Spike in DWIs During Holiday Season

Posted: January 16th, 2013

Houston has long been known as a city with a high DUI rate, but with the 2012 holiday season statistics released, it’s become apparent that 2013 needs to see a serious change. According to MyFoxHouston, 105 people were arrested on suspicion of drinking while intoxicated on New Year’s Eve in the eight-county region surrounding Houston. Fifteen of those, according to Fox, “happened in Montgomery County, the same place where six people lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes over the Fourth of July weekend just six months ago.” A prosecutor in Montgomery County who is part of task force overseeing those eight counties told Fox that two of the DUI crashes over the holidays in the region were fatal. One happened in Fort Bend County. 

And Montgomery or Fort Bend Counties aren’t the worst of them. According to YourHoustonNews.com, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Division arrested 54 people for Driving While Intoxicated over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season. There were 8 fatal traffic accidents during the same time period, at least one of which was caused by a drunk driver.

It’s not as if Texas doesn’t have strict laws when it comes to drunk driving, but they don’t seem to deter drunk drivers in the Houston area form getting behind the wheel. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a first-time DWI conviction can carry a fine of up to $2,000, up to six months in prions, and license suspension for up to a year. This more than doubles for a second DWI conviction, and a third DWI conviction has a maximum fine of $10,000, up to ten years in prison, license suspension for up to two years, and an annual fee of $2,000 for three years to keep the license.

If you or someone you know is facing a DWI conviction after the holiday season, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Fort Bend DWI attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Texas prosecutor suggests reducing DWI fatalities with sobriety checkpoints

Posted: January 10th, 2013

A recent topic of debate in Texas has been whether or not police should be allowed to operate random checkpoints on highways to discourage drunken driving, according to a DWI prosecutor.

38 states currently allow law enforcement officials to set up these sobriety checkpoints, but Texas is not yet one of them, said W. Clay Abbott, DWI resource prosecutor with the Texas District and County Attorneys Association.

He added that if Texas was added to that list, however, it would probably see a drop in the number of people killed in crashes involving drunken driving. Texas had the highest number of DWI fatalities in 2010.

Abbott said, “When you look at the statistics, we see a drop in fatalities everywhere they do checkpoints.”

California, for example, where people travel more highway miles than in Texas, saw 791 DWI-related deaths I 2010. >Texas sreported 1,213 DWI-related deaths that same year. California, unlike Texas, allows law enforcement to set up sobriety checkpoints.

Recently, it was reported that of over 10,000 DWI-related fatalities in the U.S. in 2010, almost 12 percent occurred in Texas.

A common argument of the checkpoint system is reported to be that it invades on residents’ civil liberties.

Abbott said, however, that that is simply not the case, noting that in Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz (1990), setting up sobriety checkpoints was not ruled unconstitutional. It was, instead, left up to individual states to decide whether they wanted to use checkpoints.

The chief vehicle crimes prosecutor for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office Warren Diepraam agreed with Abbot, saying that the argument calling the checkpoints unconstitutional is “a scarce tactic.”

Diepraam also said that checkpoints are nothing new in Texas; the state already has some set up to check drivers for licenses and immigration status.

He said, “There are plenty of other checkpoints in Texas on most of our major roadways to the border.”

If you find yourself in trouble with a DWI even without these checkpoints, contact an experienced DWI Texas attorney. These checkpoints will make the roads safer but will be trouble for drunken drivers, so get a good lawyer while you can. Contact the David Hunter Law Firm today.

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Above the Law

Posted: December 16th, 2012

We all count on our police officers to not only do their job and do it well, but to also be prime examples of honor, integrity and lawfulness. We trust them to take care of small and large issues for the best of the community. When the trust is lost, it is hard to look at them once again in the same light.

Forth Worth, Texas, police officer, Nicholas Ramirez, was arrested Wednesday, January 2, 2013, for driving while intoxicated. His breathalyzer marked a .188 – more than double the legal limit of .08. He was arrested in Keller, Texas. He is charged with a Class A misdemeanor. It is difficult to know that a police officer can use such poor judgment and get caught up in a situation that could have harmed others.

Ramirez was a police officer for four years and since August of 2012, was a DWI law enforcement officer. He was the officer that was supposed to keep drunk driving off the roads, enforce the laws and be an example of integrity. Though he is human and prone to mistakes, officers should know better based on the experience they have on a day to day basis. Using wisdom and background knowledge should not only be easy for officers such as Ramirez but almost mandatory for them because of their profession.

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. It takes help of a wise, strong litigator to move you forward. If you have been put into a situation with a DWI, contact a Texas lawyer who will stand firm for your rights and future.

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Travel Safely During the Holidays in Texas

Posted: December 13th, 2012

Drinking and driving during the holidays has always been more of a problem than during other times of the year. Many people have time off work, travel home to spend time with family who they don’t see often, and try to relax and have a good time with a few drinks.

