How A First Time DWI Becomes A Felony?

 A Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) becomes a felony offense in Texas if there is a child in the car at the time of the arrest. Recently, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted a New Caney man on charges that he was intoxicated behind the wheel with five children in his vehicle.” The 39-year-old driver was pulled over for erratic driving in a parking lot on March 16. The DWI charge was raised to a felony because he was driving with five children ranging from ages 4 to 13.

According to the Texas Penal Code, when the operator of a motor vehicle in a public place is determined to have a .08 blood alcohol level or higher and has a 14-year-old or younger passenger  in the vehicle, the offense is considered a state jail felony.

See section 49.045:http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.49.htm

A DWI is normally considered a misdemeanor offense, but when a child passenger is involved the felony penalty carries a possible state prison sentence from 180 days- two years and a fine up to $10,000.

The DWI charge can be further complicated by charges of child endangerment which could cause authorities to involve the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. In some cases the child or children could be removed from the parents’ or guardian’s custody.

Following a DWI arrest and charges of this magnitude, the best course of action is to secure experienced, reliable representation immediately. I will protect your rights and help you navigate the criminal justice system. Contact my firm at 713-242-1779 as soon as possible so I can analyze all aspects of your case and create a defense that will afford you the best possible outcome. 

Defending An Intoxication Manslaughter Case

 A recent vehicular homicide case  from New Orleans demonstrates how important it is to enlist the services of expert lawyers in any situation involving driving while intoxicated. In Houston, Harris County, Texas we call this intoxication manslaughter. the case seemed cut and dry.  In 2009, a man who was driving while intoxicated hit a pedestrian and killed him during the Mardi Gras festivities.  Initially, the jury convicted the man of vehicular homicide, and he was sentenced to five years in prison.  His attorneys, however, recently succeeded in appealing the conviction.  And while the case isn't over yet, as prosecutors move to challenge the appeal, it does show that the evidence brought by the state needs to be airtight and demonstrate conclusively that a defendant committed a particular crime.

A key part of the defense attorneys' arguments rested on the fact that the prosecution couldn't demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant's intoxication actually caused the accident.  Though he may have been intoxicated when he hit the pedestrian, a non-intoxicated driver might have done the same under the circumstances.  They argued that the pedestrian had suddenly stepped out onto the street in such a way that even someone who wasn't driving drunk would not have been able to react quickly enough to stop the car in time, particularly because it was dark outside.  The prosecution also couldn't prove that the defendant was speeding or otherwise driving unstably.

Another issue raised by the defense points to a weakness in how police collected evidence in the case.  They drew blood from the defendant the night of the accident, but didn't send the blood to a lab to be processed in a timely manner.  In any instance when police arrest someone for driving while intoxicated, it's important that they follow all protocols; otherwise, the case against the defendant may rest on shakier grounds.

In spite of how clear cut a case may seem, there may always be weaknesses in the arguments brought against a defendant and possible mistakes or misconduct in the actions of the state.  Every case requires careful review.

If you are searching for a lawyer that handles Intoxication Manslaughter cases please do not hesitate to contact me at 713-242-1779.

How to hire a DWI lawyer?

DWI Warning: Don't let July 4th Fireworks Cloud Your Judgement!

 I know that you are proud of the country that you live in and want to celebrate on the upcoming July 4th holiday. But as you celebrate, be aware that the Texas Department of Public Safety will be watching you as you watch the fireworks overhead.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will be increasing its patrols and will be directing its focus on alcohol related driving violations. According to TxDOT, the holiday weekend that includes Independence Day is one of the deadliest of the year as a result of alcohol related crashes. To insure the public's safety, state troopers as well as local law enforcement will be cracking down on those drivers in violation of Texas DWI laws. In 2012, the ten day crack down resulted in over 1200 alcohol related arrests with additional citations being written for speeding, seat belts, and various other infractions.

I love celebrating this holiday, as most Americans do. But one single bad decision can be life changing, so use caution as you celebrate.

  • If you are attending a celebration away from home, pre-arrange sober transportation. Either designate a sober driver or plan access to public transportation or taxis. Have the phone number in your phone or accessible to you.
  • If you are hosting a celebration, have those same numbers available and gather guest car keys when they arrive. Being a 'party pooper' could save lives.
  • Never get in a car with an intoxicated driver. By putting your life at risk with an intoxicated driver, you are also enforcing his/her belief in their ability to drive. And remember, its not just your life at risk, it is the life of everyone else on the roadways.
  • Consider your passengers. If you are driving the family home from a celebration, consider the young passengers that are not old enough to dissent. Also, any intoxicated passengers may not be in the position to make rational decisions pertaining to their own safety.

In the ten day period from June 28 to July 7, DPS will be doing their best to assure your safety. So celebrate safely and wisely. Those lights behind you should be fireworks.....not those on a patrol car.

Erin Brockovich Faces Boating-Related DWI Charges

 "Brockovich, played by Julia Roberts in the movie "Erin Brockovich," was discovered to have had more than twice the legal .08 blood alcohol limit after she had trouble docking her boat on Lake Mead near Las Vegas, authorities said," -- Daily News, 6/9/2013.

Portrayed by Julia Roberts in the Oscar-winning movie of the same name, Erin Brockovich is now a household name. No longer a file clerk spearheading the solo investigation which eventually resulted in one of the largest toxic tort injury settlements in U.S. history, Ms. Brockovich is an established author, speaker, and television host.  

Unfortunately, despite her compelling life story and phenomenal successes, Ms. Brockovich suffered quite a blow last Friday. She was arrested while boating on Lake Mead near Las Vegas after officials noticed she was struggling with what should be a very simple docking maneuver.

In fact, Ms. Brockovich's blood alcohol level was reported to be more than twice the legal limit of .08. Though released on a $1000 bond, this will not be the end of her ordeal.

Many people mistakenly neglect to realize that the same DWI laws that apply to operating a motor vehicle on land, also apply to operating a boat on the water. Many people this summer will enjoy drinking with friends while enjoying a boat ride, but must always remember to be sure that only a designated, non-drinking operator will be at the controls.

Intoxication Manslaughter Charges Filed after DWI Results in Officer's Death

 When a DWI case involves a death, an individual can sometimes face charges of intoxication manslaughter. That’s the case with a man who allegedly caused a recent accident, which resulted in the death of a Harris County sheriff’s deputy.  That suspect now faces second degree felony charges that could result in a prison term of between two and twenty years.

The accident happened on May 19, when a vehicle driven by Andres Munos-Munos collided with the personal vehicle of Sgt. Dwayne Polk, a deputy with more than 16 years of experience. According to police, Munos-Munos ran a red light at the intersection of North Shepherd and Little York, thereby colliding with Polk’s vehicle. Investigators claim there were no skid marks that indicated Munos-Munos even attempted to stop before the collision happened.

Polk was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Meanwhile, Munos-Munos was apprehended and taken to Ben Taub hospital for treatment. While there, a mandatory blood draw was also administered. The results of that test indicated the man was intoxicated, and he was taken into custody upon being released from the medical facility.

An investigation into the incident revealed that Munos-Munos had entered this country illegally. It also showed a prior arrest for DWI in June 2012. In addition to his intoxication manslaughter charges, Munos-Munos was also charged by police for carrying a weapon illegally.

Intoxication manslaughter charges are serious, and should only be handled by an attorney who specializes in DWI defense.  If you or someone you know is facing these charges, you may contact my law office for a consultation on defending these charges.

Some Drivers Charged With Drunk Driving May Get a Reprieve

 I have always maintained that field sobriety tests were flawed. According to a recent Houston Chronicle report, more than 1,200 DWI arrests may have been conducted either using a machine that was not maintained correctly or by an officer who was not qualified to operate testing equipment.

Oftentimes, when a driver is charged with drunk driving it is because they failed a breathalyzer test or a roadside field sobriety test. But, when the equipment is being operated by someone who is unqualified, or using faulty equipment, the test results may be worthless.

Police officers who stop you may have been monitoring your driving for a block or two before the. They may have been checking for speeding or any other action that appears erratic.  When you have had a drink or two before driving, you may be feeling very self-conscious but this doesn’t mean you need to panic. After all, most people are very responsible about driving and chances are you have done nothing wrong.

I always warn drivers to be careful about responding to questions when they are stopped in traffic. Remember, pay attention to and answer the officer’s questions and provide them with your license and registration when they request it. I strongly recommend you not submit to a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test.  The fact there is now proof these tests may be flawed or the operators are not qualified to administer these tests is another valid reason to follow this advice.

With more than 1,200 driver’s potentially being exonerated because of faulty equipment or unqualified operators, it’s a good time for me to remind you to avoid taking these tests. Remember, summer is the time when more people are stopped for DWI charges. It’s important you know your rights.

Randy Travis Sues to Prevent Release of Drunk Driving Video

 While drunk driving arrests are usually recorded on camera, most of the time nobody is particularly interested in seeing the video footage. When you’re a celebrity, things are a little different--especially if you happen to be wearing your birthday suit at the time of your arrest. Just ask country music star Randy Travis, who was found naked on the side of a North Texas road and arrested for driving while intoxicated after he wrecked his Trans Am last August.

I'm not sure that everyone is necessarily clamoring to see footage of a drunk, naked Randy Travis. But people do seem to have a strange fascination with the ordeals of the rich and famous, and the media knows it.

As this article explains, originally the presiding judge in the case granted the defense’s request to block release of the video to the public. The judge even issued a ruling ordering that it be destroyed. However, media groups have requested the patrol car video along with other information about the arrest, and the attorney general’s office has ruled that some of this information should be released under the public information act and that the judge didn't have discretion to withhold the video.

Now Travis has taken matters into his own hands, filing a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas attorney general’s office in an attempt to prevent the video’s release. Travis is asking for $100,000 and a declaratory judgment that no information requested about his arrest will be released.

Travis pleaded guilty in January to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to two years' probation, a $2,000 fine and a 180-day suspended jail sentence. He was also ordered to spend at least 30 days at an alcohol treatment facility, complete 100 hours of community service and use an ignition interlock device (IID) during his probation.

There are many lessons here. The first and most obvious is that you should never drink and drive while intoxicated. You should definitely not drive drunk if you’re famous. If you’re rich, maybe think about paying someone to drive you around. And finally, always wear clothes--you never know when you’ll end up on camera.

Harris County DWI Jury Delivers A Not Guilty Verdict

I had the pleasure of representing someone in aDWI trial last week in Harris County, Texas.  The young woman had her mother and father supporting her throughout the entire process.  They even took two days off from their jobs to support her during her trial.  I was grateful to have them there  It certainly helps a jury to see a defendant's family members behind us during trial.  In this instance, the jury provided her father with a memorable 60th birthday present.  A NOT GUILTY verdict.

If you seek the help of a DWI Lawyer Lawyer please do not hesitate to contact me at (713) 242-1779.

Frequently Asked Questions about Texas DWI

  Texas DWI laws are vigorously enforced and the local police departments as well as the prosecutors are tough on people who drink and drive. The allowed legal limit of alcohol content in Texas is less than 0.08%. Anyone having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more may be charged with DWI.

