Archive for the ‘DUI’ Category

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 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.

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.

 

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Talks about Subsequent DWIs

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Sometimes, a single DWI traffic stop is enough to cause a person to give up drinking and driving for good, even if they are never charged or convicted. Other drivers need a little more convincing and wait until after their second offense to stop drinking and driving. There are also some drivers who continue to drive under the influence of alcohol after multiple DWI convictions, encountering increasingly severe penalties with each additional offense.

Recently, a woman from Houston was sentenced to four years in prison after she pleaded guilty to her sixth felony DWI charge. The woman was stopped by law enforcement after her daughter, who was driving in a vehicle behind her, called the police to ask them to stop her mother because she was driving while intoxicated. When law enforcement officers stopped the woman’s car, they did find that she was intoxicated and they arrested her. When she was arrested, the woman was out on bond for two felony DWI charges.

The potential consequences of being convicted of DWI in Texas become more severe with each subsequent offense, as you can see from the four-year prison sentence that the woman mentioned above received for her sixth DWI. Most drivers will not ever be charged with their sixth DWI, but all drivers should understand what penalties they might be given if they are convicted of a first-time DWI or any type of subsequent offense.

Drivers who are convicted of a first offense DWI in Texas may be fined up to two thousand dollars. They could also have to spend between three days and one hundred and eighty days in jail. A first offense DWI can mean that your license gets suspended. Also, the Texas DWI laws recently changed, and first time DWI defendants could even be required to put ignition interlock devices on their vehicles.

Second offense DWI convictions in Texas can result in fines of up to four thousand dollars, and jail time of one month to one year. Second-time DWI offenders also face license suspension, a surcharge to reinstate their license after suspension, and the possibility of an ignition interlock requirement just like first-time offenders.

Third-time DWI offenders could be fined up to ten thousand dollars. They can also expect to spend between two and ten years in state prison, in addition to other penalties. The penalties that were described above refer solely to DWI charges. If certain other factors, such as child passengers or a car accident were present during an arrest, the driver may face additional penalties.

If you face any type of DWI charges in Texas, it is important that 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 put up your best defense against them. 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 the Role of Toxicologists in DWI Cases

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

In Harris County, ten years’ worth of DWI cases are being reviewed by District Attorneys in light of questions regarding the qualifications of a lab tech within the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. The woman whose qualifications are under scrutiny has resigned her position, but that does not fix the fact that she may have testified in some DWI cases without having the proper credentials to do so.

The problem with the woman’s credentials is that she has testified in at least some cases that she had obtained a different type of master’s degree than the degree that she actually earned. It is unknown how many cases, if any, were affected by the false testimony but that is the reason that so many cases are being reviewed. The review process will help attorneys who represented clients involved in those ten years’ worth of cases to determine whether any of the cases can be challenged.

If you are a DWI defendant, you may wonder why the truth of a toxicologist’s testimony about their degree makes a difference in a DWI case. It matters because telling the truth matters and, perhaps even more importantly because scientific evidence plays a significant role in DWI cases. Because scientific evidence plays a prominent role in DWI cases, it is essential that any expert witness who testifies regarding toxicology reports or any other scientific subject matter know what they are talking about.

In DWI cases, toxicologists present information regarding the results of blood and breath tests. The tests must be performed according to specific methods, which the person who is testifying must understand and be able to explain clearly to the finder of fact. The test results are to be interpreted according to certain guidelines, which are another thing that the expert witness must be aware of and able to describe. Forensic toxicologists are also used in DWI cases to explain the manner in which alcohol behaves in the body. Toxicologists might testify about how a person is likely to act at a particular time after consuming a certain amount of drinks based on their calculations involving the metabolism of alcohol in the body. A toxicology expert might also testify about procedures for administering blood and breath tests in the field, procedures for calibrating breathalyzer machines and other equipment, and other similar issues. Because of the broad spectrum of topics that toxicology expert witnesses testify on, it is easy to see how a misstatement regarding the credentials of any such expert could prove damaging if the “expert” gives the finder of fact incorrect information.

If you have questions about Texas DWI defense law, Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, may be able to help you. Whether you are being charged with your first offense or a subsequent offense, we are here to guide you through each step of the DWI case process towards resolution of your matter. Call our office at 214-521-4567 today to find out more.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Warns Drivers of Increased Focus on DWI Enforcement

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

Did you know that law enforcement agencies throughout Texas have stepped up their focus on DWI enforcement? From August 19 through September 5, state and local law enforcement agencies plan to work overtime to find and prosecute drunk drivers. Right now, drivers currently have a higher than normal risk of being arrested for DWI. Because of this risk, drivers who have never been arrested for DWI need to learn about the DWI process in case they get arrested.

