Posts Tagged ‘Dallas DUI lawyer’

Top Ten Things to Consider Before Drinking & Driving in Texas

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Being charged in Texas with a DUI is a very serious matter and as such, should never be taken lightly.  For instance, those who are ultimately convicted may face devastating legal consequences, including jail time, harsh monetary fines and penalties, community service, alcohol counseling and a permanent – and easily discoverable – criminal record.   Accordingly, it is important to consider the following tips before drinking and getting behind the wheel in Texas:

 1.  If you plan on drinking heavily, arrange for transportation ahead of time.  The main reason why people are arrested for a DUI is that they decided to drive rather than arranging for someone to pick them up.  If you cannot find a friend or family member to get you, call a taxi company and make sure they are available to pick you up when you are ready to return home.

2.  Even if you drink “responsibly”, you may still face a DUI-related arrest.  There is a difference between what you feel and what your blood alcohol content (BAC) reads.  Meaning, you could feel perfectly fine to drive yet your BAC may be above the legal limit (0.08% or greater).

3.  You could lose your license.  Even if you are deemed a “first-time offender”, you could face losing your driver’s license.  While this is not typically the most severe punishment associated with a DUI-related offense in Texas, it is still very serious and associated with a number of legal repercussions and challenges.

4.  You can still face arrest even if you are under the legal limit.  If a police officer pulls you over after observing “intoxicated-like” driving, he or she can still arrest you even if you blow less than a 0.08% BAC on your breathalyzer test.  The reason being is that the officer has the right to deem you unfit, or too impaired to drive, despite your legal BAC reading.

5.  You are being recorded at all times.  From the time when you are pulled over to when you are processed in jail, you are being recorded.  It is important to realize that in Texas, police officers’ vehicles are equipped with dashboard cameras – meaning, be as police and conciliatory as possible when you are dealing with your arresting police officer.

6.  Be mindful of what you have in your car.  At the time of your arrest, a Texas police offer is authorized to conduct a full search and inventory of your vehicle.  As such, forgetting to get rid of that marijuana cigarette in your glove compartment or an empty bottle of wine in the back seat of your car could result in even harsher fines and punishment.

7.  Everything you say will be used against you.  Before being arrested, a Texas police officer can question you without providing you with Miranda warnings.  These questions (i.e. where and how much were you drinking, how drunk you think you are, etc.) are designed to assess your level of intoxication.  That is why it is important to invoke your right to remain silent should you be asked these types of incriminating questions.

If you are interested in learning more about the above, or are facing DUI-related charges in Texas, contact Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, today at 214-521-4567.  For over three decades, Dallas criminal defense attorney Jack Pettit has successfully defended individuals facing DUI charges located throughout the City of Dallas and Dallas County.  Don’t wait to obtain the representation you deserve – call our office today for help!

What to do Right After Being Arrested for a DWI in Texas

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Although being arrested in Texas under suspicion of a DWI is a very serious matter, it certainly does not mean that you are without legal options.  In addition to finding a qualified DWI defense attorney to represent you, there are also a number of steps you can take following your arrest that can maximize your chances of obtaining a more favorable result in your case.  These are as follows:

  • Take detailed photographs of the scene of your arrest.  Pay particular attention to tire marks, property damage (if applicable), and any unusual characteristics of the street and surrounding area.  Perhaps the lighting was bad, or, the road surface was uneven, which can call into question the fairness and accuracy of your field sobriety test.
  • Consider everything you did within 24-hours leading up to your arrest.  This includes considering how much sleep you had the night before, what you ate and drank during the day, any health issues you experienced, any medication that you may have taken, and who you were with both before and during your arrest.  Any of these issues can be used to defend against your charges (i.e. if you appeared to be visibly intoxicated yet you were taking medication, this can certainly help your case).
  • Return to the place where you had been drinking.  This includes speaking with all people that served you on the night of your arrest, as they are often more than willing to testify that you did not consume enough alcohol to cause you to become intoxicated.
  • If you were out with friends or anyone else, it is important to record where you were at, who drove to each location, the specific routes taken, and the timing at which each person arrived throughout the night.  Trials can be won through detailed testimony in this regard, which requires diligence and hard work on your part to put all of the right pieces together in your defense.
  • Within 15 days of your arrest (or 15 days after you receive a driver’s license suspension notice), be sure to request a hearing from the Texas Department of Public Safety.  This will be forfeited if you do not take this crucial step within the aforementioned timeframe.
  • Try and have your witnesses write down their recollection of what happened within 24-hours following your arrest.  Chances are, such evidence will be used in your favor and also, enable each witness to be deemed credible enough to testify on your behalf.
  • Do not hire the first criminal defense lawyer that comes along.  Not every attorney is qualified to handle your case, as DWI matters take time, experience and knowledge of the court, the judges and the prosecutor.  Being comfortable with your attorney is also crucial; if an attorney seems distracted or uninterested when meeting with you, it is time to move on and find a better fit.

