Daily Archives: November 16, 2011

Do Not Tamper With Your Ignition Interlock Device

Recently a person here in Harris County was looking for a DWI Attorney in Houston.  This individual was a hardworking man who was genuinely concerned about money.  He had been placed on probation for DWI and one of the conditions required him to place an ignition interlock device in his vehicle.  Even though this cost him about $75 a month, he had to do it because it was ordered by the judge.

This individual signed a paper regarding this interlock device that had a few rules that he had to follow.  Basically he could only operate a vehicle that was equipped with this device, he had to take the device in for monthly maintenance, and he was not allowed to tamper with the device or circumvent the system.

Well this person happened to be a mechanic, and he knew all the ins and outs of vehicles and machinery in general.  He was having many problems with the interlock device that they had placed in his car.  Sometimes it wouldn’t work, it would beep and make funny noises, and one time in particular it left him stranded.  He was at a store and when he got to his vehicle the machine would not work.  Since the machine wouldn’t work, the car wouldn’t turn on.  So what he decided to do was use his knowledge to take the machine apart and drive to the company so they could fix it.

He drove to the company, told them what happened, and they installed a new one.  What they didn’t tell him was that they were going to report him to the court for tampering with the device.  The next thing he knew, he was back in court dealing with a motion to revoke his probation based on him tampering with the interlock.

This obviously doesn’t seem fair, and it’s not, but he could have handled it another way.  He was concerned that if he told the company they would have to tow the car and that would cost him money, but he should have at least called.  By not calling anyone it hurt his case, and called into question what really happened.

Now this person ended up hiring another DWI Lawyer in Houston, so I don’t know what happened, but I am hoping that they reinstated his probation.  But it is a good reminder to follow the rules.  As dumb as they may be at times, it is your life and your liberty on the line.  If anything like this happens to you, or if you have any questions before you make a decision similar to his, just consult with your Houston DWI Attorney.  There is a very good chance that your attorney has seen someone with a problem very similar to yours and can help.

What NOT to do in Court

As a Criminal Defense Attorney in Houston I often get asked, “What can I do to screw myself up in court?”  There are multiple things that you can do to call negative attention to yourself in court.  In this blog I am going to talk about a few of the things you can do wrong.  And yes, these things do happen….frequently.

  1. Not Dressing Appropriately.  You would not believe how many times I have had clients show up in shorts.  Shorts are not appropriate for court.  Neither is wearing your pants below your butt.  If you walk into any court you will usually hear a bailiff giving a speech telling someone to pick up their pants and tuck in their shirt.  Its court, not the club.  Dress nice or you run the risk of being singled out.
  2. Being Late.  People are late every single day, in every single court.  It’s nothing new, and the judges get sick of it.  You will usually get one free pass, but the second time you run the risk of getting your bond revoked.  If that happens you could possibly be taken into custody and be forced to post another bond.  Your bond company will not be happy with you either.  And don’t say, “I had a flat tire”, or “my car broke down”….even if it’s true, just trust me.
  3. Your Phone Rings, You Fall Asleep, You Talk To Much, PDA!  These are pretty much self-explanatory.  If your phone rings everyone stares at you.  If you fall asleep the bailiff wakes you up, you get scared, and everyone laughs.  If you talk, they tell you to shut up or to sit in the jury box, if you are kissing on your significant other, they will call you out and kick your “sweetie” outside.  All of these things do the one thing you do not want…call attention to you.  Just lay low in court and be quite.  There will be plenty of time for all of that once you leave court.
  4. Do Drugs On Bond.  This usually comes into play for the people who break the rules above. If you run into a judge in a bad mood, you run the risk of being sent for a drug test.  If that drug test is positive you could wind up locked up once again.  You shouldn’t be doing drugs in the first place, but you especially shouldn’t be using when there is a chance that you could be sent for a drug test by a criminal judge.
The reason I am writing this blog is because 3 of the 4 happened to me today.  It’s extremely frustrating for a lawyer to have to deal with this.  Instead of working on your case, your Houston Criminal Defense Attorney is going to end up begging the judge not to throw you in jail.  So if you find yourself in trouble and looking for a Criminal Lawyer in Houston, just remember these rules and make life a little easier for everyone!