Archive for December, 2014

7 Reasons to Add “Do Not Drink and Drive” to Your List of New Year’s Resolutions

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

The holidays are in full swing and another year is almost complete. This means that soon we will ringing in another new year! For many people, the start of the New Year means the time honored tradition of a making New Year’s resolutions. Popular choices for resolutions include: losing weight, quitting smoking, saving money and joining a gym. While these can be great choices, everyone should strongly consider adding “do not drink and drive” to his or her list as well.  If you need convincing, here are seven reasons why you should not drink and drive in 2015:

  • Makes you a dangerous driver: Alcohol as you may know is a depressant. This means that alcohol can interfere with your ability to drive. Even just one drink can slow down your reaction time and interfere with your judgment. A driver who is under the influence of alcohol will react slower and possibly not in time to avoid a road hazard that a sober drive would be able to avoid. Alcohol also has a tendency to make people overconfident, which can not only put a driver in danger behind the wheel, but anyone else on the road as well.
  • Criminal charges: Drunk driving is a serious offense and as such, severe consequences can result even if it a motorist’s first offense. In Dallas, a first offense DWI carries a fine of up to $2,000 and 72 hours to 180 days in jail. If found guilty, the person will also have a criminal record. Once a person has a criminal record, he or she may be excluded from certain job opportunities.
  • Expensive: A DWI not only comes with fines, it also will cost thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees, court costs, and fees to retain your driver’s license. Once you have a DWI on your record, your car insurance premiums may also increase dramatically.
  • Loss of driver’s license: Motorists who are found guilty of DWI will typically lose their driving privileges for up to one year. For many people, loss of their driving privileges impacts every facet of their life. Especially if they do not live in an area where they can rely on public transportation.
  • Loss of job: For some people, the loss of driver’s license or the fact that they now have a criminal record can negatively impact their job and could result in the total loss of their employment. For example, professional drivers, such as truckers, stand a good chance of losing their commercial licenses if convicted of a DWI.
  • Loss of scholarship/financial aid: In some cases a criminal record can exclude a student from receiving scholarship funds or even financial aid.
  • A lifetime of guilt: When a motorist is driving under the influence of alcohol, he or she not only jeopardizes his or her own safety, but also that of his or her passengers, fellow motorists, and even pedestrians. You do not want to live with a lifetime of guilt, knowing that your decision to drink and drive, seriously injured or killed another person.

Choosing to drink and drive is a bad idea. However, if you were arrested and charged with a DWI the first you need to do is to speak with an experienced Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney. Do not make the mistake to hire just any attorney. DWI is a serious offense and you need a skilled DWI Defense Attorney who will carefully review the facts of your case and determine what defenses you may have to the charges. For more than 30 years, Attorney Jack Pettit has provided aggressive representation for clients in Dallas and throughout Dallas County. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit knows how 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.

Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Reports: Texas Lawmakers Want to Ban “Affluenza” Defense

Monday, December 15th, 2014

In mid-December of 2013, a Fort Worth Juvenile Court Judge sentenced a 16-year old boy to 10 years probation for intoxication-induced manslaughter. According to testimony and surveillance video, the teen and his friends stole two cases of beer from a store. Later that day, the teen was speeding and slammed into four pedestrians, killing them all. At the time of accident, the teen’s blood alcohol level was found to be three times the legal limit. Two of the seven of passengers who were riding in the bed of the teen’s pickup were also seriously injured. One suffered a brain injury and today, cannot move or talk.

At the sentencing hearing, attorneys for the teen presented what is being referred to as the “affluenza” defense. The court heard testimony from a psychologist, serving as an expert witness for the teen, that the teen suffered from “affluenza” by being reared in a very wealthy household with two parents who were engrossed with arguments, which led to their eventual divorce. The psychologist described the teen’s father as not having relationships and his mother as being oerly indulgent. The two never set limits for their son. According to the attorneys for the teen, the Judge specifically stated that she did not base her sentencing decision on the “affluenza” defense. While that may be true, the victims’ families and the prosecutors were disappointed with the Judge’s sentence.

Prosecutors had asked the Judge to sentence the teen to twenty years behind bars. With the Judge’s current ruling the teen will not serve any time in jail. Rather he will attend a treatment facility, the cost of which will exceed $450,000 per year. The teen’s parents were ordered to pay for the cost of the treatment. It is uncertain how long the teen will have to stay at the treatment center. Some of the victims’ families expressed that they thought the teen’s family’s wealth helped him get out of serving jail time.

The victims’ families and the prosecutors are not the only people unhappy with the outcome of this case. Now, several Texas lawmakers want to ban the so called “affluenza” defense. In November, James White, a Southeast Texas state representative, presented a bill that would essentially prohibit an individual from discussing his or her “affluent circumstances” during sentencing. White proposed the bill because he thinks the affluenza defense has added to people’s lack of trust in the justice system. White points to the inherent unfairness in a judge or jury being able to take into consideration an individual’s affluent circumstances as the basis for committing a crime—a defense that would not be available to the less fortunate.

Critics of the defense also include an attorney who represented several defendants in civil cases against the teen. She opined that teen’s attorneys were creative with a made-up defense. She went on to say that the defense has no scientific backing and should not have been allowed to be presented at the sentence hearing.

Since White filed his bill, two other legislators have submitted their own similar bills. What will happen to the bills as of now remains unseen. The new session of the legislature begins in January 2015.

