Archive for June, 2016

Dallas County DWI Attorney Explains Your Options If You Are Asked To Take A Chemical Test

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Texas has an implied consent law on the books. Implied consent means that you, as an operator of a motor vehicle on a public place in Texas, have given your agreement to take a chemical test if a law enforcement officer has reason to believe you are driving under the influence (DUI).  You have the right to refuse to take the test; no one can force you to take the test, most of the time. There are circumstances when the law enforcement officer must take a blood sample from you even if you refuse to give one. In that case, the officer must get a search warrant; that is authority from a judge to take a sample of your blood and deliver it to a lab for testing. Dallas County DUI attorney Jack Pettit can guide you through the process.

Upon arrest for DUI in Texas, a law enforcement officer will ask you to take a chemical test. Under Texas’ implied consent law, every person operating a vehicle in a public place consents to take a chemical test. Law enforcement officers want you to take the test, such as a breathalyzer or blood-draw because it is very likely that those tests will make matters worse for you.  People very rarely beat a breathalyzer test or a blood-draw simply because 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a very low number and you do not need to drink a lot to get there.  You may not even feel intoxicated at 0.08% BAC, which is known as the “legal limit.”  The blood test also allows law enforcement to search your blood for drugs or other substances in addition to alcohol.

Refusal to take the test has consequences as well. The arresting officer must inform you of those consequences. For instance, your refusal to take a chemical test can be used against you in the prosecution of the case. A prosecutor will argue that you did not take the test because you knew you would fail it.  Additionally, the state will suspend your license for 180 days if you refuse to take a chemical test.  The officer must inform you that if you take the test but fail it, then your license must be immediately suspended for 90 days if you are older than 21.

The police are obligated to force you to take a blood test aggravating circumstances are present. The officer must take a specimen if the officer believes that a person suspected of DUI causes a crash and another person may die as a result of injuries caused by the accident.  The officer must take a sample if a person other than the one arrested was seriously injured or simply injured and sent to the hospital.  Similarly, if the police arrested the driver for DUI and a child was in the car, then the officer must force a sample.  The officer must also compel the driver to provide a sample if the driver was previously convicted of DUI twice before or once convicted of DUI with a child passenger or intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter.

The officer may not force a person to take a blood test without a court order.  The law enforcement officer must obtain a search warrant to take the blood sample. A judge or magistrate must review the search warrant request to make sure that there is probable cause to grant the police officer’s request to take your blood.  If the judge signs the warrant, then the police must take you to a hospital and have the blood drawn by a qualified medical professional.

Contact An Experienced Lawyer If You Have Been Arrested For DUI

Dallas County DUI attorney Jack Pettit is an experienced DUI attorney. Attorney Pettit will zealously represent you every step of the way. Call Attorney Pettit today at 214-521-4567 and let experience and determination fight for you.

Dallas County DWI Attorney Warns That Police Can Pull You Over Without Much Evidence You Did Anything Wrong

Friday, June 10th, 2016

A recent Texas Criminal Appeals Court ruling gives police greater authority to pull you over, even if there is not much evidence that you did anything wrong.  Police are supposed to have evidence that you are about to commit, are committing, or have recently committed a crime or a motor vehicle offense before they pull you over.  The officer must be able to specifically state, or articulate, why he stopped you.  The law enforcement officer must have more than a mere hunch that you are doing something wrong before pulling you over. Once the officer pulls you over, he is free to investigate how you were driving. Dallas County DWI attorney Jack Pettit is an experienced DWI attorney who knows how to prove that the police did not have enough evidence to pull you over and get your case thrown out of court.

These days, almost every person on the road has a cell phone. Many people use their phones to notify police when they see a driver operating dangerously. Police can stop a person simply based upon a phone call if the person gives their name and the investigating officer objectively believes that the driver is committing a crime based on the information police received from the caller.  The fact that the caller gives a name lends the caller credibility with the police. A person who gives the police their name is more likely to be telling the truth rather than making up a story about someone else. Police can tell if the caller is telling the truth by observing the driver for themselves. Even if the caller gave a fake name, the police could use the information the caller gave to stop a driver if the police make their observations of dangerous driving.

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that dangerous behaviors such as weaving back and forth and crossing the center line are indicators of DWI and pulling someone over based on those behaviors is justified. DWI is not the only explanation for weaving or crossing the center line.  A driver could have an unruly child in the backseat, sneezing, or some other innocent reason that explains why they were not driving properly.  Even if that is the case, the police can pull you over to investigate why you are weaving or crossing the center line. The investigating officer must let you go if there is an innocent explanation why they saw you driving dangerously. But, the police do not have to know why you are driving dangerously before they pull you over.

Once police have a reason to pull you over, then the investigating officer is free to observe you and how you are acting. The officer can see for himself if you have bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech, or speaking with a thick tongue, and have the smell of alcohol coming from within the car. The officer will make other observations such as watching how you get your license and proof of insurance and answer the officer’s questions. Also, the officer will look inside your car while talking to you. The officer is looking for open containers of alcohol in the car, or other evidence such as illegal narcotics.  The officer is looking for signs that you cannot think straight and therefore cannot drive a car safely. The officer is trying to gather evidence that you are drunk rather than dispel any innocent explanation for your poor driving.

Do Not Delay In Contacting An Experienced Dallas County DWI Attorney For Help

Dallas County DWI attorney Jack Pettit is ready to fight for you if police arrested you in Dallas County for DWI. Attorney Pettit has years of experience successfully fighting to vindicate his clients from wrongdoing. Call Attorney Pettit today at 214-521-4567 to get experience on your side.

