Monthly Archives - November 2013

Dina Lohan Pleads Not Guilty To DWI

Dina Lohan, the mother of troubled actress and singer Lindsay Lohan, pleaded not guilty to DWI on Sept. 24.

We are not writing about this story because we care about its tabloid elements. Rather, we think it is worth writing a post about because it contains some lessons that would be valuable to our Houston audience.

Lohan, 50, was arrested in New York on Sept. 12 after she was allegedly pulled over while driving 77 mph in a 55 mph zone. She was supposedly given a blood-alcohol content test that showed her BAC to be 0.20. In New York, Texas and all of the other 48 states, the legal BAC to drive is 0.08

Lohan will next appear in court on Oct. 23.

As you may be aware, Lindsay Lohan has struggled with substance abuse herself, having been admitted to rehabilitation programs six times. She has been candid in interviews about how both of her parents have also had their own troubles with alcohol and drugs; her estranged father, Michael, has also graduated from rehabilitation program before relapsing.

What we see when we look at this is a family that is, for some reason and in some way, predisposed to have difficulty creating healthy relationships with alcohol and other substances. This is not an excuse for any kind of illegal behavior, of course, but it might be at least something of an explanation. In our society, some people are not getting the help they need to overcome problematic relationships with dangerous substances.

If you are ever accused of driving while intoxicated, please do not react to these charges blithely. It is very important that you approach them with seriousness and gravity

Texas Woman Gets Life In Prison For 6th DWI

A 44-year-old Texas woman was recently sentenced to life in prison after her sixth conviction for driving while intoxicated.

Yes, you read that correctly — life in prison.

The length and severity of the woman’s prison sentence has reignited discussion in our state about which crimes we punish most harshly and why. No one is saying it is okay to drive drunk; rather, some have questioned whether life in prison is an appropriate punishment for a nonviolent crime. Although endangering the health and safety of other people is not okay, that this woman has been sentenced to life in prison is stunning. She did not actually hurt anyone, and there have certainly been cases in which an individual did hurt someone and wound up spending less time in prison than this woman.

The San Marcos woman was arrested in July 2012. A Kyle police officer allegedly saw her driving erratically down Interstate 35. When he pulled her over, he found that she had an open container of beer in her car; subsequently, she failed field sobriety tests and a blood-alcohol content test.

The woman’s first DWI came in 1996. She has served prison time for her previous DWI offenses.

When you consider that five previous DWI convictions were not enough to get this woman to change her behavior, you can see that she has a severe problem and is not getting the help she needs. It is truly unfortunate any time a member of our society falls through the cracks like this.

As a criminal defense attorney, I specialize in representing clients who have been charged with DWI. You are welcome to contact me today to learn more about representation.

Concerns about excessive force during DWI arrests

When police arrest you over suspicion of any crime, including DWI, there are certain protocols they’re required to follow; their behavior is constrained by law.  And while many arrests take place without improper conduct from police, there are unfortunately times when police officers use excessive force against an individual they’re arresting.

Recently, a man in Carrollton, Texas won a suit against an officer who had used excessive force against him during a DWI arrest, in a jail intake facility.  According to a piece from Fox-4 Dallas Fort Worth, the man (whose DWI charges wound up getting dropped) suffered a concussion and some other minor injuries as a result of getting pushed violently against a wall.

When people get arrested for DWI, they may be especially vulnerable to acts of excessive force from the police.  If they’re truly intoxicated, for instance, they may tend to be more argumentative with the cops, stagger into them accidentally, and in general move more slowly.  Police could interpret these actions as resistance to arrest or general uncooperativeness.  Even when an individual isn’t intoxicated, they might still be vulnerable; if they question the reason they’re getting pulled over or show even the slightest sign of not being fully cooperative (according to police interpretation), they might also be subjected to excessive force.

How does one determine whether the police behaved reasonably versus used excessive force? Different factors to evaluate include the following:

The suspect’s behavior.  What were they allegedly doing that seemed to call for a more severe use of force? Were they really being uncooperative, resisting arrest, or posing a threat to police officers?

The extent of the injuries.

The actions permitted a police officer in a given jurisdiction.

In these cases, it’s also important to go over evidence from witnesses and from any camera footage.

The general conduct of police during a DWI arrest could play an important role in how you defend yourself against the charge.  Every aspect of police behavior, from what they said and did to you during an arrest to how they gathered evidence, needs to be examined.  Beyond that, you should know that no matter what you’re arrested for, you deserve to be treated fairly and humanely.