The good news is that you can leave the house for a few days and see some new things. The bad news is that you better do it somewhere in another state, because law enforcement agecies across Texas are combining their efforts once again for the Great Texas Warrant Roundup! On March 7, 2015, over 300 agencies will once again combine forces to crack down on unpaid tickets, failures to appear, and other offenses.
I confess to being a little bit of a "True Believer" when it comes to criminal defense. My close colleagues and I do our best to humanize our clients, many of whom have done stupid things, and try to make others relate to their human frailty. Everyone is frail, even prosecutors, even police officers, even judges (and some defense lawyers). In our clients, human flaws are most often the root of criminal charges, that people are too selfish about their actions, or implusive due to desperation or financial stress, or influenced by alcohol or drugs, jealousy, mental illness. A good criminal defense lawyer reminds us that we are all imperfect, and asks us to view the world through the eyes of the PERSON that is his client, as his reality exists. Whether you know it or not, we all know or are related to someone who has done something that amounts to a felony, whether or not they were ever caught or charged. And frankly, you might even think they are a pretty decent person, the kind of people you'd be friends or family with. That's part of what makes this job doable instead of unbearable, keeping things reasonable, at a minimum.
Well Austin, the day has finally come! On January 1st, 2015 the city's new hands free law took effect, and now the use of all handheld devices is prohibited while driving a car or a bike. That's right, bikes too, you one-handed cyclists shouting at SIRI over the noise of the wind. And trucks. Of course you joggers and skateboarders are still free to text all you want for now, God save us all.
NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING IN AUSTIN, TX!!
Chesapeake (VA) police officer, Barrett Ring, claims that he can come up behind cars, open his vent and smell burnt marijuana coming from the car in front of him.
Well it's been a while, but it took humor to break me out of the blog doldrums I was in. Cheers to humor, we don't get enough of that in this business. Don't get me wrong, criminal lawyers do have a sense of humor. But it's most often kept in the professional circles, much as I imagine paramedics, firefighters, or morticians joke amongst themselves. In professions where things often don't end pleasantly, finding the lighter side of things can make it easier to keep plugging along. What else you gonna do?
After a long absence from writing, I finally found a current event significant enough to sit down and blog about, and it's not Obamacare. Like a lot of other people, for a while I ended up making the best use of my liberal arts degree (Psych/Soc) by waiting tables and bartending. I was lucky enough to end up in my current career, where trying to understand the minds of people plays a large part of my daily activities, particularly in jury trials.
I got a phone call from an out-of-Stater last week about our old blog post- the Austin Bar DWI list from 2010. While talking, I realized that we had neglected to post (or see, lol) the list from 2011. Not that there's that much difference, but we do have an appearance from Antone's as well as the Yellow Rose. As before, it has more to do with the area and time you're driving than any other factor. If you're driving home from happy hour at the Dog & Duck Pub at 5 p.m., you're a lot less likely to get arrested than leaving Oilcan's at 3 a.m. Here's the top 20 Austin DWI arrest bars for 2011, according to Fox Austin
Every time I meet with a new client on a DWI case, I am reminded of all the different things I think people should know about DWI, and what they actually know. The State spends a great deal of money to give you the impression that you have no rights or choices when you are suspected of DWI. In reality, every citizen still maintains valuable rights vital to the defense of a DWI charge. Beyond rights, there are a number of things everyone should commit to memory in case they are ever charged with DWI. Think this doesn’t apply to you? Even if you drink responsibly, drive, and get pulled over, more likely than not you will be arrested. Whether the charge sticks is another question, and the following simple rules can go a long way toward making sure it doesn’t. With that in mind, I offer the following top 10 dos and don’ts for DWI cases in Texas:
For years, I have privately held a theory about how I think people choose a lawyer to represent them in a criminal case or DWI. It's not flattering, but it is what it is... I think it's like choosing a dentist. You don't really want to have to go, but you can't ignore it, so what do you do? You pick one and you go see them, and if they don't completely turn you off, you go ahead and hire them because you're clueless and they seem smart enough (and you don't want to have to see another one). The thought just kills me, but I still go to that same dentist and I have no idea if his work is great or awful, but I think he's all right. Just like lawyers, they're all expensive so how do you know if you should pay a premium or is a cheaper one just as good? Here's my perspective, for what it's worth. I'm not going bargain hunting when I look for a dentist, or an electrician, or a babysitter, or anything Important. A criminal charge is just not something you can afford to skimp on, not in this job market, in this age of electronic data, and certainly not if you have plans for your future. If you are charged, you should look for a trial lawyer, even if you don't even think you would go to a jury trial yourself.