Archive for April, 2016

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Explains that Court Cases Don’t Always Follow a Straight Line

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Sometimes, DWI cases do not follow a path that goes straight through from start to finish. There are multiple steps that each case passes through from its filing until its conclusion, and there are additional things that can happen after a defendant is either convicted or acquitted. In some cases, this is a good thing, like when a convicted driver appeals their DWI conviction and obtains an acquittal on appeal. Unfortunately, appeals work both ways, and sometimes defendants who were initially acquitted may have to go back to court if the prosecutor contests the court’s decision.

Drunk driving cases against a Baylor University employee and her husband got reinstated by an intermediate appeals court, which ruled that the judge who initially dismissed the cases because of a clerical error did not have the authority to do so. The judge who made the initial ruling which acquitted the defendants ruled that the prosecution failed to prove an essential element of the state’s case, among other things. The prosecution appealed the decision, claiming that there was no authority for the trial court to dismiss the cases without the state’s consent.

In testimony her during the original trial, a law enforcement officer said that when she pulled over a vehicle driven by the female defendant on a routine traffic stop, she could smell alcohol on the woman’s breath. The driver initially denied drinking, but later said that she drank one mixed drink and that her husband, who was riding in the vehicle with her, drank several beers. During the traffic stop, the female defendant failed three field sobriety tests and refused to take a breath test. The officer arrested her and brought her to jail, and the man made arrangements for a ride home. After the woman’s husband had gotten home, he got on his motorcycle and headed to the jail to pick up his wife. On his way there, he was stopped. The officer who stopped the motorcycle said that he noticed that the man smelled of alcohol. The officer arrested the man after a blood test and took him to jail.

The errors in the charging documents went unnoticed until the judge took a break to consider the case. After the errors in the documents had come to light, the special prosecutor did not file amended charges because she believed that it was not necessary because other information and testimony in the record supplied the dates that were missing from the paperwork.

This pair of husband and wife DWI cases has attracted a lot of attention because of the defense attorney attempt to disqualify the special prosecutor from her judicial appointment to handle the cases. The special prosecutor had been appointed to the pair of cases after the district attorney recused his office because he thought he might have represented one of the defendants in a previous matter.

Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, is a Texas DWI Defense Attorney who helps plenty of DWI clients work through their DWI cases. Attorney Pettit might be able to assist you with your DWI case, too. Whether this is your first DWI or not, you deserve the support of an experienced Texas DWI defense attorney. Call us at 214-521-4567 today, to learn more.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Warns Drivers about Increased Patrols for Cinco de Mayo

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

In Houston and throughout Texas, people are getting excited about Cinco de Mayo. The holiday is celebrated each year on May fifth, just as its name implies. While the intent of Cinco de Mayo is to honor a historical event, the Mexican army’s surprise defeat of the French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, the most festive celebrations occur north of the Mexican border in America. The holiday is celebrated by many Americans, regardless of whether they are of Mexican descent, and enjoying plenty of Mexican food and drink is a primary focus of many Cinco de Mayo celebrations. As you might imagine, there are always many Cinco de Mayo events and parties throughout the Lone Star State.

When you make your party plans for Cinco de Mayo, be sure that they include a safe and sober ride home or spending the night somewhere so that you do not have to drive. As is the case with many holidays, especially those where food and drink figure heavily into the festivities, the Department of Public Safety will be out in full force looking for drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. There have historically been some alcohol-related car accidents during Cinco de Mayo, and the increased patrols aim to reduce the number of drunk driving deaths during this favorite holiday. Nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately two hundred and seventy people died in alcohol-related accidents that occurred during Cinco de Mayo celebrations over the four year period from 2010 to 2014. Perhaps even more dramatic are the number of DWIs and alcohol-related accidents that happened in Texas in 2013. There were over twenty-five thousand such incidents during 2013, and nearly forty percent of them involved drivers that are Hispanic. The DPS launched a specifically targeted anti-DWI campaign in 2014 with the intent of helping Hispanic drivers reduce the occurrence of DWIs and alcohol-related crashes.

Regardless of your ethnicity, all drivers need to know that Texas DWI laws are very strict. Refusing to take a blood or breath test can result in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license. Whether this DWI is your first offense or a subsequent offense, you could face jail time, license suspension, and fines, among other things.  With each subsequent offense after your first DWI, the penalties increase. There are also long-term consequences of DWI convictions, including difficulty finding jobs and housing and qualifying for educational opportunities and public benefits.

