Do I Need to Get an Ignition Interlock Device?

Will my DWI Case Cause Me to Get an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) may be an unfortunate consequence of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. DWIs are unique charges because sentencing incorporates many different conditions. Installing an IID is just one possibility. For those who are repeat DWI offenders, it is most likely that a judge will order the installation of the device.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is quite similar to a breathalyzer. However, the key difference it is in your car. When installed, this device requires that you submit a breath sample before you can start the car. The purpose of the device is to deter DWI offenders from drinking alcohol. Whenever the device any alcohol, it locks down the engine.

These devices are a hassle for daily life, not to mention both embarrassing and expensive. When sentenced to install the device, you are expected to pay for the installation as well as the monthly rental costs. That’s why it is so vital for you to have an experienced Houston DWI lawyer on your side. With the right representation, you lawyer is an advocate who can fight to reduce your charges and help you avoid costly punishments like the IID.

Texas Law and IIDs

As we’ve mentioned before, Texas takes drunk driving very seriously. The DWI laws concerning the ignition interlock device are located under the Transportation Code and Penal Code. Oftentimes, first-time offenders do not face an IID penalty. Some judges consider a first-time DWI as an uncharacteristic lapse in judgment and allow some leeway. However, it is vital that you have a Houston DWI lawyer on your side to fight for the best potential outcome.

For repeat offenders, Texas Penal Code § 49.04(h) states that a second or subsequent DWI within 5 years of your first offense requires the installation of an IID. Moreover, it requires the installation of an IID on every operable vehicle that you own. This means you face mounting costs that you have to bear for months to come.

Aggravated DWI cases may lead to the installation of an ignition interlock device as well. Circumstances such as child passengers or a BAC of .15 turn a DWI into an aggravated DWI. When you are charged with an aggravated DWI, judges are more likely to impose IID requirements.

Vehicles You Might Be Able to Drive Without an IID

  • The vehicle is used for work.
  • An employer owns the vehicle.
  • You have no control or authority over your employers.
  • Your employer is aware of your driving restriction.
  • There is proof of notification kept in the work vehicle.

Your Houston DWI Lawyer and Ignition Interlock Devices

When you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving, it is vital that you seek out experienced legal counsel. In Texas, a DWI is serious charge with severe consequences that range from fines to incarceration. Moreover, you could wind up with an ignition interlock device that restricts your ability to move freely through Harris County.

Call on the expert team at The Martinez Law Firm to speak with an experienced Houston DWI lawyer. At our criminal defense firm, we understand the ins and outs of Texas DWI cases. Our criminal defense attorneys know how to evaluate cases and map out defense plans that work. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options.

At The Martinez Law Firm, we represent clients throughout Houston and Harris County to ensure they have the advocacy that DWI charges require. Reach out today and let us show you how can protect your future.

Where Will My Houston DWI Case Be Heard?

Houston DWI case

I Don’t Know Where to Go for My DWI Case

If you face a Houston DWI case, it often comes with intense pressure. Because a conviction can cost thousands of dollars and the loss of your license, the stakes are incredibly high. However, this is likely only the beginning of your stress. If this is your first arrest, the entire process may seem overwhelming, daunting.

With dozens of courts in and around Houston, it’s hard to know where you’re supposed to be. You likely have a lot of questions, and our DWI defense team has the answers. While this post provides a general overview of what you might expect, it’s important that you schedule a free consultation with our team. You need to know your options, and we can offer key insight into the process.

The Court System in the Houston Area

How your Houston DWI case processes depends on the county in which you were arrested. As the 4th-largest city in the United States, Houston’s population spreads across multiple counties with people often commuting or traveling through and between them. Each county has its own set of courts, and the ways in which they process can vary drastically. The three largest counties in the area are Harris, Montgomery, and Fort Bend.

By far, Harris County is the largest, with over 4 million residents – more than the other nearby counties combined. Fort Bend is the second largest with over 500,000 residents, and Montgomery is third, with over 455,000.

Courts Hearing Houston DWI Cases in Harris County

With millions of residents, it’s no surprise that the court system in Harris County is quite vast. Which court hears your case depends in part on whether you are charged with a felony DWI or a misdemeanor.

Criminal Courts

When you are charged with a misdemeanor DWI, your case is often assigned to a Harris County Criminal Court of Law. These courts have exclusive jurisdiction over Class B misdemeanors. Additionally, they cover Class A misdemeanors with fines that do not exceed $4,000. Harris County has 16 criminal courts, and they are housed in the Harris County Criminal Justice Center downtown.

S.O.B.E.R. DWI Courts

Among the Harris County Criminal Courts at Law, 5 are designated as S.O.B.E.R. DWI Courts. An acronym for Saving Ourselves By Education and Recovery, this is a DWI program exclusive to the county. It operates as a rehabilitation program for offenders with a high-risk DWI. Through this program, you might substitute incarceration with a treatment program. Not every defendant qualifies, and this program is voluntary.

It is crucial to understand that even when eligible, this program is not for everyone. It requires strict adherence to the rules and the terms set forth by the court. Otherwise, you risk jail time. While these courts appeal to many individuals, it is not always in your best interest to participate in the program. Before you enter any type of plea in a Houston DWI case, it is essential that you consult an experienced Houston DWI lawyer like those at The Martinez Law Firm.

District Courts in Harris County

When you are charged with a felony DWI, or any felony involving alcohol, your case is sent to the Harris County District Courts. These courts hold exclusive jurisdiction over felonies that carry a prison sentence longer than 180 days. There are 22 of these courts in Harris County.

Work with an Experienced Houston DWI Lawyer

Are you facing a Houston DWI case? Figuring out how to move forward when arrested for a DWI is a difficult undertaking. However, you do not need to face these charges alone. At The Martinez Law Firm, our DWI defense attorney knows how to guide clients through the Houston criminal justice system and has decades of experience doing so. When you need a DWI lawyer, our credentials are unmatched.

You need someone well-versed in criminal defense cases throughout the Greater Houston Area. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation. Let us help you understand and explore your options.

Driving Drunk? What Police Look For

driving drunk indicators police look for in Houston

Texas DWI: What Police Look For 

A Texas DWI is a serious matter, and it requires experienced legal representation. With decades of experience as a Houston DWI lawyer, Herman Martinez knows the ins and outs of law enforcement and court procedures in regard to drunk driving in Harris County. Let us go in-depth about driving drunk indicators that officers look for.

From speeding to missing taillights, police look for any legal reason to pull someone over to examine them for signs of impairment. Below, we want to provide you with a list of signs police officers look for as they decide whether someone might be intoxicated – before and after they pull them over. 

What Driving Drunk Indicators Do the Police Look for When They Search for Drunk Drivers? 

Per research from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), the police have a long list of signs to pull from to determine when a person is likely driving while intoxicated.

Here’s a list of some common indicators for drunk driving:

  • Straddling the center lane markings
  • Swerving 
  • Almost hitting an object or other vehicle 
  • Drifting 
  • Stopping in a traffic lane without cause
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Driving more than 10mph below the posted speed limit
  • Erratic braking
  • Weaving 
  • Driving on something that’s not a designated roadway
  • Delayed response to traffic signals
  • Using signals inconsistent with actions 
  • Abrupt or illegal turns
  • Driving at night with headlights off 
  • Rapid acceleration or deceleration 
  • Making wide turns 
  • Driving into oncoming traffic

Curiously, the NHTSA does not list speeding as a sign of drunk driving. Oftentimes, a prosecutor can argue that speeding depicts “risk-taking” behavior related to impaired judgment. However, many officers admit that in reality, a majority of sober people speed at night due to more favorable traffic conditions. 

Texas DWI: What Officers Look for After Pulling You Over 

When it comes to Texas DWI cases, it’s important to remember that law enforcement officers do not always have medical training. Moreover, you are not legally required to submit to a field sobriety test. These notoriously inaccurate tests only help the arrest officer build their case against you. 

