Archive for the ‘Texas DWI Defense’ Category
Monday, June 1st, 2015
It is not likely that you were thinking about DWI defense until you were charged with DWI. If you are facing DWI charges, the issue of how you will mount a defense against those charges is now a very real issue that you are deeply concerned about. Fortunately, there are attorneys who spend a great deal of time and effort helping clients just like you present their best possible defenses against DWI charges. If you drive and you have never been charged with DWI, it is still important for you to understand what DWI defense attorneys do. Some DWI defense clients are, in fact, innocent drivers who did not consume any alcohol before they were stopped and arrested for driving while they were allegedly intoxicated.
As with any type of legal matter, people may wonder whether they could handle their DWI defense case on their own. Unfortunately, there is a lot at stake in a DWI case, because the negative consequences of a DWI arrest or conviction can reach into every area of your day to day life. When you spend money to hire a DWI defense attorney, you are investing in giving yourself the best possible chance at keeping the negative consequences of your DWI to a minimum.
When you retain a DWI defense attorney, your attorney can help you in many ways. They will help you to understand the charges that have been brought against you, as well as the potential consequences of a conviction. Your attorney will speak to you about your case, and they will help you understand what kinds of defense strategies may be available to you. A large part of the work of DWI defense attorneys involves helping clients understand their options, because DWI defendants may be presented with a variety of options for resolving their DWI cases.
It is true that some DWI defendants may qualify for services offered by public defenders. However, it is essential that you understand the difference between using a public defender for your DWI case and using private counsel. Public defenders are attorneys who work for the state. They are paid by the state, and they provide legal assistance to people who meet certain economic criteria. Private counsel is an attorney that the defendant has retained. All attorneys are skillful, capable individuals who do their best to represent the interests of their clients. Unfortunately, public defenders have less control over the size of their work load than private counsel do, and they may have very little time to work on each of their cases. These differences are important, but in Texas there is another distinction that may be even more important to you, depending upon how badly you need to keep your driving privileges. Public defenders in Texas do not participate in the administrative license suspension process. Drivers who are charged with DWI must request an ALR hearing if they wish to avoid license suspension and only private counsel can handle those requests and hearings.
If you are facing DWI charges in Texas, it is essential that you align yourself with someone who can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your DWI case. Texas DWI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra works hard on behalf of Texas DWI defendants, and he can help you, too. Please call our office today, at (903) 753-7499, or contact us online.
Friday, May 15th, 2015
If you plan to travel out of state to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, it is important that you know that in many states, law enforcement officers will have DUI checkpoints set up along major roadways. Texas does not currently use DUI checkpoints to enforce drunk driving laws, but they are common in other states, and holiday weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day are time when drivers should expect to encounter them.
In states where DUI checkpoints are used, they may be present at any time of day or night. That said, most checkpoints are set up late at night or early in the morning, as that is when there are likely to be the greatest number of intoxicated drivers on the road. If you do encounter a DUI checkpoint while you are traveling, the following tips may help your experience go more smoothly.
Drivers who are prepared for an encounter with law enforcement at a DUI checkpoint are more likely to be let through quickly, instead of being detained for investigation. Your attitude will, in large part, shape your experience at the checkpoint. Try your best to be polite and cooperative without providing too much information, because any information that you provide could be used against you in the future. Do give the officer basic information, like your license, car insurance, and vehicle registration if you are asked to provide them.
Whatever you do, remember that you do not have to answer every question that is asked of you. Many well-meaning and legally sober drivers are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol after answering questions about where they have been and what they have been doing, or by participating in field sobriety tests. In most places, you cannot be penalized for refusing to perform a field sobriety test. Many tests are set up for the driver to fail, even if they are sober. Nerves, footwear, and agility can cause sober drivers to fail field sobriety tests, and their effectiveness has come into question many, many times.
Sometimes, despite a driver’s best efforts to cooperate with law enforcement officer, an arrest may occur. If you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint, it is essential that you immediately exercise your right to remain silent, after respectfully asking the arresting officer to permit you to speak with your attorney. Your attorney can further advise you regarding whether you should participate in blood or breath testing, because the rules for those tests and the consequences of refusal vary from state to state.
