We Protect Your Freedom And Your Future!
Have you or a loved one been arrested and charged with a crime in Dallas, Texas? Regardless of whether your Dallas criminal case is a felony or misdemeanor charge, you are facing a serious situation with potentially life-changing consequences if your case is not managed properly. You need an experienced and aggressive Dallas criminal attorney that will fight hard for your case and give you the best opportunity to have your criminal case dismissed.
In fact, immediately after arrest, your top priority should be to hire the best Dallas criminal lawyer and to become familiar with your charges and possible legal defenses available to you to get your criminal case dismissed. We will cover the entire criminal justice process from start to finish so that you are prepared to protect your future and your freedom.
When we receive a phone call from citizens of Dallas, Texas informing us that they are facing a felony or misdemeanor crime, they are afraid and overwhelmed. Usually, they have had a bad experienced during the arrest process at the Dallas county jail and are afraid they will have to go back to jail again. They are unsure of their next steps and how they can protect their future and the financial security of their families.
We explain to every prospective client that calls our office that we have three primary goals for every criminal case we defend:
- We will fight tirelessly to keep our clients out of jail and to prevent a prison or jail sentence. This should be the number one goal of any accomplished criminal defense lawyer.
- Avoid a felony or misdemeanor conviction. If you are a first-time offender, it is critical that your criminal attorney resolve your case in a manner that avoids a conviction. Receiving a misdemeanor or felony conviction can result in a loss of gun rights, voting rights and will almost always limit your ability to obtain meaningful employment.
- Negotiate a resolution that allows you to get your arrest and criminal charges removed from your criminal record.
Whether you are facing a crime ranging from DWI, shoplifting or aggravated assault in Dallas, you need the best criminal defense law firm in Dallas that knows the ins and outs of navigating felony and misdemeanor crimes in Dallas, Texas. The Hampton Law Firm will work tirelessly to formulate a plan of action to achieve the goals listed above and help you get this nightmare behind you.
What Can A Dallas Criminal Attorney Do If A Detective Has Called You?
Have you received a phone call from a Dallas detective asking you to answer some questions regarding a criminal investigation? If so, you must prepare yourself for what you should say and how to handle yourself. A phone call from a detective is the number one clue that you are the target of a criminal investigation. You may be tempted to accommodate the request of the detective and agree to meet with him to answer his questions. BEWARE!
If a criminal detective is calling you for a face-to-face or phone interview, he has one objective in mind: persuading you to provide a confession. What if you are innocent? What if you want to provide information to the detective to clear your name? Unfortunately, interrogations rarely proceed in a fair fashion. Dallas criminal investigators are trained to control the interview process and usually will only ask you closed ended questions requiring yes or no answers. In other words, the detective is not going to let you tell your story. To the contrary, they will be pushing you to provide any information that can be twisted or interpreted to make it appear you gave a confession.
It is usually the innocent person that is most eager to speak to a detective because they feel they have nothing to hide. This is exactly how innocent people are arrested and sometimes convicted for a crime they did not commit. Under the United States Constitution, you have a 6th Amendment right to counsel and a 5th Amendment right to remain silent. You should never feel uncomfortable or guilty about exercising your constitutional rights. Criminal investigators are trained to make you believe that only guilty people “lawyer up” or exercise their rights. However, that is a blatant lie! It is the innocent that have the most to lose by failing to exercise their Constitutional rights!
How Can A Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Assist With A Criminal Investigation?
If you are under investigation or a detective has called you, it is critical to exercise your right to remain silent and hire an attorney. Your decision to remain silent and not meet with a Dallas detective to be interrogated will protect you from being misinterpreted or manipulated by law enforcement.
You do have another option – hiring an experienced and aggressive Dallas criminal attorney. If you hire an attorney to intervene, the detective will be prohibited from speaking to you further. Specifically, the moment you exercise your 6th Amendment right to counsel, the detective is prohibited from questioning or contacting you.
Additionally, your criminal defense lawyer can also field questions from the detective and make decisions regarding what evidence or information to provide to the detective to exonerate you. This approach ensures that the detective is unable to twist your words and you will have the assurance that the information that is provided to the detective has been filtered through your experienced criminal lawyer and properly presented to the detective.
