Author - HermanMartinez

DWI Blood Draw Law Change For 2013

The Texas Legislature recently amended the Transportation Code to allow blood samples to be taken by Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). The new rules governing blood draws during a DWI stop will take effect as of September 1, 2013. What could this change mean to those charged with drunk driving?

Old Law vs. New Law

Previously, Texas law only authorized physicians, nurses, specifically trained technicians or chemists to withdraw blood from a suspect in a DWI case. Getting the authorized person to the alleged drunk driver took some amount of time. The new law allows EMTs to perform this task, paving the way for more roadside blood draws.

Many police officers are also trained as EMTs. Additionally, if an ambulance is called to the scene of an accident, an EMT would be present to perform the blood draw.

Conflict at the Federal Level

A recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court (Missouri v. McNeely) did not explicitly state that blood draws from DWI suspects were illegal, but left a gray area where the procedure could be unconstitutional. The court stated that police officers could take a blood sample without first obtaining a warrant if “exigent circumstances” were present. However, the justices offered no definition regarding what constitutes an “exigent circumstance,” leaving that decision to lower courts.

Cases involving blood samples are more complicated than a traditional DWI defense. The scientific process involved can add to the confidence the jury gives to the prosecution’s case. Thus, it’s imperative that individuals involved in an alleged DWI seek the help of an attorney who understands the science and procedures involved, as well as the constitutionality of the charge.

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Can I Get Charged With DWI Even Though I Was Not Driving My Car?

News stories regularly emerge featuring people who get charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) when they’re in a vehicle that isn’t moving.  Sometimes they catch the notice of police because they happen to fall asleep in a car that’s parked improperly.  For instance, in NY state a man was recently arrested after being found asleep in his car, parked with the engine still running, in a drive-thru lane at a McDonald’s; the police woke him up, tested him for alcohol intoxication, and then arrested him.

But even if you don’t park your car in a way that obstructs traffic, you may still get arrested for DWI if the police discover you.  Your engine may be off, you may be trying to sleep off the effects of the alcohol, but nevertheless you’ll be in danger of a DWI charge.

How can that be? The common perception of DWI is that it applies to people who are actually operating the vehicle as they’re intoxicated, putting themselves and others in danger on the road.  If the vehicle isn’t even moving, and the car is properly parked along the curb or in a parking lot, what’s the danger? Why might they get arrested?

Under the law in Texas, and in other states, the definition of ‘operating a vehicle’ encompasses a broader range of actions than simply driving.  If the car is securely parked, but the engine is still running, that may constitute operating a vehicle.  Likewise, if the headlights are on or the radio is playing, that could be construed as a vehicle getting put to use by a person who’s intoxicated.

You also have to take into account what any witnesses might say.  For instance, if a driver pulls into a parking lot, and weaves around and drives unstably under the influence, but then manages to park successfully and turn off the car, witnesses may still call the police on them. And even if the driver never intended to go any further, but to instead stop and sleep off the alcohol first, they could still get charged; they don’t need to be caught by the police immediately in the act of driving or only after having caused damage or injury.

So keep this information in mind.  Even if you intend to be responsible, and to only slip into your car to rest for a while, you could still be in danger of a DWI charge. If you do find yourself facing such a situation, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney who can advocate for you in court and decrease the chances that you’ll get fined, jailed, or experience a loss of your driver’s license.

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What Happens When A Commercial Driver Gets Arrested For DWI?

While drunk driving has serious consequences for anyone, those with a CDL license may find that the repercussions are even more serious. If you are a commercial driver and are charged with DWI, whether or not you were driving your commercial vehicle at the time of your arrest you can still lose your CDL license.

How the law works is that if you are driving a commercial vehicle as a CDL license holder and are stopped, you cannot have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a 0.04. For non-commercial drivers the blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.08 so you’re already at a disadvantage. The difference is that even if you are not driving a commercial vehicle during the time of your arrest and have a BAC of 0.08, you may not only lose your regular driver’s license but you may lose your CDL license as well.

This can affect your livelihood since you can no longer drive – residentially and commercially. If you are a commercial driver, not being able to perform your work duties most likely means losing your job.

