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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.

Bandera 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

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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.

Bill of Rights, roll of a criminal defense lawyer

What You Need to Know About the Four Propositions on the Texas Ballot

By J. Gary Trichter

March 1, 2016 is a very important election day in Texas, because you are being asked to vote not only on candidates but also on four propositions. As I have said many times, you, as Americans and Texans, are part of “We the People.” In that role, you have an absolute right to vote any way you want, but you have an obligation and a duty to cast only an informed vote—that means being INFORMED.

As part of the democratic process, it is always a good idea to share your ideas with others, to be open- minded about differences of opinion and to always follow your conscience. With that idea in mind, I want to share my ideas with you on the four propositions that will be before you.

I believe that our country is headed toward several critical forks in the road, and if we choose unwisely, our path could be one of dire self-destruction. I say this not to scare you, but rather as an attempt to focus your attention on the importance of this election.

Below, I have posted the four propositions that are on the upcoming ballot and the ballot’s brief explanation, as well as my commentary about what it is asking you to vote on. Indeed, the absence of a greater explanation on the ballot actually misrepresents what the proposition is really asking. I welcome your thoughts—whether you agree with me or not. That’s part of what being an American is about!

A Founding Father’s Point of View on Propositions 1, 2, 3 and 4.

The explanations following each proposition below should have included the text of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. If we turn back the pages of history, the founding fathers thought it very important that the federal government be a LIMITED one. They created a system of checks and balances to create those limits on purpose. We have heard that our government has three branches: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. Actually, our system has five branches.

Our Fourth Branch of Government

As contemplated by the framers of the Constitution, “We the People” reserve power for ourselves and place other power in the government. In truth and practice, our ability to vote makes us “We the People,” the fourth branch of government. In 1788, the Constitution was born and in 1791 the Bill of Rights spelled out its specific limitations by enumerating powers reserved for the people. Clearly, at that time it was not debatable that the federal government was not meant to have all of the power. Remember, the first 10 amendments are reservations of power that are kept by “We the People.” Those amendments were never given to us by the federal government, and anyone who suggests otherwise does not know our history or the meaning of the Constitution.

In regard to reservation of power, and to prevent the federal government from overreaching, “We the People” reserved all the then existing rights in 1791 that were not enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The founders said this in the Ninth Amendment, which says,

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Our Fifth Branch of Government

So what is the fifth branch of government? The answer is, “The States.” The states were to be a check and balance on the federal government just as “We the People” were to be. Regrettably, however, over the years, there have been unwise modifications/amendments to the Constitution that altered the well-thought-out checks and balances of our founders.

That said, it is very important that we understand the thinking of the founders, and the purpose of the Constitution in creating a “limited federal government” before we start tinkering with it in a way that may further weaken the system of checks and balances by “We the People“ and the States. WE THE PEOPLE do not want to give away any of our reserved powers, because once done, it’s almost impossible to get them back!

PROPOSITION 1

Texas should replace the property tax system with an alternative other than an income tax and require voter approval to increase the overall tax burden.

Explanation: This proposition seeks to see if Republican primary voters in Texas favor abolishing the property tax and instead having a consumption or sales tax fund government services.

Vote “YES,” and here’s why:

The Roots of Land Ownership

Part of the American Dream is to own property. But the reason that it’s something Americans aspire to achieve is not just fantasy, but rather is tied to the roots of our Constitution. The founders originally set up the Constitution so that only property owners—those who were “invested” in the country—could vote. If you did not own property, you still had a voice to speak your mind; however, you could not vote. Looking at the big picture today, the United States is a land that is created by recognizable borders. Land is property. If you have land, then you have a border to it. The founders did not want people who did not own land to make decisions that would negatively impact those who had made a greater investment in the future of this country. Today, if you own land, then you actually own a part of these United States. In my view, we should all strive to belong to our community and try to further our collective well-being by investing in it.

Invest in America

If you are a property owner, then you pay a tax that non-property owners do not. It hardly seems fair that people who rent a condo, apartment or home in your neighborhood don’t pay a tax for services that property owners pay. To be fair, everyone who lives in the community ought to pay an equal tax for services such as schools, the fire department, law enforcement, etc. Said another way, if you want to become invested in our government in a fair way, either get rid of the property tax and tax everyone the same, or re-amend the Constitution and allow only property owners to vote on property tax issues. (What is your stance on this issue?)

PROPOSITION 2

Texas cities and counties should be required to comply with federal immigration laws or be penalized by loss of state funds.

Explanation: Proposition #2 on the ballot is asking Texas Republican primary voters their position on local and county sanctuary city policies. Sanctuary cities or counties are governmental subdivisions that have made a policy decision not to follow federal immigration laws. For example, these local governing entities have made the decision not to detain and hold individuals that the Immigration Customs Enforcement wants to apprehend and return to their country of origin.

