Archive for June, 2015

Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney Answers Questions Regarding Texas Felony Offenses

Monday, June 29th, 2015

If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony offense, you most likely have legal questions. The best source of information anytime a person has legal is questions is an experienced Dallas County attorney. If you are facing criminal charges, it is critical that you get the answers you need from a trusted source. A Texas felony is a serious offense and needs to be addressed promptly. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions that Dallas County residents have about felony offenses in Texas:

What are the different degrees of felony offenses?

In Texas, there are five different degrees of felony offenses. From least to most serious, the types and examples of each, are as follows:

  • State Jail: Theft of property between $1,500 and $20,000, forgery and possession of marijuana of more than 4 ounces but less than 5 lbs.
  • Third-degree: Possession of marijuana between 5 and 50lbs and third DWI conviction
  • Second-degree: Reckless injury to a child and property theft or insurance fraud between $100,000 and $200,000
  • First-degree: Arson which results in bodily injury or death and theft of property valued at more than $200,000
  • Capital: murder of a child under the age of 10

If convicted of a felony, what penalties would I face?  

Each category of felony offense carries with it a different maximum penalty. The maximum penalties for each type of felony are as follows:

State Jail: Fines of up to $10,000 and confinement between 180 days and two years in state jail

Third-degree: Fines of up to $10,000 and a prison term between 2 and 10 years

Second-degree: Fines of up to $10,000 and a prison term between 2 and 20 years

First-degree: Fines of up to $10,000 and a prison term of 5 to 99 years, or life in prison

Capital: Execution or life in prison without the possibility of parole

Is probation a possibility for a felony offense?

Yes, in certain circumstances a person charged with a felony can be granted probation. Probation is more likely if it would a first time conviction for the accused.

When can a person apply for parole?

For persons serving time in a state jail or prison, most often he or she can accrue an early release for good behavior. A good number of criminal offenses also allow a person to become eligible to apply for parole after the person has completed at least one fourth of his or her sentence.

If charged with a felony offense, why should I hire an attorney?

A felony conviction can have serious consequences. A person convicted of a felony can lose his or her voting rights, eligibility to hold a public office, and/or right to possess a firearm. A felony conviction can also cost a person his or her professional license and/or career. The best way to avoid a felony conviction on your record, is to seek the guidance of an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney.

If you have been arrested and charged with a non-violent felony offense in Dallas County, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Only a seasoned Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney can properly explain the charges against you and start to protect your rights. With more than 30 years of experience, Attorney Jack Pettit is the attorney you can trust when you have been charged with a criminal offense. To learn how Attorney Jack Pettit can assist you in your defense, contact the Law Office of Jack Pettit today to schedule an appointment by calling (214) 521-4567. Our 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 Attorney Answers the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Charges of Resisting and Evading Arrest

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

A person charged with resisting or evading arrest is usually facing serious criminal charges. First, he or she has the underlying charge and then, the additional charge of resisting or evading arrest. Although most people are familiar with the notion of “resisting arrest”, most are not clear on exactly what the crime entails. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions Dallas County residents have about resisting or evading arrest:

What does it mean to “resist arrest”?

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person can be charged with resisting arrest if he or she through the use of force, tries to prevent or obstruct a peace officer from making an arrest, or a search.

What sorts of actions constitute resisting arrest?

Since the definition of “resisting arrest” is quite broad, there are many actions that can result in a person being charged with the crime, including but not limited to, the following:

  • Physical fighting against an officer of the law when he or she attempts to place him or her in handcuffs;
  • Striking or pushing an officer of the law;
  • Struggling when an officer of the law attempts to place him or her in a police car or jail cell; and
  • Acting violently or threatening violence against an officer of the law (with or without the use of a weapon).

What penalties does a person charged with resisting arrest face?

In most instances of resisting arrest, the person will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. However, if the person used a deadly weapon in his or her attempts to resist arrest, or in some way injures the arresting officer, he or she is most likely facing a Class C felony. A Class C felony is punishable by fines up to $10,000 and between two and ten years in prison.

Are there any defenses to a charge of resisting arrest?

Depending on the circumstances of the arrest, the person may have defenses to the charges. A good criminal defense attorney will examine the facts of an individual’s case to determine what defenses if any, he or she may have. The attorney will look to see if his or her client realize at the time of the arrest that the person arresting him or her, was in fact a peace officer. The attorney will also look to see if the peace officer used excessive force when making the arrest.

How is resisting arrest different from evading arrest?

A person evades arrest when he or she purposely takes off from a person he or she knows is an officer of the law, who is attempting to legally detain or arrest him or her. Most often evading arrest is a Class B misdemeanor, but if the person uses a motor vehicle in his or her attempts to flee, the person could be charged with a State Jail Felony. Also, if a person is killed when the person is trying to escape, the person could be charged with a 2nd degree felony.

