Tag Archives: dwi

criminal defense attorneys

Vince Young DWI Video demonstrates “Opinion Crime”

The release of the Vince Young DWI video of his arrest reminds me of the routine question I am regularly asked as a board certified DWI lawyer: What should I do if I am stopped for DWI? Do I answer the officer’s questions? Do I attempt to do “sobriety exercises”? Do I refuse or take a breath test?

Vince Young DWI Video Shows how much power police have

The answer is simple and the Vince Young DWI video shows it: DWI is an opinion crime. An arrest decision rests solely on the opinion of the arresting officer. The United States and Texas Constitutions do NOT require you to answer an officer’s questions, try your hand at “sobriety exercises”, or take a breath test. There is no need to provide evidence to an opinion crime.

What might appear to be benign questions on the surface, these questions are designed to acquire evidence to be used and twisted against you even if the answers prove your sobriety. Police officers tout that they make arrest decisions based upon the “totality of the circumstances”, but the truth is that officers cherry-pick certain answers to justify their arrest decision, and ignore all the other answers.

It is perfectly legal to request a lawyer rather than answer questions.

Police Are Not Instructed Properly

“Sobriety exercises” like the ones shown in the Vince Young DWI video are difficult. Period. For anyone intoxicated or sober. And the police scoring system unjustly grades any innocent mistake as being caused by intoxication—regardless of whether the mistake is due to nervousness of being pulled over by police, a legitimate medical problem, or lack of proper police instruction.

The Flawed Breath Test Machine

Breath testing is not reliable or accurate for everyone due to physiological differences between all human beings. Further, Texas government officials made a policy decision to NOT utilize the safeguards on their breath testing machines that could prevent some of the physiological differences from causing a falsely inflated breath test score. Texas is using their new breath test machines in a way it is not designed to operate.

Texas pulled the plug on the manufacturer’s safeguards that both the manufacturer and the scientific community believe is necessary for quality assurance in breath testing. Thus, many sober people could be wrongly convicted due to a breath test machine just because the Texas breath testing officials are cutting corners.

What to do if you’re arrested and confused

If you find yourself in a DWI arrest where you need your answers untangled, your sobriety exercises re-graded, and your breath or blood test fully investigated, you should immediately contact the board certified DWI lawyers at Trichter & Murphy with the experience and expertise to defend your case.

by

Doug Murphy

DWI affects gun ownership, dwi on chl texas

“Pry it from my cold, dead hands…”

The consequences of a DWI on your concealed handgun license (CHL) in Texas. 

The words echoed out Charton Heston like Moses on Mount Sinai as he held up a flintlock rifle and said, “Out of my cold dead hands.” Many citizens of the State of Texas hold the late, Mr. Heston’s sentiments and the 2nd Amendment close to their heart when it comes the effects of a DWI on their concealed handgun license or CHL in Texas.

Routinely, I find myself with law-abiding citizens who took the time to get a concealed handgun license (CHL) sitting in front of me charged with both DWI and unlawfully carrying a weapon (UCW). They are shocked that they could be charged with UCW after they took all the steps necessary by the State to carry and many times their firearm is not even on their person. They are equally shocked to learn that there will be two bonds to get out of jail and a greater attorney’s fee because there are two cases.

How can I be charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon when I am licensed or when I am carrying in my car complying with laws of the state of Texas?

Section 46.02(a)(2)(A) of the Texas Penal Code states that an individual engaged in criminal activity may be charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon regardless of a license to carry or if it is in a vehicle. This means you should not be driving with an open container if you want to carry a weapon. Said another way, if you are going to drive with an open container then don’t carry a weapon either on your or in your vehicle because that will make you being double charged impossible. Of import here is that if you are arrested for DWI and you are carrying a weapon, then if you are convicted of a DWI then you will be arrested for illegal weapon possession, but on the flip side, if you are found innocent of DWI, then you will be found innocent of illegal weapon possession. Clearly, the safe choice is not to carry a weapon if you are going to drink and drive. Indeed, the safest choice would be to not drink alcohol and then drive.