Dallas County DWI Attorney Explains Your Options If You Are Asked To Take A Chemical Test

Monday, June 6th, 2016

You have the right to refuse to take a chemical test after police arrested you for driving while intoxicated (“DWI”). The refusal comes with consequences, including mandatory license loss of at least 180 days. You can appeal the decision law enforcement made to suspend your license. You must file a notice of appeal within fifteen days of the date you receive notice that the Department of Transportation suspended your license. You will have a hearing to determine whether the arresting officer followed the correct procedure after you file the notice of appeal. Dallas County DWI attorney Jack Pettit has the experience and the track record of success you need to get your license back.

You have a right to a fair and impartial hearing to determine whether your license should be reinstated after an arrest for DWI. You must file your notice of appeal timely, and it must be in writing. According to Texas law, the Department of Transportation must receive your appeal in their offices in Austin no later than the 15th day after you received notice that your license was suspended.  The law allows you to file a hearing request by facsimile. Filing a request for a hearing timely “stays” your license suspension. The Department of Transportation will provide you with documentation that will allow you to drive if the arresting officer took your license immediately upon arrest.

An administrative law judge presides over the hearing.  Texas law limits the issues that the administrative law judge can decide. The issues are:

  1. Did the officer have reasonable suspicion to stop you while driving or probable cause to arrest you?
  2. Did the officer have probable cause to believe that you were operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated?
  3. Did the arresting officer request that you give either a breath or blood specimen after he arrested you?
  4. Did you refuse to give the specimen as requested by the arresting officer?

The administrative law judge does not find you guilty or not guilty like a judge or jury would in a criminal trial. The administrative law judge simply answers those four questions.  The administrative law judge takes evidence offered by the Department of Transportation by offering a police report or the arresting officer’s testimony. You have a right to be represented by an attorney, and that attorney can cross-examine any witnesses who testify against you. You have the right to present evidence in your defense as well. The administrative law judge reviews the evidence and rules on it. If the administrative law judge rules that any one of the four questions is “no,” then your license will be reinstated. If the judge answers “yes” to all four, then the decision to suspend your license if final.

Winning the suspension hearing does not mean you automatically win in criminal court. A license suspension hearing is a “civil” proceeding. That means the decision an administrative law judge makes on your license suspension has no bearing upon what occurs in criminal court. The state can continue with the prosecution of your DWI charges even if the administrative law judge finds the officer did not have probable cause to stop or arrest you. A criminal court judge could see things differently. However, an acquittal on the criminal charge will result in the immediate return of your license if it remains suspended. Even if the period of suspension has run, the Department must expunge any record of your license suspension from its records if you the judge or jury finds you not guilty of DWI.

Do Not Try To Take On This Challenge Alone

Dallas County DWI attorney Jack Pettit has the experience and determination and vigorously defends his clients. Trying to get your license back is filled with potential pitfalls. Let knowledgeable and successful DWI attorney Jack Pettit do the fighting for you.  Call Dallas County DWI attorney Jack Pettit today at 214-521-4567 to schedule a consultation.

Dallas County DWI Attorney Explains Why You Should Not Represent Yourself If You Have Been Arrested For DWI

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

An arrest for driving while intoxicated (“DWI”) can have wide-sweeping ramifications. The legalese involved is difficult to wade through and not easily understood. Procedural rules must be followed to protect your rights. Failure to follow those rules will cause you to miss an opportunity to have your license reinstated or have a judge throw out evidence against you because the police made a mistake. How can you make the police pay for a mistake you do not know they made? The potential penalties you face are very serious. Those penalties include jail time and hefty fines. Dallas County DWI attorney Jack Pettit would stand by your side and fight for you if you were arrested for DWI.

The potential penalties for a DWI conviction are severe. A judge can sentence you to jail for up to one year for a conviction for DWI. Seventy-two hours is the minimum the jail sentence the judge can impose. The judge has the option, depending on whether you have a prior criminal history, to probation instead of jail for a specified term of years. The judge can order you to pay a fine of $4,000. The judge can order you to jail and pay a fine. These are the potential penalties for a first offense DWI, which is a Class B misdemeanor.

The potential penalties increase with the severity of the crime. For instance, driving drunk with a child passenger is called a state jail felony. A judge can sentence you the state jail for up to two years but not less than 180 days. The child passenger need not be your child by lineage but means any passenger 15 years of age or younger.  Having an open container of alcohol in your car while driving drunk is a Class B misdemeanor. The minimum jail sentence is six days, and the maximum sentence is 180 days in jail.

Previous DWI convictions increase potential jail time. A second DWI offense requires the judge to sentence you to 30 days in jail with a maximum of one year. Two previous DWI convictions is a third-degree felony. The judge must sentence you to the state prison for no less than two years and no more than ten years. The convictions are not limited to Texas courts. Any conviction for an alcohol-related offense in the United States suffices for an alcohol-related conviction. The judge can also impose a $10,000 fine.  In addition to incarceration, a person convicted of two prior offenses within a five-year span must install a breathalyzer in their car.

Facing a conviction for DWI, even a first offense, has the potential for disaster. There are defenses to a DWI charge. A seasoned DWI attorney will evaluate your case and determine if there are motions to file that could potentially reduce the evidence against you, or get the case thrown out entirely. For instance, if the police did not have a valid reason to stop you, then the police violated your right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Your lawyer can show the judge how the police violated your rights and get all of the evidence of intoxication thrown out. The state cannot go forward if there is no evidence against you. You waive the right to a hearing if you do not file the right motions. Also, your lawyer will work to get your license reinstated. But, you forfeit your right to a hearing on whether you should get your license back if you miss the filing deadline.

Facing A DWI Charge Is Daunting

Dallas County DWI attorney Jack Pettit is an experienced and zealous DWI attorney. His track record shows he knows how to win in court. Get a proven winner on your side. Call Dallas County DWI attorney Jack Pettit today at 214-521-4567 today to schedule your consultation.