Archive for the ‘DWI/Traffic Defense’ Category

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 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 Reveals the Lies That Drunk Drivers Tell Themselves and Others

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

The best way to avoid a DWI during the holiday season or at any time of year is to avoid driving while you are intoxicated. We understand that alcohol consumption and intoxication are fluid concepts, but the law relies on hard numbers when it comes to enforcing the rules for drunk driving – you’re either over the legal limit or you’re not. In other words, when you drink alcohol and then make a choice about whether to drive based on what you or other people say or think, you’re not working with actual numbers – you are taking a chance.

There are several ways that people justify their decisions to drive after consuming alcohol. It is important that drivers understand that although these scenarios are common and happen all of the time, DWI arrests are also common and happen all of the time. Here are a few of the common things that people tell themselves or others in an attempt to justify their decision to drink and drive:

  • They say, “I’m OK to drive.” Usually, this statement is not made out of the blue; it comes as a response to someone else who is asking the person whether they should be getting behind the wheel.
  • They say, “I’ve only been drinking beer.” Beer is alcohol. Alcohol makes people intoxicated. It is easy to see how this statement could get someone into trouble if they choose to drive after “only drinking beer.”
  • Sometimes, people say, “I have eaten plenty of food.” While this may or may not be true, sometimes people are less than honest with themselves and others about how much they ate and when they ate it. Perhaps more importantly, while food does help our bodies to assimilate alcohol, driving after eating and drinking is still driving after drinking. There’s still a risk that you will get a DWI.
  • You may hear yourself or someone else says that they only have a short way to drive. This statement usually means that the person speaking is aware that they have been drinking, but that they think they will make it to their destination without being stopped by the police. Fortunately, people in this situation often have the option of walking to wherever they are going, which would eliminate the possibility of a DWI.

There are plenty of other things that people tell themselves or others in attempts to justify their decision to drive after drinking alcohol. If you catch yourself or someone that you know saying any of the aforementioned things or something similar, it may be time to stop and think before you drive. Remind yourself, your friend, or your family member that while there’s a chance that you or they will make it to wherever you or they are going safely and without incident, there is also a chance that an accident or an arrest could occur. A DWI conviction has serious consequences for the driver, consequences that reach into every area of their lives. Be sure to factor that into any discussion that you have with yourself or others about drinking and driving.

If you are arrested and charged with DWI, get help from an attorney right away. 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, too. To learn more about Texas DWI cases, please call 214-521-4567 today.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Describes Drug and Alcohol Treatment Courts

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

In some areas, defendants charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol have access to a unique approach to addressing DWI cases. Drug and alcohol treatment courts aim to help drivers overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol in the hope of preventing repeat offenses. These programs are often quite successful, so it is important that DWI defendants know about them in case they are available to them.

It is no secret that jail time does not do much to prevent repeat DWI offenses. Many offenders, whether they serve time or not, find a way to get back out on the road after they have been convicted of DWI. They might drive without a license; they might drive in a vehicle that does not have the ignition interlock device that they were supposed to use, but they do continue to drive, and they often continue to use drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, It is not unusual for drivers who have been convicted for DWI to be arrested a second time, a third time, or even more times after that.

One reason that many drivers continue to offend is that the health problem that lies at the root of drug and alcohol use – addiction -remains unaddressed. Drug and alcohol treatment courts are just that – programs that are designed to help offenders overcome addiction and restore their health and well-being. DWI defendants who have access to these programs work towards recovery by participating in meetings and counseling. They are held accountable for their progress with drug and alcohol testing. Recovery from drug and alcohol use is a life-long process, but successful treatment gives people who were addicted to drugs or alcohol the tools that they need to remain sober and make good choices.

In the areas where drug and alcohol treatment courts are available, DWI defendants win because they avoid jail time, but even more importantly than that, they win because if they are successful in treatment, they gain victory over addiction. The programs also save taxpayers money, as compared to sending DWI offenders to jail.

