Archive for May, 2014

Texas Cracks Down on Identity Theft

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Millions of individuals have fallen victim to identity theft over the past couple of decades, and the crime of identity theft is certainly on the rise as most information regarding an individual is now stored electronically.  Being accused of stealing someone’s identity can be just as horrific and stressful as it is to be a victim of identity theft, especially when you are completely innocent.  Regardless of guilt or innocence, being charged with identity theft in Texas can result in both the imposition of significant fines and a rather lengthy jail term.  However, it is important to remember that no two cases are alike, and one individual convicted of identity theft may receive probation, while another individual may receive a five year jail sentence.  The facts of each individual’s case are the driving force behind what the penalties will be.

Identity Theft Under Texas Law

Under Texas law, an individual may be charged with and convicted of identity theft if he or she uses another individual’s personal details, such as name, birth date, and social security number, in order to obtain goods, services or anything else of value.  There are two separate identity theft laws in Texas that apply to situations where an individual is charged with the crime of identity theft, as described below:

  • Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information – An individual who obtains another individual’s identifying information (i.e., name, birth date, and/or social security number) without consent, or who transfers or uses such information, has committed a form of identity theft.
  • Unauthorized Acquisition or Transfer of Certain Financial Information – An individual who acquires, without authorization, certain financial information on financial documents (such as photocopies of checks, credit cards, and/or bank statements), and transfer such information to a third party, has committed a form of identity theft.

Regardless of what type of identity theft is being alleged, the penalties can be quite harsh.  The unauthorized acquisition of certain financial documents is considered a Class B misdemeanor in Texas.  Transferring such information to a third party raises the crime to a Class A misdemeanor.  The fraudulent use or possession of identifying information is considered a felony in Texas.  Depending on the individual facts of the case and how serious the offense is, the felony may range from jail felony to felony in the first degree.  As such, a conviction of identity theft, especially where the crime is considered a felony, can have disastrous consequences that may leave you or a loved one in jail for a number of years.

As Texas cracks down on acts of identity theft, more people will be arrested and potentially facing charges.  Because identity theft can be a felony, you need the best criminal defense representation possible to ensure your rights and interests are being protected.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you or a loved one has been charged with identity theft in Texas, it is imperative that you consult with a Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible.  Given that identity theft has dramatically increased over the years, Texas law enforcement officials have been pressing charges more frequently.  The consequences of identity theft can be just as serious as, or even more serious than, any other theft charge in Texas.  As such, the sooner you are able to speak with an attorney, the sooner you can fight the criminal charges against you.  Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit is a former prosecutor with more than thirty years of experience working with the criminal justice system.  Attorney Jack Pettit has the skill and reputation you are looking for in a seasoned criminal defense attorney.  To discuss your criminal charge with Jack Pettit, contact our office today to schedule your 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.

The Serious Consequences of Driving While License is Suspended or Invalid

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Driving without a license in Texas is taken much more seriously than many people believe.  Many individuals find themselves in jail after repeatedly driving with either a suspended or invalid Texas driver’s license.  Before discussing the consequences of being charged with Driving While Licensed is Suspended (DWLS) or Driving While License is Invalid (DWLI), it is important to understand the reasons why your license may be suspended or deemed invalid in the first place.

Under current Texas law, your driver’s license may be suspended if you are convicted of an alcohol-related offense, use a fake identification, or have multiple traffic tickets that have racked up points on your Texas driver’s license, among others.  You can seek to have your Texas driver’s license reinstated after a period of time, however, it is crucial that you do not drive at all during the period of time your license is suspended.  This is where countless Texans get themselves into even further trouble, especially teenagers and young adults who wish to start driving again right away.

Texas Law Regarding DWLS/DWLI

If you are caught driving with a suspended, revoked, or invalid Texas driver’s license, you may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, which carries with it a maximum penalty of $500.  However, if you have a previous DWLS or DWLI conviction, a subsequent charge could be a Class B misdemeanor, which carried with it a maximum penalty of $2,000 and 180 days in jail.  In some cases, you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if you caused an accident while driving with your suspended, revoked, or invalid Texas driver’s license, resulting in serious injury or death to another person.  A Class A misdemeanor in Texas carries with it a maximum penalty of $4,000 and one year in jail.

