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.

Free Legal Consultation Versus Giving Legal Advice

Most lawyers that I know like to talk to people.  More importantly, they enjoy helping their clients with their legal issues.  One of the many dilemmas that attorneys encounter is when a person contacts them seeking legal advice when they have not been hired.  The general public thinks a lawyer can answer any legal question presented to them.  It happens to all of us whether it be while getting a haircut, having a drink at a bar, or making small talk at a party.  Ever since I started blogging people think that they simply email or telephone me with their legal issue and I will be able to answer them.  More frustrating is when the requests come from people that have already retained an attorney, but are seeking a second opinion.  It seems to me that these intelligent people realize that their lawyer may not be as well versed in criminal law as they had let on initially.  That leads them to seek alternative counsel when the have lost their faith in the lawyer they have chosen.  For example, one gentleman wanted to bring me his DWI video so I could tell him if he should proceed to trial.  Another woman contacted me because she had researched alternative sentencing for her son and ran across an article I had written about pretrial diversions .  She wanted to know if I could advise her on how to put a pretrial diversion packet together.  Others just send an email and state "can you please read this and advise me." Unfortunately, this is not how it works.  If you have someone representing you that lawyer should have a better grasp of the facts surrounding your criminal case.  A quick rundown by you on the phone or via email does not allow me to advise you.   When lawyers state that they provide a free consultation it is not synonymous with providing free legal services.  It gets even trickier when someone already has representation.  I am not a "Jack Shepherd" type that will tell you that I can fix your problems without properly investigating your particular case.  

I understand the need to further educate oneself on a particular issue online.  I routinely turn to the Internet when confronted with a medical issue for example. Nevertheless, that does not mean I email a doctor that I have not established a relationship with to get their medical opinion.  Undoubtedly, if I did the Doctor would certainly not be able to properly advise me until she/he understood my full medical history and ascertained the full facts of my medical condition.

If you want to talk to a DWI Attorney that will listen to your issues with compassion please contact me, Herman Martinez at 713-242-1779. Visit the firm's website at http://www.attorneydwi.net

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.

 

Are You Thinking About The Houston DWI Divert Program

I have noticed a unusual amount of people reaching our blog when they search something along the lines of whether a person should enter the Houston DWI DIVERT program.  This is not an easy decision.  Most importantly, a blog is not going to be able to tell you whether the program is right for you.  This is why the trust between you and the lawyer that is handling your DWI case is so important.  A person considering the DIVERT program needs to discuss the pros and cons with their  DWI attorney and then decide for themselves whether it is right for them.

Good luck with your decision!

If you have not hired a lawyer, want to speak to me please call me at 713-242-1779.

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. 

 

Houston Rodeo DWI Round Up

I am not sure if Pat Lykos, Harris County District Attorney, will be attending the Houston Rodeo this year, but if she is she most likely is hoping to rope some drunk drivers in during the month of March.  The Harris County District Attorney's Office,(HCDAO) has expanded its "no refusal weekend" once again during the rodeo.  Initially, this program was implemented during major holiday weekends.  Subsequently, it has expanded at will.  Today, the HCDAO is announcing a "spring no refusal."  Their aim is to protect the added travelers during the various events that are occurring at this time of year like the Houston Rodeo, St. Patrick's Day, and "March Madness."  The "no refusal weekend" was implemented to make Harris County, Texas residents think twice before driving while intoxicated.  That message is being diluted by having a "no refusal weekend" becoming the norm.  I would be curious to see the statistics of DWI arrests from a regular weekend compared to one of the "no refusal weekends."  I have not seen any data that suggests that these no refusal weekends decrease drunk driving.  I am willing to wager that what it does increase is the number of Houston DWI Task Force man hours, and therefore cost the city more money then it should be paying out.  All things considered, the "no refusal" sounds great as a press release and sound bite, but is doing little to achieve the intended goal or reducing drunk driving in Houston.

If you need help for a drunk driving, DWI charge in Harris County, Texas please contact me at (713) 242-1779 or visit my website at http://www.attorneydwi.net.

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.

