Medlin Law Firm - November 2021

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The Medl in News


Nov. 3 is National Stress Awareness Day, and while I’m sure nobody needs to be more aware of their stress, I think it’s worth remembering how important stress management is for your health. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, our body reacts to stress by releasing hormones. In the short term, the effects aren’t necessarily bad. Our brains become more alert, our muscles tense, and our pulse rate increases. However, experiencing consistent or unmanaged stress can lead to chronic stress, where our body remains alert despite there being no danger. This has significant negative effects on our bodies, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression or anxiety, skin problems (like acne or eczema), and can even worsen existing health conditions. As a full-time trial attorney and father, stress isn’t hard to find — and I’m sure that many of my readers can relate to just how easily new problems can come up. I don’t knowwhat specific stress relief tactics work best for you, but if I can give any advice, it’s to fall back on the activities that feel the most meaningful to you. For me, relief from stress comes best when I’m listening to music or playing the guitar. Getting outside and riding a bicycle, or even a stationary bike like a Peloton, can also be a huge help so I don’t stew over my stress. Sometimes, doing something purely for your self-benefit — even if it seems like work, such as exercise — is the best way to feel in control again when you’re stressed. You don’t have to go all out. Just take a long walk like my wife does when she’s stressed. BATTLING STRESS? Enjoying Your Hobbies Is Good for Your Health

Another thing I love to do is spend time with our family dog. Research even shows that petting our pets, cats or dogs, can lower the stress hormone cortisol, allowing our bodies to relax and relieve symptoms of stress. Of course, one of the best things you can do is share your troubles (or let yourself forget them altogether) with a friend or family member. Being around people I enjoy has certainly always been a reliable way of relieving stress and might even help me come up with new strategies for dealing with it.

Unfortunately, one of my stress-relief habits is starting to bother my daughter — specifically, my guitar playing. I used to play for her

all the time, but now she’s 9 years old and has grown a discerning ear! At least we both still have fun listening to the Beatles together. She even sings along to a few of the songs, which is enough for any parent to forget their troubles for a while.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you stay as stress-free as possible this holiday season, friends.

– Gary L. Medlin, Esq. | Pg. 1

What’s Considered Assault? HERE’S WHAT TEXAS LAW SAYS

Are there other penalties? An injured assault victim may bring a lawsuit in a Texas civil court to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and related losses. A conviction on a criminal assault charge almost guarantees the success of a victim’s lawsuit in such cases. If you hold a professional license in Texas, an assault conviction may generate disciplinary action by your professional licensing board. If you are not a U.S. citizen, an assault conviction may trigger a deportation proceeding. Can you claim self-defense? When you claim self-defense, you are confessing to behavior that could be deemed assault in another circumstance, so your attorney will need to offer persuasive evidence that you acted within the law and in self-defense. How does Texas law define self-defense? The best way to define it is to explain what self-defense is not. If someone punches you once, stops, and is obviously finished, you cannot legally retaliate and return the blow. A retaliation assault when someone no longer threatens you is legally a second assault. You are allowed to protect yourself against perceived threats, but in Texas, you may not retaliate when a threat has passed. If the assault charge against you cannot be dropped or dismissed, and if your case goes to trial, it will be up to a jury to decide if you acted in self-defense.

What constitutes assault in the state of Texas? If you are charged with an assault, you should know your legal rights and what steps you will need to take. How are assaults categorized by Texas law? Assaults in this state may be charged as Class C, B, or A misde- meanors or as third-, second-, or first-degree felonies. A specific assault charge will be determined by the extent of the alleged victim’s injuries, the particulars of the charge, and the defendant’s prior criminal history. “Simple” assault happens in Texas when someone knowingly, recklessly, and/or intentionally causes or threatens to cause bodily injury to someone else or when someone knowingly and/or inten- tionally engages in offensive or provocative physical contact with someone else. Simple assault is typically charged as a Class C misdemeanor, but it becomes a Class A misdemeanor when the victim is a disabled or elderly person. Simple assault is a Class B misdemeanor when the victim is a sports official or a participant during a sports event. What is assault with bodily injury? An assault that causes bodily injury will be charged as a Class A misdemeanor (with exceptions discussed in the next section). Defendants who receive misdemeanor convictions in Texas face the following maximum penalties: • Class A misdemeanor convictions, a year in county jail and/or a $4,000 fine • Class B misdemeanor convictions, 180 days in county jail and/ or a fine of $2,000 • Class C misdemeanor convictions, a fine of $500 When is an assault charge a felony charge? Assault with bodily injury becomes a felony in the third degree if the perpetrator knew that the victim was working in his or her official capacity as a public servant, a government employee (or contractor at a correctional, treatment, or rehabilitation facility), a security guard, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or another emergency services responder. Causing bodily injury to someone who is pregnant or committing repeated acts of domestic assault may also be charged as a felony in the third degree. Third-degree felony assault charges are punishable upon conviction with 2–10 years in a state prison and/ or a fine of $10,000. Assault is a felony in the second degree when someone attacks and causes bodily injury to a law enforcement officer or a judge in reaction to that public servant’s official duties. Second-degree felony assault convictions may be penalized with 2–20 years in a state prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