When it comes to dealing with a DWI charge in Harris County, Texas, a lot of issues have to be looked at. Some common questions concerning Texas DWI laws have been answered below:

What is the difference between DUI and DWI in Texas?

According to Texas, DWI or Driving While Intoxicated not only refers to intoxication by alcohol, but it also includes intoxication through other drugs and controlled substances or their combination. On the other hand, DUI or Driving Under the Influence is a term which is used for offenses that involve minors. This means that anyone under the age of twenty-one operating a vehicle in public place under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance or drug may be charged with DUI.

What should you do if you have been stopped by the police as a drunk driving suspect?

First of all, if you have been driving after having a couple of drinks and the police stops you to ask questions regarding drinking, do not panic. The officer will initially ask you to provide your drivers license and valid insurance when stopped, and you should know where to find them when you are driving. The officer will then try to engage you in a conversation to see if you are okay to drive. If you have had a drink or two before driving, and the officer smells alcohol on your breath, he will most likely ask you if you have been drinking and how many drinks have you had. Informing the officer that you have had one or two drinks is alright. While answering questions, make sure you stay focused, courteous and respectful at all times.

As an American citizen, you have the right to drink responsibly, and if the conversation goes smoothly, you do not have anything to worry about. However, it is important that you listen to the questions asked by the police officer and answer them accordingly.

What signs of intoxication will the police officer look for?

When someone is stopped on the roadside for signs of intoxication, the police officers try to look for symptoms of impairment. These symptoms include signs like flushed face, bloodshot or red, watery eyes, slurred speech, fumbling around when trying to look for the license, failure to comprehend and answer the officer’s questions properly etc. If the officer identifies any of these symptoms, he will ask you to step out of the vehicle to see other signs of intoxication such as being unsteady on your feet, swaying while standing and leaning against the car for support.  Please keep in mind that not all of these signs are recognized signs of intoxication and may be clues of other things like being tired from a long day or allergies.

Should you contact a lawyer when you are stopped for a DWI investigation?

If you are a Harris, County Texas resident, you should know that Texas law does not provide the right to an attorney initially to persons stopped for DWI. In fact, the right to speak to an attorney is not entitled to any person stopped and investigated for DWI until the initial investigation on the street is complete and you are taken to jail. Nevertheless, nothing stops someone from calling a lawyer while being stopped by a police officer.

What should you do if you are asked to submit to FSTs or a blood, breath or urine test?

As a DWI suspect, you have to know that the police will want to make their case against you stronger, and they will ask you to submit to Field Sobriety Tests, breath or blood tests. Taking the Field Sobriety Tests is not a good idea as they are designed in such a way that even people that have not been drinking can end up failing them. You can respectfully decline if the officer asks you to submit Field Sobriety Tests.

You also do not need to submit to any road side breath tests as the machines used at the roadside are unreliable, inaccurate, and inadmissible in a court of law to prove intoxication.

I realize that this post is too late for someone that has been arrested for DWI in Harris, County, Texas, but it may be useful for those that have questions after their arrest.  If you would like to talk to an attorney that is experienced with the court system please contact me at (713) 242-1779.  Most of my clients have never been arrested for DWI.

Consequences of Missing Your DWI Court Date

 If you have been arrested for DWI in Harris County, Texas you are probably feeling tremendous stress, fear, and embarrassment. It is likely you just want the situation to go away, and with good reason as it is mentally traumatic to be labeled a criminal and to have to face a prosecutor and judge who will decide your fate.

Unfortunately, there are people who can not handle the stress of a drunk driving charge and decide to flee the situation and not appear for court, hoping they can avoid any jail time or other penalties. The judicial system has established penalties specifically for these types of situations, and you may be well advised to know what you may face if you run.

Missing Court Dates

Hiring a lawyer with the experience of helping people lessen their penalties and fines should always be the first and most logical step for any one arrested for DWI. People need as much help as they can get in a situation like this and an experienced attorney is money well spent.

Regardless, your attorney will not be able to handle everything without you being present for court dates. If you were arrested for DWI, then you must be present for every single court proceeding, whether you have a lawyer or not unless your attorney gets the court to waive your appearance which is not done with regularity in Harris County, Texas.

If you do not appear for your court date, the judge hearing your case will revoke your bond and issue a warrant for your arrest.  It does not matter why you missed court. The good news is that it may be possible to have your case reinstated with or without costs.  You may also make a non arrest bond in order to avoid being picked up by local law enforcement. However, the best course of action is to comply with the court's requests and appear in court as instructed.

The Consequences of Failing To Appear  Becoming a Fugitive

Most Courts are very serious about punishing DWI offenders. For this reason, missing one or more court dates carry strong consequences to drive home the point that this is no small matter and must be taken seriously. A person can be found in contempt of court and receive a large fine. Alternatively, a high bail may be set, which you cannot afford. In this case, you would stay in jail for as long as it takes your charges to be disposed. Finally, if you are arrested outside of the state that has issued the warrant, then you may face extradition. Extradition can be a very long process that will again leave you incarcerated for an extended period of time until you have been transferred to the warrant issuing state and had a hearing in that state to have that warrant lifted.

The bottom line is that anyone who has been arrested for a DWI should immediately seek out a professional drunk driving  attorney. The court system and the ensuing penalties can be overwhelming to a person unfamiliar with the law. Getting a qualified attorney on your side and following their instructions throughout your entire DWI process will put you in the best possible position to reduce your penalties and make sure that you are in compliance with all of the court's requests.

If you need the help of an attorney please call me at (713) 242-1779.

 

How a DWI Conviction in Texas Affects Your Auto Insurance?

 If you are charged and convicted of DWI, DUI or driving under the influence, it will not only affect your personal and professional life, but your auto insurance policy will also get affected. DWI or driving while intoxicated in Texas has several consequences. Apart from fines and possible jail time, you can expect your automobile insurance rates to go up after a DWI conviction in the state of Texas. In some cases, your insurance provider may simply cancel your policy altogether. This can be a huge problem as finding a new insurance provider on affordable rats will become next to impossible for you.

First of all, when your insurance provider finds out about your DWI conviction, your insurance premiums will be raised by placing you in the higher risk category. This category marks you as a “high-risk driver” and insurance companies consider people involved in accidents, especially recently, to fall in this category. High risk drivers have to pay sky high insurance premiums, and other companies may not issue you an insurance policy at all.

This rise in the insurance premium is not the only risk you will have to face after a DWI conviction. The state of Texas, along with several other states, require that your insurance company provide the state DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) an SR-22 proof of insurance. This proof of insurance is required by law before any suspension related to your DWI can be lifted. The problem with providing an SR-22 policy is that most insurance providers do not provide it. If your insurer is one of those, you will have to have your insurance policy cancelled and replace the existing auto insurance policy with a new one. Finding a new affordable insurance provider at this time will not be an easy task, especially one which also provides an SR-22 proof of insurance.

Your new insurance provider will obtain a record of all your traffic violations before issuing your new policy, and this will most likely include your DWI conviction. When they find out about the drunk driving conviction, you might still be able to get an insurance policy, but you will end up paying very high premiums.

Your first priority after a DWI charge should be to get in touch with a professional DWI lawyer in Texas who has experience handling all matters related to DWI defense. Your lawyer will represent you in the ALR (Administrative License Revocation) proceeding, as well as in the criminal hearings of your case. He will fight to reduce your charges to a minimum, if any, or have them removed completely by proving you not guilty in court. Once a DWI charge becomes a DWI conviction, by proving you guilty in court, it adds a permanent mark on your criminal record. Hiring a good lawyer at the right time will save you all the trouble you will be going through later on.

If you need to talk to a lawyer please do not hesitate to contact me, Herman Martinez, at (713) 242-1779.

Do Not Get Mad With The Messenger

Here is a scenario that never fails to upset people.  It goes like this...Mr. X who is on probation for a felony gets arrested for a misdemeanor like DWI.  X and his family is desperate for him to get out of jail so they bond him out of jail.  Mr. X calls my office looking for a lawyer.  Once I find out that he is on probation I mention the likelihood that the felony court will be filing a motion to revoke his probation and he will need to make a second bond once the motion is filed .  This is when the conversation starts going downhill.  Mr. X begins to question my comment.  He does not understand why if he is on felony probation a misdemeanor charge will cause him to make another bond especially if he is innocent of the new charges.   Despite trying to comfort him by telling him that he is presumed to be innocent of the DWI he does not understand why a court will try to revoke his probation.  There are several things at play.  While Mr. X made the bond for his new arrest he will be forced to make a new bond for his felony because that court believes he has violated his probation terms.  A common term of probation is that there will be no alcohol consumption.  Also, a probationer is not allowed to commit any crimes while on probation.  The catch in Harris County Texas is that when a court believes a probationer has violated their probation they not only issue a warrant for the person's arrest, but they set their bond at zero.  Thus, a person must be arrested for the probation violation and then an attorney may request a bond from the felony court when the person is police custody.  One other thing, just because someone makes a bond on their new case it does not guarantee that the judge will set a bond on the probation violation.  For a recent example of this happening please click here.  In the future, please understand that I do not set the rules I am only informing you of all the consequences that are about to your particular situation.

If you need the help of a Houston Lawyer please contact me at 713-242-1779.

New Texas DWI Crime Unlikely

It looks like the proposed DWI law (Driving While Impaired) is unlikely to make it very far.  I had mentioned all the potential legal consequences associated with the proposal in an earlier blog.  Texas State Senator Whitemire calls it a form of prohibition.  Most telling, it is not part of the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) legislative agenda.  While MADD will not go as far as stating that they oppose it they are clear that they do not support the proposal.  Perhaps, MADD members are more human than I thought and do enjoy a drink with their dinner.

If you need the help of a lawyer, Texas area please contact me at 713-242-1779 or click here.

Are You Going to Trust The DWI Breath Machine?

There are many reasons not to trust the alcohol breath test machine that is used by the Government.  For starters. it really does not test for alcohol.   What it is really testing for is a chemical compound that contains the methyl group in its molecular structure.  This includes many common things we eat like bread.  Sounds unfair huh?  Also, it discriminates against woman.  In other words, if a woman and man drink the same amount and weigh the same the machine will register the woman with a higher reading.   Also, in Houston, Harris County, Texas there was a case where a supervisor of several machines was convicted of tampering with them  Even more recently, an Arizona police officer that was in charge of the machine has been suspended for falsifying the records that accompanied the machine.  It is no wonder that more and more people are skeptical of providing a breath sample when requested of them.

Who Says I Can Not Have a Drink And Drive In Texas?

Whenever I am picking a jury for a DWI case I always ask the question concerning how many people think that someone should not drink at all if they get behind the wheel of vehicle.  Without fail I can count on one brave person to publicly admit that despite knowing the law they feel that a person should not drive despite having a drink.  They understand that is only against the law for  person to drive while intoxicated, but this is their personal opinion.  The reason I call this person "brave" is because it is difficult to share such a conservative point of view and it typically leads to other people agreeing with the first person that shares this position.  Despite representing people that are accused of driving while intoxicated am not naive enough to think that someone else in in the jury panel shares this position.

