The SCRAM Device is Not Infallible

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.

A Misguided Designated Driver Decision

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.

Not Charged with a Crime….Keep it to Yourself

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.

The first Hispanic female is appointed to the Texas Supreme Court

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.

Oakland Raiders Coach Could Avoid Being Arrested in Houston, Texas

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.

How does Google select who is on the first page?

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.

Festivals Can be a Houston DWI Trap

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.

SCRAM Increasing Its Popularity

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.

Judge Fine Gives People a Chance to Beat Their Addiction

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.

What is the test that I am going to take for entry into the Harris County, Texas DIVERT program?

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.

One of the Many Great Things About Being a Lawyer

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.

New Family Violence Law Catches Chuck Knoblauch

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 the second charge of Family Violence Assault is a third-degree felony just like the choking charge.

Houston DWI Attorney throwing darts at DIVERT Program

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.

We own the same machine that the cop used in your DWI arrest

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.

Houston DWI DIVERT Program reaches double digits

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.

Does a mistrial mean that the charges will be dropped?

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.

Houston DWI DIVERT Disqualification

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.

Your IPhone may help avoid a DWI arrest

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.

Is my DWI arrest going to cause my drivers license to be suspended?

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.

Texas’ Politicians refusing to provide a breath sample

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.

The Houston DWI Divert Progam is Slow Moving

As a Houston DWI Lawyer I have a few clients that are interested in the Harris County DWI Divert program. They have been evaluated, approved, and are now waiting for the opportunity to take the test, and be interviewed by the Community Supervisions Department. The problem that I have been encountered so far has been trying to schedule the appointment time for my clients.

Apparently, I am not the only one that has experienced this problem. Starting this week the new policy will be that one of the prosecutors from the court will call someone from the DIVERT program to schedule the appointment. After that, the case will be reset a week after the confirmed interview date.

Where can I buy a DVD/Video for my Houston DWI?

As a
Houston DWI lawyer I always carry an extra videotape in my briefcase because I never know
when I need to make a copy of a DWI arrest. Occasionally, the arrests
are in a DVD format. Normally, I have a DVD with me as well, but when
I do not have either I know that I can go around the corner from the DWI
video room that is located on the second floor of the Harris Criminal
Justice Center and buy one from the shoeshine man. He sells each for $3,
exact change is appreciated.

Is the Check Fraud Division still viable?

I do not know about you, but I have not written a check to pay for something
in years. I dread being behind someone in a grocery store line that decides
to write a check after the clerk totals their bill. Had I seen the checkbook
prior to joining the line I would skipped it and moved onto the next one.
The person using a check typically waits patiently viewing every item
being scanned before taking out their checkbook. The least they could
be doing while waiting for the total is writing down the obvious information
like the date, the store’s name, and signing the check. I see the
need to write a check in some instances, but when a check/debit card is
available it is much more convenient to use that form of payment.

The
Federal Reserve estimates that check cashing has decreased by over three billion in the last ten
years. Not surprisingly, check/debit card has more then doubled during
the same period. This .trend is likely to increase in future since most
recurring bills are paid online by people and point of purchase machines
are readily available at most locations. While our Houston Criminal Law
office still accepts checks most of our business is conducted via credit
card transactions.

I wonder how this has impacted the Check Fraud Division of the Harris County
District Attorney’s Office. It has long been considered that part
of the Office is a “pseudo” collection agency for Houston businesses.
Nevertheless, with the downward trend of check writing how much longer
will the Check Fraud Division be sustainable. The time is fast approaching
to combine it with another department within the Harris County District
Attorney’s Office.

Don’t be a bonehead while on bond!

I am always disappointed when one of my clients gets their bond revoked
and put back in jail. Typically, the client and/or their family has spent
a significant amount of money to bond them out of jail. While we mention
all the pitfalls of being on bond some people do not seem to believe us.
For example, if you are ordered to put an interlock device on your vehicle after a
DWI arrest in Houston the judge will revoke your bond and put you in jail for failing to do so.

