Texas DWI Defense Attorney Want You to Know About ALR

August 30th, 2016

If you have never faced DWI charges in Texas, you may not know that it involves two types of legal proceedings. As in other states, drivers who get arrested for operating vehicles while they are intoxicated face criminal charges. In Texas, though, individuals arrested for DWI also face civil proceedings after their arrests. These proceedings are entirely separate from your criminal DWI case. The civil proceeding that follows a DWI arrest is called Administrative License Revocation (ALR). Drivers who do not know about ALR could lose their driving privileges as the result of their lack of awareness that they must request a hearing within fifteen days of their DWI arrest if they want to retain their driving privileges.

It is essential that drivers know about ALR before they get arrested because it is not always explained clearly during the DWI arrest process. Sometimes, the arresting officer describes the license suspension process in such a way that the driver does not understand that their driving privileges are in danger, when and how their license suspension would take effect, or that they have options for contesting the suspension. The outcome of the ALR process may be that your driver’s license is suspended for a length of time anywhere from ninety days to two years. If you have your CDL, you may also end up with an automatic one-year disqualification as the result of the ALR process.

During your traffic stop, if the law enforcement officer asks you to take a breath or blood test and you either refuse to take it or take it and fail it, you will be served notice that your driver’s license will be suspended. Once you receive that notice, you only have fifteen days to request an ALR hearing. If you do not request a hearing before the fifteen days are up, your license suspension will be set to go into effect on the fortieth day from the date of the notice. If you do request a hearing, know that that hearing has a very limited purpose – to provide the Administrative Law Judge with the information that they need to issue an order stating their decision the matter of your license suspension.

At your ALR hearing, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will attempt to prove that your driver’s license should be suspended because you either had a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater at the time of your arrest or because you refused to submit to blood or breath testing. Since it is a hearing, you have the opportunity to counter the DPS’s evidence. Your attorney will present any available evidence that would tend to show the judge that your license should not be suspended. After your hearing is over, the judge will issue a final, appealable decision and order. If the judge finds that DPS has proven its case, the order will authorize license suspension. Conversely, if the judge decides that DPS has not proven its case, your license will not be suspended.

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

Requesting an ALR hearing allows you to contest the proposed suspension of your driver’s license. Since you only have fifteen days to request an ALR hearing, it is important that you contact a Texas DWI Defense Attorney right away. Call Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law today at 214-521-4567.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Talks About Traffic Stops

August 24th, 2016

Texas Rangers relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress was recently arrested and charged with DWI. His arrest started like every other DWI arrest – with a traffic stop. The stop occurred after the vehicle that he was driving cut off another driver as it switched lanes without signaling. A law enforcement officer stopped the vehicle, and the traffic stop began. During the stop, the officer noticed that Jeffress had bloodshot eyes. The officer could also smell alcohol on Jeffress’ breath. When the officer requested Jeffress’ driver’s license and proof of insurance, Jeffress handed the items over. He also gave the officer a Texas Rangers club card that indicates that he plays for the team. During the stop, Jeffress told the officer that he had consumed three or four cups of Hennessy and Coke and that he had consumed them between 12:15 a.m. and 1:15 a.m. There was a woman in the vehicle, and he told the officer that he was driving her from the nightclub Sisu to her car.

The officer asked Jeffress to get out of his vehicle and participate in a field sobriety test. During the test, the officer observed several things that led them to conclude that Jeffress was intoxicated. Some of these observations were that he could not balance on one leg and that he urinated on himself. After the test, officers searched Jeffress and his vehicle. During the search, officers found a bag containing a green leafy substance in the glove compartment. Jeffress and his passenger both denied ownership of it and he told officers that other people had been in his vehicle earlier that day.

Every DWI traffic stop is unique, but most of them have one thing in common – something about your car or the way that you were driving captured the attention of a law enforcement officer. In the situation described above, an officer saw the vehicle that Jeffress was driving cut in front of another vehicle without using a turn signal. Whenever you are driving and whatever you are doing, be aware that something might draw attention to your vehicle. However unsettling this is, if you see blue lights behind you, know that there are things that you can do which could make the difference between an ordinary traffic stop and a DWI investigation.

When your vehicle gets pulled over, law enforcement officers have a chance to observe you and interact with you. Those interactions and observations of you will determine the direction in which the traffic stop will proceed. Please know that you can make choices that could keep your traffic stop from turning into a DWI investigation. If the officer asks you where you are going, know that they are not trying to engage in small talk. Every question that they ask you serves a purpose – to obtain information from you that they could use to support further investigation. You may choose to say very little to the officer and give them as little information as possible beyond complying with requests to hand over your license, registration, and other items. You do not have to answer questions, although some officers may try to intimidate you into saying more than you have to. If that happens, remain calm while politely telling the officer that you need to consult with your attorney before speaking with them further.

Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, may be able to help you with your DWI case. Call our office at 214-521-4567 today to find out more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Dallas County DWI Attorney Explains Your Options If You Are Asked To Take A Chemical Test

June 23rd, 2016

Texas has an implied consent law on the books. Implied consent means that you, as an operator of a motor vehicle on a public place in Texas, have given your agreement to take a chemical test if a law enforcement officer has reason to believe you are driving under the influence (DUI).  You have the right to refuse to take the test; no one can force you to take the test, most of the time. There are circumstances when the law enforcement officer must take a blood sample from you even if you refuse to give one. In that case, the officer must get a search warrant; that is authority from a judge to take a sample of your blood and deliver it to a lab for testing. Dallas County DUI attorney Jack Pettit can guide you through the process.

