Friday, May 24, 2013

Study Shows DWI Surcharge Law to be Ineffective

A study by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition revealed that the percentage of fatal DWI accidents in Texas has increased over the last decade, from 26 percent in 2003 to 34 percent in 2011. This shocking statistic is despite the fact that in 2003 Texas passed its Driver Responsibility Law, legislation that punishes convicted drunk drivers with heavy fines. Now legislators are trying to end the law, but many citizens still support it. 

Why End It?
Many Texans feel the law is fair. Those who choose to drive while intoxicated should pay the price. Additionally, the fines collected were intended to benefit the state by helping to fund state highway projects and hospital trauma care.
However, many who oppose the legislation say the study speaks for itself. DWI accidents have not decreased since passing the Driver Responsibility Law. Many say the law means well, but doesn't address the problem. More should be done to prevent DWI accidents instead of a law that only punishes after a tragic accident.

Another problem is that people are not paying. Prosecutors say they can't handle the case load created by the those owing the fines. According to the state, 60 percent of those owing have not paid. That's a total of $1.7 billion owed to Texas. That also means the highways and hospitals that were supposed to get extra funding only saw a small amount of money. Critics of the legislation say the law has no benefits and creates a backlog of cases for prosecutors. Even Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston), who co-authored the law, says it's not working.

The Solution? 
As of right now, there's no state law proposed that would replace the Driver Responsibility Law. The solution is just not that simple. A lot of suggestions are being discussed, including an additional alcohol and tobacco tax. Many agree the solution must include prevention and more intervention programs for offenders. The goal should be to reduce fatal accidents, not only punish those responsible after-the-fact. We'll keep a close watch as Texas representatives debate this law and its alternative.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The New DWI DIVERT Program in Harris County, Texas

A new DWI intervention program has been created here in Harris County - one that offers first time DWI defendants a chance to keep their record clean. How will it do that? By offering to delay their trial for a year while they undergo an intense treatment program that, if completed, will result in no conviction being placed on their record. This is simply DIVERT reincarnate.  If you recall, current Harris County District Attorney, Mike Anderson said that he would abolish DIVERT.  He certainly did do that…for 3 months!  The DIVERT name has been abolished, but the program looks to be same with some new wrinkles. I welcome this program back with open arms, but until I see the new contract I am skeptical that it will be any different.
I know what you're probably thinking, "Great! Just what Harris County needs - a program that lets drunk drivers stay on the road." If so, let me reassure you that that's not the case. Why not? Because of the following safeguards:
  1. There's a screening process - This is not an automatic offer to all first-time defendents. For example if the incident involved a death, the defendent is automatically ineligible for the program. For the rest, there is a screening process. If they pass the screening, then the program is offered as a possible alternative - not before.
  2. There are safeguards in place - While the goal of the program may be treatment, it's not just a counseling program. In addition to classes that deal with drug abuse and several levels of treatment, the program also does urine analyses and electronic monitoring. In other words, it's not just show up for counseling/therapy sessions and go about your life as you please the rest of the time. There are accountability measures in place.
  3. There are no second chances - And finally, once the defendant is in the program he/she is given one chance to succeed and one chance only. Any violations and he's out, without the opportunity to re-enter; and his trial will continue as planned.

So why is this program being offered? With it costing about one-fifth of what a trial costs, money is certainly a part of it. But the bigger reason is the hope of preventing future DWIs. Melissa Munoz, with the district attorney's office and the one in charge of the program, probably said it best when she said:

We are trying to get people who are in need of assistance and need help with their alcohol and their drug abuse problems. .... we're taking as many measures as we can to make sure that [they] .... get the help that they need.
In other words, the hope is that if we can help people get the treatment they need early on, there will be fewer DWIs down the road. And that's a goal that's worth working toward

Friday, May 10, 2013

As Summer Arrives, DWI Cases Will Follow

I'm looking at the calendar for June and can't help shaking my head. I know what's coming. Not only will we have hotter weather with the beginning of summer, but there are some huge special events scheduled for the Houston area that will almost certainly bring a lot more DWI arrests.
To get things going, of course, there's Memorial Day weekend. While Memorial Day itself is observed on Monday, May 27, lots of activities are happening during the weekend:
  • The Astros are playing the Colorado Rockies at Minute Maid Park.
  • Soccer lovers have Memorial Day Cup Houston 2013 on Saturday and Sunday.
  • And the Memorial Weekend Music Festival will fill the Reliant Arena.

