Archive for January, 2017

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Explains Probation

Friday, January 27th, 2017

A recent high-profile DWI arrest serves as an example of what kinds of options DWI defendants may have for resolving their DWI cases. In 2016, former Texas and NFL quarterback, Vince Young got arrested for DWI. Young entered a plea of no contest and received a sentence of eighteen months of probation. Young also had to pay a fine, and he was ordered to complete sixty hours of community service. Other requirements that Vince Young must comply with include completing a drunk driving class and installing an ignition interlock device on his vehicle.

Most of the consequences of Vince Young’s DWI are relatively straightforward. Whether or not you have ever been charged with DWI, you can probably understand what fines, community service, drunk driving class, and even an ignition interlock are. However, the most complex element of the consequences that Young is experiencing because of his DWI is probation.

It is true that most people have heard of probation, and that most people have at least some idea of what it is. It is important that anyone who drives on Texas roads understand what probation is in Texas, in case you are arrested for and charged with DWI, because you may be offered some form of probation as an option for resolving your DWI case.

In Texas, there are two basic types of probation, straight probation, which is sometimes referred to as community supervision, and deferred adjudication. Straight probation is a set of requirements that a person may complete while living in the community instead of spending time in jail after they have been found guilty of committing an offense. Each individual who chooses probation when it is offered to them will receive a probation agreement that is designed to address their particular offense or offenses. Probation is only available for certain crimes, and for sentences of less than ten years, so it may not be an option for every defendant.

Deferred adjudication offers a defendant the ability to keep their conviction off of their record. It is described in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, sections 42A.101 through 42A.111. Deferred adjudication gives you a chance to keep a conviction off of your record and avoid spending time in jail or prison. As with straight probation, deferred adjudication consists of a set of conditions that the defendant must comply with to achieve the benefits of successful completion, which are dismissal without conviction, avoidance of incarceration, and possibly even sealing of your arrest record.

The conditions of probation or deferred adjudication are likely to consist of a combination of the following types of requirements – abiding by all laws, avoiding illicit conduct, avoiding particular people and/or places, regularly checking in with a probation officer according to a prescribed schedule, agreeing to random drug tests and/or premises searches, finding and maintaining employment, supporting dependents if you have any, completing courses, classes, and/or counseling, paying fines and fees, and any other conditions that are applicable to a defendant’s situation. For both types of probation, any violation of the probation conditions could result in sanctions, revocation of probation, and incarceration.

If you are facing Texas DWI charges, probation may be available to you as a method of resolving your DWI case. To learn more, call Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, today, at 214-521-4567.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Explains Intoxication Assault

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

A recent motor vehicle collision resulted in intoxication assault charges for a woman from Conroe. The woman, who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, crashed her car head-on into another vehicle. The wreck sent three people to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

If you get into a car accident in Texas and you are suspected of driving while intoxicated, it is possible that you could get charged with intoxication assault. When a driver who is under the influence of alcohol causes a wreck, and one or more people are seriously injured, they may get charged with the third-degree felony of intoxication assault. The possible penalties that an individual who is charged with intoxication assault may face if they are convicted include incarceration for two to ten years, fines of up to ten thousand dollars, and participation in community service for between one hundred and sixty and six hundred hours.

According to Texas Penal Code §49.07, a person can get charged with intoxication assault in other situations besides the most common intoxication assault scenario of driving a motor vehicle in a public place. The rule applies to people who are operating all kinds of watercraft, flying all sorts of aircraft, and individuals who operate or assemble amusement park rides.

When you crash your car, you have little control over what kinds of injuries you or the occupants of the other vehicle or vehicles will sustain. Not every collision where a driver is suspected of being intoxicated will result in intoxication assault charges. However, those charges may be brought if one or more people who get hurt in the accident receive a serious bodily injury. A serious bodily injury is any injury that creates a substantial risk of death, permanently disfigures the injured person, or creates long-term loss or impairment of the functioning of some part of the victim’s body.

When a person drives a car or operates another type of vehicle after they have consumed alcohol, they often do not think about what could happen if they were to get into an accident. Much of the time, people who operate vehicles under the influence of alcohol tell themselves that they’ll just drive extra carefully and that they will make it to their destination without being stopped for DWI or getting into an accident. Unfortunately, the risk of being stopped or getting into an accident involves more than just possible criminal charges. If you wreck your vehicle, you or others could be severely injured or killed. If you survive the wreck, you could face intoxication assault charges and/or intoxication manslaughter charges, depending on whether anyone died in the crash and how severely the accident victims were injured. Intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter are things that many drivers do not think about, but stopping to think about them before drinking and driving could save your life and the lives of others.