Interestingly, the Austin, Texas police chief, Art Acevedo, agrees with this position to an extent.  He is  trying to make drinking and driving a crime.  He is pushing for a new crime of driving while ability impaired (DWAI).  His goal is to make anyone that blows under the legal limit for driving while intoxicated that is currently .08, but between the limits of .05 and .07 a jailable offense. What I find curious about his position is that he does not propose a penalty for the crime.  Is he suggesting that this crime be a class "B" or a "C"misdemeanor?  I bet his goal is to make DWAI  a class "B" which is the same as a first offense for driving while intoxicated.  I find it more likely that his goal is to increase the punishment for a first time charge of driving while intoxicated to a class "A" misdemeanor.  If this is the case,  I would imagine he would also want a second charge to be increased to a state jail felony from the current class "A" misdemeanor level .  Currently, the only state felony charge associated with a DWI is one where there is a child passenger. 

If Acevedo's proposal is made law it would make it illegal for most people to have a drink and drive in Texas.  Is that what most people want to see in our State?

If you would like to talk to a lawyer about your Harris County, Texas DWI case please call our office at (713) 242-1779.

Coming soon...Harris County, Texas DWI No Refusal Weekend Going Full Time

Harris County DWI gold mine? Starting next month Harris County, Texas will be subject to a "DWI No Refusal Weekend" every weekend instead of just on special or designated weekends, typically holiday weekends.  I can not say this is a surprise considering how often the Harris County District Attorney's Office uses this propaganda to scare the public.  I have previously discussed what I think about the "No Refusal Weekends" here.  Nevertheless, Harris County residents should prepare themselves for this since the program is due to be around for the next three years. The county received a Federal Grant to have the program running full time.

if you need help with your DWI case please contact me at 713-242-1779.

 

Why is the Harris County probation department telling clients their driver's license is suspended after a DWI?

 As a DWI lawyer I  would never offer accounting advice to anyone since I am not a CPA.  Why do people think they can give legal advice when they are not a lawyer?  What is even worse then a non lawyer giving advice is when they give wrong advice.  For some reason the Harris County Probation Department thinks they can give legal opinions despite the fact they are not lawyers.  On more than one occasion this month they have scared my clients into thinking that they will be arrested for driving while their license is suspended after their DWI arrest.  I imagine that the person dispensing this advice did not bother to actually run my client's driver's license to see that it has not been suspended.  The probation department fails to realize is that it takes several months to get a "ALR" hearing in Harris County, Texas where it will be decided if a person's driver's license will be suspended after their DWI arrest  Most importantly, they fail to realize that it is more likely that their license will not be suspended after the hearing.  

If you need the help with your probation please call me at 713-242-1779.

Harris County, Texas DWI Initiative Just A Baby Step

Adrian Garcia, Harris County, Texas Sheriff, is developing a DWI initiative with the sole intention of dethroning Houston, Harris County, Texas from the top spot of alcohol related fatalities or at the very least curb as much as possible these type of fatalities.  While I applaud the Sheriff's efforts the public needs to realize a couple of things.  Our county decision makers are partly to blame for this dilemma.  Our decision makers have neglected to put in place public transportation throughout the years.  Our public transportation system is laughable when you compare it to similar counties like New York (Manhattan) and Cook (Chicago).  I have vacationed in both cities recently and have never needed to rent a car to get around each of these cities.  Would anyone even think of doing the same in Houston, Harris County?  We have and will continue to have a huge reliance on revenue from the oil and gas industry.  Thus, our county official decisions reflect that by building more roads for our citizens to drive instead of investing in a public transportation system.  With more roads come more cars and with more cars come more accidents and with more accidents come more fatalities. If Harris County officials truly wish to lower the amount of alcohol related fatalities it needs to raise our public transportation system from laughable to serviceable.

If you would like to speak to a lawyer please contact us at 713-242-1779.

 

A Humble, Texas DWI Arrest

As a Houston DWI lawyer I have come across a few memorable DWI videos during my time, but I have never come across one where the police officer leaves the decision to arrest someone to chance.  That is exactly what a Humble, Texas police officer decided to do in a drunk driving case that I was representing recently.  The short version of this incident is that the officer, after stopping my client for a traffic violation states on video that if my client's girlfriend answers his phone call and comes to the scene to pick him up he will not arrest him for DWI.  The catch of course, is that if she does not answer the phone he will be booked for DWI.  Unfortunately luck was not on his side that night.  His girlfriend failed to answer his call.   Meanwhile, the officer neglects to have my client perform any field sobriety tests to actually determine if he is intoxicated before arresting him.  This is comparable to flipping a coin before deciding to arrest someone.

Once I brought these facts to the prosecutor's attention she could not believe this was the case.  After viewing the video for herself she was equally astonished and eventually dismissed the case.  My concern is that this officer is not going to be reprimanded or told that his actions were improper.  Is this really how the Humble,Texas police are going to decide how to arrest someone for DWI?  Has anyone come across an officer claiming to release someone to a friend or family member based on a chance phone call, or was this an isolated incident?

For more information regarding hiring an attorney please visit our website at: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

No Car After Your Houston DWI Arrest in Harris County, Texas...No Problem!

Frequently, after a drunk driving arrest in Houston a person may not have access to their vehicle because it was involved in an accident.  In the past, this caused  some complications in the Harris County courts because most Houston criminal court judges required an interlock machine to be placed in the accused's vehicle despite the likelihood that the vehicle is sitting in a body shop somewhere. Further, the judge would require the accused to get the interlock for any vehicle that they would have access to drive, be it a rental car or a shared spouse's car.  When the accused states that they will not have access to any other vehicle other than the one involved in the accident the court becomes skeptical since this would make it very difficult for most people to get around Houston. Therefore, the Court normally requires the accused to sign an affidavit that states they will not drive during their time on bond or the court will make the accused get the expensive SCRAM device (over $400 a month).  Now, there is a third and better option available.  The accused may be afforded the opportunity to use an interlock device at home.  With this new interlock machine the judge's fears are put to rest and the accused may forego  the costly expense of the SCRAM.

Visit the firm's website for more information: http://www.attorneydwi.net.

How About A Different Track For Houston DWI Cases?

It seems like the Harris County District Attorney's Office is not budging from the second court date DIVERT decision put in place last month.  This decision requires that anyone wishing to enter the DIVERT program must make that decision by their second court date.  Unlike other misdemeanor charges this seems inconsistent in respect of how quickly a decision needs to be made.  In response,  the Harris County, Texas misdemeanor judges should recognize the unfairness of this policy and allow these cases to proceed down a different track than the other cases that are heard in their courts.  While this has worked well for several years the new DIVERT program throws things off because it is unlikely that an attorney that is handling a DWI case that is eligible for the program is able to make a full assessment before the second court date.  In a perfect world the ALR hearing would be concluded, the video would be reviewed, testifying experts will give their input, the offense reports will be completed and will be in the possession of the lawyer handling the case.  A two week reset does not come close to allowing all of this to occur because of the time constraints.  I would suggest that cases that are deemed to be DIVERT eligible be given a forty five day reset  time frame from their initial court date appearance so most of the preliminary investigation can be accomplished and all parties may make an informed decision before proceeding. 

 

All Potential Houston DWI DIVERT Candidates Should Get PR Bonds

One of the requirements of the Harris County District Attorney's Office for anyone arrested for drunk driving or DWI to be considered for the DIVERT program is that they do not have any prior incidents with law enforcement.  This is the initial consideration for anyone that is going to enter the DIVERT program.  When a person is arrested for any crime in Harris County, Texas an appropriate bond is to be assigned.  Typically, a first offender's bond for a DWI in Houston, Harris County will be $500.  I have noticed lately that more personal recognizance bonds are being given for first time offenders.  This should be the rule instead of the exception for anyone that is a candidate for DIVERT in Harris County, Texas.  Some may say that if someone can not make a $500 bond they will not be able to pay for all the fees associated with the program.  Nonetheless, Judge Roger Bridgwater indicated at the initial DIVERT meeting with the defense bar that there would be a sliding scale for those that could not afford all the fees for the DIVERT program.  Granting a PR bond would offset the future costs for the person, allow them to be on bond while going through the DIVERT process and not have someone incarcerated for something that is going to take months to resolve.

Visit the firms website for more information: http://www.attorneydwi.net.

Houston Drunk Driving (DWI) Acronyms

As a DWI lawyer I need to be familar with a DWI police report.  A report made by a police officer will contain several acronyms that are unfamiliar to the general public.  Here are some examples:  The officer will write that the person had a "SOAB". That means that they smelled a strong odor of alcohol emitting from a person's breath.  "RBSE" means that the person had red blood shot eyes.  The report could also state that the person did a "FSTS". This is field sobriety tests that consist of the "HGN", horizontal gaze nystagmus, the "W&T", walk and turn and the OLS, one leg stand.  Being familar with these acronyms allow you and your attorney properly discuss your drunk driving arrest.

Help Me Get A Non Disclosure For My Drunk Driving Deferred Adjudication in Houston!

I have had a few calls regarding the title of this blog recently and so I want to address the issue here.  If you have been convicted with drunk driving, DWI or DUI in the state of Texas in the last ten years even though you believe that you received  a deferred adjudication you did not.  While it seems hard to believe that you could receive a deferred adjudication for something as serious as sexual assault, a DWI charge is one of the handful of crimes that this is specifically not  eligible for deferred adjudication.  Therefore, your driving while intoxicated  (DWI) case is not eligible for a motion for non disclosure (allowing the sealing of your criminal history) because it was never a deferred adjudication.

Si udsted dese limpiar su record en Houston oprima aqui or llama ha (713) 242-1779 para un abogado en Houston que le puede ayudar.

Get A Ride To Avoid A Drunk Driving Charge In Houston

Houston has a lot of great qualities but public transportation wouldn't make the top ten list of good things about Houston. If you plan on going anywhere in Houston you are probably going to have to drive.

It seems recently  that we have had an uptick of clients who have hired us after having been arrested for drunk driving on Washington Avenue. If you've even had one drink, I wouldn't suggest going near Washington Avenue if you are driving. Either choose a designated driver or call a cab. Another alternative would be to hire a shuttle service. A shuttle service called the Washington Wave advertises a shuttle up and down the bars on Washington and Midtown. I am not affiliated with the company nor endorse them, as I have never used them, but the concept seems like a great idea.you are making plans to hit the town. The alternative may be an arrest leading to a dwi.

The Houston, Harris County DWI DIVERT Changes Again!

I understand as a Houston DWI attorney at The Martinez Law Firm that the Houston DWI DIVERT program is a novel concept for Harris County,Texas.  I further recognize that with a new program tweaks will be made to make improvements.  However, it seems that the Harris County District Attorney's Office (HCDAO) is continually making changes to this program.  This causes confusion to all the parties involved.  Whether you are misdemeanor judge, a misdemeanor prosecutor, a DWI attorney, or an accused changing the rules weekly leaves everyone uncertain as to how to proceed. 

I have been patient with the program up until now.  This week the HCDAO decided that a defendant needs to decide if they want to be considered for the DIVERT program by their second court setting.  This is patently unfair and lends itself to the biggest complaint against the program, that is coercive.  