If you are bond for a
drug case do not be surprised when the judge orders you to get a drug test after
being on bond a few months. If you test positive or forget to get the
test your bond will be revoked and you will placed in jail. Another common
way that someone gets their bond revoked is after being ordered not to
have contact with a specific person the person on bond telephones that
person. All these things are likely to lead to your bond revoked by the
judge. Moreover, these actions could be used against you if there is a
punishment phase to your case.

DWI Arrests After a Football Game in Houston

Football has truly become America’s sport over the years. Saturdays and Sundays are dedicated to the experience of tailgaiting, hanging out a bar to enjoy a game, or having friends over to enjoy their favorite college or pro team on the big screen. These get togethers are always entertaining. The bummer to these gatherings is that DWI arrests typically increase during football season. Therefore, please be aware of you and your friends when drinking during a game. It is very easy during these events to have one too many over a three hour period.

The best parking spot for the Harris County Courthouses

I am surprised that more Houston Attorneys or anyone else trying to get to a Houston Courthouse do not use the Harris County garage located on the corner of Austin and Franklin. It is one of the few garages that offers assigned parking, is covered, allows the shortest wait to get through the metal detector if you do not have a county frequent visitor badge, and most of all it is linked via a tunnel system to all the courthouses. Whether you are going to the Criminal, Civil, Juvenile or Family Courthouse the tunnel will take you there without a hassle. Using the tunnel alleviates the need to remember an umbrella to walk to court. On the day like today when the Houston rain is really pouring that make the day less stressful.

Did the police officer have to impound my car after my DWI arrest?

It goes without saying that everyone gets upset when they are arrested
for a DWI. The arresting officer rarely treats the person with respect.
Additionally, as a
Houston DWI Attorney, I routinely watch the videos where the arrestee makes the request to
the police officer to allow someone to come pick up their vehicle before
one of the vultures, namely tow truck drivers, take the car to the local
impound lot. This is annoying, expensive, and unnecessary.

The police officer has the choice to leave the car at a secure location,
even to call a friend or family member to come pick up the vehicle before
it is impounded. It is callous when the officer knows that someone is
available to retrieve the vehicle especially if the arresteee is only
a mile or so from their home. Houston police agencies should develop a
policy of allowing someone to retrieve the vehicle during a DWI arrest
instead of allowing the tow truck drivers, impound lots from profiting.

A sad day at the Harris County Courthouse

The last thing I was expecting upon returning from my Labor Day vacation was to learn that a fellow Houston Criminal Defense Attorney, Esteban Pena, tragically passed away over the weekend. My sympathy goes out to his family.

Labor Day Weekend 2009 – DWI No Refusal Results

According to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office there were close to 200, (191), DWI arrests this past weekend. That means that were over 100 arrests less this weekend from the July 4th weekend that just past. What the public should be asking is how many DWI arrests are made on an average weekend. As a Houston DWI Attorney I would say that the Labor Day DWI arrests are similar to a non holiday weekend. While law enforcement is making a concerted effort to scare the public they are spending a lot of money with extra police officers on the streets, a fully staffed DWI Van, the results do not justify the added expense.

Houston DWI Lawyers Doing Their Part

According to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office there were
close to 200, (191),
DWI arrests this past weekend. That means that were over 100 arrests less this weekend
from the July 4th weekend that just past. What the public should be asking
is how many DWI arrests are made on an average weekend.

As a Houston DWI Attorney I would say that the Labor Day DWI arrests are
similar to a non holiday weekend. While law enforcement is making a concerted
effort to scare the public they are spending a lot of money with extra
police officers on the streets, a fully staffed DWI Van, the results do
not justify the added expense.

What is Our Country Doing About Drug Abuse?

While countries like Mexico and Argentina legalize the use of low level use of drugs the United States sits idly when it comes to dealing with their drug problem. I want to be clear that I am not advocating that we allow the possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroin to become legal. I just want to see a fresh approach to this epidemic. As a Criminal Lawyer I see the attitude of the public shifting when it comes to low level drug use. The public wants the criminal justice system to focus on assisting people instead of continuously putting them in jails. This is probably attributed to the fact that most people know someone close to them that has dealt with the disease of drug addiction. Sadly, our leaders have done very little in the way of trying to break the cycle of addiction.

