How Does an Out of State DWI Affect Your License? 

Across the United States, every state maintains a department that handles DWI cases. This department oversees the driving privileges of the state’s residents. In Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is in this role. Included in their role is the handling of Texas DWI license suspensions. When you are charged with Driving While Intoxicated in another state, it is within their power to take similar action against your license. 

The Interstate Agreement on DWI

The Interstate Driver License Compact, or DLC, enables the sharing of records between states that are members of the compact. Texas happens to be a member of the DLC. Essentially, this means that a licensing agency in another state can notify the DPS in Texas when you receive a DWI. In turn, the DPS is able to treat the offense as one committed in Texas. 

One Driver, One Record 

However, it is important to note that the DLC does not dictate when or how a conviction in another state affects your Texas driver’s license. To put it simply, it makes it easier for state agencies like the DPS to share information about convictions and suspensions. While driver’s licenses are issued by the state, the DLC allows them to operate under the principle of “one driver, one license, one record.”

Likewise, it is important that you know the Texas DPS will only suspend your license if the conviction is considered illegal in Texas. This means that the specific law you broke must have an equivalent law in Texas. For instance, if you receive a traffic ticket in Louisiana for an offense that Texas law does not have in place, it would not automatically transfer to your Texas driving record. 

One Record” Regarding Out of State DWI

Every state has DWI and DUI laws, and they share the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold of .08%. This means that if you are convicted of an out of state DWI in California with a BAC of .08%, the DLC allows Texas DPS to suspend your Texas driver’s license. 

It is important to note that underage laws vary by state. Texas is considered to be a zero-tolerance state, meaning that minors caught driving with traceable amounts of alcohol in their blood can face DUI charges. However, other states exercise more leniency for minors, requiring a BAC of .02% or higher for an underage DUI. 

Unfortunately, the Texas zero-tolerance policy means that any out of state DWI conviction for a minor is likely to affect their Texas license. 

When to Speak to a DWI Lawyer 

When you have questions about how an out of state DWI or DUI conviction can affect your driving record, it’s vital that you speak to a Houston DWI lawyer. An experienced DWI criminal defense attorney such as Herman Martinez will be able to detail the potential consequences you could face in Texas. Moreover, he will guide you through the process of fighting any potential suspension of your license. 

Are you facing Houston DWI charges? DWI Defense Lawyer Herman Martinez is here to advocate on your behalf. He will advise you on the most appropriate course of action for your particular case.

Our experienced team is capable of handling an array of criminal defense cases, ranging from DWI to domestic violence as well as other misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us today to request a consultation with our Houston DWI defense team. 

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.

Shots and keys on a bar table, letting people know not to drink and drive. A warning to not get your first DWI.
Don’t take that chance, give those keys to a sober friend. Don’t take the chance of getting your first DWI

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. 

Underage drinking continues to be a problem in Texas. In this guide, we hope to shed some light on the conditions and consequences of underage drinking in Texas. Our state’s numerous laws and penalties pertaining to underage drinking reflect the legal bottom line. 

Texas takes underage drinking quite seriously. If you, a relative, or a loved one consume, possess, or purchase alcohol for someone under the age of 21 in Texas, you should consider the facts and consequences we discuss below. 

Are you or someone you know facing a charge related to underage drinking in Texas? Contact the criminal defense attorneys at The Martinez Law Firm. 

How to Define Underage Drinking in Texas 

In Texas, the minimum drinking age varies according to whom and to where the drinker is being served alcoholic drinks. For example, a waiter in a restaurant that serves spirits, beer, or wine must be at least 18 years old. 

The legal drinking age in Texas is 21 years of age. Originally set as 18 years in 1971, it rose to 19 in 1979 and again to 21 in 1984. These changes in the age were an attempt by legislators to curb drinking and driving instances. 

However, there are exceptions to this law. For instance, an individual under the age of 21 may drink at home when supervised and permitted by an adult. The adult must also be on the premises and present when a minor is served alcohol. 

Underage Drinking in Texas 

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, more than 130,000 minors under the age of 18 were arrested for drunk driving in Texas. Additionally, almost 1,000 minors under 18 years of age were charged with DUI. Also, the Texas School Substance Abuse survey reports that alcohol is the drug of choice for many Texas high school students: 

  • Experts report that binge drinking may lead to serious health problems. 
  • Most students said they first drank alcohol at the age of 14. 
  • Students surveyed say it’s easy to access alcohol when they want it. 
  • Almost one-fourth of secondary students in Texas say they have had five or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. 

Oftentimes, minors do not consider the possession or consumption of alcohol to be a serious criminal offense. Unfortunately, underage drinking in Texas can lead to juvenile conviction and have other serious consequences. 

What Are the Penalties for a Minor in Possession of Alcohol? 

When a minor is found drinking, they face severe consequences in the State of Texas. Any individual under the age of 21 who buys alcohol, becomes intoxicated in a public place, lists about their age to obtain or purchase alcohol, or attempts to buy, consume, or possess alcohol faces arrest and charges for Minor in Possession (MIP), otherwise known as underage drinking, in Texas. 

MIP is an alcohol-related charge as well as a Class C misdemeanor. Potential consequences of an MIP include: 

  • Up to $500 in fines 
  • Up to 40 hours of community service 
  • Court-ordered participation in an alcohol awareness program
  • Loss of driving privileges fro 30 to 180 days 

A minor over the age of 17 may face a maximum of $2,000 fines, up to 180 days behind bars, and the automatic suspension or loss of their driver’s license. 

Zero Tolerance in Texas 

In Texas, it is illegal for any individual under the age of 21 to operate any motor vehicle, including watercraft, in public with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

For a first offense, they face a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by 

  • Fines up to $500
  • Up to 40 hours of community service
  • Mandated alcohol awareness education
  • Up to 60 days suspension of their driver’s license
  • Ineligible for a Texas occupational license for 30 days

A second offense is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by: 

  • Up to $500 fine
  • Alcohol awareness classes
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 120 days
  • Up to 60 hours of community service
  • Ineligible for an occupational license for 90 days 

With a third offense, the minor is ineligible for deferred adjudication. 

  • Driver’s license suspended for up to 180 days
  • Ineligible for an occupational license throughout suspension 
  • At the age of 17, they face a maximum of $2,000 fines and a jail term up to 180 days

Contact our criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation of your case. 

Using a False ID 

Under the “Use it and lose it” law in Texas, in which use refers to alcohol, it is illegal to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol. Using false identification is a criminal offense, and if convicted, you or your loved one will face a judge and potentially jail time. 

At a minimum, it is possible to lose your Texas driver’s license. Any minor who consumes or possesses alcohol faces the potential loss of their driver’s license. 

What Are the Penalties of Underage Drinking in Texas? 

Although they are aware that the law forbids minors to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol, many minors proceed with underage drinking in Texas. Per the Texas Department of Transportation (TDoT), these are the consequences of underage drinking. 

  • On a first offense, when a minor possesses alcohol but does not consume it, they potentially lose their driver’s license for 30-80 days and must complete up to 40 hours of community service. They must also participate in a court-ordered alcohol awareness program. 
  • On a second offense, the minor faces up to $2,000 in fines and a maximum jail time of 180 days. 
  • When a minor is charged with drinking and driving, they face similar penalties to the possession of alcohol. 
  • However, on a subsequent offense, they face the loss of their driver’s license for up to 12 months as well as an alcohol awareness program. 

When an adult serves alcohol to or purchases alcohol for a minor, they also face serious charges related to underage drinking in Texas. 

  • On a first offense, the adult faces a Class A misdemeanor charge. They may be fined up to $4,000 and/or face up to one year in jail. They may also have their driver’s license revoked. 
  • When the adult is not the parent or guardian of the minor and is over the age of 21, they face liability damages for any damage the minor causes under the influence of alcohol. 