What affect will a DWI have on my CHL?

Texas is very strict about who can qualify for a CHL. If you are convicted of a class A or B misdemeanor, which is a first DWI, then you are disqualified from qualifying for a CHL for 5 years. For the purposes of a DWI on a CHL, a deferred adjudication qualifies as a conviction. This includes cases that are dismissed after a probation of deferred adjudication. Additionally, if you are convicted of DWI twice in a ten year period, you will be disqualified as a chemically dependent person even after the five year period has past. If you have been found not guilty or your case was outright dismissed, it will not affect your ability to apply for a CHL.

What happens if I have a CHL and I am charged with a DWI?

Unfortunately, there is no due process when it comes to a CHL. A person who is charged with a class A or B misdemeanor (DWI) will have their license suspended immediately regardless of innocence. Therefore, to preserve and save your right to bear arms, call us 24/7 at 713-524-1010 to speak with an attorney.

DWI bond conditions

The Unjust Burden of DWI Bond Conditions

The framers of our constitution insisted the accused shall always remain innocent unless proven guilty. But DWI bond conditions or being on bond for a driving while intoxicated case in Texas may make you feel as though your guilt has already been determined before you step foot in the courthouse.

DWI Bond Conditions

When you are charged with DWI, the government can, and usually will, impose a financial hardship upon you in the form of:

  • supervisory fees
  • drug and alcohol testing fees
  • assessment fees
  • identification card fees
  • fees for installing and monitoring a breathing device for your car or home

In Texas we elect our judges. And just like any elected official a judge will make decisions to safeguard their political careers. At times, those decisions are rationally thought out and used to protect the public from a dangerous situation. Other times, those decisions are based solely on political correctness. Courts have the discretion to impose a number of DWI bond conditions on you including:

  • curfews
  • mandate that you wear an ankle monitor
  • require that you install an in-car breathing device
  • make you undergo counseling
  • take mandatory drug testing

These requirements can last until your case has reached conclusion.

Some requirements may help you

Some of these conditions are mandatory. Other conditions are voluntary and a good criminal defense lawyer will know what onerous DWI bond conditions to fight. Many of the bond conditions are illegal or without justification, but some may actually help put you in the best light with the court to show that you are working to do better and help you mount a stronger defense. An effective DWI lawyer will know the difference and fight the ones that are unjust or unfair.

To discuss the bond conditions of your case, your DWI charge or other criminal defense matters, please call us 24/7 at (713) 524-1010 to speak to a Houston DWI attorney.

Deferred Adjudication Unavailable in DWI Cases

DWI and Deferred Adjudication

Being charged with driving while intoxicated is a life altering event. Not only are you subject to the embarrassment of being arrested and appearing in court but you are treated differently than almost everyone one else in the courtroom. Why? You CANNOT get a deferred adjudication!

First, what is deferred adjudication?  

A deferred adjudication is a type of probation. It was created by our legislature to give people with little to no criminal history another chance to keep a criminal offense off of their record. If you have ever received a traffic ticket, the odds are you eventually were placed on a deferred adjudication. This means that your case was resolved without you being found guilty of the charged offense. If you stay out of trouble for a short period of time and jump through some “hoops,” you can seal the record or have it removed completely.

More serious crimes get deferred adjudication

This same outcome is also possible for extremely serious crimes. For instance, a deferred adjudication is potentially available for:

  • sexual assault
  • aggravated robbery
  • burglary
  • and many other serious crimes involving prison sentences.

Do you deserve it? Maybe. Can you get it? No.

Now you are thinking, “I’m a perfect candidate. I had one bad night. I’ve never been in trouble in my life and I return my library books on time!” Well, that simply doesn’t matter. A deferred adjudication is not available for a driving while intoxicated charge. No matter how clean your record is and no matter how many accomplishments you have earned in life, the Texas legislature has ruled that, if you are convicted of DWI, it will be on your record…always.

Your legal defense is important.

A lack of political courage often distorts fairness and results in overkill. You are no longer a living breathing person but a liability to the judge. This is yet one more reason why a person accused of driving while intoxicated needs a strong and competent defense. Our law firm knows how important it is to humanize and promote our clients. We know all of our clients on a personal level and not just statistics on a page.

