Archive for April, 2013

The Top Myths Associated with Texas DUI Charges

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Facing a DUI in Texas can certainly be a scary ordeal however, it does not mean that your life is over or that you are without a strong defense.  Without a doubt, there are numerous consequences that result from a DUI conviction, including a permanent criminal record, trouble finding gainful employment, damage to your personal and professional reputation, and the potential to lose your professional license (i.e. law or medical license).  Notwithstanding the severity of a DUI charge, there are many myths associated with these types of cases that people choose to believe, leading a great deal of undue fear and anxiety.   In other words, while dealing with a DUI charge is no simple matter, your situation may not be quite as dire as you think.  Accordingly, the following are the most common DUI myths:

  1. Myth:  If I am charged with a DUI in Texas, the judge is going to impose the harshest penalty possible.

Reality:  The majority of people that consult with me initially assume that if they are convicted with a DUI in Texas, the judge will impose the strictest punishment available.  This is certainly not true, especially when a person has an experienced criminal defense attorney by their side.  Specifically, an attorney who has experience handling DUI cases can point out the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case and also, stress the many positive attributes of his or her client.  Perhaps your blood sample was mishandled, or your field sobriety test was conducted under less than ideal conditions.  Once an attorney is able to raise these arguments, it is highly likely that the prosecutor will be willing to enter a plea bargain rather than bring the case to trial.  This may result in the reduction of your charges or even the dismissal of your case.

  1. Myth:  The only way to fight back against a DUI charge in Texas is to go to trial.

Reality:  In Texas, only a small percentage of DUI cases actually go to trial.  If you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you stand a greater chance of receiving a more favorable outcome than if you choose to represent yourself.

  1. Myth:  I need an attorney fast and should hire the first one I meet with.

Reality:    No way!  Regardless of what some lawyers want you to believe, it is not smart to hire one out of desperation.  An inexperienced or unqualified attorney can seriously affect the outcome of your case, which could end up costing you a significant amount of money as well as your life.

  1. Myths:  You must answer all of the arresting police officer’s questions, no matter what.

Reality:  This is not always the case.  Although it is helpful to be cooperative with a police officer, it is important to keep in mind that you have the right to remain silent and request the presence of counsel before police can resume their interrogation.

For additional information, or if you were charged with a DUI in Texas, it is important to work with an experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyer to help you fight for your rights.  For more than thirty years, our attorney has successfully defended thousands of individuals dealing with all types of criminal 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.

 

Fighting Against Domestic Abuse Charges in Texas

Monday, April 15th, 2013

For over three decades, I have represented thousands of clients in Texas who have faced domestic abuse charges.  As such, I know first-hand that people file these types of charges for several different reasons – whether legitimate or not.  Many times, individuals accuse boyfriends or girlfriends of domestic abuse following a contentious breakup.  Countless other cases involve accusations of domestic abuse when one party is trying to retaliate against the other spouse in a divorce case to or gain an advantage in a custody dispute.  There are also plenty of cases where people are charged with domestic abuse despite the fact that they acted in self-defense or pursuant to other extenuating circumstances.  No matter what the circumstances present, it is important to understand that domestic abuse charges in Texas are serious, which requires highly experienced counsel to handle the complexities associated with these types of case.

Unfortunately, domestic abuse cases not always as “black and white” as they are depicted on television, as they often involve no third party witnesses and little to no evidence.  In other words, these cases are typically based upon statements made by one person and ultimately end up in a he said/she said type situation.  Not to mention that domestic abuse cases are highly charged, leaving it to the trier of fact to sift through the emotions of the parties in order to determine the truth of the matter.

Generally speaking, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that a domestic situation occurred, he or she can arrest you even if you are innocent or the other person had a part to play in starting or escalating the matter.  Otherwise stated, a police officer in Texas does not have to witness the event in order to provide him or her with the authority necessary to place you under arrest.  Regardless of the circumstances, being charged with a domestic abuse offense in Texas can have devastating legal consequences, such as a protective order, community supervision, prison time, monetary fines, anger management counseling and can permanently affect your personal and professional reputation.

Fighting against domestic abuse cases – especially those that often involve a lack of corroborating evidence – takes a significant amount of skill and careful negotiation with the prosecuting attorney.  Whether a person is truly innocent or not, domestic charges are highly complex, requiring an experienced lawyer possible to take the case.  Overall, it is important to have a defense lawyer by your side who can expose the truth of your situation or at least minimize the effects of the charges being brought against you.  If you have been charged with domestic abuse or are being investigated for such an offense, don’t attempt to resolve your case on your own.  You need to contact a skilled Texas domestic abuse defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of these types of cases and who can fight for your fights throughout the entire process.

If you would like to speak to Mr. Pettit about your domestic abuse charges, contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567.  We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.  We look forward to helping you fight for your freedom, your rights and your reputation.

An Overview of Federal and State-Level Crimes in Texas

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Across the country, each state nationwide, including Texas, has criminal laws specifically tailored to prohibit and punish criminal offenses committed within its borders.  Engaging in criminal behavior can cause a person to face either state or federal criminal charges, depending upon the nature of the underlying activity.  Regardless of the circumstances, it is important understand that federal criminal charges are much different and oftentimes more complex than state-level cases.  Specifically, many of our clients are surprised to learn that their alleged crime has been elevated to a federal level offense by virtue of their actions.

While the federal government has jurisdiction over specific types of crimes such as terrorism and tax evasion, a state crime can become a federally prosecuted offense under certain circumstances.  Moreover, whether a crime becomes within the purview of a federal government or not, it nonetheless can also be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony charge, which also hinges upon the facts of one’s case.  Here is an overview of some of the things you should know if you have been charged with a crime:

Federal vs. State Level Offenses

State governments across the country are charged with the responsibility of developing criminal laws to define crimes and the penalties associated therewith.  A few common examples of state level crimes in Texas are murder, manslaughter, drug possession, theft, robbery, kidnapping, rape and assault.  However, if these crimes cross state lines, they may be considered federal offenses that are governed by federal criminal statutes and sentencing guidelines.

To illustrate, a crime can “cross state lines” in the event that a person physically commits a crime in more than one state.   Therefore, if a serial murderer killed victims in Texas and in one or more the surroundings states, or uses various methods of communication to perpetrate a crime, such as the internet or use of a cell phone, he or she could be charged with a federal crime.  Keep in mind that a Texas prosecutor can also charge the wrongdoer with a state-based crime as well.

Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

In Texas, misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by imprisonment for one year or less.  The associated fines and penalties for misdemeanor level offenses are commensurate with the level and severity of the charges.  Felonies however, are much more serious offenses that carry with them significant penalties, such as extended prison time and other severe repercussions.  Under certain circumstances, a misdemeanor can be upgraded to a felony level offense.  For example, if a person is charged with domestic abuse in Texas, it could be elevated from a misdemeanor (i.e. simple assault) to a felony had the offender have used a weapon that caused injury during the commission of the crime.

For additional information, or if you were charged with a federal or crime in Texas, it is important to work with an experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyer to help you fight for your rights.  For more than thirty years, 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.