Condensing My Criminal Defense Blogs

I have come to the conclusion that trying to continually updating three criminal law related blogs, tweeting regularly all the while maintaining a thriving law practice is unmanageable.  Unlike other lawyers and law firms that I know I write every blog entry myself.  While I have neglected this blog over the past year I have tried to regularly write on my blog that is linked to my Houston Criminal Defense website..  With this blog I cover the same type of issues that I covered here like sexual assault, bond issues, and theft.  Additionally, I discuss DWI issues exclusively on my DWI site,  Thus, I do not see the reason to post duplicitous information on this site.

Nevertheless, since there is so much information that I have created over the years on this site I will stay active for the foreseeable future.

If you would like to contact me please call me at (713) 242-1779. 

How to choose a assault lawyer.

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.

A Humble, Texas DWI Arrest

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

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

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

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 Drunk Driving (DWI) Acronyms

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

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

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

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

Get A Ride To Avoid A Drunk Driving Charge In Houston

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

It seems recently  that we have had an uptick of clients who have hired us after having been arrested for driving while intoxicated 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.

The bottom line is, if you live in Houston, figure out a safe and responsible plan for transportation when you are making plans to hit the town. The alternative may be an arrest leading to a dwi.

If you are in need of a Houston DWI Lawyer call Texas Board Certifed Attorney Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

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 We Have A Problem! I Thought We Had A Deal...What Happened?

As a criminal defense lawyer you need to display composure when things do not go your way.  You need to be able to communicate logically with your client when they insist that they were not at the scene of the crime, even though the prosecutor has produced a picture of your client taken with a gun in their hand at the scene.  Our clients need to know that we are on their side and ready to represent them to the fullest extent despite the allegations and evidence against them.

Recently, I had a difficult time explaining to one of my clients that after reaching an agreement with the prosecution, the judge rejected the agreement.  In every case the there is a possibility that the judge may reject an agreed plea bargain.  Within every plea bargain agreement there is language that allows the judge to reserve the right to reject the agreement.  Luckily, the defendant is allowed to withdraw their plea if the judge decides to go this route.

Unfortunately, this was not any consolation to my client who, during a recent plea bargain, could not understand why the judge would not go along with the agreement.  A plea bargain is not something that is reached easily or quickly.  It is a long process and typically, it takes compromise between the prosecutor and the defense lawyer.  The process goes something like this; the client comes to court several times and when they think the agreement is satisfactory to them they relinquish their right to trial in order to enter into the plea bargain.

It is extremely frustrating to all parties when a judge hears a short synopsis from the prosecutor about the facts surrounding the case and then decides that they will not accept the agreement that was reached.  Now the client is frustrated and its back to square one.  At this point, the client typically asks one of the following questions; why did you as my attorney spend all that time trying to reach an agreement with the prosecutor if the judge was going to reject it anyway?  Why did I agree to pay back all the restitution that is owed?   Why didn't you reach an agreement with the judge first?  The answer is because the judge can and gives the final blessing to the plea bargain. 

I understand that the judge's role is to determine what is in the best interest of society, but how can they determine that with only a couple of minutes of facts relayed by the prosecutor.  At the very least, the judge should speak to both attorneys especially if they are leaning towards rejecting the plea bargain.  It becomes an emotionally charged event because the client senses things are going badly.  At this stage, their body language changes, they can not speak as clearly, and most of all they become nervous and confused about the proceedings.  This in turn makes the judge less likely to accept the plea bargain because they tend to interpret this behavior negatively.

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.

Houston DWI Attorney-Fun Facts

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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.

A Houston DWI Attorney Shares His Best of 2009 DWI Arrests

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

An example of someone that is drunk

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

 

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

MMALAW Is Not Associated With Mixed Martial Arts

MMALAW=Houston Criminal Attorney not Mixed Martial Arts.Recently, I reviewed the results of the search terms regarding our website www.mmalaw.com and noticed that a lot of clicks to our website were made when someone was looking for the rules and regulations concerning mixed martial arts.  I guess that the logical reason for that is that "mmalaw" sounds like it would deal with the laws regarding that sport.  I would imagine that the people clicking on our website will be disappointed to find out that I am a Houston Criminal Attorney and a Houston DWI Lawyer and not an authority on mixed martial arts. 

A Houston Pretrial Diversion Is Not Exclusive To DWI Cases

A lot of discussion has occurred amond Houston DWI lawyers the last of couple of weeks concerning the DWI Pretrial Diversion Program around the Harris County Courthouse.  Luckily, this has also opened the door for other types of cases to be more easily considered for pretrial diversion.  I have personally encountered prosecutors being receptive to a pretrial diversion for theft, possession of marijuana, and possession of cocaine cases.  In the past, a request for a pretrial diversion was akin to asking for a prosecutor's first born in Harris County, Texas.   For the sake of anyone accused of a crime I hope this trend continues.  Most criminal lawyers know that a theft or shoplifting case is one of the very few misdemeanor crimes that are considered to be "crimes of moral turpitude."  Thus, it is imperative that you hire a Houston theft Lawyer.

 

If you have any questions regarding your shoplifting case do not hesitate to contact me at (713) 242-1779 or visit the firm's website at: http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.

 

 

 

Driving A Bulldozer While Intoxicated?

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

 

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

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

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

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

The New DWI Program Likely To Increase DWI Arrests In Houston

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

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

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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

 

You Mean I Can Not Even Look Drunk?

As a DWI Attorney in Houston I always thought Utah was a conservative state and these latest proposals do not change my opinion.  A bill in Utah is going to great lengths to eliminate alcohol consumption outside of the home.   The bill requires all restaurant bartenders to make the drinks behind a ten foot wall.  Also, Utah intends to criminalize anyone that looks drunk.  Talk about a slippery slope, today, it is hiding the bartenders next it is banning all alcoholic beverages in a restaurant. 

Here is hoping that Texas does not follow this line of thinking.  I would really miss a drink with my meal.  If you find yourself needing a lawyer for an alcohol related crime please contact The Martinez Law Firm at (713) 242-1779.

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.

 

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

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.

 

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.