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Tag Archives: Houston DWI Attorney

Texas Underage DWI Penalties

In Texas, DWI laws consider anyone who is under the age of 21 to be a minor. In Texas , driving on the roads implies that you are giving police officers implied consent to check your breath or your blood for the presence of alcohol or other drugs. This means that just by driving, you are already agreeing that it is ok for an officer to ask you to take a breath or blood test. If you refuse to do so your driver’s license could be suspended for 180 days on the 1st offense and 2 years on the second. If you do not have a driver’s license, then your driving privileges will be suspended the same number of days or years once you become eligible. Now this doesn’t mean you have to take a test, it is perfectly legal, and sometimes smarter to refuse any test that an officer might want you to take.

Underage DWI penalties in Texas

Texas has a zero tolerance law for minors and alcohol. That means that if you are not yet 21, that you cannot have ANY alcohol in your system at all. Even if you are under the legal limit of .08. For a 1st offense you could face:

  • Suspended TDL for up to 2 years
  • A fine of up to $500
  • A class involving alcohol education
  • An ignition interlock in your vehicle if you do keep your license in some way
  • A possible additional suspension through a criminal judge
  • And any fines, court costs, probation fees, legal fees that might result from your arrest

If you do get a suspension it is possible to get an occupational license in Texas by going through the criminal court. Whether or not an occupational license is granted will depend on who the judge is, and the facts surrounding your case. If you are in this situation and have a question to whether or not you are eligible, please give me a call at 713-222-2828 and I will be glad to look at your case.

If you are in the unfortunate situation of being a minor (or being the parent of a minor) who is charged with an alcohol related offense, it is very important to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Many times there are fast approaching deadlines (like a 15 day deadline to request an Administrative License Revocation Hearing – ALR) that must be dealt with. If certain deadlines are missed, it becomes much more difficult and sometimes impossible to prevent the drivers license from being suspended for some amount of time.

Again, if you have any questions about your particular situation, please call my office at 713-222-2828 and I will do my best to advice you on your next steps.

Don't Talk in the Back of a Police Car!

I recently wrote about the fact that many individuals are not aware that jail phone calls are recorded.  As a Houston DWI Lawyer I see individuals saying things they shouldn’t and getting themselves into trouble.  Unfortunately I also see people sitting in the back of police cars running their mouth for minutes and minutes at a time.  This is not smart, and there are a few reasons why.

First, you should never make any statements about your case to anyone other than your attorney…period!  You are never going to talk your way out of getting arrested, but you can easily talk your way into a conviction!  The dumbest things you can do when arrested is talk to an officer, or make some sort of statement that is recorded and can be used against you.

Second, there are usually cameras in DWI units!  Everything you say is going to be recorded.  The prosecutors (along with you and your attorney) are going to get a copy of the video and all of your wonderful words are going to be there for everyone to hear.  If you say dumb things, or make yourself look like a fool, the assistant district attorney working on your case is going to take notice.  You can turn a perfect dismissal into a potential trial just by saying the wrong things.

Finally, if you do end up having to go to trial, the jury is potentially going to see the video and listen to your words as well.  It is human nature to either instinctively like someone or not.  If you make yourself look and sound like a bad person, that’s what a jury is going to perceive you as.  And the last thing that you want is a jury thinking poorly of you.  On the other hand, if the jury doesn’t have any rambling video of you, they are more than likely never going to hear from you.  It is much better to have them know nothing about you, then to have them form an opinion based on a few seconds of anger/disappointment/fear.

Bottom line is don’t talk and be aware of your surroundings!  If you are reading this it might be too late, but maybe you can tell your friends and they can tell their friends and so on.  Any Houston DWI Attorney will tell you the same thing.  Make them prove you’re guilty based on the evidence at hand, not on what you say.  If you are arrested, contact a DWI Lawyer in Houstonwho can help you today.

Why do officers take away your drivers license?

As a Houston DWI Attorney I represent a lot of individuals who are charged with Driving While Intoxicated.  These cases are very complex and there are always multiple things going on at once.  One perfect example is the individuals’ driver’s license and what happens to it when you get charged with DWI.  If you are a defendant and you are charged with DWI you are probably going to have your license taken away.

