Archive for October, 2016

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Warns Drivers of the Harsh Consequences for Multiple DWI Offenses

Monday, October 31st, 2016

A Texas man who was recently convicted of his eighth DWI has been sentenced to ninety-nine years in jail. His case is one of a few recent multiple-offense cases that have been getting a lot of press lately. The stories of defendants who have continued to drive under the influence of alcohol have been getting a lot of attention because of just how many offenses they have been able to accumulate. It’s natural for people to wonder how a person can get a third or fourth offense DWI, let alone a sixth, a ninth, or even a tenth one.

The Assistant District Attorney who requested the ninety-nine-year sentence explained to the jury that a sentence that severe seemed to be the only way that he could ensure that the defendant would never have the opportunity to drive under the influence of alcohol again. Incarceration is one way to make sure that a person cannot drive while under the influence of alcohol, but there are other tools available like license suspension, ignition interlock devices, and treatment for alcohol addiction.

The multiple offense DWI cases that have been making the news lately are shocking, but they also serve another purpose – they provide information about what works to keep drivers off of the road and what doesn’t. For example, license suspension does not seem to be very effective at preventing people from driving while they are intoxicated. Many of the defendants who have accumulated multiple DWIs actually have valid drivers’ licenses when they get arrested for their most recent DWI. The reason that those drivers may have had valid drivers’ licenses is that Texas law does not permit permanent revocation of a driver’s license. When a driver gets convicted of a DWI, their license may get suspended for up to two years. In addition to the fact that drivers get their driving privileges reinstated fairly quickly after a DWI, there is the fact that license suspension is often not enough to deter drivers from operating their vehicles while they are under the influence of alcohol. Statistics have revealed that somewhere between fifty and seventy percent of people who are convicted of DWI choose to drive even while their drivers’ licenses are suspended.

Whether you are facing your first DWI or you have one or more other DWIs or criminal convictions on your record, it is essential that you face the charges with someone by your side who understands DWI law and how it works. It is also important that you align yourself with someone who can help you understand the short term and long term effects that the charges could have on your life. A Texas DWI Defense Attorney can help you understand the charges, and they can help you minimize the negative consequences of your DWI on your life. To learn more about how Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, can help you, call us today at 214-521-4567.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses Consequences for DWI Offenders with Professional Licenses

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Recently, an EMS medic received a thirty-day suspension from work following an arrest for driving while intoxicated while he was not on duty. In addition to the suspension, the medic will be on probation for a year and subject to random drug and alcohol testing. He must also complete a rehabilitation program that includes counseling for alcohol abuse.

Medics are not the only people who may face job-related consequences if they are convicted of DWI. Fortunately, professionals who hold licenses that could be affected by a DWI do not have to navigate the DWI process alone. Since there’s so much at stake, it is important that licensed professionals seek legal assistance as soon as possible after a DWI arrest. An attorney could help you to reduce or avoid any alleged consequences of your DWI, thereby protecting your current and future employment.

In Texas, professions that require licenses are governed by the Texas Occupations Code § 53.021. This statute gives licensing authorities for individual professions the power to suspend or revoke licenses, disqualify individuals from receiving licenses or deny individuals the opportunity to take licensing examinations if the person was convicted of one or more specific types of offenses.

There are four classes of offenses that trigger the provisions of Texas Occupations Code § 53.021. The first group of offenses is broadly constructed to include any offense that directly relates to the duties of the licensed occupation. For example, a medic drives an ambulance and DWI relates to driving, so the licensing authority could, by statute, suspend or revoke a medic’s license if they got convicted of DWI. Another group of offenses that could bring about negative consequences for a licensed professional includes offenses that do not directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of the occupation and that were committed fewer than five years before the date that the person applied for their professional license. The third group of offenses lists specific crimes that can have negative consequences for licensed professionals who are convicted. This group includes aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, capital murder, burglary, compelling prostitution, indecency with a child, injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, sexual assault, murder, trafficking of a person, and sexual performance by a child. The fourth group of offenses is more general, including any sexually violent offense, but it also specifies that the provision does not apply in certain circumstances.

