Month: June 2017

You were stopped for a traffic offense, arrested for DWI, but you didn’t get a ticket

As a DWI defense attorney in Fort Worth for the past 17 years, I have heard many questions. However, the most popular question I hear relates to the initial traffic stop. In most cases, a person is arrested for a DWI after the officer makes a traffic stop, and believe it or not officers are just itching to stop your vehicle after 10 p.m. because that is when the majority of DWI drivers will be on the road. However, it most cases the driver will not receive a traffic ticket for the traffic offense that started his nightmare. Why? There is no right to question the officer before trial as you might in a civil case. Therefore, if you did receive a ticket, a smart lawyer would set the traffic ticket for trial and use that venue as a means of questioning the officer, under oath, prior to trial. The smart lawyer would then get a copy of the transcript from the traffic trial, and use that transcript against the officer at the DWI trial that would occur some time later. Smart officers know this too, so they do not issue the ticket. However, really smart lawyers use other venues to accomplish the same thing – questioning the officer under oath prior to trial. At the Law Office of Paul Previte I use the ALR or Administrative Hearing to question the officer prior to trial. This is why it is crucially important for you to contact an attorney withing 15 days of the date of your arrest (or when you receive notice of your suspension). If you don’t, you lose your right to the hearing to save your license. Call me if you have questions.

Attorney Paul Previte 817-335-4357

Federal Bail Bonds Overview – Attorney Paul Previte

Federal Bail BondsCounty Bail Bonds, State Bail Bonds, and Federal Bail Bonds are the three main kinds of bail bonds available.  Smaller offenses require smaller bail bonds than larger crimes (or felonies).  Chances are, if you are inquiring about a Federal Bail Bond, the accused in question is dealing with very serious crimes.

Federal Bail Bonds can be very expensive.  There are extra risks involved with releasing a person accused of a federal crime, most notably the flight risk.  Special arrangements must also be met based on the nature of the crime committed such as requiring mandatory testing for drugs and alcohol, checking in or calling us on a regular schedule, and we are also responsible for you showing up to all of your court hearing dates.  It is also common for the accused to be required to remain in the state or even their homes in some cases.

There may be additional requirements or restrictions imposed as deemed necessary,

What crimes do Federal Bail Bonds cover?

Federal Bail Bonds are available for those accused of:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Arson
  • Sale of illegal drugs
  • Grand theft
  • Kidnapping

Federal Bail Bonds cost more money because of the severity of the crimes committed.  Usually the percentage Bail Bond agencies collect is around 10% for State Bail Bonds and 15% for Federal Bail Bonds.

However, unlike a bondsman, I will allow you to apply this payment toward my attorney fees. This means that if your bond is high, there may be no additional attorney fees if you hire me to represent you. Having a Fort Worth bail bond attorney means you already have someone on your side fighting for you.

Trials are not all about the “law.”  To a great extent your attorney must be able to relate to those who will sit in judgment of your case and must sell them the case for your innocence.  As a prosecutor I try several cases to juries each month and have experience dealing with jurors as a group and individually.  The last thing you want is an attorney that the jury will find irritating, condescending, rude, or pompous.  If you do not like your attorney, chances are nobody else will either.  You already have one strike against you because you have been charged with violating the law; do not compound your problems with a lackluster attorney.

Is the Breath Test Accurate

Short answer is maybe.  However, if it may not be accurate, then should it really be used against you at trial?  The State of Texas says yes.  Admittedly, the Intoxilyzer 5000 (5000) is quite good at measuring the reference sample (closed canister containing water mixed with a known quantity of alcohol that is connected to the 5000).

A few problems arise when the principle used to determine alcohol concentration in the reference sample are used when trying to measure a breath sample from a human being.  Henry’s Law says that in a closed container, with a constant pressure, constant temperature, and a fluid with airspace above, the fluid and air will arrive at an equilibrium, and one of the major assumptions used in breath testing is that there is a correlation of 1 to 2100 between the amount of alcohol in a person’s exhaled breath and the level of alcohol in the person’s blood.  (Breath alcohol is used as a surrogate measure for blood alcohol concentration.)  This so-called “partition ratio” is based on averages derived from scientific studies.  As noted, the reference sample is a known ratio, but in the human body the ratio can vary from 1 to 900 ratio to a 1 to 3500 ratio.  This means that if you are tested and your ratio is closer to 1-900, then the 5000 will overestimate the actual concentration in your blood by up to 50% and may make an innocent person look guilty.  Because of this problem, Texas law was changed to say that any score over .08 means you are intoxicated, even if a blood sample taken at the same time would have shown you were under .08.  Texas law does allow you to obtain your own blood test within two hours of taking the breath test, but you have to arrange for a nurse to come and take the sample.  How you are expected to find a nurse in the middle of the night is unknown.

A DWI Infographic

Texas is the state with the second highest number of DWIs in the nation, and Fort Worth comes in at number 14 on the list of cities with the most DWIs, despite being only the 16th largest city by population.

 

texas dwi

The most ideal solution to the problem would be to avoid driving under the influence, but if you have been issued a citation for drunk driving, and you’re looking for an attorney to help guide you through the legal process and provide defense counseling, then call me.

There is more to a DWI charge than having a drink and operating a vehicle. If you’re feeling helpless against the charges against you, and you’re looking for representation, then call (817)335-4357 The Law Office of Paul Previte to schedule a personal consultation with me regarding your case.

Know Your Rights

Traffic StopWhenever you encounter law enforcement, it is important that you know your rights. Whether you are questioned, stopped, searched, or arrested, there are basic rights that you are entitled to and you should immediately contact a lawyer if you feel they have been violated.

If a law enforcement officer stops you on the street, you do not have to answer any questions. You can simply state that you do not wish to talk and ask if you are free to go. NEVER run from an officer. If the officer says that you are not free to go, but that you are not being arrested, then you are being detained. If the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you may be armed or dangerous, he can pat down the outside of your clothing. If he/she wishes to search you further, you do not have to consent to the search. If they search you anyway, it is important not to physically resist them. If you are arrested or detained, you are not obligated to answer any questions except your name and date of birth.

If you are stopped in your car by a law enforcement officer, keep your hands where the officer can see them. If asked, provide your drivers license, registration and proof of insurance. They may ask you to step out of the vehicle but you do not have to answer any questions. They cannot search your car without consent unless they have probable cause to believe that criminal activity is taking place. If you do not want your car searched, do not give consent. Refusal to consent does not give the officer a basis for doing a search.

If you are arrested, the officer must advise you of your constitutional rights which include: the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to have an attorney appointed if you cannot afford one. Exercise these rights. Should you need a criminal defense attorney in Fort Worth, call The Law Office of Paul Previte immediately at (817)335-4357. 

Miranda Rights: Overview

Anyone who has ever seen a court show has heard of the Miranda Rights/Miranda Warning. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…” We’ve all heard it on television, but why exactly do they say it?

drug related offenses

 

 

 

 

Contrary to popular belief, Miranda Rights only get read AFTER an arrest. If a suspect does not speak English, it has to get translated for them. They got implemented in 1966 to protect a defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights. Technically, remaining silent before you have your Miranda Warning read could get used against you in court, unless you say “My lawyer advised me not to talk to law enforcement without them.”

 

Nowadays, it proves prudent not to talk to police officers while under investigation. Simply state “I am going to remain silent”. If you find yourself in need of legal services. The Law Office of Paul Previte can help. For more information, you can reach us at (817) 335-4357.