If you have been arrested for DWI, it is important that you seek the assistance of an attorney who specializes in DWI defense. Your Texas DWI Defense Attorney can help you understand your options, including drug or alcohol treatment court if a treatment court program is available in the area where your case is being handled.  Drug and alcohol addiction can have serious consequences for your life above and beyond the penalties that are associated with a DWI conviction. It is important that you get the help that you need, whether or not there is a special drug or alcohol treatment court program available to you. Your attorney may be able to direct you to resources that could help you get on the path to recovery from addiction. Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, has served DWI clients in the Dallas area for over thirty years. Please call his office today, at 214-521-4567.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Warns Drivers about No Refusal Period during the Holidays

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

All drivers who will be going anywhere in Texas during the next couple of weeks will want to be aware that the Texas Department of Public Safety will be conducting a no refusal period through the holiday season. Law enforcement officials will be out on patrol in increased numbers throughout the state, and officers do not need much justification at all to stop a vehicle. Speeding, suspicion of a seat belt violation, burnt out lights, and many other things can attract the attention of an officer and bring you and your vehicle to a stop on the side of the road

Drivers who don’t yet know what a no refusal period is need to know that a no refusal period is a time during which if a driver who is suspected of DWI refuses to participate in roadside blood or breath testing, police officers can apply for a warrant that would enable them to draw the driver’s blood involuntarily.

Last year, during the eight-day no refusal period, officers arrested over four hundred and fifty drivers under suspicion of DWI. They issued nearly ten thousand speeding tickets and almost nine hundred seat belt or child safety seat tickets. Over three hundred fugitives were arrested, and officers made nearly three hundred felony arrests.

Fortunately, there are things that drivers can do to stay safe and keep themselves out of the spotlight this holiday season. Planning ahead for transportation to and from events where you will be enjoying alcohol can go a long way towards making your holiday season safe, enjoyable, and free of the headaches and hassles that come along with a DWI arrest. If it has been a while since you assessed the public transportation options in your area, you might learn that there are more choices than you might expect. You might also choose to ride with a designated driver or even spend the night at or near the celebrations that you plan to attend.

When you do drive, keep in mind that even if you are completely sober, certain behaviors are likely to draw attention to you and your vehicle. For example, driving while you are tired or fatigued can give the appearance that you are driving while you are intoxicated, even if you have not consumed a single drop of alcohol. A drowsy driver can look so much like a drunk driver that this is perhaps the most important driving behavior other than drunk driving itself to avoid during the no refusal period. Drowsy driving could not only get you noticed and stopped by law enforcement; it could lead to a DWI investigation and even to an arrest depending upon how your traffic stop proceeds.

Common sense driving and safety tips can also go a long way towards keeping you free from unwanted law enforcement attention. Always wear your safety belt, and ask all passengers to wear theirs too. Drive with the flow of traffic, adjust your speed for road conditions and avoid distractions, especially cell phones. Also, be sure to move over or slow down if you see a police car, disabled vehicle, or emergency vehicle on the side of the road.

If you are arrested for DWI during the holiday no refusal period or at any other time, let Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, help you with your Texas DWI case. Texas DWI Defense 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 Shares Tips for Avoiding Holiday DWIs

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

It’s that time of year again, the holiday season is underway, and your schedule is filling up with exciting plans to get together with family and friends, attend community events, and, of course, have a great time with your co-workers at the annual company holiday party. At every celebration, you are sure to find your favorite seasonal foods and plenty of festive beverages. This holiday season is sure to be memorable, but if you happen to get a DWI on the way home from one of the parties that you attend this season, your holiday memories won’t all be happy ones.

Fortunately, a little advance planning can go a long way towards avoiding a DWI during the holidays or at any time of the year. Drivers should be aware that law enforcement officers know that the holiday season is a popular time for parties. The December holiday season is prime time for DWI checkpoints, increased patrols, and possibly even no refusal weekends in some areas. With this in mind, you can make plans to avoid drinking and driving this holiday season.