Here are some traditional signs of intoxication that many officers are taught to look for:

  • Glassy, bloodshot, or red eyes
  • Slurred speaking 
  • Loss of balance as you exit the vehicle 
  • Smell of alcohol
  • Swaying 
  • Lack of comprehension of questions 
  • Inappropriate behavior – combative, jovial argumentative, etc
  • Stumbling 
  • Inability to follow instructions 
  • Fumbling wallet, license, etc 
  • Lack of awareness 
  • Flushed face 

Facing a Texas DWI? Hire a Houston DWI Lawyer

In Texas, DWI consequences are severe. When you face a DWI conviction, the impact can spread throughout your life. That’s why you need an advocate on your side who understands your situation and how the system works. 

At The Martinez Law Firm, our DWI defense team provides legal representation that acts in your best interests. When you face DWI charges in Harris County, contact the criminal defense attorneys at our firm for a free consultation. We specialize in the complex field of Texas DWIs. At your consultation, your attorney will review your case and guide you through the best strategy available. 

Houston DWI Lawyer Tips: Know When You’re Too Drunk to Drive

know when you're too drunk to drive

Helpful Hints to Let You Know You’re Too Drunk to Drive

As Houston DWI Lawyers, we know how easy it can be to slip up. Maybe you meet with your friends to grab a drink, and it turns into a few more throughout the course of the evening. Know when you’re too drunk to drive to make that decision. Should you get in your car to drive home, or it better to call an Uber and play it safe?

If you have to ask yourself “Am I too drunk to drive,” it’s probably best to open that ride-sharing app. Frankly, this is the easiest way to know when you’re too drunk to drive. If you think you might be, you probably are. However, when you need a little reassurance, we’ve gathered a few tips to help prevent you from drunk driving.

Understanding Your Limits

Any responsible adult should know their limits when it comes to drinking. With today’s plethora of alternative transportation options, it’s easy to have a back up plan, even on the fly. When you drink, it’s easy for the impaired mind to rationalize, though. You convince yourself that you’re okay to drive. In reality, you might not be.

When you understand your limits ahead of time, you can avoid going over your limits. More importantly, you can avoid DWI charges and the severe toll they have on your personal and professional life.

1 Hour = 1 Drink

On average, the body processes about one alcoholic drink per hour. However, this doesn’t mean that you can take down those 5 drinks in a single hour and wait around 5 hours before you get behind the wheel.

Instead, it’s important to pace yourself, using your best judgment. Remember that this differs based on your body. Smaller-than-average people, for example, might need more time for their body to process each drink.

Calculating Your BAC

Your BAC is your breath/blood alcohol content. Your body weight is a major factor when it comes to long it takes you to process alcohol. There are some sophisticated apps and calculators that help you consider the following factors in order to estimate your BAC.

  • Time
  • Number of drinks
  • Types of drinks
  • Weight

In Texas, the legal limit for your BAC is 0.08. When you approach this level, it’s important to find a safer ride. When you surpass this level, you risk Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges in addition to putting your fellow Houstonians at risk on the road. Meaning you’re too drunk to drive. Should you find yourself facing DWI charges, contact our Houston DWI lawyers immediately.

Your Houston DWI Lawyer

When you face a DWI conviction, it’s important to have an experienced Houston DWI defense attorney on your side. At The Martinez Law Firm, we advocate for our clients’ best interests to help them avoid the severe consequences of a DWI in Texas.

If you’ve been arrested for a DWI, it’s important to act fast. Call our legal team today to schedule a free consultation.

How to Reduce Houston DWI Charges

reduce dwi charges in Houston

Houston DWI Fines: How to Reduce DWI Charges

In Houston, DWI fines are nothing to scoff at when charged with this crime. Texas takes driving while intoxicated (DWI), or drunk driving, charges quite seriously. From maximum fines in the thousands to jail time and interlock devices, the penalties for a DWI can be quite severe. Moreover, these penalties change based on certain factors. 

Nevertheless, a Houston DWI lawyer like Herman Martinez can fight to reduce your charges or potentially even get them dismissed. When you face DWI charges, it is crucial to call on a DWI defense attorney to discuss the unique details of your case. A DWI conviction has severe financial and personal consequences, even for first-time offenders. 

What Are the Penalties for a DWI? 

In Texas, you are legally intoxicated when you lose the normal use of your mental or physical faculties or your blood/breath alcohol concentration or BAC reaches 0.08%. A BAC at .15% or over raises the penalties to the same as a second offender, even if it is your first offense.

First offense

  • Up to a $2,000 fine
  • Up to 180 days in jail upon conviction
  • The potential loss of driver’s license up to 1 year

Second offense

  • Up to a $4,000 fine
  • Up to 30 days to a year in jail
  • Loss of driver’s license for up to 2 years.

Third offense

  • A $10,000 fine.
  • 2 – 10 years in prison
  • Loss of driver’s license up to 2 years

DWI Charges with a Child Passenger 

An example of the variables that significantly change your case, having a child passenger as you drive drunk drastically increases the penalties of your DWI. 

  • Charges of child endangerment when you drive drunk with children under the age of 15
  • Fines up to $10,000 
  • Up to 2 years in jail
  • Potential loss of driver’s license for up to 180 days

Can I Reduce Houston DWI Fines? 

While many other states have anti-plea-bargaining laws in place for DWI offenses, Texas allows prosecutors to offer reduced charges in certain cases. Your Houston DWI defense attorney fights to negotiate with prosecutors to lower your DWI charges. 

When your lawyer has your charges reduced, it means the charge lowers in severity to that of a lower crime. Oftentimes, this leads to more leniency with fines, jail time, and other restrictions resulting from the case. 

What Are Some Examples of Reduced DWI Charges? 

  • Having the DWI case dismissed 
  • A “No Bill” return at your indictment hearing, which means the state drops the case
  • Felony DWI reduced to a misdemeanor
  • Removing illegally obtained BAC evidence through pre-trial motions 
  • Negotiating a plea bargain for a lesser charge

These are just certain examples of how to avoid Houston DWI fines through reduced charges. When you hope to pursue avenues such as these, it is crucial that you hire an experienced Houston DWI lawyer to act as your advocate in Court. 

When you face DWI charges in Harris County, call on the DWI defense team at The Martinez Law Firm. With decades of experience as a former Judge and Chief Prosecutor, we know the system to advocate for your best results.  Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation.

The Things You Need to Know After a DWI in Houston

what to do after a DWI arrest in Houston

Need to Know After a DWI Arrest in Houston 

After a DWI arrest in Houston, you might feel overwhelmed or intimidated. For many people, it is their first time dealing with the law. When the officer reads you your rights and books you into jail, it is no laughing matter. Everything that follows the arrest simply compounds the fear and pain. It’s a confusing time. 

However, when you have the right knowledge of the process, it is much easier to make it through. Herman Martinez is a DWI lawyer in Houston with a great deal of experience helping to dismiss. Through the guide, we help you understand the DWI process in Houston and surrounding areas. 

If you still have questions after reading or need representation, contact our offices for a free legal consultation today. 

What to Know Following a DWI Arrest in Houston 

After a DWI arrest in Houston, a lot can happen. It’s crucial to understand the overall processes that happen. 

• The administrative process decides the future of your driving privileges. 

• The criminal process determines your guilt or innocence, potentially establishing a permanent criminal record. 

The Costs of DWI Arrests 

When you want to fight your charge with a Houston DWI lawyer, there are costs. These costs have an impact on your bank account as well as your future. 

What Should I Do After a DWI Arrest in Houston, TX? 

Following your DWI arrest, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

• Do not speak to the police aside from providing identification such as your name or address. 

• At your arraignment, do not plead guilty. 

• Within 15 days, request an ALR – administrative license revocation hearing. 

• Contact a Houston DWI lawyer as soon as possible 

When you have a DWI lawyer on your side quickly, they can represent you at the arraignment hearing. Moreover, they can request the ALR hearing and provide representation there as well. 

Your Houston DWI Lawyer 

Of all the things you should do after a DWI arrest in Houston, contacting a DWI defense attorney is crucial. You need an advocate on your side committed to your best interests. Oftentimes, a trial is your best bet to obtain your best result.

A DWI defense is about more than avoiding a conviction. It is about your future and your reputation. What you do after a DWI arrest makes a huge difference in your life. Simple mistakes are detrimental to your future, so you need the right lawyer at your side. 

Contact The Martinez Law Firm today to learn more about your options for DWI defense. 

A DWI in Texas: Could You Lose Your Job?

how can a dwi affect my job?

DWI in Texas: Can You Lose Your Job?