Never forget – everything you say to a detective WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU IN A COURT OF LAW! However, everything your criminal defense attorney says on your behalf is hearsay under Texas criminal law and can NOT be used against you in court. You need an experienced Dallas criminal lawyer to advocate on your behalf and protect you from a detective that has nothing but ill intentions toward your investigation.
Have You Been Arrested In Dallas, Texas? What Should You Expect?
If you or a loved one has been arrested in Dallas County, Texas, it is critical that you understand the bonding process and arraignment. Many times, the period between arrest and release from the Dallas county jail can be the most stressful time of a criminal case. Why? Because it is chaotic, and you feel you have no control over the process. One way to ease stress and anxiety is to have a better understanding of the process and how it works.
You Have Been Arrested – What Happens At Jail?
If you have been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor crime in Dallas, Texas, you will be transferred to the Dallas County jail for processing. After being booked into the jail, you will be scheduled to be arraigned before a magistrate judge.
What Is An Arraignment?
An Arraignment is a Texas criminal law requirement that involves a magistrate judge informing the accused of the crime they have been charged with, setting a bond, and placing appropriate bond conditions to fit the alleged crime. Although you are presumed to be innocent under the law, Dallas County may assess bond conditions on you based upon the crime, your prior criminal history, or other factors. For example, if you have been arrested for DWI in Dallas, a judge could place a bond condition requiring you to install an ignition interlock device as a condition of your freedom.
You will not be required to enter a plea before the court during your arraignment procedure. In fact, the only purpose of the arraignment hearing is to inform the accused of the nature of the charges. As such, most counties in Texas, including Dallas County, do not provide a criminal attorney to be present during the arraignment.
How Can An Attorney Help You With Getting Out Of Jail In Dallas County?
If you, a friend of a loved one has been arrested by the Dallas police, it is critical that you remain silent! Upon arrest, the police officer is not asking you questions for your benefit. To the contrary, everything you say to the officer can be used against you. Failing to remain silent can be devastating to your criminal case.
Secondly, your family must immediately find an honest and reliable bondsman to help post your bond. Many times, this can be a more daunting task than it appears. Not all bondsmen have a reputation for being honest and treating arrestees properly. For example, some bondsman place onerous conditions on your bond or look for any little reason to file an affidavit to release surety (a filing to remove their financial obligation on your bond) to create a warrant for arrest. If you choose to work with The Hampton Law Firm, we will assist you in partnering with a reliable bondsman to help you or your family member book out of jail and maintain your freedom.
How Can A Criminal Attorney Help You If Your Bond Is Unreasonably High Or Your Bond Conditions Are Unfair?
Part of the process of being booked in and out of Dallas County jail is the setting of bond conditions by a judge during arraignment. It is not uncommon for Dallas county magistrate judges to set extreme bond amounts or onerous bond conditions based upon the charge, without regard to specific facts or circumstances. This can result in bonds that are extreme and unfair.
This requires us to ask the question – what is the purpose of a bond? Under Texas criminal law, a bond is not meant to be for punishment or punitive in nature. As a result, if a Dallas county judge or magistrate sets a bond that is unfair or bond conditions that are not fair for the particular criminal case, your Dallas criminal defense attorney can file one of the following motions:
- Motion to Modify Bond Conditions – this motion can be filed by your criminal attorney to require a hearing before the judge to present evidence to modify your bond conditions. For example, if you are arrested for a first-time domestic violence charge and the alleged victim does not wish to prosecute and is willing to provide an affidavit of non-prosecution asking for the no-contact provision to be lifted, your attorney can present this evidence at hearing. Although every criminal case is unique, it is common for a Dallas county judge to modify the bond conditions in similar circumstances.
- Motion to Set Reasonable Bond – what if your loved one’s bond is unreasonably high? In this situation, your criminal defense lawyer can demand a hearing to show that you are not a flight risk, you have ties to the community and do not pose a threat to the community. Remember, the primary purpose of a bond under Texas law is to ensure the presence of the accused in court. Your criminal attorney must be ready to make sure you do not suffer dire financial consequences by wasting money on an unreasonable bond.
