Archive for April, 2014

DWI Charges in Texas – When Lending Your Car to Others Can Be Risky

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

It’s not always easy to say no to a friend, family member, co-worker, or other acquaintance who has asked to borrow your car, especially when that person is literally begging you, or trying to convince you it’s an emergency.  While most of the time, cars are borrowed without consequence, there are times when the individual who has borrowed the car has been drinking, and subsequently is pulled over and charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Texas.  If this happens, and you are completely unaware that the individual was under the influence, you likely will not face criminal charges.  However, you should be aware that you could potentially be charged with aiding and abetting if there is any evidence to show you may have known about the individual’s intoxication, and/or knowingly allowed that person to drive your car.

In Texas, aiding and abetting is a general crime, and the consequences and range of punishment of a conviction entirely depend upon the underlying crime.  With a DWI, if you knew or had reason to know that another person driving your car was under the influence, you face consequences that could result in a conviction on your criminal record, causing problems for you in the future.  However, if you consult with a Dallas DWI Defense Attorney right away, your attorney may be able to get any criminal charges against you dismissed or lowered to less serious charges.

It is important to understand that the police must have clear facts to show you aided and abetted another person who operated your vehicle while under the influence.  In most cases, the owner of the vehicle is unaware that the individual operating the vehicle has done so under the influence.  But, you should be prepared in the event the police speak with you about what happened.  Even if you had nothing to do with the individual driving your car under the influence, your nerves and anxiety of speaking with police officers may cause you to say something you did not intend.  As such, you should speak with an attorney prior to talking with police, even if you have not been convicted of any crime.

You should also be aware that you may be held civilly liable for the driver’s negligence if any property has been damaged or destroyed, and/or any person has been injured as a result of the individual’s conduct in allegedly driving under the influence.  Because there is a potential that you may have to speak with the police and/or may be charged with aiding and abetting, it is essential that you seek the opinion of a Dallas DWI Defense Attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Dallas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Criminal charges can be unsuspecting, and oftentimes accused individuals are shocked when they are charged with a crime they were not actually involved in.  Whether you have been charged with a DWI, or you have been charged with aiding and abetting, you should consult with a seasoned Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney right away.  The sooner you speak with an attorney, the sooner your attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and either seek dismissal of the charge, or negotiate to have the charge lowered to a less serious crime.  Dallas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit is a former prosecutor, and has more than thirty years of experience working in the criminal justice system.  Mr. Pettit devotes his practice to defending the constitutional rights of his clients and seeking the best resolution possible for each client’s unique circumstances.  To schedule an initial consultation with Jack Pettit, contact our office today by calling (214) 521-4567.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish, and we also accept major credit cards.

Disorderly Conduct in Texas – What You Should Know

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Disorderly conduct is typically not considered to be a very serious crime, however, being convicted of disorderly conduct could make it difficult for you to obtain employment or be admitted to a college or university as the conviction will be on your criminal record.  Further, disorderly conduct is much broader than many people realize.  The range of punishment is different depending on the nature and severity of the conduct.  Even though disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor offense, and therefore not as serious as other crimes, you still need a highly experienced attorney providing you with the best representation possible.  Without the assistance of a Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney, you may not be able to get the charge reduced or dismissed entirely.  A qualified attorney will look for the best options possible to reach a positive outcome.

What is Disorderly Conduct in Texas?

Under Texas law, disorderly conduct ranges from being intoxicated in public, to making false, abusive, or harassing calls to 911 operators, to falsely reporting a bomb or fire, to threatening another person in public, to discharging a firearm in public, to causing excessive noise in a public place and/or near a private residence, and to fighting in public, among many others.  When you think of disorderly conduct, you tend to envision that an individual is being difficult, violent, offensive, disagreeable, and/or belligerent.  However, the scope of disorderly conduct is much broader, and the conduct in question does not need to be violent or offensive in nature. 