Selling alcohol to a minor is a Class A misdemeanor. It is punishable by fines up to $4,000 and/or jail time up to one year. 

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!

Proving Intent is One of the Hardest Parts of a Prosecutor’s Job

Proving intent considers a  person’s mental state and makes up the largest part of how criminal trials transpire. Prosecutors have the burden that an individual’s state of mind was fully aware of the actions about to take place, had planned those actions in advance, and knew what the consequences would be. This is called “criminal intent,” or mens rea.

How Mens Rea Works

To illustrate the difference, let us take, for example, involuntary manslaughter versus murder. What these two offenses have in common is that one person caused the death of another person. However, the very definition of involuntary manslaughter means that the individual acted recklessly or negligent, such as improperly handling a motor vehicle, and killed another.

Murder, on the other hand, is “the unlawful killing of another with
malice aforethought.” The keywords here are “malice aforethought,”
which means that the person committing the crime had every intention of
carrying out the killing before setting out to do the deed.

The Role of the Prosecutor

A prosecutor must prove that “beyond any reasonable doubt,” that
the accused person had planned a deliberate attempt to commit a crime.
Without proving intent, prosecutors will not be able to secure a criminal
a conviction for wrongdoing.

Most cases are not this cut and dry, though. There may be instances where
the accused person mistakenly believed something else, which caused him
or her to commit the crime. Here is one example: you are driving, and
you believe that the other driver is aware of your presence and motions
for you to make your maneuver. You mistakenly misinterpret the signal,
and the cars collide, killing the other driver. Because the circumstances
of the situation appeared accidental, you may have a defense available to you. In this case, proving intent can be very hard.

Bear in mind, however, that such defenses would not be valid in civil cases,
such as if the other party chooses to file a personal injury lawsuit to
recover the damages.

Accused? Call a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer!

If you are facing criminal charges of any sort, know that there is hope.
There may be a valid defense to help preserve your reputation and prevent
you from accumulating a criminal record. Hiring a knowledgeable defense
team is the first step. A good defender knows how to seek out advice from
leading experts and makes thorough investigations—that is precisely
what we do at The Martinez Law Firm.

Start your case today and call to schedule your free consultation with us today!

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!

<span><p>Plea bargains are agreements between a defendant and a prosecutor where the defendant agrees to either plead guilty or no contest. In exchange, the defendant receives an agreement from the prosecutor to drop at least one charge, reduce a charge, or recommend to the judge a certain sentence the defense finds acceptable.</p>
<p>Plea bargains are increasingly common, given the crowded nature of prisons and the desire to move through criminal cases quickly. As much as 90% of convictions are the result of negotiated pleas.</p>
<p>Two types of plea bargaining exist: sentence and charge bargaining. Sentence bargaining is when the prosecutor agrees to recommend a lighter sentence for specific charges if the defendant then pleads guilty or no contest. Charge bargaining, on the other hand, is when prosecutors agree to drop some charges or reduce a charge if the defendant pleads guilty.</p>
<p>Plea bargaining can take place almost any time during the judicial process: shortly after a criminal arrest or as a jury returns to a courtroom to announce the verdict. In the case of a hung jury, rather than go through another trial, the prosecution and defense can negotiate a plea.</p>
<p>It should be noted that while a plea of no contest cannot be used against the defendant if the victim wishes to pursue damages in civil court later, pleading guilty can be used against the defendant. Pleading guilty or no contest to a judge-approved plea bargain means the defendant’s guilt is set and the conviction can show up on their criminal record. This conviction may potentially qualify to be expunged or sealed later on.</p>
<p><strong>If you are facing criminal charges, you need a fierce attorney who can seek out a plea bargain if necessary. <a href=”/Contact_Us.aspx”>Call on The Martinez Law Firm</a> for knowledgeable representation.</strong></p></span>

<span><p>For misdemeanor cases, the judge will typically sentence the defendant immediately after they plead guilty or no contest or are found guilty by trial. Felonies will usually mean the judge will not impose a sentence until several days later in a separate sentencing hearing.</p>
<p>When significant periods of incarceration are at stake, the probation department will have prepared a presentence report which they will argue over with the defense.</p>
<p>Judges usually consider oral statements made in court along with the probation officer’s written presentence report when they decide the sentence to hand down. As one might expect, the prosecution will attempt to obtain the maximum punishment during the sentencing for the defendant by noting any aggravating factors in their case and any history of criminal behavior. At the same time, the defense will argue for a lighter penalty. Defendants also may speak on their own behalf before the judge imposes a sentence.</p>
<h3>The Role of the Victim</h3>
<p>Victims also have a role to play in the sentencing—they can tell the judge how the crime has impacted their life, the pain they have suffered as a result, and any other reason why the judge should impose a harsh penalty. Victims have a right to make such statements before the judge.</p>
<p>Sentences are increasingly reflecting the impact the offense has on the victim and probation officers will often include a victim impact statement in the presentence report. Victims may also be eligible to recover restitution from the defendant or crime victim assistance funds that are paid by the county or state.</p>
<p><strong>If you are facing criminal charges you need a dedicated Houston criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights. <a href=”/Contact_Us.aspx”>Call The Martinez Law Firm</a> today for a <a href=”/Case_Evaluation.aspx”>free case evaluation</a>!</strong></p></span>

The Fifth Amendment is clear—

“no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime…nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”

Law enforcement may or may not inform you of your rights, which means it is up to you to be informed and understand beforehand what your rights are.

Before interrogating an individual, police must provide them with their Miranda warnings and inform a person being arrested of their right to silence. This means law enforcement cannot use a suspect’s silence as evidence of guilt. If a suspect is not technically “in custody” police are obligated to let them know and that they are free to leave.

In order to keep the government from using your silence against you, you need to explicitly invoke your right to silence. You need to say something to the effect that you are invoking your privilege against self-incrimination.

If you have been arrested and wisely choose to exercise your right to silence until you have had the chance to speak with a Houston criminal defense attorney, you need to make this known to whomever is interrogating you. There is exact formula to invoke your Miranda right to silence; just clearly and briefly state you do not wish to speak with law enforcement.

Speak with The Martinez Law Firm today if you or a loved one has been arrested!

Probable cause to get a DWI arrest

Probable cause is the linchpin in many criminal cases. Police are required to have a cause to arrest someone or obtain a warrant from a judge.

In establishing probable cause, law enforcement needs to be able to show an objective situation which leads them to believe a suspect has committed a crime. In other words, there must be factual evidence, rather than a hunch, that a person is guilty of a crime.

Whether or not it exists is the purview of the judge who can examine the evidence and may disagree with law enforcement. Much is riding on the judge’s decision since the probable cause is such an abstract idea and a definition can depend on the person.  

In essence, probable cause is the necessary facts or evidence which would bring a reasonable person to believe a suspect has committed a crime. A common example of this includes the sight or smell of illegal substances in plain view or an admission of guilt. It can also be a Police Officer seeing teenagers take a keg inside a house.  They now have reasoning to go and check up on what is going on.  It should be pointed out that minor traffic infraction such as speeding, broken tail-lights, or expired registration is not.

Probable cause usually stems from four different sources:

  • Observation of suspicious and potentially criminal behavior
  • An officer’s experience in elements of criminal activity
  • Statements were given and information collected by witnesses and informants
  • Circumstantial evidence which may imply guilty but which does not prove it

Been arrested? Call the firm today for your free case evaluation—(713) 489-9773!

A wet reckless is a plea bargain that can be made by someone charged with DWI/DUI. This is essentially a lesser charge acknowledging reckless driving with alcohol present. There are fewer penalties and punishments attached to a wet reckless conviction than a standard DWI.