The Hampton Law Firm Stands Ready To Fight Your Dallas Criminal Charges
If you are facing a criminal charge in Dallas, Texas, you need a team of criminal defense attorneys that handle ONLY criminal law, day in and day out! You also need a team of criminal attorneys that have a proven track record of getting favorable results for their clients! It is also important that your team of criminal lawyers know how the prosecutor’s think and their tactics. At The Hampton Law Firm, you have the opportunity to partner with a team of Former Prosecutors with over 85 years of criminal law experience and over five hundred criminal jury trials in the courts of Dallas County and other courts in North Texas.
One of the most important questions you need to answer after being released from jail is what type of criminal case are you being charged with? Is it a felony or misdemeanor charge? Is it an aggravated or non-aggravated offense? Let us take a few minutes to examine the basic differences between a Dallas felony charge and a misdemeanor charge.
Dallas Felony Crimes – What You Should Know
If you have been arrested for a felony crime in Dallas, Texas, it is critical that you educate yourself on Texas criminal law related to your specific felony case and hire the best Dallas criminal defense attorney to partner with you to prepare a winning defense.
If you are a facing a felony charge, your criminal attorney should have the following goals for your legal defense: keep you out of prison and jail, avoid becoming a convicted felon and resolving your case in a manner that will allow you to remove the felony arrest and charge from your criminal record.
Why? Felony convictions have serious and long-term ramifications for your future. If you are convicted of a felony in Texas, you are no longer permitted to own, possess, or transport firearms. In fact, doing so will result in a new felony charge for which you can be sentenced up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, you will no longer have the right to vote in most state and nationwide elections. Most importantly, becoming a convicted felon will make it almost impossible to find a job that will support you and your family. The number one priority for any Dallas criminal lawyer should be to bother keep you out of jail and avoid a felony conviction at all costs!
What if you have a valid legal defense? Is there a way to get your Dallas felony charge dismissed early in the process? Depending upon your circumstances, it may be possible. How? Through the Dallas grand jury process. Under Texas criminal law, every felony must be presented to a grand jury for indictment. Essentially, this means the grand jury is tasked with the responsibility of filtering out illegitimate felony crimes and approving felony crimes that are supported by evidence.
Unfortunately, most grand juries only hear one side of the story because the Dallas prosecutor’s office believes what the police department says regarding the evidence. However, you have a right to get your criminal defense lawyer involved in this process to provide an evidence packet to the grand jury. By having your criminal attorney aggressively prepare evidence and make a presentation to the grand jury, you dramatically increase your odds that the grand jury will possibly lower the felony to a lesser misdemeanor charge, or they may No Bill the felony crime. A No Bill is what you want because it is complete exoneration of the felony crime and makes you eligible to have your felony arrest and charges expunged from your criminal record.
What if your felony crime is approved by the grand jury as a felony? You will now be required to fight your felony case in felony court at the Dallas county courthouse. Your felony case will be assigned to one of the Dallas criminal district courts and your criminal lawyer will negotiate with the prosecutor in an effort to obtain you a favorable result. Unfortunately, this process can take up to 2 or more years in order to make certain that you are treated favorably. Why? Because the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office is overwhelmed with a large caseload and most prosecutors do not thoroughly analyze the evidence and make a fair offer to resolve the case until they are pushed to do so by an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney.
It is critical that you hire a Dallas criminal lawyer that is willing to push your case as far and as long as it takes to ensure you are treated fairly and receive a favorable result. What happens at each court date? Your criminal defense attorney should gather the evidence, review it with you and receive your input regarding what took place to prepare a winning defense during the negotiation process prior to each court date. At court, your criminal lawyer can present the defense you have prepared, and the negotiations process begins. A word of caution: the average felony case in Dallas County can easily take one to two years to resolve. Why? The case loads in Dallas are overwhelming for the prosecutors so you must be patient to work with an experienced and aggressive criminal attorney that is willing to push your felony case.