That's naming just a few events, but they all have one thing in common: a lot of sports fans and music lovers will quench their thirst with a few icy beers — and then some of them will get behind the wheel and drive home.

Let's look ahead to June:
  • The Caribbean Heritage Month Festival occurs the first Saturday of the month on June 1 — native music, cultural dancing, and authentic foods — a good time for lots of people.
  • June 19 brings the 'Juneteenth' African-American heritage celebration (the 19th was the historic day Texas found out about President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation) to the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park where crowds will enjoy blues, gospel and jazz.
  • And there's Pride Houston on June 22, which is the biggest LGBT event in the Southwest, drawing about 1,000 Houston Pride Parade participants and about 150,000 spectators.

Again, the combination of what will surely be hot Houston temperatures with thirsty crowds tells me my phone is likely to ring more often when some people decide — incorrectly — that they are OK to climb behind the wheel after a day (or a night) of chilling out with some nice chilly brews. The sight of flashing lights in your rear-view mirror would sure put a chill on an otherwise fun event.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Drunk Driving is Serious Even for First Time Offenders

Drunk Driving is a serious matter for any driver. It's costly, can harm your career and lifestyle and comes with heavy fines. However, while repeat offenders face stiffer penalties, driving while intoxicated is a serious offense even if you are a first time offender.

In fact, a first time offender faces many of the same penalties as a repeat offender such as the loss of a driver's license, the possibility of alcohol counseling if deemed necessary, probation and even jail time depending on the outcome of your actions, higher insurance costs and a yearly charge known as a driver's license surcharge, which costs $1,000 and is payable for three years. It doesn't matter what state you're from since the legal limit is .08 or higher in all states and is a class B misdemeanor. For a blood alcohol level above .15, the penalties are stiffer and is now considered a class A misdemeanor.

If you have been accused of driving while intoxicated, you need the help of a defense lawyer that specializes in this type of area. Not only can you sometimes get the charges reduced but in some cases, the charges can be dropped with the right defense attorney.

There's no reason to feel that your situation is hopeless because success stories are a part of many of our case outcomes. We work tirelessly to ensure that you get the best representation possible so that your results are favorable or at the very least, better than without having the right team on your side.

If you have been accused of drunk driving then we will ensure that you get the help you need. Remember that the burden of proof is on the prosecution and we have the tools to make sure your outcome is better than expected.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Federal IID Bill Could Affect Texas DWI Law

The Drunk Driving Repeat Offender Prevention Act (DDROP), proposed by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg this past December, could affect the way DWIs are punished in all 50 states. While states are not required to adopt the legislation, if passed the law says the federal government could withhold federal transportation funding from them. This same tactic was successfully used by Lautenberg to get all 50 states to move their drinking ages to 21 and to lower their minimum blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08. If passed, it's likely Texas will comply. How will this new legislation affect Texas DWI Law?

What's an IID?
DDROP requires that all drivers convicted of drunk driving have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicle for at least six months. An IID is essentially a small breath analyzer that interacts with a car's ignition. They are sometimes referred to as a "deep-lung breath analysis mechanism" or a "breath alcohol ignition interlock device." The device requires the driver to blow into a straw before the car will start. The IID measures the driver's blood alcohol level and, based on the result, either allows the car to start or prevents the intoxicated driver from driving.

How Effective are IIDs?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have studied the effectiveness of IIDs and have found them to be effective. They found IIDs reduce repeat DWI arrests by 73 percent. 

How Does the Bill Affect Texas?
Texas already uses IIDs, but it's usually up to the judge's discretion. There are some situations where it is mandatory, such as if it's a person's second offense or if the defendant is under 21. Under DDROP, every DWI conviction would require the use of an IID regardless of whether it was a first offense, if someone was hurt or killed, what the driver's blood alcohol level was or any other factors.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other advocacy groups are pushing this legislation hard. Currently, only 10 states have IID requirements that meet DDROP standards. Law enforcement estimates it would cost the state $7 to $12 million to monitor the IIDs required under the new legislation. However, Texas is a large state with thousands of miles of roadways. The financial implications of not complying, and losing federal transportation money, could prove to be greater than non-compliance. Thus, it's likely Texas will adopt DDROP if the Senate and House pass it.

