Archive for November, 2015

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Wants You to Know the Cost of a DWI

Monday, November 30th, 2015

While there is no one-size-fits all answer to how much a DWI it will cost an individual driver, it is important that drivers know about the various costs that are associated with DWI cases. It is also important that drivers understand that the costs begin to add up as soon as they are arrested. For example, if your car must be towed, the fee for that service is usually between forty five and one hundred dollars.

Your arrest will cost you money, too. Bail amounts vary greatly, and while the occasional lucky defendant is granted a personal recognizance bond, they are not very common. Most drivers can expect to pay between fifty and five hundred dollars in bail.

In Texas, the fate of your driving privileges is decided at a separate hearing from the rest of your DWI matter. This hearing, the ALR hearing, is important because it deals with your ability to drive. For that reason, it is a good idea to have an attorney represent you at the ALR hearing. The costs associated with the ALR hearing therefore include any court fees and costs, and attorney’s fees. If your license is suspended either as the result of an ALR hearing or because you did not request an ALR hearing, you will need to pay a reinstatement fee when you are able to reinstate your driver’s license. You are also likely to encounter substantial barriers to obtaining car insurance, with many insurers refusing to issue a policy and high premiums from any insurers that are willing to issue you a policy, in addition to the cost of an SR-22.

If you are charged with DWI, it is important that you retain an experienced DWI defense attorney. This means that you will be paying attorney’s fees, which vary depending upon which attorney you select. Unfortunately, this may not be the only expense that you could have to pay as you wait for your trial date to arrive. In some places, some defendants must have pretrial supervision, which operates like probation and which lasts until a verdict is reached at trial. That service costs approximately twenty dollars per month.

There are court costs, which often cost between one hundred and sixty dollars and three hundred dollars. Videotapes and subpoenas are added expenses on top of those amounts. If you are convicted, there are even more things that you will have to pay for. If you are being convicted of a first offense, your fine could be up to two thousand dollars. If you go on probation, you can expect to pay between twenty five and forty dollars each month in fees for that service, in addition to the costs of any classes, counseling, or other programs that are included in your probation agreement.

Unfortunately, these are just the direct costs of a DWI. There are many other ways in which being accused of DWI can cost you. Even if you end up not being convicted of DWI, being accused of driving under the influence of alcohol can affect your life, as you work on getting the charges dropped or reduced. Some of the indirect costs that are associated with being accused of DWI or convicted of DWI include the cost of taking time off of work to go to court and the cost of transportation to and from work.

If you have questions about your Texas DWI, call Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit today, at 214-521-4567. He will take the time you need to analyze your case and advise you of your legal options.

 

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Talks about DWI Diversion

Friday, November 20th, 2015

While DWI diversion is becoming more and more common, it is important that Texas drivers understand that diversion is not available in all counties. In the counties that do offer diversion, each county’s program is different. If you are charged with DWI, it is certainly worth inquiring whether diversion is available and what it entails if it is available.

One example of a Texas DWI diversion program exists in Harris County. The program, which is aptly named DIVERT, offers offenders a chance to avoid a conviction by pleading guilty and then completing the program requirements within one year while their verdict is deferred. Because each DWI defendant has unique needs, the requirements of each participant’s program can be tailored to address those needs. The program requirements may include treatment, supervision, ignition interlock devices, and other measures which are designed to help participants complete the program successfully and avoid repeat offenses after they have completed it. In Harris County, as in other places where diversion is available, drivers who are eligible to participate in the program do have to pay fees for program services, as well as fines.

Some counties offer both pre-conviction and post-conviction DWI diversion programs. Tarrant County’s Felony Alcohol Intervention Program is an example of a post-conviction diversion program. The program is designed to address the needs of high-risk DWI offenders. In order to be eligible for the program, a defendant must be a United States Citizen or permanent resident and a resident of Tarrant County who is over the age of seventeen. They must also be charged with felony DWI, but they may not have any other prior convictions or pending cases, under section 42.12 3g of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Additionally, they may not have any intoxication assault convictions or prior involuntary or intoxication manslaughter convictions, and they may not currently be on parole or on community supervision in another jurisdiction

Drivers who have been accused of driving while intoxicated should know that in addition to the well-known potential outcomes of DWI cases which include dismissal, conviction, and diversion, there are many different variations which can constitute a positive outcome for some DWI defendants. Each DWI defendant is an individual who has unique needs and priorities. An experienced Texas DWI defense attorney can pursue a range of outcomes in your DWI case that are designed to protect those things that are most important to you. Defendants who choose to represent themselves in DWI cases are not likely to be aware of the variety of ways in which they could resolve their DWI cases. Because of this, they stand to miss out on important opportunities which could make life after being accused of driving while intoxicated a whole lot easier than it is likely to be without knowing about those options.

If you have questions about what options may be available in your DWI case, call seasoned Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit today, at 214-521-4567, to learn more.