As you can see, the list of offenses that could bring about negative consequences for your professional license is fairly inclusive. An attorney can help you understand whether the offense that you have been accused of could result in consequences related to your professional license, as well as whether any exception to the rules applies, such as the provision that under certain circumstances, a defendant may not be considered to have been convicted of an offense. The rules can get tricky, and their application is highly fact specific. An attorney can assess the situation using their specialized knowledge and get to the heart of the matter, which is your professional license and the other things in your life that are important to you. Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, has helped numerous Texas DWI clients and he would like to help you. To learn more, please call 214-521-4567 today.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Shares Two Essential Tips for Navigating a DWI Traffic Stop

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Whether you have ever experienced a DWI traffic stop or not, you may not realize one very important thing about DWI traffic stops. That one thing is that your choices and your behavior during that encounter with law enforcement will have an impact on what happens during the traffic stop. A DWI traffic stop is not a moment to feel as though everything that is happening is completely outside of your control. It is a time to remain calm and concentrate on making choices, such as implementing the two tips that are discussed below, that will result in the best possible outcome for your traffic stop.

The first thing that you can do is to remember who you are dealing with during the traffic stop. You are dealing with a law enforcement officer, and that law enforcement officer is not your friend. Not only are they not your friend, but they are also someone who can and in most cases will serve as a key witness in the case against you. If you view your entire interaction with the law enforcement officer through this lens, you can make choices that can, at the very least, minimize the amount of damaging information that the officer can obtain during the traffic stop. That is the job of the law enforcement officer – to collect every possible bit of evidence during a traffic stop that they possibly can, from the moment that the blue lights come on to the time that you are released from their presence.

Because the law enforcement officer is doing a job during the traffic stop, collecting information to be used against you at a trial, there is a job that you can do, too. Your job is to protect your interest by providing as little evidence as you possibly can, and this begins with assuming that everything that you say and do is being recorded and will be used against you at trial. In fact, the recording of your words and actions will be viewed by the prosecution multiple times before your trial, when they are deciding what kinds of charges to bring against you and how aggressively they are willing to push for a conviction. You can protect your interests by maintaining a calm and polite demeanor, speaking only when necessary, requesting an attorney multiple times during the traffic stop, limiting what you say to the bare minimum that you are required to disclose by law, and remaining in your seat as much as you can.

If the result of your traffic stop is that you were arrested and charged with DWI, you are likely to have some questions and concerns. There is a lot at stake, including your driving privileges and your freedom. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this experience alone. Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, has helped many clients with their DWI cases, and he could help you, too. To learn more about Texas DWI cases, please call 214-521-4567 today.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Talks About Evidentiary Challenges to DWI Charges

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

When a driver is charged with DWI, the state has the responsibility of proving that the driver did what the State says that they did – that they were operating a motor vehicle while their blood alcohol level was more than the legal limit. To prove this, the State must present evidence in support of its case. Presenting evidence is not always a simple matter, which can be a good thing for DWI defendants. There are things that can be wrong with the State’s case, from not having enough evidence, to evidence that was not handled or stored properly, to witnesses whose credibility cannot be established and more. These problems with evidence can provide defense attorneys with opportunities to get the charges against their clients reduced or even dismissed in some cases.

A case in New Jersey illustrates how problems with evidence can result in the dismissal of a DWI (DUI in some states) case. In 2011, a New Jersey police officer was charged with DUI after he crashed into the wall of a supermarket. The officer’s attorney requested that the state provide specific pieces of evidence through the discovery process. The State did not provide the attorney with all of the evidence that was requested. The attorney requested a hearing and the charges against the officer were dismissed after the judge found that the prosecution failed to provide some of the requested evidence to the defense attorney. Failure to provide evidence during discovery is just one of the ways that a problem with evidence can lead to the dismissal of charges.

There are other types of technical issues that can provide defense attorneys with opportunities to request dismissal of DWI charges. Experienced defense attorneys know how to go through the State’s case and scrutinize it, looking for every way that they can defend their client. Blood alcohol test results are an area where things could go wrong for the prosecution and work in favor of the defendant. For example, if the test was not performed correctly or by a person who is authorized to perform the test, the validity of the results can be questioned. Likewise, if the sample was not handled properly, the results of the test might not be allowed to be presented as evidence. When there are questions about blood tests, witnesses may have to be called by the State to try to support the validity of the test results. If those witnesses do not appear, the test result evidence could get suppressed, and the defense attorney could get the case dismissed. Breath test results can be challenged in the same manner, and those tests may provide even more opportunities for fault-finding than blood tests because the machines and testing procedures must be followed correctly by the officer who is administering the test to produce a valid result.

Warrants are another area of evidence where defense attorneys can find fault. If a defendant is not properly warned, as in properly read their Miranda rights and they say or do things that the State later tries to use against them as evidence, the admissibility of that evidence can be challenged as having been obtained in violation of the defendant’s rights.

If you are facing DWI charges, protect your rights by speaking with a Texas DWI Defense Attorney immediately. Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, has served DWI clients in the Dallas area for over thirty years. Call him today, at 214-521-4567.