My non-DWI clients do not need to decide anything within two settings, but somehow my DWI clients must make a life changing decision is less than a month now.  That is unacceptable!  Anyone that is a candidate for the DIVERT is someone that has never had contact with the police or the criminal justice system before their DWI arrest.  They are afraid, confused, and intimidated by the system.  This is not the best time for them to make such an important decision.  Moreover, in a lot of instances a DWI attorney can not properly analyze a case after one setting.  There are too many variables involved before they can properly advise their client. 

This change will undoubtedly lead to another deluge of initial cases being screened in order to meet the two setting decision deadline since, being evaluated does not require the defendant from accepting the conditions offered.  Ultimately, this will lead to more people rejecting the DIVERT program because no one enjoys being bullied into doing something.  Perhaps, this is what the HCDAO is trying to accomplish.  If it is they may find an increase in attorneys setting cases for trial.

The Houston DWI Divert Limbo...

As one of the few Spanish speaking DWI lawyers in Houston I represent a fair amount of Spanish speaking people that are charged with the crime of driving while intoxicated.  While they may not speak English they are still lawfully residing in the United States.  Some are citizens with others being resident aliens, or in the United States under some sort of Visa.  Some are here with proper documentation while others are in the process of getting their status sorted out.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office (HCDAO) was initially clear about what type of people would be accepted into their DIVERT program, or so I thought.  They were only accepting people that were in this country lawfully.  One would think that this is straightforward enough, but actually like most other things with the DIVERT program this is ambiguous  Now I have been told, if a person is in the process of obtaining his residency and not yet a citizen or permanent resident they will not qualify for the DIVERT program.  While the Federal government allows them to stay in this country indefinitely the HCDAO does not allow them to enter the DIVERT program.  This is difficult for my clients to comprehend when they are doing everything required of them by the Federal law.  Is the HCDAO being too selective of people when it comes to their DIVERT program or just  too exclusive since they do not have an issue allowing them to go on probation for the same DWI charge.  Regardless, this leaves my clients in DIVERT limbo.

Houston Super Bowl Parties Likely To Spike DWI Arrests

South Florida, where Super Bowl XLIV is being held this year is similar in many ways to Houston, Texas in that people often drive because they can not count on their local public transportation.  I remember when I first moved from Chicago, Illinois to Miami, Florida when I was a young boy and was not able to do half the things I was use to doing upon my move since my new city did not have reliable public transportation.  This meant I was unable to take the train to a baseball game during the summer months, not that South Florida had a baseball team at the time. As a child I had to really on my legs and my bike if I wanted to do anything outside my neighborhood.  Despite the inconvenience, I thought it was great since the brutal winter months of Chicago were behind me .

This inconvenience however, leads to serious consequences if someone does not take precautions in respect to drinking and driving.  I firmly believe if we had reliable public transportation in Houston, Texas our DWI arrests would decrease.  Take into account the Washington Avenue area, the new place to go for young professional to "hang out" and drink.  If someone wants to go this area to meet up with friends they must drive or get a taxi that is probably makes their night cost twice as much.  Given the alternative, the Houston driver decides that he/she will monitor what they drink instead of incurring the cab cost.  The Houston drinker must be more conscious of their alcoholic intake because they are the one that are likely will be doing the driving and the police have a close to zero tolerance for anyone that drinks and drives whether or not they are intoxicated.  Unlike other major cities in the United States we do not have the fall back of public transportation in Houston.

Miami, Florida is a tourist attraction year round because of its tropical weather and beautiful beaches, but still does not provide the reliable public transportation for its visitors.  I have a suspicion that a few people will be drinking during the Super Bowl festivities that will be ongoing throughout the week.  Even if they are only attending the game they are unlikely to be staying near stadium since it is not located in a tourist area.  Therefore, the majority of tourists will be driving.  It is not a stretch that when a destination increases by over 250,000 people that are drinking and driving that DWI arrests are going to increase.

The Best Houston DWI Lawyer or an Overhyped Prospect?

Major League Baseball Spring training is around the corner this year.  Like most every year there will be a handful of prospects that will be deemed the next superstars of baseball.  Last year Matt Wieters, catcher for Baltimore Orioles, was the can't miss prospect of 2009.  While he did well for a rookie he has a long way to go before he becomes an elite catcher.  This year Stephen Strasburg, a Washington Nationals pitcher, is ticketed for stardom.  Over the years there have been many players that were in the same position.  For example, Brien Taylor was the Yankees first pick in the 1991 major league baseball draft, but was never able to reach the major leagues for any team.

Similarly, I know there are Houston DWI Attorneys that hype themselves up tremendously.  They only talk about how great they are without listening to what the client needs.  They guarantee the outcome of a case before even going to court and "bad mouth" other DWI lawyers. Here are some suggestions if you confront one of these attorneys.  First, go to the Texas State Bar to see if they have been sanctioned.  Second, go to avvo.com where lawyers are independently ranked by that website.  Third, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they are listed with them and how they are rated. Fourth, search online for specific information on the attorney.  Lastly, get all the guarantees in writing before becoming their client. 

If you need to talk to a DWI Lawyer that works in the Houston, Harris County, Texas area please call The Martinez Law Firm at (713)-242-1779.

Houston DWI Attorney Sharing Interesting Facts and Truths about Young Adult Drinking and Driving

Drinking and then driving is a very costly, unhealthful and dangerous combination for anyone but this post mostly provides facts about drinking and driving for young adults who have either newly started to drive or have newly started to drink.  That is why, as DWI Attorneys we advise you to let your young adult to know about the affects of driving and driving. They should know about the laws about drinking and driving in Texas and they should know how alcohol can affect their body system and impair their driving abilities. Being more aware than before, the young adult can make better decisions about drinking alcohol and then driving.

Some facts about alcohol that everyone should know of are that alcohol can affect your brain; it reduces coordination, reflexes, vision and causes memory lapses and poor judgment. This is another reason why a intoxicated person may make a bad decision and consider themselves fit enough to drive. If you consume alcohol regularly, then know that alcohol can negatively affect every organ of your body and get absorbed in your bloodstream increasing the risk of many diseases. It reduces your self-control, depresses your nervous system and can produce a risky behavior in you. A large amount of alcohol consumption can even cause alcohol poisoning which can be fatal.

In Texas, having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or more while driving is one of the three ways the government may prove that a person was intoxicated when driving. Even though different people's bodies respond differently to varying levels of alcohol, the 0.08 limit has been set. by the Texas legislature.  According to certain studies, two in five Americans will be involved in alcohol-related, (but not intoxicated) car accidents at one point in their lives and it is also estimated to be the leading cause of death for many American young adults. Factors like fatigue, lack of food, health, emotions and drugs (prescribed or non-prescribed) can actually increase the effects of alcohol on your body. Although, such facts about alcohol may not seem that significant but when you make the decision of drinking and then driving, these facts can become crucial to determine your Blood Alcohol Content.  If pulled over by the police they may ask you to submit to field sobriety tests and later a breathalyzer test that you are not forced to do. Furthermore, they will threaten you that your driver's license will be suspended if you do not take the tests.  That is not true!  You have the absolute right to refuse all tests and keep your license from being suspended.

Nevertheless, in such a situation you will always be better off hiring a DWI attorney, especially if you have a previous DWI conviction. A DWI lawyer who is reputable and experienced can make a lot of difference in your case. He or she can prepare you mentally for this experience, guide you about your DWI case and may even be successful enough to disprove the authenticity of the evidence of the prosecution.

Although, a DWI offense can be frustrating and can hamper your future life, especially if you are just starting out in your career; it still helps tremendously to have a DWI lawyer who can mentally support you and keep you better informed about your trial. At any cost, educate yourself about driving while intoxicated, know about the laws and try to avoid drinking before you are of the legal age.  You can either drink and not drive while intoxicated or avoid drinking all together if you want to avoid a false DWI arrest!

If you need the assistance of a DWI Lawyer in Houston please call our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

Twitter Me This...Montgomery County

As a DWI attorney I hate when the state assumes that my clients are guilty.  Like the city of of Honolulu, Hawaii, the Montgomery County, Texas District Attorney's Office, a neighboring county of Harris County, Texas is trying to scare its citizens from getting arrested for DWI.  The Montgomery County Office has started a Twitter page that lists anyone that gets arrested for a DWI in that county  Luckily, I rarely represent someone in that county for DWI since my practice consists of Houston DWI arrests.  Nevertheless, I would like to point out that I doubt anyone purposefully sets out to get arrested for driving while intoxicated.  In fact, the law does not require that  the person intentionally was DWI like most other crimes.  Most importantly, there is no plan in place for those people that are lucky enough to get their DWI cases dismissed or win at trial. This seems like a stunt that the media will give a lot of attention to initially, but will never be effective in deterring anyone from driving while intoxicated.

 

Houston DWI Attorney-Fun Facts

As a Houston DWI Lawyer I enjoying sharing what I know with other people.  They seem interested in how the DWI law has developed over the years.  Here are some DWI facts that people seem to be curious to know.

In 1939, Indiana became the first state to enact laws defining intoxication.

In 1960, the National Safety Council recommended that an alcohol concentration above 0.10 be considered prima facie evidence of intoxication.

Texas became involved in breath alcohol testing with pilot programs in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.

 Texas began breath alcohol testing on a statewide level in 1968 using the Breathalyzer 4011AS-A and in 1988 the Intoxilyzer 5000 began being used.

 

 

 

Persons arrested for public intoxication are not be tested on the Intoxilyzer 5000.

Expect to be Humiliated When Arrested for DUI in Hawaii

Just because I am a Houston DWI Attorney does not mean that I am not interested in what other states do with their DWI cases.  For example, I recently learned that the Honolulu, Hawaii Police Department has gone to the extreme step of posting the mug shots of anyone that is arrested for DUI.  Proponents of the measure believe that this will deter drunk driving.  I disagree...first of all, none of these people have been convicted of anything before their pictures are posted on the website.  Second, I would wager that most people will overlook the website until they are arrested for DWI.  Third, what happens to the poor people that are arrested for DWI, but are not guilty of the crime.  I am confident that a lot of the 80 people that are arrested weekly for DUI in Honolulu will have their cases dismissed or found not guilty of DUI/DWI.   The harm that this will cause to these innocent people is not worth resorting to humiliation for those that may be guilty. 

If you have been arrested for DWI in Houston please contact our law firm if you have questions regarding your case.  Our phone is (713) 242-1779. Please visit our firm's website for more information: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

Houston Judge Fields Now Singing A Different Tune

Earlier this year when the Harris County District Attorney's Office started the DIVERT program for first time DWI defendants Judge Mike Fields was one of two Harris County, Texas misdemeanor judges that would not participate with the program.  This caused me concern since that meant I would have to explain to a client why someone in one of the other 13 misdemeanor courts would be eligible for the DIVERT program, while they would not be because their DWI case landed in one of the two formidable courts.

I was hopeful that this would be a temporary arrangement by these judges.  Not surprisingly, Judge Fields was clear to state that he would grant traditional pretrial diversion for defendants in his court, but would not follow the DIVERT program as presented to him.  Despite his position as a lawyer in ourt I hold out hope that he would change his mind particularly when it concerned a specific client.   Luckily, I was recently alerted to the fact that Judge Fields had changed his mind towards the program.  Today, my optimism was rewarded by having him grant my client the opportunity to enter the DIVERT program.  By allowing him this opportunity Judge Fields saved my client's business and allowed all my client's employees to rest easier this holiday season.  I do not know what changed the Judge's mind, but he made several people overjoyed by his shift in opinion.