For more information, or if you are facing DWI charges in Texas, it is important to work with a capable criminal defense lawyer to help you fight for your rights.  For more than three decades, our office has successfully defended thousands of individuals who have been charged with a full range of DWI-related offenses.   If you would like to speak to Mr. Pettit about your case, contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567.  We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.

The Reality Behind Field Sobriety Tests in Texas

Friday, March 1st, 2013

The reality is that most people who are asked to submit to a field sobriety test often do so in less than ideal conditions and also, under a significant amount of stress.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, slight variations in conditions, such as an uneven road surface and other factors, may have an effect on the evidentiary weight given to field sobriety test results.   Although the government has not clarified what it means in this regard, police officers continue to testify that adverse weather conditions and uneven road surfaces do not negatively affect the outcome of field sobriety tests.

Overall, it is important to consider that when police officers pull over a driver suspected of driving under the influence, they already assume that the person is intoxicated, sometimes influencing them to act in a biased and potentially unfair manner.  In fact, studies conducted at police training facilities shed significant light on this issue.  Specifically, volunteer test subjects are asked to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel.  When they are “pulled over” by a police officer during the exercise, they tended to act calmly since they were in a controlled environment (which is usually well lit and contains even road surfaces) and not in danger of actually being arrested for a DUI.  However, in reality, when people are pulled over and then asked to submit to a field sobriety test, they often tend to become extremely anxious, sometimes skewing the results.  Moreover, they may also be asked to undergo a test in less than ideal conditions, which may also contribute to an inaccurate outcome.

Generally speaking, ideal conditions for conducting a field sobriety test require a flat surface, proper lighting, and not overly tired and anxious test subjects.   However, most people are asked to undergo a field sobriety test in the following set of circumstances:

  • Early in the morning
  • When anxious in anticipation of being arrested
  • While overtired from work
  • In bad weather or while dark out
  • While standing on uneven or cracked road surfaces
  • While in the shoulder lane of a highway or road
  • With traffic whizzing by, often leading to distraction and embarrassment
  • With police lights flashing, adversely affecting a person’s vision
  • With a police officer putting a flash light up to one’s eyes, blurring their vision

With the above in mind, it is important to realize that you may be able to challenge the results of your field sobriety test if it was administered under less than ideal conditions.  For more information, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced Texas DUI attorney to find out more about your rights and responsibilities in this regard.  Experienced criminal defense attorney Jack Pettit will take the time necessary to investigate the facts of your case and mount a strong legal defense on your behalf.  If you wish to discuss your case with Mr. Pettit, contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567.  We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.

How a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Make a Difference in Your DUI Case

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

In Texas, if you were stopped by law enforcement under the suspicion of a DUI, you could face serious consequences, such as jail time, harsh monetary penalties, or the temporary/permanent suspension of your driver’s license.  That is why it is crucial to consult with an attorney who has the experience necessary to effectively represent you.  Whether you were charged with a DUI for the first time or on multiple occasions, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you avoid some if not all of the legal repercussions associated with driving under the influence in Texas.  Accordingly, the following is a list of the primary ways in which an attorney can make a significant difference in your case:

  1. Under certain circumstances, a DUI conviction in Texas may result in short or even long term imprisonment.  Only an attorney experienced in handling a DUI case is in the best position to evaluate your case and effectively defend you against your charges.  Otherwise stated, a skilled attorney will examine the strengths and weaknesses of your case and assist you in presenting the strongest case possible on your behalf.
  2. A seasoned criminal defense attorney will fight for your rights and protect your interests at all costs during the pendency of your case.  Without a doubt, you put your life at risk by representing yourself, as many people who do so are often “eaten alive” by the prosecutor and the criminal justice system as a whole.  A seasoned criminal defense attorney will ensure that your constitutional rights are upheld and that you are treated fairly, no matter what.
  3. If you have had multiple DUI convictions, chances are that you will be faced with severe legal consequences should you decide to hire an inexperienced attorney or try and deal with the prosecuting attorney on your own.  An attorney can add significant value in this regard by working with the prosecutor in order to help you avoid the harsh consequences associated with having numerous DUI convictions on your record.
  4. Only an experienced Texas DUI attorney will properly investigate the facts of your case and fight to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.  Perhaps you failed your field sobriety test for reasons other than those related to being intoxicated.  Or, your blood alcohol readings were skewed due to lab error or for some other reason beyond your control.  Whatever the situation presents, it is critical to have an attorney evaluate all of the aspects of your case and defend you accordingly.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Texas, criminal defense Attorney Jack Pettit will take the time necessary to evaluate your case and fight for your rights, every step of the way.  If you wish to discuss your case with Mr. Pettit, contact us today at 214-521-4567.  We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.

