Archive for July, 2016

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Describes the Role of an Attorney in a DWI Case

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

A Central Texas woman was charged with driving while intoxicated after she crashed into an outdoor picnic pavilion at an apartment complex. She is also charged with DWI with a child and with endangering a child because her six-year-old son was in the car with her when the crash occurred. Fortunately, the boy suffered only a minor injury. The woman claims that bad GPS directions caused the crash.

The news story about the aforementioned DWI defendant mentioned that there was not an attorney listed on the woman’s jail records. It is possible that she has since retained counsel. It is in the best interest of every DWI defendant to hire a DWI defense attorney because there’s so much at stake in every DWI case.

It is important that potential clients understand what they will receive when they retain a DWI defense attorney. Your DWI defense attorney can help you to understand your DWI charges and any other charges that you are facing. They can also tell you all about the ways that a conviction could affect your life. When your attorney asks you to tell them about your case, they are listening for information that can help them formulate a plan for your defense, which they will describe to you. Perhaps most importantly of all, your attorney will help you understand the options that you have for resolving your case.

While it is possible that your income may qualify you for the appointment of a public defender, it is important that you understand the difference between using private counsel for your DWI case and using a public defender. If your income fits within the guidelines, you may choose whether to be represented by the public defender or retain private counsel. Public defenders are attorneys who work for and are paid by the state. Private counsel is an attorney that you select and pay for on your own. All attorneys are specifically trained and licensed, and each does their best to represent the interests of their clients. The primary distinction between a public defender and private counsel is that public defenders in Texas do not take part in the administrative license suspension process. Every driver who faces DWI charges must request an ALR hearing if they wish to avoid license suspension, and only private counsel can handle those requests and hearings.

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

Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, has honed his effective strategy for DWI defense over thirty years of practicing law in the Dallas area. He has the experience to help you whether this is your first DWI, a subsequent offense, or if you are facing other charges in connection with your DWI. If you were arrested for DWI, seek assistance from a Texas DWI defense attorney right away. Contact 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 Discusses Important Supreme Court Decision

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

A recent decision by the United States Supreme Court is of interest to drivers in Texas and elsewhere because it could change the choices that are available to suspected drunk drivers during their traffic stops. The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Birchfield vs. North Dakota holds that while police must have a search warrant before they can draw a driver’s blood over their objection, a warrant is not required before demanding a breath test. The court’s rationale for differentiating between blood tests and breath tests is that breath tests are less intrusive than blood tests, so it makes sense that they should be handled differently. The Birchfield decision also gives states the authority to make refusing to take a breath test a crime.

In Texas, it is not currently a crime to refuse a breath test, but refusal usually results in a loss of driving privileges. The Birchfield decision gives the Texas Legislature the ability to pass legislation making it a crime to refuse a breath test at any time. Since Texas already has No Refusal weekends and holidays, it would not be surprising if this kind of legislation comes sooner rather than later so that refusal of a breath test at any time would be a crime. Under the current rules, during a “no refusal” weekend, Texas drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol can be required by police to submit to roadside breath or blood tests. During “no refusal” weekends and holidays, every driver who refuses to submit to roadside breath or blood alcohol testing is arrested, and a blood sample is obtained from them while they are in police custody.

The exact procedure for obtaining blood samples from drivers who refuse roadside testing during No Refusal weekends varies slightly across the state. In many places, the process begins during a traffic stop when a DWI suspect refuses to submit to roadside breath or blood testing. The police then take the driver into custody and transport them to a central processing facility, which might be a jail, a mobile blood draw van or a hospital. While the driver is in custody, the arresting officer applies for a blood draw warrant from a night judge, and if the judge issues the warrant, a nurse or other medical professional then obtains the blood sample from the suspect.

If you face Texas DWI charges, you may have many questions and concerns. There is a lot at stake, including your driving privileges and your freedom, and you are likely to want to do everything in your power to preserve those things that are most important to you. Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, can help you navigate the DWI case process with the goal of arriving at an outcome that will work for you. Texas DWI Defense Attorney Pettit has helped many Texas DWI clients with their DWI cases, and he might be able to help you. To learn more, please call 214-521-4567 today.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses the Effects of Ride Sharing on Drunk Driving

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses the Effects of Ride Sharing on Drunk Driving

Ride-sharing company Uber says that DWI crashes in Austin and elsewhere have declined since the service became available. This trend is documented in other areas where ride-sharing has become popular, and it makes sense. When people who consume alcohol choose to avoid driving by enlisting a ride-sharing service, there are likely to be fewer alcohol-related accidents. In January 2015, Temple University researchers reviewed California data and found that the availability of ride-sharing at a lower cost than traditional taxi service in reduced drunk-driving deaths in some areas by approximately six percent.