What if the prosecutor refuses to be reasonable with your felony charge? You may still be eligible for a diversion program or conditional dismissal to get your felony dismissed. It is important that you consult with your criminal defense lawyer to determine if you may be eligible for a diversion program. If you qualify, your case could be dismissed, and you may be immediately eligible for an expunction of your felony arrest and criminal case records. This is especially true if you are a first-time offender, and you are facing a felony drug charge.
Finally, you always have the right to a criminal jury trial to force the State of Texas through the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Failure by the prosecutor to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt will result in a not guilty verdict at trial and you will be immediately eligible to have your record expunged.
Dallas Misdemeanor Crimes – What You Should Know
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor crime in Dallas, Texas, you must not treat the case lightly. It is tempting to believe that because you are only facing a misdemeanor that it will not negatively affect your future. That is not the case! In fact, certain misdemeanor offenses carry as negative a stigma as a felony conviction. If you are facing a first-time misdemeanor crime, you must make certain that you are able to get your case dismissed and removed from your criminal record.
Unlike felony crimes in Texas, misdemeanor crimes are not subject to a filtering process of the grand jury. As such, many misdemeanor crimes are filed against citizens that have little to no evidence to substantiate the charge. This is precisely why it is critical to hire the best Dallas criminal defense attorney to get access to the evidence, get your input on the claims of the police and prepare a winning defense strategy. The best criminal attorneys in Dallas know that the burden to prove the case always remains upon the State of Texas and you are not required to prove anything! As such, the more doubt that can be established with your misdemeanor case, the more leverage your criminal defense lawyer has to negotiate a favorable result that keeps you out of jail and ensures the misdemeanor charge can be removed from your criminal record.
What options exist to get a Dallas misdemeanor case dismissed? Let us look at a few common ways that experienced criminal defense attorneys are able to assist their clients with a dismissal of a misdemeanor crime in Dallas:
- Dismissal For Lack Of Evidence – can the Dallas prosecutor’s office prove your misdemeanor case beyond a reasonable doubt? Did the Dallas police department present sufficient evidence to the prosecutor to meet the burden of proof under Texas criminal law? This is the first thing your criminal defense lawyer should be examining when fighting your misdemeanor charge – is their sufficient evidence? At The Hampton Law Firm, we work tirelessly to evaluate the evidence to hold the State of Texas to their burden of proof. First and foremost, if your case lacks evidence, the prosecutor MUST dismiss the charge!
- Conditional Dismissal – what if there is sufficient evidence to substantiate the charge? Is there a way to dismiss the case? For a first-time offender on misdemeanor cases, your Dallas criminal attorney may be able to negotiate a conditional dismissal of the charges. A conditional dismissal is an arrangement whereby the prosecutor agrees to dismiss your misdemeanor case in exchange for you completing certain conditions, such as community service hours, classes, or courses. This option provides you eligibility to have your arrest and misdemeanor charge expunged from your criminal record.
- Pretrial Diversion Programs – for certain first-time offender misdemeanor crimes, Dallas County provides pretrial diversion programs as an option to get your case dismissed. A pretrial diversion program is designed to work with low-risk first-time offenders to provide a dismissal of criminal charges in exchange for successful completion of a program targeted for rehabilitation. For example, drug diversion programs may require clean drug tests and completion of drug classes in exchange for a dismissal of a marijuana possession or prescription drug charge. The best part about a diversion program dismissal is that it may allow you to be eligible for an immediate expunction of your arrest and criminal records.
- Reduction To A Class C Offense – a lesser-known option to resolve your Dallas misdemeanor charge for a dismissal is for your criminal attorney to negotiate your charge to a citation or ticket level offense. What is the benefit? If you lower a Class A or Class B Misdemeanor charge to a Class C ticket for which you successfully complete deferred disposition, you will be eligible to have the arrest and charge expunged from your criminal record. An expunction provides you a clean slate – no criminal record!