If you face DWI charges in Texas, you are likely to have many questions and concerns. You already know that there is a lot at stake, including your driving privileges and your freedom, and you want to do everything that you can to protect what is important to you. Fortunately, you are not required to fight your Texas DWI on your own. Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, has helped many clients with their DWI cases, and it is possible that he could assist you. To learn more, please call 214-521-4567 today.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Reminds Drivers to Remain at Crash Scenes

Monday, April 11th, 2016

A man has been sentenced to six years in prison because he did not stop and render aid after he rear-ended a pickup truck and knocked over a seventy-nine-year-old man who was trying to get into it. The seventy-nine-year-old man got hit and fell, becoming pinned underneath the pickup truck. The seventy-nine-year-old man sustained severe injuries from which he later died.

Authorities located he man who left the scene of the accident was at a restaurant several blocks away from the wreck. He was arrested and then charged with failure to stop and render aid/serious bodily injury, which is a second-degree felony, in addition to a charge of intoxication manslaughter. Prosecutors agreed to drop the intoxication manslaughter charge because of at least two evidentiary issues. One problem is that the sole witness to the accident, the seventy-nine-year-old man, died. The other is that a 2012 Supreme Court ruling affects the admissibility of blood draw evidence collected under a mandatory blood draw law.

This devastating accident is a sobering reminder to drivers that it is never okay for the operator of a vehicle to leave the scene of a crash. It does not matter if you think that someone else will stop to help. It does not matter if you believe that the people in the other vehicle are okay. It does not matter if, as in this case, you do not see any people in or near the vehicle that you hit. It does not even matter if you have been drinking, and you are concerned that you will get a DWI. If you are ever involved in an accident, stay at the scene, help others as much as you can, and keep yourself safe.

Title seven of the Texas Transportation Code specifies in Section 550.021. That the driver of any vehicle which is involved in an accident that did result or is reasonably likely to cause injury or death shall immediately stop their vehicle at or near the crash scene. They must also remain at or return to the accident scene and immediately determine whether a person is involved in the wreck. If a person is involved in the crash, the driver must immediately assess whether that person requires aid and then remain at the scene of the accident.

If the operator of a vehicle does not comply with Section 550.021 and death or serious injury results from the crash, they may be charged with a second or third-degree felony. Incarceration and a fine are just two of the likely consequences of a conviction for failure to stop. Of course, if all of this happened while you were intoxicated, you would also be charged with DWI and possibly other offenses if applicable.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit – Dedicated Support for Texas Defendants

Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, is a Dallas area DWI defense attorney who has developed an efficient strategy for DWI defense over the thirty years that he has been practicing law. Call Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit today at 214-521-4567, to learn more about how he may be able to help you.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Cautions Drivers Regarding Sleep Medication

Friday, April 1st, 2016

A nun from Philadelphia was recently convicted of DWI. In finding her guilty, the court rejected her claim that she had not chosen to get behind the wheel – she was “sleep-driving” because of medication at the time of her accident. The woman is not the first DWI defendant who has claimed that an adverse reaction to a prescription drug caused them to “sleep-drive.” While Ambien is not the only drug that can lead to “sleep-driving”, claiming that a medication caused “sleep-driving” has become known as the Ambien defense. The Ambien defense has been used several times over the past ten years, with varying degrees of success.

During her trial, the nun testified that she had two small glasses of wine at a book fair that she attended earlier in the evening, and that she also took one, five milligram Ambien tablet and consumed one glass of altar wine before bed on the night of her accident. She said that she drinks a glass of wine almost every evening because it helps her sleep. However, she does not take Ambien on a regular basis. Ambien is part of her treatment for chronic arthritis, and she rarely ever takes it. She also testified that she could not remember anything about the car crash that led to her arrest. The nun also stated that she was unaware of the possible serious side effects of taking Ambien, which include doing things like cooking or driving while completely asleep.

Information that was presented by the police during this case indicated that the woman had the smell of alcohol on her breath. She also had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. She also staggered when she got out of her car and tried to walk. When police asked her to perform field sobriety tests, she took two of the tests and failed them both before declining to participate in a third test. Dashcam video evidence appears to have played a role in the court’s decision. The judge wrote in his decision that the nun did not appear sleepy, or in a zombie like state when she got arrested. In other words, he felt that she did not seem to be under the influence of Ambien. Blood alcohol test results were also available and showed a BAC of twice the legal limit, but that evidence was not used in the case because police did not follow the proper procedure – they did not observe the woman continuously for twenty minutes before having her take the Breathalyzer test.

If you take medication, such as Ambien, to help you sleep, then you may be unaware of the possible serious side effects of taking that drug. Some medications do not mix well with alcohol, so it is also important that you understand whether any medication that you take could be affected by alcohol. While severe adverse reactions to medication are not common, they do sometimes happen. If you believe that your medicine is causing an adverse reaction, get medical help right away. If you get arrested for DWI and you suspect that you had an unusual reaction to medication, contact Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, right away, at 214-521-4567.