If you plan to enjoy alcohol at one or more of the parties that you plan to attend, talk to other people who will be attending the same parties to see whether there are any guests who plan to be designated drivers. You might be able to arrange for a ride with one of them. Also, take a look online to see what kinds of transportation options exist in your area. You may be able to use public transportation, a taxi, or a car service to get to and from all of your holiday parties with zero risk of a DWI.

If your party plans include long distance travel, make plans in advance to spend the night. Staying overnight is a good idea whether or not you plan to drink because tired drivers tend to drive like drunk drivers, which puts them at risk for accidents and at risk for DWI traffic stops. If you do end up in a situation where you will be driving home from a party late at night, enjoy yourself responsibly so that your drive home is both safe and legal. When you drive home, try to avoid attracting any attention from law enforcement officers, so that you will arrive at home without incident. Obeying the rules of the road is a good way to avoid a traffic stop. It’s also a good idea to look over your vehicle thoroughly on a regular basis to look for and fix things like burnt out turn signal lamps and burnt out headlight bulbs which can call attention to your vehicle and provide law enforcement officers with an easy excuse to stop your vehicle.

If you do get pulled over, try to remain calm. Provide as little information as you can while complying with the officer’s reasonable requests. Remember that you are under no obligation to provide information that could incriminate you. If you do end up being pulled over and charged with a DUI, be sure to get help from a Texas DWI Defense Attorney right away. 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 What to do After Your DWI Arrest

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

If you were arrested for DWI, please be aware that the actions that you take now have the potential to affect the outcome of your DWI case in a major way. It is important that all DWI defendants understand what things they can do and which things they can avoid in order to pursue the best possible outcome in their DWI case.

One major thing that any DWI defendant can do to help themselves following their arrest is to take the charges against them seriously. A DWI conviction can have severe economic consequences, and it can adversely affect your freedom. As soon as you are arrested, you can begin to conduct yourself in a way that will minimize the impact of your DWI charges on your life to the extent that that is possible in your case.

The very first thing that you can do as part of taking the DWI charges against you seriously is consulting with a DWI defense attorney. Be sure that you seek out a local attorney who specializes in DWI defense. A local attorney will have an advantage over attorneys who are not local because they are accustomed to working with the same courthouse staff, prosecutors, and others who will be involved in your DWI case. An attorney who handles DWI cases exclusively works with DWI law all day, every day and they are likely to know the law inside and out, in addition to being familiar with which types of defense strategies work best with different types of DWI case scenarios. Be sure to retain an attorney as soon as possible, as your rights are at stake from the moment that you are arrested, and it is in your best interest to have someone working on your behalf as soon as possible.

Another important thing to do after your DWI arrest is to learn about how a conviction could impact your life. No two DWI defendants are alike, and you may have a family, a home, a job, and other things that you are concerned about. Speaking with your attorney about how a conviction could affect the things that are most important to you can help them create a defense strategy that is designed to protect those things as much as possible.

Ideally, you will have chosen an excellent attorney soon after you were arrested for DWI and they have proven to be a reliable ally in your DWI case. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and some clients realize as their case progresses that they are in some way dissatisfied with the representation that they are receiving from their attorney. This could be the result of hiring someone solely because they had the lowest fee, hiring someone without actually talking to them and getting to know them and their approach to DWI cases, or something else entirely. The exact reason for your dissatisfaction is not as important as knowing that it’s not too late for you to change course and proceed with a different attorney.

If you were arrested and charged with DWI, you are likely to have some questions and concerns. There is a lot at stake, including your freedom. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this experience on your own. 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 Shares Information about More Evidentiary Concerns

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Recently, the validity of blood test evidence from the Harris County crime lab had come under scrutiny after it was discovered that a technician had falsely stated their qualifications. That issue has brought more than ten years’ worth of DWI cases up for review. Unfortunately, there are additional concerns regarding evidence in Harris County, and even more cases could be affected.

