Sadly, the
Sheen household is having a Christmas they would like to forget. Unhappily, this is what
commonly happens when there is a domestic violence situation. They arrest
the man and ask questions later especially if the man has a prior conviction
for this offense. I understand the rush to judgment since for decades
this crime went overlooked by law enforcement. Nevertheless, the police
are allowing these latent biases tragically affect families. A proper
investigaton should still take place without rushing to judgment. I see
this happen routinely as a
Houston Assault Attorney. The woman is initally seen crying, distraught and frantic. While in this
emotional state the woman enhances the story in her favor. Contrastingly,
the man acts understated while he tells his story in a muffled tone. The
man instinctively thinks this is the way he should act. Unfortunately
his remorse is interpreted as a sign of guilt by the police.

These domestic violence situations tend to arise out of a passionate relationship
that is unable to properly address a recurring problem. This inablility
leads to resentment that causes the violence. Furthermore, the situation
is magnified when one or both of them have been driinking. Once it is
apparent that the disagreement will not be resolved an uproar ensues and
the police are called, Law enforcement should provide better training
to the officers responding to these situations so that they are better
able to diffuse the scene instead of enflaming it.

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

It looks like
Judge Mike Anderson, presiding judge of the 262nd District Court of Harris County and
Judge Reagen Helm, presiding judge of Harris County Criminal Court at Law #1have both decided
not to seek reelection. Both of these judges will be missed for different
reasons. Judge Anderson is beloved by the prosecutors for the toughness
he displays. Meanwhile the prosecutors have been trying to remove Judge
Helm from all family violence cases because of his lack of compassion
for the victims in those type of cases.

As a
Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer I have been treated fairly by both judges. I have known Judge Anderson
since I was in the Harris District Attorney’s Office over ten years
ago. Moreover, I was friends with Judge Helm’s Court Coordinator,
Karen Harrison, before I became attorney.

As a
criminal defense lawyer that deals with domestic violence cases I see the emotional impact that
these situation cause the entire family. The last few years I have seen
woman charged with assault of a family member more readily. Regardless
of who is at fault in these cases they can become deadly in a heartbeat. Sadly,
Chris Henry, Cincinnati Bengals receiver, became one of the most prominent victims of a domestic violence that
turned deadly. Hopefully, the
NFL
will take this sorrowful event to educate its massive audience to the
dangers surrounding a domestic dispute.

As a
Houston DWI lawyer I review DWI field sobriety tests daily. It troubles me how police officers
score these tests and how they lack the necessary detail in their reports.
By routinely doing this it illustrates their lack of knowledge of the
DWI tests and their zeal for a DWI arrest. The officers mislead the prosecutors
by omitting crucial information and subscribing to the field sobriety
myths that have developed over the years. For example, officers routinely
state that a person uses their arm for balance when performing the DWI
field sobriety tests and indicate that as a clue. However, a person is
allowed to use their arms for balance so long as it not more than six
inches away from their side.

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

As a
Houston DWI lawyer I review DWI field sobriety tests daily. It troubles me how police officers
score these tests and how they lack the necessary detail in their reports.
By routinely doing this it illustrates their lack of knowledge of the
DWI tests and their zeal for a DWI arrest. The officers mislead the prosecutors
by omitting crucial information and subscribing to the field sobriety
myths that have developed over the years. For example, officers routinely
state that a person uses their arm for balance when performing the DWI
field sobriety tests and indicate that as a clue. However, a person is
allowed to use their arms for balance so long as it not more than six
inches away from their side.

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

Happy Holidays from the Harris County District Attorneys’s Office.
Just in time for the holidays the DA’s office has decided to expand the
no refusal DWI program through the holidays. Please keep in mind that the program will continue
through January 2, 2010. The DA’s office states how many
DWI arrests have been made during previous no refusal weekends, but I am more concerned
how these figures compare with a regular DWI enforcement weekend. These
figures should be available since the no refusal weekends have been in
place for over a year. Once these numbers become available the citizens
of Harris County will be able to intelligently determine if it is worth
having them in the future.