The legislation is currently in the House. We'll keep a close watch on how it develops. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

There are defenses against a DWI blood alcohol level

Aside from a breathalyzer test most accused DWI offenders are given a blood test at the police station. There are a number of factors to consider when a blood sample is taken from an accused DWI driver.
First, your skin must be sterilized with something other than alcohol. As the needle is pushed through the skin it may catch some of the surface alcohol. This small detail can cause a false positive when there is none.
Secondly, was the person drawing the blood following procedures? How experienced was the health care worker.

Next, when the lab took the sample were there enough anticoagulants and preservatives in the vial? If not there could be a chance for the blood to ferment and make its own alcohol. This error could also cause a false positive.

Additionally, mistakes can be made all along the process of the blood draw. Was the sample labeled properly? Could it have been mixed up with another person's blood? After the blood was taken from your body was it stored properly? Is there a written record of everyone who had access to the blood?
Lastly, alcohol takes time to be absorbed by the body. Every one's blood circulation system is unique and absorbs alcohol differently. Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) may not have been high when you were driving but, as time passed your system may have absorbed the alcohol causing an altered BAC reading than when you were behind the wheel.

If you are charged with a DWI and a blood test or BAC test is taken you need an attorney. The attorneys at The Martinez Law firm have years of experience in defending DWI cases. It is imperative that you have a strong and knowledgeable voice in the legal arena. Don't walk into court alone, talk to one of the attorneys at the Martinez Law Firm

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Getting Convicted for a Drunk Driving Charge is no Joke

In the past, drunk driving was treated just like a traffic stop. These days, driving while intoxicated is taken much more seriously and is not tolerated. M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and other anti drunk driving organizations have had a major impact on how DUI's are treated. M.A.D.D. played a major role in the decision that congress passed to drop the legal blood alcohol limit from .10 to .08.

Nobody can ever blame the people who dedicate their lives to fight drunk drivers. On March 30, 2013, in Nevada, a California family from Los Angeles lost five family members because of a drunk driver on Interstate 15. The drunk driver crashed into the back of the family van causing it to spin around and overturn. Four adults and one teenage girl were ejected from the van and pronounced deceased at the scene. A woman and a teenage boy survived and left the scene in critical condition. Occurrences like this are the reasons that the law takes DWI charges so seriously. With all of that said, nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes. Making bad decisions is a part of life, and most of us learn from our mistakes. Sometimes, we choose to learn the hard way. Besides hurting other drivers while drinking and driving, a DWI charge can have a major impact on your life. Future career choices that you may want to peruse are jeopardized. A conviction can also be charged as a felony in certain circumstances . Driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated is no joke and should never be taken as something minor.

If you were arrested for drunk driving, it does not necessarily mean that you were guilty of the crime. Most people assume that there is no defense against a DWI charge. They go on ahead and plead guilty to the crime, and accept the conviction. They do not even take the time to view their arrest video with their attorney.

If you have been charged with a DWI, you will want to get legal representation as soon as possible. Getting convicted for drunk driving can have serious consequences such as jail time, expensive fines, probation, community service, revocation of your driver’s license and other severe penalties.

It must be remembered that the prosecution must prove two things. They must prove that you were driving and that you were intoxicated. They carry the burden of proving that you are guilty of the alleged crime. The Martinez Law Firm can represent you with a strong defense strategy. Every case is different, and we will need to know all the details about your case. By hiring an experienced lawyer to represent you in court, you will get the best outcome possible.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Driving While Intoxicated Conviction Has Far Reaching Effects

After someone has been convicted for Driving While Intoxicated the problems aren't over after the probation has started in essence the “real world” trouble has just started.

For example you and your team of salespeople just signed one of the biggest contracts your company has ever closed. You decide to go out and celebrate with them and have a few drinks. Realizing it is past 11 o’clock on a week night the team disperses for a good night sleep and everyone heads home.

After an innocent night of celebrating the unthinkable happens, you are pulled over. After a FST (Field Sobriety Test) you are arrested for driving under the influence and put in jail.