Can you lose your job in Texas when you get a DWI? Avoid a DWI conviction, it’s not worth your job. In Texas, employment is at-will, which means your employer does have the right to fire you upon a DWI conviction in many cases. Legal statutes prevent your boss from firing you for a variety of reasons protected by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. However, these laws do not apply to criminal convictions.

Union and government workers have some additional protections from at-will termination. Unfortunately, though, a majority of Texas workers do enjoy these protections. Therefore, your employer more than likely has the right to terminate your position when you get a DWI in Texas.

A majority of employers likely won’t terminate you without a specific cause. Still, it’s important to avoid having a DWI in Texas for this reason and many others. If you face DWI charges, a Houston DWI lawyer can help you avoid the complex unemployment program in Texas.

What Jobs Have a Higher Chance of Termination for a DWI in Texas?

While many employers have the option to fire you for a DWI in Texas, some companies have their hands forced in drunk driving cases.

Driving or Operating Heavy Machinery

When driving is a core aspect of your job duties, your employer may have restrictions on their insurance that do not allow them to keep you employed. Jobs that require the operation of heavy machinery or where safety is an issue are likely to face a similar problem.

Moreover, truck drivers should remember that they could lose their commercial driver’s license (CDL) over a DWI in Texas. After a commercial DWI, your employer has no choice but to let you go.

Jobs Involving Children or At-Risk Adults

People who work with children, such as a therapist or teacher, may face termination of a DWI conviction. This is because drunk driving convictions create potential liability issues. Similarly, you might lose your job over a DWI when you work with vulnerable adult populations. This includes the elderly as well as special needs adults.

Sensitive Data or Financial Assets

When your job involves financial assets or sensitive information, you face termination because your conviction makes you a criminal. These assets range from securities and medical assets to insurance, real estate, and banking. However unrelated your conviction is, it puts your employment at risk.

Professional Licenses

A majority of the professional licensing boards in Texas reject applications with DWIs on their records. Similarly, a DWI in Texas can result in losing your professional license. Teachers, realtors, and nurses all require professional licenses. A DWI conviction puts your livelihood in jeopardy. Even outside of these industries, a DWI conviction puts your job at risk.

Avoid Getting Fired for a DWI in Texas

When you have a DWI on your record, the best thing to do is be upfront and honest. Eventually, every employer finds out, so staying ahead of it is of benefit to you. If you make it clear that this DWI in Texas was a one-time occurrence, they might be understanding.

Of course, your best bet is to avoid a DWI conviction altogether. Herman Martinez is a Houston DWI lawyer with decades of experience helping people mitigate DWI charges. Schedule a free consultation to explore your options. Our DWI defense attorneys fight to reduce or dismiss your charges, always pursuing your best interests.

Contact the legal team at The Martinez Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Controlled Substance DWI: What Is It?

what is a controlled substance dwi?

Controlled Substance DWI: What Is It? 

Oftentimes, a controlled substance DWI comes as a surprise to many. Typically, people associate driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws with alcohol and nothing more. However, Texas law does not agree with them. Because the effects of controlled substances are at times similar to alcohol, the law views intoxication the same.

The vast majority of controlled substances may have an impact on your driving because they impair your motor functions. Even some prescription drugs could lead to a controlled substance DWI in Texas. 

If you or a loved one faces charges for a DWI that involves drugs, contact an experienced Houston DWI attorney. At The Martinez Law Firm, we have decades of experience with DWI defense cases. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

Do DWI Laws in Texas Include Drugs? 

A controlled substance DWI is a serious charge in the state of Texas. While many believe that only alcohol leads to DWI charges, the truth of the matter is that driving while intoxicated due to the use of drugs can also lead to a DWI.

Per Texas Penal Code § 49.04, you commit a DWI when you: 

• Operate a motor vehicle on a public road and 

• Your BAC is at or above .08 OR

• You have lost the normal use of your mental or physical faculties due to the use of a controlled substance of alcohol

With alcohol, law enforcement may have a much easier time detecting intoxication. Moreover, a chemical test and field sobriety test allows them to assess your physical and mental condition. When it comes to a controlled substance DWI, it is a bit more complex.

Controlled Substance DWI Testing 

Oftentimes, the police default to blood or urine analysis when they suspect drugs are what caused the driver to drive intoxicated. However, neither of these processes are perfect. This is because traces of some drugs remain in your system long after their effects have worn off.

For instance, marijuana has the potential to stay in your system for two weeks, even when you do not use it regularly. This is because the metabolites and other chemical components remain in your body for days or even weeks after using the drug. The police might charge you with a controlled substance DWI because drugs you used days ago appeared in your test results. 

While blood tests are more accurate in terms of drug use, this analysis still has problems. For example, human error can lead to a false positive when a lab technician makes even a slight mistake. Additionally, outdated equipment in a crime lab can lead to incorrect results. 

People often ask DWI defense attorneys whether they should submit to DWI testing. Typically, attorneys respond with, “No, you should not comply.” 

When you refuse a test, it makes their job more difficult because they need to rely on objective or circumstantial evidence if they do not obtain a search warrant to obtain your blood.

Charged with a DWI for Controlled Substances? Call A Houston DWI Lawyer 

If a controlled substance led to a DWI for you or someone you know, it is crucial to contact an experienced DWI defense attorney. It would be best if you never took chances with DWI charges because they can have a severe impact on your life. 

Contact The Martinez Law Firm at (713) 242-1779 today to schedule a free consultation with our trusted legal team. At your consultation, we can discuss your charges and set the path for your defense. 

Thanksgiving DWI: Don’t Ruin Your Holiday

Thanksgiving drinking and DWI's

Avoid a Thanksgiving DWI Arrest

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the holiday season is in full swing. While they look a little different this year, many people decide to take calculated risks to see their loved ones. Whether you plan to drive out to see your in-laws or stop by a friend’s house for Friendsgiving, be careful of Thanksgiving DWIs. 

As experienced Houston DWI lawyers, we see these instances peak every year around the holiday season. Many don’t consider Thanksgiving to be a day of heavy drinking. However, law enforcement agencies often think of Thanksgiving as one of the busiest when it comes to DWI arrests.

A quick note:

If you gather with your family this holiday season, we hope you take full advantage of the free drive-through COVID testing locations around Houston. Before you put anyone at risk, a quick test can ensure you have a much safer Thanksgiving. Results take up to 72 hours but often come back as quickly as the next day. 

Holiday Season and Thanksgiving DWI’s

Frequently, the holiday season comes with an increase in checkpoints across Harris County. Police stop cars to check the driver’s condition in hopes of preventing severe car accidents. Per this information from Scram Systems, over 800 people died in drunk driving accidents in the mid-2010s during the Thanksgiving holiday period. 

As with most holidays, alcohol tends to be a significant part of seasonal celebrations. After all, there’s a reason people refer to Thanksgiving Eve as Blackout Wednesday. Law enforcement officials know this and often plan extra measures to keep the roads safe. 

Every year people plan extensive road trips or even short trips across town to see their loved ones. Hopefully, this year sees fewer people on the road. However, it is essential not to let drunk driving squash the holiday spirit. 

However, a Thanksgiving DWI arrest is not always handled unlawfully. That’s why you need an advocate on your side. Call our legal team to schedule a free case evaluation today.

Thanksgiving DWI Arrest? Call on Our DWI Defense Attorneys

Our experienced Houston DWI lawyers will help you stand up for your rights at The Martinez Law Firm. While the best way to avoid a Thanksgiving DWI is not to drink and drive, people find themselves in these situations. Remember that even though Texas is strict with DWI cases, you have options. 

Our DWI defense attorneys understand how to evaluate the evidence. We can help you fight for the best possible outcome for your case, working to reduce or dismiss charges. Have a safe holiday season, and call on The Martinez Law Firm whenever you require an advocate.

DWI Appeals Court In Texas

how to appeal a DWI in texas

Can I Appeal a DWI in Texas? 

You have the option to appeal a DWI in Texas per Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 44.02. This code establishes the defendant’s right in any criminal case to appeal the court’s decision. Typically, the basis for your appeal must state that the court misapplied the law or allowed inappropriate behavior that led to a wrongful conviction.