Houston, Harris County, Texas DWI DIVERT Update...

Now that the DIVERT program in Houston is about six months old attorneys are coming across several issues.  Several Houston DWI attorneys have told me that their clients are not  in compliance with the DIVERT contract which, according to the DIVERT contract these defendants are subject to jail time. These attorneys are hopeful that they will be able to keep their clients from going to jail.  Will the Harris County District Attorney's Office (HCDAO) enforce the agreement?  What will the judge do if they have a hearing on the matter?   Is the agreement even enforceable?  I am curious as to what the final result will be in the upcoming cases. 

Mark Bennett provides another opinion in his blog as to why the HCDAO is changing the DIVERT program so capriciously. He concludes that the HCDAO doesn't know what they are doing with regard to the DIVERT program.

Also, Dane Johnson writes in his blog that the HCDAO is reconsidering the two week reset rule that was implemented last week.  A rule that did not make any sense to anyone in the misdemeanor division in the first place and caught everyone else off guard.

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.

Could the New Texting While Driving Law Lead to More DWI Arrests in Houston?

I have mentioned that texting while driving is more dangerous then driving while intoxicated before on this blog.  Studies after studies have shown this to be true.  While Mothers Against Drunk Drivers would argue against that position it is clearly a problem throughout the United States.  Not surprisingly, the federal government is formally banning truck and bus drivers from sending text messages while driving.  It is only a matter of time before similar legislation reaches the state of Texas.  Already small municipalities like West University ban texting while driving.  So you better send those messages while you can or better yet wait until you arrive at your destination.

By having this law in effect it will arm police agencies with a another flimsy reason to stop someone while driving.  Despite the unlikelihood that an officer will be able to prove that a person was texting when they were driving it will not matter because when a DWI arrest is made the driver rarely gets ticketed for the traffic violation.  The alleged traffic violation is the probable cause for the stop.

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.

Calling All Houston DWI Attorneys

Houston DWI LawyerAnyone that is a Houston DWI Lawyer should plan on attending the DIVERT information meeting tomorrow that is being hosted by the Harris County District Attorney's Office.  The meeting will take place in the Attorney Ready Room located on the 7th floor of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center at 11 am.

 

If you need the assistance of The Martinez Law Firm please contact our firm at (713) 242-1779.

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 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.

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 DWI With A Child Passenger Is Not Eligible For Pretrial Diversion

Recently, I asked an important question relating to the Harris County District Attorney's Office Pretrial Diversion Program.  I wanted to know if a person charged with DWI with a child passenger will be eligible for the program.   The answer to the question was an emphatic NO.

A person charged with this crime is typically a young mother that makes the bad judgment of driving with their child in the vehicle while intoxicated.  Also, it has been my experience that the woman has never had an arrest before the DWI.  As a DWI Attorney that practices in Houston,  I do not see a difference between the woman that drives alone or with a child.  The definition of DWI in Texas is that the person lost the normal use of their mental faculties.  Thus, it should not come as a surprise that a person would make the mistake of driving with a child in their vehicle.  If the District Attorney's Office goal is really to assist first time offenders it should include these types of individuals in the pretrial diversion program in order to help not only the mother, but more importantly the child.

If you are trying to find a DWI lawyer in Houston please contact our firm at (713) 242-1779 or visit the website: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

No DWI Pretrial Diversion For You!

The rumor around the Harris County Courthouse is that Judge Bill Harmon, presiding judge of Harris County Criminal Court at Law #2, is going to say "NO" to any Harris County District Attorney's Office DWI Pretrial Diversion program in his court.  That creates several issues.  First, who will be the first Houston DWI lawyer to seek a recusal of Judge Harmon based on this position?  Second, will the District Attorney's Office oppose the recusal since it is their program?  Third, will an appellate court rule that a pretrial diversion is within the range of punishment for a Class "B" DWI? I am looking forward to seeing the road this program travels as it takes off this month.

If you would like more information regarding DWI charges then please visit our website at http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

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.

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.