One of the first questions I usually get is, “is my license suspended?”  The answer is NO!  For some reason law enforcement officials are trained to take your driver’s license away when you are charged with DWI.  They do not care if you are innocent or guilty; they just automatically take it from you.  They usually end up giving you a temporary driving permit which is good for 40 days after the date of arrest.  But why do they take your actual license away?

From talking with officers it seems the reason is that they assume that defendant in DWI’s are not going to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing within 15 days of their arrest.  When a defendant doesn’t request an ALR, then the license is automatically suspended after 40 days.  The problem with assuming is that it hurts the individuals who do request the ALR.

So if this happens to you it is important to contact a good Houston DWI Attorney who can advise you what to do to get your real license back.  It can be very annoying having a paper license with no picture.  Sometimes it’s not even about the license itself, but more about having an ID.  And why should you not have your license when it’s not legally suspended?  It makes no sense, and in order to get the license back as soon as possible make sure to contact a DWI Lawyer in Houston who knows what to do to help you.

The Texting While Driving Defense

Texting and driving is a dangerous.  It is also a great way to get pulled over and suspected of DWI.  Every Houston DWI Attorney has had a client come into their office and explain the reason they were weaving was because they were texting a friend, not because they were drunk.

Studies have shown that texting while driving is actually more dangerous than driving while intoxicated and driving while on the phone combined.  I mean, think about it.  When you are drunk you are watching the road.  When you are talking on your phone, you are watching the road.  But when you text, you are looking at your phone searching for each letter/number.

So what does this have to do with DWI?  When you swerve around the road it looks like you are drunk!  So if you have had anything to drink at all you should just turn your phone off and put it away.  It is not worth being arrested.  You might be driving legally (under a blood alcohol level of .08), but you are going to appear as if you were more intoxicated based on your bad driving.  Prosecutors love to use bad driving facts against you in court, so don’t give them any more ammunition than necessary.

Some attorneys have used a texting while driving defense, and sure, the studies related to texting while driving could show that was the reason for the poor driving.  But what the jury is going to be able to interpret is, “Well he wasn’t legally drunk, he just looked that bad on the road because he was doing something that has been proven to be even more dangerous than driving drunk!”

So legally it could be a good defense, but you sure are not going to win the heart of jurors.  But if you are stuck in the unfortunate position of being charged with DWI when you were not drunk, then you need to contact a Houston DWI Attorney as soon as possible.  This defense is just one of many creative defenses that have been thrown around the courthouse.

Of course every case is different, so this might not pertain to you.  But hopefully you can read this, store it in the memory bank, pass it on to friends, and try to prevent it from happening in the future.  Again, if something does happen, a good DWI Lawyer in Houston should be able to break the case down for you and explain every possible outcome.

SCRAM Monitor

Almost every Houston DWI Attorney has had a client who has been put in the unfortunate situation of placing a SCRAM device on their ankle.  A SCRAM device is an ankle monitor used by certain courts in Harris county (and sometimes probation departments) that monitors an individual’s blood alcohol level.  The SCRAM device works by taking sweat samples from your body every 20-30 minutes and basically uses that to tell whether or not you have been drinking.  Every time the SCRAM monitor takes a reading, it stores the data, and it is eventually forwarded to the court/probation department.

Most commonly this type of monitor is placed on high risk defendants, defendants with multiple DWI convictions, or individuals who have had alcohol problems during the course of their pending cases.  Some courts (which exist, but are few and far between) will place this monitor on first time offenders while the case is pending.  This is an unfortunate situation that arises from time to time, and unfortunately there is little defendants can do but hope their attorney can work something out with the judge.

Sometimes a standard interlock device, or at home interlock device can be substituted for the SCRAM.  Both these options are better since they are both cheaper.  Price is definitely one of the negatives of the ankle monitor.  The SCRAM device ranges in price from $450-$500 per month, while the at home device costs roughly $150 per month, and the standard vehicle interlock costs around $80 per month.  Other negatives to the SCRAM device are that the device is big.  No one likes to walk around looking like a criminal, and this device looks like it belongs on a criminal.  And the SCRAM monitor is a manmade science, the accuracy of the readings are questionable, but unfortunately readings are taken seriously by courts.

If you have a SCRAM monitor placed on your body in Harris County you should consult with a DWI Lawyer in Houston to see if you have any options available.  Your Houston DWI Attorney should be able to consult you on your particular case and tell you what the best (and worst) case scenario is.