The following are answers to frequently asked questions we encounter at Cullar & McLeod, LLP regarding various legal matters. If you have a specific question or would like to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case, please contact us. We serve clients in Waco, Belton, McLennan County and throughout Texas.
Q. If I am pulled over for DWI, do I have to take a breathalyzer test?
A. You can refuse a breathalyzer, but there are consequences. Refusal is considered implied consent under the Texas Transportation Code; the state can introduce the fact that you refused a test into evidence during your trial, influencing how the jury perceives you. Refusal can also affect your punishment. If it is your first DWI offense, you face losing your license for three times as long (180 days, compared to 60) as you would if you had taken, but failed, the test; for your second or third offense, your license loss jumps up to two years instead of 120 or 180 days if you refuse. There are some situations where the police can force you to submit to a test if they suspect you are driving drunk. If you were involved in an accident and the police believe that someone has died, will die, or has suffered severe bodily harm because of the accident, you can be forced to give a sample even if you refuse.Â
Q. Â I am a long-time employee who was recently terminated. The only reason they gave was that they couldn't afford to keep me anymore. Now I just heard that they replaced me with someone half my age and at half my pay. Can they do that?
A. If you are forty years old or older, you are a covered employee under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). This means that you cannot be discriminated against solely because of your age. You may have a claim and should visit with an attorney regarding all the circumstances surrounding your termination.
Q. Â How do I get a divorce and how long does a divorce take?
A. Â A party must file a petition with the court to initiate divorce proceedings. Texas has a 60 day statutory waiting period, after a divorce petition is filed, before a party can finalize a divorce. A court must grant a divorce for it to be official, even if the parties reach an agreement out of court. If the spouses reach an agreement, they must have it in writing, have all parties sign, get court approval, and have the judge sign the agreement. A divorce can take a varying length of time depending on the issues at stake and how quickly the parties come to an understanding.
Q: What happens to my assets if I die without a will?
A: If a person dies without a will, they are said to have died “intestate”, and their estate will be distributed to their heirs as defined under Texas law governing intestate succession. Unfortunately, Texas law regarding intestate succession is based on a determination of who is the deceased person’s next of kin, without regard to the intentions of the deceased as to who they would have named as beneficiaries. The best way to ensure that your estate will pass to your intended beneficiaries is to create a will specifying how you want your assets distributed upon death.