Once on your record, that one DWI arrest may follow you everywhere. First, your insurance rates will skyrocket; both auto and life. Next, your driver’s license may be suspended and most states require alcohol education classes. These classes are mandatory and telling your boss you need time off to attend these classes is putting your current job at risk, regardless of how great an employee you have been.

You will have to depend on either public transportation or the kindness of friends and family to get you to and from work. If you are in sales you probably depend on your car to get you to and from appointments and business meetings. If your license is gone your job may be also. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.

Most employers do a background check when hiring. The DWI charge will come up and it will automatically put you in a compromised position with your future employer. If and when you attempt to get a loan for a new home or car if the lending agency can find any reason to increase your interest rate, the DWI will likely be number one the list.

Hiring an attorney to represent you in court is the not just the first thing you can do; it is the best thing you can do. An attorney will examine all the facts of the case and be an educated and equipped voice in the courts. An attorney may be able to help save your driver’s license and/or get your drunk driving case dismissed. For more information on how to get help with a DWI contact us.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Driving While Intoxicated and the Field Sobriety Tests

If you are pulled over and the police think you are Driving While Intoxicated more often than not they will administer Field Sobriety Tests (FST). There is a lot of controversy surrounding the FST and many experts insist the tests were designed to make anyone fail. If you have had a beer or two over a few hours chances are you are not intoxicated but, you will still have the smell of liquor on your breath. This alone is enough for the police officer to administer the FST.

Let's say he starts the tests with the one legged stand. Have you tried this at home? It isn't easy even in the best of conditions. You are asked to stand on one foot for 30 seconds and keep your hands at your sides. There is the first problem, keeping your hands at your sides while standing on one foot is not the way humans are supposed to stand. Have you ever seen a baby take his or her first few steps? Their arms are out to give them balance. Granted you aren't a baby but, you don't spend your waking hours standing on one foot so yes, you are going to fail.

There are multiple problems with the one-legged stand. Frequently, when some one is pulled over for drinking and driving; it is at night. Is the ground you are standing on level? Its dark, how can you or the officer tell if you are standing on a flat surface? They can't and now you are at a disadvantage. Age and weight come into play during the one-legged test. Older people are not always steady on two feet let alone one. Being overweight can cause problems with balance.

Most of the time these test are administered by the side of the road which creates a very stressful situation. First of all, cars are buzzing by creating a distraction. If an 18 wheeler flies by the draft alone could cause you to lose your balance. You may be nervous. You wonder if anyone you know is watching or what will happen if you have to spend the night in jail. Those circumstances alone will make anyone wobbly.

If you are arrested solely on the grounds that you failed the Field Sobriety Tests, you have the right to contest the findings. A knowledgeable attorney is your best defense.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Driving While Intoxicated Can Cost More Than Just the Initial Fines

Driving while intoxicated is never a good idea but there is more to it than just getting slapped with a fine that you can pay and move on with your life. In fact, being charged with driving while intoxicated can lead to many fees and inconveniences you may not have considered. Although we don't always make the best decisions while intoxicated, there are a few aspects you should learn about first so that you can make better decisions when drinking.

First of all, the law states that you can be facing a minimum of three days in jail and up to 180 days and that is just for your first offense. The initial fines and penalties you are looking at is up to $2,000 on the first offense as long as there is not a child in the car under the age of 15. You may have your license revoked from 90 days to two years and while you may be able to obtain an occupational driver's license (one you can use only for school, work or predesignated special reasons that are approved by the court), you still have to file a formal petition for the license. There is an annual Texas surcharge that will be imposed if you are convicted of DWI  in addition to your suspension, fines and court costs and that ranges from $1,000 to $1,500 per year for three years on a first offense.
You have to also consider things such as community service you may have to perform and if deemed necessary, attendance at AA meetings or even help with alcoholism at a treatment center.

It is important to make the right decisions when drinking but if you do find that you need to fight a DWI charge then we can help. You should speak with someone immediately in order to defend your rights properly. A driving while intoxicated charge can affect your entire life so don't make another wrong decision by not talking to someone who can help.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Houston Police Launch Campaign Against Drunk Driving

It is that time of year again, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is in full swing. While attendance numbers are slightly down from last year the event brings plenty of folks to the Houston area. There is something here for everyone; from headliner concerts by artists like Demi Lovato, Blake Shelton and Pit Bull to educational and cultural events. Let’s not forget the most important venues, the livestock shows, horse shows and rodeo action.