A Sad DWI Arrest In Houston

I am not guilty of DWI!!!I wonder if law enforcement in other jurisdictions are so militant about DWI arrests as they are in Houston, Texas.  An example of how aggressively the police in Houston deal with these types of cases was seen recently when a man was charged for DWI as he drove around the block searching for his missing dog . The dog escaped from his backyard during the 4th of July fireworks celebration.  His wife convinced him that it would be better to get in his car to find y"Fido."  Unfortunately, on the way to retrieving their dog an unsympathetic Officer stops him and proceeds to charge him with DWI despite the fact that he is less than two blocks away from his house.  Luckily, even in Houston anyone charged with DWI is presumed to be innocent and entitled to a trial to determine if they are truly intoxicated when they were driving. 

If you need the services of a Houston DWI Attorney please visit my website a thttp://www.attorneydwi.net or call me at (713) 242-1779.

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.

Houston DWI Arrests - July 4th Weekend 2009

As a Houston DWI Attorney I noticed an dramatic increase in the DWI arrests this past weekend.  Not surprisingly, the Harris County District Attorney's Office is boasting that this was the best "No Refusal Weekend" to date with over 300 arrests.  It looks like this is going to be a regular occurrence during any holiday weekend in Harris County, Texas.

A Harris County DWI Lawyer can help you through the maze of a DWI arrest.  Call me now (713) 242-1779 or visit our website at: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

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.

 

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 Pretrial Diversion Plan Not Ready Yet

This past Monday was one of the most chaotic days for Harris County Misdemeanor Prosecutors because every criminal attorney in Houston, like myself, wanted to know the facts surrounding Pretrial Diversions for first time DWI offenders in Harris County, Texas.  Unbelievably, the prosecutors had as much information as I did.  They did not know the guidelines, when it was going to be implemented, or who would qualify.  One thing is for sure, Kate Dolan, the chief of the misdemeanor section, is going to be a busy lady.

If you have any questions regarding a DWI in Texas please contact a Houston DWI Lawyer at (713) 242-1779 visit our firm's website at: 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.

What Is A RIP Call In Houston?

One of the most frustrating things about being a Houston Criminal Attorney is having to wait for the assigned prosecutor to do their "RIP" call.  "RIP" stands for Restitution, Injury, and Punishment.  It is the Harris County District Attorney's Office policy to refrain from making a decision on a case before they contact the alleged victim in a case.  While I understand the policy, it is frustrating for everyone involved to needlessly appear in court because the alleged victim can not be contacted.  It is not uncommon for a person to attend several court settings while incarcerated, serving more time than they deserve because a police officer neglected to get the victim's contact information.

Most commonly, these are misdemeanor cases like DWI, Assault, or Criminal Mischief.  A prosecutor should be allowed to determine the severity of the crime without the necessity of contacting the complaining witness and resolving the case in a more equitable manner.  The judge, the trial prosecutor, the jail, and the defendant would find closure much quicker when these cases are handled appropriately.

If you need any assistance with a criminal case in Houston, Texas please contact The Martinez Law Firm at (713) 242-1779.

A Toll Free Phone Number for Houston Criminal Attorney

Despite being a Houston Criminal Attorney a lot of our clients are from outside the Houston calling area.  We have clients that live throughout Texas and throughout the United States.  In order to better served our clients we provide a toll free phone number for them.  The phone number is (800) 724-1876 in the event you need to contact our firm, The Martinez Law Firm, for any questions regarding a DWI, Assault, Theft/Shoplifting, or Possession of Marijuana/Cocaine. 

DWI Law News

As a Houston DWI Lawyer/ Houston DWI Attorney it is my job to stay on top of developments in the DWI field.  The Texas legislature is implementing a new law that could alter how DWI arrests are treated.  The new law would allow the police to draw from a person involved in an accident, or driving a vehicle with a child, without a magistrate's approval. The police may start using a flashlight/gadget that indicates the presence of alcohol.  Both of these items are ripe for constitutional challenges once they are used by the police.

Visit our firm website if you would like to speak with an attorney about your case. 

