular situation can affect the outcome of a divorce. However, the unfortunate reality is that most people that find themselves negotiating the twists and turns of the legal system are ill-prepared to know what the best strategy is. The section of the Texas Family Code that just defines the basic rules of Community Property is 23 pages and almost 4500 words long.

Your only realistic choice is to retain competent legal counsel. Rogers Garcia Patton PLLC understands how overwhelming these life events can be and has even prepared a list of questions that can help you begin the process of collecting the information you will need to receive a fair outcome in your divorce. Even if you haven’t started the process and are just weighing options, it pays to go through our Divorce Information Questionnaire to give yourself an idea of some of the things you will need to know. Submit the questionnaire and we can contact you to learn more about your particular situation. We understand how difficult your situation and welcome you to reach out and let us get you the help you deserve.

Jason Rogers Recognized by McCombs School of Business at UT

It’s important to remember that when you run a law firm, you are running a business. You have to be on your toes. Managing all the responsibilities is a little like juggling meat cleavers at times. Jason Rogers knows this too well. He was recently recognized by his alma mater for his accomplishments as an entrepreneur. Read more

“You might beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.”

constitution-preambleIf we want to protect our honest law enforcement officers from unjustified acts of aggression, if we want to protect our fellow citizens from unlawful government intrusion and excessive force, if we want to actually achieve “law and order” rather than use it as a political catch phrase, we must resurrect our Fourth Amendment. Without it, all of our rights and protections against unlawful government intrusion and excessive force will be limited only to the amount of attention you receive from the Government. Read more