Driving While Intoxicated / Driving Under The Influence
The key to fighting your DWI is gathering all the facts. We start with an hour- long free consultation. I’ll examine your medical history, your car, the officer involved, I’ll obtain copies of the video and police report, and much more, I leave no stone unturned and I use EVERY tool available for the people I represent. Gathering all the facts in your case requires extensive detailed analysis including everything from your medical history, obtaining copies of your video and police report , an extensive review of the Texas Transportation Code and case law and a background investigation on the arresting officer. I use every tool at my disposal, and can sometimes get your case dismissed.
Some other intoxication charges include Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter. A charge of Intoxication Assault, set forth in Section 49.07 of the Texas Penal code, arises where an individual is accused of driving while intoxicated and of causing by reason of his or her intoxication serious bodily injury to another person Intoxication Assault is usually charged as a third degree felony (punishable by two to ten years imprisonment and by a fine of up to $10,000) , although in some cases where the alleged victim is a peace officer, a fire fighter, or emergency services personnel it can be charged as a second degree felony (punishable by two to twenty years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000). Also, beginning on September 1, 2011 Intoxication Assault is a 2nd Degree felony where it can be shown that the accused caused serious bodily injury to another in the nature of a traumatic brain injury that results in a persistent vegetative state. A person receiving probation under Texas Penal Code Section 49.07 for Intoxication Assault is required to serve 30 days as a condition of probation.
A charge of Intoxication Manslaughter, set forth in Section 49.08 of the Texas Penal Code, arises where an individual is accused of causing by reason of his or her intoxication the death of another by accident or mistake. Intoxication Manslaughter is usually charged as a second degree felony punishable by two to twenty years imprisonment and by a fine of up to $10,000, although in some cases where the alleged victim is a peace officer, a fire fighter, or emergency services personnel it can be charged as a first degree felony punishable by five to 99 years imprisonment and by a fine of up to $10,000. A person who receives probation under this section is required to serve 120 days of jail time as a condition of probation.
Assault/ Assault Family Violence
Assault Family Violence cases, although initially only Class A misdemeanors, can nonetheless have very serious consequences. Non-citizens convicted of Assault Family Violence can be denied Lawful Permanent Resident Status or can be deported. Family violence convictions can cause individuals to lose professional licenses and can prevent skilled tradesmen from being bonded. A person convicted of Assault Family Violence cannot possess a firearm for five years from the date that the person is released from jail or the date on which the person’s community supervision ends. Hence a family violence conviction can end a person’s career in the military or in law enforcement. Also, protective orders are frequently issued against individuals accused of family violence, and can prevent them from being able to return home or from having contact with members of their household. If a person is charged a second time with Assault Family Violence after having been convicted or having received deferred adjudication on an initial Class A Family Violence charge, the offense is charged as a third degree felony.
Fortunately, there are defenses to charges of Assault Family Violence. Often there is little or no physical evidence in Assault Family Violence cases. If the case is not dismissed before trial, the credibility of the accuser can often be effectively challenged at trial. Also Chapters 8 and 9 of the Texas Penal Code deal with justifications and defenses to criminal charges, and additionally, there are other defenses recognized in case law. The most common defense available in assault cases is the defense of “self-defense.”
A drug conviction can have serious consequences. A drug conviction can bar you from receiving federal student aid. A drug offense in Texas results in an automatic 180 day driver license suspension, or if you don’t have a license, the Texas Department of Public Safety is barred from issuing you a license for 180 days after you are convicted of a drug offense. (Texas Transportation Code 521.372). A drug conviction can bar you from certain professions and employment and can affect your housing options. If you are accused of a drug offense, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to plan your defense and to explore your options.
There are defenses to drug charges. While law enforcement frequently arrests everyone in the car or home where drugs are found, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt a charge that you knowingly or intentionally had actual care, custody, control or management of a drug before it can win a conviction. Merely being present in a car or home where drugs are found is not sufficient for a conviction.
