The modern Breathalyzer looks like a very sophisticated machine. It is compact, sleek, user-friendly, and fast. When police lab technicians take the stand to talk about fuel cells and electrical impulse conversions, these machines sound even fancier. It's not fair to say that these gadgets are all sizzle and no substance. But, that assessment is not too far from accurate.
In the colonial period, British officials often used blank search warrants to enter private property with little or no cause. To end this practice, the Founding Fathers included the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Later, courts used the Fourteenth Amendment to apply this provision to state law enforcement agencies.
The rules in this area are very complex and they do not always make sense. So, it's very easy to see why people are confused as to their rights when officers pull them over.
Most drivers provide chemical samples, usually breath samples, upon request. The conviction rate in these cases is over 80 percent. The rate is close to 100 percent in blood test cases. But in non-test cases, the Tarrant County conviction rate plummets to 45 percent.
There are many effective defenses to a Tarrant County DWI. Some are based on legal caselaw, others involve the science of the Breathalyzer test, and others use the facts of the case.
Pretrial Release is a key part of a successful defense. Judges carefully instruct jurors that an arrest means nothing in terms of guilt or innocence. Nevertheless, many people believe that defendants in jail must have done something wrong.
At best, a criminal conviction is a serious impediment to things like getting a job or finding a place to live. At worst, a conviction may make these things impossible.
The state often sponsors billboards and other ads which claim that a first-time DWI costs $17,000. That claim is not exactly true, but it is not exactly false either. $17k is a fairly good average figure for both the direct and indirect consequences of DWIs, but it is only a very rough average.
The moving party almost always has the burden of proof in court. In criminal court, the moving party is the prosecutor, and the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.
It's happened more than once. After being pulled over for a DWI, the suspect tosses the keys aside and then consumes as much alcohol as possible.
"I was set up" is one of the most common defenses in Texas drug crime cases. Sometimes, this defense works. Some greybeards may remember the John DeLorean cocaine case from the early 1980s. The automaker needed money to save his company, and so he tried to sell some cocaine in what turned out to be an undercover sting operation. The jury eventually acquitted him.
Many states have both civil and criminal protective orders. Each one works a little differently. But the main issue is the burden of proof. In civil court, litigants need only establish facts by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
In Texas, convicted sex offenders must register for either ten years or life. The ten-year clock does not begin ticking until after these defendants complete their sentences in full. In general, sexually violent crimes or offenses involving children usually mean lifetime registration. Any others may only require ten-year registration.
Perhaps more so than in other kinds of cases, the number one goal in theft matters is usually keeping the crime off the defendant's record. All kinds of theft, even Class C theft by check, is a crime of moral turpitude in Texas. Such a conviction can have serious lifelong ramifications. Moreover, the Public Accountancy Board, and a few others, consider deferred adjudication to be a conviction.
There is a saying among criminal defense attorneys that William Gladstone, who is credited with the "justice delayed is justice denied" quote, was clearly not a criminal defense lawyer in Texas. From a prosecutor's standpoint, he was right. Back in my days as an Assistant District Attorney, we always believed that the faster we could bring cases to trial, the better our chances of success would be.
Texas is one of the few states without a mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (a/k/a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device). However, these gadgets are very important in many DWIs.
In almost all criminal cases, physical evidence is very important. DWI cases are much harder to prove without valid chemical tests, assault cases (especially felony assault cases) are difficult to win without solid medical evidence, and the list goes on.
Technically, there are three types of simple assault cases in Texas. Nearly all of them are 22.01(a) Assault with Bodily Injury (ABI) cases. A few are 22.01(b) assaults by threat (ABTs) or 22.01(c) assaults by contact (ABCs). But the latter two are only Class C misdemeanors (no jail time and $500 fine). Prosecutors nearly always bring the most serious charges possible.
Jail is bad. The food is borderline indigestible, the people are unpleasant, there is no privacy, and there is no freedom. Perhaps worst of all, there are hours upon hours upon hours of idle time.