Snow has been falling steadily in Houston since this morning and the commute
looks to be terrible since the roads are going to be slick even it stops
snowing. There will be several accidents this evening due to the weather.
Please drive safely today.

Do not make things worse by stopping for a quick happy hour drink. A simple
snow related accident will turn into something much worse…a DWI. A police officer is likely to arrest you when this happens since they
will smell an odor of alcohol and you will not be able to do the
field sobriety tests at the scene because of the weather. After being arrested without any
evidence I would find it unlikely that anyone would submit to a
breath test. Keep in mind that police officers have a different burden of proof when
arresting someone for driving while intoxicated than they have to prove
in a court of law.

A lot has been said about the Houston, Harris County, Texas DWI DIVERT
program since it was started earlier this year. I see both sides of the
debate. It can be a positive for those that are clearly intoxicated and
want to maintain a “clear record.” On the other hand, it may
unfairly sway the person that has a case that could be won in a jury trial
from proceeding to trial when the DIVERT carrot is placed in front of
them. Moreover, the prosecutors are less likely to dismiss the DWI case
because they have the program at their disposal. Therefore, it takes a
self confident person to reject the DIVERT offer and proceed to trial.

Today, I had my first trial of a client that declined to enter into a DIVERT
contract with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. The facts
could have gone either way based on the offense report and the video.
Nevertheless, as any
DWI trial attorney will tell you, what is written in an offense report can change dramtically
once an officer gets into the witness stand before a jury. Lets just say
this, after the arresting officer, the state’s first witness finished
testifying the prosecutor decided to dismiss the case. I can say without
a doubt in my mind that the prosecutor did the right thing. Thus, my client
avoided entering into the rigid DIVERT program. Despite it’s name
it is still like probation and in some instances even more difficult.

Judge Mike Fields
was one of two
judges in Houston, Harris County Texas
that were on record stating they would not be following the DIVERT program
that was initiated by Harris County District Attorrney’s Office earlier
this year. It turns out that Judge Fields has changed his stance by approving
the first DIVERT candidate this week. That leaves
Judge Bill Harmon
as the only misdemeanor judge that will not allow a person to enter the
program. Hopefully, Judge Harmon will stop being the rebel judge and start
allowing a case to be reset for the necessary time for a defendant to
complete the program.

Last month I mentioned Dennis LeRoy’s DUI arrest while sitting in his
La-Z-Boy. Mr. Leroy went on probation for his second DUI conviction and
lost his beloved chair. What makes his story even more amazing is that
it made over
$43,000
for the Proctor, MN police office. Sadly, he will not be receiving any
money from the sale of his La-Z-Boy since he gave it to them as part of
his plea bargain.

Mowing the law on a hot summer day is close to being an American pastime.
I remember as a child being awaken by the sound of lawn mowers going on
a Saturday morning. Thinking back I also remember seeing the men with
a beer nearby to quench their thirst. While I do not mow the lawn at my
house I doubt I could do so without knowing that I would be treated to
a cold one after I finished mowing my lawn.

Apparently, James Dennis had one too many and decided to take his lawn
mower for a ride. While driving his lawn mower down a Missouri highway
he was stopped by the police and eventually arrested for the misdemeanor of
DWI in his lawn mower. Incredibly, the police chief said that this was not the first time that
he had arrested someone for driving while intoxicated in a lawn mower.

Since I am a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer I know how the court appointed system works in Houston, Texas. Today, I will be discussing the various issues regarding the proposed Harris County Public Defenders Office at the KPFT studios. My aim is to enlighten listeners to the current system of how attorneys are selected in Harris County, Texas. It seems that the public is misinformed how the court appointed system works in our county.