Whether you have had your license suspended, revoked or deemed invalid, or if you have been charged with DWLS/DWLI, you must act quickly so that you are not left with a blemished criminal record that could make life a little difficult for you when it comes to applying for a job, renting a home or apartment, or applying to attend college.  As such, you need to take all steps possible to prevent a conviction from harming your record.  With the help of an attorney, you can overcome your DWLS/DWLI charge, and learn how to avoid being charged with the same crime in the future.

Contact Dallas DWLS/DWLI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Driving with a suspended or invalid license in Texas is considered a fairly serious crime in that it does carry with it the potential for some jail time.  While jail time is unlikely for most individuals charged with DWLS/DWLI, the crime must be dealt with as if jail time is a real possibility.  If you or a loved one has been charged with either DWLS or DWLI, you should consider speaking with a Dallas County DWLS/DWLI Defense Attorney right away.  With the help of a skilled attorney, you can resolve your criminal charge in a way that will result in the least harm possible to your driving and criminal record.  Dallas DWLS/DWLI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has the skill and dedication necessary to help you overcome your DWLS/DWLI charge.  As a former prosecutor, and with more than thirty years of experience, Attorney Jack Pettit has seen it all, and can help you like he has helped so many other Texas residents.  To schedule your 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.

Do Out of State Traffic Tickets Affect My Driving Record in Texas?

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

If you are from Texas and have been driving out of this state, you always run the risk of getting pulled over in another state.  While most people will find a way to pay off the speeding or traffic ticket, some individuals simply ignore the ticket and believe that it will simply go away, or that the ticket will not have a negative impact on their Texas driving record.  This way of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth.  Traffic tickets do follow you home to Texas and they can both add points to your Texas driver’s license, and increase your automobile insurance rates.

Interstate Reciprocal Agreements – the Driver License Compact (DLC)

Texas participates in what’s called the “Driver License Compact (DLC).”  This is an agreement among forty-five (45) states and the District of Columbia to share information regarding convictions for moving violations.  If you happen to receive a traffic ticket in those states that do not participate in the DLC (Massachusetts, Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin), then there is a chance that information regarding this ticket will not be sent to Texas.  However, there is no guarantee that your traffic ticket will not be reported to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.  Given the risk and what is at stake for ignoring an out of state traffic ticket, it is important to immediately take care of your traffic ticket as soon as possible, regardless of where you received the ticket.

Other Consequences You Should Be Aware Of

If you were caught driving at a very high rate of speed, and/or the traffic ticket you received would be considered a misdemeanor in the state where you received the ticket, if you do not pay the ticket or appear in court, you could be facing potential jail time and hefty fines, as some states do impose jail sentences on certain traffic offenses.  While this is not common, it certainly does happen.  For example, if you were driving in the state of Missouri and received a speeding ticket for driving twenty miles per hour or more over the speed limit, and you ignore or forget about the ticket, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.  If you subsequently receive a traffic ticket or are pulled over in Texas, this warrant may appear, and you could be sent to jail.  While jail time is a rather extreme measure, it is important that you are fully aware of just how serious traffic tickets can turn out to be.

Contact Dallas Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Regardless of where you receive a traffic ticket, it may follow you home to Texas and can have negative consequences for your Texas driving record and automobile insurance rates.  Because many people believe out of state traffic tickets play no role on their Texas driving records, they are often surprised when they find out they have points on their driver’s license and see their insurance rates go up.  The sooner you speak with an attorney and take care of the out of state ticket, the sooner you can ensure that no harm will be done to your Texas driving record.  Dallas County Traffic Defense Attorney Jack Pettit is a former prosecutor with more than thirty years of experience working in the criminal justice system.  Jack Pettit devotes a significant portion of his practice to helping individuals resolve their traffic records without harm to their driving record and insurance rates.  To schedule an initial consultation, contact Jack Pettit 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.