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Changes in Criminal Law: Three Things That Could Impact Your Rights in Texas

With the new year comes some key changes to criminal laws in Texas. At The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker, we provide justice-focused criminal defense representation. Our firm always stays up-to-date on the latest legal/legislative developments that could potentially impact the rights, interests, or options of our clients. Within this article, our Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer highlights three recent changes that could affect your rights in Texas.

Change #1: More Options for Fine-Only Misdemeanor Juvenile Offenses

On January 1st, 2024, the Texas Youth Diversion and Early Intervention Act officially took effect in our state. The law introduces new strategies for dealing with juvenile offenders involved in fine-only misdemeanors. Courts can now appoint an independent professional called a Youth Diversion Coordinator to oversee various diversion programs. These programs include participating in approved teen court programs, educational or rehabilitation programs, mediation, drug testing, or prescribed treatments. Courts can also order restitution, community service, or other actions deemed reasonable. The act emphasizes offering options before a case is filed.  Upon successful completion, cases are closed and reported as such. If you have any specific questions about a juvenile offense and the related alternative options, please do not hesitate to contact our Fort Worth defense lawyer for help.

Change #2: “Doxxing” Could Be Charged as a Criminal Offense in Texas

Unlawful Disclosure Of Residence Address Or Telephone Number is now a criminal act in Texas. You may hear this referred to more simply as the act of “doxxing.” The law makes it illegal to post such personal information on publicly accessible websites with the intent to harm or threaten the individual or their family. It’s classified as a Class B misdemeanor, with penalties including jail time up to six months and a $2,000 fine. The offense escalates to a Class A misdemeanor if it results in bodily injury. The law is part of a broader framework addressing cyberbullying and harassment.

Change #3: Texas Created a New Money Services Crime (Cryptocurrency Implications)

Under Texas law Texas Finance Code Sec. 152.408, there is a new criminal statute for unlawful “money services” offenses. The Texas legislature introduced a new section (152.408) in the Texas Finance Code, creating a felony offense for unlicensed money services activities. This includes making false statements or entries in records or applications related to money services or engaging in money service activities without a proper license. This section is particularly relevant for businesses dealing with money transmission or currency exchange, including those in the fintech and cryptocurrency sectors. A violation is a third-degree felony offense.

Contact Our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer for Immediate Help

At The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker, our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys are standing by, ready to protect your rights and your interests. Have questions about a specific case? We are here to help. Contact our legal team today to set up your confidential case review. From our Fort Worth law office, we defend criminal charges in Tarrant County and throughout North Texas.