Archive for January, 2014

Dallas DUI Attorney Answers Do I Have a Defense to My DUI or DWI Charge?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, you likely have a tough fight ahead of you regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent.  Each DUI and DWI charge has its own set of unique facts that attorneys can evaluate to determine if the charged person has any potential defenses to the charge.  Regardless of whether or not you believe you may be guilty, the police may have made a mistake in the process of pulling you over, searching you and/or your vehicle, and arresting you.  Further, the prosecutor may have made a mistake when actually charging you after looking at the police reports and other available evidence.

Common Defenses to DUI and DWI Charges

You may have a legal defense to a DUI or DWI charge in one or more of the following situations:

  • You were pulled over with no legal justification, meaning a police officer did not have authority to pull you over in the first place (i.e., you were pulled over based on race or ethnicity);
  • No probable cause existed to arrest you for a DUI or DWI, meaning that there was nothing significant to suggest you were actually under the influence when you were pulled over; and
  • You were not provided your Miranda Warnings as part of being arrested

In addition to these potential defenses, you may also be able to present factual defenses to a DUI or DWI charge.  For example, if you failed a field sobriety test because you were not able to walk straight, or were off balance, you may have a reasonable justification for such behavior that has nothing to do with being under the influence.  Explanations for failing a field sobriety test or Breathalyzer test include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • You did not fully understand the instructions that were given to you;
  • You were sleep-deprived when you were pulled over and not able to perform the tasks properly;
  • You had physical or mental impairments that prevented your ability to successfully complete the test; and
  • Your eyes appeared to be bloodshot for health reasons, such as allergies, being sick, or irritation from wearing contact lenses

Whatever legal defense you believe you may have, or whatever factual scenario you believe explains your behavior, an attorney will be able to evaluate your case to determine if a court is likely to dismiss your DUI or DWI charge.  The innocent do not deserve to suffer at the expense of a police officer’s misconduct, or because of conduct that was mistakenly believed to be that of driving under the influence.  Even if you are innocent, the steps to presenting and arguing defenses can be difficult and time-consuming.  It takes a seasoned Dallas criminal defense attorney to determine what the best course of action is to take for your particular case.

Contact Dallas DUI/DWI Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Being charged with a DUI or DWI can have devastating consequences for you.  To find out if you may have been wrongfully charged or have a good defense to a charge, you need the assistance of a qualified Dallas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  With more than 30 years of experience, Attorney Jack Pettit has the skill required to help you fight your DUI or DWI charge.  Mr. Pettit devotes a significant portion of his practice to defending clients charged with DUIs and DWIs, and will use his expertise to defend your rights to the fullest.  To speak with Mr. Pettit, contact our office today at (214) 521-4567 to schedule a consultation.  We offer bilingual services in English and Spanish, and also accept major credit cards.

Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer : Texas Lawmakers Push Legislation to Legalize Marijuana

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Last year was a great year for supporters of the legalization of marijuana, with both Colorado and Washington legalizing and planning to regulate the recreational use of marijuana.  Although Texas is considered to be one of the more conservative states in this country, two lawmakers are advocating for the legalization of marijuana.  These two Democratic state representatives are planning to re-introduce marijuana legislation that will mirror much of the same legislation that was passed in Colorado and Washington.  These Texas lawmakers plan to keep pushing even though their proposal will likely not be looked upon favorably by most Texas lawmakers.

The viewpoint of these Texas state representatives is also shared by a majority of Texas citizens, with 58 percent of the Texas population supporting the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana use for adults.  Further, 61 percent of Texas citizens support the decriminalization of marijuana.  It may take Texas quite a while to join the ranks of Colorado and Washington, however, Texans who support the legalization of marijuana feel confident that one day Texas will be another state that follows the trend that is expected to flock to many other states in the next few years.

While the legalization of marijuana might not be too far off for Texans, the law as it stands treats marijuana possession fairly seriously.  Texas citizens should not assume that law enforcement officials will be lenient when it comes to marijuana possession simply because the trend in other states has pushed for legalization.  Until Texas law changes, you are at risk for criminal penalties for even the smallest amount of marijuana.

With Colorado not being too far from Texas, the influx of marijuana into Texas territory may increase as access to marijuana is easier for many Texas marijuana users.  Law enforcement officials are well aware of this possibility and are likely to crack down on the import of marijuana from Colorado and other states.  Therefore, if you are a marijuana user, you should expect that Texas law may be enforced to the fullest extent for a marijuana charge.

If you are charged with marijuana possession and do not have adequate legal representation, you could be facing jail time, hefty fines, probation and a blemish on your criminal record.  You may have trouble getting a job or being admitted to a college or university.  The negative effects of a marijuana possession charge can last for years to come.  While many employers may not take a marijuana possession charge or conviction too seriously, it is still cumbersome and stressful to know that such a charge or conviction may pop up on any background check.  To increase your chances of being able to avoid a blemished criminal record, you should seek the advice of a highly experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney who specializes in drug possession charges.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you have been charged with marijuana possession, or are facing any other drug possession charge, you need the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to fight to keep you out of jail.  While you may be able to avoid jail time and keep a marijuana charge off your record in the long run through a diversion or deferred adjudication program, you will need an attorney who has the ability to negotiate this type of arrangement.  Attorney Jack Pettit has been practicing law for over 30 years and has helped hundreds of clients avoid jail time and put drug possession charges behind them.  Mr. Pettit has the experienced required to fight your marijuana possession charge.  To speak with Mr. Pettit about your case, contact our office today at (214) 521-4567.  Mr. Pettit provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish.  We also accept major credit cards.