One of the advantages of being part of the
National College of DUI Defense is that every member of the college helps one another. Recently, I was
able help fellow
DWI Attorney,
Brad Schreiber of South Dakota, with a Texas licensing issue. While exchanging emails with him I was
made aware of the fact that his state repealed the implied consent law
in 2006. The affect of this is that South Dakota is one of the few states
that do not require a breath test. In fact, his state requires a blood
test in DWI cases.

In the past few years Texas has been expanding how law enforcement may
collect a blood sample from someone that is arrested for DWI. If this
continues Texas should explore eliminating the implied conset law as it
relates to the breath/alcohol test.

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

As a lawyer I realize that the profession is not held in high regard. A person’s opinion tends to shift once they need the services of a lawyer for themselves. I feel like it is my job to lessen the stigma regarding attorneys once a person comes in contact them for the first time. I realize that meeting with a criminal defense lawyer is not what they had mind. I am comforting while stilll discussing honestly any all possible outcomes of their particular case. In my opinion, a person comes away with a much better feelling about a lawyer after a meeting.with me.

My professionalism, knowledge, and benevolence is rewarded by the amount of times that my previous clients recommend my services to the people that they know. I would say that over a third of my business is from previous clients refering these people in their time of need to me.

San Francisco Giants Pitcher,
Tim Lincecum, was arrested for possession of
marijuana in his home state of Washington. Washington like 12 other states has a
medical marijuana exception, but their law narrowly defines what conditions
may be treated with marijuana. If this would have occurred in California
he would not have been arrested provided he had a prescription for the
more abundant conditions that are covered by the law in California. Luckily
for Mr. Lincecum, the state of Washington routinely lowers the charge
for a first time offender of marijuana possession to possession of
drug paraphernalia. In Texas that would be the equilavent of a traffic ticket.

Texas was contemplating the medical marijuana law this year, but the bill
did not pass. For a complete list of the medical marijuana states click
here.

After spending a long weekend with fellow
DWI lawyers at a DWI seminar I found the seminar to be informative. For instance,
not every state has a jury trial for a DWI offense. There are some jurisdictions
that do not recognize the National HIghway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) manual despite using all the tests. Most surprising, there are
some jurisdictions that do not have an open discovery policy. I would
find it difficult to properly prepare for a trial without having all the
evidence beforehand to analyze and prepare my defense.

The more I attend these seminars and compare and contrast other jurisdictions
the better I feel about being a Houston DWI attorney in Harris County, Texas.

I am off to another DWI seminar this weekend. I hope to learn even more
about field sobriety tests, and how the police adminster them incorrectly.
This is three full days of working through all the issues that arise out of a
DWI arrest.

I am always interested in these seminars because it gives me an opportunity
to meet DWI attorneys from across the country. You would be surprised
how differently people handle DWI cases.

As a
Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer I get parents that can not believe that this is the case. In Texas, joy
riding is called unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. This happens a lot
when a teenager takes a car without a parent’s permission. Unless,
the parent comes forward for the child saying that they had persimmon
to use the vehicle they will be charged with a felony.

This charge also comes up frequently when someone that is under the influence
of drugs or alcohol lends someone the car that they are legally driving
in exchange for drugs. The drug induced person later reports the vehicle
as stolen to the police. Later, a person that is driving the vehicle is
not aware of the report by the owner claiming that it was stolen is pulled
over by police and charged with the felony of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Yes, please be prepared to be tested for drug use at your DIVERT interview. It would be a good idea to bring a copy of all your prescriptions to the interview as well.

It has been my expereince as a Houston DWI lawyer that my clients have been hesitant about entering the program because of the strict nature of the contract. Please completely understand the contract before agreeing to enter the program.

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

One of the many consequences of
getting a DWI is the potential loss of your driver’s license. If that occured a
reinstatement fee was required to be paid after the suspension ended to
have the license reinstated. For as long as I can remember, a person was
able to go to the
DPS office located at 12220 Gessner in Houston, Texas to pay the fee as well
as check other things related to their DWI. At the end of October of this
year that will no longer be the case since the DPS has decided to close
the only office in Houston that handles DWI resinstatments.