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving, the first thing you need to do is to make an appointment to meet with an experienced Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer. A skilled DWI Defense Attorney will explain your rights and review your legal options with you. Attorney Jack Pettit, has represented countless persons charged with DWI. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit knows what it takes to fight a charge of DWI and win. Call the Law Offices of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.

Dallas DWI Defense Attorney Offers 5 Tips to Help You Stick with Your New Year’s Resolution to Not Drink & Drive

Monday, December 8th, 2014

It is 2015 and you have resolved not to drink and drive this year. Unfortunately, most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February 1st. This is often because the resolutions are not well thought out. Hoping to succeed is not enough, such as saying to yourself: “I hope to lose 10 pounds” or “I hope to quit smoking”. People often forget that habits are difficult to change and just hoping is not enough to change bad habits. To ensure that your resolution to not drink and drive is successful, following these tips:

  • Consider your life with a DWI on your record: To succeed with any resolution you need to be motivated to do so. While not drinking and driving can seem like a no brainer, it may be helpful for you to think for a few minutes of how a DWI would impact your life. Think of how much you would spend on attorney’s fees, fines, court costs and the like. Consider how losing your driver’s license for a year would impact your employment, education and/or your family life.
  • Create a plan before you go out: In order to avoid drinking and driving, you need a plan. Your plan may have to vary depending on the situation, so you need to create a plan each time before you go out. Maybe, if you are going to an event downtown, it may be easiest to take a cab or public transportation. If you are going to a party at a friend’s house, maybe your plan will be to have a designated driver. Every plan should also have a back-up plan. So if your plan was to limit your drinking to no more than one drink per hour, maybe your back up plan is to have a friend be your designated driver.
  • Tell someone at the event about your resolution: If you are going to a party with friends, make sure at least one friend knows and will help you keep your resolution. Think of it as a buddy system. If you had a drink or two too many, he or she will can step up and take your keys and put you in a cab at the end of the night.
  • Find support from friends & family members: Share your resolution with others. While your decision not to drink and drive is ultimately your own, it is great to let others help support your decision. Who knows, you might even convince other people to do the same.
  • Re-evaluate but do not abandon your resolution: When it comes to resolutions, we sometimes take a “throw the baby out with the bath water” type approach. Meaning, that if we screw up or make a mistake, instead of giving ourselves a break and trying again, we simply abandon the resolution. Instead, if you wake up one morning realizing that you probably should not have driven home the night before, take a minute to think of what went wrong. Use this mistake as a learning experience and create a better plan next time you go out.

A DWI is a serious offense. If you are charged with a DWI in 2015, be smart and hire the most experienced Dallas DWI Defense Attorney you can find. For more than 30 years, Attorney Jack Pettit has provided aggressive representation for clients in Dallas and throughout Dallas County. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit knows how to fight and win a DWI charge. To see how Attorney Jack Pettit can help you, call today 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.

Give the Gift of a Sober Ride this Holiday Season

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) 1,183 people died in alcohol related fatalities on Texas roadways in 2013. The city of San Antonio had the highest number of alcohol related crashes, followed by Houston, Dallas and Austin. The number of drunk driving accidents is particularly high during the holiday season. During the holidays last year (December 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014), there were more than 2,365 DWI/alcohol traffic crashes in Texas. More than 760 people were seriously injured and another 92 people lost their lives. While these figures are astounding, this is actually a decrease of close to 9% from the same time last year.

However, there is still vast room for improvement. The TxDOT wants people to enjoy the holiday season but to do so safely. The TxDOT is running its Holiday P.A.S.S. (Person Appointed to Stay Sober) campaign this year. The program encourages Texas motorists to lend a hand and give the gift of a sober ride home. The program hopes to lessen the number of impaired drivers on the road over the holiday season by encouraging people to plan ahead for a sober ride home. Unfortunately, all too often a designated driver is appointed during the course of the evening’s festivities. He or she is typically the least intoxicated person in the group, not a sober driver.

Sober designated drivers are vitally important since many Texas cities and towns do not have adequate public transportation for people to rely on. TxDOT is working with the local transit authorities in several cities, including Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi to help people consider using the bus system as a sober ride option.

While the holiday season is a wonderful time of year to be out and celebrate, it can all be ruined when a person makes the decision to drink and drive. To remind people to have a sober driver this holiday season, the TxDOT will have also have a “Sober Sleigh Ride” visiting more than twelve cities across the state and make appearances at local parades and shopping malls. The “sleigh” is actually a donated limousine that is wrapped to look like a present.

Texans can help a friend, family member or co-worker this holiday season by giving the gift of a sober ride. People who agree to utilize a sober ride over the holidays can enter into a drawing to win prizes, including a day at the Richard Petty Racing Experience at Texas Motor Speedway, a $2,000 spa gift certificate or one of three $1,000 American Express gift cards.

Motorists throughout Texas also need o be aware that many communities across the state will have no-refusal programs in place over the holidays. This means that if a person is stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, the officer can forcibly take a sample of the driver’s blood for purposes of determining his or her blood alcohol level.

Being charged with drunk driving over the holidays is not the way any person wants to celebrate the season. However, if you happen to be arrested this holiday for DWI, ,the wisest first move is to contact an experienced Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Only a highly skilled DWI Defense Attorney can properly investigate the charges against you and challenge any mistakes made by the arresting officer. For more than 30 years, Attorney Jack Pettit has provided aggressive representation for clients in Dallas and throughout Dallas County. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit understands how to fight DWI charges. To schedule a free 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.