Texas, however, is one of the many states that does not allow the prosecution to offer this plea bargain. The law specifically prohibits the prosecution or judge from reducing a DWI charge to a non-DWI offense, which is what a wet reckless is. That being said, you shouldn’t give up hope if you have been charged with DWI in Houston.

Can my DWI Charges Still be Reduced?

Even though Texas prohibits you from pleading your DWI charge down to a wet reckless, your attorney may still be able to make a deal with prosecutors. How might this happen? While Texas does not allow certain charge bargaining in DWI cases, they do allow sentence bargaining.

In a DWI case, you could be facing the following penalties:

  • Thousands of dollars in fines
  • License suspension
  • Jail or prison time

When your lawyer utilizes sentence bargaining, they may be able to secure lesser penalties, though you are still charged with DWI. For example, you could get the fines or jail time waived in lieu of agreeing to community service. Additionally, you could limit your license suspension by working out a deal to have an ignition interlock device installed instead, allowing you to continue driving.

If you were charged with drunk driving, you don’t have to fight your charges alone. Even if a conviction seems inevitable, our Houston DWI attorney can work to get your penalties reduced and your record shielded as much as possible. With over 15 years of experience and time spent as a former chief prosecutor, Attorney Martinez is highly knowledgeable in understanding how to aggressively defend against DWI charges.

Call a 10.0 Superb rated lawyer who has been rated as a Top DUI Lawyer by H Texas Magazine and Avvo. We are available for a FREE initial consultation either online or when you call (713) 489-9773!

Texas has decided that sobriety checkpoints are unconstitutional and therefore the state does not implement them. In 1991, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decided that such checkpoints violated the Fourth Amendment’s protections against illegal searches and seizures.

What about in other states?

While field sobriety checkpoints or DWI roadblocks are not allowed in Texas, nearly 40 other states do conduct them. Sobriety checkpoints are traffic stops where police officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Law enforcement may stop vehicles randomly and are not allowed to specifically profile any car or individual.

If you happen to be driving in a state where field sobriety checkpoints are allowed, you should take precautions against being arrested at a checkpoint. Even if you are just visiting, you should always make plans to avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking.

Follow these tips if you happen to run into a DUI field sobriety checkpoint in another state:

  • Do not commit a traffic violation to try and avoid a checkpoint
  • Act compliant if an officer asks for your information
  • Politely decline to give the officer any incriminating facts about your evening
  • Do not agree to take any field sobriety tests
  • Do not consent to allow an officer to search your car

Police only require a reasonable suspicion that you have been driving while intoxicated to arrest you, so if you approach a field sobriety checkpoint, refrain from erratic driving, or from giving an officer excuses or answers about your drinking. You should keep your conversation with the officer short and polite and keep from arguing or complaining.

Free Evaluation from Our Top DUI Lawyer

Charged with DWI at a checkpoint? Call on The Martinez Law Firm in Houston for help! Receive the representation you deserve from a Top DUI Attorney, as rated by Avvo and H Texas Magazine. With over 15 years of experience, you can trust that Attorney Martinez will put his extensive knowledge to work for your case.

Free consultation offered when you call (713) 489-9773!

Under the implied consent law, you are obligated to take a breath or blood test when a police officer charges you with a DWI. However, it is important to note that officers must have reasonable cause to pull you over, accuse you of DWI, and then request that you submit to a chemical test.

Why should I agree to take a breath or blood test?

After being arrested, an officer should inform you that if you refuse to take either of them, your license will be suspended for at least 180 days. They should also notify you that your license will be suspended for 90 days or more if a test determines your blood alcohol was more than 0.08%.

However, there are several reasons that consenting to a test can be beneficial:

  • You will avoid having your license suspended outside of your DWI case
  • Your attorney can argue against the test evidence in court
  • You could still be found guilty even if you refuse the test
  • You may immediately lose driving privileges throughout your entire case

Even when you consent to a chemical test and have a BAC over the legal limit, you can apply to have temporary and restricted driving privileges while your attorney argues your case in court. However, when you refuse to consent to a test, it can often be harder to get this license suspension overturned.

What occurs after a refusal?

When you refuse to submit to a test, an officer will have you sign a statement that says you were informed of the consequences of a refusal. You will then have your license taken by the officer in exchange for a temporary license which is only valid for the next 41 days.

After this, you will have only 15 days in which to schedule an administrative hearing to contest your license suspension. At this hearing, you will need to prove the officer did not have probable cause to stop you or that you in fact did not refuse a test or were not properly informed of the consequences.

Refusing to take a chemical test generally does not help your cause. It may appear that it does at first since a conviction and jail time is worse than a 180-day suspension, but just because you refused to take a test does not mean you cannot be found guilty.

Contact Our Top DUI Attorney

Whether you refused or consented to a chemical test and are now facing charges, be sure to reach out to our knowledgeable Houston DWI firm today. Attorney Martinez has over 15 years of experience defending those accused of drunk driving charges throughout Texas. In his experience as a former chief prosecutor, he knows what the other side is looking to find and how to properly defend against their tactics. With a 10.0 Superb rating on Avvo and rated as a Top DUI lawyer by multiple publications, do not hesitate to get in touch with our accomplished firm today!

Call today for your free initial case evaluation at (713) 489-9773!

Your Body & Alcohol. Martinez Law DWI Attorney of Houston explains

Knowing just how alcohol can affect your body can help you either avoid getting arresting for DWI or preparing you on how to act when pulled over. How much alcohol is in your bloodstream at a given time is affected by how fast alcohol is eliminated. Alcohol is eliminated when it is burned up in your body while the rest escapes through your breath, urine, and perspiration.

Alcohol makes its way into your blood by way of your gastrointestinal tract, namely, your mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. You will become intoxicated faster with an empty stomach because the alcohol has nothing to compete with it as it becomes absorbed by your stomach lining.

Where does the alcohol go?

Most people will absorb just over half of the alcohol consumed within a half-hour after drinking. Roughly 90% will be absorbed within that first hour, with the rest being absorbed after 90 minutes. The rate of absorption does depend on the quantity of alcohol consumed, concentration of the alcohol, rate of drinking, and the nature and amount of diluting material present in the stomach.

Almost all alcohol is oxidized in the liver, becoming water and carbon dioxide. The more you are accustomed to drinking, the faster it will probably be oxidized.

It may prove very helpful to be able to estimate your blood alcohol content at any time based only on the number of drinks you have, the time within which you had them, and your body weight. This can be accomplished by dividing 3.8 by your weight which will yield roughly how much your blood alcohol will increase with each drink within an hour. Bearing in mind that .08% is the legal limit, you should be able to give an educated guess to your current blood alcohol level.

This is not an exact measure, however, and you can still be arrested for suspicion of DWI no matter what your BAC. Contact a Houston DWI attorney right away from Herman Martinez to right your DWI arrest.

 

In the event that you were arrested in Texas, but never convicted, it may be possible to have your criminal record expunged. This would remove all record of you ever being arrested. While there are certain specifications and requirements to have your record cleared, it is a viable possibility that many may not realize it is an option they have.

Many people may think that their record is automatically cleared after their case has been dismissed or they have completed deferred adjudication probation, but this is not the case. Your criminal history will still show up on background checks and online searches, which could be extremely harmful to your future if you are trying to apply for a job, a loan, or a place to live.

Will your case be eligible for expunction?

As long as you were arrested but never convicted in the state of Texas, you may be able to have your records expunged. This means that you would be able to legally deny the arrest, even on employment applications or other important documents.