It’s a fun time for everyone and gives an economic boost to Harris County businesses. However; it also brings an increase in drunk driving arrests. This year those numbers will probably increase since St. Patrick’s Day and spring break falling during the rodeo.

In response, the Houston Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Division, the Harris County District Attorney's Office, the Harris County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety announced a joint initiative targeting drunk driving. They hope the use of public education and enhanced enforcement of offenses will reduce the number of drunk driving incidents (see the press conference here). As I also suggest, they are urging individuals to make designated driver or alternative transportation arrangements in advance. A DWI arrest can cost you financially and become a terrible burden if you are an out of town visitor. You may have to travel back and forth for court dates and other obligations incurring travel as well as legal fees.

If you plan to visit the rodeo it really is a good time and if you are an out of town visitor, welcome.  But take my advice and that of Texas law enforcement, plan ahead if you plan to drink and you won’t run the risk of ruining your good times.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Defenses for DWI: Defending against an over-the-limit BAC

Most people who are arrested for a DWI think they will automatically be found guilty if their blood/breath results are greater than .08. While this may be possible, there are also some defenses available that could preclude a conviction.

Many times, breathalyzer tests are not administered during a traffic stop. Instead, an officer may take an individual into the police station on suspicion of drunk driving. As such, a defendant could wait more than an hour to take a breathalyzer test.  I routinely have to tell my clients that they are charged with driving while intoxicated not intoxicated while at the police station.

It's a little-known fact that a person's blood alcohol level increases for some time after having their last drink. This could effectively mean that a driver's BAC was below the legal limit when he or she was pulled over, yet rose to above the legal limit after being stopped. When the level registered on a breathalyzer test is at or just slightly above the legal limit, reasonable doubt can come into play if there was a delay in administering the test.

Other times, a breathalyzer machine may give inaccurate results because it is in poor working condition. This equipment needs to be calibrated at least once per year in order for it to produce accurate results. If it is past its service date, this could call the accuracy of any test results into question in a court of law.

Some defenses involve challenging an officer's judgment in stopping a driver in the first place. If law enforcement cannot show probable cause as to why the operator was believed to be intoxicated, the traffic stop could be deemed illegal, which would make the subsequent arrest unauthorized as well.

A DWI defense is never easy; however, those who have been arrested for one of these crimes should know that there are defenses available. The best course of action to take after an arrest should be to contact an experienced DWI attorney.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Driving While Intoxicated Costs You More Than You Think

It is important to always plan how to get home after drinking and to follow through with that plan. If you decide to drink, remember these events and their costs and why it is important to not drive while intoxicated.

In Longview, TX, one man made a terrible mistake of driving while intoxicated. He was arrested and jailed under a $10,000 bail. This does not include costs for any other fines and attorney fees. In this case, no one was injured, but the truth is that many of cases of DWI involve injuries to the driver or innocent people.

In Richmond, TX, a young mother crashed her vehicle with children inside it. Her three year old daughter was ejected through the front windshield. Fortunately, her daughter, the other child, and herself were expected to make full recoveries. Unfortunately, this woman was charged with the felony charge of driving while intoxicated with a child passenger and her bail was set at $15,000. Read this story here.

What could have been worse? The obvious would be for the children to have died from injuries sustained in the wreck. This woman is now forced with a situtation to examine her life and recognize the problem of driving while intoxicated.

Driving while intoxicated can ruin your life. For example, a Fort Worth police officer was fired for having a blood alcohol content of 0.10. That is only 0.02 higher than the legal limit, but he was still fired because of this condition. Read more here.

Drunk driving is a serious offense. Therefore, it is always best to avoid being in the situation of drinking too much and needing to drive home. If you are planning to drink, then plan how to get home if you had too much to drink. Is the cost of cab fare more than fines and fees that you will have to pay after being arrested for a DWI? How about losing your job? What if you injured or killed someone?