If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, it is important that you have someone by your side who can protect your rights. Texas DUI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra works hard to protect the rights of DUI defendants, and it is possible that he can help you, too. Please call our office today, at (903) 753-7499, or contact us online via our website.
Monday, February 2nd, 2015
Sometimes, one DUI charge or conviction is all it takes to deter people from driving while intoxicated. For other people, driving under the influence of alcohol can be a very tough habit to break. The consequences for a first DUI are harsh, and the consequences for subsequent DUI charges increase in severity. It is important that drivers understand what could happen if they are convicted of a second or third DUI.
If you are a minor, you probably lost your license for ninety days when you got your first DUI. If you are charged with a second DUI, you could face one hundred and twenty days of license suspension if you are convicted. If you get a third DUI, the license suspension increases to one hundred and eighty days.
Adult drivers who are convicted of a second DUI can be fined up to four thousand dollars and ordered to serve between one month and one year in jail. Additionally, you could lose your license for up to two years, and you will be required to pay a surcharge of up to two thousand dollars a year for three years in order to keep your driver’s license. You may also be required to attend a DUI intervention program or a DUI education program, and it is possible that you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
The stakes are even higher for adult drivers who are facing a third DUI. If you are convicted of a third DUI, you can be fined up to ten thousand dollars and sentenced to two to ten years in jail. Third offenses also carry a two year license suspension and a two thousand dollar per year surcharge for three years to maintain a driver’s license. DUI education or intervention programs and/or an ignition interlock device may also be required.
Any DUI conviction results in consequences that have a far-reaching impact on both the life of the person who is convicted and on their family and friends. In addition to the fines and penalties described above, there are expenses associated with being arrested for DUI, attorneys’ fees, and the additional costs of obtaining transportation while you are without a driver’s license. There are also non-economic costs associated with criminal convictions, including DUIs, such as difficulty in finding employment and housing. Adding the economic and non-economic costs of a second, third, or other subsequent DUI to the stress of getting through day to day life after a first DUI conviction could make things really difficult. Whether you are facing your first DUI or charges for a subsequent offense, it is essential that you give yourself the best possible change at a successful defense by enlisting the aid of a Texas DUI defense attorney. To learn how Texas DUI Defense Attorney Alex Tyra can help you, call our office today, at (903) 753-7499. You may also reach us by submitting a convenient contact form on our website.
Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
A traffic stop usually begins innocently enough, with a polite request for your license and registration. As you hand over the required items, though, you are likely to wonder what other questions you will be asked during this particular stop. You should also be thinking about whether or not you will answer any additional questions, and which questions you will answer.
Law enforcement officers of all types, from the local sheriffs to state troopers, and even Border Patrol have a habit of asking drivers more questions than drivers are required by law to answer. This problem is particularly pronounced in areas near the Mexican border, where excessive questioning is often paired with an aggressive attitude. As you can imagine, this is rather unsettling for drivers, and it can get you into trouble if you do not understand your rights, or if you are afraid to assert them.
In Texas, drivers are required to present three things to a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop. These things are their driver’s license, insurance card, and vehicle registration. Even less is required of passengers, who are not required to provide anything, unless they are being detained for a traffic violation.
Unfortunately, there are no rules regarding what kinds of questions law enforcement officers can ask you. Fortunately, you are not legally obligated to answer every question that you are asked. In fact, you do not have to answer any questions, aside from providing the three items which you are legally required to provide. Border Patrol checkpoints are a little different, because officers have a right to determine immigration status. However, this does not mean that you have to answer any questions in order for them to be able to do that.
Of course, knowing what you are legally required to do and what you have a right to choose to decline to do in response to an officer’s questioning is one thing. Asserting your right to refuse to answer additional questions in a calm and confident manner is another thing entirely. Law enforcement officers are aware that many drivers do not know that they are only legally required to provide three things during a traffic stop. They also know that many drivers and passengers are easily intimidated by authority figures, such as themselves. Therefore, they ask whatever questions they please and expect that drivers and passengers will answer them without so much as a second thought.