This is a question that I get regularly when someone’s friend or family
gets arrested for DWI in the middle of night in Houston. For a first time
offender, the bond should be set at $500 if they have never been arrested
for any other crime. For a second DWI, that amount increases to $1,000.
The bond amount really takes a jump on a third DWI. The main reason for
this is because after the second DWI any DWI arrest is classified as a
felony. Thus, the bond is set at $10,000 for a person’s third DWI.
There are other felony cases that are felonies such as DWI with a child
passenger, intoxication assault or negligent homocide. Those bond amounts
range from $2,000 to $25,000.

Please keep in mind that those amounts are assuming that the person does
not have any other arrests outside of the previous
DWI when applicable.

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

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

As I stated earlier this year, I feel like it is my duty as a
DWI Lawyer to share my DWI knowledge with the public. Anyone searching for a DWI
attorney or lawyer is bombarded with static websites that essentially
say the same thing. I wanted to give that person more facts pertaining
to their DWI arrest. Please keep in mind that I mainly practice DWI in
the Greater Houston area. Therefore, anything that I mention is mostly
how it is done in Houston, Texas. Nevertheless, this information applies
to all Texas’ cases and most
DWI across the country.

Originally, blood alcohol tests were designed to strengthen the witness
testimony. These tests ignore the differences in the elimination and absorption
in each individual. Therefore, it is unfair when a prosecutor looks at the
blood alcohol test to determine the offer that will be made to the accused.

The
SCRAM device
is a new machine that is used as a substitute for the interlock device
in DWI cases in Houston and around the country. The SCRAM is much more
intrusive than the interlock because it is worn at all times, and is taking
alcohol readings every 30 minutes as you perspire. Also other people may
see the device if it unintentionally exposed. There is a list of things
that may trigger a false positive alcohol reading when using this device,
like certain toiletries, perfumes and cleaning supplies. After a recent
hearing in a
Florida court
you can also add Hairspray to the list of items that may cause a false
positive when wearing the SCRAM device. Jeff Hawthorne, who is the co-founder
of Alcohol Monitoring Systems Inc. and who invented the SCRAM (Secure
Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) anklet, testified at the hearing. He
said an alert could have been issued even if the defendant had not consumed
alcohol. Furthermore, he stated that it is possible that hairspray could
trigger an alert instead.

When people know that they are going out drinking it is always a good idea
to have a designated driver that is not going to drink. When a designated
driver is not available a person should opt for a cab in order to avoid
a DWI arrest.

A
California couple trying to avoid a subsequent DWI arrest or conviction used the wrong designated
driver…a 13 year old boy! The boy was able to drive for a while until
“he was freaked out” and stopped in the middle of a street.
Amazingly, there was not an accident, nor was anyone hurt. The couple
will avoid a DWI conviction, but the woman was charged
with the misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and contributing to the
delinquency of a minor. In Texas the charge of child endangerment is a
felony which is much more serious than a misdemeanor.

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 malfesance 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 revistited. 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.

As a
Houston criminal defense attorney I enjoy reading an offense report where I can quickly identify different
ways to beat the criminal charges against my client. My analysis is sometimes
obliterated by learning that my client has told someone how they committed
the crime. The client probably believed that since some time has passed
they were in the clear. That is not the case since most crimes have a
long statute of limitations or in a murder case where there is no time
limit when charges may be brought against someone.

The most disappointing thing is that my clients did not confess to the
police, but to friends and/or family members. Surprisingly, this happens
more often than you would think. I am certain that I would have eventually
had the case dismissed, but for the statements that are made. I have come
to realize how difficult it is for people to keep quiet about a crime
they have committed. Please be aware of the pitfalls when you tell anyone
about the circumstances surrounding a crime.