A conviction for driving while intoxicated is for life and cannot be removed from your record once it is there.

For more information on deferred adjudication or to discuss your DWI or any other criminal case, call us at (713) 524-1010.

ALR Proceeding, Driver License Suspension, ALR Hearing fail

You know there are two possible license suspensions in every DWI arrest.

Generally speaking, those who are arrested for DWI are equally as concerned about going to jail as they are about losing their driving privileges. Indeed, each DWI arrest has the potential for two separate license suspensions, one for being convicted criminally, and one for refusing or failing a breath or blood test (Administrative License Revocation or ALR proceeding).

As for the criminal charge, if the driver is convicted of DWI, depending on the severity of the offense, the license suspension can range from 90 days to two years, while the ALR can range from 90 to 180 days.

The most common reason citizens do not realize that the ALR exists against them is that they only learn about it when they are arrested. We understand that this is a stressful, confusing and nervous time for the citizen. Fortunately, in most cases, the officer provides a written statutory warning during the time of arrest that notifies the driver of the administrative action and of the fact that there are only 15 days to request an ALR hearing to try to prevent a suspension.

 

The ALR Proceeding and what it can do.

Fortunately, from the defense perspective, this ALR can be a powerful defense tool in the right lawyer’s hands. It can often be used to change guilty evidence into not-guilty evidence! Here, the lesson to be remembered is that a hearing must be requested in a timely manner, or the weapon never materializes. Accordingly, if you are arrested for DWI, be sure to consult with a skilled DWI / ALR lawyer early (before 15 days have elapsed) so that this ALR advantage is not lost.

It’s often the case that the ALR advantage is the difference between a not-guilty verdict, which would prevent a license suspension, and a guilty verdict which can hold a severe penalty.

 

 

Pilots and DWI

PILOTS and DWI: THE FAA AND LEGAL MALPRACTICE: HOW TO PROTECT TWO LICENSES AT THE SAME TIME: YOURS AND YOUR CLIENT’S

By

J. Gary Trichter and Christian Samuelson

Let’s talk about pilots and DWI as well as the FAA and legal malpractice. So, you are a big time DWI/DUI lawyer and it is your lucky day!  Your secretary tells you that a civil attorney friend has referred a commercial pilot neighbor of his and that he is now on the telephone and wants to schedule an appointment.  Of course, hearing the potential for a large fee, you stop what you were doing and take the call.

Pilots and DWI: A Case Study

Captain Lucky Lindy, a 15-year major airline pilot with 15,000 flight hours and who is also a United States Air Force Reserve Flight Officer of 19 years, tells you that 16 days ago he was not so lucky as he was arrested for drunk driving by a member of the local constabulary.  He apologizes for not coming in sooner, but he had been on a weeklong round trip flight out of the country and had to immediately report for military reserve duty upon his return.

Unlucky Lindy then informs you that he refused the Intoxiliar breath test and that he is very concerned that this incident might cause him to be forced into early retirement.  The client’s high level of stress is clearly manifested in his voice and by the fact that he continually asks for assurances that he is not going to lose his lifetime investment in his aviation career.  Reassuring him that he will be all right and that he is in the best of hands, you schedule an afternoon appointment for him.

FAA Reporting Requirements

Not being a pilot or a person with any real aviation experience, you call a local flight school to ask what is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reporting requirement for DWI/DUI.  A young certified flight instructor (CFI) first tells you that there are three types of pilot medical certificates:

  • a first class that is good for six months
  • a second class that is good for 12 months, and
  • a third class that is good for twenty-four months.

He further explains that all pilots must have a current medical certificate in order to be legal to fly.  The CFI then said the only requirement that he knew about concerning a DWI/DUI conviction was that it be admitted in the space provided for it on the medical certificate application form.  Feeling somewhat better informed, you thank the youngster, say goodbye, and wait for your new client to arrive.