- Jury Trial – if the Dallas prosecutor refuses to be reasonable in negotiations, your Dallas attorney can push the case to a jury trial. At a criminal jury trial, the prosecutor will have to burden to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and will be required to convince all six jurors to render a unanimous verdict of guilty against you! A skilled and experienced Dallas criminal lawyer can take advantage of this burden of proof to help you clear your good name and put this behind you!
Our team of criminal defense lawyers have handled nearly every type of criminal case. We have experience handling misdemeanor and felony charges in the courts of Dallas, including:
- Aggravated Assault Crimes
- Child Endangerment
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
- Deadly Conduct
- Domestic Violence
- Driving with a Suspended License
- Drug Crimes
- Drug Manufacturing
- Drug Possession
- Drug Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver
- DWI ALR Hearing
- Evading Arrest Charges
- Expunction / Non-Disclosure of Criminal Records
- Failure to Identify
- Failure to Stop and Render Aid
- False Report to a Peace Officer
- Felony Crimes
- Felony DWI
- Identity Theft
- Indecent Exposure
- Injury to a Child
- Interference with Emergency Telephone Call
- Interference with Public Duties
- Juvenile Crimes
- Murder / Manslaughter
- Obstruction of a Highway Charges
- Occupational Driver’s License
- Probation Violation
- Prostitution Charges
- Public Intoxication
- Public Lewdness
- Racing on a Highway Charge
- Resisting Arrest
- Retaliation Charges
- Sexual Assault
- Stalking Charges
- Tampering with a Government Record
- Theft by Check
- Theft Crimes
- Theft of Service
- Types of DWI Breath Tests
- Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
- Violation of Protective Orders
- Weapons Possession
This list of crimes is not exhaustive. If you or your loved one is facing a charge in Dallas county that is not listed above, please understand we can handle any type of charge the State of Texas can bring against you – felony or misdemeanor. Reach out to our office for a free consultation and case analysis and we will be happy to go over the facts of your case and provide you a plan of action as to how you can immediately start defending your freedom and your future!
The Hampton Law Firm: Simply The Best Criminal Law Firm For Dallas Criminal Cases
We mentioned earlier that the number one priority you should have after learning you are being charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime in Dallas, Texas, is to find an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney that will take the time to prepare a winning defense strategy. How do you know if you are hiring the best criminal attorney? What should you be looking for when interviewing attorneys?
First, ask them their goals for your case. Although no criminal attorney has a crystal ball by which to guarantee a result, your lawyer should be able to draw upon similar circumstances or cases that give you an idea of their ability to reach a favorable result. The reality is that not all criminal defense lawyers have a proven track record of obtaining results for their clients. Is the attorney willing to push the case as far as it takes to benefit you? Far too many criminal lawyers give up on the negotiation process too soon. Your criminal attorney needs to be willing to push the case as far as it takes to make sure you are treated fairly!
At The Hampton Law Firm, you will collaborate with a team of criminal lawyers that have the experience of working as a former prosecutor. Our criminal defense team knows how the prosecutors think! Our team of six former prosecutors have over 85 years of criminal law experience and over five hundred criminal jury trials. We know what techniques and methods are most reliable when negotiating felony and misdemeanor cases in Dallas, Texas. We are constantly exploring every possible defense strategy to benefit our client. For example:
- Did the police violate your Miranda rights?
- Were you pulled over by a Dallas police officer without reasonable suspicion?
- Was the search performed upon you or your vehicle legal? Did the police officer have probable cause? Did the officer have a valid warrant?
- What evidence does the State of Texas have against you? Is it purely based upon circumstantial evidence?
- Are the witnesses being relied upon by the Dallas prosecutor reliable? What did they see? Were they in a position to accurately make a statement?
- Was evidence gathered at the scene collected properly? Was the chain of custody established? Was the crime scene contaminated? Can the physical evidence be linked to you?
- Was physical evidence tested by a lab? If so, was the lab certified? Did the lab perform the testing according to proven scientific methods? Did the lab technician follow proper protocol? Was the sample contaminated in any way? Was the sample preserved to provide accurate and reliable test results?
- If the police interrogated you, did they use improper coercion techniques or fail to abide by your Constitutional rights?
