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JBABB Criminal Defense Attorneys > Articles posted by Admin

How an Out of State DWI Can Affect Your Texas License

How an Out of State DWI Can Affect Your Texas License

Each state maintains a department or agency that oversees the driving privileges of state residents. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) holds that role in the lone star state. The DPS even handles Texas DWI license suspensions and could take similar actions against your license if you receive an out of state DWI or DUI.

 

An Interstate Agreement

 

The Interstate Driver License Compact (DLC) facilitates record sharing between states that are members of the compact, including Texas. This means, essentially, that another state’s licensing agency could notify the Texas DPS of a DWI conviction you picked up while traveling in another state. And, even if you received a conviction in another state, the DPS can still treat that offense as one you committed while in Texas.

 

One Driving Record

 

The DLC, however, does not dictate when and how a conviction in another state can affect your Texas license. All it does is make it easy for state licensing agencies to share information about convictions and suspensions. It operates under the principle of “one driver, one license, one record” even though driver licenses are state-issued.

 

It’s important to know that the Texas DPS will only suspend your license for an out of state conviction if your offense would have been illegal in the State of Texas. The specific law you broke must be equivalent to the law in Texas. For example, if you received a traffic ticket in California for an offense that was not illegal in Texas, the ticket would not automatically be transferred to your Texas driving record.

 

All states have DWI/DUI laws and share the same BAC (blood alcohol concentration) threshold of .08%. So, if you are convicted of a DWI in New Mexico and had a BAC of .08%, through the DLC, the Texas DPS could suspend your Texas driver’s license.

 

Underage DUI laws, however, vary from state to state. Texas is a zero-tolerance state, which means a minor caught driving with any traceable amount of alcohol in his or her blood could face DUI charges. Some states exercise more leniency for minors and require a BAC of .02% or higher for underage DUIs.

 

An out of state DWI could prompt the DPS to suspend your Texas driver’s license if the law you broke is equivalent to the law in Texas. Unfortunately, because Texas is a zero-tolerance state for minors, any out of state minor conviction of DUI is likely to affect your Texas license.

 

When in doubt about how an out of state DWI/DUI conviction could affect your Texas driving record and license, speak with a Dallas-Fort Worth DWI/DUI defense attorney about the consequences you could face back home. An attorney can explain what could happen to your license and potentially help you fight your suspension.

 

If you’re facing DWI/DUI charges and live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to handle your case. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Are Traffic Tickets Just Revenue Producers?

Are Traffic Tickets Just Revenue Producers?

Anyone who has faced an expensive Texas traffic citation has wondered just where does that money go? And how do all the extra fines, fees and penalties add up so quickly? Are traffic tickets simply revenue producers? For anyone who has had to break the bank for a traffic offense, understanding the breakdown of the true cost of a traffic ticket can shed light on the best method of dealing with tickets when they arise.

 

The Cost of Traffic Violations in Texas

 

Texas traffic tickets can be expensive, both in direct and indirect costs. A ticket for not having insurance could incur penalties, charges for late payment and contribute to increased insurance rates. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will also issue surcharges for driving record points and driving convictions. Under the Driver Responsibility Program, the DPS assesses the surcharges annually until the points drop off your record or for three years for a conviction. You must pay the surcharges to keep your license valid.

 

For example, you could have to pay a ticket of between $175 and $350 if the court convicts you of not having insurance. Add on another $260 per year for three years in DPS surcharges ($780), and that simple ticket will end up costing you $955 to $1,130 in fines alone, not to mention the increase in insurance rates you’ll face.

 

You’re Not Done Yet

 

Paying a traffic ticket doesn’t mean you’re done covering costs. By paying a traffic ticket, you are admitting guilt. The offense will go on your driving record and could count against you the next time you find yourself in traffic court. The same applies if you want to “sit out” your ticket by serving jail time instead of paying the fine.

 

When you consider these numerous factors, it’s easy to see why fighting your traffic ticket is often the most cost-effective way to deal with it.

 

Pay or Fight?