A lab technician at the city crime lab admitted to mislabeling a blood test in a 2013 DWI case. The sample was submitted with errors, and the label was eventually corrected, but the charge against the defendant got reduced. The technician was barred from testing other samples, but she continued to appear in court to testify about other samples that she had tested. Defense attorneys in subsequent cases say they were not notified of the mix-up, which could have provided them with grounds to question her testimony or opportunities to employ other strategies in defending their clients. It is uncertain how many other cases could be affected by this technician’s actions.

Further concerns regarding evidence involve an alleged delay by the District Attorney’s Office in informing defense attorneys that evidence related to their cases could be missing. Earlier this year, Precinct 4 officials realized that evidence was missing from their property room. Upon noticing that evidence was missing, they earlier this year, they notified the district attorney’s office. It appears as though one or more employees were not following proper evidence handling and disposal policies and procedures, but it also appears as though only a couple of pieces of evidence were actually missing.

Evidence is a major part of any DWI case. A skilled Texas DWI defense attorney understands how evidence should be collected and handled throughout the course of a DWI case, and they can carefully scrutinize the actions of the multiple parties and agencies who have handled the evidence in your DWI case so that any potential mistakes can be identified and exposed. Many DWI cases have been defended successfully because the evidence was mishandled or other mistakes were made by law enforcement throughout the course of the DWI traffic stop, arrest, and subsequent activities. Even if no evidentiary mistakes were made in your case, a DWI defense attorney could look for other types of weaknesses or inconsistencies in the State’s case. These weaknesses or inconsistencies can often form the basis for a comprehensive and effective defense strategy.

If you are currently facing DWI charges in Texas, it is important that you speak with a Texas DWI Defense Attorney right away. There is a lot at stake, and you do not have to try to navigate your DWI case on your own. Your attorney can protect your rights, help you understand the charges against you and the DWI case process, and ensure that you receive the best possible defense in your Texas DWI case. To find out more about how Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, can help you, call us today at 214-521-4567.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Talks About Competence

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

One issue that can come up in any criminal case, including a DWI case, is the question of whether or not the defendant is competent to stand trial. For court proceedings to be fair, a defendant must be both capable of understanding the proceedings that are being brought against them and capable of assisting their defense counsel in defending them in those proceedings. Capability does not necessarily mean having a high level of understanding or skill in helping in their defense, it is a very basic understanding and ability that most people have most of the time.

It is imperative that DWI defendants understand that raising the issue of competence is not a defense to the crime of DWI. It is a tool that enables defendants to receive a fair trial because it allows court proceedings to be placed on hold until the defendant can become competent to stand trial. For example, if a defendant is found to have a mental impairment that could respond well to therapy or medication or a combination of both, the defendant will be ordered to receive those treatments and can then proceed to trial once the treatments take effect and they can understand and assist as described above.

The defense counsel in a recent Texas DWI case involving competence has asked for additional time to assess whether their client is competent to stand trial. This particular defendant has been examined by multiple professionals, and those professionals appear to have different opinions regarding whether the defendant is competent to stand trial. He was charged with intoxication manslaughter after a November 2013 wrong-way crash that killed one person.

In addition to the issue of differing opinions among professionals, there is the issue of whether those professionals have followed the proper procedures in examining the defendant and reporting their findings. For example, one doctor plans to testify that the defendant is competent, but the defense counsel says that they had not received any report that would have notified them of her findings. Written reports are supposed to be provided to counsel thirty days before the pretrial hearing so that they can have time to read them and prepare their responses to them. A different doctor is of the opinion that the defendant is not competent to stand trial and that the defendant should undergo an extended period of observation and examination.

Competence is just one of many issues that can arise during a DWI case. DWI defendants have a lot at stake, and a Texas DWI Defense Attorney can help those who are charged with DWI protect their rights. If you’re currently facing DWI charges in Texas, you do not have to figure out a DWI defense strategy on your own – in fact doing so could be costly in more ways than one. Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, 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 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.