Similar to a recent appointment made by President Obama, Governor Perry
has also a Hispanic Female to the State’s Highest Civil Court. Perry
appointed
Eva Guzman, to be the first Hispanic female to the Texas Supreme Court. While as a
Houston Criminal Lawyer I would not be arguing before this court since
the highest court for Criminal appeals in our state is the
Texas Criminal Court of Appeals, it still is a historic moment.

Judge Guzman’s family history is an inspiration for young woman of
all ethnicities, races. She is one one of seven children and the daughter
of Mexican immigrants that only had an elementary school education. Her
mother worked mostly as a cleaning woman. Professionally she has been
a judge in Houston since 1999. She attended
South Texas College of Law.

The Oakland Raiders are known for having some colorful players on their team. During the 70’s and 80’s they would sign players that wore out their welcome with their teams or were released after having some type of legal issues. Players like Jim Plunkett, Lyle Alzado, and Ted Hendricks fit the Raiders image to a tee.

Lately, the Raiders have fallen from grace. Their team is considered to be one of the worse run franchises in the NFL and owner, Al Davis is routinely mocked by football experts. It has gotten so unruly at “Raider Nation” that during the preseason their coaches were involved in an incident that may lead to assault charges. The Raiders are expecting their head coach, Tom Cable to be arrested for felony assault potentially spending time away from the team during the regular season.

Luckily, in Houston, Texas this can be avoided. In Harris County,Texas there is a procedure to avoid going to jail when there is a warrant for someone’s arrest. A “non arrest” bond allows someone to avoid the inconvenience of having to be arrested before going to court to dispute the charges against them.

I bet the days of texting while driving will be a thing of the past in
the near future. I know must people feel that they can take on the tasks
of driving and texting at the same time, but the facts disagree. In fact,
a recent study concluded that a driver is
23 times
more likely to get into accident while texting. Furthermore, the study
concludes that this is more perilous then driving while intoxicated. If
someone may go to jail up to 180 days for a
DWI
in Texas what will the legislature feel is appropriate when someone does
something that is even more dangerous?

Google first page ranking is a millon dollar question. If you talk to one hundred search engine companies they are say that they will get your website listed on the first page of google. I am always skeptical of this claim because there are only ten spots in the organic results so not everyone will make the first page.

I am lucky that Scorpion Web Design has helped me so much with my web design and getting my firm listed with Google. They speak my language…clear and honest. Do not be tempted by a company that promises you first page results. That company will do your website more harm than good if they use unscrupolus methods to achieve a first page ranking.

One of the many frustrating things about Google is their local results. According to several reliable sources there is not a way that a website gets chosen to appear in this section of their search engine. I anticipate that Google will start charging a fee to be listed in their local map by the end of next year.

Fall is a great time of year in and around Houston, Texas. The weather
starts to cool down, more people are outdoors, and there are Festivals
throughout the city. This weekend was the
Greek Festival,
next weekend we will have the
Bayou City Art Festival, the
Renaissance Festival
and the
Cajun Catfish Festival. The rest of the month Houstonian’s will enjoy
Festa Italiana,
the
Cuban Festival, and
Oktoberfest. My concern as a Houston DWI Lawyer is the police presence at these events.
Yearly, we come across a client that is stopped, detained, and arrested
by the police leaving a Fall Festival. The stops usually occur because
people are not familar with the area where the events are located. Once
the driver is stopped and admits to drinking while at the Festival a battery
of subjective field sobriety tests ensue and the rest is history. Please
be aware of your surroundings while attending these events in order to
avoid a trip to jail.

The Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor better known as SCRAM has
been become a very popular device across the country. In Houston, they
are used in
DWI cases when the person informs the court that they do not have a vehicle to install
the interlock device. There are over 15,000 units being used today. Harris
County Judges have started using it as a condition to a person’s DWI
probation . An anklet with a GPS is due out next month. As a Houston DWI
Lawyer I anticipate that our courts will be using them more often in the future.

