Archive for June, 2014

Pleading Not Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Dallas County

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Many Texans choose to pay traffic ticket fees instead of fighting them either by appearing in court or by retaining the services of a skilled Dallas County Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney.  It is definitely more convenient to pay the fee, but the consequences of doing so may result in points on your Texas driver’s license and an increase in your automobile insurance rates.  If you have been issued a traffic ticket that you strongly believe is not legitimate, you may challenge the ticket in court by pleading not guilty.  It is not required that you have an attorney when appearing in court, however, having an advocate by your side to represent your interests significantly increases the chances that you may in fact have your traffic ticket charge dismissed.

Reasons for Pleading Not Guilty

You may decide to plead not guilty if you believe the police officer was simply wrong.  Examples of how police officers may be wrong when issuing you a speeding and/or other traffic ticket include, but may not be limited to, the following: 

  • The police officer failed to record the correct automobile’s speed (for example, you are pulled over for speeding when the police officer had your automobile mistaken for another automobile that was speeding);
  • The police officer pulled you over for running a red light when in fact you did not run the red light (there may be traffic cameras that help when gathering evidence, and this may help you defend against the traffic ticket); and
  • The police officer pulled you over just past a school zone, accusing you of speeding in the school zone, even though you had simply sped up to the lawful speed limit just after leaving the school zone.

Regardless of the reasons why you decide to plead not guilty, it is important to have witnesses if possible to corroborate your side of the story.  Having a witness can be the key to having your traffic ticket dismissed.

What if I Lose at Trial?

If you pleaded not guilty to a Dallas County traffic ticket charge and you are found guilty, you may lose the opportunity to have your traffic ticket dismissed on other grounds or as a result of negotiations between your attorney and the prosecutor.  Further, with the assistance of an attorney, you may be able to have the traffic ticket reduced to a non-moving violation.  Therefore, pleading not guilty may result in dismissal if there is little or no evidence of your guilt, but the risk of losing can mean you have to fight your traffic ticket in other ways.  A qualified Dallas County Traffic Defense Attorney will provide you with all of your options and how to choose what option is best for your particular traffic ticket charge.

Contact Dallas Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Fighting a traffic ticket in Dallas County can be quite difficult because most traffic tickets are not dismissed based on a lack of evidence or probable cause.  Instead, traffic tickets get dismissed when a qualified Dallas County Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney negotiates with the prosecutor to resolve your traffic ticket charge in a simple and reasonable manner.  If your traffic ticket cannot be dismissed, your attorney may be able to lower your traffic ticket charge to a non-moving violation that does not harm your Texas driving record or your automobile insurance rates.  To ensure you are taking the proper steps to handle your Dallas County traffic ticket, you should consider speaking with Attorney Jack Pettit.  As a former prosecutor with more than thirty years of experience working with the criminal justice system, Jack Pettit has a reputation for success and knows what it takes to reach a favorable result for his clients.  To speak with Jack Pettit regarding your Dallas County traffic ticket, 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.

Texas DUI Charges – What is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Texas can result in jail time, the imposition of fines, probation, the suspension of your Texas driver’s license, and/or the requirement to perform community service.  Many individuals who are convicted of driving under the influence are without a Texas driver’s license for quite a long period of time.  However, each DUI charge has its own unique set of facts and circumstances, and the penalties for each DUI charge may be different.  As such, it is very important to consult with a Dallas County DUI Defense Attorney no matter how minor or serious you believe your DUI charge is.  With the help of an attorney, you may be able to avoid a DUI conviction altogether. 

Overcoming Your DUI Conviction

 If you were unable to have your DUI charge dismissed, and you were ultimately convicted, you are now picking up the pieces and trying to move forward.  As part of that process, you will want to start driving again as soon as possible.  Texas does allow convicted individuals to start driving again, but restrictions may be placed on your ability to drive freely at any given time.  After you have completed the suspension period, you may begin to start driving again on the condition that you have an ignition interlock device (IID) attached to the ignition of your car.  This device is a small breathalyzer that you must breathe into before the car will start.  If the breathalyzer is clean, your car will start.  If there is any alcohol detected in your breath, the car will not start.

