Does a DWI Show Up on My Background Check?

texas background check-dwi attorney houston

Yes, when a background check includes your criminal record, a DWI shows up. Oftentimes, many people don’t realize that their DWI arrest shows up on their record regardless of whether there was a conviction. If your case was dismissed, our Houston DWI lawyers will work with you to determine whether it can be removed from your record. 

Expungement is an important step for any dismissal. This is because driving while intoxicated (DWI) negatively impacts your chances of finding work, renting a home, or even attain professional licenses. 

If you currently face DWI charge, it is crucial for you to take every possible step to avoid having a conviction on your record, which will show up on a background check. DWI convictions haunt Texans long after they pay the legal consequences. In many cases, a DWI stays on your record permanently unless you seek expungement. 

Contact our Houston DWI lawyers today for a free consultation. Whether you face charges now or want to seek expungement or record sealing, our team can help you understand your options.

Employers and Getting a Background Check in Texas

In many cases, Texas employers conduct an extensive background check on job candidates. For this reason, many with a DWI on their record find themselves without a job. This is true even if the arrest did not lead to a conviction. 

Additionally, when your career specifically centers around driving, you can count on them scouring your record. If they see any signs of a DWI or negligent behavior behind the wheel, you likely won’t be their choice. 

How Does a DWI Impact Career Prospects?

In Texas, employers can use the results of background checks to deny candidates a job. However, employers must follow certain rules when doing so. For example, when they use a third-party company to conduct the investigation, they must inform you. Moreover, you must sign a waiver providing your consent to the check. 

Secondly, when an employer decides not to hire you based on negative information from their check, they must provide the details of their decision. Still, some businesses forgive DWIs in background checks. This is especially true when your arrest occurred several years in the past. 

However, it’s important to understand that this depends on several factors. 

  • Company policies
  • The type of job
  • Job duties 
  • Company culture 
  • Other candidates

When the economy is not on your side, a DWI hurts you even more. Employers are more likely to have qualified candidates with clean records vying for the same job. 

DWI Expungement 

When you are arrested for a DWI but not convicted, your arrest shows up on your record. However, you may have the option to have it expunged from your arrest record. As Houston DWI defense lawyers, we can help you pursue this option. 

Typically, DWI expungement involves filing a petition and attendance at a hearing. At your hearing, we present the case for why your DWI arrest should be removed from your record. After a successful hearing, the judge issues an order of expungement. 

Sealing Your Record / Background Check

Alternatively, you might pursue a nondisclosure order. You may know this as “having your record sealed.” While a sealed record does not disappear from your record, it is no longer visible to employers or third-party agencies. 

Something to keep in mind with a sealed record is that certain government officials still have the ability to see your DWI arrest. If you hope to get a high-level government job, this can still be a hurdle. In these cases, you may want to seek expungement. 

According to more recent Texas law, a first-offense DWI conviction may also be eligible to be sealed. However, you must meet specific criteria. Speak to our Houston DWI lawyers if you wish to explore this option. 

What Do I Do If I Currently Face Charges?

If you currently face DWI charges, it’s important to remember that you have options. The first thing you should do is speak to a DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. At your free case evaluation, we review your case and determine the best method for defense. At times, this may involve a plea that reduces your DWI charges to less severe charges. 

Our DWI defense team can also help you work towards expungement when we avoid conviction. 

Call Now For a Free Consultation

Are you currently facing DWI charges in Houston? Do you want to seal your record or expunge a DWI arrest? Learn more about your options when you schedule a free consultation with our Houston DWI lawyers. 

Led by Herman Martinez, our team strives to help you fight to protect your rights and your future. We understand how deeply impactful a DWI arrest can be. Moreover, we have decades of experience helping people protect themselves. 

Contact us now to schedule your free case evaluation. Let us show you how we can be your advocates.

DWI Expungement in Houston: When and How It Works

A DWI expungement in Houston can help you work towards a better future. In Texas, your criminal record is a public record. If you have ever been charged, convicted, or arrested for a DWI, anyone who runs a background check will find that information. Oftentimes, this results in difficulty finding work, a place to live, or even a financial loan. For years, a DWI arrest in Texas can haunt you. Let Martinez Law get the court to expunge a DWI case for you.

Fortunately, when you have the right Houston DWI lawyer on your side, there are ways to avoid having your DWI discovered by the public. For those who qualify, an arrest, prosecution, or first-time conviction can potentially be sealed. When you seal your record, it helps you get back to a sense of normalcy. Reach out to the Martinez Law Firm today to see whether you qualify and how we can help. Our DWI defense law firm offers free consultations, so please, do not hesitate to call.

Who Qualifies for DWI Expungement in Houston?

Have you been arrested and tried for a DWI without a formal conviction? The good news is that you may qualify to expunge a DWI case in Harris County, TX. If you meet one of the following requirements, you qualify for expunction.

Minor at the Time of Your DWI Arrest

If you were arrested for a DWI as a minor (under 17 in this instance) and not convicted of other violations, you should be eligible to expunge a DWI case in Houston. Texas understands that minors make mistakes and often approve rehabilitation over punishment for youths. A criminal record for a mistake you made as a kid does not serve this purpose.