Despite the popularity SCRAM devices are susceptible to false positive
readings and malfunctions. Among other things, baked goods like raisin
bread and sourdough English muffins can cause the body to produce its
own alcohol. And like any computer-based device, the Scram can malfunction.
The buildup of sweat and dirt on the anklet has been known to provide
an incorrect tampering reading. When using these devices with more regularity
the courts should be also aware that like most machines it is not flawless.

I have previously discussed Judge Kevin Fine’s unique life experiences. Judge Fine truly wants everyone to have the opportunity to get the assistance necessary to overcome their addiction. He is not concerned if your drug of choice is cocaine, heroin, or something else. His aim is that you are able to conquer your disease. While Judge Fine is open to allowing someone go on probation to get the help than most other Judges in Harris County,Texas his probations are not easy. In fact, a fair amount of defendants decide that they would pass up the opportunity of receiving probation, tackling their addiction head on and take their punishment via a jail sentence instead.

Far too many addicts in his court do not take the offering that Judge Fine provides because they find it too difficult or do not believe in themselves enough to know that they can succeed. An addict in his court is required to attend one AA meeting a day for the first 180 days that they are on probation. For the more serious addicts a long term placement in a drug rehabilation center in custody is required, for at least six months. Sadly, too many defendants turn this opportunity down because they weigh their options and take the jail sentence because the incarceratioin time is similar. To his credit, Judge Fine tells the people that choose a jail sentence over rehabilation that his court is open to receceiving them if, after they finish their sentence, they want to seek help. He promises them that he will point them in the right direction to begin their recovery.

Now that the Houston, Harris County DWI DIVERT program is in full swing it is important to know the test that you will taking to gain entrance. The test is called SALCE ( Substance Abuse/Life Circumstance Evaluation)

A SALCE is a 98-item self-administered questionnaire designed to assess alcohol and drug use/abuse behavior. It results in four measures: Alcohol Use, Drug Use, Test-Taking Attitude, and Life Stress Issues. It also provides treatment recommendations based on individual profiles. The SALCE can be completed in approximately 20–25 minutes, and can be computer-scored.

How one answers these questions will determine if they are allowed to participate in the program or not. If allowed to enter the program it was also dictate what type of supervision a person will need after their DWI arrest.

Keep in mind that if a person is not accepted for the DIVERT program it does not mean that the person is prevented from going to trial on the merits of their DWI case.

There are several reasons that I enjoy my profession. I am able to help people, fight for the underdog, and battle the Government on a daily basis. I have always said that I can be a lawyer until I lose my passion for the work. I intend on working as a criminal attorney until I can not physically practice any longer.

Recently, I came across a person I can emulate, Jack Borden, a lawyer that is still practicing law at the age of 101. He has been practicing law for over 70 years. Amazingly, Mr. Borden still puts in 40 hours a week at his Weatherford, Texas law office. I can only aspire to be as successful in my career.

Chuck Knoblauch, local and national baseball star, he has been charged under the new law
that makes choking a family member a third degree felony. Mr. Knoblauch
enjoyed athletic success from an early age while playing baseball at Bellaire
High School. Next, he moved on to Texas A&M University where he was
named a second team All American. In 1991, his rookie year with the Minnesota
Twins, he won a World Series Championship and the American League Rookie
of the Year Award. Before retiring from baseball in 2003 he won three
World Series Championships as a member of the New York Yankees.

Luckily, Mr. Knoblauch is presumed to be innocent. His predicament illustrates
how easily a person can be charged with a Felony in Texas now that the
law has changed. The last Texas Legislation made
choking a Family Member a third degree felony even if the person does not have a criminal history.
If these allegations would have been brought forward in August of this
year he would be facing misdemeanor charges. A felony charge is much more
serious with the range of punishment being two to ten years in prison
as opposed to the one year maximum punishment for a misdemeanor.