Another defense to a drug charge is that the search and seizure were illegal. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects persons from unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, there is a right to refuse or to not consent to a law enforcement search of your person, home or vehicle, and law enforcement must have probable cause that a crime has been committed before conducting a search. If it is found that law enforcement conducted an illegal search, without first obtaining a warrant, and without consent or any of the other circumstances which justify a warrantless search, the evidence seized as part of the search will be suppressed and will not be admissible as evidence against you at trial.
An MTR, or Motion To Revoke, is a Motion filed by the Prosecutor in the Court of the Judge where you were sentenced. It tells the Court what you are on probation for, when you were put on probation and what you have done or not done that is in violation of the terms and conditions of your probation. Your probation officer notifies the Prosecutor that you have failed to comply with you probation terms using a Violation Report. When a Prosecutor files an MTR, the Judge will review it and typically sign it. At that point a warrant goes out for your arrest. When you are arrested, you will be taken to jail and held without bond. The term for this "remanded without bond." You will stay in jail until you make bond or appear before the Judge on the MTR. In most counties, once you are remanded without bond, you will have to hire an attorney to go and ask the Court to set a bond. If you are able to make this new bond, you are released and given a Court date, at which time you will have to appear and address the allegations in the MTR that you have not complied with the conditions of your probation.
Expunctions and Non-disclosures
If you’ve ever been arrested or charged with a crime, you have a criminal history record. This is true even if no case was filed against you after your arrest, or if the case against you was dismissed. Your criminal record follows you when you are applying for jobs, when trying to obtain housing, or when applying for school or for school loans. Even without a conviction, you can be denied employment, housing or admission to schools. In order to completely clear your record in Texas, you need to file a petition to have your record expunged.
Expunction is a legal process that can wipe someone’s criminal record clean. You might qualify to have your records expunged and your record cleared if one of the following conditions has occurred:
1.You were acquitted of a crime after a trial.
2.You were acquitted of a crime by an appeals court.
3.A case against you was filed, but was subsequently dismissed.
4.You were arrested, but a grand jury no billed the indictment against you.
5.You were arrested, but no case was filed against you.
6.You were placed on deferred probation after pleading guilty or nolo contendere to a Class C Misdemeanor.
7.In one limited situation, you can have your record expunged even after being found guilty: a person receiving a conviction under the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Code while under the age of 21 can apply to have the conviction expunged upon turning 21.
Orders of Nondisclosure
Under Texas law, successful completion of deferred adjudication is not considered the same as being not guilty. Thus, if you were placed on deferred adjudication for any offense other than a Class C misdemeanor you are not eligible for expunction of your records. However, another option might be available to you. If you successfully completed deferred adjudication probation you might be eligible for an order of nondisclosure after filing a petition for nondisclosure.
A petition for nondisclosure is a petition filed with the criminal court that handled your case requesting that it seal any records pertaining to the case. While in an expunction case records are completely removed from public agency files, in a case where an order for nondisclosure has been granted government agencies retain the information. However, the agencies are not permitted to disclose the information to the general public, including to private businesses.
For some misdemeanors a person can file a petition for nondisclosure immediately upon the discharge from probation and the dismissal of the offense. For other misdemeanors, there is a two year waiting period after a person is discharged from probation. For felonies that can be subject to nondisclosure, there is a five year waiting period.
However, there are some offenses for which an order of nondisclosure is not available even after the successful completion probation for a case where deferred adjudication was offered. For example, an order of nondisclosure is not available to persons who received deferred adjudication probation in a family violence assault case. Also, if a person is convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for a new offense arising after the initial deferred adjudication case for which nondisclosure is sought, he or she cannot obtain an order for nondisclosure for the initial offense.
An Order of Nondisclosure can be very advantageous to someone seeking employment. The Texas Government Code states that a person whose criminal history record information has been sealed through an order of nondisclosure “is not required in any application for employment, information, or licensing to state that the person has been the subject of any criminal proceeding related to the information that is the subject of an order issued under this section.”
If you believe that you might benefit from an order of expunction or nondisclosure, contact our office for more information.