Last year during Christmas and New Years, the Texas Department of Public Safety patrol cars arrested over 1100 drivers for driving while intoxicated.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has decided to increase the number of cars patrolling for drivers who may be driving drunk, which could increase the number of people who are charged with a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in the state of Texas. According to a press release from the Texas Department of Public Safety, between December 21 2012 and January 1, 2013, DPS patrol cars will be focusing DWI patrols on areas where drunk driving related car crashes are more common.

This means that the patrol will take place during both Christmas and New Years. It will be funded through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.

The press release also offers tips for traveling as safely as possible during the holiday season, in addition to not driving after consuming alcohol:

  • Wear a seat belt! It’s the law.
  • Don’t drive if you’re too tired, and don’t rush. Leave plenty of time, as both traffic and weather conditions during the holidays may be more stressful than usual.
  • Eliminate other distractions, such as texting or talking on the phone while driving.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you’ve been arrested for driving while intoxicated, be sure to contact a Texas DWI defense attorney. We can help you avoid the negative consequences that can stem from a DWI conviction. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

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Holiday Season Reminders

Posted: November 30th, 2012

With the holiday season at hand, many of us will be visiting family and relatives, and a lot of us will be using a car to get to those relatives’ houses. Halloween and Thanksgiving are already behind us, and as one of our earlier posts informed you, Thanksgiving was very peaceful when it comes to drunk driving and car accidents.

Nevertheless, when you are visiting your family and loved ones, and having some wine or a beer during your visits, you should be careful not to hop behind the wheel when you are not fit to drive your car.

As a reminder of what might follow if your ‘holiday spirit’ takes over and you end up with a DWI charge, here is a link about Texas DWI convictions in the state of Texas. Texas currently has more DWI crashes and fatalities than any other state.

For those of us who have no prior DWI convictions, a conviction could mean, for example, a very slow year of no full driving privileges. Alternatively, you might be sitting in prison instead of your car for up to one year. And if luck is on your side and you avoid the previous two, you could still receive a fines.

If you do have a prior DWI conviction, the stakes will be significantly higher, with the lack of full driving privileges for five years, among other things.

Of course, people make mistakes and accidents happen. If you or a loved one are facing drunk driving charges, get help right away. Our knowledgeable drunk driving attorneys wrote the book on Texas DWI, so when you need help regarding Texas DWI charges, contact our offices as soon as possible.

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Man Charged with DWI After Almost Hitting Police Cruiser

Posted: November 25th, 2012

A 24 year old College Station man has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor for driving while intoxicated, and a Class B misdemeanor for causing an accident involving damage to a vehicle after a series of events, including almost striking a police car, sideswiping another vehicle and then ending up driving a bicycle in a ditch.

According to a report in The Eagle, a police officer was stopped on the west feeder road of Texas 6 and noticed a car coming straight towards his police cruiser. The officer began waving and shouting at the driver. The driver switched lanes, avoiding hitting the officer and police car, but instead of stopping for the officer, he kept on driving.

A short time later, police received a report of a car side-swiping another car, but the driver took off without stopping. The description of the car appeared to police to be the same vehicle that almost hit the police cruiser.

Soon after taking the report of the hit and run, police located the vehicle on Arrington Road. The car was still running but no one was in it. Police found the driver nearby, riding a bicycle. The man ended up driving the bike into a ditch as he was trying to hide from police. He was arrested and released after posting $6000 bail.

If found guilty of the Class A misdemeanor, the man could face a year in jail and a $4000 fine. The Class B misdemeanor is punishable by 180 days in jail and a $2000 fine. If you have been charged with DWI, contact an experienced Fort Bend County DWI defense attorney to represent you. Being found guilty may not only mean loss of license but could also mean jail time.

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Family in Critical Condition from Mom’s Mistake

Posted: November 17th, 2012

In the morning of November 11th, six family members were driving on the highway in Katy, TX.  While it is not known where they were headed, the hour was early as Lourdes Lopez ran a red light at the intersection of Fry Rd and Katy Freeway.  The 22 year old was suspected of DWI after her car was T-boned by a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck.  The accident occurred around 3 o’clock in the morning.

While no one in the pickup truck was injured, Lourdes’s family in the car was hurt badly from the accident.  Lourdes Lopez’s husband, 45-year-old Jorge, was rushed to the hospital along with his wife.  As recently as the Monday after the accident, Jorge was in critical condition.  The saddest news from this event is the injuries sustained by this couple’s children.

Their four boys were in the car, ranging in age from 1 to 12 years old.  The oldest child was ejected from the front windshield and all of the boys suffered very dangerous injuries.  Along with their father, three of the boys were still in critical condition on Monday.  While Lourdes was at the hospital she was found to have alcohol in her system through blood testing.