Merely creating an excessive noise isn’t necessarily violent or offensive, yet it is still considered disorderly conduct.  It is important that Texans understand how broad the crime of disorderly conduct is to ensure they take all steps necessary to avoid being charged with the crime.  If you are charged with disorderly conduct, your attorney will first investigate whether you may have any defenses to the charge, and if so, the dismissal of your claim may be sought.  Otherwise, your attorney may be able to lower your disorderly conduct charge to a less severe crime that will not be harmful to your criminal record.

 

Range of Punishment for Conviction of Disorderly Conduct in Texas 

If convicted of disorderly conduct in Texas, the classification of your conviction ranges from being a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor.  If convicted of a Class C misdemeanor, you face a fine of up to $500, but no jail time.  If convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, you face a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail.  If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, you face a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. 

Disorderly conduct in the form of discharging a firearm in public (but not on or across a public road), is considered a Class C misdemeanor, therefore, this is an example of one of the less severe forms of disorderly conduct.  The other extreme of disorderly conduct that is considered a Class A misdemeanor is reporting false alarms, such as making abusive or harassing calls to 911 operators, reporting a bomb when no bomb exists, reporting a fire that does not exist, or anything else that results in a false emergency response. 

Regardless of what the conduct in question is, if you have been charged with disorderly conduct, the sooner you seek the advice of a qualified Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney, the greater your chances are of resolving the matter in the most efficient and equitable way possible.

 Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Being charged and subsequently convicted of disorderly conduct can leave you with a blemished criminal record if you do not have a skilled attorney by your side helping you reach the best resolution possible to avoid jail time, and to avoid having a criminal conviction on your record.  Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has more than three decades of experience working with the criminal justice system, both as a former prosecutor and as an active criminal defense attorney.  Having well-rounded experience is essential to providing the best legal representation possible.  If you are facing a disorderly conduct charge, or any other criminal charge, contact Jack Pettit today by calling (214) 521-4567 to schedule an initial consultation.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish, and we also accept major credit cards.

Texas DWI Convictions Cannot Be Expunged or Sealed

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

One small mistake can leave your criminal record tarnished for the foreseeable future in Texas.  Driving under the influence of alcohol, no matter how much you may have been drinking, can be devastating.  Perhaps you are otherwise a solid citizen and have great potential to attend college and pursue the career of your choice.  A DWI conviction can make your goals of college and employment much more difficult to achieve.  A DWI is a blemish on your criminal record that cannot be expunged or sealed under Texas law.

Having a criminal conviction expunged is effectively making the conviction disappear – as if the conviction never occurred in the first place.  Having your conviction sealed is making your criminal record unavailable to others.  Thus, if employers, educational institutions, or prospective landlords run a criminal background check, your conviction would not appear on the background check.

Both expunction and the sealing of criminal records are available for many crimes in Texas, but not available for DWI convictions.  You may not be sentenced to jail time for a DWI conviction, however, the mere conviction can feel just as restrictive as jail when you cannot get a job, get accepted to a college or university, or obtain housing.  Because the consequences of a DWI conviction can haunt you for years to come, it is essential that you consult with a Dallas DWI Defense Attorney right away to ensure you are doing everything you can to avoid a DWI conviction.

What Are My Options to Avoid a DWI Conviction?

The first thing your attorney will do is thoroughly evaluate each and every fact relating to your DWI charge.  Police officers make mistakes sometimes that compromise an individual’s constitutional rights, and the violation of such rights may lead to a dismissal of your charge.  If the DWI charge is dismissed, you will not have anything on your record.  Further, you may have other defenses available to justify dismissal of your DWI charge.  A seasoned Dallas DWI Defense Attorney will immediately know what steps to take after reviewing the facts of your arrest.