For example, some common errors utilized in DWI appeals include the following:

• Court rulings that were made in error 

• Testimonies that should have been excluded

• Improper conduct on the part of the prosecutor

When you work with an experienced Houston DWI defense lawyer, they will help you identify and demonstrate errors made in your case. In doing so, the court may grant your request for a new DWI trial. 

File a DWI Appeal in Texas

How to Appeal a DWI in Texas 

To appeal a drunk driving conviction in Texas, you have to file a motion for appeal with the court’s Clerk where your initial trial occurred. Similarly, you can file a Motion for New Trial, which is the next step in the process if the court grants your request to appeal a DWI. 

Generally, the clerk forwards the motion and relevant documentation to the appeals court. Then, the court obtains the necessary information they require to consider the motion. Oftentimes, this includes a subsequent appellate brief that explains the justification for the appeal. Upon consideration, the court files its own brief and rules on your appeal. 

When you work with a Houston DWI lawyer, their law firm handles this process on your behalf. Typically, the legal process is difficult to navigate, leaving people open to missteps that have their appeals thrown out. When you face a charge of driving while intoxicated, you need a defense attorney fully familiar with the process. 

At The Martinez Law Firm, we have decades of experience helping people appeal DWI rulings. Contact us today for a free consultation on our legal representation and let us help you appeal to a DWI in Texas. 

How Much Time Do I Have to Appeal a DWI in Texas? 

To be frank, you don’t have much time when you want to appeal a DWI decision. When you miss the deadline, you lose your right to appeal. Keep this in mind. 

You have 30 days to file a petition and appeal to a DWI in Texas. 

Time is not on your side, and you need to act quickly. With a DWI on your record, your options are severely limited. When you have a chance to fight, it’s important to work with a Houston DWI lawyer to appeal your case. 

However, missing the deadline does not mean you are out of options. When you miss the deadline, a Houston DWI defense attorney with the right experience will know how to help you find other potential options. 

What If I Lose My Appeal? 

In Texas, if you lose your DWI appeal, you might have another option. Depending on your initial trial location, your appeal proceeding takes place in a Texas Court of Appeal. When you want to appeal their decision, you have the option to file a motion with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. 

Generally, people only pursue this level when they face potential felony charges, which come with severe penalties. Your DWI defense lawyer is there to act as your advocate and provide legal advice so that you can determine the best path for your defense. 

What Happens If I Win the Appeal? 

When you appeal a DWI and win, the court schedules a new trial for your original charges. While you are not in the clear just yet, your Houston DWI defense lawyer should have a better understanding of the evidence and what went wrong in the first case.

While this does not guarantee a victory, you often stand a better chance to gain a favorable result. Moreover, your attorney has the opportunity to negotiate before the trial. In doing so, they may be able to reduce the charges or even have them dismissed entirely. 

When to Hire a Houston DWI Lawyer to Appeal a DWI

There is no requirement to have legal representation in Texas when you appeal a DWI or even go to trial. However, it is important to consider the experience of a Houston DWI defense lawyer. The appeals process for drunk driving cases is quite complicated. 

Moreover, many criminal defense attorneys lack full knowledge of the process and proceedings, so handling it yourself can lead to many missteps. When you miss a deadline or commit an error while filing motions, it puts your appeal in jeopardy. 

An experienced Houston DWI lawyer knows how to evaluate the evidence and facts within your case. In turn, they determine how viable your appeal is and how best to approach it.

Want to Appeal a DWI in Texas? Call Us for a Free Consultation 

Our Houston criminal defense attorneys at The Martinez Law Firm offer comprehensive legal representation to people who face charges related to DWIs and drunk driving. With decades of experience in the courtroom, our Houston DWI lawyers understand how Texas’s criminal justice system works. 

With our legal team, we utilize this knowledge and experience to advocate for your best interests. Let us fight for your future and help you attain the best possible outcome in your DWI case. 

If you have questions about how to appeal to a DWI in Texas, contact our law firm for a free consultation. We can discuss and evaluate your case and provide legal advice on how to proceed. 

Getting Your DWI Dismissed in Texas

how to get dwi dismissed in texas

Having a DWI Dismissed in Texas 

Having a DWI dismissed in Texas may seem like an impossible task. However, with the right Houston DWI lawyer on your side, it is entirely possible. Still, the Lone Star State is known for having some of the strictest DWI laws across the United States. In the state of Texas, you can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) when your blood alcohol concentration is .08% or higher (.04% for commercial drivers). 

When you test above the legal limit, a DWI conviction can feel almost inevitable. However, it is important to know that it is possible to have DWI charges dismissed or reduced. Even when the prosecution has evidence against you, you have options. The right Houston DWI lawyer will advocate for you and guide you through the process. 

How Can a DWI Charge be Dismissed? 

For a talented criminal defense attorney, there is an array of options to have DWI charges dismissed or at least reduced. Oftentimes, these are options that the average person may not think to explore. For instance, when a breathalyzer is not properly maintained, any evidence it produces cannot be used against you. Similarly, when your rights are infringed upon in any way throughout the arrest process, your DWI case could potentially be dismissed. 

While these are just two examples of how a DWI lawyer might defend you, it is also important to remember that the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. This means that they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. If they are unable to show that the arrest process was handled properly, the court may not convict you.

This is one reason why it is crucial to work with experienced criminal defense attorneys, such as Herman Martinez. When you do, it dramatically improves your chances to have your DWI dismissed or your charges reduced. 

What Happens After a DWI Dismissal? 

A DWI dismissal is the best possible outcome for anyone accused of driving drunk. While it is not always possible, a Houston DWI lawyer can still work to reduce the penalties. In the State of Texas, DWI penalties can be severe.

DWI consequences include:

  • Fines
  • Driver’s License Suspension 
  • Higher Car Insurance Costs
  • DWI Education Programs
  • Community Service 
  • Possible Jail Time 

Are DWI Courts Closed Due to the Pandemic? 

No. Most locations throughout Texas have reopened courts or shifted to virtual hearings. However, a backlog of cases may cause DWI cases to be postponed for at least a 30-day period. Some Texas DMV locations may remain closed during this health emergency, which may cause delays for DWI driver’s license suspension hearings for many people. 

When you want to have your DWI dismissed, it is crucial for any DWI defendant without a court date or with a postponed hearing to seek legal advice. An experienced Houston DWI lawyer will pinpoint the best defense to beat DWI charges as quickly as possible. 

Working with a Houston DWI Lawyer 

Have you been arrested for DWI? Whether you’ve had a breath or blood test, our defense team will examine the police report to find the best possible defense to have your case dismissed. When you work with a defense lawyer, they will examine every aspect of your arrest and help you avoid criminal charges.

When you need a DWI dismissed, a Houston criminal defense attorney is essential. An experienced DWI lawyer will fight for your rights and strive to attain the best results possible for your case. If you find yourself facing DWI charges and in need of a talented DWI defense team, please contact us today. 

Get Help with Your First DWI

how to fight your first DWI

Navigate Your First DWI in Texas with a DWI Lawyer 

In the state of Texas, drinking and driving is a serious offense. With a DWI in Texas, you face severe penalties regardless of whether it’s your first, second, or third DWI. Your first DWI in Texas is a class B or A misdemeanor. If the court convicts you, it can cost you thousands of dollars in fines and up to one year in the county jail. However, these are still the lesser of the punishments you could face when your situation is more complex. 

A Houston DWI defense attorney can help you navigate the proceedings and advocate to reduce or dismiss your charges.

Houstons Rise of DWI Cases

As Texas began to reopen earlier this summer, we saw an increase in DWI cases in Texas. According to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, 278 people were charged with DWI over the course of the Memorial Holiday weekend. This is just 43 cases fewer than the same long weekend in 2019. 

“As things began to open up and restrictions ease, you saw a gradual increase (in DWIs),” Sean Teare, head of the Vehicular Crimes Division of the Harris County DA’s Office was quoted saying. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic, we have bars and restaurants open at 25 percent capacity, and we see no drops as in years past. My concern is as we open up, you’re going to see more people try to make up for a lost time, so to speak.”

Typically, when the police arrest someone for a crime in Texas, they don’t receive any penalties until they receive a conviction from the court. However, this is not true for drunk driving in Texas. 

A first-time DWI offender is likely to face administrative penalties before they go to court. Should they go to court and receive a conviction, they may face criminal penalties.