Since drivers cannot count on law enforcement to stick to the basics during traffic stops, it is up to drivers to educate themselves about the “rules of the road” regarding questioning during traffic stops, and to plan ahead what they might say in response to an officer’s questions. It’s best to keep it simple, and to speak as calmly and confidently as you can. One of the best phrases to use is “Am I free to go now?” which you can say after your license, registration, and insurance cards have been returned to you.
Traffic stops can be unnerving, because you never know what the officer’s attitude will be like or what questions they will ask you. Knowing your rights and standing up for them could help you to avoid disclosing information that could be used against you later on. If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, you need the assistance of a knowledgeable Texas DUI Defense Attorney. To learn more, call attorney Alex Tyra today, and schedule a free consultation. We can be reached at (903) 753-7499, or submit a convenient online contact form.
Friday, May 30th, 2014
As if mounting a defense to the criminal charges in your Texas DWI case was not enough, there is something that you must do very shortly after your DWI arrest which could have a major impact on your life if you do not attend to it promptly. You have just fifteen days from the date of your DWI arrest to preserve your chance at saving your driver’s license by requesting an ALR hearing.
An Administrative Law Review hearing, or ALR hearing as it is commonly called, is a civil proceeding which is brought against a driver who either refused a blood or breath test after they were arrested under suspicion of DWI, or a driver who has taken a blood or breath test and has failed it. Texas state law contains a provision which says that drivers who operate their vehicles on public roadways within the state give their implied consent to submit to breath or blood testing upon being arrested for DWI and being advised of the consequences of refusing to participate in testing.
The consequence, of course, is the possibility of suspension of your driver’s license. Sometimes, the way in which law enforcement officers describe the license suspension process can make it difficult to understand when and how a license suspension would take effect. For example, it is common for officers to tell a person whom they have arrested that their driver’s license will be automatically suspended, effective immediately upon their refusal to participate in blood or breath testing. This is not an accurate description of the process by which drivers’ licenses are suspended following a refusal to submit to testing.
While it is true that the arresting officer must take your license into his or her possession, you should also be given a temporary driver’s permit, which is only valid for forty days. After forty days has passed, your license will be suspended automatically unless you requested an ALR hearing within fifteen days of your arrest. Requesting a hearing enables you to contest the proposed suspension of your driver’s license and delays the imposition of any ALR sanctions until the hearing takes place. Instructions for requesting a hearing may be found at the bottom of your Notice of Suspension.
At your ALR hearing, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will attempt to prove that your license should be suspended for one of two reasons. The first reason that your license could be suspended is if you took a breath or blood test which resulted in a reading of .08 or greater. Suspension for the reason of refusing to submit to testing requires that the DPS provide proof of four different elements, including reasonable suspicion for the vehicle stop or probable cause for the arrest, probable cause that the driver was in control of a vehicle on a public place while intoxicated, opportunity for the driver to voluntarily participate in testing and provision of both oral and written notice of the consequences of refusal, and refusal to participate in testing following a request by the officer to do so. If the DPS fails to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence, then a license suspension may not be issued, and your license must be returned to you.
Requesting an ALR hearing is a step in the right direction, a chance at protecting your right to drive. With something so important at stake, it is a good idea not to go it alone. Texas DUI Defense Attorneys are well versed in the ALR process, and an experienced attorney can help you to present your best case against the proposed license suspension. To learn more, call attorney Alex Tyra today, and schedule a free consultation. We can be reached at (903) 753-7499, or submit a convenient online contact form.
Sunday, January 5th, 2014
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in Texas, there are a few things that you should know. From learning about the immediate and long term consequences of a DWI conviction, to learning about the variety of ways that an attorney can help you challenge some of the evidence in your DWI case, knowledge is a very powerful thing when it comes to making decisions regarding your Texas DWI case. Here are five things that can help every Texas DWI defendant understand their DWI case and make decisions that are truly in their best interest.