The first thing to do if you are charged with a DWI is to obtain legal representation. If you are charged with drunk driving and hold a CDL license, it is even more imperative that you do so as soon as possible. Without the professional help you need you are putting your way of life and job at risk.

Along with penalties and fines, you can’t afford to lose your income at the same time which is why it is important to ensure that you have someone that can build a solid defense in order to help you when it’s time to face the charges.

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A First Time DWI Offense in Houston

Getting charged with a DWI offense for the first time in Houston, TX can be one of the scariest things to ever happen to you. You may have never experienced any type of criminal charges before and have no idea what to expect. One of the first pieces of advice you will get it to find a Houston DWI attorney right away.

A good and experienced Houston DWI lawyer will be able to advise you of your legal rights, and also what you may be facing in terms of penalties and sentencing. He will be needed for your first day in court during your Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing that will decide the fate of your driver’s license. You are required to request this hearing within 15 days of any charges if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) finds that you were intoxicated and also if you refuse to have a BAC test done. You will also need your lawyer present for your actual criminal trial that can decide the fate of something much more important than your license. It can decide the fate of the rest of your life.

If convicted on a DWI, even if it is your first offense, you can face steep fines as well as jail time. The usual jail sentence for a first-time DWI offender in Texas is anywhere from three days to 180 days. However, if you had a minor child under the age of 15 in your vehicle, then the sentence can be raised to two years. If there were injuries or deaths are a result of you driving while intoxicated, the sentence can be even more harsh.

A DWI attorney in Houston can use the fact this is your first criminal offense to plea bargain your case to a lesser charge, or possibly make sure there is no conviction at all. This is why it is of the utmost importance to hire a lawyer who specializes in DWI cases and is an expert on Texas DWI laws. Knowing you are working with a professional can put your mind at ease. A DWI conviction can have an effect on the rest of your life. It can prevent you from getting a job and possibly ruin both personal and educational opportunities in your future. You do not want to trust your case to just anyone, so choose our DWI lawyer in Houston carefully to know you are getting the best defense possible.

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DWI Does Not Always Mean Alcohol

When most people think of a DWI charge, the first thing that comes to mind is drinking and driving. What many do not realize is that Driving While Intoxicated does not always involve alcohol. It can involve other kinds of drugs as well, including legal prescription drugs. Various types of intoxication that leads to impaired judgment while driving can be classified as a DWI.

If for any reason your driving seems reckless to an officer, he has the right to pull you over and subject you to what is known as a field sobriety test. If you fail that test, your car can then be searched and you can possibly face more charges than just a DWI is illegal drugs are found. A single charge or combination of charges can alter the entire course of your life if your legal case is not handled correctly during your day in court. This is why it is imperative to contact a Houston DWI attorney as soon as you find yourself in trouble.

A good Houston DWI lawyer will look into all aspects of your case, especially how it was determined by the officer that you were indeed driving while intoxicated. Any misstep in how the conclusion of DWI was made and how the actual arrest was handled can prove to be vital to your defense. When first meeting with a DWI lawyer in Houston, he will ask you to be as honest with him as possible about what happened that fateful day or night that you were pulled over. And, your attorney should be just as up front and honest with you about the seriousness of your charges and what you might be facing, including large fines, jail time and the suspension of your license. If there are also drug charges that go along with a DWI charge, things are all the more serious and require an attorney with both know-how and experience defending these types of cases. The more knowledge your Houston DWI lawyer has about all the intricacies that come with the DWI laws in the state of Texas can make a major difference in hour your case is tried and whether you receive a conviction or not.

With charges like this and the type of sentence you may face, a good DWI attorney in Houston can make all the difference on the outcome of your case—and in turn, your life.

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Choosing the Right DWI Lawyer in Houston

When charged with a DWI offense in Houston, TX, one of the most important decisions you will ever make is choosing who will defend you when you have your day in court. You do not need to go through this traumatic time alone and having the right Houston DWI attorney by your side to guide you through the trial process, prepare a viable case and reassure you—while at the same time being up front and honest—are both a mental and legal necessity.