The FAA First Class Medical Certificate

At your office interview later that day, Lindy tells you that his FAA First Class Medical Certificate will expire in two weeks and then requests your advice as to whether or not he needs to report his arrest to the feds.  Not knowing about the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR’s), you tell him not to worry, that you will do some research into the matter, and have an answer for him soon.

During the interview, you properly and thoroughly explain that his case is very defendable, that a DWI/DUI first offense, if there is a conviction, could theoretically result in a sentence of jail, a fine, both jail and a fine, and a driver’s license suspension of up to one year.

You further inform him that as a consequence of his breath test refusal and because he missed the 15-day period after his arrest to request an administrative hearing, he will lose his driver’s license for 90 days.  The good news, however, is that he is eligible for an occupational license and that it is almost a sure thing the court will grant him one during the 3 month suspension period.

Pilots and DWI: “How will this affect my flying?”

Unlucky Lindy again revisits the questions with you as to “how will all this affect my flying?” and “do I have to report this to the FAA at this time or later?”  Exactly how you answer this question will make a big difference to your legal malpractice carrier, if you have one, and to your retirement account if you do not have coverage.  More importantly, it will make all the professional and emotional difference in the world to your pilot client

The New Medical Certificate Needs to Include Everything

Remembering the CFI’s quick tutorial, you inform the client that it is your opinion the medical certificate form only requires the reporting of “convictions” so there is no need to make reference of the arrest on the form when he applies for a new medical certificate.  Fortunately, for you, that information is correct.  You then say that it is your opinion that the FAA need not be notified at all unless there is a conviction.  Oops!  The force field around your retirement account just got weaker.  You misadvised your client.

The source of your error can be found in Section 61.15 of the FAR’s.  It provides:

Offenses involving alcohol or drugs

(c)        For the purposes of …this section, a motor vehicle action means:

(1)       A conviction after November 29, 1990, for the violation of any Federal or State statute relating to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, while impaired by alcohol or a drug, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug;

(2)       The cancellation, suspension or revocation of a license to operate a motor vehicle after November 29, 1990, for a cause related to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug (emphasis added);

***

(d)       Except for a motor vehicle action that results  from the same incident or arises out of the same factual circumstances, a motor vehicle action occurring within three years of a previous motor vehicle action is grounds for:

       ***

(1)           Suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part.

***

(e)            Each person holding a certificate issued under this part shall provide a written report of each motor vehicle action to the FAA, Civil Action Security Division (AMC-700), P.O. Box 25810, Oklahoma City, OK 73125, not later than 60 days after the motor vehicle action.  The report must include:

(1)       The person’s name, address, date of birth, and airman certificate number;

(2)       The type violation that resulted in the conviction or the administrative action;

(3)       The date of the conviction or administrative action;

(4)       The State that holds the record of the conviction or administrative action; and

(5)           A statement of whether the motor vehicle action resulted from the same incident or arose out of the same factual circumstances related to a previously reported motor vehicle action.

***

(f)            Failure to comply with paragraph (e) of this section is grounds for:

(1)       Suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part.

Bad Advice Could Result in Your Pilot’s License Being Revoked

Your incorrect advice could cause client Lindy to have his pilot’s license suspended or revoked if he does not notify the FAA Civil Aviation Security Division not later than 60 days after his driver’s license goes into suspension for refusing to submit to the Intoxiliar test.  Of course, should Lindy lose his pilot’s license then he most likely would lose his job, too, and you will inevitably get sued!

Ouch!

Pilots and DWI and FAA Logic Aren’t Predictable

Lets change the facts a bit so that Unlucky Lindy comes to you and says he simply wants to plead guilty, get probation, and get this unfortunate episode behind him.  He then asks “will it be sufficient to report my plea and conviction by affirmatively noting them on my medical certificate application?”  If you are inclined to think that it is logical to assume the answer is “yes” because your client is actually notifying the FAA of his conviction by admitting it on the form, then you should be happy to know it is indeed a logical conclusion.  Regrettably, however, like the rest of the government, the FAA does not always think, act or promulgate its rules logically.

