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.
I KNEW it!! Here they come again with their shiny needles, the better to stick you with! Well, I can't say it's any surprise. I mean, APD does so many no refusal weekends (or blood warrants, as others say) that it's like keeping up with your relatives' birthdays. Let's see, New Year's, Super Bowl weekend, so now Mardi Gras. Interesting that Valentine's Day is still sacred, I suppose they don't expect a lot of people driving around drunk. So drink up, lonely people, you own Valentine's!
Well just as regular as the rodeo in this state, and on February 25, 2012, it's time again for the coordinated Texas Warrant Roundup! For those of you who take care of all your business, good for you- the rest of you should really look up the info on your traffic tickets. And clear up that old bond forfeiture and check for county warrants too. Get squared up with your child support payments, or your driver license surcharges. Because the roundup is coming for you. I foresee a lot of scurrying, and a lot of laying low. Just remember that those guys sometimes come EARLY in the morning before last night has fully worn off! And whatever you do, don't be drawing any any attention to yourself out in public!
Please give yourself a moment to read something short simply for pleasure. It's fluff, and I only include it becuse it happened in the county where I used to practice in Vermont. Who knows, I could have even represented the mystery prankster once. Here's to the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Franklin County, Vermont, nestled in the northeast corner of Lake Champlain. Way to represent! Good to see prison doesn't completely destroy your sense of humor.
I don't really have a distinct angle on this story, I just find it fascinating. It has ties to white collar crime, the internet, New Zealand, copyright, the Department of Justice and FBI, the film and music industries, Hong Kong, Kim Kardashian, Bob Bennett, Kanye West, and on and on... but that's what makes it so good. What also makes it compelling is the darkness of it, a perfect study in what it's like when the Feds decide you are worth pursuing and put their weight behind getting you.