Your First Penalty: Suspension of Your License 

When you fail or refuse to take a chemical test, Texas law allows the officer to seize your license. Then, you receive a “Notice of Suspension” from them. This notice allows you to drive, functioning as a temporary driving permit. 

You have 15 days to request a hearing to save your license. Otherwise, you can continue to drive on the temporary permit for 40 days. However, it is important to know that when you do not contest the decision, your license will be automatically suspended anywhere from 90-180 days. 

The good news is that if your driving privileges get suspended, you can apply for an occupational license. This license restricts all your driving privileges except the allowance to drive to school, work, and essential locations.

To obtain an occupational license, you must agree to an ignition interlock device and provide evidence of an SR-22.

The Second Penalty: Potential Criminal Penalties

Oftentimes, a first conviction is a class B misdemeanor. There are exceptions to this, though, which include a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 percent. The legal limit in Texas is .08 percent. When you hit or exceed .15 percent, it becomes a class A misdemeanor. 

Upon conviction of a DWI in Texas, you receive a fine, a jail sentence, or both. The maximum penalties are $2,000 for class B and $4,000 for class A. Your potential jail sentence could range from 72 hours to 6 months (or a year for class A). 

These fines and sentences are standard. However, even for a first-time DWI in Texas, there’s more. 

  • Probation 
  • DWI Education 
  • Community Service 
  • Further License Suspension

When the suspension of your license ends, you may also have to pay an annual surcharge for three years. This surcharge is often between $1,000 and $2,000. 

Potential Additional Penalties for DWI in Texas 

While the penalties above cover the DWI in Texas, the situation may call for additional penalties. For instance, when you are caught drunk driving with a minor in the car, you face escalated penalties. DWI with someone under 15 in the vehicle is a felony, and your fine can increase up to $10,000. You may also face up to two years of State jail time. 

If you get in an accident where someone dies, the charge can include Intoxication Manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony. This crime can give an offender 2-20 years in the Texas Department of Corrections

Examples of DWI Defense Plans 

While a DWI in Texas is incredibly serious, you have legal arguments when pulled over while intoxicated but have a good reason. Oftentimes, it is not possible to argue that you weren’t intoxicated unless the tests prove it. Instead, some DWI defense plans include: 

  • Drove because an officer told you to 
  • Drove drunk out of necessity
  • Was not intoxicated at the time of the arrest

In other cases, you may be able to argue a technicality. 

  • Improper or unlawful traffic stops
  • Chain of custody issues for blood tests
  • Inaccurate field sobriety tests

You may refuse a blood test or chemical test.

You Need a DWI Lawyer 

A DWI in Texas is one of the most common crimes. Sometimes, drivers do not take DWIs as seriously as they should. However, treating them as inevitable is a mistake because the state takes them quite seriously. 

Have you been arrested for a DWI in Texas? Call on our DWI defense attorneys to stay in control of what happens next. 

7 DWI Consequences a Houston DWI Lawyer Needs You to Know

consequences of a houston texas DWI

Any Houston DWI lawyer can tell you that having a DWI on your record puts serious limitations on your freedom and your future. When you are convicted of a DWI, you could face probation, the loss of your license, and even jail time. 

When your probation ends or when your license is returned, the limitations don’t simply end. If you decide to operate a vehicle under the influence, you may find that this decision haunts you for years to come. Being pulled over for suspicion of a DWI has a significant impact on your lifestyle and reputation for years to come. 

Criminal defense attorneys in Houston TX, such as Herman Martinez, see an array of cases while serving Houston. At our law firm, we place a special focus on DWI defense and arrest for DWI because we know the impact it can have on your life. If you have been arrested in Houston Texas for driving while intoxicated, call our law offices today.

A DWI Harms Your Reputation 

If you are charged with a DWI, your mugshot is taken, processed, and posted online. Left there, it can impact your personal and professional reputation. An experienced Houston DWI lawyer knows how to prevent this from happening. Even after an arrest, there are steps an attorney can take to help you have these charges removed from your record. 

An Interlock on Your Vehicle 

In Harris County, you may be required to install an interlock ignition device on your vehicle. An Interlock is installed on the ignition of your vehicle. This device requires you to test your blood alcohol content before you are able to start your car. Oftentimes, you must pay for the installation of this device as well as a monthly fee to have it recalibrated. 

Without this device fitted, the state may refuse to allow you to drive. If you find yourself facing a difficult case, hire a trusted Houston DWI lawyer so that you have an advocate on your side to fight for your best interests. 

A DWI Can Increase Your Car Insurance Premium 

The premium you pay for care insurance is based upon how risky the insurance company believes you are behind the wheel. Having a DWI on your record makes you a high-risk driver, meaning that insurance companies may elect not to provide you with insurance. When they do, they have the opportunity to charge you a higher premium than you might pay otherwise. 

Custody Battles at a Disadvantage 

Your reputation is impacted in more ways than one. Another possibility is that a recent DWI charge may be used against you if you are engaged in a custody battle. The judge may view a DWI charge as a sign of a drinking problem and deem you an irresponsible parent. 

Employment Difficulties 

Regardless of your progression, a DWI charge is a blemish on your record. You may find your employment at risk, and finding new employment can become quite difficult. Doctors, teachers, and other individuals in “respectable” fields may be unable to obtain a license in their respective fields with a DWI. 

Travel Limitations 

Many states place travel limitations for those on probation. You may be required to request permission from your probation officer before you are allowed to travel. After your probation ends, you may still find travel difficult. Certain foreign countries won’t allow entry to visitors with minor convictions. 

Added Expenses 

When you are convicted of a DWI, you may face more expenses than you realize. From paying to get your car out of the impound lot to bail and court costs, it quickly becomes an expensive process. An experienced Houston DWI Lawyer will help you navigate these situations, recommending the best route for your situation. 

Clearing Your Name with a Houston DWI Lawyer 

When it comes to DWI cases, expunction is difficult to obtain. Certain situations qualify for a non-disclosure of your DWI. This is often implemented to help first-time offenders. The most important thing you can do is have a skilled Houston DWI lawyer at your side. 

Herman Martinez has over 20 years of experience defending clients in an array of criminal defense cases. His success and skill are evident in his superior ratings. If you find yourself in need of a Houston DWI lawyer, call our firm immediately and let us fight for you. 

When can a DWI be charged as a Felony in Texas?

when does a DWI become a felony in Texas?

It is important to understand that the circumstances directly surrounding your DWI arrest could greatly affect your charges. In the state of Texas, first and second time DWI convictions are only considered to be misdemeanors. You will have automatically been charged with a felony DWI in Texas if it is your third conviction.

What Could Cause a Misdemeanor DWI to Become a Felony DWI in Texas?

Certain factors could transform a misdemeanor into a felony DWI, including:

  • You are arrested for a DWI while driving a child under 15 years of age.
    • Penalties for this offense include anywhere from 180 days to 2 years in state jail and fines up to $10,000.00.
  • You are arrested for a DWI after getting in an auto accident that resulted in serious injuries.
    • Penalties for intoxication assault in Texas include incarceration for 2 to 10 years, as well as up to $10,000.00 in fines. It is also mandated by Texas law that the judge in these cases must order at least 160 hours but no more than 600 hours of community service.

What If I Was Charged With a Felony DWI in Another State?

If you are arrested in another state for a felony DWI, Texas will still be informed about your conviction. As long as the state you were charged in is a part of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact. In addition, the only states who are not members of this compact include Tennessee, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Michigan.

Call Our Experienced Houston DWI Defense Lawyers

Having spent over 15 years defending the rights of the accused throughout Houston, Attorney Martinez is a top-rated legal advocate. Being rated as a Clients’ Choice DUI Lawyer on Avvo for 2012. Also named a Top DWI Lawyer by Houston Texas Magazine for 2011. In addition, Attorney Martinez has a 10.0 Rating on Avvo, which is the highest possible score he can receive. This score was from his peers for his exemplary work in the legal community.

Leave your felony DWI charges in the hands of an attorney who truly knows how to best protect your rights, call The Martinez Law Firm for a free consultation!