Judges Even Checking Your Driving Habits

As a DWI Lawyer it is my job to monitor what the courts are doing with defendants in their courts.  For example, what ever happened to being presumed innocent?  Just this week I overheard a judge reprimanding a person on bond for DWI that his driving habits were not "normal" according to his interlock log.  I almost fell out of my chair that the court  would be monitoring a person's driving habits so closely when they are only accused of a crime.  The judge went as far as threatening to add the scram device as an added condition to the poor guy's bond. 

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

A Criminal Case May Keep You From Entering A Foreign Country

Since we have been criminal defense attorneys in Houston for over twelve years we have represented clients in just about every profession.  Routinely, we inform people that are in the airline industry that a pending criminal charge may prevent them from entering certain countries.  If you have a trip planned to a foreign country please check if you will be allowed entry with a pending criminal charge.

Also, a lot of courts in Houston will restrict your travel outside of  Harris County while on bond even for a simple DWI charge.  If you need any help with your criminal case please contact The Martinez Law Firm at (713) 242-1779.

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,

Houston DWI - A Defendant's Perspective (Part II)

At the police station, I was turned over to an official "DWI Task Force" team (two officers).  The first thing they wanted me to was the Field Sobriety Tests (FST).  You know - walk the line heel-to-toe, like you see on TV.  Other tests involve standing on one foot and counting to 30, and standing with your eyes closed and your head tilted back.  I later learned that these tests are "divided attention" tests, designed to test your physical acuity, as well as your ability to follow directions, do two things at one time, etc.  Why they use these tests I don't understand, because no accredited medical society endorses them, and even stone-sober people can't pass them.  They don't tell you what you are being graded on.  You do not know that, "Stand there until I tell you to start," means, "If you shift your weight or move even one muscle, I am going to put black marks all over your scored."  The also don't tell you that you have a right to refuse to perform the tests.  The whole thing is overwhelming, you're scared, in shock, and you're afraid to ask questions.

Next the officers asked me again to take the breath test.  This time, I was allowed to sit and read information about it- specifically, what happens if you do or do not take the test.  In Texas, if you take the test and fail, you loose your driver's license for three months.  If you refuse to take the test at all, you lose your license for six months.  IF you take the test and pass, you don't lose your license...but you can still be prosecuted for DWI, if the police think there is enough against you.  A conviction cold mean losing your license. 

With the printed information in front of me and time to think, I figured, "I don't think I'll fail the test but you never know.  If I lose my license and can't get to work, I probably can afford to make it for three months. But, I can not afford to be off for six months."  So I decided to take the test.

I "blew", as it is called, under the legal limit.  I was elated!  Until the officer looked at me and said two words- "reverse extrapolation," which means that they use mathematics to figure what your level is now and then figure the rate an average human metabolizes alcohol, and use that to say what they think your blood alcohol level might have been at the time you were driving.  So, no.  They were not going to let me go home.

 The police officer then did some test on my eyes.  You know- follow the moving pen with your eyes.  He also took my pulse and blood pressure, and spent a lot of time checking my inner arms for needle tracks.  The he asked if I would consent to a drug test.  WHAT?  Me suspected of illegal drugs?  Well, I do not do any drugs, and I had no qualms about taking this test.  But wait a minute!   Many people I know do use marijuana and some of the people at the party were smoking.  What if I had inhaled some of the smoke, and there was enough to test positive?

They said that something about the way my eyes moved was consistent with eye movements of people high on dope.  Oh, "No Problem", I said, smiling again.

If you find yourself neeeding the help of a DWI Attorney in Houston please contact The Martinez Law Firm at (713) 242-1779 for a free consultation.

 

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!

Observations Concerning The DWI Groom

While he plead No contest to the DWI the judge still found him guilty.  Thus, the end result is the same.  Also, I found it curious that a person on bond for DWI in Houston would go on probation before obtaining the blood test.  Lastly, it is not surprisingly that a first time DWI offender would be ordered to have a breathalyzer installed in their vehicle unless the blood/alcohol result was over .15.  This would also significantly increase his yearly surcharge to DPS.  I hope all these things were covered before he was placed on probation.

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.