The ability to file these charges as a felony gives the prosecutor another
tool to extort a guilty plea from a person. On a highly contested case
the assistant district attorney will likely offer to reduce the charges
to a misdemeanor. This may seem like a fair resolution unless the person
is compromising. If this is the case they should keep in mind that a second
charge of Family Violence Assault is a third degree felony just like the
choking charge.

One of the most frustrating things as a lawyer is not being able to properly
prepare to cross examine a witness. When it comes to scentific evidence
there are journals, data, and studies that are available for review. Most
scentific evidence is subject to peer review and most pass their standards
before the evidence is deemed legitimate. These give lawyers the opportunity
to properly cross examine a scientific witness. For some reason, a Fort
Bend, Texas sheriff has been excluded from these expectations when using
this unusual process called Scent Identification. Scent Identification
is the process by which evidence containing a scent is allowed to be sniffed
by the bloodhound. In doing this, the sheriff claims that the bloodhounds
that he trains are able to pick up a smell and lead them to the culprit
of the crime. He does not have any training, has not conducted any studies,
and can not produce any peer reviews since there is no other person that
claims to be able to train dogs to do this in the world. Not Surpisingly, the
Innocence Project
is demanding that the Texas Forensic Science Commission ban the use of
Scent Identification. Most egregious, there is a Federal Lawsuit based
on wrongful convictions stemming from this unscentific identification process.

I had a frustrating this week dealing with prosecutors that are handling some of my DWI cases. The frustration is really not aimed at them, but at the lack of uniformity with the DIVERT program. For instance, in one court the prosecutor’s position was that my client had to be in this country legally to qualify for the program. Later, a prosecutor in a different court said that that a different client needed to be a legal resident of the United States in order to qualify. The distinction is not that obvious, but it is a significant difference. There are a fair amount of people that are in the United States legally through a visa or work permit in this country, but are not legal residents. That leaves those people in “pretrial limbo” until the Harris County District Attorney’s Office decides what their position is going to be when it comes to this class of defendants. As a Houston DWI Lawyer, this lack of uniformity makes it difficult to properly advise my clients.

As a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer I got the following question asked
weekly. “There is a
warrant out for my arrest…I do not want to go to jail.” “What should
I do? Luckily, a person may avoid going to jail in this situation. There
are things a person can when this situation arises. The first thing they
should do is contact a bonding company so that they could do what is called
a “non arrest bond.” If the bonding company does not know what
that a non arrest bond is move on because they probably can not help.

A “non arrest bond” is straight forward. This type of bond allows
a person to avoid jail time while waiting for a bond. Anyone that has
spent time in jail they will say you do not want to be waiting in jail
for someone to bond you out. Thus, the non arrest bond allows a person
to skip the booking process. The bonding company gathers a person’s
information, gets the court assignement and the court date. If someone
does this they will be one of the lucky people that will avoid being questioned
by the police

As a
DWI Attorney in Houston we should be more knowlegable about driving while intoxicated cases then
the police. That is why I am an expert in the field sobriety tests and
I have taken several classes to become more proficient with the machine
that the police use to determine a persons breath alcohol level. In keeping
with that we are now proude owner of the same machine that the police
use in the state of Texas, the intoxilyzer 5000. I can not wait to take
part in my next DWI trial after playing with our new toy in the office.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has reached their first milestone with the DIVERT program. Today, Texans’, wide receiver, Jacoby Jones, became the tenth person to start the program since it started in August of this year. It is not expected that Mr. Jones will get disciplined by the National Football League or the Texans since by entering the Houston Divert program a conviction is averted.

Currently, I have three clients waiting for their DIVERT interviews. It seems like the District Attorney’s Office did not properly staff the program because the wait to get an interview is over a month long. I anticipate that the wait will decrease once the program is properly managed.