You should contact a DWI lawyer in Houston as soon you can after being charged with the offense. The sooner you have made a decision about who you are going to use, the better. You want a lawyer to begin working on your defense as soon as possible, but that does not mean you should choose just any lawyer out of the phone book. Do your homework before making any commitments.

First, make sure your lawyer specializes in DWI cases. Your Houston DWI lawyer should also have a lot of courtroom experience, and especially have experience in the jurisdiction your case will be heard in. The more familiar your attorney is with the local court, the better your outcome may be. You can contact the Texas bar association for a list of attorneys in your area, and also ask around. You may be surprised that there are others you know who have faced these charges and may have a lawyer they can recommend for you. Judges and police officers also are known for recommending DWI lawyers. Once you have contacted a few a few attorneys, meet with them in person. Choosing a lawyer over the phone is never a good idea. Ask your potential lawyer questions about his or her experience. Queries can include how many DWI cases they have tried in the past year, what portion of their practice is dedicated exclusively to DWI offenses and are they experienced in investigating DWI cases. Up front and honest answers without any hesitation is one of the best ways to know if this is the lawyer for you.

You will want to have a good rapport with whichever DWI attorney in Houston you choose. Feeling comfortable with your lawyer as a person and a professional at the same time is of the utmost importance. A good relationship with your lawyer can open up the communication lines and communication is one of the best defenses against any offense.

 

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DWI Offenses

When charged with a DWI in Houston, TX, it can be an extremely terrifying and daunting experience. One fateful night can change your entire life. Whether you are a first-time offender or whether this has happened before, contacting a Houston DWI attorney is of the utmost importance. You want to make sure your case is being handled correctly from the start and will need a professional to do the job for you.

When first meeting with your Houston DWI lawyer, he will explain to you Texas DWI laws. Different offenses come with different penalties and sentences. A first time offender can be subjected to a $2,000 fine, as well as the possibility of jail time that ranges from three days to 180 days. Your license can be revoked as a first-time offender for anywhere from 90 days to 365 days. If you are a first time offender and it is found that your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was .15 or higher, then you can be tried as a second time offender. Sentences for a second time offender includes a maximum fine of $5,000. There is also the possibility of a jail sentence from 30 days up to one year, as well as your license being revoked for anywhere from 180 days to two years. First and second time offenders have their convictions classified as a misdemeanor, but that does not mean a DWI lawyer in Houston is not of absolute necessity.

A third time offense is considered a third degree felony. It is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000, as well as a possible prison sentence of 2-10 years. Your driver’s license can also be suspended anywhere from 180 days to two years. If there was an accident and serious bodily injury was incurred by another during a DWI offense, this is considered intoxication assault and you can spend 2-10 years in prison, and also possibly be made to pay a $10,000 fine. If a death occurred as the result of a DWI, this is considered intoxication manslaughter and if convicted, you can face up to 20 years in prison.

Being charged with a DWI in the state of Texas is no laughing matter and your best bet if charged with this crime, whether a first time offense or whether someone was injured, is to make a sure a DWI lawyer in Houston is looking out for your best interest.

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Understanding Houston DWI Laws in Texas

If charged with a DWI offense in Houston, TX it is best to understand what the laws on driving while intoxicated mean. Hiring a Houston DWI lawyer and educating yourself with the ins and outs of the charges you are facing are some of the best offenses you can have in court. Knowledge is power, especially when this knowledge can decide your fate on criminal charges.

One of the first things you want to understand is what exactly is intoxication and how is it determined by law? You may ask this question the first time you consult with your Houston DWI attorney, or this may be something you research yourself. Intoxication does not have to be caused only by alcohol. Drugs (even prescription drugs) can cause intoxication. When intoxicated, you do not have full control of your mental or even physical abilities. Even if you feel you do, if you legally have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, then by law you are considered intoxicated and can face serious legal charges. If your BAC is lower, but you have had a previous DWI offense on your record, then you can still be charged with a DWI and will need a DWI attorney in Houston.