If your charge cannot be dismissed, you may have the option of having your DWI charge lowered to an offense that may not stay on your record indefinitely, or the conviction may be expunged or sealed after a certain period of time.  In order to reach such favorable results to your DWI charge, you need a Dallas DWI Defense Attorney who has the experience and skill required to reach an agreement with the prosecutor to find a fair resolution that will enable you to move on without significant damage to your record.   

An attorney who has a good working relationship with prosecutors will be able to provide you with the best legal representation possible.  It is important to understand, however, that having an existing criminal record may make it more difficult to have a pending DWI charge lowered, but having a qualified and experienced attorney by your side will increase your chances of resolving your criminal matter in a way that has the least harmful effect on your criminal record.

Contact Dallas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Texas law enforcement officials take DWI charges very seriously, and a conviction on your record remains for good.  The sooner you consult with a Dallas DWI Defense Attorney, the sooner you can fight your DWI charge and seek to have the charge lowered or dismissed.  Dallas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit is a former prosecutor with more than three decades of experience prosecuting and defending criminal cases.  Jack Pettit will work diligently to help you overcome your DWI charge, thoroughly investigating the facts of your case.  To speak with Jack Pettit, contact our office today by calling (214) 521-4567 to schedule an initial consultation.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish, and we also accept major credit cards.

Dallas Speeding Tickets and Traffic School

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Nobody wants to go to traffic school as a result of being issued one or more speeding tickets.  However, some Texans who have received speeding tickets may be able to have their ticket dismissed by attending a defensive driving program at a Texas traffic school.  By completing a traffic school program that may range from four hours to eight hours or more, no points will be assessed against your driving record, and your driver’s license will remain in good standing. 

While traffic school is one way to have your speeding or other traffic ticket dismissed, you should also consider having a Dallas Traffic Ticket Attorney handle your ticket for you to avoid the assessment of points on your driver’s license.  Your attorney can do this by seeking an amendment to your ticket that is a less serious infraction, such as a non-moving violation that will not appear on your driving record, and will not result in the increase of your insurance rates.

Traffic School v. Amending Your Ticket

Deciding to go to traffic school and having your ticket amended will have the same result.  The traffic charge will be dismissed and you will not be negatively affected.  The differences between choosing traffic school over amending your ticket depend upon the time and money each option will take for you.  With either choice, you will have to pay all fines assessed against you.  For driving school, you will have to pay for the program you enroll in.  You also should consider the cost to travel to the driving school, and the time you will need to devote to driving school.  If you work full time, it is difficult to devote an entire day to traffic school. 

If you choose to amend your ticket with the help of an attorney, you will be responsible for the cost the court requires for the amendment.  This is often double the cost of the original fine.  Further, you will be responsible for reasonable attorney’s fees.  If you compare both options, the cost for deciding to go to traffic school may be more than the cost for having your ticket amended.  By having an attorney amend your ticket for you, you will not need to spend the time to travel anywhere.  Your attorney will go to court on your behalf to take care of your ticket.  You will not need to spend the time or money traveling to your attorney’s office, because amending a traffic ticket does not require anything more than your basic information and the traffic ticket information, which provides your case number and the court date.

To better understand what option may be best for you, it is a good idea to consider speaking with a Dallas County Traffic Ticket Attorney as soon as possible before your scheduled court date.  If you miss your court date, a warrant may be issued for your arrest, so time is of the essence.

Contact Dallas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you have been issued a speeding or other traffic ticket, it is important that you consult with a Dallas County Traffic Ticket Attorney as soon as possible.  The ultimate goal when addressing speeding and other traffic tickets is to have the charges either dismissed or reduced to charges that will not have a negative impact on your driving record or your insurance rates.  With more than thirty years of experience, Dallas Traffic Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has helped his clients fight speeding tickets and move on with a clear record.  As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit knows what to expect and has a good relationship with Dallas County prosecutors.  If you would like Mr. Pettit to help you fight your traffic ticket, contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation by calling (214) 521-4567.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish, and we also accept major credit cards.