DWI if You Refuse a Blood or Breath Test?

refusing a blood test or breath test by staying her vehicle. Houston DWI Attorney Herman Martinez can help

Refusing a Blood or Breath Test

In Texas, the “implied consent” law means that you consent to
a test to determine the amount of alcohol in your system. The law measures intoxication by the blood-alcohol content (BAC) percentage. A measurement of .08% and above is considered over the limit. Even if you do not “feel” drunk, an officer can arrest you for being considered legally drunk. However, note an officer must have reasonable suspicion that you were driving while intoxicated to pull you over.

When you submit to the test, you have the right to request to be tested
within at least two hours of your arrest. You can even choose with a doctor
or health care practitioner to take the test for you.

How Do The Courts Convict DWI?

Although DUI refusal can leave you culpable for penalties, this cannot
be used against you should your case be brought to trial. At the same
time, prosecutors may still have mounted enough evidence for a conviction. There may also be reasons why a chemical or blood test could not be obtained at the time of the arrest.

These are some examples:

  • The judge ruled that the bodily fluids obtained were not admissible to trial.
  • The equipment failed at the scene, and could not be used for a chemical test.
  • Field sobriety tests determine that your actions demonstrated intoxication.
  • The officer provided testimony that persuades the jury you were driving drunk.
  • You refused to submit to either a chemical or blood test.

Do I Have the Right to Refuse the Test?

It does not help with the outcome of your case by refusing a blood or breath test.

These are the penalties for refusing to submit to the tests:

  • 1st offense: 180-day license suspension
  • 2nd offense: 2-year license suspension
  • 3rd offense: 2-year license suspension

You may face numerous penalties, such as the standard
DWI penalties, which could include fines, DUI classes, probation, and even imprisonment. These will be in addition to license suspension or revocation. Therefore, it is imperative that if you are facing any DWI charge, even if you believe the evidence against you has no merit, you should fight.

We at The Martinez Law Firm are known for going above and beyond to help
our clients.
Call us today and let’s get started on building your defense!

Fighting a DWI in Houston

fighting a DWI in Houston texas with herman martinez

Know Your Rights

One of the first things you need to do if you want to have any chance of
fighting a DWI in Houston, is you need to understand and exercise your legal rights. The law does not require you to submit to field sobriety tests, nor does it require you to answer an officer’s questions without having your attorney present.

Fight Evidence From Your Breath & Blood Test Results

While you are legally obligated to submit to a breath, blood, or another chemical testing, even what appears to be conclusive evidence gathered from these tests can be disproven with the help of a skilled DWI defense attorney.  Having a skilled DWI attorney fighting a DWI in Houston for you is imperative if you have any chance of winning.

Schedule Your ALR Hearing & Have the Proper Defense

You only have 15 days to schedule your Administration License Revocation (ALR) hearing, so act quickly. An attorney from our firm can also help you fight to retain your driving privileges by providing representation at the hearing.

Let a Qualified Lawyer Thoroughly Investigate Your Charges

The sooner you are able to retain counsel, the sooner we will be able to
get started on strategizing for your defense. Above all, we take an individualized, client-driven approach to each of the cases we have taken on.  Therefore, our clients are able to benefit from a defense that has been personalized to their individual situation.

Hire a Top-Rated Houston Defense Lawyer With a History of Success

If you have been arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, we
advise you to waste no time in hiring a DWI attorney in Houston who you can trust to defend your rights. Furthermore, The Martinez Law Firm is a well-established criminal defense firm that has been providing legal
representation and counsel to those accused of DWI and other
criminal charges for nearly 20 years.

Attorney Martinez has received a 10.0 Superb Rating on Avvo and was named as the 2014 Avvo Clients’ Choice DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer as well. He is well-versed on DWI laws and his track record of success clearly shows that he has the skills necessary to beat your DWI in Texas.

To get the help you need, contact a Houston DWI attorney
from our firm now.

How to Achieve a DWI Expungement

how to get my DWI Expunged

Expunging a DWI Can Help Your Future

After you are convicted of a DWI, it is essential to eventually seek an expungement. A DWI will go on your criminal record, which potential employers can access whenever you are interviewed for a new job. Many companies won’t hire individuals that have been arrested for a crime of this nature. An expunged DWI offense can typically still be used as proof of prior conviction, but they are not visible to prospective employers, educational institutions, and credit insurers, or other entities that conduct background checks.

This means that unless you are arrested again for another DUI, it will be as if you were never arrested in the first place. You will want to pursue an expungement with the help of an accomplished Houston DWI lawyer. In order to receive this privilege, you will need to adhere to Chapter
55 of the Texas Criminal Code.

When Can a DWI Be Expunged?

According to the Texas Young Lawyers Association, individuals can have
their records expunged if they were:

  1. Arrested for a crime that was never charged; or
  2. If the criminal charge was ultimately dismissed.

Other Exceptions for Expungement

If a person was convicted
for a crime that was later acquitted by the trial court or the Criminal Court
of Appeals, or if it was a conviction for a failure to attend school,
that record can also be expunged. In addition, if the individual was convicted of a crime that was later pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the US President, then that record can be expunged. Some juvenile offenses are eligible for expungement, as well as some alcohol offenses involving minors.

If you want more information about expungement in your case, then
contact a Houston DWI attorney at the firm today to learn more!

A DWI Charge – What You Need to Know

what you need to know about dwi

A DWI charge means that if you have a blood alcohol content of .08% or above while behind the wheel, you can get arrested for a DWI.

In Texas, there are no alternatives or lesser charges to DWI, so the prosecution will be seeking the maximum penalties against you.
What are the penalties for drunk driving?
Your first DWI charge & conviction can have you put in jail for up to 180 days with fines of up to $2,000. Your license could also be suspended for up to a year.
What about a second DWI offense?
The penalties will increase, including the possibility of the following: 
Up to a year in jail
Fines up to $4,000
Two-year license suspension
Mandatory ignition interlock installation

While a second offense is still considered a misdemeanor, so long as there are no aggravating factors, a third offense is a felony. It will carry two years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines, an extensive license suspension, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device as well.

There is no look-back period in Texas, meaning no matter how many years have elapsed between your first and current DWI, it can still be counted against you. In addition, your insurer will likely respond to a DWI conviction by raising your premiums by a few hundred dollars a month or by dropping you entirely due to your increased risk.
Do I really need a lawyer for my case?
You should be well aware that a DWI arrest is far from a DWI conviction. When you have an attorney, they can argue against your charges by utilizing a number of defenses. They can find evidence to prove those police officers had no probable cause to pull you over, that your breath or blood test was inaccurate, or that your rights were violated in some way.

With so much at stake, you need a Houston DWI lawyer from The Martinez Law Firm to argue on your behalf. He is a Top DUI Lawyer as recognized by H Texas Magazine and Avvo. Representing clients throughout Houston for over 15 years, there is no case too complex. He believes that you are always innocent until proven guilty. Call today to find out how we can use our experience to benefit your case.
Free Case Evaluation

The Value of Having an Attorney for a DWI Charge

should i get an attorney for my DWI?

It is always to your benefit to hire a DWI attorney to handle your case. Someone who has a background in the court system understands how plea bargains work, and is able to weed through the complicated administrative procedures is a must-have if you are planning to fight your charges or seek a plea deal. While you are not legally obligated to hire an attorney for a DWI charge, you have a much better chance of obtaining a positive result for your case when you have one.

Even if you wish to plead guilty and are fairly certain of a conviction, a DWI lawyer can offer you the benefit of their experience and advise you along the way. An attorney may be able to offer a viable plea bargain in such a case.

What a DWI Lawyer can Offer

Your attorney may also be able to push for sentence bargaining which can be very useful when you are faced with jail time. In such a case you would be able to know what your sentence would be before you decide how to plead.

If you believe you were arrested in error and were either not intoxicated or police acted inappropriately, you most certainly need a DWI lawyer who understands how a DWI arrest should function, including the stop, field sobriety, and chemical test procedures. A DWI lawyer will know when a mistake was made in your arrest and can exploit such as a mistake. In this case, you can probably get your case dropped since the police acted improperly.

In addition to fighting your charges, a DWI attorney can help you regain your driver’s license which was likely taken from you once arrested. You will need to schedule and win an administrative hearing to contest your license’s revocation and a DWI attorney can stand beside you and advise you for both.

