Archive for February, 2015

A Dallas County DWI Could Have Your Irish Eyes Crying, Not Smiling this St. Patrick’s Day

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Unlike Thanksgiving and Labor Day, most folks still have to go to work on March 17th. However, that does not take anything away from this well-beloved holiday. St. Patrick’s Day influences even the non-Irish to put on a little green and be Irish for the day. While this holiday means a good time for most people, it can have some people crying the next day.

Historically, St. Patrick’s Day was considered a religious holiday where drinking was not allowed. Over the years, things changed. However, in the United States, each year too many individuals choose to drink and tend to overdo it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who binge drink are 14 times more likely to be charged with drunk driving. While drinking and driving is never a good combination, on St. Patrick’s Day the statistics speak for themselves:

  • 276 lives were lost on St. Patrick’s Day alone from drunk driving between 2009 and 2013
  • 31 people were killed in St. Patrick’s Day drunk driving crashes in 2013
  • 2 of every 5 crash fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day involved a drunk driver
  • 55% of crashes between the hours of midnight and 5:59 a.m. on March 18, 2013 involved a drunk driver

If those statistics are not enough to convince you not to drink and drive this St. Patrick’s Day, consider the following potential consequences of a DWI:

  • Increased insurance premiums;
  • Loss of driving privileges;
  • Criminal record;
  • Time spent in jail;
  • Attorney’s fees;
  • Court costs & fines;
  • Total your car in a crash;
  • Loss of employment for employers that require employees to have a clean driving record or criminal record;
  • Injure yourself or others in a car crash;
  • Kill yourself or others in a car crash;
  • Financial ruin due to personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit; and
  • Family/emotional strain due to the above.

The best advice to avoid a DWI this St. Patrick’s Day is to be smart. If you plan to drink this holiday, do not drive. If you plan to drive, do not drink. It is as simple as that. If you do plan to drink plan for a safe way to get home. Many cities and towns throughout Texas offer sober ride programs on St. Patrick’s Day. If you cannot find such a program, you can always call a cab. Remember being safe and DWI free this holiday is all about planning and nothing to do with luck.

Even if you choose not to drink this St. Patrick’s Day there are plenty of festive activities to do. For area residents, be sure to check out the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival—a Dallas tradition for more than 30 years. As a sober driver, you could also be someone’s lucky charm this St. Patrick’s Day. Serve as a designated driver for friends or family wishing to drink or take the keys away from a driver who has been drinking and should not be driving.

Being arrested and charged with drunk driving is not a way to celebrate any holiday. That is why it is important to meet with an experienced Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Only a veteran DWI Defense Attorney can investigate the charges against you and challenge any mistakes made. 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 understands what it takes to fight DWI charges. Call the Law Offices of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567 to schedule a free consultation. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.

A Hefty Sentence is Handed Down to a Texas Man Charged with DWI

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

The news media recently reported the story of a Texas man who was arrested and charged with DWI. The story is both shocking and sad. Whether you think he received a fair sentence all depends on the person who is being asked. After reading the story, you can decide for yourself. Do you think the man received a fair sentence or was the sentence overly harsh? Keep reading to learn more…

In August of 2014, a Houston man was arrested and charged with DWI and threatening to retaliate against an arresting officer. His arrest stemmed from a traffic accident. Authorities were called to the scene after motorist(s) called 911 to report the incident. A tow truck arrived on the scene before police arrived. The tow truck at the scene noticed a wrecked pickup truck. The driver of the truck requested that the tow truck driver tow the truck. He also asked the tow truck driver to take him home before police arrived, so as to avoid a potential DWI. The tow truck driver refused.

When police arrived at the scene, the truck was still present. However, the driver of the truck was not. Police later found the driver, a 64-year old man, in a nearby drainage ditch. The man was in water up to his waist and was attempting to hide from police. The man was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .217, which is more than 2.5 times the legal limit in Texas. The man was arrested for DWI. After his arrest, the man violently threatened police. He said he would kill not only the arresting officer, but also his children, wife and mother.

At the time of the trial, the jury was aware of the above information. Additionally, the jury knew that the man had been arrested for DWI at least two times prior to his August DWI arrest.

In Texas a DWI jury trial is usually made up of two main phases. During the first phase, the jury is asked to determine whether the accused is guilty or not guilty of the crime(s) with which he or she was charged. If the jury finds the accused guilty of the charged offense(s), then the trial moves to the sentencing phase. During the sentencing phase, the jury may be given additional information that the jury can use to determine an appropriate sentence. Some of this new information may include the accused’s criminal past.

In this case, the jury learned during sentencing that the man had actually been arrested for DWI on nine prior occasions, dating back to 1981. As a habitual offender the man faced between 25 years and life for each charge. After three hours of deliberation, the jury recommended that the man be sentenced to two concurrent life sentences. As such, the 64 year old man will not be eligible for parole until he is 80 years old.

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 Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney. Only a seasoned Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney can explain your rights and review your legal options with you. DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has represented countless persons charged with DWI. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit understands what it takes to contest a charge of DWI and win. Contact 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 County Criminal Attorney Discusses the 2015 Great Texas Warrant Roundup

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

If you have not yet heard, the Great Texas Warrant Roundup is about to begin. For those familiar with the event, 2014 was one of the largest warrant enforcement efforts in the nation, with more than 300 Texas jurisdictions participating. In 2014, more than 130,000 warrants were cleared and more than $20 million dollars gross was collected. If you are not familiar with this event, you probably have many questions. With this in mind, the following are the most often asked questions about the Great Texas Warrant Roundup:

What is the 2015 Great Texas Warrant Roundup?

