Archive for May, 2015

Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney Reports: Former Texas Sports Writer and Well-Known Author Racks up 10th DWI and More

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Texans who hear the name “Jim Dent” may remember him as a sports writer who once wrote for newspapers in the Dallas and Fort Worth area. Some may even recall the decade Dent spent covering the Dallas Cowboys football team. However, in recent years, Dent has become most well-known as an author, writing books about football. Some of Dent’s more well-known works include “Twelve Mighty Orphans,” “The Kids Got it Right: How the Texas All-Stars Kicked Down Racial Walls,” and the New York Times best seller, “The Junction Boys.”

Despite what would be considered a successful writing career to most people, to law enforcement officials, Dent is even more infamous for his history of drunk driving. Over a period of 32 years, the 62-year old has wracked up a total of ten DWI convictions. Dent has been arrested for and convicted of drunk driving in four states including Arkansas, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas. In Texas alone, Dent has been convicted of DWI in five counties, namely: Brazos, Collin, Dallas, Denton and Williamson.

Dent’s most recent DWI charges occurred in October 2012 and May 2013. In the October 2012 case, Dent apparently tried to pull his ex-girlfriend from her car. When he was unsuccessful, he crashed his pickup truck into her car—sending the vehicle crashing into the neighbor’s garage door. In the May 2013 incident, Dent was reported to police by a witness who had noticed Dent driving recklessly. Dent was arrested outside a Walgreens pharmacy after he had purchased wine and beer.

In November 2013, Dent pled guilty to the two DWI charges. However, fearing the stiff penalties he would face as a habitual offender, Dent fled to Mexico while out on bond in late January 2014. While in Mexico, Dent lived partially on profits from sales of his previous books. Dent also published and started promoting his newest work—“Manziel Mania”—about former Texas A&M college football player Johnny Manziel. Dent stayed in Mexico until late January 2014.

About one year after he first fled to Mexico, Dent was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents near San Diego, California. Thereafter, Dent was transported to Texas in mid-February where he has remained without bond. Finally, in mid-April, Dent was sentenced for his 2012 and 2013 DWIs.

For the October 2012 charge, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison and 10 years—the maximum for his May 2013 DWI. Dent also picked up additional felony charges for bailing jumping and failure to appear in connection with his fleeing the country to avoid prosecution. Dent received 10 years for each of those charges. Fortunately for Dent all four sentences will be served at the same time. Therefore, Dent will only have to serve half his sentence, or 5 years, before he will become eligible for parole.

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving as a habitual offender, the first thing you need to do is to make an appointment to meet with a seasoned Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney. The stakes are much higher for individuals who are considered “habitual offenders,” and you could be facing a lengthy time behind bars. Only an experienced Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney understands the law and can work to protect your rights. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Pettit knows the stiff penalties habitual offenders can face. Mr. Pettit will draw upon his experience to make sure that you receive the quality and aggressive representation you need. To schedule a free consultation, contact the Law Office 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.

Dallas County DWI Attorney Warns: Drinking while Boating Could Land You in Jail

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

In Texas, a motorist is considered to have committed the crime of driving while intoxicated or “DWI” if he or she is found to have been driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration or “BAC” at or above the legal limit of .08. However, what many Texans do not realize is that it also against the law to operate a boat with the same BAC. To make sure that your summer boating season is fun and legal, the following is what every boat operator needs to know about boating while intoxicated, or BWI:

What is BWI?

In the state of Texas, it is illegal to operate a boat, Jet Ski or any other type of motorized watercraft with a BAC at or above the legal limit. A person may also be charged with BWI if he or she appears to not be impaired by alcohol or in other words, not in control of his or her mental or physical faculties. Keep in mind, it is not illegal to consume alcohol while operating a boat. It is also not against the law to operate a non-motorized watercraft, such as a canoe or a kayak, with a BAC at or above .08.

What are the consequences of BWI?

Much like a DWI, a BWI offense is a serious charge. A person convicted of BWI can face fines of up to $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail for a first time offense. For a second time BWI offense, the penalties double. A person convicted could face fines of up to $4,000 and up to 365 days in jail.

Much like a DWI charge, a BWI can jeopardize a person’s license to operate a motor vehicle. A person who refuses to provide a breath or blood sample for testing could lose his or her driving privileges for 180 days. There is also an automatic suspension that goes into effect when a person is arrested for BWI, if he or she fails to request a hearing within 15 days of receiving a notice of suspension, (which is typically the same day the person is arrested).

How is a BWI different than a DWI?

To be arrested for DWI, a police officer first must have probable cause to pull a driver over. If the officer did not have the requisite probable cause, then in most cases, the charges against the driver will be thrown out or dismissed. However, with a BWI case an officer does not need probable cause to pull over a boat operator. Rather, in many cases, boat operators are arrested for BWI in connection with a routine stop to check for insurance, registration or to make sure the boat operator has onboard the required number of life jackets. If while during one of these routine stops the officer smells alcohol on the breath of the boat operator or notices that he or she has blood shot eyes, the officer can proceed to investigate the boat operator for BWI. This can include requesting a breath or blood sample and/or having the individual come to shore to perform field sobriety tests.

If you have been arrested and charged with boating while intoxicated or BWI, it is important that you speak with a Dallas County Attorney that has experience with both BWI and DWI.  Dallas County DWI 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 BWI charge. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call the Law Office 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.