Labor Day 2009 – DWI No Refusal Weekend in Houston

The Houston Harris County District Attorney’s Office once again is making this holiday a “No Refusal” weekend. This seems to be a trend during every holiday. The “No Refusal” weekend actually started on Thursday. This past July 4th set a record for DWI arrests in Houston. Therefore, please be careful when driving in Houston, Texas after having a drink this weekend because if you have read my earlier posts you would not that it is typical that a police officer will arrest you even if you are not legally intoxicated. They seem to think that the law is “Drink, Drive, go to jail” which is completely incorrect. If you have any doubts about your sobriety call someone to help you or just take a cab home to avoid a DWI.

Is “Drink, Drive Go to Jail” Really The Law?

If you were not a
DWI attorney in Texas you would think that “Drink, drive, go to jail” is the law in
Texas. The reason must people think this is probably due to the signs
that display the propaganda are owned by the State of Texas. What makes
in worse is that the State uses the same displays that are used to find
lost children or announce traffic jams on the highway. This is a blatant
attempt to scare the citizens of Texas. It is irresponsible that the government
does this to the general public. Moreover, it illustrates what police
officer’s are really thinking when they pull someone over. They have
the mentality if they someone has been drinking they are going to jail
no matter what the subjective field sobriety tests show.

I want to be clear that this is NOT THE LAW IN TEXAS. There are only three
ways to be arrested for driving while intoxicated in Texas are as follow:
(1) loss of your normal mental faculties; (2) loss of your normal physical
faculties; or (3) having a blood alcohol level of 0.08. The government
should properly inform the public regarding the law instead of scaring
them into abstinence.

Abogado en Houston

Si udsted busca un abogado en Houston por favor oprima
aqui. Todo en estas pagina esta en espanol. Yo soy un abogado que hablar espanol.
Ademas toda las personas en mi oficina habla su idioma.

I am a Spanish speaking criminal defense attorney in Houston. If you would
like to speak to me please call my office at (713) 225-1038,

Judge not allowing the DWI DIVERT Program in his Court

Judge Mike Fields, presiding Judge of Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 14, is not
allowing the DWI DIVERT Program in his court. As a
Houston DWI Lawyer, I understand the judge’s position that he feels this is a deferred
adjudication in disguise. Nevertheless, it makes it difficult to explain
to my clients that they will be treated differently in his court. Interestingly,
the judge did say that he will consider a traditional pretrial diversion.
I am curious to see how the
Harris County District Attorney’s Office will handle this situation.

Judge Mendoza Changes His Start Time

While a Harris County grand jury indicted Harris County, Texas Criminal Court-at-Law #3, Judge Donald W. Jackson on a misdemeanor charge of official oppression he is still presumed to be innocent. The media is quick to make it seem like he is guilty of the offense. That is one of the many reasons we keep our cases out of the media. Even if Judge Jackson is found to be innocent of the charges his reputation will never be the same in the public’s eye. Those of us that practice is his court see a respectable judge that is professional, as well as respectful to both sides. Our opinion will not change. My hope is that the media as well as the public do not rush to pronounce him a criminal without his day in court.

Another Judge Rejecting the Harris County DWI Pretrial Diversion

Now that the Harris County DWI Pretrial Diversion Program (DIVERT) has started I mentioned that Judge Bill Harmon will not be participating. According to the prosecutors in his court, Judge Mike Fields will not be going along with the program either. I intend on approaching the court when the appropriate case comes along to determine for myself if this is the case.

Where may I find the DWI law in Texas?

There are three ways a person may be found to be driving while intoxicated.
Please click
here to find the
Texas DWI statute. Also, take note of the ommission of the word drunk.

It is imperative that you hire a DWI attorney that can properly defend
your case since the consequences are so far reaching.

A DWI Client Shares Their Experience

One of my clients, that had a DWI arrest dismissed, cleared from their record had the experience published. I was given permission to post it here. Despite getting the case dismissed the urge still existed to inform the public about what it is like to be arrested for DWI in Houston, Texas.

One Sunday evening, I joined 98,000 other Texans who share a similar plight. I was arrested for DWI.