You may be a candidate for expunction if one of the following is true of your case:

  • Your case was dismissed
  • You were found “not guilty” during trial
  • A person was arrested under your name without permission
  • The case was no-billed by a grand jury
  • You were ultimately convicted, but pardoned at a later date

Speak with Attorney Martinez today!

As a 10.0 Superb Rated lawyer on Avvo, declared a Client’s Choice DUI lawyer for 2012 and a Top Contributor for 2013, Attorney Herman Martinez is more than qualified. He is recognized as one of the top criminal lawyers in Houston, Texas.

A former prosecutor with a history of successful
case results, call our Houston criminal defense lawyer at The Martinez Law Firm for a FREE initial case consultation!
Don’t let a past mistake ruin your future; get your record cleared today!

If you were arrested for any crime, you cannot be tried for that crime twice (with some exceptions) according to the federal laws on double jeopardy. Jeopardy protection only applies in certain types of legal proceedings, but it is always important to try and challenge any actions that could possibly violate a double jeopardy statute. Essentially, the defendant protected by double jeopardy cannot be tried again on the same or similar charges following a legitimate acquittal conviction.

This does not apply to when a person commits the same crime again. Instead, this is a protection against being tried for the exact same crime more than once. For example, if a person was caught using drugs and was charged for this crime but won an acquittal, he cannot be retried without an appeal. Double Jeopardy is protected in the Fifth Amendment of the United States where it says that no person shall be subject for the same offense twice to be put in jeopardy of life and limb. There are four distinct provisions which can be identified in the double jeopardy clause. These are:

  • Subsequent prosecution after acquittal is illegal
  • Subsequent prosecution after conviction is not permissible
  • Subsequent prosecution after mistrial is unconstitutional
  • Multiple punishment for the same indictment is unconstitutional

If you have been arrested and tried for a crime, and you are told that you are going to be re-arrested, it is important that you hire a Houston criminal defense attorney to help you and argue Double Jeopardy in your case today. Don’t hesitate to hire a successful lawyer from The Martinez Law Firm to represent you and make sure that you get the treatment that you deserve in your case. Learn more about the double jeopardy protections by talking with an experienced attorney at our firm today!

As this year comes to a close I hope that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office decides to go back to the refusal of filing felony charges for trace amount of cocaine possession. As late as last year the Harris County District Attorney’s Office was telling police that she should file the same charges as a misdemeanor. They new administration made a political decision to change that policy. I can honestly that this was the right decision to make those cases a misdemeanor instead of a felony charge. After dealing with drug cases for close to 20 years I know that anyone using drugs never wants to leave any drugs behind. Thus, they are never intentionally in possession of the cocaine.

It has been my experience that of all felony charges the trace amount of cocaine charge is the most annoying. Judges dislike seeing them in their court, prosecutors are uncomfortable prosecuting them and juries hate labeling someone as a felony for a miniscule amount.

Generally speaking there are two types of evading arrest charges in Texas. The one that gets the most publicity involve long police chases. Everyone can understand when someone drives recklessly throughout Harris County, Texas why felony charges are filed in these instances. What most people do not understand is that not pulling over for a traffic ticket quickly enough could lead to felony charge. For example, I recently, had to defend someone that was less than two miles from their house, knew they had a warrant for his arrest so he just thought he would drive home instead of getting his car towed. To most people that seems reasonable, but not to the police officer who persued him to his house, confirmed his home address with his driver’s license and proceeded to arrest him for felony evading arrest in a motor vehicle. After making his $2,000 bond he thought he could go to court to explain his story to the judge who bluntly told him that he was likely to confess to the crime while the prosecutor took notes of everything he said. Ultimately, he recognized that it would be better to stay quiet, hire a lawyer to defend. That was a good call on his part because I was able to get his case eventually dismissed, kept off his permanent record so the general public could not see the arrest.

Do yourself a favor, try to pull over as quickly as possible when you see the police lights behind your vehicle. If you make the mistake of not pulling over in time for the police officer do not go to court without a lawyer. Getting a felony conviction for any crime will ruin your life!

If you started a fire or explosion and you knew that the property where the fire took place belongs to another person or sits on property belonging to another person, then you can be charged with arson. Also, if you were aware of the fact that the fire you set affected a location that contained property belonging to another person, this is considered arson as well.

In addition, if property is insured against damage and there is a mortgage or lien on a property that is held by someone other than yourself, you can be charged for damage. This is because some individuals will purposefully attempt to burn a home or location in order to get a fire insurance settlement.

The Texas courts also maintain that a person can be charged with arson if he or she recklessly set fire or set off an explosion without any regard to the safety of others or without regards to another’s property. This means that if you start a campfire or play with fireworks in dry woods where a burn ban is put in place, and this eventually causes fire damages, then you could he charged with arson.

Also, if you accidentally start a fire that causes damage while you are trying to create a controlled substance, then this is considered arson. If you smoke and then toss a smoldering cigarette into dry brush, which ignites a fire, then you can also be charged with this crime.

With so many different opportunities to be charged with arson, it is essential that you be cautious when working with fire and avoid every being reckless with it. Arson is considered a second-degree felony and is punishable by between 2 and 20 years in prison. If the fire involves a church, or if someone else is injured or killed, then it can carry a life sentence. Arson in the course of creating a controlled substance is punishable with between six months and two years in jail.

If you are a teenager, then you can get a fresh start on your life by filing a petition in court and seeking expungement of a juvenile court conviction. Most of the time, expungement will make it so that employers, landlords, licensing agencies and others will never know that you have been arrested or convicted of a crime. Expungement is not the same as erasing the crime from your record, because it can still serve as a strike against a harsher punishment for repetitive behavior in the future.

The person that is seeking the sealing must be an adult in almost all states. This means that you must be 18 years old to seek an expungement. Also, in order to receive an expungement or seal your criminal records you will need to wait for a specified amount of time to pass. For example, to seal a juvenile court ruling the defendant will need to wait until five years have passed from the date of the offense or the end of the court proceedings. Also, states have the right to place limits on the types of offenses that can be expunged from a juvenile record.

Many states don’t allow people to expunge serious or violent offenses from a record. Any offense that would be a felony in an adult criminal court is normally supposed to remain as public record. Also, if you have an offense on your criminal record that resulted in later criminal arrests or convictions as an adult, then you may not be able to seal your juvenile record. If you believe that you qualify for expungement, then your first job should be to hire a professional Houston criminal defense attorney to help you argue for the record sealing. You will want an attorney there to prove to the court why the expungement is necessary. Talk to the Martinez Law Firm today for more information!

An arraignment is the first time that you appear before a judge and enter the plea of guilty or not guilty of the crime for which you have been charged. This arraignment normally happens shortly after your arrest. While you are free to ask a lawyer to attend your arraignment, the presence of a lawyer is not necessary. It may benefit you to have an attorney there with you from the beginning of your case so that he or she can inform you as to how to respond to the judge’s questions.

At the arraignment, the judge will normally set a date for the next court appointment in your case, and will consider any bail requests that make or any bail requests by the prosecutor. If you don’t have a lawyer and don’t plan to hire your own attorney to help you tackle your case, then the judge will appoint a lawyer for you at your arraignment and may ask you to waive time.

Even though a lawyer is not required at this appointment, it is always better to have legal representation whenever you enter a court case. You will want to consult with your lawyer before your arraignment and will want to discuss the details of your case so that the attorney you are working with can help you to strategize the best defense.

At The Martinez Law Firm, there are dedicated attorneys ready to help you. Attorney Martinez will start your case with a free initial consultation, and will use his 15 years of experience to help you work through your case. Attorney Martinez is a former prosecutor, so he understands both sides of Texas criminal law and can use this unique experience to best serve you. Don’t hesitate to hire this Houston criminal defense attorney as soon as possible!