What You Should Know About Public Intoxication in Texas

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Many people view public intoxication charges as embarrassing events that don’t result in anything more than a mere fine as punishment.  This may be true for individuals who have been charged between one and three times, however, any subsequent public intoxication charges can result in serious consequences.  Like speeding tickets, public intoxication charges need to be addressed quickly and in the best possible way to help keep your criminal record clean.

Under Texas law, public intoxication is considered a Class C misdemeanor, and is not simply a minor infraction.  What many people do not realize is that being drunk in public alone does not constitute public intoxication in Texas.  The person must be intoxicated, in public, and deemed to be a danger to him or herself, and/or others.  This aspect of public intoxication can be tricky, so this is why it is extremely important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before paying a fine and treating the incident lightly.

Like any other crime, you may have possible defenses to a charge of public intoxication.  After all, if you are walking down the street, and under the influence, a police officer may say that you were a danger to yourself because you were stumbling and could have fallen and injured yourself.  Perhaps this wasn’t the case at all, and you tripped because of something on the sidewalk – an accident that likely would have occurred had you not been intoxicated at all.  Whether or not you are a danger to yourself and/or others is a slippery slope and is sometimes not worth the fight.  However, with the help of an attorney, you may be able to quickly get rid of the charge, pay a fine simply to keep the charge off your record, and move on.

Further, if you have prior public intoxication charges, you may be able to have such charges expunged, but you will need an attorney who specializes in expunctions in order to pursue such matters.  The reason why it is so important to keep a public intoxication charge or conviction off your record is because you may be required to disclose such charges or convictions on job applications, or applications to attend a college or university.

While many employers and school admissions offices may not treat a public intoxication charge very seriously, like they might with a drug possession charge or a DUI/DWI, it is still in your best interest to have a clean criminal record from the start.  You will not be able to clear your record on your own – it will take the expertise of a Dallas criminal defense attorney to advocate for you to have a clean record.  However, it is very important to understand that expunging your record may be more difficult if you have multiple prior criminal convictions.  It is much easier to seek expunction of a single conviction, but a skilled attorney may be able to take on the challenge of clearing your record entirely.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

A public intoxication charge should not be treated lightly.  If you have been charged with public intoxicated, you will need superior legal representation to ensure the best possible outcome for your particular situation. Dallas criminal defense attorney Jack Pettit has over 30 years of legal experience and has the necessary skill to defend you with whatever criminal charge you are facing.  Mr. Pettit will work diligently to seek the best result and help you move forward with little harm to your criminal record, and will seek expunction of your record whenever possible.  To schedule a consultation with Mr. Pettit, call our office today at (214) 521-4567.  Our office offers bilingual services in both English and Spanish, and also accepts major credit cards.

Dallas Traffic Attorney Discusses How Speeding Tickets Can Affect Your Insurance Rates

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Speeding tickets are not normally thought of as being a big deal.  You get pulled over, get a ticket, and pay a fine.  Even the best of drivers, and the most cautious, are at risk for being pulled over.  Police officers in Texas have been known to pull drivers over for going just a few miles per hour over the speed limit.  This inconvenience could cause you more harm than simply paying a fine.

What many people do not know is that after being issued a speeding ticket, your automobile insurance rates may increase, whether in the form of a one-time fine, or an overall increase in your monthly premiums.  All insurance companies have different policies and procedures regarding rate increases, however, if you have received a speeding ticket, you should be aware that you may not only be facing a fine and possible court date – you could be paying hundreds of dollars that you otherwise would not be responsible for.

What Can I Do To Avoid Increasing My Insurance Rates?

More often than not, you have the ability to lower your speeding ticket violation to a lesser charge, such as a non-moving violation.  A non-moving violation could be defective equipment (such as a broken tail light), or perhaps expired tags – something that does not have the potential to raise your insurance rates.  However, you need the assistance of an attorney to help you through this process.

When you receive a citation for speeding, you will automatically receive a court date where you can appear to contest the ticket, or you can pay the fine ahead of time in order to avoid appearing in court.  If you choose to have your ticket amended, an attorney will have to appear on your behalf and ask the court to accept your offer to amend the ticket.  If the court accepts this offer, you will most likely have to pay a heftier fine in order to reduce the speeding ticket charge to a non-moving violation.  This could mean that you will have to pay twice as much as you would otherwise pay, however, the cost of amending the charge could save you in the long run from an increase in your insurance rates.

It is important to remember that the amount of speeding tickets you have on your record will certainly influence your insurance rates and a court’s decision to amend a pending speeding ticket.  Further, how fast you were driving will also have an impact on your insurance rates, as faster drivers are higher risk, and a court may not grant an amendment if you speed was excessive.  For these reasons, it is imperative that you do what you can to avoid getting speeding tickets in the first place, and in the unfortunate event that you do receive a speeding ticket, you take care of it right away with the help of a qualified Dallas attorney.

Contact Dallas Traffic Ticket Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you have a traffic ticket that you would like taken care of, you need an experienced Dallas traffic ticket attorney to help you move on without increasing your insurance rates or earning points on your driver’s license.  Criminal defense and traffic ticket attorney Jack Pettit has more than 30 years of legal experience.  Mr. Pettit has helped his clients overcome the burden of dealing with traffic tickets and the negative effects such tickets can have on insurance rates and driving records.  To ensure you are doing whatever you can to avoid the negative consequences of a traffic ticket, contact Attorney Jack Pettit today to schedule a consultation by calling (214) 521-4567.  Our office provides bilingual services in both English and Spanish and we accept major credit cards.