Although this list could go on for pages, it shows the importance of every issue being examined and determined for your legal defense. At The Hampton Law Firm, we commit to provide you a clear plan of action after analyzing the evidence and applying it to the criminal laws of Texas. The best Dallas criminal defense attorneys take the time to review and analyze the evidence to hold the State of Texas to their burden to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Part of the reason The Hampton Law Firm gathered a team of former assistant district attorneys was to establish a basis for a comprehensive understanding of how prosecutors and law enforcement investigate criminal offenses and to counter law enforcement strategies. This knowledge of the ins and outs of how prosecutors and criminal investigators work allows our criminal defense team to identify potential procedural violations of his client’s rights, evidentiary issues, and lack of proof on substantive elements of the criminal offense. We frequently seek exclusion of evidence obtained in violation of Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights or other substantive rights of our clients.
The Hampton Law Firm’s methods have enabled our defense team to get fantastic results, and many have taken notice:
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers (2014-2020)
- Top 40 Under 40 (2014-2017)
- 10/10 Rating
- Top Attorney DUI & DWI (2020)
- Top Attorney Criminal Defense (2020)
- Lead Counsel Rated (2021)
Fort Worth City Magazine
- Top Attorney in Fort Worth (2016-2021)
DWI Arrest In Dallas, Texas? What Can Your DWI Attorney Do?
Have you or a loved one been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor DWI in the city of Dallas, or a city located within Dallas county? If so, there are certain steps you must take immediately to protect your legal rights and give yourself the best opportunity to get your DWI case dismissed and removed from your criminal record.
Every Dallas DWI arrest must be analyzed from two different perspectives: First, how does your DWI affect your driver’s license eligibility, and can it result in a driver’s license suspension? Secondly, what issues should you be looking at in order to defend your DWI charge?
Dallas DWI Driver’s License Suspension
If you have been arrested for a DWI in Dallas, you must act quickly to preserve your legal rights to fight a driver’s license suspension. Under Texas DWI law, the DWI officer that arrested you can rely upon the implied consent law to require a sample of your breath or blood for analysis. The implied consent law states that every Texas driver impliedly consents to provide a sample of their breath or blood if they show signs of being intoxicated while driving.
So how does this work? The first step you must take after being arrested for a DWI in Dallas is to hire a DWI attorney to preserve your right to an Administrative License Revocation Hearing. Under Texas law, you have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request a license hearing. If you miss this 15-day deadline, your license will be automatically suspended 40 days after the date of your arrest. Once your DWI lawyer makes the request for your license hearing, you will be allowed to drive your car without restriction pending the result of the hearing. However, if you miss the deadline to request the hearing, there is no grace period provided.
What does the Texas Department of Public Safety have to prove to suspend your driver’s license for a DWI arrest? They must prove that they provided you a statutory warning giving you the opportunity to provide a breath or blood sample. If the DWI officer failed to provide to you and read to you this form, you could not have consented or failed to consent. As a result, this is a critical requirement your Dallas DWI officer must have performed in order to suspend your driver’s license.
What if you consented to a breath or blood test? If you consented to the request for a breath or blood sample, the State of Texas must now prove by a preponderance of evidence at the administrative hearing that your blood alcohol level was .08 or higher. If your result came back under the legal limit, you would win your administrative license revocation hearing.
Additionally, if the police officer that performed the traffic stop did so illegally or did not have probable cause to make a DWI arrest, you can also prevail at your license hearing. In other words, the officer must establish a reasonable suspicion for making a traffic stop and investigating you for DWI. What if the officer pulled you over based upon a hunch you were drunk? This is an illegal traffic stop! Your DWI lawyer should expose this during your license hearing.
Finally, what if you do not prevail at a DWI license hearing? Can you still drive? Yes! Your DWI attorney can file for an occupational driver’s license to allow you to continue to drive for work and other essential needs.
After you have hired a DWI attorney to preserve your right to a license hearing, what is your next step? You must prepare yourself to defend your DWI case by educating yourself on what the State of Texas must prove beyond a reasonable doubt at a DWI trial. Let us take a few minutes to examine the elements of the crime of DWI and what the Dallas prosecutor’s office will be required to prove
What Must Be Proven For A DWI In Texas?