 

In reality, municipalities don’t profit as much as you’d think from traffic tickets. A lot of that money leaves the court’s hands as soon as you pay your ticket, headed directly to State government. Recent controversy over the use of highly lucrative red light cameras highlights this fact. For example, the city of Denton’s red light camera program netted only $668,000 from ticket revenues of $2.2 million after paying the State of Texas and the manufacturer of the red light camera technology, Redflex.

 

With only a fraction of your ticket cost going to funding for transportation improvements, fighting your ticket makes even more sense. You just have 20 business days after being issued the ticket to decide whether to pay (and admit guilt) or fight it. The good news is reviewing your case with a seasoned Dallas traffic ticket attorney can help alleviate some of your concerns. An attorney can go over the facts and circumstances of your offense and advise you on whether paying the ticket is wise. In many cases, it is a better investment of your time and money to contest the ticket. A clean driving record is worth protecting, especially in the State of Texas.

 

If you want to fight your ticket and protect your license in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to protect your license and keep your driving record clear. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

The Acquittal Outlook

The Acquittal Outlook

Every criminal defendant heads into trial hoping for an acquittal. If acquitted, the defendant walks away with a clear name. Acquittal is the official finding that the defendant is not guilty of the charge as defined by the law. But acquittals are relatively rare, and most people have one primary concern when they are considering trial; what are my chances of being acquitted?

 

While answering this question with any level of accuracy would take an in-depth review of the facts of your case with a Texas criminal trial attorney, below are some of the factors that can influence your chances of acquittal.

 

Who Is the Decision-Maker?

 

In many cases, criminal defendants may decide who the decision-maker(s) will be. In a jury trial, the jury decides on the defendant’s guilt or innocence. The judge decides in a bench trial. And, unique to Texas criminal trials is that the defendant may have the option to have a jury determine his or her sentence, too.

 

A guilty verdict is far more likely at a jury trial than an acquittal. Jurors must come to an agreement based solely on the consideration of the arguments presented, the evidence and the rules of the law, which is explained by the judge.

 

The jury must come to a unanimous verdict, which could be difficult depending on the strength and credibility of the evidence. Conversely, civil trials only require five-sixths agreement from the jurors for a legally valid verdict. Evidence plays a significant role in helping juries come to a verdict. The burden of proof in criminal trials, which lands on the attorney for the State, is beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard of proof and one that isn’t always easily met. If the prosecuting attorney cannot meet this standard in your trial, the jury may acquit you.

 

To temper the chances the jurors are biased, both the defense attorney and the attorney for the state have a hand in the juror selection process, called voir dire. Ultimately, who has the authority to decide on your guilt or innocence and your sentence could impact your chances of acquittal at trial. A good Texas criminal trial attorney will be skilled in questioning and vetting ideal jurors for your specific case. Don’t overlook the importance of this process. When the odds are against you, every strength you can leverage can make a difference.

 

Appealing the Verdict

 

Another important thing to keep in mind is if you are not acquitted at trial, you have a right to take your case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court of Criminal Appeals has the authority to “overturn” the trial court’s decision. However, the appellate court will only be looking for procedural oversights and mistakes. It will not issue a verdict like the trial court would.

 

You should discuss the possibility of appealing your trial verdict with a criminal trial attorney. The majority of appeals do not fall in the defendant’s favor. On the same hand, the majority of trials result in guilty verdicts. But what matters more than statistics and odds are the specifics of your case. Speak with a Dallas criminal trial attorney about your chances of acquittal. In certain cases, trial is the best way to achieve a fair and just outcome.

 

If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on how strong your case is and whether trial is right for you. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Street Patrol: iWatch Dallas and Mobile Crime Tipping

Street Patrol: iWatch Dallas and Mobile Crime Tipping

Community Watch and Mobile Crime Tipping

 

The population of Texas is currently estimated at a little over 28 million. And with roughly 77,800 licensed law enforcement officers in the State, it’s easy to see how many who commit crimes get away because law enforcement didn’t become involved. Mobile crime tipping, however, is changing that.