A mistrial is declared when the jurors in a criminal trial can not come to an unanimous decision. Most clients believe that if a judge declares a mistrial their case is over. This could not be further from the truth. Essentially, the case goes back to the start position. All the parties involved must determine how they want to go forward with the case. One of three things will happen. Either, the prosecutor will dismiss the charges, a plea agreement may be reached, or another trial will take place in the future.

If another trial takes place a transcript of the entire trial should be reviewed so that the witnesses’ testimony is locked in for the subsequent trial. Nevertheless, a new trial could backfire since both sides will know the testimony of the witnesses . Typically, a new trial is viewed as a negative for the accused because the prosecutor knows the entire defense and can properly prepare for it the second time around.

I was disappointed with the negative decision regarding one of my clients
this week. One of the most puzzling aspects of Harris County DIVERT requirements
is that a person may not have been handled by the police before this arrest
for driving while intoxication (
DWI). I would better understand this policy if they meant never have been
convicted or placed on community supervision for a crime, but they are
being much stricter than that. They are holding an arrest that was subsequently
dismissed against a person, even if the arrest occurred close to ten years
ago and was dismissed after two court settings. This still prevented my
client from qualifying for the DIVERT Program. When the DIVERT Program
was presented to Houston DWI Lawyers it was mentioned that exceptions
may be made for some people that have previously been arrested. Apparently,
a dismissed charge for a low level offense like failure to properly identify
yourself will keep someone from entering the DIVERT program.

As a
Houston DWI Lawyer I am always interested in the latest inventions surrounding drunk driving.
Recently, Avvo has created an application to be used with the Iphone.
The application allows someone to enter the drink they are having into
the IPhone while it calculates and estimates the blood alcohol level.
The idea is that by having this gadget the person will be more conscience
of their alcohol intake before the get behind the wheel of a car. The
app also allows someone to quickly search for a DWI Attorney if they are
arrested despite drinking responsibly.

Most people think that their drivers license is automatically suspended
just because they are arrested for a DWI in Houston. This is probably
due to the
police officer confiscating the drivers license when they make an arrest for DWI. Regardless, it is
important to know that a Texas drivers license is not automatically suspended
when someone is taken into custody for drunk driving. A person still has
the opportunity to save their driving privileges. They must request an
Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing with the
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) within 15 days of the arrest. The paperwork that was given to the
person when their license was taken away from them serves as temporary
drivers license until a final decision regarding the suspension is made
at the ALR hearing. While the paperwork states you will have a license
for 40 days in actuality it is not suspended until that final decision
is made at the ALR hearing. It is quite possible that your drivers license
will never be suspended. Do not panic if you do get a hearing date right
away. The hearing date will be well past the 40 days and running at the
very least 4 months from the DWI arrest. At the ALR hearing the Government
must prove the following: 1. that there was a reasonable suspicion for
the stop or that probable cause to arrest the driver; 2. there was probable
cause that the driver was driving while intoxicated; 3. the driver was
placed under arrest and asked to submit to a breath test; and 4. that
the driver declined the breath test or provided a breath sample above
the legal limit of .08 in Texas. While it is easier for the Government
to win at ALR hearing since it has a much lower burden of proof called
the preponderance of the evidence at the hearing compared to beyond a
reasonable doubt in the
DWI case many cases are won at the ALR saving a person’s drivers license.

If you would like to speak to a
Houston DWI Lawyer please
contact our law firm at (713) 489-9773.

A report from the Austin Statesman shows that despite the fact that 50
per cent of people that get arrested for DWI provide a breath sample that
average does not apply to Texas politicians. Ironically, the same politicians
that create and enforce the DWI laws in our state consistently decline
to take the breath test. These politicians refused the breath tests 100
per cent of time for the period covered by the newspaper. These are people
that are supposed to be leading by example. I guess they believe the same
thing that this
Houston DWI attorney
believes, that the machine used by law enforcement is not accurate, full
of internal flaws, and there are many factors that could affect the final
result. Thus, it is an unreliable machine to determine a person’s
blood alcohol level.