The ways by which a BAC is measured varies. It can be done via blood, a breath test or urine. While a blood test is thought to be much more accurate than a urine test, it is not always as convenient. The most convenient test used is actually a breath test done by a machine called an Intoxilyzer 5000 test. (Typical breathalzyers are not used in Texas.) It can be conducted soon after being pulled over and does not require samples to be sent to the lab. Which method of determining intoxication used can be very important to your Houston DWI attorney when preparing and defending your case.

While it is never considered smart to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol, whether you are legally impaired or intoxicated is something wholly different. A DWI attorney in Houston specializes in these types of charges and can help put your mind at ease during the entire trial process. Know that you do not need to go it alone when facing DWI charges and contacting and choosing the right lawyer can make a major difference as to whether you can beat the charges against you. Call us today as the first step in getting your DWI charge defended.

 

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When Charged With a DWI in Houston

There are various aspects to a DWI case in Houston, Texas that can involve court dates. One can be the actual trial for the charges themselves and another can be a hearing regarding your license suspension. Known as an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing, it can occur if either you refuse to take a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test or if you fail one.  Although this hearing does not involve criminal charges, you do not want to handle this hearing on your own and will need to hire a Houston DWI attorney.

Once you receive your notice of suspension, you need to request an ALR hearing within 15 days or your license will be automatically suspended. Your inability to drive legally can have a major effect on your life, especially if you need your vehicle to get to and from work. The officer who pulled you over for the DWI offense is required by law to let you know of your right to a hearing. Making sure a Houston DWI lawyer is with you at this hearing can only help your case overall, as your attorney will be able to learn more of how the prosecution plans to try the case.

Of course, who you choose as your lawyer is of the utmost importance. Do not just pick a name out of the phone book and go with that. Make sure whatever DWI attorney is Houston that you choose is a DWI specialist. Ask for recommendations from friends or even the judge or officers handling your case. You can also contact the Texas local bar association for names of DWI lawyers in Houston. Make a short list of lawyers you think may be a good fit for you and call them. Talk to them a bit and then narrow your list down further. Finally, meet with one or two and be as up front as possible with them about your case. If the lawyer or lawyer you meet with is as up front with you as you are with them, you have possibly met a good match. The best lawyers are the ones who will be honest with you from the start.

Remember, do not waste any time in your attorney search. Your ALR hearing is the first step in a long battle you have ahead of you and you want to be well-prepared for that day in court, as your license and possibly your livelihood may be at stake.

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Driving While Impaired in Houston

If you are accused of transgressing the DWI laws in the state of Texas, particularly in Houston, the most important thing you need to do is get a lawyer.

Many people try to deal with the problem alone.  Instead of getting an attorney, they decide to be the one to answer all the papers, submit to tests, etc.   Most of them think that using an attorney will cost them more money. But actually, for you to have a greater chance of being acquitted, it’s always sensible that you get yourself a lawyer. There are many reasons to this.

Committing a DWI, even if you are only just over the limit, can create detrimental changes in your life and in your career.  What if you’ve just graduated from college and you don’t have a job yet?   Do you think applying to a decent company will be easy when you have a criminal record?  Well, no company would ever want to have an employee who has actually previously been convicted of a wrongdoing.  An employer might think that you are untrustworthy and therefore, you aren’t fit for their business.  Even though driving under the influence can be a less serious thing, employers would always prefer people who have clear track records.

Aside from finding it difficult to find employment, the psychological effect of committing DWI can be very disturbing. Just envisage the reactions of your associates and friends, as well as your family and relatives, when they become aware of it.

DWI also can lead you to many financial setbacks because in Houston, one of the possible penalties that will likely be enforced on you is payment of fines.  It can cost you tens of thousands.  If have you brought damage to any property or person, be prepared to pay even more.

Houston DWI Lawyer Law – how to look for a good attorney

Hiring a skilled Houston DWI lawyer will place you in a better position to face whatever legal accusations have been made against you.  Start your search for a DWI lawyer in Houston. You can scan a public phone directory, the newspaper, and any print advertising to get the contact details of an attorney.  You can ask advice from your friends for recommendations.  You can surf the web.  Talk to at least 3 law firms who are all specializing in DWI.  Call each one and check whether there’s a free consultation.  Reputable lawyers offer such service.  Then, go with the best person to work with.

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