I think it is feasible that Judge Bill Harmon will also change his position and start allowing the DIVERT program in his court in the near future.  The citizens of Harris County, Texas deserve uniformity by the misdemeanor judges on this issue. 

If you my help please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779.

The Scottish Field Sobriety Test For a DWI We Will Not See In Houston

Over the years there have been many field sobriety tests used to determine if someone is intoxicated.  Currently,  Houston police officers typically use three tests called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, walk and turn, and the one leg stand when investigating a DWI in Houston.  My Scottish in laws where kind enough to share their straightforward test to determine if someone is intoxicated..  I think everyone would agree that the man in the video is a wee bit intoxicated.

If you need the assistance of an attorney please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779.

A Houston DWI Attorney Shares His Best of 2009 DWI Arrests

In the near future, I am sure there will a few best of 2009 lists coming out so I wanted share an unique DWI list.  Here are some of the oddest DWI arrest for the 2009 year.  Feel free to tell me which one is your favorite.

http://www.wptz.com/cnn-news/20421679/detail.html (driving a snowmobile while intoxicated)

http://www.joplinglobe.com/local/local_story_215223733.html (dawn mower man gets a DWI)

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/1022091lazboy1.html (driving a La-Z-Boy while intoxicated)

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/03/31/barstool.dui/ (DWI while on a barstool)

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/21605132/detail.html (Lawn tractor driver gets arrested for DWI)

 

The Days Of Drinking And Driving In Ireland Are Over

If you are thinking of driving a car in Ireland you better not have a drink before getting behind the wheel.  While the Irish are stereotypically depicted as heavy drinkers with a devotion to their Guinness they better not drink even one imperial pint of their celebrated beer before driving.  Until recently. Ireland's legal limit for DWI was .08.  Now, Ireland will become another country in Europe with a legal limit of .05 for the prosecution of driving while intoxicated cases.  They will be joining Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain.  What I found curious is that Lithuania's legal limit is .04 and Norway, Poland, Sweden's legal limit is .02.  A true zero tolerance for drinking and driving is found in Estonia, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary.

Advocates for lowering our legal limit will certainly cite the international trend of lowering the legal limit for driving while intoxicated.  I foresee the legal limit being lowered once again in Texas to 0.05 or lower within ten years.  That would be the second time the legal limit will be changed since I became a lawyer.

 

Houston DWI Lawyer Networks

Part of being an attorney is keeping up with all changes in the law, and discovering different ways to defend criminal cases. That is why I enjoy going to seminars.  While at these seminars, I learn a lot.   I network with attorneys from other states and jurisdictions.  Recently, I attended a DWI seminar in Illinois that allowed me to network with DWI lawyers across the country that provided me with new insight into defending DWI cases.  Coincidentally,  this week an Illinois attorney that I met at the seminar was able to contact me regarding a Texas license issue.  Her client, a Texas resident, had the misfortune of being arrested in Illinois for DWI while on vacation.  I was glad to assist her since I am sure she will be reciprocating my requests in the future.

 

DWT Is The New DWI In Houston

Anyone that has been keeping up with the news knows that driving while texting is becoming more and more prevalent.  Likewise, serious accidents due to texting have been occurring with more regularity.  I predict by the next legislation that texting while driving a motor vehicle will become a crime to same degree as driving while intoxicated is in Texas. 

If you are interested in the political game being played to make texting while driving a crime click here

 If you have any questions regarding a DWI case in the Houston area please call me at (713) 242-1779.

That Houston DWI Police Report is an Exaggeration!

As a Houston DWI attorney I go over the offense report made by the police in great detail with my clients.  Most of my clients disagree with the report made by the officer. Meanwhile, after fully investigating the case I am able to find inconsistencies with the offense report and what actually happened especially if there is a scene video.  Earlier this year I had a case dismissed after I was able to retrieve the audio from a DWI video where the officer can be heard telling a witness that he did not know if the person was intoxicated, but he was hopeful that my client would "blow" or else the charges would not stick.  Of course, none of this was mentioned in the officer's offense report.

Joe D. Parker, a Chicago, Illinois police officer, who is known as a prolific DUI enforcer in his state is under review for this type of gross exaggeration.   In his offense Parker writes that Raymond Bell could not keep his balance, and failed the field sobriety tests.  Luckily, this video shows the truth.  I wish all my clients were so lucky to have a video at the scene where the original field sobriety tests were administered.

Thus, if you are charged with a DWI in Houston please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 for free consultation.

Visit the firm's website for more information: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

An example of someone that is drunk

You do not have to be a Houston DWI Lawyer to know what a drunk person looks like.  Most people that get arrested for DWI have an idea of what an intoxicated person should look like.  Unfortunately, the police, prosecutors, and our legislators have a much different idea.  Click here to see a man that truly fits the description of an intoxicated person.  Benny Hill would be proud.

 

 

Is Your Houston, Harris County DWI Case Getting Dismissed?

It might be if your DWI arrest occurred in the Southeast portion of Harris County, Texas during the time Deetrice Wallace worked as a Department of Public Safety contractor in charge of inspecting alcohol breath test machines.  Ms. Wallace was convicted of faking the inspections of the machines she was in charge of in Webster, Pasadena, South Houston, and Clear Lake area.  Therefore, the Harris County District Attorney's Office will be reviewing over 1,200 DWI cases that were affected by Wallace's conviction.  The cases will be hard to prove since the breath test results will not be available and it is likely that the field sobriety tests that were videotaped were likely destroyed.

If you would like more information regarding a DWI charge then please contact The Martinez Law Firm today.

Would You Purchase A Vehicle In Houston With A DWI Gadget?

As a DWI Lawyer in Houston, Texas I see many of the issues surrounding a DWI charge.  The public wants to cut down on DWI related accidents, defendants get falsely accused of DWI by a machine, and cops vigilantly arrest anyone that admits to drinking. 

DWI concerns in Japan and the United States has the Nissan and Toyota automobile companies developing a device that will shut down the vehicle if sensors pick up excessive alcohol consumption.  I wonder if this be a standard item on all automobiles or an optional feature.  If it is an option, I wonder how many people will be willing to add it to the purchase price of their new car?

If you need the help of a DWI Attorney call our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or click here to visit our website.

Your Houston DWI Could Have Been Worse

I am aware that a DWI arrest in Houston is a traumatic experience.  As I have mentioned before the police officers have a militant attitude when conducting a DWI stop, and once a person gets arrested there demeanor gets worse.  Recently, I was doing some research on a legal issue concerning a DWI stop when I came across the DUI law in the state of Arizona that provides for a harsher punishment if a person provides a breath sample over .02 after they are arrested.  Shockingly, I found out that if you provide sample over .02 in Arizona the minimum jail time would be 45 days in jail.  The law does not take into account if it is a first, second, or third DWI.  In fact, a person is worse off in Arizona if you blow over .02 then if you were a felony offender.

If you would like to contact a DWI attorney in regards to your case then please visit our website at: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

Should I Request A Hearing After My DWI Arrest in Houston?

Anyone charged with a DWI in Texas or more specifically, Harris County, Texas should know that they have 15 days after their arrest to request an administrative license revocation hearing in order to save their driver's license.  If this is not done they automatically lose the driver's license after 40 days of their arrest.  Most clients believe that the hearing must take place within that time period.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  Once the hearing is requested it typically takes 3-5 months before there is a hearing to determine if the driver's license will be suspended.

The period of time that is it is taking for the hearings is unacceptable and contrary to the mission of the ALR program that was designed to suspend the driver licenses of dangerous drivers in a swift and sure manner.  DPS' words not mine.  Curiously, nothing is mentioned about it being done in a fair and just way.  Many times the hearing provides favorable evidence to the accused that is not mentioned in the original offense report submitted by the police officer.  Most importantly, it provides the DWI lawyer with the opportunity to pin an officer down on the record to the true facts surrounding the DWI arrest.  These is helpful when evaluating a case. 

Facing a DWI criminal charge? Consult with a member of our legal team, contact The Martinez Law Firm by visiting their website: http://www.attorneydwi.net

Is Texas The Worst State To Get A DWI?

As a Houston DWI Lawyer I am regularly asked the above the question.  For the last several years, the answer has always been the same.  No,  the state of Arizona imposes even harsher penalties for DWI cases.  I would hate to be a DWI defendant in a state where in some cases I would be facing a minimum 45 day jail sentence for my first DWI conviction.  Whether you are charged with a DWI in Texas or in any other state the consequences are severe.  An experienced DWI Attorney will assist you during this stressful event to make sure that everything is done on your behalf.

If you are interested in a concise description of the DWI penalties in Arizona Lawrence Koplow, a Arizona DUI Attorney, provides it in a recent blog post.

Why is that black line on the wall during my DWI arrest?

As a Houston DWI attorney I get a lot of different questions pertaining to my client's DWI video.  A lot of them are discussed in this blog or on my DWI website.  One thing that is commonly overlooked is the function of the black line on the wall during a DWI station video.  The thick black line's purpose for being in the DWI video room is for determining if a person is swaying.  When a person is asked to do the DWI field sobriety tests they are usually placed in front of or next to the line.  The thinking is that if person sways it will be more noticeable with the line serving as an indicator.  While the black line is placed there by the police agency it can be a resource used by the accused too, since it can also illustrate the lack of swaying that is present.  This makes a police officer look foolish on the witness stand when they claim that my client had a noticeable sway, but none is displayed on the video thanks to our new best friend, the black line on the wall.

Should There Be A Mothers Againt Deadly Doctors?

As a Houston DWI lawyer at The Martinez Law Firm I track the pertinent issues regarding driving and alcohol.  There is always a lot of talk about how alcohol related accidents by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers,(MADD), but a closer look that a more significant danger is mistakes made by doctors.   When will the public wake up and start to realize that their doctor poses a greater threat to them than someone that is behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.

 

Would Josh Hamilton Be A Candidate For The DWI Divert Program In Houston?

The Houston, Harris County, Texas DWI Divert program is in full swing now.  Those of us that are DWI attorneys in Houston are familiar with the parameters that have been set by the Harris County District Attorney's office.  What is surprising about the program is that the stated goal is to help , and assist those that really need the help in overcoming alcoholism.  Thus, reducing repeat DWI offenders, as well as intoxication assault, intoxication manslaughter cases.

While this is a worthwhile objective the program is excluding those that need the help the most and has an unexpected expectation about anyone that does enter the program.  Take someone like Josh Hamilton as an example.  Baseball fans know Josh Hamilton's story, the first overall pick in the 1999 major league baseball player draft, instant millionaire, becomes addict, out of  baseball for three years, becomes a recovering addict, wins the comeback player of the year in 2007.   He captured the heart of the baseball world last year during the Home Run Derby by by hitting a record 28 home runs during the first round.  This year a lot was being expected from Hamilton.  His projections were off the charts.  He was a most valuable player candidate entering 2009.  Most fantasy baseball publications had him pegged as a top ten draft pick. These expectations caused him great stress perhaps causing his minor relapse this year. 