One of the first things that you should know about the drunk driving laws in Texas is that they are among the strictest in the nation. For your first DWI conviction, you could face fines of up to $2000.00, license suspension for up to a year, and up to one hundred and eighty days in jail. The penalties are even harsher for second-time offenders, and if you are convicted of DWI in Texas a third time, it is a felony. With penalties this severe, Texas DWI defendants have a lot to lose, if they do not take a proactive role in their defense.
A second important thing to know is that a DWI arrest in Texas gives rise to two different legal proceedings. As you might expect, one of the proceedings is a criminal case, and it is usually brought by a local district attorney. The other proceeding is of an administrative nature, and it involves the fate of your driver’s license. If you refused to submit to field sobriety tests or roadside breath testing, or if you took either or both of those tests and failed, your license will automatically be suspended, unless you file a request for a hearing on the matter within fifteen days of your arrest. It is essential that Texas DWI defendants remember to involve themselves in both proceedings, because each proceeding has something important at stake.
The third thing that Texas DWI defendants should know is that they have options. While a dismissal of your case or a reduction of the charges and penalties would be nice, these options are rarely available. If your case is one of the few that could qualify for one of these options, a knowledgeable Texas DWI defense attorney could help you pursue that outcome. Plea bargaining is also an option, and it involves a tradeoff of a conviction in exchange for more lenient consequences. Again, your attorney can help you weigh the positives and negatives of deciding to take your DWI case in this direction. You may also plead not guilty, and require the state to prove at a trial that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are considering this option, it is essential that you seek the assistance of an expert Texas DWI defense attorney.
A fourth thing that you must know, if you are a Texas DWI defendant, is that your attorney needs as much information about your DWI arrest as you can provide, in order to present your best possible defense. It can be difficult to remember the events leading up to such a traumatic event, but if you can remember things like how much you ate and drank at what times that day, which kinds of things you ate and drank, why you were pulled over, and whether you were advised of your right to remain silent, your attorney can figure out the best strategies for your defense.
The fifth and final thing that anyone accused of driving under the influence in Texas should know is that you don’t have to do this on your own. East Texas DWI defense attorney Alex Tyra is here to help you. To learn more, call our office at (903) 753-7499 to schedule a free consultation, or visit our law firm website to submit an online contact form.
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
Although you might think that the concept of “making it home safe” applies more to baseball than it does to football, recent statistics regarding drunk-driving-related accidents and Texas football games indicate that a refresher course on the topic is in order. Attending football games, tailgating, and getting together with friends to watch football games on television are favorite fall activities for many Texans. Enjoying a few drinks while watching the game is also a favorite pastime of many Texas football fans, and unfortunately, not everyone is playing it safe when it comes to getting home after the game.
According to a recent press release from the Texas Department of Transportation, game day drinking has increasingly become associated with drunk-driving-related accidents. Last year, during football season, there were 1,612 alcohol-related car accidents in Texas on days when one or more Texas college or professional football games were played. As a result of those accidents, fifty-seven people died and many more were injured.
The Texas Department of Transportation is making an effort to increase awareness of the risks of driving under the influence on game day. If you have been to a football game lately, you may even have seen the TxDOT “Fan Van”, a football-shaped vehicle which has been making the rounds to stadiums throughout the state. The “Fan Van” combines an anti-drunk-driving message with an opportunity for football fans to win prizes by making a pledge not to drink and drive this football season.
In addition to the “Fan Van”, the Texas Department of Transportation is broadcasting its messages on the radio, on television, and through other media like mobile ads. The message is clear – if you are going to drink while you enjoy the game, make sure that you have a sober ride home. Some options for sober transportation include designating a driver, taking a taxi, and using public transportation. If you are unsure of what the sober transportation options are at the place where you will be watching the next game, visit the Texas Department of Transportation’s mobile-friendly website, www.SoberRides.org, to see what options are available.