Upon arrest for DUI in Texas, a law enforcement officer will ask you to take a chemical test. Under Texas’ implied consent law, every person operating a vehicle in a public place consents to take a chemical test. Law enforcement officers want you to take the test, such as a breathalyzer or blood-draw because it is very likely that those tests will make matters worse for you.  People very rarely beat a breathalyzer test or a blood-draw simply because 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a very low number and you do not need to drink a lot to get there.  You may not even feel intoxicated at 0.08% BAC, which is known as the “legal limit.”  The blood test also allows law enforcement to search your blood for drugs or other substances in addition to alcohol.

Refusal to take the test has consequences as well. The arresting officer must inform you of those consequences. For instance, your refusal to take a chemical test can be used against you in the prosecution of the case. A prosecutor will argue that you did not take the test because you knew you would fail it.  Additionally, the state will suspend your license for 180 days if you refuse to take a chemical test.  The officer must inform you that if you take the test but fail it, then your license must be immediately suspended for 90 days if you are older than 21.

The police are obligated to force you to take a blood test aggravating circumstances are present. The officer must take a specimen if the officer believes that a person suspected of DUI causes a crash and another person may die as a result of injuries caused by the accident.  The officer must take a sample if a person other than the one arrested was seriously injured or simply injured and sent to the hospital.  Similarly, if the police arrested the driver for DUI and a child was in the car, then the officer must force a sample.  The officer must also compel the driver to provide a sample if the driver was previously convicted of DUI twice before or once convicted of DUI with a child passenger or intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter.

The officer may not force a person to take a blood test without a court order.  The law enforcement officer must obtain a search warrant to take the blood sample. A judge or magistrate must review the search warrant request to make sure that there is probable cause to grant the police officer’s request to take your blood.  If the judge signs the warrant, then the police must take you to a hospital and have the blood drawn by a qualified medical professional.

Contact An Experienced Lawyer If You Have Been Arrested For DUI

Dallas County DUI attorney Jack Pettit is an experienced DUI attorney. Attorney Pettit will zealously represent you every step of the way. Call Attorney Pettit today at 214-521-4567 and let experience and determination fight for you.

Dallas County DWI Attorney Warns That Police Can Pull You Over Without Much Evidence You Did Anything Wrong

June 10th, 2016

A recent Texas Criminal Appeals Court ruling gives police greater authority to pull you over, even if there is not much evidence that you did anything wrong.  Police are supposed to have evidence that you are about to commit, are committing, or have recently committed a crime or a motor vehicle offense before they pull you over.  The officer must be able to specifically state, or articulate, why he stopped you.  The law enforcement officer must have more than a mere hunch that you are doing something wrong before pulling you over. Once the officer pulls you over, he is free to investigate how you were driving. Dallas County DWI attorney Jack Pettit is an experienced DWI attorney who knows how to prove that the police did not have enough evidence to pull you over and get your case thrown out of court.

These days, almost every person on the road has a cell phone. Many people use their phones to notify police when they see a driver operating dangerously. Police can stop a person simply based upon a phone call if the person gives their name and the investigating officer objectively believes that the driver is committing a crime based on the information police received from the caller.  The fact that the caller gives a name lends the caller credibility with the police. A person who gives the police their name is more likely to be telling the truth rather than making up a story about someone else. Police can tell if the caller is telling the truth by observing the driver for themselves. Even if the caller gave a fake name, the police could use the information the caller gave to stop a driver if the police make their observations of dangerous driving.

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that dangerous behaviors such as weaving back and forth and crossing the center line are indicators of DWI and pulling someone over based on those behaviors is justified. DWI is not the only explanation for weaving or crossing the center line.  A driver could have an unruly child in the backseat, sneezing, or some other innocent reason that explains why they were not driving properly.  Even if that is the case, the police can pull you over to investigate why you are weaving or crossing the center line. The investigating officer must let you go if there is an innocent explanation why they saw you driving dangerously. But, the police do not have to know why you are driving dangerously before they pull you over.

Once police have a reason to pull you over, then the investigating officer is free to observe you and how you are acting. The officer can see for himself if you have bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech, or speaking with a thick tongue, and have the smell of alcohol coming from within the car. The officer will make other observations such as watching how you get your license and proof of insurance and answer the officer’s questions. Also, the officer will look inside your car while talking to you. The officer is looking for open containers of alcohol in the car, or other evidence such as illegal narcotics.  The officer is looking for signs that you cannot think straight and therefore cannot drive a car safely. The officer is trying to gather evidence that you are drunk rather than dispel any innocent explanation for your poor driving.

Do Not Delay In Contacting An Experienced Dallas County DWI Attorney For Help

Dallas County DWI attorney Jack Pettit is ready to fight for you if police arrested you in Dallas County for DWI. Attorney Pettit has years of experience successfully fighting to vindicate his clients from wrongdoing. Call Attorney Pettit today at 214-521-4567 to get experience on your side.