While everyone will agree that a minor infraction is to be expected of a recovering addict the Harris County District Attorney's Office disagrees when it happens during their DWI Divert Program.  In their opinion, anyone that is afforded the opportunity of the program may not have any infractions despite their history.  This sounds contrary to the stated goal of helping people from committing a DWI offense in the future.  Therefore, anyone considering the Divert program better be fully aware of the expectations, potential consequences, and the lack of compassion by the District Attorney's office. For more information visit our website: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

 

A New Federal Bill Aimed at First Time DWI Offenders

Recently, he House transportation committee released the details of a six-year, $450 billion highway bill. What is troubling to a DWI Attorney, like myself, is that buried within the bill is a controversial sentencing requirement that low-level, first-time drunken-driving offenders, must install an ignition interlock device.  Currently, Texas requires the ignition interlock for repeat offenders.  Additionally, Texas requires the ignition interlock for anyone that has a high breath test (.15 or higher) when they were arrested.

Texas has historically understood that a first time offender does not need such a drastic step when someone has been convicted for their first DWI.  Since the ignition interlock is expensive, intrusive, and typically has technical issues, this punishment has exclusively been used for repeat offenders only .  The Federal government has a different idea and could affect how Texas will deal with first time DWI offenders if and when the bill is enacted.

For more information regarding DWI charges please visit our website: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.
 

Could Your Diet Cause An Incorrect Breath Test Result?

Yes, it could happen to anyone and may be used as a defense in the future by a DWI attorney.  According to studies certain diets like the Atkins may lead to higher readings.  This takes place because the machines test for ethanol, but are unable to distinguish that from acetone that is commonly produced by people on a low carbohydrate diet.  This mistake has even happened to a British pilot

Houston DWI Lawyer Meeting About The Upcoming Pretrial Diversion

Today, many Houston DWI Defense Attorneys attended a meeting with Roger Bridgwater, the assistant district attorney that is heading up the Pretrial Diversion program in Harris County.  The meeting was very informative.  Some of the highlights of the meeting are as follow:  first, and as a general rule anyone that has been handled by the police before will be ineligible for the program (including dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and PI cases).  Second, anyone with a felony charge will not be eligible (DWI child passenger cases).  Thirdly, the probation department will be supervising the person during the program and finally an ignition interlock with a camera will be required.  A person may be released from their surety bond pending completion of the program.  The length of the pretrial will be from 1-2 years depending on how they score after being tested and evaluated by the probation department.

A draft of the contract that will be required to be executed was handled out at the meeting, I will comment on that in a later post along with the type of people the program aims to help.

Who Is Easier To Reach A Lawyer Or A Doctor?

My friends in the medical profession find it hard to believe that I take phone calls after business hours.  I never thought it was a big deal until they brought it up night.  I imagine that expectations from the public is different now from when I was growing up.  Gone are the days that a doctor makes a house call or even takes a phone call from a patient. 

On the other hand, when someone gets into trouble they need to speak to a lawyer asap.  Typically, when a person is arrested for DWI their family has never encountered such an event and need to speak to an attorney to explain the process.  Thus, our law firm always has a lawyer on call to answer any questions that arise from a criminal arrest.  Clients are always surprised when they reach an attorney on a weekend ready to discuss their case.

Why Is The Police Officer Speaking So Much During My DWI Arrest?

It is common knowledge that people act differently when they are videotaped  The Houston DWI Officers are equipped with video machines in their vehicles to record the stop and the field sobriety tests that they request a person to do during a dwi stop.  Most of the time during the arrest the officer is the only person that knows that everything is being videotaped.  How a person does during the videotaping of the field sobriety tests is crucial.  In my experience as a Houston DWI lawyer, these videotapes are poor in quality and only show the obvious mis-steps that a person commits during the field sobriety tests.  They fail to show how well a person performs during the investigation.  The DWI officers have taken it upon themselves to act as play by play announcers during the time that a person is doing the tests.  This is distracting to the person trying to perform the tests and clearly could be viewed as one sided.  The officer only remarks on something the person may have done wrong without ever mentioning all the things that person is doing correctly. 

Recently, the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals, the highest appellate court in Texas, has held that the practice of the police officer commenting on the a person's performance during the DWI field sobriety test is hearsay.  Therefore, the commentary will not be heard by a jury during trial.  For the entire opinion click here.

 

How Many DWI Arrests Are Made in Houston?

Logically, as a Houston DWI Attorney this is a number that I follow.  According to Don Egdorf, with the Houston Police Department's DWI Task Force, HPD recorded over 6,000 DWI arrests in 2008. That does not take into account all the other agencies in the Greater Houston, Texas area.

As of the end of May, we are looking at a pretty big increase.  The Houston DWI Task Force has already made over 3,300 DWI arrest.  There is a strong possibility that this may be a record year for DWI arrests in Houston. 

Please be careful after having a drink and driving.  You are not guilty of driving while intoxicated just because you have been arrested.  Fortunately, you are presumed to be innocent of any criminal offense in our Country.

If you would like to discuss your DWI case with an attorney then please call The Martinez Law Firm today.

M.A.D.D. At Odds With Their Allies

As a Houston DWI Attorney, I am surprised that M.A.D.D.has been relatively silent on the new Pretrial Diversion DWI Program proposed by the Harris County District Attorney's Office.  I am confident that once it is unveiled in August M.A.D.D. will have a negative opinion of the program.  Recently, M.A.D.D. demanded that a non profit with the same goals of curtailing drunk driving to stop proclaiming in their literature that they are partners. 

If you need help from a Houston DWI lawyer please visit click here or call our law firm at (713) 242-1779 for a free consultation.

Does A DWI With A Child Passenger Qualify For DIVERT In Harris County, Texas?

As a Houston DWI Attorney at The Martinez Law Firm I am grateful that the Harris County District Attorney's Office is implementing the DIVERT Program.  One question that has gone unanswered thus far is whether a DWI with a child passenger, a felony, will qualify for the new program?  I am hopeful that the administration will treat this first time offender the same as one that is charged with a misdemeanor.

 

Driving A Bulldozer While Intoxicated?

He might think this guy is a redneck...Are you kidding me?  As a Houston DWI Attorney I get to defend a lot of interesting cases, but I must admit that I have not come across one quite as unique as driving a bulldozer while intoxicated.  Somewhere Jeff Foxworthy is having a good laugh about this one.  If you would like to know more about DWI laws please click here.  For a free consultation contact the Houston DWI lawyer at (713) 242-1779.

 

DWI...How Many Questions Should A Judge Ask?

Now that the Harris County District Attorney's Office is going forward with the pretrial diversion program  for DWI cases should judges inquire if each defendant that is entering a plea of guilty before them has been made aware of this opportunity?  A judge's role is to protect everyone's rights.  Therefore, if the judge has an inkling that the person before them may qualify for a pretrial diversion for their DWI case and has not been informed of this possibility by their attorney for whatever reason the judge should caution the person about the consequences.

I realize that there a lot of variables in each case, and the plea admonishments discuss essential rights, but this new program changes the playing field for all DWI attorneys in Houston.

If you have any questions regarding a DWI in Texas please contact a Houston DWI Lawyer at (713) 242-1779 or visit our site: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

The New DWI Program Likely To Increase DWI Arrests In Houston

As a Houston DWI Attorney I have mentioned previously how the upcoming DWI Pretrial Diversion program proposed by the Harris County District Attorney's Office is going to benefit a great number of people.  Despite all the benefits there are sure to be some negatives associated with the program.    For instance, once the word gets out about the program DWI arrests will increase in the greater Houston area.  Police agencies will arrest more people because they will know that the prosecutor will readily offer a Pretrial Diversion.  Also, it has been a long held belief within the DWI task forces that the accused may "beat the rap, but will not "beat the ride."  In other words, a person accused of a DWI will have to bear the expense of hiring a DWI attorney in order to properly defend a DWI case.  Moreover, prosecutors will become less inclined to dismiss a DWI charge because they are going to push the pretrial diversion alternative. 

If you have any questions regarding a DWI in Texas please contact a Houston DWI Lawyer at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

DWI Checkpoints Not Headed To Texas

The regular session of the 81st  Texas Legislature ended this week and I will be providing a more complete list of criminal laws that passed, but I wanted to mention one that was previously discussed on this blog.  Luckily, for the citizens of Texas this legislature did not pass the bill allowing DWI checkpoints in Texas. If you have questions regarding a DWI please contact The Martinez Law Firm at (713) 242-1779.

Houston DWI Lawyer Sees A New Approach To DWI Prosecution

The Harris County District Attorney's Office is considering a progressive approach to the way that first time DWI offenders are prosecuted.  The plan being considered is to grant a pretrial diversion to those charged with their first DWI.  The program would spare the person from having a conviction for the rest of their lives if they successfully complete the program. 

As a lawyer that routinely sees the effects of a DWI conviction I applaud this approach by the District Attorney's office.  Most of the people that we assist with a DWI arrest are first time offenders.  As I have stated on this blog the consequences of a  DWI conviction can seriously impact a person's life.  This new policy will help countless people in Harris County.

This decision by the  Harris County District Attorney, Pat Lykos, is a departure from her earlier proposals that seemed to be politically motivated.  Conversely, I suspect this approach will cause M.A.D.D, and other DWI zealots to adamantly oppose this approach that has proven to be effective in other jurisdictions.  The zealots will direct the public to the numbers of DWI fatalities in Texas, but will not admit that the methods that are currently being used to prosecute DWI cases are not working.  Thus, a fresh approach is to be commended.

If you have questions regarding a DWI/DUI in the Houston, Harris County area please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or click here to visit our website.

Memorial Weekend DWI Arrests

It looks like the Harris County, Texas District Attorney's Office went full force in the enforcement of the First Marathon Memorial “No Refusal” Weekend . The program netted over 200 DWI arrests in Harris County alone.  I wonder how this compares to a normal holiday weekend?

Warren Diepraam, a former Harris County Prosecutor, who now works for the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, also initiated the same type of program with and added the arrests of boating while intoxicated on Lake Conroe.  I anticipate that the citizens of Montgomery Country are in for a dramatic change in the way a DWI is going to be prosecuted in the future with Warren leading the charge. If you have any questions regarding your DWI arrest please contact one our DWI Lawyers at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website.

Do Not Waste Your Time Seeking A Motion For Non Disclosure For Your DWI In Texas

As a Houston DW Attorney people regularly call me or reach this blog trying to get a motion for non disclosure for their DWI.  I hope by stating this very clearly these type of inquiries will be reduced.   A DWI probation Does Not qualify for a motion for non disclosure.  The only way to "clear your record" regarding a DWI is if the case was dismissed or you were found not guilty by a jury.  The proper vehicle to get the DWI off your criminal history when your case is dismissed is by filing a expungement two years after your arrest in the County Civil District Court where your arrest occurred.

The Martinez Law Firm

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The Name Mothers Against Drunk Drivers is a Sham

I find it curious that Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) is mainly made up of men.  For instance, the CEO, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors, are both men.  In fact, half of the directors are men.  The National President of MADD is a man.  What gives?  I am sure they would consider changing the organizations name if it was not so recognizable.