Having a DWI attorney is worth the cost of retaining one. When your future is on the line, an experienced DWI lawyer from Herman Martinez could make all the difference for you.

Common DWI Questions

Common DWI Questions answered by houstons best criminal defense attorney herman martinez

Being pulled over for a suspected DWI can be a very humbling experience. If an officer suspects you have been driving while intoxicated it is highly likely you may find yourself being placed under arrest before you even realize what is going on. Knowing your rights and understanding what you should do in this type of situation will make a big difference in what happens next.

Our founding lawyer has more than 15 years of criminal law experience and has been named by H Texas Magazine as a “Top DWI Lawyer” for 2011. With an in-depth knowledge of DWI defense, we are more than qualified to provide legal representation in all different types
of DWI cases from first-time DWI arrests to Felony DWI and more. To find out what we can do for you, give our law firm a call today. In the meantime, here are some common DWI questions,  and the answers you will want to know.

 

Can I refuse to take a field sobriety test?

You are under no legal obligation to submit to field sobriety testing. These types of tests are extremely suggestive and are only used by officers to confirm their suspicions of DWI and warrant an arrest.

Can I refuse to take a breathalyzer test?

Any individual who has been issued a driver’s license in our state
has already given his or her implied consent to submit to a breath, blood,
urine, or other chemical tests in the event of a suspected DWI. Refusing
to take a breathalyzer test will generally lead to an arrest and the mandatory suspension of your driving privileges for at least 6 months.

Is there anything I can do to avoid being arrested for DWI?

Other than not consuming alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel of a
motor vehicle, there is usually little that can be done to avoid an arrest
after being pulled over for an alleged DWI. The officer already had his
or her suspicions as to your state of intoxication and field sobriety tests,
breathalyzer tests and questioning is how those suspicions will be confirmed.

Do I have to answer the officer’s questions?

Another common DWI question is, if you are pulled over on suspicion of DWI, you do not have to answer any questions that could incriminate you or be used against you in a court of law. Be respectful. Provide the officer with the basic identification of the information he or she requires and then politely inform the officer that you would be happy to answer more questions once your lawyer is present. Some officers will try to convince you this is an admission of guilt, but it is not. You are simply asserting your legal rights.

Will a failed test guarantee a conviction?

Neither a failed breathalyzer test nor a failed chemical test will guarantee
a conviction. Even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is
above the legal limit, we will challenge the results and validity of your
tests. An improperly trained officer, an incorrectly calibrated testing
unit, and numerous other factors can all impact the results of your test.

Will I lose my driver’s license if I am arrested for a suspected DWI?

If you have been arrested for DWI, you have 15 days to request an
Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing where you will be given the opportunity to challenge your license suspension. Having a skilled criminal defense lawyer by your side will greatly improve your chances of retaining your license or being granted restricted driving privileges.

If it is my first time being arrested for DWI, will I have to go to jail?

Individuals who are arrested for a first-time DWI in our state could be
facing up to 180 days in jail, in addition to a number of other penalties.
In cases where an individual has a BAC level of 0.15 or above, that penalty
may be increased to a year in jail.

The most important thing you can do upon being arrested for a suspected
DWI here in Houston or throughout any of the surrounding cities is to
exercise your legal rights. You have the right to remain silent and you have the right to have a lawyer present during all questioning. Do not help build the prosecution’s case against you by waiving your rights.
Call The Martinez Law Firm and schedule to meet with a Houston criminal defense lawyer immediately. We will answer any of your common DWI questions not answered here, advise you of your legal rights, and help you prepare a compelling strategy for your defense. It is not too late. The time to call is now!

DWI’s on Thanksgiving Weekend

dwi's on thanksgiving weekend- herman martinez can help you fight them

Thanksgiving weekend is one of the most popular weeks for Thanksgiving DWI arrests within the year. This is because many individuals will enjoy a glass of wine or two with dinner and then consume beer while watching football. In addition, an individual may consume a holiday drink or two over the course of the night. By the time he or she is ready to drive home, the individual may be well over the legal limit. Every year, police forces put out large numbers of patrols to watch for Thanksgiving DWI offenders that are making their way home after a Thanksgiving celebration.

Ironically, “Black Wednesday,” which is the day before Thanksgiving, has also become a popular day for drinking. According to the Sun-Sentinel, this has become one of the biggest alcohol drinking nights of the year, second only to New Year’s Eve. Researchers say that Black Wednesday encourages drinking for a variety of reasons. For one, relatives are in town, and for another college students are home. Also, there is no work on Thursday, so individuals are partying and decide to drink without worry that they will have to go into work hung-over.

Many restaurant owners and bar owners say that they are specifically preparing for Black Wednesday by offering special deals that night. Yet it is important for these drinkers to remember that they need to be wise when they choose any alcohol. Driving home intoxicated may result in a DWI charge, which will then inevitably result in arrest. If you have been arrested for a Thanksgiving DWI, then you need a dedicated attorney and former prosecutor on your side. At
The Martinez Law Firm, you can trust that you will have the aggressive representation that you need to work through your charges effectively. Call the firm today to learn more!

 

VEHICULAR HOMICIDE CHARGES IN TEXAS

Vehicular Homicide Herman Martinez in houston criminal defense attorney

Some states don’t recognize vehicular homicide as its own specific crime, but Texas is one of the states that will uphold this specific offense. In the state of Texas, a person who is convicted of vehicular homicide faces between 2 to 20 years in prison. Vehicular homicide is the act of killing another victim in a crash that was partially due to drunk driving.

If the drunk driver survives the accident, he or she can be charged with this very serious felony. Laws in each state vary greatly on the idea of vehicular homicide. Some states take the offense very seriously and will force individuals to serve up to 99 years for the crime.

Specifically in Texas, vehicular homicide is also referred to as intoxication manslaughter. This is normally a second-degree felony and will result in at least a mandatory two years of prison time. Individuals can serve a sentence of up to 20 years for this singular crime, but cannot sever more than that. Also, Texas has a $10,000 maximum for fines associated with intoxication manslaughter.

If an offender kills more than one person during a drunken-driving accident, then he or she may be sentenced for multiple intoxication manslaughter charges. This can duplicate the sentence, eventually resulting in a life sentence for those who have killed multiple people in a car crash. If you have been arrested for an intoxication manslaughter charge, the best move you can make is to hire a dedicated and hardworking Houston DWI attorney to represent you in your case.

Criminal Defense Attorney Herman Martinez is a Former U.S Chief Prosecutor, so he understands both sides of DWI law. If you have been arrested, he can use his intimate knowledge of both sides of the justice system to advocate for your innocence or the dismissal of your case. Herman Martinez will do all that he can to reduce your charges or eliminate your possible sentences, so partner with the lawyers at this firm today!

 

DO NOT LET A HOUSTON DWI RUIN YOUR HOLIDAY

With the holidays approaching, law enforcement will be on high alert for
the increased number of drivers who are operating a motor vehicle while
intoxicated. Do not let a DWI ruin your holiday, drinking and driving during the holiday can be very dangerous. Furthermore, in some locations, the police presence will be extremely high.

If you are stopped for DWI, you may feel intimidated and scared. Although just being stopped is a good indication that you may be arrested, there are some things you can do to lessen the possibility of arrest and improve your chances in court if you are arrested.

Of course, you should never drive if you are intoxicated. However, even
a small amount of alcohol in your system can mean that you could be considered at fault for any accident that occurs and you could still be arrested for drunk driving even if you are below the legal limit. And it doesn’t take many drinks to exceed the legal limit, much depends on your body weight and how much time has elapsed since you had your last drink. If you are going to drink, even socially, then you need to realize that you
could be stopped for DWI.

Remember that a vehicle that appears to be in disrepair, is excessively
loud or that has any burned-out or broken lights, will attract the attention
of police officers who are keeping an eye out for dangerous drivers. Drivers who fail to obey traffic laws by speeding or ignoring stop signs will
also draw the attention of law enforcement, as will a driver who appears
to be weaving or erratic.

Even if you are not driving erratically, you can be pulled over for something as simple as a broken tail light, or some other minor infraction. At that point, if the officer believes you are under the influence, he may ask you to perform field sobriety tests. Failing these tests gives the officer probable cause to arrest and to request a Blood/Breath Alcohol Content (BAC) test.  If you fail this test the DWI ruin your holiday.

