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 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!
I'm sad that the Statesman beat me to the punch, but glad to see I wasn't the only one annoyed by the Austin Police Chief's involvement in the dismissal of radio host Jeff Ward's DWI. According to a Statesman article last night, it looks like now the Austin Police Union is a bit irritated as well. Let's review: high profile radio host is stopped for DWI, but he knows Chief Acevedo, who is a frequent guest on his show. Host has his fiancee call the Chief on cell phone from the scene of the stop, and then the Chief accepts a call from him at the jail. Chief reviews Ward's case with police brass, then personally calls the County Attorney's office to point out problems with the case. Ward was arrested Thursday night, and County Attorney declines to prosecute the case by Monday morning. Case closed.
Recently in Austin, a local radio personality was stopped for speeding and subsequently arrested for DWI. Jeff Ward was pulled over Thursday evening after emceeing an event at the downtown Austin Hilton. He admitted to having one beer at the event, and was asked to perform a Field Sobriety Test to determine if he was driving while intoxicated. After performing the tests, he was asked to take a DWI breath test, which he refused (these Austin criminal defense lawyers advise you to do the same). Based on the officer's observations and judgment, the Austin Police Officer arrested Mr. Ward for DWI and took him to jail. Again, this is Thursday evening.
1. Speeding- Nothing is more likely to get you pulled over than speeding. These Austin criminal defense lawyers can’t overstate how many DWI and Possession of Marijuana cases start with a traffic stop for driving too fast. Once the officer is at your car window, the smell of alcohol or marijuana combined with your appearance make you an easy target for arrest. Always, ALWAYS watch your speed.
Travis County Warrants are like that alley cat you used to feed at your college apartment. They just never really go away. Sometimes it's a hot check you wrote by accident, or a ticket you never paid off. Just as often it's failure to pay surcharges for some ticket or small offense that you may never have known about because your address has changed. Even if you don't think you have a Travis County warrant, it never hurts to check just to be sure.
I'll admit that the referring article here is a bit old (January)- but since it's a list for 2009 and the 2010 list is not out yet, I feel safe that it's relevant. Of course, some of the bars at the top have likely shifted, as the hierarchy of the hippest newest club develops. Not to say that there aren't plenty of old Austin stalwarts on the list, even places I (ahem) may have frequented back in the day...
If you were caught carrying weed in Austin within the last year or two, you may have noticed that you got to walk away with a citation instead of going directly to jail. The recent trend of not booking everyone who commits a minor crime in Travis County seems to have caught on, with groups of folks showing up as directed to JP5, and then later to the booking desk, personal bonds in hand. These folks are going home after a minor, pre-planned appointment with the laws. I am republishing a post made back during the time this was still a fresh issue, because there seems to be a lot of curiosity about the process. Incidentally, in Vermont, where I used to practice, almost every suspect was cited to come to court at a later time, even on many felonies. They would then be arraigned and given their conditions of release, or occasionally incarcerated. In any case, very efficient use of limited police personnel who can stay on the street protecting the public. I'd be interested to know anyone's feelings about this- do we really need to take everyone to jail, for every ol' thing?? Apologies in advance for rehashing an old topic.