If you have been arrested and charged with resisting arrest, it is important that you understand your rights. Only an experienced Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney can review the charges against you and determine your best course of action. 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, attorney Jack Pettit can provide you with the skilled legal representation you need when facing criminal charges. 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 Criminal Defense Attorney Answers Questions about Driving on a Suspended, Invalid and/or Revoked License

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

There are many ways for a Texas motorist to lose his or her driving privileges. He or she may have racked up too many unpaid speeding tickets, or have had too many points assessed against his or her driver’s license. A motorist can also lose his or her license in connection with an alcohol related offense, such as DWI, or another criminal offense, like drag racing or using a fake id. Some drivers lose their driver’s license because they have been determined to be a “harm to others” by the court, due to a physical or mental impairment, or are chemically dependent.

When a motorist loses his or her license, he or she may have a “revoked”, “suspended” or “invalid” license. Since it can be quite difficult, if not nearly impossible to get around the great state of Texas without a driver’s license, many motorists that do not possess a valid license succumb to the temptation to drive. A driver who does not possess a valid license can be pulled over and arrested. The exact charge the driver will receive, will depend on the current status of his or her license. The following are the three most common charges a driver without a valid license can incur and how a Dallas County criminal defense attorney can help:

  • Driving on a suspended license: A person convicted of a DWI may have his or her license suspended for a specific amount of time, as part of his or her punishment. A person with a suspended license usually must satisfy a condition before he or she can request to have his or her license reinstated. In the case of a DWI, the driver may have to wait for the suspension time period to expire. However, in the meantime, the person may be eligible to apply for an occupational license.
  • Driving with an invalid license: A person with an invalid license, usually needs to do something in order to have his or license reinstated. Sometimes this can be as simple as paying fines or taking care of warrants for unpaid tickets. Once the hold is removed, the person can usually regain his or her license.
  • Driving on a revoked license: Unlike the above charges, a driver who has had his or her license revoked no longer has a valid license. There are several reasons why a driver may have his or her license revoked. One of the most common reasons, is if the person has a physical or mental impairment that renders him or her unable to operate a vehicle safely. For example, when a person loses his or her license due to advanced age, this is known as a “medical revocation.” If a person is charged with this crime, the best remedy is often for the person to resubmit an application for a valid driver’s license.

Driving without a valid license is a serious offense, and can range from a Class C to a Class A misdemeanor. While the maximum penalty for a Class C misdemeanor is only $500, a person convicted of a Class B misdemeanor can receive a fine of up to $2,000, and up to 180 days in jail. A qualified Dallas criminal defense attorney will not only help you fight the current charges, but can also help you to obtain a valid license, or an occupational license.

If you have been arrested and charged with driving on a suspended or invalid license, it is important that you speak with an experienced Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. To see how Attorney Jack Pettit can help resolve your legal woes, contact the Law Office of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.

Texas Man Uses His Story to Tell the Dangers of Drunk Driving to Young People

Monday, June 1st, 2015

It’s pretty much a fact that all parents worry about their kids. When they are young they fuss over every “boo-boo” and “ouchie.” As children grow, so do their parents’ worries. Are they doing well in school? Are they hanging out with the right crowd? No matter how well a parent thinks he or she did at raising his or her child, or how smart he or she knows his or her child to be, all parents still worry that their child may do something stupid. Something that could harm them not just today or tomorrow, but down the road and possibly forever.

Jenny Carter is a mom who one night, received a phone call that would forever change her life. The caller informed her that her son, Sean Carter, had been in an accident. The caller then proceeded to tell her the litany of injuries her son had suffered. She was informed he would be taken to a Dallas hospital, celebrated for its trauma center. At the hospital, her son was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and laid in a coma for 39 days.

Sean Carter was 22 years old when he made a decision that would forever transform his life. He was a college honor student, who had plans to attend law school. But all that changed one night when Sean, too drunk to drive, decided to hop a ride with a friend that was also intoxicated. On the way home, his drunk buddy wrapped his Dodge truck around a tree, trapping Sean inside. As a result of the accident, Sean cannot talk and relies on a motorized wheelchair to get him around.

Every day Sean lives life knowing that if he had just made the decision, not to get into a vehicle with a drunk driver, that his life would be completely different today. If he would have made a better decision, today he would be able to walk and talk, most likely have his law degree and his independence. Fortunately for Sean, the accident did not rob him of his mental sharpness. While he cannot talk, it has not stopped him and his mother from taking his message on the road. Sean now earns a living doing public speaking events. The events are most often geared towards young people about bluntly tell about the dangers of drunk driving. Through the use of a computer app, Sean is able to “speak” and spread his story.

It is a message Texas teens need to hear. In 2013, the state of Texas led the nation with the highest number of deaths caused by drunk drivers at 1,337 people. It is important for every teen to understand the dangers of drinking and driving, and the importance of never getting into a car with a driver that has been drinking.

If you were arrested and charged with DWI, take the important first step of making an appointment to meet with a skilled Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney. Even as a young person, a charge of driving while intoxicated not only has the potential to land you in jail, but it also has the likelihood of drastically altering your life. Therefore, even if this is your first DWI arrest, you must take the charges seriously. Do not make the assumption that the court system will take it easy on you because of your age. For more than 30 years, Attorney Jack Pettit has provided aggressive representation to clients in Dallas and throughout Dallas County. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit will explain your rights and make sure that all your possible defenses are explored. Call the Law Office of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567 to schedule a free confidential consultation. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.