Charges Never Filed

The fact of your arrest for a DWI is a matter of public record. Any employer or landlord who runs a background check can see the details of any run-ins you’ve had with the law. This includes the details of any arrests. However, if you were never formally charged with a crime, you can request to have the record expunged.

With this expungement, your DWI arrest seems like it no longer exists. Moreover, the court may grant you the legal privilege to deny the fact you were ever arrest for an expunged crime.

DWI Case Dismissed by a Court

When your DWI case is dismissed, the arrest and charge remain on your record. Oftentimes, people assume this means that the DWI arrest simply falls off of their record. This is simply not the case unless you file a petition for DWI expungement in Houston.

If your misdemeanor DWI case was dismissed, you are likely eligible to expunge a DWI case so long as that same arrest didn’t lead to a conviction for another crime.

Found Not Guilty of a DWI

If you took your DWI case to trial and won, congratulations. Even when a judge and jury decide you are not guilty, your arrest remains on your record. However, your success in court means you have the right to request an expunction.

Appealed a DWI Conviction & Won

With the help of a Houston DWI lawyer, you can appeal any DWI conviction in Texas. When you appeal and win, you also have the ability to request a DWI expungement in Houston. Clearing your record helps you keep the details of your DWI arrest, trial, conviction, and appeal under wraps. Moreover, an expungement can allow you to honestly state that you were never convicted of a crime.

Need to Expunge A DWI Case in Houston? Call Our DWI Defense Team

Have you been arrested or prosecuted for a DWI in Houston? Were you never convicted? Perhaps you were able to overturn your conviction through an appeal. If you find yourself in need of a DWI expungement in Houston or Harris County, DWI lawyer Herman Martinez has the power to help you file a petition for expungement or to have your record sealed. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more ab

How to Handle an Out of State DWI

how to handle an out of state DWI

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. 

The Consequences of Underage Drinking in Texas

underage drinking in Texas

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. 

Field Sobriety Test FAQ’s

can i refuse a field sobriety test?

When an individual is pulled over on suspicion of DWI, the police will most likely conduct a field sobriety test (FST) to see if they are in fact intoxicated. Unfortunately, they are not always accurate because a myriad of other factors can influence how people react to these types of tests.

Take a look at some of the common questions we receive regarding these types of tests:

  1. By law, do I have to submit to a field sobriety test if I am pulled over by the police?
    Truthfully, the answer is no and it is often recommended that you do not take them. They are often unreliable, as there are a number of outside factors that can cause a person to fail. Health conditions, difficulty balancing, weight, age, and a variety of other things can all affect the results. It is important to note, however, that an officer will most likely make you take a breath or blood test if you do not submit to a routine test.
  2. What are the most common versions of this test?
    Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk-and-Turn test, and the One-Leg Stand test are the three that are considered “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  3. Is it possible to challenge your field sobriety test?
    Yes, with the help of a qualified Houston DWI attorney, you can fight your field sobriety test. At The Martinez Law Firm, we know that being pulled over for a DWI can already be extremely stressful. We understand the various elements of these tests and we can combat how they were administered and establish if any misconduct occurred on the part of the administering officer.

No matter what the circumstances are surrounding your charges, our Houston DWI defense lawyers can strive to protect your rights both in and out of the courtroom. Call for a free evaluation of your case today and let us begin crafting the defense you deserve.

Categories: Alcohol TestDUIDWI

Proving Intent in Criminal Cases: A Prosecutor’s Burden

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!

Plea Bargains: What to Know

herman martinez criminal defense plea deal bargain

<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>

Sentencing: What to Expect

<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>

What is Probable Cause?

criminal defense attorney herman martinez can help you with probable cause - what is probable cause

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 show an objective situation that 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 judge’s purview 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. 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 typical 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. To be clear, a 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 illegal activity
  • Individuals gave statements 
  • Information collected by witnesses and informants
  • Circumstantial evidence which may imply guilty but which does not prove it

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

What is a Wet Reckless?

what is wet reckless

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.

However, Texas 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 the representing lawyer utilizes sentence bargaining, they may be able to secure lesser penalties. However, you are still charged with DWI. For example, you could get the fines or jail time waived in place 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 defend against DWI charges aggressively.

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 online or when you call (713) 489-9773!

What are Field Sobriety Checkpoints? Are They Legal in Texas?

Field Sobriety Checkpoints

They are not.

Texas has decided that field 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.

A free consultation is offered when you call (713) 489-9773!

Should I Refuse a Blood Test?

should i refuse a blood alcohol or breathalyzer test?

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!

Understanding How Alcohol Interacts with Your Body

understanding how alcohol affects your body - BAC - blood alcohol count

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.

Can You Get Your Criminal Record Cleared in Texas?

get your criminal record expunged with criminal defense attorney herman martinez

Is it possible to get your record cleared?

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 Herman 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, Herman Martinez, at The Martinez Law Firm for a FREE case consultation today!
Don’t let a past mistake ruin your future; get your record cleared today!