It is important to remember that statistical correlation does not automatically mean that there is causation. That is, the fact that there were fewer crashes does not prove that the decline occurred because ride-sharing was available. That said, the statistics are encouraging, and as ride-sharing continues to increase, additional declines may be seen.

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are easy to use, and anyone who needs a ride can access them via smartphone apps. The apps connect people who want rides with people who are available to give them rides. You just request a ride and wait for the driver to arrive. Identifying information about the driver and vehicle are provided via the app so that you will be able to locate them when they arrive. Payment gets calculated and paid for via the app, although, in some cases you can use cash if you request to do so ahead of time.

If you have never tried a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, you may wish to do so the next time you are making a plan for getting home after going out. The services are easy to use and not very expensive, especially when you consider the financial and personal cost of a DWI. The fines and fees associated with DWI charges can be high, even if you are not convicted. You could face license suspension, which could affect your ability to maintain your job, care for your family, and more. You could even spend time in jail. Life after a DWI can be challenging, and your conviction could prevent you from advancing professionally, obtaining housing, and doing other things that are important to you.

A DWI conviction could significantly impact your freedom, so it is important that you work with a seasoned Texas DWI defense attorney for your DWI case. Your attorney can help you to pursue an outcome in your DWI case that will work well for you because it protects those things that are most important to you. Do not try to navigate your Texas DWI on your own. There is just too much risk involved in defending yourself. Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, has helped many clients with their DWI cases. It is possible that he could help you navigate your Texas DWI case. To learn more about how Attorney Pettit may be able to help you, please call our office at 214-521-4567 today.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Explains Mental Health Court

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Explains Mental Health Court

In Montgomery County, a new court will begin hearing cases next month. The Montgomery County mental health court is part of a national trend of sending nonviolent offenders who have severe mental illnesses to treatment rather than to prison. Mental health courts are designed to address the underlying mental health needs of defendants, not just the criminal charges against them. Addressing mental health is an important mission because many of the participants in mental health courts nationwide struggle with addiction in addition to mental illness. Some of them are also homeless.

There is a demand for mental health courts because many people who are incarcerated nationwide have underlying mental health needs. Approximately one in five people in local jails have a recent history of mental illness. Mentally ill inmates with prior convictions are more likely to end up in prison again than those who were not convicted.

The first mental health court began in Florida in 1997. Since then, they have been implemented across much of the United States. Mental health courts are modeled after drug courts, in that they seek to provide treatment instead of, or sometimes in addition to, punishment. When the program begins in August, Montgomery County will be the eighth county to start a mental health court. Experts claim that mental health courts cut incarceration costs, and they could reduce recidivism.

The new mental health court lasts a year or two and it includes psychiatric treatment, medical care, and access to public benefits and services like housing and job placement. Defendants must be found legally competent before choosing to enter the program.

As part of the mental health court program, prosecutors will dismiss minor charges if a defendant completes the program’s requirements. Drug courts have improved outcomes by reducing the number of subsequent jail days, and it reduces the instances of violence.

Most of the participants in the new mental health court will enter the mental health court after being referred by their defense attorneys. A defendant may participate in mental health court if they are accused of a misdemeanor or a nonviolent felony and they have a serious mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or a major depressive disorder. The court may also be able to accept some people with PTSD, severe anxiety or intellectual disabilities. Prosecutors will make decisions about which individuals fit the criteria for mental health court, including whether their mental illness caused the crime that they are charged with committing.

Defendants who choose to participate in mental health court will be represented at no cost by one of the two defense attorneys who are volunteering their time until funding is found. Participants will leave jail on probation or bond supervision. The mental health court program will start with creating a treatment plan that may include substance abuse treatment, psychiatric counseling, and medications. For indigent participants, the advice will be free through the Tri-County Behavioral Health program. Individuals who are enrolled in drug court will appear regularly before the judges for updates on their progress through the program’s four stages. If clients complete the requirements of mental health court, they may qualify for a reduced sentence or a dismissal of the original charges.

Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law has plenty of experience with DWI cases. He has helped many DWI clients resolve their cases, and he may be able to help you with you, too. Whether this is your first DWI or not, you deserve the support of a skilled Texas DWI Defense Attorney. Call us at 214-521-4567 today, to learn more.