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Blogs from May, 2016

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Flashing lights come on behind you. The appear to be police lights, but you aren't certain. You are on a stretch of road so dark that you don't feel comfortable pulling over right away. You continue to drive slowly, about 18 mph, until you pull up to a well lit corner and stop. Instead of the speeding ticket you were going to receive, you now get arrested for evading arrest in a vehicle (And if you don't think this is happening, check it out. It's public record).

In McLennan County, you don't just face the possibility of a criminal conviction. The McLennan County District Attorney's Office will take your car away from you and sue you to have it forfeited to the state (And if you don't think this is happening, check it out. It's public record). "Wait a minute!" you protest. "I have not been proven guilty of anything yet!" Guess what? It doesn't matter. Texas law does not require a criminal conviction to take your property...and the McLennan County District Attorney's Office relishes that fact.

Furthermore, let's presuppose that you are a student and you don't have extra money at the end of each month. The county is required to appoint you an attorney for your criminal case, but you do NOT get any appointed help on your forfeiture case. So you end up representing yourself against a well-trained attorney who has all the resources of the State at his or her disposal. You will lose. They will keep your car.

Let's say you later go to trial and win the criminal case. A sensible jury listens to the evidence and decides that you were simply acting out of concern for your safety. They find you "not guilty." You decide you want to go out for a celebratory dinner with friends. Hopefully, they are good friends because you're going to need one of them to give you a ride.

Thank you Nebraska! You have recognized the extreme injustice of this absurd situation. And now you have done something about it. Let's hope Texas does the same...

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