Archive for October, 2014

Five Tips for Choosing the Right Texas DWI Defense Attorney to Represent You

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

When you are arrested for DWI it may feel as if your world has been turned upside down. One moment you are an individual free to come and go as you please, and the next moment you find yourself incarcerated not knowing what lies ahead for you. All too often individuals delay hiring an attorney or even worse, fail to hire an attorney all together. People who choose to represent their own interests often regret the decision. This why the most important thing you can do after being charged with a DWI is to start searching for the right Texas DWI attorney to represent you. The sooner you select an attorney, the better you will feel, knowing that someone is there to protect your rights. If you are unsure how to select the right DWI defense attorney, you can start by following these tips:

  • DO find an attorney who focuses on DWI defense: When searching for an attorney, one of the most important factors should be whether the attorney focuses an area of his or her practice on DWI defense. Certain attorneys may practice criminal law but do not regularly handle DWI matters.  You want an attorney who feels comfortable handling DWI defense cases and takes numerous cases each year. An experienced DWI defense attorney will be better able to investigate the facts of your case and properly advise you of your legal options and defenses.
  • DO NOT rely on the recommendation of friends/family alone: If your best friend knows a great attorney, that may be a starting place. However, if he or she does not handle DWI cases, then it is best to thank your friend for the recommendation but eliminate this person from your search.
  • DO your homework at the initial consultation: At this initial meeting you really want to pay attention to what the attorney has to say about your case. Based on this conversation, determine if the attorney seems interested in your case and providing you with quality representation. If he or she does not seem interested in your case, move on.
  • DO NOT focus on fees: When you are selecting an attorney, you want to find the person that is best equipped to handle your case. You want someone who is well versed in DWI defense law and has significant trial experience. You do not want to base your search on who is the least expensive. If money is an issue for you, try to find an attorney who accepts credit cards.
  • Trust your gut: Once you have narrowed your search down to only those who are experienced DWI defense attorneys, then it is time to pick someone that you feel that you can trust and you will work well with.

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving or DWI, it is imperative that you meet with a knowledgeable Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney right away. Even a first time offense for DWI comes with serious penalties. Only an experienced DWI Defense Attorney can make sure that your charges are fully investigated. Veteran Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has provided clients in Dallas and throughout Dallas County with aggressive representation for more than 30 years. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit knows what it takes to fight a DWI charge and is the attorney you can trust. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call the Law Offices of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.

What a Dallas County DUI Defense Attorney Wants You to Know about Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

Monday, October 27th, 2014

In Texas, a motorist is considered to be driving while intoxicated (DWI) if he or she is operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration or BAC at or above .08%.  However, many motorists do not have a clear understanding of what BAC means or the factors that can affect or influence a person’s BAC. Here is what every motorist needs to know about BAC:

  • BAC and how is it measured

BAC describes the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood stream. BAC is stated in terms of the weight of alcohol per unit volume of blood. For instance, if a person has a .85% BAC this means that he or she has 85 mg of alcohol for every 100 ml of blood in his or her body. Blood tests are used by law enforcement to determine a person’s BAC. However, a sample of a person’s blood is not the only way to find out BAC. One of the most common ways that police officers determine an individual’s BAC is through the use of a breathalyzer. As the name indicates, a breathalyzer can establish a person’s BAC by using only a sample of the person’s breath. Urine tests can be also be used, but are not nearly as common. Most often urine tests are used for testing drugs other than alcohol.

  • What a .08 BAC looks like

There are not many inexpensive and reliable ways to determine your own BAC. Therefore, many people want to know what a .08% BAC looks like so they know when he or she or even a friend should not drink and drive. The bad news is that a .08 BAC will differ greatly from person to person. Person “A” with a .08% BAC may look drunk while Person “B” with the same BAC may not even have slurred speech of any other obvious sign of impairment. Regardless, if Person B appears to be “sober,” yet his or her BAC is at or above .08%, he or she can be charged with a DWI.

  • The major factors that contribute to a BAC

The major factors that can affect a person’s BAC are gender, body weight, number of drinks consumed, and the time in which the drinks were consumed. For example, a 160 lb. male may be able to have three drinks within an hour and be able to legally drive (i.e., have a BAC under .08%). While if a 120 lb. woman had the same three drinks in that same hour she may be well over the legal driving limit. There are tables and so called drinking wheels that can give a person an estimate of his or her BAC based on his or her weight, gender and number of drinks consumed. However, these tools should only be used as a mere guide and not as a reliable indicator of how much a person can drink and still be under the legal limit.

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving or DWI, it is important that you speak with an experienced Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Jack Pettit has provided aggressive representation for clients in Dallas and throughout Dallas County for more than 30 years. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit knows what it takes to fight a DWI charge. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call the Law Offices of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.