If you are arrested for DWI, be aware that this is a serious charge that could seriously disrupt both your personal and your professional life. It could mean jail time, probation, your car insurance may increase, and a mark on your reputation that could have a detrimental effect on your career and your family life.

If you let a DWI ruin your holiday and get charged with DWI, you need an advocate working to defend you. Herman Martinez is a Houston DWI Attorney who is certified by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to administer the same field sobriety tests that the police use to base arrests on. This expertise makes him particularly adept at finding inconsistencies and irregularities in these test results.

If you have been arrested for DWI, don’t put your future at risk. Seek
the best representation for your case. Contact us for a consultation today

Texas Proposed DWI Deferred Adjudication Needs Some Tweaking…

I was contemplating whether to write this blog here or on my DWI blog, but since it relates to other areas of criminal law I found it more appropriate to post it here. Does anyone really believe that the Mother Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) organization has a drunk drivers best interest at heart? Well when you listen to their publicity machine you may think so. Currently, the organization is trying to bamboozle Texas residents into thinking that the proposed law will help many people accused of a DWI. A closer look into the law will reveal that it will be assisting the court dockets and prosecutors more than the citizens of Texas. A non criminal lawyer or a lawyer that does not practice DWI defense will not recognize that this proposed law will not allow a person that is placed on deferred adjudication to expunge their record or apply for a motion for non disclosure after they successfully complete a probationary period like most other crimes. Typically, when someone is arrested for a crime such as theft or possession of a controlled substance and subsequently placed on deferred adjudication they are eligible for a motion for non disclosure if they successfully complete the program. The motion prevents the public from ever seeing the arrest after the court grants the motion for non disclosure. While it is correct that a deferred adjudication allows someone to say that they have not been convicted of a DWI, what use is it if an employer, landlord, or credit agency can still see the arrest and plea of guilty. Most people that are not attorneys will see this information on public databases and not care that it is not conviction. MADD should ask someone that has successfully completed a deferred adjudication of a family violence assault crime if they appreciate not being able to own a gun, clear their record or rent an apartment. Undoubtedly the answer would be no.

At Least it Was Not a DWI

Former Houston Rocket Steve “Franchise” Francis has been arrested
for public intoxication in Los Angeles, California. He was an NBA all-star while playing for the Rockets. He never fulfilled expectations when
he played here. He was eventually traded for Tracy McGrady who also failed
to live up to his expectations with the Rockets. I am caught off guard
with the amount of his bond. For example, in Harris County, Texas that
bond is reserved for a second-degree felony or First-time Felony DWI. If that is bond is equivalent to a traffic ticket what does Los Angeles set a bond for a more serious crime? I hope that this bond was not set because he is a celebrity or because he can afford a high bond. I would not be surprised if Francis had the ten grand in his pocket. Regardless, it looks like he got a ride to the airport to avoid the dreaded DWI charge.

Do I have to Pay the Reinstatement Fee After my DWI?

Please keep in mind that the DWI reinstatement fee only needs to be paid
if you lose your license. The main reasons a person loses their driver’s license in Texas for a DWI is because they lost their ALR hearing, they were sentenced to jail time instead of probation, or they have more than one DWI conviction. Regardless, a person does not have to pay a reinstatement fee if their driver’s license is not suspended. As experienced Houston DWI Lawyers, we frequently save a person’s license by winning their ALR hearing regardless of the fact if they blew over the legal limit or a blood test was performed.

DWI Field Sobriety Myths

DWI field sobriety test - herman martinez criminal defense lawyer

There are many DWI field sobriety myths surrounding how these tests are to be performed, and what it takes to pass them. As a Houston DWI lawyer, I review DWI field sobriety tests daily. It troubles me how police officers score these tests, and how they lack the necessary detail in their reports. By routinely doing this, it illustrates their lack of knowledge of the DWI tests and their zeal for a DWI arrest.

The officers mislead the prosecutors by omitting crucial information and subscribing to the field sobriety myths that have developed over the years. For example, officers routinely state that a person uses their arm for balance when performing the DWI field sobriety tests and indicate that as a clue. However, a person is allowed to use their arms for balance so long as it not more than six inches away from their side.

In fact, during the instruction phase of the walk and turn test a person
is allowed to use their arms for balance so long as they maintain the
start position. Another myth is that a person must touch heel to toe when
performing the walk and turn tests. This is incorrect a person is allowed
a half an inch between their heel and toe when performing this portion
of the test. Most officers do not realize this despite it being in their
manual for DWI detection. With the help of an experienced
DWI Attorney you should be able to sort through DWI field sobriety myths and uncover the officer’s lack of knowledge of the field sobriety tests.

 

Anyone Can Get Arrested for DWI

I always tell my clients how easy it is to get arrested for a DWI. The statute does not require that anyone intend to drive while intoxicated like most other crimes. Regularly, we see people that are involved in law enforcement being caught for DWI. Just this weekend an Ohio trooper that has been recognized by M.A.D.D. in the past for the amount of DWI arrests he made was arrested for DWI. One thing that I have noticed as a Houston DWI lawyer is that an officer never provides a breath sample when requested.

Breathalyzer Halloween Costume Nets a DWI Arrest

Nothing is amusing about
getting a DWI in Houston or anywhere else, but I must admit this particular arrest made me chuckle.
I am sure it was a funny idea when
James Miller decided to dress up as the breathalyzer machine for halloween this year.
I am fairly certain he may have taken a few pictures of drinking alcohol
while in his costume. He probably thought the irony was amusing. I doubt
he enjoyed the irony of getting arrested for DWI while in the costume.
Talk about being a walking probable cause for police to arrest someone
for driving of while intoxicated.

DWI While Driving Your La-Z-Boy?

Here is a crime that I have never seen as a
Houston DWI Lawyer: driving your
La-Z-Boy while intoxicated. Somehow a Minnesota man used a lawnmower engine to power
his chair down the road, to get into an accident. The man admitted to
drinking 8-9 beers. Most disturbing is that this is his second DWI conviction.
He was ultimately placed on probation for two years with electronic, but
had to forfeit the chair.

Houston DWI Turns Into a Double Whammy

As a Houston DWI attorney I see many different types of cases. A person
is always surprised when they are charged with a felony for their
first DWI arrest. This commonly happens when a driver gets into an accident while intoxicated
and a person suffers an injury. This increases the classification from
a misdemeanor to a felony.

Please keep in mind that just because a person is charged with a felony
means that they will not be convicted of this charge. The case may still
be dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor.

Police Officer Draws Blood On Side of the Road for DWI

How would you like your local
police officer drawing blood from you on the side of the road? This is already happening in some cities
and Houston,Texas could be next. Can you imagine the officer ready to
pounce on your arm to draw blood from a needle that is being carried in
their holster? As a
Houston DWI Lawyer
I have to fight this type of attitude daily. Forget a sterile environment,
forget the opportunity to refuse, forget about your safety, forget about
your rights! While Mothers Against Drunk Driving.encourages this type
of behaviour they are trampling on our rights. The Government is encouraging
their behaviour by creating laws that are far reaching and crush our personal
freedoms. I look forward to the day that the public awakens from their spell.

Wow…could my DWI arrest been any worse?

The reality is that in a lot of other states a
first time DWI
could be a lot worse. As a DWI Attorney that only practices in Texas I
know all Texas’ DWI laws, but I am aware of the penalties that are
imposed in other states. For example, the state of Florida requires a
person convicted of their first DWI to immobilize their vehicle for over
a month. More harshly, Arizona imposes even more severe penalties for
DWI cases. I would hate to be a DWI defendant in a Arizona where in some
cases I would be facing a minimum 45 day jail sentence for my first DWI
conviction. If you are arrested for a DWI you need an experienced
DWI Lawyer
that will assist you during this stressful event to make sure that everything
is done on your behalf.

July 4th – Houston DWI Arrests

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.

DWI Arrests In Houston Likely To Increase

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.

DWI While Driving a Bulldozer

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.

Houston DWI Pretrial Diversion Changes A Judge’s Role

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.

Your DWI Probation Can Not Be Cleared From Your Record

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

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

Do Not Bother Seeking a Motion For Non Disclosure For Your DWI

As a Criminal Defense 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.