Perhaps the most important thing that you need to know about DWI charges is that you should seek the aid of a DWI defense attorney immediately after your arrest. Criminal charges like DWI can have far-reaching effects on your day to day life for a long time, even if you are not convicted, and you deserve the best possible chance at avoiding as many of those consequences as possible. Also, DWI defense attorneys look out for their clients’ rights and seek justice in cases where those rights are violated. Your DWI defense attorney will help you understand the charges that have been brought against you as well as the options for resolving your case.

If you are a first-time DWI defendant, you may wonder how to choose a DWI defense attorney. Begin by speaking with a few different DWI defense attorneys about your case, and choose one with whom you feel comfortable. It is essential that any attorney that you select be experienced in handling DWI defense cases. Working with an attorney who has a thorough knowledge of Texas DWI laws paired with experience in presenting defenses to DWI charges for a variety of clients increases your chance of obtaining a positive outcome in your DWI case.

First-time DWI defendants should also be aware of the difference between public defenders and private counsel. You may qualify for the services of a public defender, and you are free to choose to use their services or retain private counsel. A public defender is an attorney who is paid by the state to represent defendants who meet certain income guidelines. Some defendants who qualify for services of a public defender hire their own attorneys because public defenders have less control over their case loads than private attorneys do. Many public defenders have large caseloads which afford them little time for each of their cases.

If you were arrested for DWI, you are likely to have questions and concerns. You are probably well aware that there’s a lot at stake, including your driving privileges and your freedom. You probably want to do everything in your power to preserve the most important things in your life. Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, can help you move through your DWI case towards an outcome that will work for you.  Texas DWI Defense Attorney Pettit has helped numerous Texas DWI clients with their DWI cases, and he can put his experience and dedication to work for you. To learn more, please call 214-521-4567 today.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Explains What a DWI Could Cost You

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Did you know that a DWI could cost you over ten thousand dollars along with other non-monetary yet tremendously important If you have never been arrested for DWI, you may be completely unaware that the cost of a DWI could be so high. Not only is there a great cost associated with a DWI, but the process of working through a DWI case takes time, and some consequences of the DWI continue long after the case is complete.

Drivers who get arrested for DWI face civil and criminal penalties. Administrative License Revocation (ALR) is the civil component of DWI. The penalties for ALR come into effect if you fail or refuse the breath test, and the penalties include 90 to 180 days of license suspension and a $125 license reinstatement fee when if it time to get your license back. You can try to avoid license suspension by requesting an ALR hearing, and it is a good idea to have a lawyer represent you at that hearing in addition to representing you in your criminal case. Of course, legal representation costs money, and costs do vary. It is important that DWI defendants choose to view legal fees not just as money spent on the DWI, but money invested in reducing the overall cost of the DWI, both financially and as far as concerns the effects of the DWI on their lives.

In the criminal portion of a DWI case, legal fees can cost a defendant anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars, depending upon the attorney and the complexity of the case. However, this expense could lead to the reduction of other costs and non-monetary consequences because your attorney can do things like trying to get the charges dropped or reduced, plea bargaining, and otherwise seeking options for resolving your DWI case in a way that will work out as well for you as it can. Court fees are sometimes included with legal fees and sometimes paid separately. Typical court fees are between one hundred and sixty dollars and three hundred dollars. Videotapes and subpoenas cost money, but they may be necessary in your case.

There are some monetary and non-monetary costs that you might not expect. Texas charges DWI defendants a thousand dollars each year for three years after their DWI cases are closed. If injuries or damages resulted from your driving while intoxicated, you might have to pay restitution. Your car insurance rates may increase substantially. Probation lasts a year or two, and it requires time, effort, and money. Classes, counseling, and other programs must be paid for by the defendants who must engage in them. Some other indirect costs of a DWI include taking time off of work to go to court, the cost of transportation to and from work if you lose your driving privileges and the cost of installing an ignition interlock if you are required to do so.

Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, has years of experience with DWI cases, and he has helped many DWI clients resolve their cases. He may be able to help you with your DWI case, too. Whether this is your first DWI or a subsequent offense, you deserve the support of a skilled Texas DWI Defense Attorney. Call us today, at 214-521-4567 today, to learn more.

 

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.