The FAA and a Major Airline Captain: A Story About Bureaucracy

If you don’t like that answer, then consider the bureaucratic nightmare that befell a major airline captain in 1991.  In May the pilot was arrested for drunk driving.  Days after the arrest, feeling very concerned about his career and about following the rules, he actually called the local FAA office (Flight Standards District Office, a/k/a “FSDO”) to ask about the affect the DUI/DWI would have on his pilot’s license.  The FSDO, being helpful, only reminded him that it would be necessary to report the conviction, if one happened, on his medical application form  when he reapplied for it the next month in June.

Not wishing to contest the DUI/DWI, the captain pled guilty on June 10.  Within two weeks, during the completion of his medical application form, the captain in answer to question “21v” checked “yes” and self disclosed the conviction.  Notwithstanding the fact that he did not make further reference to the conviction on the form, he did explain and further disclose the events giving rise to the conviction to the FAA Medical Examiner Physician.  The doctor, ostensibly believing the captain fit for flying, issued him a new medical certificate.

On the first of October, the FAA’s Aeromedical Branch, following routine procedures, requested the captain to furnish further details of the conviction.  The information was promptly furnished to the satisfaction of the branch.

Then comes the bureaucratic nightmare.  The FAA popped the captain for a twenty day suspension for violating FAR 61.15 because he did not specifically notify the Civil Aviation Security Division in Oklahoma City within the sixty days as called for by the rule.  “Wow!” you say?  Well, so said the captain too!  “Unreasonable!” you say.  Well, you must be clairvoyant because that is exactly what the dumfounded captain also said.

Does the word “appeal” come to mind?  It did to the captain and he appealed to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) saying in effect that because he had no intent to deceive and that he had in fact reported his conviction to the FAA, although not to the security division because he was unaware of the rule, it was unreasonable to find a violation and suspend him.  “Wow!”, said the judge agreeing with the pilot.  “Unreasonable!”, said the judge again agreeing with the pilot.  Indeed, after hearing the evidence the judge not only found that there was “substantial compliance” with the rule, but also, he dismissed the case against the pilot.

Does the word “appeal” come to mind again?  It did to the FAA and it appealed to the full 5 member NTSB Board.  “Wow!” said the Board.  “Reversed” said the Board, and they reinstated the record of the conviction albeit without the suspension.  The Board went on to say that “[a]s a general rule, airmen are expected and obliged to know the regulations to which they are subject, and ignorance of them is no defense.  The reporting requirement regulation was in effect at the time of the [captain’s conviction] and its language is absolutely clear”.  (emphasis added)  “Ouch!” said the captain.  “Ouch!” screamed the legal malpractice carriers!

Be Careful When It Comes to Pilots and DWI

The above examples ought to make you very careful in representing pilots in drunk driving prosecutions and/or administrative driver’s license proceedings that are collateral to the drunk driving case.  Clearly, the effect of either a failure to report or even a properly filed report are quite consequential for the pilot  Clearly, too, if that effect was brought about by ignorance and improper advice of counsel then, it too, has serious consequences for the lawyer.

Unquestionably, FAR 61.15 is a landmine just waiting to get stepped on by the innocent pilot/client and the unwary lawyer.  One would think if the self-disclosure requirement were that important to the FAA that it would have created a form for reporting the required information just as it did on the medical certificate application.  That, however, is not the case because there is no preprinted form.

What You MUST Report to the FAA

To summarize, the pilot/client who is convicted of DUI/DWI must report that conviction on his medical application.  He must also notify the FAA Civil Security Division in Oklahoma City within 60 days of the conviction.  Contacting the local FAA FSDO is not compliance under the rule.  The pilot/client must also report any action taken on his driver’s license that emanated from the drunk driving arrest, i.e., a suspension for either failing the breath/blood test or for refusing a breath/blood test. This report, too, is made to the FAA Oklahoma Office Civil Security Division and must be made within 60 days of the suspension.  In cases where the pilot/client suffers both a DUI/DWI conviction as well as an administrative license suspension that arose out of the same factual circumstances, he must timely report both of them to the Security Division or face a non-reporting violation.  Note, however, that only one of the two reports can be used for suspension/revocation purposes under FAR 61.15 (d), i.e., the FAA needs 2 separate incidents within a 3 year period to deny an application or suspend/revoke a pilot license.