If you are arrested, and you get charged with DWI and/or intoxication assault, it is critical that you get help from a seasoned Texas DWI defense attorney right away. Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, has helped many clients with their DWI cases, even when they have been charged with additional crimes like intoxication assault, and he may be able to help you, too. To learn more about Texas DWI cases, please call 214-521-4567 today.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses Possible Legislation to Enhance Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter Penalties

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Texas drivers should be aware that legislation was filed that could enhance the penalties for intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter in certain situations. Under HB1327, an individual who causes the death or serious injury of another person while they are driving while intoxicated could face a greater punishment than they would face under current law if one or more specific aggravating factors are present.

Lawmakers argue that the legislation is necessary because Texas has one of the highest incidences of DWI-related fatal automobile wrecks in the nation. Supporters of the legislation say that it is a reasonable extension of the existing intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter laws. Presently, if a person who is driving while they are intoxicated causes the death of another person, they are likely to be charged with intoxication manslaughter. Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony which carries penalties that range from probation to imprisonment for up to twenty years. Under the current law, if a person who is driving while they are intoxicated causes serious bodily injury to another person, they are likely to be charged with intoxication assault. Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony that carries a range of penalties from probation up to ten years in prison. Current laws also include a list of aggravating factors that increase the ranges of punishment for those offenses. That list is set forth in Texas Penal Code Section 49.09, and includes special provisions for situations in which the person who got killed in the crash was a peace officer, firefighter, or EMS worker and situations in which the serious injury includes a traumatic brain injury that places the injured person in a persistent vegetative state.

HB1327 would expand the list of aggravating factors in Texas Penal Code Section 49.09 to include a variety of situations, including crashes that kill or seriously injure more than one person, crashes that kill or seriously injure a child, situations in which the offender failed to stop and render aid to accident victims after a collision, situations in which the defendant was driving without a valid license or insurance, situations in which the defendant was evading arrest or fleeing from officers, and situations in which the defendant has a prior DWI conviction.

Whether the intoxication manslaughter or intoxication assault laws change or not, if you get charged with either of these offenses you could face serious consequences. When there is so much at stake, it is essential that you seek the assistance of an experienced Texas DWI Defense Attorney. Your attorney can help you understand the nature of the charges that have been brought against you and they can help you protect your rights and the things that are most important to you. If you have been arrested for DWI and/or charged with related offenses like intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter, let Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, help you resolve your case. Attorney Pettit has assisted a number of Texas DWI clients with their cases, and he would like to help you. To learn more, please call 214-521-4567 today.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses Intoxication Manslaughter

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

A recent tragedy on a Texas freeway serves as a reminder of the types of things that can happen when people get behind the wheel when they are under the influence of alcohol. A man drove a large truck in the wrong direction and caused a fatal chain reaction crash. The wreck killed one woman and injured a number of other people. A three-year-old child got critically injured in the crash. The driver has been arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter.

The effects of this motor vehicle wreck on the lives of everyone involved are going to be far-reaching. The family of the woman who got killed in the crash is mourning her loss, and their journey will continue as the defendant’s case proceeds through the criminal justice system and long after that. The accident victims who got hurt in the wreck, along with their families, will be trying to recover from those injuries as they try to make sense of what has just happened in their lives. Everyone who was involved in the crash is likely to have experienced both physical and emotional trauma, and both types of injury can take a long time to heal.

The lives of the defendant and his family will also be impacted in numerous and significant ways. He faces criminal charges that carry with them the possibility of incarceration, financial penalties, and other requirements, and he could also be held financially responsible for the accident victims’ injuries and losses in one or more civil suits. If the defendant is convicted, he could have difficulty maintaining employment and/or finding jobs in the future.

It is important that all Texas drivers know that they could face both civil and criminal charges if they cause an accident while they are driving under the influence of alcohol. It is also important that drivers know that the success of any civil suits that are brought does not depend upon whether any of the criminal charges are successfully prosecuted. You could get cleared of any criminal charges that were brought against you after the crash while still being held liable in one or more civil actions for the injuries and/or losses that you caused.

If you have been charged with DWI, either with or without additional charges like intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of Texas DWI defense attorney right away. There are many things at stake in any DWI case, and the sooner you seek advice from someone who can help you protect your rights and your interests, the better. You do not have to face your charges alone. Your Texas DWI Defense Attorney can help you understand the charges that have been brought against you, and they can also help you understand what your options for resolving your case might look like.  Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, has served numerous DWI clients in the Dallas area for over thirty years, and it is possible that he could help you, too. Please call his office today, at 214-521-4567.