Houston DWI - A Defendant's Perspective (Part I)

One of my clients recently published her DWI arrest experience.  She wanted to inform the public to know what it is like to get charged with a DWI in Houston.  As her Houston DWI Lawyer she was nice enough to allow me to post it here.  Despite getting her case dismissed she still felt the need to inform the public about what it is like to be arrested for DWI.

One Sunday evening, I joined 98,000 other Texans who share a similar plight.  I was arrested for DWI.

I was at a party hanging around, eating and drinking..  It was that last Shiner Bock that wrecked my life.  The drive home wasn't far, but somewhere along the way a police officer got behind me and thought I wasn't driving "quite right"- not staying completely in my lane.  He pulled me over and asked the usual questions about insurance, and he asked if I had been drinking that night.  I was surprised by that question.  Why would he ask that?  I was driving fine.  I knew that I wasn't drunk.  For some reason, the cop thought I might be.  The next thing I know he has me out of my car and I am doing some tests.  Incredibly to me, I am being arrested.  My car is being towed, I am not given a receipt, or where it would be towed.  I had to beg to be allowed to get my purse before it was towed.  Suddenly, this was all starting to feel quite surreal.  I cannot describe the feelings of humiliation and confused and despair as I sank into the bank seat of that dark police car, my hands locked in metal cuffs behind my back, totally alone, not having a clue what was to happen.  How could this be happening to me?

Arrested?  Going to Jail?  Me?  How could this be happening to me?  I am an upstanding citizen.  I am a good person.  I own a home, a car, I have a college degree and a good job, I go to Church, I walk my dog, once I hammer nails for Habitat for Humanity.  Doesn't the cop see the 100 Club sticker on my rear window?  How could this be happening to me?

If you would like to speak with a Houston DWI Lawyer contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website at http://www.attorneydwi.net.

DWI Admonishments

Tell them about the DWI surcharges Judge!As I was waiting to talk to a judge I was noticing a newly licensed Houston criminal defense attorney take a DWI plea in a misdemeanor court and wondered if their client knew that they will be imposed a surcharge of $1,000 a year for the next three years from DPS for their conviction.  This year I have had clients seeking an occupational license, but were not aware about this surcharge and not realizing that the court will not grant the license unless the fees are paid. A DWI attorney must advise their client of all the consequences.

Most importantly, a person may be arrested for driving with a suspended license if they do not pay the surcharges despite not being told by anyone.   Thus, all misdemeanor judges should take the step and admonish everyone that is before them and going to plea guilty of DWI that a surcharge will be imposed by DPS.

If you are searching for a DWI Attorney in Texas please contact our law firm at (800) 724-1876 or visti our website at http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

 

One and Done for the DWI Groom in Houston

Billy Puckett, the groom that was arrested on his wedding day for DWI in Houston, pled guilty on Friday, on his first court date.  Mr. Puckett received the standard probation for a first time offender, a one year probation, a small fine, and community service.  Curiously, he was also ordered to have an ignition interlock installed in his vehicle.  The interlock device is typically ordered in Houston when someone is convicted of a second DWI, or they provided a breath/alcohol sample above .15.I I wish Mr. Puckett all the best.

The Martinez Law Firm

 

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.

 

Houston DWI Causes Wedding Night Blues.

Many of our clients are first time offenders and have typically never been in trouble with law enforcement prior to contacting us for help.  When they arrive at our office the first thing they they normally tell us is how badly they were treated by the police.  They also can not understand why the officer did not take into account their otherwise pristine criminal record.  I often tell them about the different cases that we have defended where we have been amazed at the fact that an arrest had in fact taken place.

A perfect example of the police not making an exception for anyone is the recent  DWI arrest of a groom on his wedding day.  His case landed in Harris County Criminal Court Law #7 where Pam Derbyshire presides. 

Luckily, every person that is charged with a DWI is presumed to be innocent and there are an infinite amount of ways a case may be defended.  Thus, do not be disheartened about your arrest.  All is not lost.  We can help you. Please call our law firm (713) 242-1779 for a free consulatation or visit our website at http://www.attorneydwi.net.