 

Texans can now report crimes as quickly as they can send a text. No more waiting on the non-emergency lines for hours. No more trips to the sheriff’s office. Today, you can report a crime by sending a quick text to a mobile crime tipping line. iWatch Dallas is one such crime tipping channel that allows citizens to report criminal activity in the Dallas area easily, quickly and anonymously.

 

Eyes on Texas

 

As a community awareness program, it relies on community members to step forward if they have knowledge of crimes or criminal activities. Although a law enforcement detective will review every “tip”, he or she may or may not pursue the lead. Law enforcement triages tips and other reports and responds appropriately.

 

Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of this outlet and the risk it poses. Mobile crime tipping means eyes in the community can act as eyes of police officers, increasing the reach and scope of law enforcement. Is this bad? Not necessarily. But keep in mind; people falsely identify criminals every day, making this extended reach potentially risky to anyone who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

An Attorney Can Help Challenge the Credibility of Crime Tips and Testimony

 

If you are facing criminal charges in the Dallas area, contact a Dallas criminal defense attorney immediately. People do make false reports both intentionally and unintentionally. Not every crime tip will lead to the evidence needed to convict you. Therefore, it’s important to discuss your charges with an attorney to ensure your case—and your future—does not depend on spurious or incredible crime tips or witness testimony.

 

Each criminal case is unique. Moreover, not every case is valid, which is why it’s so crucial to work with a criminal defense attorney when facing any criminal charge in Texas. A Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney can thoroughly evaluate the evidence and advise you on how you can approach your defense and mitigate the consequences of your charges.

 

If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on your rights and help you protect them. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

How a Family Violence Conviction Can Affect Your Career

How a Family Violence Conviction Can Affect Your Career

When Your Job Is on the Line

 

Many criminal convictions can potentially affect your career prospects or even cause you to lose your job. Family violence (i.e. domestic violence) convictions, in particular, can wreak havoc on your professional life. They tend to carry a greater stigma than other convictions and raise more red flags in the eyes of employers. And in some fields, you can even lose your professional license due to a family violence conviction.

 

If you are facing family violence charges in Texas, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the ways a conviction can affect your career before you make any missteps in your case. While it’s always best to review the specific facts and circumstances of your case with a family violence attorney to get a good idea of what you could face, here’s some helpful information about how a family violence conviction can affect your career.

 

State-Licensed Employees

 

State-licensed employees include everyone from cosmetologists to electricians to teachers. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) runs background checks on all new license applications and renewal applications. It sets forth guidelines for determining whether license applicants are eligible based on their criminal convictions. The TDLR will forward any applications from candidates with a criminal conviction to an internal attorney for review. Generally speaking, TDLR will consider many factors, including:

 

  • The nature and seriousness of the crime
  • The relationship of the crime to the specific reason for obtaining the license
  • The extent to which the license may enable the applicant to engage in further criminal activity of the same type
  • The relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity or fitness the applicant needs to carry out his or her duties in the specific profession

 

The time that has passed since the commission of the crime, the work conduct of the applicant before and after committing the offense, the evidence of the applicant’s rehabilitation and the facts and circumstance surrounding the offense will also be top considerations.

 

The bottom line is a family violence conviction can potentially impact your eligibility to obtain or renew a state-issued professional license. But every case is unique, so discuss your situation with an attorney to identify what factors may impact your eligibility and what you can do to minimize their impact.

 

Employees who are not state licensed should know that they will likely need to discuss such a conviction many times over their professional career. Family violence convictions are treated as serious crimes against persons, which can cause any employer to think twice about hiring or promoting someone who has committed such an offense. You will not be able to remove a family violence conviction from your record, and employers in some fields may deny applicants with a family violence conviction if it would put other employees, clients or customers at risk.

 

The most important take away here is that a family violence conviction carries significant stigma due to the nature of the relationship between the alleged offender and the accuser and the acts that are seen as family violence in the eyes of the law. Any conviction for a crime such as assault family violence, assault, kidnapping or harassment can cause employers to see you as a liability, especially if you work with people or are in a customer-facing role. Also, the TDLR will run a criminal background check on all applicants, no matter the occupation.