I was at a party hanging around, eating and drinking.. It was that last Shiner Bock that wrecked my life. The drive home wasn’t far, but somewhere along the way a police officer got behind me and thought I wasn’t driving “quite right”- not staying completely in my lane. He pulled me over and asked the usual questions about insurance, and he asked if I had been drinking that night. I was surprised by that question. Why would he ask that? I was driving fine. I knew that I wasn’t drunk. For some reason, the cop thought I might be. The next thing I know he has me out of my car and I am doing some tests. Incredibly to me, I am being arrested. My car is being towed, I am not given a receipt, or where it would be towed. I had to beg to be allowed to get my purse before it was towed. Suddenly, this was all starting to feel quite surreal. I cannot describe the feelings of humiliation and confused and despair as I sank into the bank seat of that dark police car, my hands locked in metal cuffs behind my back, totally alone, not having a clue what was to happen. How could this be happening to me?

Arrested? Going to Jail? Me? How could this be happening to me? I am an upstanding citizen. I am a good person. I own a home, a car, I have a college degree and a good job, I go to Church, I walk my dog, once I hammer nails for Habitat for Humanity. Doesn’t the cop see the 100 Club sticker on my rear window? How could this be happening to me?

I will share more in the future…

What is that black line doing on the wall during my DWI video?

You will notice that your DWI video will have a black line on the wall
behind you. The reason the line is placed there is to determine if there
is any swaying on your part. A good DWI video will show a small amount
of sway which is normal. The rhomberg, or “head tilt”, a non-standardized
test by the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the group behind the field sobriety tests, is the main that may show
any significant sway during the video.

Who Gets Arrested For DWI?

My clients always share one thing in common…they are always ashamed about their DWI arrest. It does little to tell them that anyone who has a drink in Houston could be arrested. In fact, many respectable people get arrested for DWI. For instance, both President Bush, and Vice President Cheney have been arrested for DWI. How would you like to be the police chief that gets arrested for DWI by his own department? This has happened on several occasions in different cities. Luckily, for most people the worst is behind them after they get arrested for DWI. The case may still get dismissed since they are presumed to be innocent They still have the opportunity to go to trial even if the prosecutor does not dismiss the case. One thing a person does not need to be if they are innocent is ashamed.

Your Houston DWI Could Have Been Worse

As a Houston DWI Lawyer I know that a DWI in Houston, Harris County, Texas is a traumatic experience for anyone. Typically, it happens late at night, the accused is not prepared to get arrested, and even if you are innocent your drivers license may still be suspended. As I have mentioned before, the consequences of a DWI are severe. I can not think of a state worse than Arizona when in comes to how it treats those arrested for DWI. Could you imagine living in the state of Arizona where a person goes to jail for their first DWI conviction? The law does not care who you are in the state of Arizona. Charles Barkley, NBA Hall of Famer, will vouch for that since he is set to serve at least 5 days in jail for his first DWI conviction.

Representing Yourself In Houston For A DWI Is A Mistake

For some reason, a lot of people think they could represent themselves in a
DWI case. They quickly change their mind once they have been arrested, go
to court for the first time. A person arrested in
Harris County for DWI/DUI will not be offered probation if they are representing themselves. Also,
they do not know how to save their driver’s license. In other instances,
they come up with
dimwitted defenses that create more problems that they solve.

The Benefits of Being a Criminal Attorney in the Houston Galleria

A lot of my colleagues that are
Criminal Attorneys in Houston have offices in or around downtown, but I much prefer that our office
is in the Galleria area. We started with a law office downtown, but after
two years we made the move to the
Houston Uptown area and have never looked back. Most people would rather get a root canal
than go to downtown Houston to visit a criminal lawyer during weekday
business hours. It is difficult to navigate, parking is a nightmare, and
even if one does find parking it is either far from the office and/or
incredibly expensive.

For the past four years, our law firm has been located in the
Williams Tower, formerly known as the Transco Tower, the 4th largest building in Texas
and originally the largest building outside of a city’s business district.
By having an office in such a recognizable building most people do not
need directions to our building. The few times that they get lost we can
simply tell them to look for the tallest building in the area. The Tower
is also a world renowned piece of architecture. The parking garage is
attached and it is free since we validate the client’s parking ticket.
Also, when people come to our office they marvel at the view from the
60th floor. Its incredible!