In order to obtain the ignition interlock device, you will have to pay a license fee to the Texas Department of Public Safety in addition to other fees.  This is certainly a cost that may make it difficult for some Texas driver’s to afford, however, it may be the best option available to you, as you otherwise would not be driving at all.  If you are able to have the ignition interlock device and you later have your Texas driver’s license suspended or revoked, you may no longer be able to drive with an ignition interlock device.  As such, you should work alongside a seasoned Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help you make the right decisions if you are facing a DUI charge or prior DUI conviction.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Because Texas law enforcement takes DUI convictions very seriously, you need to be prepared for what to expect if you are pulled over, and what the consequences are if you are ultimately convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Overcoming a DUI conviction can be stressful, but an ignition interlock device can allow you to drive much sooner than you may have expected.  To make sure that you are aware of all of your options when facing a Texas DUI charge, it is imperative that you consider how a highly skilled Dallas County DUI Defense Attorney can help you build a strong defense to your DUI charge.  Jack Pettit is a former prosecutor and Dallas DUI Defense Attorney with more than thirty years of experience in the criminal justice system.  Jack Pettit will work diligently to ensure you are taking all steps necessary to reach a reasonable outcome given the individual facts of your DUI charge.  If you would like to speak with Jack Pettit about your DUI charge, 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.

Evading and Resisting Arrest in Texas – What You Need to Know

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Whether or not you have ever been arrested, you likely know that the more cooperative you are with the arresting police officers, the much easier the arrest and detention process will be.  Some individuals feel the need or urge to avoid being arrested, regardless of what the reason may be.  An individual who intentionally resists arrest by an officer may be facing a criminal charge that could have been easily prevented.  Further, if an individual runs away to evade police, he or she could face a criminal charge is also preventable, and both crimes could result in fines and potential jail time.

Some Texas residents believe that if they have not committed any crime, they cannot be arrested for anything at all.  They may use their innocence as a reason to either evade or resist being arrested, however, it is never a good idea to intentionally evade or resist arrest.  Whether you are guilty or innocent of a particular crime will be determined later on.  At the arrest stage, whether or not you are innocent should not prevent you from cooperating with police officers, as this will only cause you unnecessary legal trouble.

Penalties for Evading and Resisting Arrest in Texas

When an individual intentionally flees from a person he or she knows to be a peace officer who is attempting to lawfully arrest or detain the individual, he or she may be found guilty of evading arrest.  Under Texas law, evading arrest is considered a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of $500.  However, there are situations where a charge of evading arrest may be a more serious misdemeanor or even a felony if other factors are involved, such as the use of a vehicle to flee from police.

When an individual intentionally prevents or obstructs a person he or she knows to be a peace officer, he or she may be found guilty of resisting arrest.  Under Texas law, resisting arrest is considered a Class A misdemeanor which is fairly serious considering how easily a charge of resisting arrest can be prevented by simply cooperating with law enforcement officials.

Because charges of evading and/or resisting arrest can result in potential jail time, individuals who have been charged with evading or resisting arrest should take their criminal matter very seriously.  These are not criminal charges that should be dealt with alone.  You need a skilled and seasoned criminal defense attorney who can quickly evaluate your situation and help you fight your criminal charges, seeking to avoid jail time and the imposition of hefty fines.

 Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

Both evading and resisting arrest in Texas are serious crimes that may result in jail time and significant fines, regardless of what the reason was for the arrest.  Ignoring police instructions is one of the biggest mistakes individuals can make when they are facing arrest.  If you or a loved one has been charged with evading or resisting arrest in Texas, it is important that you have a qualified Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney standing by your side to advocate for you rights to the fullest extent possible.  Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has more than thirty years of experience working both as a former prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney.  Attorney Jack Pettit utilizes all resources available, and thoroughly investigates each and every client’s case with the same dedication to provide the best legal representation possible.  To discuss your criminal charge with Jack Pettit, 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.

Getting Out of Jail After Arrest – Understanding Your Options in Texas

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Getting arrested is certainly a frightening experience, especially when it catches you by surprise.  For example, you may have a traffic ticket that you have forgotten about and a warrant issued for your arrest.  You get pulled over, the officer pulls up your record which reveals the warrant, and you are taken to jail.  Or, the warrant for your arrest may relate to a more serious misdemeanor or felony charge in Texas.  Regardless of the reason for the issuance of a warrant and/or for your arrest, you will likely be required to pay bail in order to be let free.  If you have been charged with felony drug possession, for example, your bail amount may be significantly higher than the bail amount for the charge of driving with an expired or illegal driver’s license.