How “Double Jeopardy” can Protect You in Your Case

double jeaopardy

 

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/or 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 criminal defense lawyer, like Herman Martinez, from The Martinez Law Firm to represent you and make sure that you get the treatment that you deserve in your case. Learn more by talking with an experienced attorney at our firm today!

 

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Evading Arrest Case?

charged with evading arrestin houston? you need a criminal defense attorney like Herman Martinez

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 pursued 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! To get a FREE case consultation from one of the best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Houston, contact The Martinez Law Firm today.

Were You Charged with Arson?

charged with arsen? let Houston criminal defense attorney Herman Martinez help.

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 regard 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 a 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.

 

CAN YOU SEAL YOUR JUVENILE COURT RECORDS?

seal juvenile court records with houston criminal defense attorney herman martinez

 

Want to get your juvenile court records sealed? 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 of their juvenile court records 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!

Do You Need a Lawyer Present at Your Arraignment?

arraignment - herman martinez - criminal defense lawyer in houston

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!

Can Immigrants be Deported After an Arrest?

immigration laws explained by herman martinez houston criminal defense attorney

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.
Immigrants 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
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!

CONCEALED HANDGUN LAWS TO KEEP IN MIND

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!

DON’T ALLOW FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY RUIN YOUR REPUTATION

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.

A SEXUAL ASSAULT ATTORNEY IN HOUSTON ANSWERS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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

Ways to Avoid a New Years DUI

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 afterward. 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 to avoid new year’s DUI. As well, if you are traveling 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 to avoid a new year’s 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.

HELP! I was Charged with Insurance Fraud

 

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 felony. 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!

Use of Deadly Force: What You Need to Know

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 forceful violence 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 forces charges without a sentence. Talk to a lawyer at the Martinez Law Firm today if you need more information.

HOUSTON SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWYER DISCUSSES ADMONISHMENTS

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.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO GET A PRE-TRIAL DIVERSION IN HOUSTON, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS

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 criminal lawyers do not mention to their clients is Pre-trial Diversion. I am not sure if the criminal attorneys that do not alert their clients of Pre-trial Diversion are because of a lack of knowledge or because it is so difficult to obtain when compared to a probation or deferred adjudication.

One of the most important requirements for a person seeking entry into
the Pre-trial Diversion program is a completely clear criminal record. Typically, even a case that was previously dismissed will preclude someone
from entering the Diversion program.

If someone is seeking entry into the program in Harris County these are
some of the things needed:

PRE-TRIAL DIVERSION APPLICATIONS SUGGESTED CONTENT

1. The application should be submitted at least one week prior to the next
court setting.

2. 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
must admit guilt, but it will not be used against you if you are not allowed to enter the program.

3. A complete representation of any juvenile or adult criminal history,
including pending cases in other jurisdictions, arrest that has not been expunged.

4. All content should be race-neutral.

5. 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.

6. Photographs, original awards, or certificates; you may have received.

7. Include verification of current and past school enrollment, including transcript, if possible.

8. Include verification of your current and past employment (Resume suggested).

9. Letters of recommendations (at least 2).
THE APPLICATION PACKET SHOULD BE LIMITED TO 10 PAGES OR LESS.
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.

How Can I Get My Case Dismissed If I’m Guilty?

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, and could never get their case dismissed. 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 downside of 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.

Are Adult Females Charged with Sexual Assault Treated Differently?

Female sexual assault crimes happen more often than not and sometimes are taken less seriously than male sexual assault crimes. For some reason whenever a female teacher is arrested, charged, or investigated, or 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 harm 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 than 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.

May I Get a Second Opinion of my Criminal Case?

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 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 investigated 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.

Welcome to Our Houston Criminal Defense Blog

Our attorneys are pleased to announce the launch of our criminal defense blog with an RSS feed available at Martinez Law Blog on our website.

Are You Eligible to Get Your Houston DWI Case Dismissed?

Getting a DWI dismissed in Texas is difficult but not impossible.  Deetrice Wallace, a Department of Public Safety contractor who faked inspections of alcohol breath testing devices was convicted and sentenced to one year in the State Jail for Tampering with a Government Record. The door is now open for anyone that was affected by her malfeasance to seek a review of their case and quite possibly have their charges dismissed even if they have previously been found guilty. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is stating that over 1,200 cases will be revisited.

Furthermore, they admit that most of those cases are gone including Felony DWI cases. Also, on a person’s side is that it is likely that the videotape of the DWI arrest has been destroyed since they are routinely destroyed a short time after all court proceedings are concluded. This may be the first time that taking a breath alcohol test ends up with a DWI case in Houston, Harris County, Texas being dismissed. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is set to start contacting the defendants that may be eligible to request a new trial in the near future.

Get Your Bond Reduced

reduction a bond

Getting a bond reduction is something that a lot of people eager to bond their loved ones out of jail do not think about.  In a lot of instances, a court will initially set a very high amount in a court 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 scenario, 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.

You need Herman Martinez with Martinez Law Firm, Houston to Represent You for your Bond Reduction

Thus, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney will pay for itself by getting a bond reduction in addition to all the other things they can do for you.