Under Texas DWI law, the State of Texas must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you
- Operated a Motor Vehicle
- In a Public Place
- While Intoxicated
Failure to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt will result in a not guilty verdict at a trial. It is not uncommon for misdemeanor Dallas prosecutors to not thoroughly examine the facts of a DWI case until it gets closer to a trial setting. As a result, the best Dallas DWI lawyers know that you must push a DWI case as far as it takes in order to get the best result for their client.
How do you know, as a client, if the elements of a DWI can be proven by the State of Texas? You must review your evidence! It is critical that your DWI law firm provides you access to your police reports, any written statements and your DWI videos. This is critical! Your DWI attorney must receive your input in order to mount an effective defense strategy!
What Does it Mean To “Operate” A Motor Vehicle?
Are you required to be driving a vehicle to be charged with driving while intoxicated under Texas law? No! Texas DWI law only requires that you be “operating” a motor vehicle while intoxicated. While “operating” does not require the car to be moving, it does require you be engaged with the vehicle in some fashion more than merely being present.
For example, some Texas criminal courts have ruled that being in your vehicle while it is running, with the car in drive, but not moving, is sufficient to meet the definition of “operating” a motor vehicle. However, we have personally taken DWI cases to a jury trial and juries have rendered not guilty verdicts based upon a client sleeping off their drinking in a car while it was in park and the air conditioning on. The main takeaway? Whether you were operating the vehicle is a fact issue that can be argued to a jury to possibly exonerate you of the crime of DWI
How Do You Know If You Are In A “Public Place” Under Texas DWI Law?
Public place is defined as any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of hospitals, apartment houses, buildings, transport facilities and shops.
Notice the major area of concern from this legal definition of public place is in regard to “a substantial group of the public has access.” Most criminal courts have interpreted this provision to include almost any area that is not exclusively private property. As a result, if you are driving while intoxicated in an apartment complex parking lot or an area where anyone from the general public could obtain access, you are likely going to be deemed to have been in a public place under Texas DWI law.
Definition Of “Intoxication” And Possible Defenses Under Texas DWI Law
What does it mean to be “intoxicated” under Texas DWI law? First, it is important to know that intoxication can be based upon more than alcohol. Technically, any substance that causes someone to meet the definition of intoxication can result in a DWI arrest.
Under Texas DWI law, intoxication can be proven in one of three ways:
- Loss of normal use of mental faculties due to the introduction of alcohol or drugs into the body OR
- Loss of normal use of physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol or drugs into the body OR
- Blood alcohol level of 0.08 higher at the time of driving
Notice the word “normal” in the definition #1 and #2. Does a Dallas DWI officer know what “normal” is for you? Is your normal the same as someone else’s normal? As you can see, the first two ways to prove intoxication in Texas are subjective and open to opinion. As a result, if your Dallas DWI case does not involve a blood or breath test being taken, the Dallas district attorney’s office will be relying solely upon the word of the police officer to attempt to obtain a conviction.
The primary mechanism the prosecutor and police will rely upon in claiming that you lacked the normal use of your mental or physical faculties will be through Field Sobriety Tests. Standardized Field Sobriety Tests were designed by the National Highway and Safety Administration to evaluate for intoxication by requiring test subjects to divide their attention amongst tasks that require them to focus on something both mental and physical. The three tests that have been deemed to be reliable and standardized by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration are: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn Test, One Leg Stand Test.
In theory, the administration of the tests provide the DWI officer a reasonable basis to develop probable cause to make a DWI arrest. However, the primary problem with Field Sobriety Tests are the officer’s that administer the test. The testing protocols clearly require the DWI officer to administer the test precisely according to the training they have received. Failure to strictly follow the administration and grading of the tests can result in the tests being deemed unreliable in court.