What a Charge of Disorderly Conduct Means in Texas

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Disorderly conduct is broad term that refers to a variety of crimes that offend, scare or endanger the community at large. These crimes are often thought of as things that people do when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, like urinating in a public place. However, while some of these crimes do occur when a person’s judgment is impaired by a substance, others do not. Sometimes, a person charged with disorderly conduct is not even aware that he or she at the time was breaking the law. However, it is important to remember that ignorance is never a valid defense. This is especially important for parents to understand, because children who are older than sixth grade can be charged in Texas with disorderly conduct. The following are a list of some of the acts that can result in a disorderly conduct charge:

  • Public displaying one’s private parts without regard to whether the act may offend or upset other people (i.e., “flashing” someone);
  • Fighting in public;
  • Publicly firing a weapon for a reason other than to protect yourself or others from a dangerous animal;
  • Publicly brandishing a weapon for the purposes of scaring or upsetting other people;
  • Use of obscene or offensive language that is intended to scare or provoke other people (i.e., using “fighting words”);
  • Publicly fighting;
  • Creating excessive noise that disturbs other or the community at large;
  • Being a “peeping Tom,” or peering into another’s person’s private residence or at a person in a public shower or restroom for purposes that are not lawful;
  • Picketing a funeral;
  • Participation in a riot;
  • Being obviously drunk while in public or public intoxication;
  • Blocking a sidewalk, street or access to public building, “protesting” that results in blocking a public road; and
  • Making a false or harassing 911 call.

Punishment

The punishment for a charge of disorderly conduct depends on the severity of the charge. For example, fighting in public in most instances will be considered to be a Class C misdemeanor, which is the least serious misdemeanor. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a $500 fine. Funeral picketing and rioting are examples of acts usually classified as Class B misdemeanors. The punishment for a Class B misdemeanor is a fine of up to $2,000 and/or jail time of up to 180 days. However, either of these crimes can be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor if the crime warrants it.

Seek the advice of an attorney

Any time a person is arrested and charged with a crime, regardless if the crime is a petty offense or a serious charge, his or her rights are in jeopardy. A seasoned criminal defense attorney will be able to not only protect your rights, but also determine if you have any defenses to the charges. A person who forgoes representation and just accepts the charges will have a criminal record. A criminal record is not something that disappears overnight. In many instances, a criminal record can interfere with a person’s ability to obtain employment or can even raise your insurance rates.

If you have been arrested and charged disorderly conducts or disturbing the peace, it is important that you speak with an experienced Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. For more than 30 years Attorney Jack Pettit has provided aggressive representation for clients charged with both misdemeanor and felony criminal charges. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit brings a special advantage to his clients. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call the Law Offices of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.

Five Misconceptions Your Texas Teen May Have about Underage Drinking & Driving

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Regardless of how well your teen does in school or how smart you think your teen is in the ways of the world, you may be surprised what they hold as truths about alcohol. Today’s teens have more access to information that any other generation with the internet, but this does mean they still have their facts straight when it comes to drinking and driving. Most parents are shocked to know that many teens hold the following misconceptions:

  • Myth #1: “Alcohol is not a drug:”  For some teens, when asked to name drugs that they know or think other teenagers use, they may say marijuana and a few other illegal drugs. However, teens are not likely to mention alcohol, because many teens do not view alcohol as a drug. It is important for teens to understand that alcohol is a drug, and like other drugs, can cause serious temporary and long-lasting impairments.
  • Myth #2: “Beer and wine are safer than hard liquor:”  Some teens fool themselves into thinking that they will be okay if they stick with beer and wine and avoid hard liquor. While beer and wine have a lower percentage of alcohol ounce for ounce, alcohol is still alcohol.
  • Myth #3: “I can sober up, and then I will be fine to drive:”  Teens are sometimes under the belief that certain things can be done to “sober up”. Drinking a cup of black coffee or taking a cold shower, may make a person who has been drinking alcohol feel more sober. However, the truth is that these things have no effect on that person’s blood alcohol content. The only true way to “sober up” is to allow enough time for the alcohol to pass out of the body.
  • Myth #4: “Buzzed driving is not the same as drunk driving:”  A teen may not consider him or herself drunk if he or she is only feeling “buzzed”. For some teens, being drunk means  “fall down stumbling drunk.”  Notwithstanding, teenagers need to realize that there is no acceptable amount of alcohol they can consume and drive.
  • Myth #5: “I will not be pulled over and arrested for DUI:”  Every generation of teens may have their differences, but one thing pretty much all teens have in common is that bad things will not happen to me, they happen to other people. This degree of invincibility is what lets teens think and believe that they can have a drink or two and drive and will never be caught. This line of thinking is so dangerous, because each year teens do drink and drive and many are killed or kill others when they get behind the wheel. Police officers do arrest and punish teens for drinking and driving.

It is estimated that ten percent or 1 in 10 high school teenagers has gotten has operated a vehicle after having consumed alcohol. Parents are not helpless when it comes their teenager drinking and driving. Talk to your teen today.

If your teenager has been arrested for underage drinking or driving under the influence, you need to speak with an experienced Texas Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. For more than 30 years, Attorney Jack Pettit has represented clients in Dallas and throughout Dallas County. Your child’s future is too important to risk hiring just any attorney. Mr. Pettit is a seasoned advocate who will take the time to carefully investigate the facts of your child’s case and make certain that all possible defenses to the charges are explored. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call the Law Offices of Jack Pettit at (214) 521-4567.