 

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Offers Tips for Avoiding Holiday Season DWIs

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

Many people are filling their calendars with a variety of fun events throughout December. Whether your holiday calendar is filled with parties, community events, family gatherings, or a mixture of all of those things, there’s a good chance that you plan to enjoy some drinks along the way. With this in mind, as you fill up your calendar, you can also plan ahead to avoid being stopped for DWI.

Law enforcement officers know that December is a month where people are likely to attend many parties and functions, so it is a time when DWI checkpoints are likely to be set up. There are also likely to be additional officers patrolling busy areas, especially at night. Despite an increased law enforcement presence on the roadways, you may be able to avoid a DWI by implementing the following tips.

If you are traveling to see family, or to attend holiday party for work or some other event, you may have a long drive to the location where the events are being held. For events that involve a lot of travel before and afterwards, booking a hotel room near the event is a great way to enjoy yourself safely. If you will be attending the party with other people, you could share a room and ensure that all of you have a safe place to stay so that no one has to drive. Alternatively, you could ask people that you know who live in the area whether they have a couch or an extra bed.

For parties closer to home, or anywhere, for that matter, the best way to avoid getting a DWI is to not drink and drive. Check with other people who will be going to the same event ahead of time to see whether anyone plans to be a designated driver. You may be surprised to find that it is not always difficult to find a designated driver, even though you may not want to be one yourself. In many areas, there are cabs, buses, and other types of public transportation that are readily available to anyone who wants to avoid driving home after the party.

Unfortunately, even the best laid plans sometimes fall through. If you end up driving home late at night, be careful not to call attention to yourself. Drive close to the speed limit, stop at stop signs and stop lights, stay in you lane, and check your vehicle before you hit the road to make sure there aren’t any light bulbs burnt out or other noticeable issues so that you won’t be pulled over.

If you get pulled over, remember that your rights include the freedom to choose what you say and to whom. It is perfectly acceptable to provide the officer with very little information about what you have been doing in order to avoid incriminating yourself. If you get arrested and charged with DWI, give yourself the best possible chance at a positive outcome in your DWI case by calling a knowledgeable Texas DWI Defense Attorney. If you have questions regarding DWI in Texas, call Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law today, at 214-521-4567, to learn more.

 

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses the Problem of Aggressive DWI Enforcement

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

There are many DWI arrests in Lone Star State each year. Unfortunately, not all of the drivers who are arrested for DWI are intoxicated at the time that they are arrested. Many drivers who drink responsibly or who choose not to drink and drive believe that they will not be arrested for DWI. These drivers believe that if they are stopped by law enforcement, they will not be arrested for DWI because they will get a 0.00 or some other number below the legal limit when they take the breathalyzer test. While this may in fact happen with many drivers who are not driving under the influence of alcohol, sometimes the unthinkable happens. It is possible that a driver who gets a 0.00 on a breathalyzer test will be arrested for DWI.

It happened to Larry Davis almost three years ago. He ran a stop sign, and he was stopped by police. An officer asked Mr. Davis to perform field sobriety tests, and he did. Unfortunately, the officer who conducted the tests claimed that Davis appeared to have been under the influence of alcohol when he performed the tests. When Mr. Davis was asked whether he had been drinking, he said that he had only had one drink. After that, he took a breathalyzer test. The test result was 0.00. Despite that result Larry Davis was arrested and brought to jail.

During the course of Larry Davis’s arrest and incarceration, he voluntarily provided a sample of his blood to law enforcement. The blood sample was sent to a laboratory and tested for alcohol. The blood test results came back months later, showing that there had been no alcohol in his system at the time of his arrest.  The DWI case against Davis was dismissed, but it is important to note that it took nearly a year from the time that he was arrested to the time that everything got sorted out and his record was fully cleared of the negative effects of the alleged DWI.

The Larry Davis case serves as an example of a problem facing Texas drivers. Law enforcement officers in some counties are aggressive about stopping drivers to investigate the possibility of a DWI upon even the slightest suspicion. This approach to DWI enforcement can cause problems for many drivers, because even if the DWI charges against them are eventually dropped, they begin experiencing negative consequences like certain fees or loss of driving privileges as soon as they are arrested. Excessive DWI enforcement costs drivers money, time, and other valuable commodities, and it also uses taxpayer dollars in the process.

This case also serves as a reminder to drivers that field sobriety tests are not an accurate indicator of sobriety or the lack thereof. Fatigue, uncomfortable shoes, poor coordination, or anxiety can cause you to walk a less-than-straight line. What’s more, field sobriety test results are subjective, and many factors can influence a law enforcement officer’s opinion of what he or she sees.

The case of Larry Davis serves as a reminder that DWI arrests can be made in error. Drivers who are charged with DWI should fight back, because it is possible that some type of error was made during their investigation and arrest. An experienced Texas DWI Defense Attorney can help you present your best defense against DWI charges. Call the office of Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law today, at 214-521-4567, to learn more.