 

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.

Life in Prison for a DWI in Texas?

Recently, one of my Fort Bend County clients that is a first time DWI offender could not believe that this is possible or that anyone could put themselves in the position to go to prison for life.  Since DWI is an escalating crime it can happen.  The most common way occurs is when a person has had two prior DWI convictions and has gone to prison on two separate occasions for any crime.   Another way is if the person has two prior DWI convictions and on their third arrest a death occurred.  In this instance, the person is charged with Felony Murder.  The allegation is that while committing the felony of a Third DWI the person caused the death of a person. 

As you can see, DWI convictions have significant long term consequences whether it occurs in Fort Bend, Galveston, or Harris County, Texas.  Thus, I inform all my clients that it is imperative to be ready to properly defend their DWI case from the outset.  If you have any question regarding your DWI arrest please call our office at (800) 724-1876 or visit website http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

Is DWI a crime of Moral Turpitude In Pasadena, Texas?

Since I have posted that theft/shoplifting is a crime of moral turpitude I have had people ask me if a DWI/DUI is a one as well.  The short answer is that a DWI is not a crime of moral turpitude in the state of Texas.  However, a felony DWI is a crime turpitude.  Typically, a third DWI is filed as a felony.  Recently, the legislature made it a felony to drive while intoxicated with a child passenger even if it is the person's first arrest.  There are other DWI related charges that are felonies such as intoxication assault, and manslaughter when it does not matter how many times a person has been previously arrested for DWI.

In the future I will post a list of most crimes that are considered crimes of moral turpitude.

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

Perhaps M.A.D.D will show some compassion towards first time DWI offenders...

I applaud M.A.D.D. for all they have accomplished in raising the awareness of driving while intoxicated, however M.A.D.D like other organizations tend to go overboard at times.  They seem to lack any sympathy for the first time offender of DWI. 

I have never met a person who intends to commit the crime of DWI, unlike a person who commits a theft, or an assault.  Accordingly, the law in Texas does not make "intent" an element of the crime.  I routinely tell my clients that anyone may be arrested for DWI and this does not mean that they are bad person or even that they are guilty of the crime.    A perfect example of this is Charles Beebe, a Cincinnati Police Officer, and a Top Cop M.A.D.D. award winner, who was arrested for DWI.  I am sure Officer Bebee is glad that he is presumed innocent just like everyone he ever arrested.  His case is still pending trial.

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

The Houston Rodeo brings stronger DWI enforcement.

Now that it is rodeo time in Houston it reminds me about a bogus DWI email that made the rounds last year.  The email indicated that it was sent from Houston Rodeo Officials and stated that the police, judges, and prosecutors would be at the Rodeo cracking down on publicly intoxicated patrons and making DWI arrest against those leaving Reliant Park.  Despite the email being bogus every year we find ourselves representing a person that is arrested for DWI when leaving the Rodeo.  Please do yourself a favor and hire someone to drive you from the Rodeo if you feel that you had too much to drink.

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.

Why is M.A.D.D. targeting the first time DWI offender?

I have discussed before how Harris County Judges treat those accused with their first DWI. There are a lot of judges that will go beyond what the law requires when someone finds themselves in court for their first DWI like requiring a person to install the ignition interlock device when they are involved in an accident .  Now MADD is pushing legislators to require anyone convicted of a DWI in Texas to get the ignition interlock device. This proposal is going too far.  Our DWI laws already provide a substantial hardship for someone convicted of a DWI. MADD likes to point out recent deaths that involved repeat offenders driving a vehicle.  In my opinion, relying on these instances is misplaced.  Why punish the first time offender when there are programs in place to make sure this does not happen again such as the Victim Impact Panel that is usually led by a MADD representative, the DWI School, and the drug/alcohol evaluation that a person undergoes when they are placed on probation.  Also, MADD overlooks that anyone that has an alcohol rate above rate over .15 when driving is required to place the device in their vehicle.  Texas law adequately deals with repeat offenders by requiring a hard suspension (no occupational license) for those convicted of a subsequent DWI within five years. Additionally, DPS license suspensions increase for repeat offenders,  MADD should focus their attention on someone other then the first time offender who usually has not been arrested before and is unlikely to re offend because of the traumatic experience of being arrested.  I am sure the "Benjamins" have something to do with this new crusade.

