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.

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…

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.

What is an “RIP” Call?

One of the most frustrating things about being a Houston Criminal Attorney is having to wait for the assigned prosecutor to do their “RIP” call. What is a “RIP” call? “RIP” stands for Restitution, Injury, and Punishment. It is the Harris County District Attorney’s Office policy to refrain from making a decision on a case before they contact the alleged victim in a case.

While I understand the policy, it is frustrating for everyone involved to needlessly appear in court because the alleged victim can not be contacted. It is not uncommon for a person to attend several court settings while incarcerated, serving more time than they deserve because a police officer neglected to get the victim’s contact information.  Such neglect leads to misinformation, longer incarceration, and the chance the victim is never reachable.

Most commonly, these are misdemeanor DWI, Assault, and Criminal Mischief cases. A prosecutor should be allowed to determine the severity of the crime without the necessity of contacting the complaining witness and resolving the case in a more equitable manner. “RIP” calls should be used in more predominant cases such as murder, assault, or sex crimes. Understanding that needing witnesses or victims during a trial is necessary, for simple cases like a misdemeanor DWI or criminal mischief, an “RIP” call should not be needed for the judge, the DA, and prosecutor to determine the judgment of a case.  The judge, the trial prosecutor, the jail, and the defendant would find closure much quicker when these cases are handled appropriately.

If you need further help or information about a “RIP” call, contact The Martinez Law Firm today.