Archive for January, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions about Being Charged with a DUI in Texas

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Facing a potential DUI conviction in Texas is extremely serious and as such, should not be taken lightly. Specifically, a DUI can have severe consequences such as a permanent criminal record, difficulty finding a job, and other life altering repercussions. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is crucial to know the full scope of your rights and responsibilities. Otherwise stated, understanding the basics about your charges can greatly affect the outcome of your case. Moreover, it may also help prevent you from being arrested should be pulled over under the suspicion of driving while impaired. Accordingly, the following are some of the most important things you should know about DUI charges in Texas:

1. What is a DUI?

A DUI, known as driving under the influence, is a criminal charge that is imposed upon a driver who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. In other words, if you take a breathalyzer test and your BAC is over the legal limit, you will immediately be placed under arrest and charged with a DUI.

2. Can I be charged with a DUI even though my BAC is less than 0.08% percent?

Yes. A police officer can still place you under arrest and charge you with a DUI even if your BAC is less than 0.08%. In Texas, if your driving is impaired by even the slightest amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, you can still be arrested and charged with a DUI.

3. If I am convicted, what are the penalties for driving under the influence?

The severity of the punishment depends upon several factors, including whether you received a previous DUI conviction. Specifically, a first time DUI conviction is considered to be a misdemeanor and may result in a $2,000 fine, extended license suspension, and up to 180 days in jail. If you have been convicted of multiple DUI offenses, you could end up facing a year or more of prison time, several thousands of dollars in fines, a felony conviction on your record, and possibly, the permanent suspension of your driver’s license.

4. Do I have a defense?

While this depends upon the facts of your case, the answer is probably yes. There are several defenses that can be raised when charged with a DUI. Perhaps your field sobriety test was improperly conducted or the results of your breathalyzer test are inaccurate. Only an experienced Texas DUI attorney can fight for your rights and help you mount the strongest defense on your behalf.

5. Do I need an attorney?

Although you are not legally obligated in Texas to hire an attorney, it is highly recommended that you do so. An experienced attorney may be able to mitigate the severity of your punishment or even have your case dismissed. An attorney will also be able to help protect your legal interests and make sure that your constitutional rights are being upheld throughout the entire process.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Texas, it is important to work with an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney to help you fight for your rights. For over three decades, our attorney has successfully defended thousands of individuals dealing with all types of DUI related offenses. If you would like to speak to Mr. Pettit about your DUI charges, contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567. We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.

 

Tips on Finding the Right Texas Criminal Defense Attorney

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

As most people are aware, facing criminal charges is extremely difficult. However, trying to find the right criminal defense attorney can present an even greater challenge. It goes without saying that having a seasoned attorney on your side can make a significant difference. In other words, working with an inexperienced attorney could end up costing you a significant amount of money and quite possibly, your freedom. Accordingly, the following are a number of tips you should consider when looking to hire an attorney:

1. Do your homework. Don’t get sucked in by overzealous marketing or empty promises to deliver you results. Review the attorney’s client testimonials or do some research online as to what others have to say about his or her legal services. As mentioned above, choosing an attorney with a good reputation is critical to the outcome of your case.

2. Ask around. Find out from family members or friends if they can recommend an experienced criminal defense attorney. Most often, the best attorneys are those that have built their criminal law practices through referrals.

3. Make sure to hire an attorney that is upfront about his or her fees. Some attorneys charge their clients by the hour whereas others charge a flat rate. Be sure to know exactly how your attorney bills before signing a retainer form.

4. Only work with an attorney that is experienced in criminal law. While many attorneys claim to have the requisite experience, they may not be capable of handling your case. Furthermore, only choose an attorney that focuses a significant portion of their practice in criminal law, as they are in the best position to most effectively fight for your rights.

5. Consider a public defender. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, you should never represent yourself. Public defenders focus 100% of their legal practice on criminal defense representation, so they likely will have the experience necessary to help you. You can contact your local courthouse to find out more about the public defenders in your area.

If you were charged with a crime in Texas, it is important to work with an experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyer to help you fight for your rights. For over three decades, our attorney has successfully defended thousands of individuals dealing with all types of felony and misdemeanor related offenses. If you would like to speak to Mr. Pettit about your case, contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567. We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.

 

Think Twice Before Giving Up and Paying Your Traffic Fine

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

No matter where you go, people often think that traffic tickets and the harsh fines associated therewith are one of the unfortunate realities of life. In this view, some individuals simply pay their fines without thinking twice about their options. In the event that a person rarely receives traffic tickets, this may not be that big of a deal. However, as little as two traffic tickets can create huge hassles if not handled properly. Not only do traffic citations significantly impact one’s auto insurance premiums, they can also cause a person to lose their driver’s license altogether.

Under Chapter 708 of the Texas Transportation Code, it provides for what is known as the “Driver Responsibility Program”. This is a system where points and penalties are issued to a driver after he or she receives a certain number of traffic violations within a certain time period. Since the beginning of September, the State of Texas has been monitoring the amount of points generated by drivers for all traffic related convictions.

To illustrate, under the Driver Responsibility Program, 2 points are issued for a moving violations, with 3 points recorded if the violation involved a collision with another automobile. Non-moving violations such as not wearing a seatbelt, driving with an expired registration, failing to comply with state mandated inspections and others do not generate points against a driver. Once a person receives a total of 6 points within a three year period, he or she will be charged a surcharge, or penalty, of $100, with $25 required for each additional point. Said surcharges must be sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety on an annual basis for three years. If you fail to pay the surcharge, this department will immediately suspect your driver’s license.

It is important to keep in mind that certain types of traffic violations are treated more seriously in Texas than others. Notwithstanding, in the event that you are convicted of driving with a suspected license or without insurance, the point system will not apply. However, you will be required to pay a surcharge of $250 per year for three years. Driving without a valid operator’s license will also cause a person to incur a $100 surcharge.

Even though points only apply to traffic violation convictions, it is important to speak with an experienced Texas traffic attorney to learn more about your legal options. With over thirty years of experience successfully handling Texas traffic violation cases, attorney Jack Pettit will do what it takes to fight for your rights. When you work with Mr. Pettit, he will also take the time necessary to investigate the facts of your case and mount a strong defense on your behalf. Don’t take chances by representing yourself or give up by blindly paying fines. Get the information you need and the representation you deserve to make informed decisions about your case. If you would like to speak to Mr. Pettit about your felony or misdemeanor charges, contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567. We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.