The Great Texas Warrant Roundup (“Warrant Roundup”) is a state wide effort to clear outstanding warrants. This year, law enforcement agencies from more than 300 jurisdictions have already agreed to participate. Individuals that will be targeted during the Warrant Roundup will be those with city ordinance, parking, penal code, traffic and higher charge warrants.

When does the 2015 Warrant Roundup begin?

The 2015 Warrant Roundup begins Saturday, March 7, 2015. However, hundreds of thousands of notices were mailed in mid-February to individuals who have outstanding warrants. Those individuals are being encouraged by law enforcement agencies to voluntarily dispose of their cases prior to the start of the roundup.

If I received a notice or believe I have a warrant out for my arrest, what should I do?

The best thing to do is to seek the advice of experienced traffic or criminal attorney. A skilled traffic or criminal attorney can help you determine what actions need to be taken to address the warrant. He or she can help dispose of the warrant and try to decrease the penalties you may be facing, which may include reducing possible fines.

What may happen if I do not resolve my warrant before the Warrant Roundup begins?  

The purpose of the Warrant Roundup is to target those individuals who have not resolved their outstanding warrants. If you do not resolve your warrant prior to the start of the Warrant Roundup then you risk being arrested. Local agencies will be aggressively trying to clear up their list of outstanding warrants during this year’s Warrant Roundup. Individuals with outstanding warrants can be arrested virtually anytime and anywhere. This means if you have a warrant you could be arrested at home, while driving, at school or even at work. That is why it is better to resolve your warrant before the Warrant Round begins or risk the inconvenience and possible embarrassment of being arrested.

Is it too late to hire an attorney to represent me on my warrant?

No. It most cases it is not too late. However, you will be in a much better position if you seek the assistance of an attorney before you are arrested. Therefore, if you have a warrant out it is best to meet with an attorney as soon as possible or at least by March 6, 2015. This does not mean that an attorney cannot help you if you are arrested after the Warrant Roundup begins. It just means your case may be more difficult.

If you have a warrant out for your arrest in Dallas County or another county in Texas, you will want to contact a Dallas County Criminal Attorney as soon as possible. With more than 30 years of experience, Dallas County Criminal Attorney Jack Pettit can help take care of your warrant before you are arrested. To find out how Mr. Pettit can help you with your warrant, contact our office today by calling (214) 521-4567. The office is conveniently located in downtown Dallas, across from the courthouse. We provide services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.

Dallas County Traffic Ticket Attorney Discusses What Professional Drivers Need to Know about Texas Traffic Tickets

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

For most Texas drivers, a traffic ticket can be a major annoyance. Not only because a traffic ticket can be pricey in terms of money, but it also can be costly in terms of time. Taking a day off of work to appear in court on one or more occasions is not really time or money well spent. However, if you are a professional driver and receive a traffic ticket, suddenly a mere traffic is more than just a major annoyance, it is a potential problem. As the holder of a commercial driver’s license, a professional driver is held to a higher standard than a regular motorist. Also, a few too many traffic violations could cost a professional driver his or her commercial driver’s license and/or job. If you are a professional driver, the following are a few things you need to know about Texas traffic tickets:

  • Paying the fine for a traffic ticket is NOT the best option: Just like regular motorists, sometimes professional drivers do not realize that paying the fine for a ticket is not the best option. In many cases, it is the worst thing a driver can do. This is because when any motorist agrees to pay a traffic fine, what he or she is really doing is consenting to a conviction on his or her driving record. So in addition to paying the fine, he or she will also lose points on his or her license. He or she may also see a hike in his or her car insurance rates.
  • You can hire an attorney to represent you: Many drivers simply pay the fine because they do not realize they have any other option. In Texas, a driver has the right to be represented by an attorney. What this right means is that an attorney can appear in court on your behalf. When an attorney represents a client on a traffic matter, most often the client does not have to take time off work of work to appear in court.
  • Options when a dismissal is not possible: The best option for any driver in terms of challenging a traffic ticket is a complete dismissal of the ticket. However, dismissals are much more difficult for professional drivers to obtain. This does not mean that a professional driver should just pay the fine. A skilled traffic ticket attorney can try to work out a settlement where the citation is kept off of the driver’s record. If the citation must go on the driver’s record, an attorney can negotiate for a reduction of the points lost.
  • Good news for out-of-state professional drivers: If you are an out-of-state professional driver and receive a Texas traffic ticket, you will face the same punishments and fines as a Texas driver. The good news is that out-of-state drivers are entitled to attorney representation as well. Therefore, if you receive a traffic violation while passing through Texas and hire a Texas traffic ticket attorney, you likely will not have to appear in a Texas court to fight the ticket.

If you are a professional driver and just received a moving violation or a ticket for another traffic offense, your commercial driver’s license may be in jeopardy. This is why you need to consult with a seasoned Dallas County Traffic Ticket Attorney. With more than 30 years of experience, attorney Jack Pettit can help prevent a traffic ticket from damaging your driving record and your career. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with Jack Pettit 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.