A new immigration bill claims that immigrants that are in the United States
illegally should not be removed from the nation until they are convicted
of a crime that they were arrested for. This means that if you are an
immigrant and you are arrested for a
DUI manslaughter case, then you cannot be forced to leave America until you are proven
guilty of your crime.

After this, there is still not a set rule that will mandate deportation.
Individuals who are convicted of crimes like manslaughter may be able
to remain in the United States if they can prove that it will be a hardship
to their family members if they are sent back to their country of origin.
For example, if a man is arrested for an assault charge, and then convicted,
but has a wife and children in California, he can prove that it would
be difficult for his family if he was sent away.

As a result, the individual may be able to serve a short sentence in the
United States so that he can resume his responsibilities to his family.
If you are an illegal immigrant that is facing criminal charges, the suggestions
in this bill could have serious implications for your future. You cannot
even be asked to leave the country until you are convicted of a violent
crime, so your first step to battle deportation is to locate a reliable
Houston criminal defense lawyer.

You need to hire a lawyer at The Martinez Law Firm if you want someone
that you can rely upon to tackle your case. Attorney Martinez is a former
prosecutor so he understands both aspects of criminal law and can use
his background to develop a defense for your case.
Call him today if you want more information!

In Texas, the authorities take weapons crimes seriously. Carrying a concealed handgun without a license can result in serious punishments that can lead to heavy fines or jail time. According to Senate Bill 321, those who carry handgun licenses have the right to transport and store firearms and ammunition in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle. Employers are not allowed to prevent employees from keeping these concealed guns within their vehicle in a workplace parking lot unless the employee meets certain exceptions which could make him or her exempt from the law.

The Texas Penal Code also mandates that a person is in violation of the state laws if he or she intentionally and knowingly carries a handgun when not on his or her own premises or premises under the person’s control. People are also allowed to carry their handguns inside of a privately owned motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person. There are times that the law rules that a person who carries a handgun onto a boat or into a car and keeps that handgun in plain view can be prosecuted. Also, if a person is engaged in a criminal activity other than a Class C misdemeanor if the person is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm and still has one in his or her possession, this can result in prosecution.

If you have a license to carry a concealed handgun, then you will want to make this clear to the court if you are arrested for a weapons offense. If you do not have a license and are not permitted to legally carry a handgun, then you need to contact a lawyer to help you during your trial. With the right attorney on your side, you may be able to evidence that you were acting in ignorance or that you did not commit a crime. Talk to a Houston criminal defense attorney today for more information!

If you have been charged with assault in Texas, you may be terrified. Maybe you were simply playing around when you accidentally struck someone with a heavy object, and they accused you of being abusive and trying to assault them. On the other hand, maybe you were being reckless and this created an injury, but you never intended to cause harm.

There are a variety of different defenses that you may want to discuss. Whenever you are charged with the crime of assault, the person who accused you will need to prove that you caused bodily harm based on three different components. In court, the prosecution will need to declare that you committed the crime knowingly. This means that you purposefully harmed another person with full intent to do so.

You can also be convicted of assault if the prosecution can prove that you did the act intentionally. This means that witnesses will need to testify that you meant to harm the person that was injured by your actions. If you can argue that you did not mean to harm that person, then you may be able to obtain a case dismissal. For example, if you were toying with a gun and accidentally shot it off, then this would be a viable reason to declare that you were not intentional in your actions. As well, if you committed the crime recklessly, you can be convicted of assault.

When discussing reckless crimes, the prosecution will need to prove that you were reckless with a disregard for those around you and were not concerned about causing harm to them when you committed assault. The prosecution can also prove you guilty if they can evidence that you intentionally or knowingly threatened someone else including your spouse. IF you want more information about assault laws or your options for defense, then you need to talk to a lawyer today at The Martinez Law Firm.

One of the most serious allegations that can ruin a person’s name, reputation and career is child pornography.

False allegations of child pornography can be due to a number of valid reasons such as not knowing a person was underage, being accused by someone seeking to harm your reputation or seeking revenge, someone else using your unsecured Wi-Fi to download child porn or even coming across child pornography on the Internet by accident. While this is a very serious charge, not everyone is indeed guilty of the charges but it is a very difficult situation to overcome without the help of an attorney that is knowledgeable in this area.

One of the most important things to know is to not speak to law enforcement until you have hired a criminal defense attorney. As soon as an accusation has been made, this should be your first order of business. This can protect you against further damage and get you started on working to have the charges dropped and protect your reputation. By seeking the advice of a knowledgeable attorney, you can protect your rights and have all areas of defense covered.

Since the mere possession of child pornography has dire consequences, you could be facing a minimum of five years and up to 20 years of imprisonment as well as having to register as a sex offender. That is why it is of the utmost importance to start as soon as possible on covering all of your bases with a lawyer that has experience in these types of cases.

Being falsely accused of sexual assault is an extremely stressful situation. Your reputation, livelihood and family life are all called into question. Hiring an experienced defense attorney is a crucial investment in your future. Sexual assault charges can bring years, and even life, in prison. While I suggest you seek an attorney to evaluate your situation as soon as accusations are made, no doubt you are doing your own research as well. I have compiled the answers to some frequently asked questions I’ve received from clients over the years.

How long will it take to clear my name? Unfortunately, there is no set time table. I’ve seen cases settled quickly, before an indictment. I’ve also had cases go to trial and take over a year to resolve. The important factor is to seek legal advice immediately, so your attorney can be your advocate from the start.

Should I try to contact the person making the accusations? In most cases, the answer is no. Usually, a judge will order that there be no contact as part of the bail conditions. However, an attorney can argue these conditions, especially if the accuser is your child, wife or someone else in which you need to have contact.

What if I had a consensual relationship with the accuser? Again, this is where an experienced attorney will gather as much information as possible, sometimes hiring a private investigator, performing independent physical evidence testing and effectively cross-examining witnesses. A consensual relationship can be established through rigorous investigation. It doesn’t have to be your word against the accuser.

Should I talk to the police? The police will always want to interview a “person of interest” and it’s natural that you will want to explain yourself, hoping to clear your name. However, it’s important to speak with an attorney before making any statements to the police and have your attorney present during the interview. Even if you think you are helping your case, you are most likely hurting your future defense.

There’s an abundance of information and FAQs online. However, your future is at stake when you are accused of a sexual assault. Seek the legal counsel of a Houston sexual assault attorney. Feel free to contact me to ensure your freedom and rights are protected

New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration, which often means that the night will involve alcoholic drinks, dancing, and all the elements of a good party. While annual New Year’s Eve parties can be loads of fun, they can end in a devastating arrest if drivers are not careful. If you choose to drink at your New Year’s celebration, then you should not drive afterwards. You may want to designate a driver that will stay sober and provide transportation to and from the party. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to find a friend willing to take on this role. As a result, you may want to consider hiring a professional driver to transport you to and from your event on New Year’s Eve.

You can hire a taxi cab in Houston to take you back to your home. As well, if you are travelling to a party with a lot of friends, you may want to hire a party bus or a limousine. Not only will this arrangement keep you safe from a DUI, but it will also be a lot more fun. Whether you designate a driver, hire a professional transportation service, or opt for public transportation, you should never get in the car and drive home after having too much to drink. During the holidays, the Houston Police Department often adds extra DUI checkpoints all throughout the city and has many roving patrols looking for drivers that are swerving, disobeying traffic signals or speeding.

Police know that New Year’s Eve is a time of partying and alcohol. Therefore, they are on the lookout. While the police may seem like an enemy on New Year’s Eve, their goal is noble. They want to protect the innocent drivers out on the road in Houston from a fatal DUI crash because of another person’s inability to drive safely. If you need more information about DUI defense, then you need to contact a lawyer at
The Martinez Law Firm today. With the right defense, you may be able to avoid a New Year’s DUI charge or may be able to lessen your charges at your hearing.