 

Consult with a Dallas-Fort Worth family violence defense attorney if you are facing family violence charges and have concerns about your job. Don’t overlook the potential collateral consequences of a family violence conviction, which have a far broader scope than the court-imposed penalties. Involving an attorney in your case ensures you explore and consider all your options for fighting your charges and protecting your career.

 

If you are facing family violence charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to protect your freedom and your career. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

Drug Possession Penalties: Does the Substance Matter?

Drug Possession Penalties: Does the Substance Matter?

Penalties for a drug possession conviction in Texas are—across the board—more severe than in other states. No matter the substance, you could potentially face steep fines, jail or prison time, a license suspension and even mandatory substance abuse treatment. And the greater the quantity, the greater the penalties.

 

While possession of a controlled substance is a single type of offense in Texas, it does not fall under a single statute under the Texas Health and Safety Code. Rather, the type of substance you were allegedly in possession of will determine—in part—the specific penalties you face. The quantity you possessed is the other primary determining factor.

 

Texas law identifies “penalty groups” of drugs. As the name would suggest, penalty groups influence the penalties for charges involving those drugs. The more serious the drug, the higher the penalties. To illustrate the difference in penalties for possession of a controlled substance, we’ve provided a few examples below.

 

Marijuana

 

You can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor if you possess less than two ounces of marijuana. The penalties include up to 180 days in a county jail, a fine of up to $2,000 or both, a six-month license suspension and probation. These are the minimum penalties for possession of a controlled substance. Possession of marijuana is treated somewhat less severely than possession of other controlled substances. Texans face harsh consequences if convicted, but possession of small amounts of marijuana is sometimes considered a “discretionary” arrest, meaning the officer can choose to cite the offender instead of putting him or her under arrest.

 

Prescription Drugs With Stimulant or Depressant Effects

 

Prescription drugs with the potential for abuse, such as Ritalin and Valium, lie in penalty group three. Possession of fewer than 28 grams of a penalty group three drug is punishable by one year in jail and the potential of a fine up to $4,000.

 

Cocaine

 

Possession of cocaine is a more serious charge, as it lies in penalty group one. Possession of less than one gram can be charged as a state jail felony. You can face up to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000, but first-time offenders may receive probation in lieu of incarceration.

 

 

Substance and Amount: What Matters

 

Depending on the drug you allegedly had in your possession, you could face misdemeanor or felony charges. But no matter the substance you are accused of being in possession of, you need to work closely with a seasoned Dallas-Fort Worth drug crime defense attorney when facing charges.

 

Due to the potentially severe consequences, it’s vital you involve an attorney early on in your case to ensure your rights are defended and you have the best chance at clearing your name. The laws on drug possession include a very specific definition of “possession” that the attorney for the state may or may not be able to prove in your case. Speak with an attorney before you make any decisions in your case to ensure you have the best defense possible.

 

If you are facing charges for possession of a controlled substance in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on how to defend your rights. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Pros and Cons of Breath and Blood Tests

Pros and Cons of Breath and Blood Tests

In most cases, law enforcement will ask you to submit to a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) test when arresting you for a DWI in Texas. Typically, the arresting officer must inform you of the consequences if you refuse a breath test, including a mandatory license suspension and the potential of a warrant to take your blood by force. Increasingly, people are refusing the breathalyzer test in favor of the blood test because they’ve heard the breath test is the less reliable of the two. Unfortunately, neither the blood or breath BAC tests are foolproof, but each has its pros and cons. Making the right decision when arrested for a DWI takes understanding both.

 

Breath Tests

 

Breath chemical tests are taken using a breathalyzer device. They analyze samples of “deep lung” or alveolar air from the alleged offender’s breath. The science behind breathalyzers assumes the evaporated alcohol in your breath is a direct reflection of that in your bloodstream, meaning the results are viewed interchangeably. In reality, breath tests are generally less accurate than blood tests because they do not directly measure blood alcohol content. Instead, they measure breath alcohol. They are also not conducted by trained laboratory professionals, as blood tests are.

 

Many factors can produce false positives in breath tests, such as your state of health, what medications you take, what you recently consumed or even what type of diet you are on. The unfortunate truth is if you submit to a breath test, the results might not be reliable. A seasoned Texas DWI attorney can usually challenge breath test results, however, as there are many known weaknesses in breath test science.

