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Helpful Legal Information

Repeat and Habitual Offenders

Repeat and Habitual Offenders face greater punishment, including the possibility of 25 to 99 years of prison! Repeat and Habitual Offenders are enhancement paragraphs that the State may add to an indictment like a deadly weapon enhancement. Both enhancements deal with those who have one or more felony convictions on their records. A Repeat offender is, simply, a person who has one prior felony conviction. Conversely to how "attempt" lowers a charge by one degree, a "Repeat" raises punishment by a degree (in general). This means the following: A 3rd Degree Felony conviction becomes punishable as a 2nd Degree Felony A...

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Interlock and DWI Convictions

When it comes to Interlock and DWI Convictions, please be warned that the law gives judges a large amount of discretion for first time DWIs. For misdemeanor (DWI#2) or felony  repetition DWIs (3rd or more), the law requires an interlock as a condition of probation. The same is true for DWI with BAC double the limit (.15 or more) or for DWIs by minors. Some courts may allow for alternatives to the interlock (for example, a portable unit or SCRAM (ankle) monitor). However, that does not change the requirement for some form of monitoring. Interlock and First Time DWI For pure first...

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Expunction for Gun Convictions

Expunction for Gun Convictions: The Updated Statute The law for expunction for gun convictions recently changed when 'constitutional carry' became the law. According to the updated expunction statute, certain Unlawful Carrying Weapon convictions became eligible if those convictions occurred before September 1, 2021. The UCW convictions that the updated expunction statute covers are those for carrying handguns when they are not on their own property (or property owned by them), or inside or "directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft" that the person owns or controls. Put in other words, only gun convictions involving carrying a handgun fall under the...

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ALR Notice of Suspension

Here is a word of warning for the ALR Notice of Suspension. PLEASE MAKE SURE THE ADDRESS ON YOUR LICENSE IS THE SAME AS WHERE YOU RECEIVE MAIL. Or, at the very least, that you have the ability to receive mail at the address on your license. ALR Notice of Suspension for "Blood Consent" Cases On "blood consent" ALR cases (where police do not need to get a warrant to do the blood draw), Texas DPS can not attempt to suspend your license until they receive the blood result. Typically, Texas DWI blood tests take roughly a month or so from the...

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DWI Enhancement

DWI Enhancement Savings Clause Effective September 1, 2005, the state repealed the "10 year rule" in Texas Penal Code 49.09(e). However, there is a savings clause that says the following: "The changes in law made by this Act apply only to the penalty or the terms of community supervision for an offense under Chapter 49, Penal Code, committed on or after the effective date of this Act. The penalty and the terms of community supervision for an offense under Chapter 49, Penal Code, that was committed before the effective date of this Act are covered by the law in effect when the...

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Automatism and Involuntary Intoxication

While the concepts of Automatism and Involuntary Intoxication may sound similar, they are different in many ways. One focuses mainly on the act itself, while the other focuses more on knowledge of the act. Automatism Automatism is related to, but different from, the insanity defense. While insanity deals with whether a person does or does not know his action is wrong, Automatism deals with whether the person was conscious of the act at all. The Court in Mendenhall v. State, 77 S.W.3d 815 (Tex.Crim.App. 2002) defined Automatism (citing a legal treatise) as: "[O]ne who engages in what would otherwise be criminal conduct is...

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DWI Manslaughter Oddities

DWI Manslaughter is in a strange gray area of the law. Is it a DWI? Or, is it closer to a murder or manslaughter? In many ways, DWI Manslaughter is just a DWI involving death. DWI Manslaughter and the Statute of Limitations However, for the statute of limitations, which is how long the State has to bring charges, DWI Manslaughter is closer to murder. For context, the statute of limitations for misdemeanors (including first- and second-time DWIs), is 2 years. Meanwhile, felonies have varying lengths depending on the type of crime, but the general statute of limitations for felonies is 3 years....

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Holiday DWI

Any holiday, no matter how major or minor, is a risky time to be on the road. Police tend to be out in full force for Holiday DWI arrests. In fact, many holidays in Texas are called "no refusal weekends" to try and scare drivers. However, "no refusal weekends" are a lie. You always have the right to refuse and force the police to get a warrant to draw blood. This is the same thing that happens every day of the year, not just on holidays. That said, holidays tend to be the time when police are actively searching to pile...

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ALR Notice Update

ALR Update Here is an important ALR Update: Recently, the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) has moved to using eFile for ALRs. Before then, SOAH handled everything by fax. This move to eFile has caused some issues for both DPS and ALR Lawyers. Recently, DPS has sent Amended Notices of Hearing to our clients rather than to our office. The Amended Notice of Hearing is the letter that provides the ALR second setting after the first setting is "5 day'd" (meaning we use our 5 day continuance that we are entitled to request). While our office receives the new dates...

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Golf Cart DWI

Occasionally, police make DWI arrests for people driving a golf cart. However, whether a golf cart satisfies the requirements for a DWI is a strange question. DWI requires 1) operating, 2) a motor vehicle, 3) in a public place. Driving a golf cart would count as operation. However, is a golf cart a "motor vehicle" for purposes of a DWI? Also, what is a "public place" in relation to golf carts? What is a 'Public Place'? Unfortunately, the "public place" requirement is a somewhat low bar, as courts generally hold that any place that is readily accessible by the public is, well,...

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