Despite the concerning statistics and the renewed efforts that are being made to promote sober transportation as an alternative to driving under the influence on game day, not all Texas football fans are likely to heed the Texas Department of Transportation’s warning. Many well-intentioned football fans might go tailgating or to watch a game thinking that they have a ride home, only to have their plans fall through. Others might drink more than they had anticipated that they would, and they may find themselves without a sober ride home at the end of the game. For whatever reason, some people will still probably drive home from watching the game after they have had too much to drink.
If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, whether on game day or any other day, it is important that you seek counsel from an experienced East Texas DWI defense attorney. To learn more, schedule your free consultation with Longview DWI defense attorney Alex Tyra by calling (903) 753-7499, or visit our website and submit an online contact form.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
If a police officer has ever asked you to perform a field sobriety test, you probably felt like you had no choice but to get out of the car and do your best to walk in a perfectly straight line, or to point to your nose in just the right way. What many people do not know about field sobriety tests is that you do have a choice about whether or not you participate in them. Also, many people are unaware of all of the potential implications of engaging in field sobriety testing.
It is important that you become familiar with field sobriety testing, because you never know when your next traffic stop might be. Even if you do not consume alcohol, you should educate yourself about this issue because sober drivers are sometimes asked to perform field sobriety tests. In fact, one of the most disturbing things about field sobriety testing is that some sober drivers fail the tests and are subsequently charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, while some drivers who are intoxicated pass the tests and get back behind the wheel.
Field sobriety tests are increasingly becoming regarded as inaccurate assessments of intoxication. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has not issued any standards for administering or scoring field sobriety tests. This leaves the decision about whether an individual passes or fails each test up to the subjective judgment of the law enforcement officer administering it. Studies have shown that police officers judge a driver’s level of intoxication incorrectly during one third of all field sobriety tests that they administer. This means that every time you choose to do a field sobriety test, there is a one in three chance that you will either be wrongly accused of driving under the influence or that you will be permitted to continue driving while intoxicated, depending upon your actual condition.
Not only are field sobriety tests inaccurate, they are also damaging. Whenever an officer asks you to step outside of your vehicle for a field sobriety test, they have already decided that they think that you have been drinking. Every single movement that you make once you decide to exit your vehicle becomes evidence that the law enforcement officer can use to build his or her case in support of a DWI conviction.
Engaging in a field sobriety test will not, contrary to popular belief, get you back on the road faster by “proving” that you are sober. Sober drivers often make the mistake of choosing to participate in field sobriety tests because they think that the officer will certainly be able to see that they are not intoxicated. Unfortunately, many people are not aware that they can easily fail a field sobriety test when they are completely sober. If you are nervous or tired, you could be a little shaky on your feet. The same goes for if you are wearing high heels, or if the road surface is wet, uneven, or slippery. Some tests require a fair amount of coordination, and some people will fail those tests when they are sober simply because they are not very coordinated.
If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, you need the help of an experienced Longview DWI defense attorney. To learn more about how we can help you to defend yourself against DWI charges, schedule a free consultation with East Texas DWI defense attorney Alex Tyra today. Call our office at (903) 753-7499, or visit our law firm website to submit an online contact form.
Thursday, October 10th, 2013
If you plan on attending a Halloween party in Texas later this month, there is something that you definitely should know. Holiday weekends, including the weekend of Halloween, are considered to be “No Refusal” weekends in many cities and counties throughout Texas. During a No Refusal weekend, individuals who are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol will be told by police that they must submit to roadside breath or blood alcohol testing. Any driver who refuses to submit to roadside breath or blood alcohol testing during a No Refusal weekend will automatically be arrested, and a blood sample will be obtained from them while they are in police custody.
The procedure for obtaining blood samples from drivers who refuse roadside testing during No Refusal weekends may vary slightly from location to location. In most places, the procedure begins when a driver suspected of DWI refuses to submit to roadside breath or blood testing. The police take the driver into custody and transport them to a location that has been designated as the central processing facility for all DWI suspects. The facility may be a jail, but in some places, a mobile blood draw van or a hospital is used instead. While the driver is in custody, the officer applies for a blood draw warrant from a night judge. If the warrant is issued, a nurse or other medical professional obtains the blood sample from the suspect.