“She was in stable condition, she was complaining about back pain and just minor aches and stuff,” said the Lopez family’s neighbor Elesio Okafor. “I don’t think she’s aware of the magnitude of what’s going on yet.”  It has not been released by the authorities what charges are pending against Lourdes.  It is very hard to deal with the damage caused by a terrible car accident, especially when it could be due to drinking and driving.  If you or loved one are in a situation like this, then they need the best help they can get.  Contact a dedicated DWI defense attorney in Sugarland to start preparing your case.

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Teen Arrested for DUI

Posted: November 13th, 2012

A 16-year-old man was arrested in early November and charged with driving under the influence after “crashing his pickup truck into two deputies,” according to YourHoustonNews.com. The accident happened in the middle of the night when the teenager, who was traveling southbound on Highway 6, crossed over into the northbound lane and hit the squad car head-on. He was arrested at the scene before conclusive toxicology results were released, but the crash occurred with enough force to not only smash the car directly hit, but also a second deputy car waiting at a red light behind the car that was hit. According to You Houston News, “the deputy in the unit that was hit head on was transported to Memorial Cy-Fair Hospital with a wrist injury and is expected to make a full recovery. The deputy in the second unit was not seriously hurt.” 

The teen was not injured in the crash, and can count himself lucky for it. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) statistics, “car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about one-third of those are alcohol related.” Every day, according to MADD, 28 people die from drunk driving crashes—a staggering statistic. The teen responsible for this recent Texas crash was below the average age for drunk drivers, however. MADD reports that, “the highest percentage of drunk drivers was for drivers ages 21 to 24 (34 percent).”

In August of this year, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration initiated a nationwide crackdown on drunk driving. The initiative came “as startling new agency statistics show 70 percent of deaths in drunk driving crashes in 2010 involved rivers with blood alcohol levels that were nearly twice the .08 legal limit.”

If you or someone you know has been involved with or charged with a DUI, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Texas DWI defense attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Texas Woman Faces Murder Charges After DWI Death of San Marcos Teenager

Posted: October 31st, 2012

A Gonzales County woman faces murder charges after hitting and killing a San Marcos teen over the summer with her truck.

Alice Ramos was accused of driving drunk. The KVUE Defenders uncovered it’s Ramos’ fourth DWI arrest. Now the teen’s mother questions if the justice system failed her son.

“I don’t understand how I don’t remember anything, but it’s probably best I don’t,” said Scott Hamm, who doesn’t remember the August morning when a SUV hit his truck head-on on Highway 183 in Gonzales County.

The crash nearly crippled him and killed his little brother, Chet.

Their mother, Lynn, got the call a few hours later at her San Marcos home. “She said there’s been a wreck and Scotty’s been life-flighted and Chet didn’t make it,” said Lynn.

The accused driver was 50-year-old Ramos.

According to the affidavit, Ramos’ blood contained three times the legal alcohol limit and tested positive for cocaine.

A KVUE Defenders investigation discovered it’s her fourth DWI-related arrest, including three convictions since 1990.

She had an expired driver license at the time of the accident that killed Chet.

Her last DWI conviction was in 2004. Ramos was sentenced to five years’ probation, 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Turns out the prosecutor at the time could have recommended a stiffer sentence for Ramos in 2004. The law allowed up to 10 years’ probation or prison time.

While Chet’s mother feels the justice system failed her son, she holds Ramos responsible.

“I have forgiven her for what she’s done. I actually pray for her. I pray that she finds God and that she finds peace and that she changes her life.”

If you are facing DWI charges, do not attempt to handle them on your own. Contact an experienced Fort Bend county DWI defense attorney at your earliest convenience in order to have the best chance of successfully fighting your Texas DWI charges.

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Former Texas State Representative Accused of DWI

Posted: October 21st, 2012

Jack Stick was a former state representative for the state of Texas in Austin.  He also spent time as municipal judge in the city of Bee Cave in Travis County.  His most recent position is as the deputy inspector general for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.  He had seen a lot of success in that position, overseeing an increase in Medicaid fraud cases.  Unfortunately for Stick, he was arrested in September under suspicion of DWI.  And now, much like most people who are arrested for DWI, he is now fighting to keep his job.

The HHSC was able to confirm Stick’s arrest on September 11th, but was unable to say if Stick was driving while intoxicated.  “He notified his boss of the situation immediately and that he had taken a blood test,” HHSC’s spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said. “At this time, we’re still awaiting those test results. Once we get the results, we’ll decide if any personnel action is necessary.”  Employment in the United States is generally “at will” if there is no written contract for long term employment, meaning that there is no need for a cause for terminating employment.  A situation regarding a DWI can be the difference in continued employment for many people just like Stick.

Regarding his arrest at 10:44 pm as he left a steakhouse in downtown Austin, Stick was very specific about his thoughts.  A statement that he released said: “Although I appreciate the caution exercised by the officer, I am confident blood test results and other evidence will vindicate me.”  If you have been arrested for suspicion of DWI, then it is important to contact legal representation right away.  Reaching out to an experienced DWI defense attorney in Fort Bend county can be the difference between losing your job and not when  facing a DWI charge.

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