 

Blood Tests

 

Blood tests are run using a blood sample from the alleged offender. Blood draws are supposed to be taken by trained personnel in a laboratory environment. They must also be preserved, stored and analyzed according to a certain procedure. These stringent standards reduce the risk of degradation or contamination of the sample. Because BAC can be directly measured using a blood sample, many argue blood tests are more accurate and thus should be chosen over breath tests. It’s true; blood tests eliminate some of the varying factors that can produce false positives in breath tests. It may be more difficult, however, to challenge blood test results if you think they are inaccurate.

 

While neither the breath or the blood BAC test is 100% accurate, the good news is, regardless of which you took, an attorney might be able to help challenge the results. In an ideal situation, it’s best to consult with a Dallas DWI defense attorney before agreeing to submit to a breath or blood test. If you already took one or refused to submit to one, speak with a highly experienced Dallas DWI defense attorney about the consequences. Again, blood draws can be forced in some instances. Also, you face an automatic license suspension if you refuse to submit to a test. Discuss the details of your case with a DWI defense attorney to learn about the consequences you could face and how you can challenge the results of a BAC test.

 

If you need help fighting your DWI charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will help you aggressively fight your charges. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

 

Insurance, License Reinstatement and Record Cleaning After a DWI

Insurance, License Reinstatement and Record Cleaning After a DWI

Your Criminal Record

 

In the past, a Texas DWI (even a first offense) would stay on your criminal record indefinitely. You would be required to disclose your conviction every time an employer, a landlord or even a lender asks for the rest of your life. With the recent passage of HB 3016, however, certain first-time DWI offenders may petition the court for a Nondisclosure after an applicable waiting period (usually 2-5 years).

 

Petitioning for a Nondisclosure is a complicated legal process, however, especially if the court challenges it, meaning you will need to work with an attorney on this step. And, for at least a few years following your conviction, you must disclose your DWI when asked by employers, lenders, landlords, insurance companies and even some schools.

 

Getting Back on the Road

 

A DWI license suspension will remain on your Texas driving record permanently. Even after you reinstate your license, you will face increased insurance rates for several years.

 

Furthermore, Texas requires proof of financial responsibility following certain convictions or license suspensions, including DWIs. Proof of financial responsibility is better known as an SR-22 filing. SR-22 filings ensure drivers have the minimum level of liability insurance, and you must maintain it for two years following a DWI conviction.

 

While your car insurance carrier may cancel your policy for being a “high-risk” driver, some companies provide SR-22 filings exclusively, allowing you to maintain your current auto insurance policy and meet the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) SR-22 requirement. The DPS will also charge you an annual surcharge of $1,000 (for a first-time offense) to $2,000 for three years to maintain your license.

 

The bottom line is you should expect to face significant costs if you want to drive again after a DWI conviction. When you calculate the costs of increased insurance rates, the SR-22 filing and the DPS surcharges alone, you can begin to see just how costly moving on from your DWI can be.

 

Fight Your Charges Now, or Deal With the Consequences Later

 

Moving on from a DWI conviction isn’t as simple as you’d think. Unless you want to face the stigma of a DWI conviction for the rest of your life, you will have to head back to court a few years to ask the court to remove it from your record, and the judge could deny your request.

 

You will also face significant ongoing costs just to drive your car, which, for many, is a necessity. You could also face community service, DWI classes, a lengthy license suspension, jail time or even have to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

 

In sum, moving on from a DWI isn’t easy or cheap. Conversely, having an initial discussion about fighting your DWI charges with an attorney is easy and, typically, free. You owe it to yourself to fully explore your options for fighting your charges before you plead guilty. A Dallas-Fort Worth DWI defense attorney can give you the rundown of the potential penalties you could face and outline your options for beating your charges.