If you are planning to drink, what's your plan to get home?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

DWI And Prescription Drugs

You are driving home from work and the Police pull you over. After answering what appears to be innocent questions you end the encounter with a Driving While Intoxicated charge even though you did not drink. How is this so? In Harris County, Texas there is no distinction between Driving While Intoxicated due to a Blood or Breath Alcohol Concentration greater than .08, and Driving While Intoxicated attributable to illegal drugs, legally prescribed pharmaceuticals or over the counter medications.
The DWI charges stem from the side effects of a given drug. The Texas Department of State Health Services has a list of legally prescribed pharmaceuticals that fall into Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 Controlled Substances. A legal prescription for use does not forgo or exempt you from exercising caution. Prescription bottles come with an information sheet outlining possible side effects. The bottle itself will have warnings about dizziness, drowsiness, impaired vision or operating machinery and driving.

The Police can make this determination after a stop for any reason. You may be pulled over for a broken tail light. Once pulled over, the Officer will observe you. Your speech, pupils or coordination may lead them to make a Driving While Impaired charge. You may be pulled over for more obvious indicators such as weaving within your lane, driving to slow, drifting, unsafe lane changes, cutting off other drivers, inattentiveness to signals and signs and the same type of driving as if you were falling asleep.
How do you know if you might be driving impaired? A good indicator would be if your medication makes you feel light headed or intoxicated, or makes you look intoxicated. Erratic driving due to the side effect of feeling sleepy, drowsy or affected motor coordination all of which impact your driving ability will get you stopped. If you are pulled over, do not admit you are on medication. Do not carry it in the car. This is evidence of DWI. If the label warns alcohol can intensify the effects of the medication, do not drink and drive. A very small amount of alcohol that would normally leave you within safe limits can be ruled to have placed you in diminished ability in conjunction with your medication.
This is a serious charge that should not be faced alone. A good Houston DWI attorney will be able to assist you with these issues. There is no legal limit for Driving While Intoxicated when it comes to drugs.  If someone loses their normal use of mental or physical faculties they may be found guilty. If the medication, confuses you, reduces or diminishes your coordination or motor skills you should not drive.  Discuss side effects with your Doctor before hand and learn how your medications affect you. If you find yourself pulled over, make no admittance. Contact Houston DWI lawyer Herman Martinez immediately to protect your rights.

The Martinez Law Firm
3730 Kirby Dr #909, 
Houston, TX 77098
Phone:(713) 489-9773

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Unforeseen Costs of Drunk Driving

It is no big secret that getting a DWI can be devastating in a number of ways. The obvious results are fines and possible imprisonment, as well as endangering the lives of others and yourself. However, there are long-term effects that many who make the unwise decision to drink and then get behind the wheel never consider.

Drunk Driving charge can have a negative impact on your job. These days some companies have taken the step to make getting a DWI, whether on company time or not, a one-way ticket right out the door. Depending on where you live, you could face immediate dismissal or be required to attend substance abuse training in order to retain your position. If your job requires you to use company vehicles, many times a DWI conviction will result in termination.

Professions such as truck driving, courier or driving delivery vehicles almost all have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to driving while intoxicated. If you currently hold a CDL chances are it will be taken away, and the opportunity to ever obtain a professional driving license may be lost forever. There can also be negative repercussions if you hold a commercial or recreational pilot’s license.
Repeat offenders may be ordered to perform community service. This can take time away from your family and your job. If you are suffering from alcohol dependency a judge may insist you receive inpatient medical treatment. This can end up being paid out of your pocket, once again costing you time away from work and financially.

While most are aware that there will be ramifications to your automobile insurance from getting a DWI; the premium increases are often substantial and cancellation of your policy is a real possibility. The increase in cost can go on for years, and many have difficulty being picked up by other insurance companies once their policy is cancelled.

Your lifestyle may be restricted by electronic monitoring devices. These can be either on your person or your vehicle. House arrest for you can inhibit your daily routine for a long period of time. While you will most likely be allowed to go to your job, nighttime activities will be curtailed. If there is a monitor on your vehicle, it will not start if you have consumed alcohol.

For those of us who would never consider getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, there are unfortunately consequences due to those who do drink and drive. Taxpayers pick up the costs to clean up highways related to collisions by drunk drivers. When planning a night on the town, do yourself a favor and plan for a designated driver or taxi ride. Besides the immediate price you may pay with fines or jail time, a DUI conviction can cost you for years into the future. For more information contact Houston DWI attorney Herman Martinez.