They claim that their fight is against drunk driving (DWI), but a closer look would reveal that the current motive for their organization is increasing shareholder value for the companies these men assist. 

Refusing The Breath Test A Crime In Some States

That is correct some states like Iowa and Minnesota make a separate crime to refuse the breath test even if you are later found innocent of a DWI.  Hopefully, we will never see the day that Texas makes refusing a breath test a crime.

If you need to talk with an attorney regarding your DWI case please contact The Martinez Law Firm at (713) 242-1779 for a free consultation.

The Scram Device Is How Much?

As a Houston DWI Lawyer I like to inform my clients of what to expect in a DWI case.  I tell my client's that they need to be careful what they wish for in a criminal court case.  For example, a lot of people want to avoid having the interlock installed in their vehicle by telling the court that they do not have a car.   Typically, the court does not just take your word.  The court asks our client if there is any vehicle in their home that they have access to use.  Also, the court makes the person sign an affidavit stating they will not be driving any vehicle while they are on bond for their DWI case.  The consequences of being caught driving under this scenario is severe.  You could be arrested for driving while your license is suspended.  If this is the case the Judge may revoke your bond, and the Judge may also refrain from granting you an occupational license in the future.  Lastly, many courts will order our client to get the scram device installed if they claim that they do not have a vehicle to drive.  Most people say "no problem" until they realize that it will cost them $12 a day or $400 a month to have this device.  This is a significant amount considering that a DWI case may take from two to six months to complete.

If you have any question concerning your DWI case please visit our website http://www.attorneydwi.net or call us right now for a free consultation (713) 242-1779,

Those Pesky DPS Surcharges

Please remember to pay your DWI surcharges because if you do not pay them your license will be suspended.  Also, if you have been granted an occupational license by a court that will be invalid as well.

The best way to prevent this is by get your DWI case dismissed! You need an experienced DWI attorney handling your case.  There are too many consequences that may impact your life to allow someone that is not familiar with DWI law to handle your case.  Thus, if you need help with your DWI case anywhere in Texas please call The Martinez Law Firm at (800) 724-1876 or (713) 242-1779.  We will talk to you about your case for free!

DWI Checkpoints could be on their way back to Texas

Since I have been a Houston DWI lawyer DWI checkpoints have been outlawed in Texas.  That could be changing if a proposed bill becomes law.  These checkpoints allow the police to stop anyone without having probable cause to check for the possibility that the driver is operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  The proposed bill is unclear.  For instance, what will be the system in place for stopping  the vehicles, where will the checkpoints be located, and will the checkpoints be publicized like the bill suggests?  Also, surprisingly, the police will not be asking for proof of insurance or a driver's license when they make the stops.

While the United States Supreme Court has found the checkpoints to be constitutional many states have found them to be unconstitutional. Even if the bill passes I am confident that it will be heavily litigated in Texas.

If you have any questions regarding your DWI arrest please call The Martinez Law Firm at (713) 242-1779 or (800) 724-1876 for a free consultation.

Represent Yourself in Traffic Court Not With Your DWI Defense

For some reason, a lot of people think they could represent themselves in a DWI case.  They quickly change their mind once they have been arrested or go to court for the first time.  A person arrested in Harris County for DWI/DUI will not be offered probation if they are representing themselves.  Also, they do not know how to save their driver's license.  In other instances, they come up with a dimwitted defense that create more problems that they solve. 

Our firm has represented fellow lawyers that have been arrested for DWI, but not practice criminal defense because they understand the seriousness of the offense and all the pitfalls that are associated with this crime.  Thus, if you need help regarding your DWI visit our website at http://www.martinezlawhouston.com or call us at (800) 724-1876.

 

The United Kingdom Eliminating DWI Blood Tests

The United Kingdom has realized what DWI Defense Attorneys like myself have always known.  DWI blood tests are not infallible.  In order to combat the trend of losing cases they are considering eliminating blood tests altogether.  Interestingly, in the States police agencies are moving toward making these tests more readily available then in years past.  Regardless, I look forward to winning more battles when it comes to DWI blood test cases. 

If you have any questions regarding your DWI case please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 .

Emilio's DWI arrest in Houston highlights different aspects of DWI law

I like to refrain from commenting on local criminal cases, but Emilio Navaira's DWI case illustrates several different aspects about a criminal case in Houston that are important to note.  First, since his injuries were severe it showed that the accused needs to be competent to stand trial.  Second, it depicts how long a DWI investigation can last. In this case it was close to a year.  Third, it illustrates how the Harris County District Attorney's Office still may charge Emilio with intoxication assault since other people were injured in the accident. 

Emilio was smart to post a non arrest bond when he was notified that there was a warrant for his arrest. This allowed him to skip being formally arrested and booked into a jail.  Moreover, his bond would have been set around $1,000 because he only has one previous criminal conviction.  However,  he was also charged with his second DWI in Bexar County before this incident raising the bond in this case to $5,000. Also, he signed an affidavit stating that he did not own a vehicle to the Bexar County Court, therefore the reason that he needed to do this is because the law provides that in this situation the accused must install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.  A person that does not own a vehicle also signs this type of affidavit in Harris County, Texas, but in a lot of courts the person must also get fitted with a scram device. 

On the bright side, while Emilio looks to the non-criminal lawyer to be a third DWI offender under Texas law he is actually still considered to be a second offender  because he has never been convicted of  a second DWI.  This is significant to mention since a third offender would be facing up to ten years in the Texas Department of Corrections instead of one year in a county jail for a second DWI offense.

Mr. Navaira's case will be heard in the Harris County Criminal Court at Law #11 where Judge Diane Bull presides. 

If you need assistance with your DWI case please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website at http://www.attorneydwi.net.

Your Houston DWI could have been worse.

A DWI in Houston, Harris County, Texas is a traumatic experience for anyone.  Typically, it happens late at night, the accused is not prepared to get arrested, and even if you are innocent your drivers license may still be suspended.  As I have mentioned before, the consequences of a DWI are severe.  I can not think of a state worse than Arizona when in comes to how it treats those arrested for DWI.  Could you imagine living in the state of Arizona where a person goes to jail for their first DWI conviction?   The law does not care who you are in the state of Arizona.  Charles Barkley, NBA Hall of Famer, will vouch for that since he is set to serve at least 5 days in jail for his first DWI conviction.

If you need assistance with your DWI case in Houston, Harris County, Texas please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website at http://www.attorneydwi.net.

The Hidden Costs of a DWI in Houston.

As a Houston DWI Attorney I dislike having to break it to people all the costs that are associated with a DWI. Most people know the consequences of a DWI conviction.  There is jail, fines, and the revocation of driving privileges.  The costs of a DWI conviction can range from losing your freedom, to losing your hard earned money, to the very right to travel outside the United States of America.

Texas legislators have found that someone convicted of DWI is an easy target.   For example, in Texas there are mandatory conditions for a DWI conviction.  Two examples include, DWI School as well as a Victim Impact Panel. The Victim Impact Panel is a humbling meeting for the accused, made up of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers members who convey harrowing stories of DWI victims.  In other instances the Ignition Interlock Device is required and community service will also be involved.

 

There are many costs associated with a DWI.  There are attorney fees, fines, court fees, mandatory surcharges imposed by DPS, potential civil suits, electronic home monitoring, time lost from work, programs and community service, license reinstatement fees, Interlock device, alcohol treatment, insurance premium rates rising, towing and storage fees. A conservative estimate would easily put the costs in the neighborhood of $10,000.

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There are other consequences of a DWI conviction which involve more than money. Many automobile rental agencies will refuse your business. If you are convicted, you may not be able to obtain life insurance at any price. Likewise, many health insurance companies will charge you an extra premium, or deny you coverage. A  conviction may restrict you from traveling to some countries. Most countries only exclude you for a felony, but some, like Canada, treat all criminal convictions, including DWI as a basis for exclusion from the country.

If you have any questions regarding a DWI please contact our law firm.  We offer free consultations.

 

If you need assistance with your DWI case please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or click here to visit our website.

 

Cypresswood substation not making DWI videos.

I found it unbelievable last week during trial the that the Cypresswood substation located in Harris County, Texas does not have a working  videotaping device for DWI cases.  According to Constable Norris, a Corporal with the Harris County Constable Precinct 4's Office, it is common knowledge that this is occurring, but it is not up to the constable's office to get the device in working order.  He is of the opinion that it is up to the Harris County District Attorney's Office to maintain the videotape machine in working order.  That statement completely floored both prosecutors trying the case and is completely wrong.  Most appalling, is that after speaking to other attorneys in the courthouse this is not the first time that this Constable has testified that a videotape was not made in a DWI case.  Constable Norris understands the importance of a recording of someone ac cussed of DWI, but cavalierly dismissed the idea during trial.  A DWI video not only allows a jury to see the accused for themselves, but allows a lawyer to review a police officer's actions during the tests.  It is quite common that an officer does not explain the test correctly, or follow the specific guidelines developed.  If an officer does this incorrectly the tests results are deemed invalid.

Since Kate Dolan, the Misdemeanor Division Chief, was in court during his testimony I am confident that she will look into this issue.  The citizens of Harris County deserve much better!

If you need assistance with your DWI case please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website at http://www.attorneydwi.net.

Your DWI probation can not be cleared from your record

I am frequently contacted by someone wanting to clear their old DWI conviction from their record.  I dislike telling people that despite what their lawyer told them ten years ago their probation for DWI is not eligible to be cleared from their record.  I think that some people look at their criminal record like their credit report.  They are under the assumption that after a certain number of years the charges come off some way and if they contact the right attorney they can make this happen.

The only way to have your DWI cleared from your record is by previously having your case dismissed before going on probation, or going to trial and being found not guilty by a judge or a jury.  Lastly, if your DWI was so long ago that you received a deferred adjudication you may qualify for a motion for non disclosure.

When Do the Judges Require the Interlock?

Judges are required to order the installation of the interlock machine on subsequent DWI offenses in Texas.  Also, most Harris County, Texas judges order the machine to be installed when there is an accident involved in the criminal case.  The most annoying part of this is that they do this regardless of who caused the accident or if the person accused is guilty or not of the DWI.  What ever happened to being presumed innocent?

Luckily, not all Texas judges act this way.  This practice is not common in Fort Bend County, Texas.  It has been my experience that a person arrested in cities of Sugar Land, Missouri City, or Richmond  fair much better then someone arrested for DWI in Houston.

The Martinez Law Firm

Smile...The guardian interlock is taking a picture of you!

Houston, Harris County, Texas criminal courts are using another device against repeat DWI offenders.  A second time DWI offender is required to install a guardian interlock device while on bond awaiting the resolution of their case even if they are innocent of the new charges.  The guardian interlock device is a mechanism similar to a breathlyzer which is installed in a vehicle's dashboard. Before the vehicle starts, the driver must breathe into the device.

A more advanced interlock device is now on the scene that takes a picture of the person blowing into the device. Thus, a record is made of whoever is blowing into the machine.  The maker claims to be fool proof, but I doubt that since we have seen so many false positives with the regular interlock device over the years.  More importantly, are other drivers allowed to use the vehicle without a picture being on file?