 

 If you’re facing DWI/DUI charges and want to fight them in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action so you can avoid the lasting negative consequences of a conviction. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

 

Ignition Interlock Devices: Inconvenience and Invasion

Ignition Interlock Devices: Inconvenience and Invasion

An Inconvenient Consequence

 

License suspensions are an unavoidable reality for all those with Texas DWI convictions. Perhaps the most life-altering consequence of a DWI, a license suspension can make it difficult if not impossible to get to work or school or take care of your family. Even when you reinstate your license after your suspension, the judge could order you to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

 

The Ins and Outs of IIDs

 

Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are inconvenient and highly invasive. They work essentially as a breathalyzer, which is wired into the car’s ignition system. The motorist must blow into the device, and if there are any traces of alcohol on his or her breath, the device will prevent the ignition from firing. Defendants will typically be required to install an IID in every vehicle they own for one year following the initial license suspension.

 

Most first-time offenders will escape the ignition interlock requirement unless their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .15% or higher or they caused an accident, or injured or killed someone. Judges are more liberal with this specific penalty, however, when sentencing defendants with prior DWIs on their record, particularly if they have prior DWI convictions with high BACs.

 

Earning a Second Chance

 

First-time DWI offenders may be given an incentive; if they install and successfully use an IID in their car for six months, they can petition the court for a Nondisclosure. Nondisclosures effectively remove the conviction from your record. This is touted as a “second chance” for first-time DWI offenders who have a BAC of .08%-.14% and do not cause property damage or injure or kill anyone.

 

IIDs have proven to be effective in reducing DWI recidivism, which is an ongoing battle Texas law enforcement face. But they come at a significant cost in terms of money and time for defendants. Even with the new incentive for first-time DWI offenders, we still urge those facing DWI charges to speak with a DWI defense attorney prior to pleading.

 

You may think because an IID will allow you to petition for a Nondisclosure after six months that pleading guilty is your best option. In reality, the costs associated with a DWI, including court-mandated fines, increased insurance rates and numerous fees and surcharges to keep your license, are not worth it. It’s best to speak with a Dallas DWI defense attorney about your options before consigning yourself to six months or more of invasive monitoring.

 

If you’re facing charges for DWI/DUI in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to fight your charges. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

What Happens if You Can’t Pay Your Court Fines?

What Happens if You Can't Pay Your Court Fines?

In 2016, 95% of warrants Texas courts issued arose from unpaid court fines. While being in debt is not a crime in and of itself, failure to pay court fines can effectively land you in jail. If you are facing court fines, fees and penalties, being able to pay is a top concern. But if you can’t pay, what happens?

 

Facing the Penalties

 

When the court fines you for a traffic citation or a low-level offense, paying that fine is a penalty for your conviction. Like community service or jail time, you must pay those fines to satisfy the requirements of your sentence. If you don’t fulfill that requirement, you could potentially face jail time. You might be able to make payment arrangements, but you could incur additional fines if you default on your payment and don’t contact the court. You could also face arrest and even lose your license, which could affect your ability to make a living. In light of these facts, it’s easy to see how court-issued fines can effectively perpetuate the cycle of crime for defendants who lack financial resources.

 

Driven by recently passed legislation, Texas courts are making changes to give low-income defendants the break they need. To lessen the disproportionate burden court fines place on low-income Texans, judges must now offer low-income defendants community service in lieu of fines. Judges are also granted the power to reduce or waive fines if they would place an undue burden on the defendant.

 

Texas courts extend this option only to defendants convicted of low-level crimes. Defendants who do not qualify as low-income or those fined for more serious offenses (which typically carry more serious fines) could face arrest for failure to pay.

 

If you have unpaid court fines, even just a traffic ticket you forgot about, we can’t stress the importance of speaking with a Dallas traffic ticket and criminal defense attorney enough. Before you pay those fines, talk to an attorney about your options. By paying a traffic ticket, you are essentially pleading guilty, which results in a conviction. Even if you pay your fine, the Texas Department of Public Safety will add points to your driving record, and you could face surcharges and increased insurance rates. You could even lose your job if you are a CDL holder. If you have an unpaid court fine for a low-level offense, you could have a warrant out of your arrest. An attorney can play a crucial role here in getting you out of hot water without having the bear the burden of excessive court fines.

 

If you are facing court fines in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to clear your name and remove any warrants. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.