Tag Archives: police

Blue Lives Matter

In the course of recent events, we’ve heard the media-driven mantras ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘All Lives Matter.” Well, police lives matter, too. Thousands of men and women, who have been participating in protests around the country, reveal that there are huge issues of misunderstanding and distrust between police officers and the people they serve.

A reoccurring issue today is the use of force by law enforcement. The use of force is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’, and when that moment inevitably arrives, the probability for it to be necessary should not be a surprise. Police split-second decisions generally have permanent consequences. It is impossible to always reach a perfect resolution to manage physical violence and crime. No officer wants to kill, but every officer, just like every military person, must be prepared to take a life in order to save others for self defense. We all know this and ought to support and acknowledge it.

It’s disheartening certain media repeatedly parades certain unrepresentative stories suggesting they are the norm instead of the exception. Of course, these narratives are to boost ratings but not truth. Sadly, they spark foreseeable conflict between police officers and those that they both serve and protect. These off balance stories can recklessly ramp up racism where police officers are being attacked and even assassinated when race was never an issue. These actions are an ‘affront to civil society,’ and in particular to recently deceased Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth, his family, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, and all law enforcement.

If police were construed as more harmful than beneficial, then imagine a society without police or, where police officers refuse to render aid in an area that is openly hostile towards it. What other 24-hour non-military agency would be accessible to provide immediate protection in a time of crisis? What organization would provide immediate relief or aid during a natural disaster or terrorist attack? Who would bring a criminal suspect before our judicial system to deter future crime? Who else has received the proper training to conduct a proper murder investigation so that justice is preserved? Without this accessibility, proper training and dedication police officers provide, it’s unfathomable to know the number of lives that would not be saved or future crimes that would not be deterred.

The overwhelming majority of men and women who have chosen law enforcement have dedicated their lives to the communities they serve and protect. We should continue to highlight the every day bravery that police officers show in our communities. They have put their all on the line 24/7. We as a free people, and in our desire to continue to be a free people, need to support our police. Yes, blue lives matter! Moreover, ALL LIVES AND TRUTH MATTER!


Why a DWI Specialist is a More Effective Criminal Defense Attorney

One of the many benefits of having a criminal defense attorney who is a DWI specialist is their level of preparedness. They prepare by analyzing the different aspects of a DWI case long before the client walks in the door. They also prepare by applying their acute understanding of the science of how alcohol affects the body—not just in general, but how it affects people INDIVIDUALLY, because alcohol’s effect on an individual is as unique as a fingerprint.

A Library of Knowledge

Defense attorneys who are DWI specialists understand anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics and physiology, and we have libraries of research, case studies and experience that we’ve amassed over time. This includes research on specific officers—including local police, sheriff’s deputies, county constables and state troopers—that indicates which officers are good or bad.

Police Records

At Trichter & Murphy, we do our own background checks on officers using the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Records Act. We’ll request information on an arresting officer and gain a keen understanding of what kind of official he or she is. In most cases we’re gratified to know when an officer is a good officer, but sometimes we are saddened to find that there are bad officers enforcing our laws.

For instance, we know of one trooper with our Texas Department of Public Safety who has been recommended by his peers to be terminated twice for dishonesty. We know this because we accessed his records.

Being Prepared is Our Job

A DWI specialist combines knowledge of science with effective criminal defense acumen and skills to turn over every rock until he or she finds something that may make the difference in the ability to mount a proper defense. If an attorney isn’t willing to do that job, then they shouldn’t be doing legal work to help people. For us, it’s a matter of routine—we do it because it’s our job.

Police DWI Tests Portable Breath Test and DWI Blood Test field sobriety test opinion crime

Why DWI is an “Opinion Crime”

For many law violations, there are set standards that do not fluctuate based on the opinion of law enforcement. Violations such as running a stop sign, theft, assault, or rear ending another driver are all violations that are not solely determined by the immediate observations and discretion of a police officer. It is for this reason that our Houston criminal lawyers commonly refer to a DWI as an “opinion crime.”

Why DWI is an Opinion Crime.

In our decades of experience, we have noticed that in DWI cases, initial guilt is typically based on the sole discretion, and opinion of the officer, who pulls over a driver suspected of driving drunk. For purposes of determining drunkenness, the officer plays the role of judge, jury and executioner, making the decision to send you to jail for a DWI purely off of his or her observations. This decision is usually made within a matter of minutes, but has ultimate consequences of determining whether a person will go to jail or retain their freedom.

Flaws with field sobriety tests

To determine whether a driver is drunk, officers will administer a field sobriety test. This is a test created and standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The test contains three separate examinations:

  • The one leg stand
  • The walk and turn test, and
  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus, which is commonly referred to as the eye test.

All of these tests are designed to assess the inebriation level of a suspected drunk driver. The problem with these tests is that the results of these tests are subject to the discretion of police officers, leaving your fate to the personal opinion of the officer who pulled you over.

What is legal and illegal when it comes to drinking

We also refer to DWIs as an “opinion crime” because it is not, per se, illegal to have one alcoholic beverage and then operate a vehicle. But it is illegal to do so when you are drunk. Drunkenness is gauged differently to different people. For example, having two drinks at a bar can cause one person to experience impaired driving while another may feel perfectly fine to drive. Whether or not the driver decides to commit the crime is determined by their opinion of their faculties after consuming alcohol.

Experience matters in DWI

Lack of experience on behalf of a police officer administering a field sobriety test, and an incorrect observation can cause an officer to be 100 percent wrong about a driver’s level of intoxication. The opinion of the driver that led them to get behind the wheel after drinking and the opinion of the police officer who may be incapable of accurately determining the level of a driver’s inebriation causes catastrophic results and yields many unnecessary charges for  DWI; this requires the assistance of a skilled DWI lawyer to work your case.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI, contact Trichter & Murphy today for a free consultation with one of our expert DWI lawyers in Houston.