Playing lawyers for the moment, arguably the reporting requirement for both a conviction and/or a suspension for refusing and/or failing a breath/blood test is in our opinion stayed for as long as the conviction and/or suspension are on appeal.  There is no law on this question as of yet but the 60 day clock on appeals we have handled have been treated by the FAA as starting when the appellate process was over and there were actual final court orders in affect.

Playing lawyers again, from a strategy viewpoint, in many jurisdictions it may be advantageous in defendable DUI/DWI prosecutions where the pilot/client plans on contesting the charge to always appeal the loss of an administrative driver’s license revocation/suspension hearing.  This is true because in many jurisdictions, the license is suspension is rescinded as a matter of law where the criminal case ends with a verdict of “not guilty”.  Clearly, this strategy will prevent you and your client from having to deal with the FAA on the issue of record correction and/or expungement.  Said another way, it is a lot easier to not ring the bell in the first instance than it would be to unring it after the fact.

Lets stroll through the minefield with two more examples before we put this topic to rest.

Example 1):  How about where the pilot/client is arrested for drunk driving, refuses the Intoxiliar test, DUI/DWI charges are filed but subsequently dismissed for insufficient evidence, however, he still suffers a driver’s license suspension for the breath test refusal.  Looking at FAR 61.15(c) (2), the question becomes does the not so clear language:

“…for a cause related to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated…”

(emphasis added) excuse such a pilot from the self reporting requirement because there was not sufficient evidence of “while intoxicated” to warrant a continued drunk driving prosecution?

Applying the NTSB logic about “language [that] is absolutely clear” from our first example, a reasonable pilot and/or reader should clearly interpret the “while intoxicated” language of FAR 61.15 (c) (2) to mean what it says, i.e., that there must be sufficient evidence that the driver was intoxicated to require him to notify the Civil Aviation Security Division.  Requiring that a statute, rule, regulation or law be interpreted in light of the clear meaning of its words makes good sense to us.  Indeed, that has been a judicial and legislative rule of construction for quite some time now.  Moreover, one would also think that a reasonable pilot and /or reader could rely on the doctrine of “stare decisis”.  Remember, this is the doctrine that requires consistency so that “we the people” can rely on precedent in order for us to be “expected and obliged to know the regulations to which [we] are subject…”

Regrettably, there is no guarantee in life that either the FAA or the NTSB will act logically, reasonably, sensibly, on the clear meaning of a FAR, or on precedent.  Such was the hard 120 day pilot’s license suspension lesson learned by an Ohio commercial pilot who had been stopped for erratic driving and subsequently refused to submit to a breath test.  In that case the pilot was neither arrested nor charged with drunk driving but did suffer a one-year driver’s license suspension.

This case turned on the FAA’s and NTSB’s interpretation of FAR 61.15 (d)’s language “motor vehicle action”.  On the rationale side of the controversy was the pilot who argued that a breath test refusal is not proof of alcohol or drug involvement. Indeed, the definition of “motor vehicle action” requires that the suspension be “for a cause related to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, while impaired by alcohol or a drug, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug (emphasis added).”  In this regard, it is of import to note that the suspension was not for being intoxicated, but rather, only for refusing the requested test.  Of course on the flip side of the controversy was the FAA which claimed in a conclusory and wholesale fashion, that a breath test refusal fit within the broad meaning of “motor vehicle action” under section 61.15.  In a decision that runs afoul with reason and plain language, the NTSB simply deferred to the FAA and rubber-stamped its definition.  So much for fairness, uniformity and “stare decisis”.

Example 2):  Our final example involves the scenario where the pilot/client, although originally charged with DUI/DWI, is allowed to plead to a lesser or new nonintoxication/ nonimpairment/noninfluence charge such as reckless driving and the original charge is dismissed, or, where the DUI/DWI prosecution resolves itself with a pre-trial diversion, deferred adjudication, or probation before judgement, i.e., there is no final conviction.