How Can I Get Out of Jail?

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to bailing someone out of jail is coming up with the necessary amount of money that will set your loved one free.  The obvious first option is to find the cash to bail your loved one out of jail.  If the amount is a few hundred dollars, then paying the bail amount may be doable.  However, if the bail amount is pushing one thousand dollars or more, you may have to look to other options to satisfy the bail amount, otherwise your loved one may be staying in jail for an unknown amount of time.

Additional options for making bail include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • Giving property worth the full amount of the bail (such as a watch or piece of jewelry); or
  • Giving a bond that guarantees payment of the full bail amount.

It is important to understand that if you are going to post bond, you may choose to work with a bail bondsman, and while this will get you out of jail right away, you may be paying back a significant amount in fees and interest charges.  In Texas, you also have the option of having your attorney post bond to get you out of jail.  Therefore, it is extremely important to consult with an experienced Dallas Country Criminal Defense Attorney who can help you get out of jail and face your criminal charge.  Working with an attorney will also give you some peace of mind in knowing that your rights are being protected.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you or someone you know has been arrested and needs to get out of jail, you will need to act quickly to pay bail and enlist the legal services of a skilled Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney.  Oftentimes it is difficult to come up with sufficient cash to bail someone out of jail.  As such, having a full understanding of the various options you can take will help you make the best decision given the circumstances you are in.  A qualified Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney can help you utilize all resources possible to come up with the required bail amount in order to bail someone out of jail.  Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit is a former prosecutor with more than thirty years of service working with the criminal justice system, defending his clients’ rights to the fullest extent possible.  If you would like to speak with Jack Pettit regarding a criminal charge that your or someone you know is facing, contact our office right away by calling (214) 521-4567.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish, and we also accept major credit cards.

Texas Felon in Possession of Firearm – What is at Stake?

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

If you or someone you know has been convicted of a felony, regardless of whether that felony was violent in nature or not, you likely are aware that there may be limitations placed on your ability to possess a firearm in the foreseeable future.  Owning and/or possessing a gun is cherished by many Texans, so it is important to be aware of just how serious a felony conviction is in Texas, where long-lasting consequences are possible.  Many individuals who have been convicted of a felony do not truly understand the ramifications of what can happen if they even pick up a gun.  The stakes are high, and it simply isn’t worth it to even touch a gun.  However, if you are charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, you must act quickly and retain a qualified Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help you fight this criminal charge.

Felon in Possession Under Texas Law

An individual with a prior felony conviction may be found guilty of being a felon in possession of a fire arm under Texas law if he or she possesses a firearm at any time following the prior felony conviction.  However, if the individual possesses the fire arm within the five year period following the felony conviction, he or she may be convicted of a third degree felony, which carries with it the potential for two to ten years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.  This is the punishment that may be imposed upon an individual with just one prior felony conviction.  If an individual has two or more prior felony convictions, and is then charged with being a felon in possession of a fire arm, the consequences may be much more severe if conviction results, and long-term jail time may be a real possibility.

The standard of proof required to establish that a convicted felon was in possession of a fire arm is very low.  There are no strong defenses to a felon in possession of a fire arm charge in Texas.  In order to prove that you are guilty of being a felon in possession of a fire arm, the prosecution must prove that you do in fact have a prior felony conviction, you were actually in possession of a fire arm voluntarily, and you possessed the fire arm within five years following your prior felony conviction.  If you possessed the fire arm more than five years following your felony conviction, then the criminal charge is considered a Class A misdemeanor.  While this is certainly less harsh than a third degree felony, it is still a serious criminal charge that must be dealt with alongside a skilled Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you have a criminal record and are concerned about how the possession of a firearm could affect you, it is imperative that you seek the advice of a skilled Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney as soon possible.  Felons who are caught with firearms face significant criminal penalties that could follow them for years to come.  As such, the sooner you consult with an attorney, the more likely your attorney will be able to provide you with the best representation possible.  Dallas Attorney Jack Pettit has more than thirty years of experience working in the criminal justice system, as both a former prosecutor and as a current criminal defense attorney.  Jack Pettit will help you build the best defense possible to any criminal charge and will seek to resolve your criminal matter in the most reasonable way possible with the goal of avoiding jail time.  To speak with Jack Pettit about your criminal charge or prior conviction, 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.