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Have You Been Charged with Animal Cruelty in Plano, TX? Attorney Kent Starr Safeguards Your Legal Rights

Did you know the legal system doesn’t always do what is fair and just?

This point is especially important when it comes to unpopular crimes like animal cruelty. In the case of animal cruelty, for example, the State of Texas offers you ridiculously long penitentiary sentences. And you’re also set to fight against special interest groups who contribute money to the “specialized prosecution” team that prosecutes your case. And even though they request absurdly long punishments, these “specialized prosecution” units have almost ZERO trial experience. In plain English, you’re up against an extremely biased opposition. And all this happens in the United States, where we invented the idea of protecting private citizen’s rights! But the odds against you don’t end there. You also have to face several other overwhelming obstacles:

  • The Texas Penal Code for animal cruelty is deliberately written vaguely and liberally to favor the State of Texas. All animal cruelty felonies can potentially have an alleged deadly weapon. If the prosecution shows you used a deadly weapon to commit an act of animal cruelty, you can get 2-10 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine. And because this law is so vague, that’s relatively easy for the prosecution to do.
  • Even if an animal attacks you, the Self Defense statute of Section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code does not protect you. The legal justification for this is that the code only refers to a “person,” and never to animals or non-humans.
  • Liberal jurors often believe you can NEVER justify the use of force against an animal – even if you are in a self-defense situation. It’s easy to be declared guilty with such liberal members of your jury.
  • Inexperienced lawyers do not realize it’s important to question members of the jury about their potential personal biases. With a fair and objective jury in place, you have a much greater chance of getting a just legal outcome.

How do You Defend Yourself Against Animal Cruelty Charges? Many people go to jail for animal cruelty when they absolutely have no business being there. In fact, many should be walking away free and clear! But, as you just learned, the legal system isn’t always set up to do the right thing. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced, fearless animal cruelty attorney on your side. Kent Starr, animal cruelty attorney in Plano, TX, has more than 17 years of experience crusading for the rights of people like you charged with animal cruelty. As a young adult, he fought as a Golden Gloves Boxer and also earned a first-degree black belt. He’s hung up the boxing gloves, but now his aggressive nature goes to work for you in the legal system. Kent’s intense desire to battle for your rights has earned him the respect of his colleagues and clients. Feel free to research his reputation online to see what they say. Strategies Animal Cruelty Attorney Kent Starr Uses to Defend You You have to be careful with animal cruelty attorneys. Some are inexperienced and don’t know how to get you the best legal outcome, and others would rather just collect a check. While Kent can’t guarantee you he’ll get a better legal outcome than most attorneys, he does everything in his power to do so, and makes it happen routinely. There are several things you can do to defend yourself against the tyranny of the Texas legal system. And your chances of success increase if you use a more experienced, ferociously passionate attorney. Here are a couple strategies he may use to defend you:

  • If you have a reasonable belief you took the action you did to avoid imminent harm, your conduct may be justifiable. Section 9.22 of the Texas Penal Code says your conduct is justified if you “the actor reasonably believes the conduct is immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm” and “the desirability and urgency of avoiding the harm clearly outweigh, according to ordinary standards of reasonableness, the harm sought to be prevented by the law proscribing the conduct.”
  • Identifying liberal members of the jury, questioning them to expose their biases against animal cruelty cases, and getting them stricken (removed) from the jury.

Don’t Leave Your Freedom in Jeopardy… Get Your FREE Consultation Today! Why let an inexperienced or uncommitted lawyer run you through the legal system and get sentenced to prison, when it’s not even necessary? If you’ve already talked with other attorneys about your animal cruelty charges, it’s worth your time to get a second opinion. Contact criminal defense attorney Kent Starr at 469.500.5000 today! Additional Information on Animal Cruelty and Texas Penal Code This is Texas State Law on animal cruelty – Penal Code Sec. 42.092 “Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals.” First, it starts off with some definitions:

  • In this section:
  • “Abandon” includes abandoning an animal in the person’s custody without making reasonable arrangements for assumption of custody by another person.
  • “Animal” means a domesticated living creature, including any stray or feral cat or dog, and a wild living creature previously captured. The term does not include an uncaptured wild living creature or a livestock animal.
  • “Cruel manner” includes a manner that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering.
  • “Custody” includes responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of an animal subject to the person’s care and control, regardless of ownership of the animal.
  • “Depredation” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.001, Parks and Wildlife Code.
  • “Livestock animal” has the meaning assigned by Section 42.09.
  • “Necessary food, water care, or shelter” includes food, water, care or shelter provided to the extent required to maintain the animal in a state of good health.
  • “Torture” includes any act that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering.

Here’s where they define whether the act you commit is in fact “animal cruelty”:

  • A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly;
  • Tortures an animal or in a cruel manner kills or causes serious bodily injury to an animal;
  • Without the owner’s effective consent, kills, administers poison to, or causes serious bodily injury to an animal;
  • Fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, care or shelter for an animal in the person’s custody;
  • Abandons unreasonably an animal in the person’s custody;
  • Transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner;
  • Without the owner’s effective consent, causes bodily injury to an animal;
  • Causes one animal to fight with another animal, if either animal is not a dog;
  • Uses a live animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing on a racetrack; or
  • Seriously overworks an animal.

In this section, the Penal Code classifies the action, so the State can decide your punishment:

  • An offense under Subsection (b)(3), (4), (5), (6), or (9) is a Class A Misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.09, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.09.  An offense under Subsection (b)(1), (2), (7), or (8) is a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.09, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.09.

In this section, the Penal Code lists a few potential defenses against animal cruelty charges:

  • It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:
  • The actor had a reasonable fear of bodily injury to the actor or to another person by a dangerous wild animal (NOT a domesticated animal) as defined by Section 822.101, Health and Safety Code; or
  • The actor was engaged in bona fide experimentation for scientific research.
  • It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (b)(2) or (6) that:
  • The animal was discovered on the person’s property in the act of or after injuring or killing the person’s livestock animals or damaging the person’s crops and that the person killed or injured the animal at the time of this discovery; or
  • The person killed or injured the animal within the scope of the person’s employment as a public servant or in furtherance of activities or operations associated with electricity transmission or distribution, electricity generation or operations associated with the generation of electricity, or natural gas delivery.
  • It is an exception to the application of this section that the conduct engaged in by the actor is a generally accepted and otherwise lawful:
  • Form of conduct occurring solely for the purpose of or in support of:
  • Fishing, hunting, or trapping; or
  • Wildlife management, wildlife or depredation control, or shooting preserve practices as regulated by state and federal law; or
  • Animal husbandry or agriculture practice involving livestock animals.

(g) This section does not create a civil cause of action for damages or enforcement of this section. Potential Punishments You Could Face If you are successfully convicted of animal cruelty, the picture’s not pretty. Here’s what could happen:

  • Class A Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in prison and a $4,000 fine
  • State Jail Felony: From 180 days in jail to up to 2 years and a $10,000 fine
  • 3rd Degree Felony: From 2-10 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.

Don’t Go to Texas State Penitentiary When You Should Be Free! Get your FREE Consultation Today! Attorney Kent Starr takes every case seriously. And if he can help you with your animal cruelty charges, he’ll do everything in his power to do so. But, he has to know the facts of your case first. He’ll talk with you FREE for 30 minutes to learn about your situation. So give him a call at 469.500.5000 or contact him online!