For example, on the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN), the officer must hold the stimulus 12-15 inches from the test subject slightly above eye level and should pre-screen the subject to determine if they are a candidate for the test. Failure to follow each and every step of the testing protocol can render the testing ineffective. Many Dallas police officers get sloppy in the administration of DWI field sobriety tests, which makes it critical for your Dallas DWI lawyer to thoroughly evaluate the police reports and videos to determine if probable cause exists to establish the element of “intoxication.”
Finally, regarding the proof of a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, it is critical to ask a few questions: did you receive a DWI breath test or a DWI blood test. Each have their own challenges and issues that should be analyzed by your Dallas DWI lawyer.
DWI Breath Test Defenses
The only way you would have provided a breath test on a Dallas DWI case is if you consented to provide a sample from the police officer. As such, we will not be exploring the subject of search warrants with breath testing. Although there are many in-depth issues that should be examined regarding the admissibility and validity of a DWI breath test, at a minimum, your DWI attorney must evaluate the following issues:
- Was the Intoxilyzer machine operating properly?
- When was the machine last maintained?
- Was there proper .02 agreement between the test samples taken at the time of the test?
- Did the Intoxilyzer Operator administer the test properly?
- Did you vomit, burp, or regurgitate at the time of the test? If so, it can create residual alcohol in the mouth that can affect the testing
- How long after you were driving did it take for the breath sample to be obtained? The more time between driving and sample, the less reliable the sample is in court.
As you can see, there is much here to be examined and explored if you provided a breath sample at the time you were arrested for DWI in Dallas, Texas. It is critical that these issues be investigated by your attorney to provide reasonable doubt for your defense.
DWI Blood Test Defenses
If your Dallas DWI case involved a blood test, we must look to see if your blood draw was the result of a search warrant or consent. If you consented to a DWI blood draw, we must look at the following issues:
- Who took your blood? Were they a qualified technician?
- Did they use a betadine or alcohol swab?
- Did they follow proper protocol in the collection process?
- Were the blood vials sealed properly?
- Did they follow proper chain of custody requirements?
- Was the lab that evaluated the blood certified? Did the lab technician follow proper protocol in testing and analysis?
- What was the toxicologist opinion? Was the result based upon alcohol alone? Drugs alone? If drugs alone, it may be difficult to prove a Dallas DWI case based upon prescription drugs.
- How long after the operation of the vehicle was the blood test taken? Can the State of Texas extrapolate back in time to establish a blood alcohol level at the time of driving?
Each of these issues must be thoroughly examined by your DWI attorney to determine if the State of Texas can meet its burden of proof in trial. Failure to prove the requirements of a blood test DWI case beyond a reasonable doubt will result in a not guilty verdict at trial.
Finally, if you are reading this now and it is your friend or loved one that has been arrested, it is important to have the contact information for the Dallas County Jail and The Dallas Police Department.
Dallas, Texas Jail Release Information
Finding out that a friend or loved one has been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor crime in Dallas, Texas is stressful. How do you get them out of jail? Who should you call? The jail? The police? A bondsman? We understand this process can be overwhelming. The criminal attorneys at The Hampton Law Firm stand ready to give you guidance and lead you through the process of how to secure the release of your loved one from jail.
Dallas County Jail
Lew Sterrett Justice Center
111 West Commerce Street
Dallas, Texas 75202
Dallas County Jail – Click Here
Dallas Police Department – Main
1400 Botham Jean Blvd
Dallas, TX 75215
Dallas Police Department – Click Here
Dallas Municipal Court
Dallas, TX 75201
Dallas Municipal Court
The First Step to Fighting Your Dallas Criminal Charge Is Reaching Out For A Free Consultation
If you are under investigation or have been arrested for a crime in Dallas, you need to contact Dallas criminal defense attorney, Jeff Hampton, and his team of Former Prosecutors with over 85 years of criminal experience, to schedule a confidential free consultation as soon possible. At your initial consultation, we will discuss your rights, answer your questions, and make sure you fully understand the situation that you are in.
Call us today at 817-826-9885 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. A criminal charge or investigation does not have to end in a conviction, but your best bet at obtaining a positive outcome is to get a skilled Texas defense attorney on your side fast.