Archive for June, 2016

Texas DWI Attorney Discusses Ignition Interlock Devices

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

People arrested and convicted of driving while intoxicated, or DWI, in Texas, face more restrictive conditions if granted supervised community release.  On September 1, 2017, an updated version of the conditions of supervised community release goes into effect. The goal of the changes is to make Texas’ road safer by reducing the number of repeat DWI offenders. The updated conditions will make probation seem onerous to some people and may think serving a jail sentence is a better option rather than being on probation for up to two years. Any decision you make regarding sentencing after a DWI conviction must in close consultation with your attorney.

Before September 1, 2017, any person convicted of DWI must complete several conditions while on community supervision including an educational program designed to rehabilitate the person. In theory, a rehabilitated person will not drive drunk again. Unfortunately, rehabilitation is not foolproof, and many people drive drunk again. However, the latest version of the law goes a long way to preventing repeated offenses.

Upon a conviction for a first DWI offense, the judge can impose a condition of probation requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device. In other words, the law gives the judge discretion to impose that condition. The judge loses discretion when the crime is more serious. A person convicted of a second offense, or a first offense but the person’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.15 or above, which is near twice the legal limit, the judge must order that person to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle or the vehicle they most often drive. The court cannot consider a previous offense if that offense was longer than ten years before the date of arrest on the current case.

An ignition interlock device is a machine into which a person provide a deep-lung breath sample. Simply, the person blows hard into the device. The device is similar to a breathalyzer most often used in police stations.  The device prevents the car from turning on if the machine detects any alcohol in the breath sample.  The judge must order the person not to drive any vehicle without an attached ignition interlocking device.

The court must impose additional conditions upon community supervision if the judge orders the installation of an ignition interlocking device. The person must install the device within 30 days from the start of supervised release. The person must use the device for at least half of the period of release, but the judge can order the person to use it for a longer period. Additionally, the person must pay for the device and its installation. The law allows the judge to enter into a payment plan with the person to the associated charges of the device. The payment plan may not last longer than twice the period of probation.

With all of the expensive requirements of probation, some people would rather go to jail after a DWI conviction. Deciding to go to jail rather than attempting to complete probation must not be made lightly. Depending on the circumstances, a jail sentence is less onerous than a lengthy probation period. Although jail is initially less expensive than paying for alcohol rehabilitation classes and an ignition interlock device, the physical and emotion toll is incalculable. Jail is not a vacation and serving a sentence could mean losing your job. Jail will cut you off from your loved ones and can endanger your health. But, jail for some is an option rather than probation.

Consult With An Experienced Texas DWI Attorney Before Making Any Decision On Your Future

The experienced Texas DWI Attorney at the Law Office of Alex Tyra dedicate themselves to fighting to protect their client’s rights. They understand the difficult decisions that you must make when facing a DWI charge. Talk with them before making any decision.  Call the Law Office of Alex Tyra today at 903-753-7499 to discuss your options.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Allegations Of Corruption In The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

On June 30, 2016, the Dallas Morning News reported that a Dallas County District Attorney’s Office chief investigator pleaded guilty in federal court to corruption charges. The investigator pleaded guilty to an indictment alleging that he accepted a bribe from a convicted sex offender. The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the man for failing to register as a sex offender. However, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed the case. An investigation by federal authorities revealed the sex offender paid off the District Attorney’s Office chief investigator in 2013 with a bribe disguised as an opportunity to invest in the sex offender’s business.

Prosecutors are sworn to uphold the Constitution and follow the law. A prosecutor’s job is to fight for justice, not merely a conviction. Winning at all costs is not the calling of a prosecutor. One man embroiled in the District Attorney’s Office bribery scandal, who was a First Assistant District Attorney at the time, defended his actions by claiming he was making the appropriate decision on the case by dismissing a case with insufficient evidence. A prosecutor is ethically bound to dismiss a case lacking evidence.  The former First Assistant stated that he dismissed the failure to register charge because there was not enough proof the defendant committed a crime. From that perspective, it appears that the District Attorney’s Office made the correct decision.

Federal authorities are rarely satisfied by convicting relatively low-hanging fruit. They want to prosecute corruption at the highest levels. Some speculate that the upper-echelon of the District Attorney’s Office is the subject of a federal bribery investigation. The federal judge will sentence the chief investigator in October of this year. The delay in sentencing gives federal law enforcement a chance to investigate the case even further to see how high up the chain of command they can go. The federal authorities can ask the chief investigator to cooperate with their investigation. The sentencing judge can take into consideration at sentencing the chief investigator’s cooperation with federal authorities and reduce the man’s sentence.  As the case stands at this time, the investigator faces a five-year federal prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. The former First Assistant District Attorney under scrutiny for dismissing the sex offender’s case denied further wrongdoing in the District Attorney’s Office.