It is illegal to falsify information or lie to an insurance company. In
fact, if you are deceptive towards an insurer, you will not only be confronted
on moral grounds. You may be taken to court and charged with insurance
fraud as a result of your actions. If you are
charged with this crime, you will want to hire a
Houston criminal defense attorney to help you immediately.

At
The Martinez Law Firm, we understand that you may not be guilty of your crime. For example,
we may be able to argue that you did not intend to deceive or defraud
the insurance company. Maybe you did not have the right information and
your crime was completely unintentional. As well, an attorney may be able
to argue that the information that you provided to an insurance company
is not false after all. Many times miscommunications can come off as lies
when there is simply a discrepancy in the language.

A Houston criminal defense attorney could also argue that there was a mistake
in the fact. For example, you may have truly thought that a fire in your
home started with a defective product and only learned later that the
fire started because you left your stove on when you went out to run errands.
There are countless instances where you may be mistaken and you may have
provided information to an insurance company that you assumed was true.
With so many defenses to employ, it is essential that you make to have
a Houston criminal defense lawyer on your side when accused of lying to
an insurance company.

If you do not hire a criminal defense attorney to help you, and are consequently
proven guilty of your crime, then you can be charged with a state jail
felonly. For example, there have been insurance fraud claims that have
come with first degree felony convictions because of their lies.

People who purposefully falsify information on one of these insurance claims
can be sent to prison for up to two years in addition to the other charges.
All of this is outlined in the
Texas Insurance Fraud Statute in the Penal Code, Title 7 Chapter 35. If you want more information about insurance fraud and how to handle
allegations, make sure to contact an attorney at The Martinez Law Firm.
The lawyers at this firm are devoted to helping clients in need with their
criminal defense cases.

Whether you have been charged with a
white collar crime a fraud crime, or murder, these lawyers are here for you.
Contact them today!

I have mentioned before how serious a theft or shoplifting case is because it is considered a crime of moral turpitude. Most employers will not hire someone with this type of conviction on their record. Lately, theft cases have seen an upturn that I would have not expected. The general public typically does not know that theft of copper has been a type of theft that is very common in Houston. Honestly, I would not know this if I was not a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney, but I have represented several people that have resorted to these types of crimes. I understand that desperate times call for desperate measures, but if you are considering this type of theft please be aware that people are literally dying trying to commit these crimes. The reason that these are likely so common was that they were perceived to be safe when compared to an aggravated robbery with a gun, but I would give it some serious thought before trying to extract metal from an air conditioning unit. Please think twice before considering this crime since the potential loss of life is not worth the money.

If you have been charged with the use of deadly force, then you will want to know what kind of allegations you are up against. For one, the use of deadly force is covered in Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code with laws regarding deadly force. There are some situations in which you can get away with using deadly force, and these are clearly outlined in the code. Justifications include using deadly force in self-defense, using deadly force in self-defense of another, or using deadly force in defense of property. These arguments are only valid if the deadly force is used reasonably in the context of the situation. For example, if someone was attempting to harm you and you used deadly force in order to keep from being hurt, that would be justified.

If a friend lays a hand on you while you are in a bad mood and you result to deadly force in an act to “defend yourself,” chances are that the context will cancel out your justification in the court. You could be charged with deadly force or assault as a result. An individual is allowed to use any force that he believes is reasonable against another individual in the attempt of self-defense. IN order to declare self-defense, a defendant must prove that his or her attacker was attempting an unlawful attempt such as assault, battery, or rape. Resisting arrest is not grounds for self0defnese, nor is resisting a peace officer. If the defendant is provoked, then the court may declare that the deadly force was criminal, not justifiable.

If someone that you love is in danger, then you have the right to use deadly force in protection of that person. You cannot weld deadly force in an irrational way. For example, if you are a father and see a young man grab your daughter’s hand, you do not have the right to punch and beat him for doing so. If you could prove that the victim of your violence had the intention to rape or harm your daughter, then you would be justified. You will need to prove in court that deadly force was the only way to protect the third person in order to insist that you were doing the right thing.

You may also need to use deadly force to protect your property. Normally this means inflicting violence on a criminal who intends to rob you or burglarize your home. You will have to prove that you could not protect your property by any other means other than deadly force in order to justify your actions in court. With the help of an accomplished lawyer, you may be able to justify your choices and show that you have every right to walk away from a deadly force charge without a sentence. Talk to a lawyer at the Martinez Law Firm today if you need more information.

Jalen Larson Mays was nearby an equipment storage facility when the structure went ablaze. The flames licked the structure and charred the equipment that was stored inside, brining on thousands of dollars in damages. As Jalen walked away, a witness noticed his nonchalant actions, and reported the fire to 911. This observer then targeted Jalen as an arsonist because he did not see, to be affected by the fire and didn’t intend to call emergency help. The witness told the 911 dispatcher what Mays looked like and explained that there was a possibility that he set the fire.

Yet investigators have contradicted the witness’ suspicions, saying that the fire was a fluke incident that was caused by an open flame that ignited combustibles. They believe that this open flame could have come from anywhere. The fire ruined sports equipment that was used by up to 2,500 kids in community sports in the Houston area. Mays was caught by police after the blaze was put out, and arrested because he had the same description and clothing as the witness had described.

The 19-year-old was charged with arson. He had paint oxidation marks on both shoulders that matched the exterior wall of the structure, and he was carrying a lighter in his pocket. The sports league says that they did not have insurance on the building and are soliciting donations to rebuild and replace the structure and the items that were inside. If you have been charged with arson like Mays, we understand that all evidence may point to you and the situation may seem hopeless. Yet with a trustworthy and accomplished lawyer, you may be able to reduce your charges or lessen your sentence. Without the right evidence, you may be able to get your case thrown out altogether. Hire a lawyer who is respected in the court room! Get help from an attorney at the Martinez Law Firm today for legal aid!

Car thieves often target specific vehicles because of their commonalty, value, durability, and other factors. Interestingly enough, the cars that are stolen are not normally luxurious models like Mercedes, nor are they fancy foreign cars like Lamborghini’s. Instead, they are mostly durable, well-made cars that can satisfy the car thief’s needs or work well as a sales car. Many times, car thieves steal vehicles so that they can sell them to dealerships, making a 100 percent profit. The most popular car that is stolen in Houston is a Ford truck.

In fact, 196 Ford trucks were stolen during August of 2012. 182 Chevrolet trucks were stolen in the month of August as well, making it the second-most targeted car. 97 Hondas were stolen, followed by 80 Dodge trucks. The fifth most popular car to steal in Texas is a Chevrolet, and 46 were lifted last month. 43 drivers had their GMC trucks stolen, and 42 men or women lost their Nissan car to a burglar. Toyotas are the eighth most popular car for stealing, with 37 stolen vehicles last month. 26 burglars chose a Ford car, and Dodge cars capped the list at 20 cars stolen for the top ten spot.

Stealing a car is a serious crime, and many times it is considered a federal offense that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Maximum sentences can increase up to 25 years if the victim of the theft is injured in the process. If the victim is seriously injured or killed, then the crime can merit a life sentence. Normally, these stolen cars are taken to a chop shop, where they stripped of the parts that are essential.

The parts are then sold to restorers. Normally, these chop shops are the hubs of car theft rings. If you have been arrested in conjunction with car thievery or a chop shop, then you could have up to 30 years of prison in your future. Yet with an excellent lawyer, like an associate at The Martinez Law Firm, you may be able to avoid the serious sentences that are connected with your crime. Talk to someone at our firm today to secure representation in your trial!