Lastly, most people that have lived in Houston for a while have been to the
Houston Galleria to shop, visit the skating rink, enjoy
the water wall (the most photographed site in the city), or people watch. A trip to our
office allows someone to relax after the stressful event they have endured

Women Charged With DWI On The Rise

You may have seen the recent tragic news story where a New York woman driving drunk drove down the wrong side of the highway crashing and killing herself, her daughter, three nieces, and three men in the SUV she hit. Toxicology results revealed that the woman’s blood alcohol level was 0.19%, more than twice the legal limit. Additionally, she smoked marijuana
within an hour of the crash.

According to a recent study, nationwide, the number of women arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was 28.8 percent higher in 2007 than it was in 1998, while the number of men arrested was 7.5 percent lower. The study is based on figures that cover about 56 percent of the country. Granted, this is an incomplete sample, the trend is still disturbing.

As the New York tragedy demonstrates driving while intoxicated with children can have tragic consequences. In Texas Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger is a felony. With the trend in the rise of women driving under the influence and women being the traditional children’s caretakers it stands to reason that we will see more arrests for these types of cases and sadly more possible tragedies.

Is It Possible That My Diet Caused An Incorrect DWI Breath Test?

Yes, it could happen to anyone and may be used as a defense in the future by a DWI attorney. According to studies certain diets like the Atkins may lead to higher readings. This takes place because the machines test for ethanol, but are unable to distinguish that from acetone that is commonly produced by people on a low carbohydrate diet. This mistake has even happened to a British pilot.

A First Time Felony Not Eligible For Pretrial Diversion

Is a first time felony eligible for pretrial diversion? Recently, I asked an important question relating to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Pretrial Diversion Program. I wanted to know if
a person charged with DWI with a child passenger will be eligible for the program. The answer to the question was a emphatic NO.

A person charged with this crime is typically a young mother that makes
the bad judgment of driving with their child in the vehicle while intoxicated. Also, it has been my experience that the woman has never had an arrest before the DWI.

As a DWI Attorney that practices in Houston, I do not see a difference between the woman that drives alone or with a child. The definition of DWI in Texas is that the person lost the normal use of their mental faculties. Thus, it should not come as a surprise that a person would make the mistake of driving with a child in their vehicle. If the District Attorney’s Office goal is really to assist first time offenders with a first time felony, it should include these type of individuals in the pretrial diversion program in order to help not only the mother, but more importantly the child.

A Houston Attorney Should Wear The Right Shoes

As a
Houston Criminal Attorney
I am always surprised what people decide to wear to court. I always tell
our clients to dress like they would for Church. For the past couple of
years, and since they have gained in popularity people have been wearing
Crocs
to court. Recently, I could not believe that I witnessed a fellow Houston
Criminal lawyer that will remain nameless wearing Crocs to court with
his suit. Since I am not a fan of the shoe I was not disappointed to find
out that the shoe company is going
bankrupt.

Houston DWI Program Hits A Roadblock

The rumor around the Harris County Courthouse is that Judge Bill Harmon, presiding judge of Harris County Criminal Court at Law #2, is going to say “NO” to any Harris County District Attorney’s Office DWI Pretrial Diversion program in his court. That creates several issues. First, who will be the first Houston DWI Lawyer to seek a recusal of Judge Harmon based on this position? Second, will the District Attorney’s Office oppose the recusal since it is their program? Third, will an appellate court rule that a pretrial diversion is within the range of punishment for a Class “B” DWI? I am looking forward to seeing the road this program travels as it takes off this month.

Sonia Sotomayor First Hispanic United States Supreme Court Justice

A few people quizzed me today whether the newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic to sit on the court. as reported. This is asked is because most lawyers think that Benjamin Cardozo was the first Hispanic judge appointed to the United States Supreme Court. The media has it right on this one because Justice Cardozo’s family immigrated from Portugal. Moreover, Portugal is not a Spanish speaking country. Thus, he would not be categorized as a Hispanic according to our census.