How an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Challenges a DUI in Texas

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Many people believe that when faced with a DUI in Texas, they are without legal options.  The good news is that this is completely false.  In fact, just because you were arrested for a DUI does not mean that there aren’t defenses available that may reduce or even dismiss your charges.  For many years, we have successfully defended thousands of clients facing DUI charges in Texas by raising the following challenges:

  1. 1.      Your field test did not properly demonstrate impairment.  Anyone can struggle having to balance on one foot or walk perfectly on a straight line.  In other words, police often arrest people when they cannot successfully complete these and various other parts of a field test however, it could be due to physical limitation or some other valid reason.
  2. 2.      You were arrested after an illegal stop.  A Texas police officer can only pull over a vehicle under a reasonable suspicion that a crime or traffic offense has been committed.  If law enforcement is not justified in having stopped you, your subsequent arrest may be challenged.  Several DUI charges are ultimately dismissed due to the fact that a person’s rights were violated in this regard.
  3. 3.      Your blood test results were inaccurate.  Whether due to improper training, faulty equipment or the failure to use the proper amount of preservative, blood tests can lead to inaccurate results.  As such, a person can be arrested under the suspicion of a DUI even if they consumed little or no alcohol. 
  4. 4.      Your breathalyzer test results were inaccurate.       Several factors can lead to skewed breathalyzer test results, including the age of the machine, the rate at which the test subject was breathing, and if the air temperature was not properly calibrated when the test was administered.      
  5. 5.      You take prescription medication.  Some types of prescription medications can actually cause a blood           or breath test to yield higher than normal results.  Hence, many people are falsely arrested due to the fact that it was their medication – not alcohol – that caused their inaccurate readings.                 

If you have been charged with a DUI in Texas, it is essential to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows the nuances and complexities associated with these types of cases.  Attorney Jack Pettit will take the time to evaluate your case and develop a strategic legal defense on your behalf.  If you wish to discuss your case with Mr. Pettit, contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567.  We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Being Charged with a DUI in Texas

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Facing a potential DUI conviction in Texas is extremely serious and as such, should not be taken lightly. Specifically, a DUI can have severe consequences such as a permanent criminal record, difficulty finding a job, and other life altering repercussions. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is crucial to know the full scope of your rights and responsibilities. Otherwise stated, understanding the basics about your charges can greatly affect the outcome of your case. Moreover, it may also help prevent you from being arrested should be pulled over under the suspicion of driving while impaired. Accordingly, the following are some of the most important things you should know about DUI charges in Texas:

1. What is a DUI?

A DUI, known as driving under the influence, is a criminal charge that is imposed upon a driver who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. In other words, if you take a breathalyzer test and your BAC is over the legal limit, you will immediately be placed under arrest and charged with a DUI.

2. Can I be charged with a DUI even though my BAC is less than 0.08% percent?

Yes. A police officer can still place you under arrest and charge you with a DUI even if your BAC is less than 0.08%. In Texas, if your driving is impaired by even the slightest amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, you can still be arrested and charged with a DUI.

3. If I am convicted, what are the penalties for driving under the influence?

The severity of the punishment depends upon several factors, including whether you received a previous DUI conviction. Specifically, a first time DUI conviction is considered to be a misdemeanor and may result in a $2,000 fine, extended license suspension, and up to 180 days in jail. If you have been convicted of multiple DUI offenses, you could end up facing a year or more of prison time, several thousands of dollars in fines, a felony conviction on your record, and possibly, the permanent suspension of your driver’s license.

4. Do I have a defense?

While this depends upon the facts of your case, the answer is probably yes. There are several defenses that can be raised when charged with a DUI. Perhaps your field sobriety test was improperly conducted or the results of your breathalyzer test are inaccurate. Only an experienced Texas DUI attorney can fight for your rights and help you mount the strongest defense on your behalf.

5. Do I need an attorney?

Although you are not legally obligated in Texas to hire an attorney, it is highly recommended that you do so. An experienced attorney may be able to mitigate the severity of your punishment or even have your case dismissed. An attorney will also be able to help protect your legal interests and make sure that your constitutional rights are being upheld throughout the entire process.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Texas, it is important to work with an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney to help you fight for your rights. For over three decades, our attorney has successfully defended thousands of individuals dealing with all types of DUI related offenses. If you would like to speak to Mr. Pettit about your DUI charges, contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567. We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.