The question here is: “whether or not FAR 61.15 requires self reporting of cases that are resolved without alcohol, drugs, intoxication, impairment, influence or that do not involve a final conviction?”  The short answer, at least for now, is “no!”

The Devil is in the Details

So what does all this mean to the lawyer who represents the client/pilot who is accused of DUI/DWI?  It means you need to be real careful to protect your pilot and yourself from collateral dangers that abound to the client because he is subject to a different and additional set of rules than the non-client/pilot due to his winged status.  It means that not only do you need to go out and get a copy of the current FARs, but also, that you need to read and understand them.  Review of NTSB decisions are also a must!  Don’t get trapped!  Read and don’t hesitate to ask others more knowledgeable for help or advice.  A great place to start is the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

It has a pilot assistance hotline for members at 1-800-USA-AOPA (1-800-872-2572) and a web site at www.aopa.org.

In closing, those of us who have been lucky enough to represent pilots know that they are some of the greatest clients and nicest friends around. Remember, protecting a pilot’s license is protecting your own law license.  Avoid the FAA pitfalls.  Don’t crash and burn.

 

Bandera DWI Lawyer, Kendell County DWI attorney, Boerne DWI Lawyer

23rd Annual Mastering Scientific Evidence (MSE) in DWI/DUI Cases

The National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association proudly announce the agenda for the 23rd Annual Mastering Scientific Evidence (MSE) in DWI/DUI Cases to be held in New Orleans, beginning on March 31, 2016 through April 2, 2016, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

“We are excited about our MSE line up of speakers with the best and most recognized lawyers and experts in the field of DWI Defense. It is expected to be one of the best and most heavily attended MSE seminars we have ever held,” said Doug Murphy, one of the co-course directors for the seminar, and a Regent with the National College for DUI Defense. Read more

Bandera DWI Lawyer, Kendell County DWI attorney, Boerne DWI Lawyer

J Gary Trichter now licensed to practice law in Wyoming

CHEYENNE, WY — J. Gary Trichter, founder and principle of Trichter and Murphy, P.C., a law firm focusing on DWI defense and criminal defense in Houston and in Bandera, Texas (serving the Texas Hill Country), was sworn in on Friday, February 26, 2016 by Justice William Hill of the  Wyoming Supreme Court making him a member of the Wyoming State Bar and allowing him to practice law in Wyoming.

J. Gary Trichter, founder and principal of Trichter & Murphy PC, gets sworn in by Justice William Hill of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

“This day is significant for two reasons,” Trichter said. “First, I became Wyoming’s newest attorney and, second, it’s Buffalo Bill’s birthday.”

Besides Wyoming, Trichter is licensed to practice law in Texas, Alaska and Colorado. He is also one of only four defense attorneys in Texas who has earned the designation of “DWI Specialist” which means he is Board Certified DWI/DUI by the National College for DUI Defense–the sole entity approved by the American Bar Association to grant such a qualification (the Texas Bar Association does not have a board certification in DWI Defense but it does recognize the ABA DWI Board Certification).

Gary is known as a leader and one of the most successful DWI trial and appellate lawyers in the United States, and is rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, one of the most respected lawyer rating entities.

According to Mr. Trichter, the swearing in ceremony was the cap to a “perfect day” beginning with him flying an R 22 II helicopter from Denver to Cheyenne and back to get sworn in.

“The weather was beautiful and the day has been filled with blessings,” he said.

Bandera DWI Lawyer, Kendell County DWI attorney, Boerne DWI Lawyer

Trichter & Murphy PC Attorneys Named to 2015 Annual Super Lawyers List

HOUSTON — Oct. 13, 2015 — Three attorneys with Trichter & Murphy PC were selected to appear on the 2015 edition of Texas Super Lawyers as leading criminal defense attorneys in Texas. Of all the attorneys in Texas, only 5 percent are chosen for the annual list.