The question of whether the bribery scandal reaches the executive level is interesting. Commentators question several maneuvers made by the District Attorney’s Office with the sex offender’s case. First, the sex offender was found in Las Vegas. Instead of the Sheriff’s Office bringing the man back to Dallas to face charges, the chief investigator brought the sex offender back. People questioned this procedure because the Sheriff’s Office employs trained deputies to rendite, or bring people to Texas from other states to face prosecution. Rendition does not fall within the chief investigator’s job description.  The bribery scheme was apparently hatched during the return flight from Las Vegas to Dallas. Secondly, the First Assistant District Attorney’s involvement with dismissing the case is out of place.  Many other individuals were capable of making the decision to dismiss the case. People interviewed for the Dallas Morning News’ article stated it was unusual for a higher level assistant district attorney, like a First Assistant, to be involved with those decisions but it did happen occasionally.  Further investigation can resolve those questions. It is important to note that the former First Assistant vehemently denied any wrongdoing by him or others in his office.

Longview, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney On Your Side

If you face criminal charges in Texas, you need a tough, experienced Texas Criminal Defense Attorney fighting for you like the attorneys at The Law Office of Alex Tyra, P.C. Call them today at 903-753-7499 to have your questions answered 24/7 or to schedule an appointment.

Texas Divorce Attorney Explains The Difficulty Of Military Divorces

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Military divorces are particularly difficult, especially when children are involved. Deciding what is in the children’s’ best interest is a complicated and emotionally charged decision. Add to the calculus that the military member could go overseas and you have a seemingly insurmountable decision to make. Additionally, a military member’s spouse is entitled to a percentage of the military member’s pension accumulated during the marriage. The formula used for calculating the exact award is cumbersome and frequently misunderstood. The award is designed to evenly and fairly divide the pension between the spouses. However, the parties and the judges can easily make a mistake in the calculations.  Although representing yourself in a divorce seems like a good idea because you can save money on attorney’s fees, you may wind up losing more in the long run. An experienced Texas divorce attorney like the Texas divorce attorneys from The Law Office Of Alex Tyra will make sure that you get what you deserve whether you are the military member or their spouse.

Military families face incredible stress and strain. Deployments, combat, injuries, and psychological problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder from combat service all contribute to military families falling apart. Even the strongest family ties succumb to the strains military like causes. Lifestyle demands of military families often mean one spouse gets shipped around and the other stays at home with the kids. Staying home with the kids can mean passing on work or educational advances. Divorce can leave that spouse in a difficult position financially. Deployment means the entire responsibility for child rearing and care falls on the spouse left behind. The non-military spouse will need greater child support payments to help care for the family.

Deployments hurt the military member as well. Deployments essentially prevent the military member from seeking full custody of their children because the best interests of the children may be better served by living with the non-military spouse. This issue is an important consideration for reservists and members of the National Guard as well. Members of those services are activated and deployed regularly. The potential for activation and deployment is a serious and significant consideration for a family court judge when ruling on custody. A seasoned divorce attorney will guide you through this difficult process.

Finances are an enormous consideration. The everyday financial worries do not stop simply because the parties are divorcing. Allowance must be made for child-care, vehicle costs,  housing costs, educational costs, and extra-curricular activities even before the divorce is final. You should rely on a divorce attorney to fight to protect your rights so you can provide for your family.

An attorney will also help sort out the difficulties surrounding splitting a military pension. A military member gets a lifetime pension after 20 years of service. Texas courts use a mathematical formula to determine the amount of pension the parties are due.  The formula is not terribly complicated but can be misinterpreted, leading to unfair results. The pension payout is negotiable, just like other marital assets. Spouses can negotiate a lower pension payout in exchange for another asset like equity in the marital home or pay off a vehicle loan.  Consideration must be given to the military survivor benefit plan as well. Pension payments cease when the military member dies. The spouse can negotiate payment into this insurance plan to cover their finances should their spouse die before them.

Consult An Experienced Advocate

Call the experienced and compassionate Texas Divorce Attorney of the Law Office Of Alex Tyra. They will fight for you and your family to make certain you get what you deserve and protect you and your family. Call the Law Office of Alex Tyra today at 903-753-7499 to get the representation you need.