Probation is considered to be an act determined by the court in which an
individual
accused of a crime receives a level of punishment while not being sent to jail or prison.
Probation also may be the period after which an individual is released
from prison, and they are still being closely monitored by the authorities.
There is accountability with the government by which the person agrees
that they will not
violate the probation or they will face greater consequences for their actions.

The court allows the person to be under supervision while still maintaining
a certain level of freedom depending on the charges. When under probation,
there is no room for mistakes, and if caught in any violation it is likely
that the individual will face even harsher punishments. In the event that
a person violates their probation, or parole, they are in serious danger,
and need to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. While
the consequences may be more severe, every person maintains the right
to have a hearing to defend their case; because of that a lawyer is of
great importance to make sure that the case is properly handled.

At this time, a
Houston criminal defense attorney will do one of two things: either file an adjunction or file a motion
to revoke. These two different titles are based on the type of probation
a person is under, though they both have the same end goal of having the
probation revoked. Have you been accused of violating your parole or probation
in any way?

Don’t wait another moment,
contact the Martinez Law Firm today for the criminal defense representation that you deserve! Our firm
has years of experience in the criminal court, and we are ready and willing
to do what is necessary to fight for your case.

Contact us today for more information!

As a attorney in Houston handling sexual assault cases one of the most important things my clients needs to know are the consequences pertaining to different sexual crimes. Thus,it is impostant that the client understand each of the issues outlined below.

  1. ______ , I understand I Am required to meet the sex offender registration requirements of Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  1. ______ , I understand I must register with local law enforcement agencies in the city or county where I reside.
  1. ______ , I understand under certain circumstances I must periodically verify registration information or enter a new registration with local law enforcement agencies in any city, or county where I intent to reside, move, visit or work.
  1. ______ , I understand I am subject to the above describe registration program and the duty to register does not generally expire until ten years after my sentence or community supervision ends because I will have been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for on the offense listed below:
  • Indecency with a child by exposure;
  • Compelling Prostitution;
  • A Second conviction for Indecent Exposure;
  • Unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping if the judgment or order contains an affirmative finding that the victim was a child under 17 years of age;
  • Any substantially similar offense under the law of another state, federal law, or the Uniform Code of Military Justice;
  • Any offense resulting in a condition of parole, release to mandatory supervision, or community supervision requiring registration as a sex offender;
  • Attempted conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of the offenses list above or below;

OR

______ , I understand I am subject to the above described registration program and duty to register is for the remainder of my life because I have been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for one of the offenses below:

  • Sexual performance by a child;
  • Prohibited sexual conduct;
  • Indecency with a child by contact;
  • Compelling prostitution of Minor;
  • Sexual Assault;
  • Possession or promotion of child pornography;
  • Aggravated kidnapping with intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually;
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Burglary of habitation with intent to commit indecency with a child, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, prohibited sexual conduct, aggravated kidnapping with intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually.
  1. ______ , I understand I must register as a sex offender regardless of the pendency of an appeal.
  1. ______ ,I understand that failure to comply with sex offender registration laws is a criminal offense.

Your Houston Sexual Assault attorney needs to know these issues and many more. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any question regarding these type of cases.

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As I have mentioned before, there are two types of community supervision,
(probation) in Texas. One is probation, the other is deferred adjudication.
What a lot of
<a href=”/Attorney_Profile.aspx”>criminal lawyers</a> do not mention to their clients is Pretrial Diversion. I am not sure if
the criminal attorneys that do not alert their clients of Pretrial Diversion
is because of a lack of knowledge or because it is so difficult to obtain
when compared to a probation or deferred adjudiction.
</p>
<p>
One of the most important requirements for a person seeking entry into
the Pretrial Diversion program is a
<a href=”/Criminal_Defense/Clearing_Your_Record.aspx”>completely clear criminal record</a>. Typically, even a case that was previously dismissed will preclude someone
from entering the Diversion program.
</p>
<p><strong>If someone is seeking entry into the program in Harris County these are
some of the things needed:</strong></p>
<p align=”center”>
<strong><u>PRETRIAL DIVERSION APPLICATIONS SUGGESTED CONTENT</u></strong>
</p>
<p>
<strong>1. </strong>The application should be submitted at least one week prior to the next
court setting.
</p>
<p>
<strong>2. </strong>A statement should be detailing the following: summary of the circumstances
of the offense charged; a statement of any mitigating factors, including
a statement of why you deserve this extraordinary benefit; a statement
explaining the current home life, including information regarding support
systems; the statement
<strong>must admit guilt</strong>, but it will not be used against you if you are not allowed to enter the program.
</p>
<p>
<strong>3</strong>. A complete representation of any juvenile or adult criminal history,
including pending cases in other jurisdictions, arrest that have not been expunged.
</p>
<p>
<strong>4. </strong>All content should be race neutral.
</p>
<p>
<strong>5. </strong>Current family and residential information. PLEASE STATE IF YOU DO NOT
LIVE IN HARRIS COUNTY OR AN ADJOINING COUNTY OR RESIDE OUT OF STATE. THIS
MAY AFFECT ELIGIBILITY. PERFORMANCE UNDER THESE AGREEMENTS IS EXPECTED
TO TAKE PLACE IN HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS. THEY ARE NOT TRANSFERABLE.
</p>
<p>
<strong>6. </strong>Photographs, original awards or certificates; you may have received.
</p>
<p>
<strong>7. </strong>Include verification of current and past school enrollment, including transcript,
if possible.
</p>
<p>
<strong>8. </strong>Include verification of your current and past employment (Resume suggested).
</p>
<p>
<strong>9. </strong>Letters of recommendations (at least 2).
</p>
<p><strong>THE APPLICATION PACKET SHOULD BE LIMITED TO 10 PAGES OR LESS</strong></p>
<p><strong>ALL APPLICANTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE DRUG FREE WHILE THEIR CASES ARE PENDING
AND MAY BE TESTED ON THE DATES THEIR CASES ARE SET IN COURT. THE INABILITY
TO PASS A DRUG TEST ON THE DATE THE CONTRACT IS TO BE SIGNED MAY CAUSE
THE APPLICATION TO BE DENIED. </strong></p></span>

The way people are treated when they are arrested in Houston, Harris County,
Texas leads them to believe that they are guilty until they can prove
their own innocence. Luckily, this is not the law in the criminal justice
system despite beliefs to the contrary. Since most
criminal cases do not go to trial, innovative ways need to be developed by a criminal
defense attorney to get a get case dismissed or prevent a person from
getting a permanent conviction on their record.

One of the main ways a person is able to prevent a conviction is by
obtaining a deferred adjudication. A deferred adjudication is a form of community supervision or probation
that prevents a conviction from becoming final on a person’s record.
Once a person successfully completes the deferred adjudication they may
petition the court for a non disclosure (sealing of the records). Some cases may be “sealed’ immediately while others have a
waiting period. The down side of a deferred adjudication is that the Government
will also see the record even if it gets “sealed.”

An even better way to prevent a conviction on someone’s record is by
doing a Pretrial Diversion. A Pretrial Diversion is better than a deferred adjudication because it
allows a person to expunge, clear, or destroy all records pertaining to
the arrest. Most importantly, the Government will NEVER be able to see
the arrest in the future. An example of a Pretrial Diversion is
Astros Centerfielder, Jordan Schafer, who was arrested for
marijuana possession.

If you are facing criminal charges, call my office in Houston for a
free consultation.

For some reason whenever a female teacher is arrested, charged, or investigated
for allegedly having inappropriate relations with a male student (sexual assault) it becomes a major news story. I understand why the parents of students
that attend the school would be alarmed, but the media goes overboard
every time. The media sensationalizes the story like the teacher is some
sort of pedophile abusing every child in their classroom.