If jurors find that you acted in self-defense, you will be found not guilty, but if they believe that you retaliated and/or overreacted, the law will require the jury to convict you of the assault charge. If you are charged with assault (or aggravated assault, which will be explained in the next edition), your best chance for avoiding an assault conviction — or winning a favorable plea deal if your conviction is certain — is by getting expert legal help on your side. Make the call as soon as possible after an assault arrest. | Pg. 2

The Benefits of Positive Relationships Good for Mind and Health

Boosted Immune Systems It makes sense — people who have less stress have stronger immune systems. During times of high stress, our bodies are more susceptible to illnesses because our immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. The stress hormone corticosteroid can also lower the number of lymphocytes available to fight infection. However, when we are in a happy and loving relationship, our bodies produce oxytocin, and we are less likely to get sick.

Connecting with other humans in a positive way is one of the most profound experiences we have. That positivity is one of the greatest virtues — it’s contagious, and engaging in happy relationships with others is extremely important not only for our minds but also for our health. Longer Lives Studies have actually shown that when people are involved in positive relationships, they live longer. This is likely attributed to decreased stress, as stress can exact a toll on the entire body. Positive relationships can also encourage us to give up negative habits such as drinking or smoking, which cause many health problems and concerns. Healthy habits can help people live longer lives. Quicker Healing Positive people in our lives can distract us from pain, remind us to take medication, be our advocates, and simply reduce stress. And less stress means healing takes place faster. Those who have a support person feel more confident and prepared to undergo surgeries and fight illnesses as well.

Better Physical Shape Being in a positive relationship, especially a romantic one, can provide the motivation to be the best version of ourselves. This includes our physical condition, too! Having a friend or workout partner to encourage accountability and even push us out of our comfort zone a bit at the gym can keep us motivated. Being in a positive, healthy, and happy relationship means we listen to each other, offer advice, openly communicate without judgment, practice respect and trust, and engage in healthy activities together. So, it’s no surprise that positive relationships work wonders for our health and happiness.

Easy Cranberry- Apple Salad


Inspired by


For the salad: •

1/4 cup dried pumpkin seeds

For the dressing: •

• •

5 cups salad mix

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Granny Smith apples, chopped into bite-size pieces 1/3 cup dried cranberries 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled

• • • •

1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp honey

• •

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a skillet over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds until fragrant, then set aside. 2. In a small jar or bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients, then set aside. 3. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing until lightly coated, then toss and serve! Directions | Pg. 3

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1. Why Your Hobbies Relieve Stress

2. What’s Considered Assault in Texas?


The Benefits of Positive Relationships

Easy Cranberry-Apple Salad

4. The First Thanksgiving Menu


Every Thanksgiving, we gather with our families and friends and pig out. Turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing, oh my! But did the Pilgrims actually eat all the same foods we do today? When we sit down at the Thanksgiving table, we are blessed with mashed potatoes, candied yams, green bean casserole, turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. However, if we wanted to be historically accurate, we would need to change up that dinner spread a bit. Historians know of a few foods on the table that Pilgrims and Wampanoags shared at Plymouth Colony in 1621. Wildfowl, corn (in grain form for porridge), and venison were sure to be served at the first Thanks - giving. Wild turkey was also a common and abundant food source but wasn’t likely the main course as it is today. A few days before the first Thanksgiving, the colony’s

governor put four men in charge of hunting for birds for the feast, and they very likely returned with some turkey. However, as far as mashed potatoes are concerned, in the early 1600s, most Europeans and the Wampanoag had no idea what a potato was. They weren’t culti- vated in North America until the 1700s. Likewise, cranberries were still very new to the Pilgrims, and they didn’t yet use them for food — instead, they used them to make dyes for fabrics! For dessert, pumpkin pie was not yet a thing either. Although the Pilgrims liked pumpkins, they didn’t have the butter and wheat flour needed to make pie crust. Instead, they hollowed out the pumpkins ( just like Halloween!) and filled them with milk and honey to make a custard and then roasted them.

Although our Thanksgiving meals have changed over the years, it still is a fantastic time to get together and celebrate. In the spirit of evolving traditions, don’t be afraid to innovate to add your own personal tradi- tional twist to the holiday as well! | Pg. 4

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