The Martinez Law Firm
3730 Kirby Dr #909, 
Houston, TX 77098
Phone:(713) 489-9773

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Advice From a DWI Attorney: Plan Ahead to Make Good Decisions

As a Houston DWI Attorney, I've seen time and time again that anyone can make a very stupid mistake. Current case in point: Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

As most everyone in the media has been quick to point out, Ratliff’s arrest came just a month after his teammate and fellow nose tackle Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter in the death of another teammate, Jerry Brown Jr. You’d think Ratliff would have learned from that very unfortunate incident which no doubt hit very close to home.

But the truth is, this kind of thing happens all the time. A friend or family member is arrested for a DWI, or dies in an alcohol-related accident. Everyone close to this person swears never, ever to drink and drive again. A few weeks later, that promise is broken. Why?

Usually it is because there was no backup plan in place. We all know our judgment isn’t the best when we’re drinking. So the best way to avoid making stupid decisions is to make them before you start drinking. If you’re planning to drink at all, then have an alternative mode of transportation already planned before you walk out the door.

Now, instead of relaxing at home and having fun in the off season, Ratliff is facing DWI charges. This could have easily been avoided. Surely Jay Ratliff could afford a cab. Heck, he could have taken a limo out for the entire night without making a noticeable dent his bank account. Either way, it’s going to cost him a lot more to deal with this DWI than it would have to pay someone to drive him home. In fact, that’s true for anyone.

More importantly, that bad decision could have cost him his own life or someone else’s, as happened to his teammates just a month before. But no matter how stupid his actions seem in retrospect, the fact is people have poor judgment when they drink. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead, either by designating a driver or arranging for a cab or other way home. Drinking and driving is just not worth the risk.

The Martinez Law Firm
3730 Kirby Dr #909, 
Houston, TX 77098
Phone:(713) 489-9773

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Should I View The Video of My Arrest With My Attorney?

One of the most important aspects of being any type of lawyer is preparation.  During law school it is hammered into our heads that to be successful we must be prepared.  This preparation allows me to properly represent my clients.  A crucial part of a DWI case is the video evaluation.  When you are a client of the Martinez Law Firm one of the lawyers will discuss the pros and cons of the video with you.  This will allow you to understand what direction your case is likely ahead.

Here is an example of DWI Video Evaluation:
CLIENT  _____________________________________________  CASE NUMBER______________
ARREST DATE/TIME___________________________
VIDEO DATE/TIME_____________________________
1.            ONE LEG STAND (  ) GOOD (  )WOBBLED (  )SWAYING (  ) DROPPED FOOT                     (  ) VARIED FROM INSTRUCTIONS______________________________________________
2.            WALKING LINE    (  ) GOOD (  )SWAYED(  )MISSED LINE (  ) NEED SUPPORT                   (  ) STUMBLED (  ) VARIED FROM INSTRUCTIONS _______________________________________________________________

3.            RHOMBERG   (  ) GOOD (  ) SWAYED (  ) VARIED FROM INSTRUCTIONS ______________________________________________________________________________



5.            READING TEST (  )GOOD (  ) MISPRONOUCED WORDS (  ) SLURRED WORDS                 (  ) SKIPPED WORDS (  ) READ UNUSUALLY SLOW (  ) DIFFICULT SEEING WORDS ______________________________________________________________________________

6.            INTERVIEW PORTION                     (  ) ADMITTED INTOXICATION

7.            ATTITUTE DURING VIDEO (  ) COOPERATIVE (  ) CAREFREE (  ) EXCITED                    (  ) COCKY (  ) COMBATIVE (  )CONFUSED (  ) OTHER ______________________________________________________________________________

8.            SPEECH (  ) GOOD (  )INSULTING (  ) FAIR (  )STUTTERED (  )VULGAR(  )PROFANE       (  )SLURRED (  )MUMBLED (  )OTHER ____________________________________________

9.            UNUSUAL ACTIONS (  )CRYING (  ) FIGHTING (  ) LAUGHING (  )BELCHING                (  )WOBBLING (  ) NEED TO URINATE  (  )OTHER ______________________________________________________________________________

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS______________________________________________

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Herman Martinez has been honored to be nominated by H-Texas Magazine as a "Top Houston DWI Attorney" every year since 2009

Herman Martinez has been honored to be nominated by H-Texas Magazine as a "Top Houston DWI Attorney" every year since 2009. When you need a Houston DWI Attorney, know that Herman Martinez offers experienced and highly rated representation. What's more, he's committed to being very accessible.