In most cases the young men that had sex with the woman do not want her
to be punished. Most importantly, the young men do not appear to emotionally
harmed by the incident. I would hope that the media, prosecutors, courts,
and jurors take all this account into account before demonizing the female teacher.

Please be advised that I am not saying this should not be a crime. It is
always going to be a crime whenever an adult that is more then three years
older than a child (under the age of 17) have sex, even if it is consensual.
I just do not think a female teacher should automatically go to prison
for her mistake.

If you have been charged with sexual assault,
call my Houston defense firm immediately. Let me review the details of your case for free.

I was reading the unfortunate situation of Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royal closer, who decided to undergo season ending surgery after getting a third opinion when I realized why people think it is so easy for a lawyer to give an opinion on a case. In a criminal case like
sexual assault, or
drug possession it is not that easy. Unlike in the medical situations a lawyer does not have all the information to review a case immediately. An attorney needs to review an offense report, investigate the facts, talk to the prosecutors among other things before giving a professional opinion. The offense report is obtained by the hired lawyer on the case who signs a confidentiality agreement with the District Attorney’s Office that states they will not release the report to anyone.

Daily, I receive a telephone call from someone that wants me to advise them what to do with their case despite the fact that I am not their lawyer. It would be unethical of me to give an opinion on a case that where I do not have the offense report, gone to court, or properly invesitigated the facts. I realize that I provide a free initial consultation, but that does not go as far as stating that I will give them legal advice.. In fact, a lawyer can not give legal advice unless they have been hired by the client. It would be unfair to the client, and the attorney(s) to give an opinion on the possibilities of getting a case dismissed or winning at trial before doing the aforementioned. I realize that being charged with a crime is a traumatic experience, and all someone wants is some reassurance, but that is why they hire a lawyer. If someone is calling me despite having hired someone it tells me they have lost confidence in their attorney. I try to reassure a person that calls me with concerns that they are entitled to a trial, presumed innocent, and are free to hire the lawyer that they choose. Nevertheless, I am precluded from giving advice before I have been hired on the case.

One of the biggest challenges as a
Houston Criminal Defense Attorney is defending a
sexual assault case.The reason being is when picking a jury for this type of case most
people are uncomfortable wih the issues that are going to be discussed.
Additionally, when picking a jury there are always a few people that have
been victims of sexual assault or have a family member that have been a victim.

When discussing this issue publicly the person becomes highly emotional
putting me in an awkward positioin and potentially “poisioning”
the rest of the jury panel. Fortunately, they recognize that they will
not be a “fair” jury in this type of case. At the end of the
day, picking a jury is a misnomer. What really happens is that people
are disqualified for different reasons and the first twelve that are not
excluded or “struck” by the prosecutor and me are the ones that
get to sit as a jury.

For example, last week I was picking a jury that went to the last person
on the panel to become jurors because so many of the jury panel members
had issues with this type of case.

If you have been charged with sexual assault in Houston,
call my office immediately for the representation you need!

One of the many changes high schools have made since I attended school
is the amount of children that are
prescribed drugs to treat different conditions. Most of the drugs that the kids are prescribed
today are illegal without a prescription. In fact, a drug that would normally
be a misdemeanor if possessed by a person is enhanced or “bumped
up” to a felony charge if they are found to be in
possession of drugs in a “drug free zone” like a school. I wonder how a parent would
feel if their child was charged with a felony for buying medication from
another student at school who has obtained the medication legally? To
make matters worse, the student that sold the drugs is unlikely to be
charged with the crime.

One other thing to keep in mind is that a child that is 17 years of age
in Houston, Harrris County, Texas is considered to be an adult. Thus,
a child would be arrested along with serious offenders which would be
a scary situation for the child and their parents.

I totally understand that for most people the only contact they have with a criminal court is what they see on television shows like “Law and Order.” In most of these shows they make a production of the defendant standing up in open court and stating his innocence. It is quite dramatic what with the background music reaching a crescendo, a courtroom full of reporters, and all parties sweating the next step.

In reality, a defendant never has to announce his plea in open court at their first appearance, even when it is a highly publicized case there are only at most, a handful of reporters and one camera crew, and I have yet to hear any music at the criminal courthouse. On the first court date the criminal attorney quietly lets the court know that they will be representing you, will be reviewing the offense report, and will be starting the process of representing you. Most clients are relieved to know that it is highly unlikely they will be speaking to anyone on their first court date, let alone the open court or Judge.

I stumbled upon an
article
about an Illinois man that was found in contempt of court for yawning
too loudly. The man spent three weeks locked up. I think everyone would
agree that when in a court room you should conduct yourself in a respectful
manner. If you spend anytime in a court room you will find that often
times lawyers, staff, defendants and their family members sometimes fall
short of the proper behavior. But finding someone in contempt of court
and jailing them for three weeks for yawning is arrogant and abusive.
You wouldn’t think something like that could happen in an American
court. But it does.

It reminded me of a client I represented about 10 years ago who was found
in contempt of court while on the first floor of the courthouse, not anywhere
near the courtroom. He was jailed for a weekend. Luckily, we were able
to free him after filing a writ.

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

The first thing that anyone that has been arrested for theft or shoplifting needs to know is that these charges are considered to be crimes of moral turpitude. Moral turpitude is a legal term of art with no generally accepted definition. In general, “crimes of moral turpitude” cover conduct involving dishonesty, These type of crimes can cause serious immigration consequences, impact professional licenses, or prevent employment. Thus, it is of utmost importance not to be convicted of a theft or shoplifting case. Almost daily I get a phone call from someone that decided to take the easier route of just paying fine instead of attempting to successfully complete a deferred adjudication. While this may have seemed to have been a good idea when someone was a teenager they ultimately regret the decision a few years down the road when they attempt to start a career only to find out that everyone is now labeling them a thief.

Since I am
criminal defense attorney in Houston, Texas almost daily I get some form of the following question… I got
probation a while ago and I want to know
how I can
get it off my record
. First, it must be determined what type of probation you received. There
are two types of probation in Texas. “Regular Probation” is
a conviction and can not be “cleared” from your record. Second,
some deferred adjudications may be “cleared” from your record.
The instrument used to “clear” a deferred adjudication from
your record is called a Motion for Non Disclosure. Some deferred adjudications
may be “cleared” immediately after sucessful completion. Others
may take as long as five years and some are never eligible for a Motion
for Non Disclosure. Please keep in mind that most government agencies
will still be able to see that deferred.

There a lot of attorneys that tell their clients that a deferred adjudication is not a conviction. This is correct, but anyone with access to public records will find your deferred adjudication until you have your Motion for Non Disclosure granted by a court. Therefore, if possible get your Motion for Non Disclosure filed as soon as possible, if you are eligible.

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

Also, a lot of
courts in Houston will restrict your travel outside of Harris County while on bond even for a simple
DWI charge.

In a lot of instances a court will initially set a very high amount in a case. For example, in a theft case where the value of the alleged property that was stolen is one hundred thousand ($100,000) the court will routinely double that amount and set the bond at two hundred thousand ($200,000). However, if you hire a lawyer before raising the money to bond the person out of jail the lawyer should be able to go to the court and have the bond reduced to a more reasonable amount. In the above scenerio a lawyer would be able to save you thousands of dollars when making a bond. Typically, a bonding company will charge you a 10% fee for bonding someone out of jail. The two hundred thousand dollar bond will cost you twenty thousand dollars and the one hundred thousand dollar bond will cost you ten thousand dollars. Thus,hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney will pay for itself by getting the bond reduced in addition to all the other things they can do for you.