Contact The Martinez Law Firm to discuss your case or visit our website for more information. 

What happened to being presumed innocent in a DWI case?

Many thanks to DUI attorney Lawrence Taylor for sharing that the state of Ohio still bans a defendant from challenging the accuracy of the breathalyzer machine in a criminal case.  I can not imagine something like this happening in Texas.  I think our judges are more aware of the individual's right of confrontation despite not allowing the defense bar access to the inner workings of the machine. This Ohio law has been in place for twenty five years.  Luckily, no other state has followed their lead.  I say it is time that Ohio revisits this issue.

The Martinez Law Firm: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

The Unknown DWI Cost in Houston,Texas

As a DWI attorney in Houston I dislike having to tell my clients abut all the hidden costs of a DWI. Everyone knows about the fines and court cost that are associated with a DWI conviction.  What most people do not know about are the surcharges imposed by DPS if someone is convicted of DWI.  Also, a person's automobile insurance rates are likely to go up and their credit rating will be negatively impacted.  Even life insurance rates are harder to obtain after a DWI conviction.

 Thus, it is important to hire a lawyer that is experienced with DWI defense.  It does not matter if you are charged in Houston, Conroe, Friendswood, Sugarland, Missouri City or Richmond the consequences and cost are all the same.  If you like to talk to me about your DWI case call The Martinez Law Firm at(800) 724-1876 for a free consultation.

The pitfalls of a DWI when having a commercial driver's license in Texas.

Most people know their Texas driver's license will be suspended if they blow over the legal limit of .08.  For a first time DWI offender the suspension period would be for 90 days in that instance.

However, the Texas legislature has made it stricter for someone with a commercial driver's license.  A person who holds a commercial driver's license will lose their driving privilege for a period of one year if: (a) they have been convicted, for the first time, of driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics; (b) they refuse to submit to a test to determine the level of alcohol in their body; (c) if their blood, breath or urine test determines there was an alcohol level of .04 or more while operating the commercial vehicle in a public place; or (d) if there was an alcohol level of .08 or more while operating a motor vehicle (not a commercial vehicle) in a public place.

Since there are several ways someone may lose their commercial driver's license it is in the person's best interest not to drink at all while driving their commercial vehicle.  Even if they are not driving their commercial and later found not guilty of DWI their license may still be suspended if they blew over .08.  There is just too much at stake for someone that needs their commercial license to make a living to drink and drive in any circumstance.

The Martinez Law Firm

What a judge tries to do to beat his DWI...

A New Jersey Judge used several tactics to avoid a DWI conviction.  The judge tried using chapstick to avoid blowing into the breathalyzer machine.  Next, he stuck a penny in his mouth.  I am pretty sure that he did these things because nothing can be in or around someones mouth for a given period of time before the test is administered.

Nevertheless, the judge eventually blew into the machine and was convicted of DWI.  On top of that, the judge has been reprimanded with this conduct.  He may even lose his judicial position.

If you ever get pulled over for DWI you have the option not to take the breath test in the state of Texas.  Therefore, refuse the test instead of trying to deceive the machine or the officer because you will be hurting your case more by using these tactics. 

What is this SCRAM device the judge has ordered me to get for my DWI case?

 

The courts of  Harris County, Texas are always attempting to monitor a person's alcohol consumption when charged with a DWI. There are several reasons the court attempts this, mostly it is because as a condition of probation a person is not allowed to consume alcohol. Another is because a person has been previously convicted of an alcohol related driving offense and now there on bond in their court. The ways the court has tried to do this include:
 

  • by ordering for urine analysis,
  • random alcohol screenings,
  • installing breath reading equipment in your home or vehicle (interlock), and
  • ordering the SCRAM Device

The SCRAM (a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) allows the court to monitor your alcohol intake continuously.

Lindsey Lohan wearing her SCRAM device.

When the SCRAM device is ordered by the court, a person will be fitted with a tamper-resistant ankle bracelet made up of two boxes. One box will conduct the tests that will compute your BAC (blood alcohol content). The second box stores the calculations and transmits the data. The SCRAM device is designed to test your BAC level every hour. If the device detects any alcohol in your system, the test repeats every thirty minutes.
 

There are many different reasons the court orders a SCRAM to be installed. The reasons include being convicted of alcohol related offenses in the past; a person states that do not have a vehicle to install the guardian interlock, or a judge that finds it to be the best way to monitor an individual.
 

The SCRAM device is expensive.  You will have to pay a refundable $100 deposit, a $75 fitting fee, and a weekly fee while you are wearing the device . Most importantly, the fees must be paid in full before the device is installed and fitted.

 

 

 

My DWI video is missing in Houston....what now?

Texas law requires a county the size of Harris to videotape anyone that is charged with a DWI.  Most agencies usually leave their tape with the District's Office within the week of the arrest.  Commonly, DPS takes much longer to drop off the tape.  In my practice I have waited over a month to see a video made by DPS. 

 The police are required to make a video of your FST.

Lately, I have had cases where the arresting officer does not drop off a video tape.  When that happens the prosecutor has to make a decision whether to dismiss the DWI case or proceed to trial knowing that I will get an instruction for the jury letting them know that the police officer was required to make a video tape of the field sobriety tests.  Luckily, I have come across reasonable prosecutors that have dismissed the DWI case when the video tape can not be found.  I wonder if there is a reason this is happening and will it continue?

The Martinez Law Firm: http://www.attorneydwi.net

Will my DWI case in Houston be dismissed?

If your DWI breath test case was reviewed by Deetrice Henderson Wallace, a scientist hired by Houston area police agencies, to inspect Intoxilyzer machines you may be in luck. The Texas Department of Public Safety has invalidated all breath tests she reviewed.  Thus, your case may be found to be lacking sufficient evidence for a criminal conviction. 

I am confident that the Harris County District Attorney's Office will review each case individually in order to determine if they warrant a dismissal.  The problem that I foresee is that the DA's office destroys all DWI video tapes after the case is over.  Regardless, without a DWI tape or a breath test their DWI case becomes much harder to prove.  I think they are going to find it problematic to review a DWI case when their key pieces of evidence are missing.  Therefore, you may see more DWI dismissals by the Harris County Districts Attorney's Office after this announcement.

Ms. Wallace has been charged with the state jail felony of Tampering of a Government Record.  The range of punishment for a state jail felony is from 180 days to two years.  Her case will be heard in the 182nd District Court of Harris County, Texas.  The presiding judge of that court is Jeannine Barr.  I am curious to see what the outcome of this case will be considering the damage it has done to credibility of future breath tests.

The Martinez Law Firm

Houston DWI task force getting mobile.

Houston nights have a new toy on the street.

A bit like Bruce Wayne in Gotham the Houston Police Department is rolling out a DWI mobile van this Halloween weekend.  The van is being hailed as the first of its kind.  The Houston Police Department even expects to have several more of these vans on the streets soon.

I imagine the same breathalyzer machine will be used in these vans.  If so, will the machine's owner release the software pertaining to how the machine works.  If a machine is going to brand someone a criminal and effect their life so much the accused deserves to know how it works.  Typically, prosecutors say that it is a trade secret of the company that makes the machine.  That poses the question what is more important, the trade secrets of a company or the constitutional right to due process, which surely includes the right to examine a machine used to determine if someone is guilty?

If you take the route of refusing to take the breath test you are not out of the woods.  The DWI van is equipped for a quick warrant to be faxed in where an on-call judge can force the involuntarily draw of blood from the accused.  Does that mean that the van will have nurses ready to draw blood?  How well will the Houston Police Department be able to preserve the evidence?  We all know how well the Houston Police Department has handled important evidence in the past.

Contact an attorney from our firm for more information, click here to view our website. 

Breathalyzer Supervisor for DWI cases in Houston faked records

Texas Department of Public Safety audit has revealed that the breath tests from eight Houston area police departments have been comprised because the test machines were not properly tested by the certified supervisor.  The machines in question are the breathalyzers that are used to determine if someone is legally intoxicated.

How is the Harris County District Attorney's Office going to handle this tricky situation.  Will current cases be dismissed?  Will there be any retrials of old cases?  I imagine that the prosecutors will have to evaluate each case like there is no breath test.  The likelihood is that you will see more breath test cases going to trial.  Thus, a misdemeanor prosecutor's job just  got harder.

Would you trust this machine for determining if you are intoxicated?

DPS officials said they suspended the supervisor’s certification, and the Texas Rangers launched a criminal investigation.

“These are serious allegations and we will not tolerate any activities that call into question the integrity of the breath test system,” said Col. Stan Clark, interim DPS director.

 

If DPS was truly concerned with the integrity of the breath test system they would release the machine's software to the defense bar so it could be independently tested.  Until this happens the machine will never have any credibility.

Lastly, will we be seeing criminal charges against the supervisor?  It seems clear that he may be charged with falsifying government records, a felony.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Do not make your DWI arrest even worse.

A Houston DWI arrest has many consequences.  For example, you could use lose your drivers license, your insurance rates may increase, and in Texas surcharges may be assessed.   The last thing you want to do is make matters worse by trying to steal a police officer's car like someone tried to do last week.  The police could decide to charge the person with DWI and also theft.  In the above scenario the person could be charged with a felony since the vehicle is likely to be worth over $1500.

DWI arrest

In Texas,  the state may prove that is a person is intoxicated one of three ways.  They must prove that the person has lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties or that their blood alcohol level is above .08.  Do not assist the state by doing something like is mentioned above. In fact, try to do as little as possible.  The best thing is just to be polite, and allow the police officer do his job while you say as little as possible.  Keep in mind that you have the right to remain silent whenever you are being investigated by the police. 

Contact The Martinez Law Firm if you are facing a DWI charge.

 

Four DWI arrests in two weeks.

Robert Hood, a Texas resident, was able to get arrested four times in two weeks for driving while intoxicated. Remarkably, this occurred in the states of Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska.  Would this be possible in Houston, Harris County Texas?

A person with no prior DWI convictions would still be considered a first offender in Texas.  Luckily, Mr. Hood has not been convicted of DWI so he is still a first offender.  Nevertheless, most judges in Houston would have made it difficult for Mr. Hood to drive a vehicle and treat him like a repeat offender while on bond.  For instance, anyone who is arrested for DWI/DUI charge while on bond for DWI would be ordered to have a guardian interlock device installed in their vehicle.  A guardian interlock device is an in car alcohol breath screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit of .02 (i.e., 20 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood). The device is located inside the vehicle, near the driver’s seat, and is connected to the engine’s ignition system.  Moreover, their bond would be set higher and higher after each arrest.  Perhaps, a judge would go as far as not granting a bond after his third or fourth arrest.  Therefore, the likelihood a Houston Harris County, Texas judge allowing this to happen is unlikely.

If you are facing a DWI conviction then you owe it to yourself to consult with a member of our team today. Visit our website for more information.

Thankful to Have a Jury Trial for DWI in Texas.

After wining a DWI trial  today I am really thankful that I have the opportunity to prove my clients innocence.  I am continually surprised to learn that many states do not provide this opportunity for those accused of DWI.

If you would like to speak to an experienced DWI lawyer call us at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website at http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.