When the No Refusal rule is not in effect, Texas drivers who are suspected of DWI may refuse to submit to roadside breath or blood testing, with the only consequence being license suspension. According to state-wide statistics, the rate of refusal is about 50%, with repeat DWI offenders refusing breath testing about 70% of the time. The threat of arrest and involuntary blood alcohol testing during No Refusal weekends drastically lowers the refusal rate to about 25%.
The important thing to remember about No Refusal weekends is that traffic stops during those weekends are no different than traffic stops at any other time. If a police officer has pulled you over to investigate the possibility that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer has already made up his or her mind that you are impaired. Do your best to remain calm, and treat the officer with respect as you politely say as little as possible except to identify yourself and provide proof of insurance. The less information you provide to the officer, the less information the officer has to put in the application for a blood draw warrant, and the less likely it is that the warrant will be issued.
Even if you are calm and respectful during the traffic stop, and you do not provide the police officer with much information, the officer may still obtain a blood draw warrant and take you into custody. If you are taken into custody, continue to remain silent and ask to speak with an attorney. A knowledgeable Texas DWI defense attorney can scrutinize the blood draw warrant, the handling of the blood sample, the accuracy of the blood test results and the integrity of the procedure for taking and handling the blood sample, among other things.
If you are charged with DWI during a No Refusal weekend or at any other time, it is important that you get help from an experienced Longview DWI attorney. Attorney Alex Tyra has been providing top quality legal defense services to East Texas clients since 1998. For a free consultation, call our Longview office at (903) 753-7499 or submit a case contact form via our law firm website.
Sunday, September 29th, 2013
It is certainly no exaggeration when I say that a Texas DWI conviction can impact every aspect of your life. From your family relationships to your friendships, and of course your job, no area of your life is immune to the consequences of a DWI conviction. Of course, the potential impact of a Texas DWI conviction on your career will depend largely upon what you do for work. Another factor is whether your conviction has resulted in any restrictions on your ability to get to and from work. When you are weighing your options regarding how to respond to your DWI charges, don’t forget the following potential effects that a DWI conviction could have on your career.
One way that a Texas DWI conviction could affect your career is if it interferes with your ability to get to and from work. License suspension is a common penalty associated with DWI convictions, and even first – time offenders can find themselves without a driver’s license for up to two years. If you live somewhere where you have access to public transportation that can get you to where you need to be for work, and driving a vehicle is not a part of your job, then you may be able to navigate the logistics of getting to and from work after your DWI conviction with relative ease. Of course, if you live and/or work in a more remote area, or if driving is a part of your job, you may have to stop working if you cannot get to and from work, or if you can no longer perform your job duties because your license is suspended.
If driving is your career and you have a CDL, stricter drunk driving rules apply to you whether you are driving your commercial vehicle or your personal vehicle. Not only will a DWI conviction result in loss of your commercial license for one or more years, it will more than likely result in loss of your job. It could also make it harder for you to get a job once your license has been reinstated, as employers may feel that a past DWI conviction makes it more likely that you will be convicted for DWI again in the future than a driver with no DWI on his or her record.
Even if your job does not involve driving other than just getting to and from work, you should be aware that some professions are more sensitive to DWI convictions than others are. For example, careers that involve working with children, such as teaching or working in a day care center, often view a DWI as something that makes an applicant less qualified for that position. Also, military, government, and other jobs that require the handling of sensitive or confidential information may be harder to get following a DWI conviction because of strict background check requirements.
The best defense against a Texas DWI is a knowledgeable and experienced Longview DWI defense attorney. East Texas attorney Alex Tyra offers free consultations to drivers accused of driving under the influence. Learn more about your options for defending your DWI case today. Call our Longview office at (903) 753-7499 or submit a case contact form via our law firm website.
- Law Office of Alex Tyra, P.C.
211 E. Tyler Street #521
Longview, TX 75601