Dallas County DWI Lawyer Reports: A New Law Passes the House Which Could Mean Changes for First Time DWI Offenders

Monday, May 11th, 2015

According to a spokesperson for the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD, Texas has more deaths caused by drunk driving than any other state in the country. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2013 found that more than 1,300 people were killed and more than 15,000 people were injured by drunk drivers.

Texas lawmakers seem to be aware of the problem and one member thinks he may have a law that could help. In early May, the Texas House of Representatives passed a new bill that, if it did become new law, would allow some first-time DWI offenders to drive—albeit sober. Under current Texas law, a person charged with DWI automatically has his or her driver’s license suspended (unless a timely request for hearing is properly filed and won).  Under proposed House Bill 2246, a first-time DWI offender with a low blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of his or her arrest would have the option to have an ignition interlock device installed in his or her vehicle. The option would allow an offender to have a restricted driver’s license rather than no license at all.

An ignition interlock device works much like a breathalyzer test that is installed directly into the offender’s vehicle. In order to start the vehicle, the offender would have to breathe into the device. If the offender was sober the vehicle would start, if the offender had alcohol in his or her system the vehicle would not start. The offender would also be required to give additional breath samples while the car is running to ensure that he or she remains sober through the entire drive. The device also prevents a third party from starting the offender’s car if he or she is not able to do so.

Supporters of the bill include the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD who feel that the law is better than the current system where first time offenders have to get by without a driver’s license. The group points out the reality that sometimes first-time offenders will drive without a valid license because they need to get to work or even take their children to and/or home from school. With the ignition interlock device in place, the offenders will be required to be sober in order to drive anywhere.

Proponents of the bill also point out that the proposed law is a way for first-time DWI offenders to not become repeat offenders. Studies conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control or CDC have found that the use of ignition interlock devices have reduced repeat drunk driving by more than 65 percent. Both the National Traffic Safety Board and AAA have made recommendations that all drivers convicted of driving drunk be required to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. In order for the bill to become new law it will have to pass a vote in the Senate.

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving, it is imperative that you meet with a knowledgeable Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Even a first time DWI offender will face serious and potentially life altering penalties. Only an experienced DWI Defense Attorney can make sure that the charges against you are fully investigated so as to uncover any and all possible defenses. For more than 30 years, seasoned Dallas County DWI Lawyer Jack Pettit has provided clients in Dallas and throughout Dallas County with aggressive legal representation. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Pettit has what it takes to fight a DWI charge. He is the attorney you can trust if you are facing a DWI. To schedule a free and confidential consultation contact the Law Office 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.

Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney Warns Parents: Do Not Let a DWI Ruin a Bright Future

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

One of the biggest events in the life of any teenager is graduation day. Graduation is not only a momentous occasion for the teen, but also, for his or her parents. It is a time not only to celebrate and share the excitement about what the future will hold, but it also is a time to reminisce with friends and family about the journey that has brought him or her to this day.

While graduation can be a memorable day for a teen and his or her family, unfortunately it can also quickly turn tragic. The day usually starts with the graduation ceremony, but it can extend well into the evening with teens hopping from one graduation party to the next. For many teens graduation day is seen as a milestone where the teen is officially an adult in the eyes of his or her parents. While some teens handle this new found status in stride, other teens let this “power” go to their heads. For these teens this new found “freedom” translates into thinking that he or she no longer has to play by the rules. Some teens choose to engage in underage drinking and even drinking and driving.

As a parent, you want your child to make good decisions. You may even feel that he or she is more than capable of doing so now that he or she has graduated from high school. However, no matter how book smart or street smart your teen may be, it is important as a parent to provide guidance especially at this particular juncture in a teen’s life. The following is some information that all parents of teenagers to be well aware of:

  • Underage drinking is illegal in the state of Texas. Do not expect the law to cut your teen any breaks because it was graduation day and he or she was just “blowing off a little steam.”
  • Take some time to talk to your teen well in advance of graduation. Let him or her know that underage drinking is illegal and there are serious legal consequences if he or she engages in such behavior. Many teens are simply not aware of the ramifications of underage drinking and/or driving. It can cause a teen to not only seriously injure him or herself, but also to lose valuable college scholarships and possibly even admission into their chosen college or university.
  • There are some parents of teens that may be “hosting” unchaperoned parties. These parents think that have an adult free party is a way for his or her teen and his or her friends to enjoy alcohol without the parents suffering the consequences of providing alcohol to minors. However, this is not just not true. Be aware that your teen may be invited to such a party and take the time to make sure your teen understands your expectations about attending this type of party.
  • Lastly, make sure that your teen understands that drinking and driving is NEVER an option under any circumstances. Nor is getting into a car with a person who has consumed any amount of alcohol.

As a parent, receiving a phone call from local police informing you that your teenager has been arrested and charged with DWI can be the stuff of nightmares. However, do not panic. One of the most important things you can do to help your child is to schedule an appointment with an experienced Texas DUI/DWI Defense Attorney. Only a skilled Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney can provide your teenager with the aggressive representation he or she needs in order to safeguard his or her rights and protect his or her future as well. As a former prosecutor, attorney Jack Pettit has the experience and skills to defend your child’s rights. To schedule a free and confidential consultation contact the Law Office of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567.