The State of Texas has some of the most stringent DWI laws in the country. For example, even a first DWI, but with a child 14 or younger in the vehicle, is a felony. Whatever the nature of your DWI arrest, capable legal representation is important.

15 Days From Date Of Arrest
It's important to note that after a DWI arrest, one has just 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing, or you will automatically lose your license. At the hearing, the administrative law judge has to either revoke one's license for the required time period, or suspend the revocation requirement. There is no middle ground. Even first time DWI arrests will no child in the vehicle will typically result in license revocations of 90 days or 180 days.

Some Of The Possible Consequences
Here is just a partial list of the potential damaging effects of a DWI conviction. Concerns can extend well beyond possible fines and jail time. And the fines, fees, and surcharges alone can run into the many thousands of dollars, totals can exceed $8000. Even a first DWI conviction not only carries a fine, but a $1000 annual surcharge for each of the first three years following conviction. A blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher doubles that amount, even for a first DWI offense.

Insurance Costs
Most are not surprised to hear that automobile insurance costs will increase after a DWI . However, most don't comprehend just how much the higher rates might be, or for how long such raised rates will be charged. Rate hikes of more than 50 percent are common. In some cases, rates can more than double. Furthermore, the cancellation a driver's auto policy is a distinct possibility.

Treatment Programs
Every DWI conviction in Texas requires the completion of either a DWI Alcohol Intervention Program or a DWI Alcohol Education Program.
The financial and emotional stakes are high in DWI cases. A capable defense will offer better peace of mind during what can be a harrowing and uncertain time. Consider the 15 years of DWI representation that Atty. Herman Martinez offers. Consider the benefit of having that kind of expertise on your side.

The Martinez Law Firm
3730 Kirby Dr #909, 
Houston, TX 77098
Phone:(713) 489-9773

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Latest Numbers on Drunk Driving in the U.S.

An interesting graphic has recently been published, examining the 25 most populous cities in the United States and their rates for fatal accidents and drunk driving fatalities.

The graphic, seen here, starts by listing the 25 cities in order of population.  Then, using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it reorders the cities in a series of three categories.  The first is the number of fatal traffic crashes per 1,000 people, the second is the number of fatal traffic crashes involving intoxication per 1,000 people, and the third covers the percentage of those fatal traffic accidents that involve intoxication.  The results, when compared like this, make for some interesting reading.

As the graphic's author notes, New York, while far and away the most populous of U.S. cities, is quite low when it comes to the other three categories.  The easy explanation there is that it's tough to get into an accident when everyone is driving at around 3 mph.

A little more surprising, though, were the relatively low numbers for Los Angeles.  While less than half the population of New York, common knowledge about the Los Angeles lifestyle would dictate that they probably have twice as many cars.  Despite this, however, their numbers of fatalities put them in the lower half of the top 25 cities, whether or not intoxication was involved.  We're not sure how they managed that.
More importantly to us, however, are the numbers for Houston.  The fourth largest city in the U.S. comes in 6th out of the big 25 when it comes to number of accident fatalities per 1,000 people.  Worse than that, Houston jumps to #3 (behind Detroit and Jacksonville) in number of accident fatalities involving intoxication per 1,000 people.  Finally, Houston is #2, trailing only Denver, when considering the percentage of traffic fatalities involving intoxication, at 46.8%.

These numbers will probably serve as a call to arms for those in these higher risk areas.  We can't imagine Detroit, Jacksonville, Houston, Phoenix and Dallas sitting idly by while they record the most fatal traffic accidents involving intoxication per capita.  Nor can we imagine Denver, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix and Dallas taking their top five finish in percentage of fatal crashes involving intoxication in stride.  If any cities are going to be cracking down on DWI, it's these.

Drunk driving is a very serious matter, as is an arrest for DWI.  For an experienced advocate in DWI cases, please feel free to contact us. Call (713) 489-9773

The Martinez Law Firm
3730 Kirby Drive 
Suite 909 
Houston, TX 77098 
Phone: (713) 489-9773