“It is an honor that more than half of our firm has been named to the annual Super Lawyers list,” said J. Gary Trichter, founder and partner, Trichter & Murphy. “This accolade speaks volumes of the types of criminal defense attorneys we have working to protect the rights of our clients. We take the representation of our clients seriously and consider it the most important part in our American judicial system.”

The Trichter & Murphy attorneys who were listed this year include:

Gary Trichter is one of only four DWI specialist criminal defense attorneys in Texas, having been board-certified DWI/DUI by the National College for DUI Defense. Besides being listed in the annual Super Lawyers list 12 years straight since 2004, Gary has also been listed seven times in Best Lawyers, the oldest and most-respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. He is known as the most successful DWI trial and appellate lawyer in the United States, and is rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell. Gary has argued groundbreaking DWI cases and co-authored the DWI textbook “Texas Drunk Driving Law.” He has also spoken at more than 260 legal seminars in 30 states, where he has taught lawyers, judges and prosecutors about various aspects of the law — particularly DWI.

Doug Murphy, partner and principal of Trichter & Murphy PC, has been named to the Texas Super Lawyers list seven years straight since 2009. He is recognized as one of the foremost DWI lawyers in the country and is one of only four DWI specialists in Texas who have been board-certified DWI/DUI by the National College for DUI Defense. He was appointed regent of the NCDD in 2009 and has served as co-chair of the DWI Committee and on the board of directors with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Doug is board-certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and currently serves on the board of directors for the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association.

Leslie LeGrand has been a recognized Rising Star of DWI Defense Attorneys by Super Lawyers since 2011 and is enjoying his first listing as a bona fide Super Lawyer. He is board-certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has lectured at numerous DWI seminars. Leslie is a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Texas DWI Lawyer and the Houston Criminal Lawyers Association. Before joining Trichter & Murphy PC as a Houston DWI lawyer, Leslie was assistant district attorney, felony prosecutor, Harris County.

Super Lawyers evaluates lawyers across the country for its annual list of top attorneys. Each candidate is measured against 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Nominees from more than 70 practice areas are considered. The selection process is rigorous and methodical.

 

DWI surcharge Houston No refusal weekends

Houston No refusal weekends: What you need to know.

There’s been a lot of talk about Houston No Refusal Weekends trying to increase DWI arrests. No Refusal Weekends are when officers pull you over, suspect that you’re intoxicated and you refuse to take the breath or blood test. The officer then gets a warrant from a judge to “compel” you to take a blood test.

No Refusal Weekends are especially popular during holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and New Year’s Eve.

The Independence Day Weekend in 2015, there were 23 arrests in Fort Bend County alone during a Houston No Refusal Weekend from Friday, July 3rd until Saturday night, July 4th. These efforts are “successful” because they bring together all divisions of law enforcement including Department of Public Safety, county constables, sheriff’s departments and local city police.

Houston No Refusal Weekends are Easy Money

The truth is, DWI No Refusal Weekends make it easy for law enforcement to get evidence that can convict you whether you’ve done anything wrong or not. As criminal defense attorneys specializing in DWI, we know there are problems with the law enforcement administered testing. A lot of problems.

A Breath of Un-fresh Air

First, let’s look at the breath test. These are the most convenient for law enforcement to administer, but one of the most inaccurate. They receive air from the lungs and test it for alcohol saturation. This evidence is, by nature, the most unreliable evidence from a scientific standpoint because the lungs are not where breath alcohol comes from. Breath alcohol comes from the entire air system throughout your body–not just the lungs. This fundamental flaw makes the breath test completely inaccurate. In addition, the samples saved during breath testing in Texas, aren’t preserved so that the test can be validated later.

The Blood Sport of Houston No Refusal Weekends

Second, blood testing, which is thought by many forensic scientists to be the most accurate and reliable means of determining alcohol concentration, is more difficult for police to obtain and analyze. From a law enforcement standpoint, the blood test is the least desirable and least convenient method. However, unlike breath testing, blood testing allows the person who has been arrested the opportunity to re-check the sample at a later time.

The Holidays are coming and that means No-Refusal Weekends. If you’re going to a part or hosting one, read my No-Refusal Weekend Survival Guide.