If you need assistance with your first DWI case in  the Houston, Texas area please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or click here to visit our website.

What is the difference between a DWI and DUI in Texas?

The short answer is there is virtually  no difference between DWI and DUI in Texas. Both  DUi and DWI are terms that refer to operating a motor vehicle while losing the normal use of your mental or physical faculties.  The biggest difference between the two is only in what the letters stand for. DWI is an acronym for driving while intoxicated and DUI stands for driving under the influence of a known or unknown drug.

In some states, the drunk driving laws differentiate between a DUI and a DWI, where a DUI is a lesser charge. In these states, a DUI usually signifies a lesser degree of intoxication, which is determined by a person’s blood alcohol level at the time of arrest.  For example, the state of New York differentiates between DWI and DUI by establishing a blood alcohol level of .08 as the legal limit for DWI. If a person has a blood alcohol level of .07, the charges may be reduced to a DUI, which carries a lesser punishment.

In Texas like most states throughout the country that have developed a zero policy, consequently, they do not recognize any difference between a DUI and a DWI.  As far as the law is concerned, any blood alcohol level over the specified minimum (.08) is a crime that will be punished in the same manner. In some states, the terms DUI and DWI are used to indicate whether a person was driving impaired under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In those states DUI is reserved for illegal or legal drugs.

Also, there is no such crime as drunk driving in Texas.  For most people this is intoxicated, but the State goes to great lengths to try to deceive a prospective juror that this  is not the case despite common sense telling us otherwise.

If you need any assistance with your drunk driving case in Harris, County, Texas 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.

 

It is just a DWI....Why did the criminal judge do that?

Charged with DWI consequenceWhen a client comes into my office I stress to them that they are presumed to be innocent.  I emphasize this because we are lucky enough to live in a country where that is the law.  Thus, I find it difficult to explain to my clients why a judge would order them to get an ignition interlock device for the vehicle if this is the case.   Frankly, I agree with them.  I understand if they have a previous conviction for DWI because the judge is required to order them to get the device.  Thus, we prepare them for this when they have multiple offense for DWI, have a high breath test, under the age of 21, or they were involved in an accident, but outside of these reasons they should not be required to bear the expense of this device.  Hopefully, the judges will start reevaluating this procedure during these stressful times.

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

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.

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

Tougher DWI laws do not reflect less arrests.

A Florida study illustrates what we always think as DWI lawyers in Houston...tougher DWI laws do not deter drunk driving.

If you need help with your DWI case in Texas please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website at http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.  We represent people accused of DWI in Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery, and Galveston County.

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.

 

 

A DWI in Houston can not happen to me...

As an Houston Criminal Defense attorney that helps those charged with DWI I have helped all types of people.  Despite the different backgrounds of my clients they have several things in common.  Mainly, they say the can not believe a DWI happened to them.  For many, a DWI charge is the first time they have been arrested for a crime.  Also, they never intended to drive while intoxicated.  Not surprisingly, the law the does not require that a person intend on driving while intoxicated like most other crimes.

If you have been arrested with for DWI/DUI keep several things in mind.  After getting some needed rest read the forms the police officer gave you.  At the bottom of the main form you will find the contact information to save your drivers license.  You have 15 days to schedule a hearing to save your license.  You should do this before even talking to an attorney.  Next, speak to several attorneys on the phone and schedule as many office interviews as you can.  Most DWI attorneys like myself will offer a free consultation.  Choose your DWI attorney based on your instincts.  Decide if you and the attorney are a good fit.  Do they answer all your questions?  How easier will it be to get a hold of them?  What type of experience do they have with DWI/DUI cases?

Many people are embarrassed about being arrested for DWI/DUI, but  keep in mind that it truly can happen to anyone even a judge that routinely handles criminal cases.

The Martinez Law Firm

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.