Vote “YES,” and here’s why:

The Power of Federal Funding Over States

Imagine your boss at work telling you, “Vote my way or be fired.” Or imagine someone who has embarrassing but legal information on you saying, “Pay me and do what I want or I’ll embarrass you by releasing this information.” In the world of criminal law, that is extortion or blackmail. And that is exactly what this proposition does to the state of Texas. Essentially, it says that if Texas doesn’t do what Uncle Sam wants, we will lose tax money that we paid in to the system. The penalty here hurts everyone in a jurisdiction—both the decision makers and the innocent citizens.

The Federal Shakedown

The federal government often threatens states into passing changes in their laws to comply with its wants and desires. For example, did you know that Texas used to have a law that said a driver was considered to be intoxicated when blood alcohol concentration reached .15? That was later changed to .10, and changed again to .08. Each time, modification to the law had nothing to do with new findings in science or medicine. Rather, the change occurred because the federal government threatened to withhold millions of dollars in federal highway funds. To be clear, I am not condemning the changes, but I do condemn the way they were made because it denied the people of the state of Texas a real choice.

Anytime the federal government threatens its citizens with a penalty if it doesn’t get its way is wrong. When that strong-arm tactic is used, the federal government stops being “limited” and becomes an “unlimited” dictatorship.

Selective Muscle

But the federal government seems to want to pick and choose where it throws its power. Consider our federal immigration laws. Clearly our federal laws on immigration need to be enforced, but those laws have long been ignored by state and local politicians who flout or disregard them. Since those politicians are the ones making policy decisions that violate federal law, it is only fitting and proper that they be personally held accountable and criminally prosecuted.

If those local politicians object to the federal Immigration laws, then they should go to Congress and ask it to change them. Think about it: If San Francisco City Council members had been prosecuted by the Feds, how long do think sanctuary cities and counties in California would last? Not long!

The Rule of Law

Let’s penalize the guilty politicians, not the innocent citizens or states. Let’s not carelessly give up our “We the People” rights or our state’s rights. Texas should not have any sanctuary jurisdictions and there should be no exceptions if we are to have a country of laws and a citizenry that respects those laws.

As citizens, however, “We the People” should want our representatives to follow the law, and we can enforce that desire with our vote! “We the People” should be vocal in our respective jurisdictions and tell our state politicians to act responsibly by doing the right thing and to abide by the federal law.

PROPOSITION 3

Texas should prohibit governmental entities from collecting dues for labor unions through deductions from public employee paychecks.

Explanation: This proposition wants to gauge the level of approval for a law that will prohibit the state and other governing units in Texas from doing payroll deductions for union dues. In other words, this proposed statute would require union members to pay their own dues.

Vote “YES,” and here’s why:

No Union Dues

If we set up a law for the government to collect union dues, then we are taxing ourselves by creating a new bureaucracy to administer it. The founders believed that less government is better government! Giving the government unnecessary power to interfere with our private lives is just crazy. Vote “YES” to prohibit the government from collecting union dues, but, more important, to tell them that it has no business getting additional power to do a union’s bidding against its membership. If union members don’t pay their dues, then the union should simply kick them out. Enough said!

PROPOSITION 4

Texas and its citizens should strongly assert Tenth Amendment Rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Explanation: By approving this proposition, Texas Republican primary voters will send a signal to the Texas legislature, the governor, and other state elected officials to assert state rights and use all tools afforded in the Constitution to stop expansive federal government power.

The Amendment of States Rights: The Tenth Amendment provides:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Vote “YES,” and here’s why:

Above the Law

Voting “Yes” on Proposition 4 helps restore a proper check-and-balance system by the States. Recent history proves that Congress will not police itself. That same history tells us that our U.S. Senators and Congressman often vote to be treated better than “We the People.” That’s how they excluded themselves in many ways from Obamacare.

They also receive a pension for life—even if they serve just one day. Where the hell were “We the People” when that happened? Clearly, we need an amendment to the Constitution that Congress can NEVER exempt themselves from the same laws that apply to all of us! Recently, there has been a movement by many patriots to avail ourselves, “We the People,” of a constitutional back door to reel in Congress when it will not correct what is broken.

Article 5 of the Constitution provides for there to be a Convention of States where, if enough agree to change the Constitution, then it automatically happens irrespective of what Congress wants. It’s the ultimate trump card so vote “YES” to help reestablish checks and balances as they were intended by the framers of our Constitution.

Closing comment

Be informed. Remember, this is your country—invest some time in it by studying the candidates and the issues. Think American! Think Texan! Follow your conscience! If you are spiritual, pray for guidance.

Bandera 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.

 

Multiple DWI convictions may not be your fault; could be a sign of deeper issues

It used to be in Texas that if you had a DWI that was beyond ten years old, that conviction could not be used against you in your current case to ratchet up the punishment. But years ago, Texas changed that law so if you had an older DWI conviction whether it was ten, twenty–even thirty years ago, it can be used to make the punishment for your present DWI conviction much more harsh. It can even change the grade of your current DWI offense to which you are presently being prosecuted.

You may have multiple DWI convictions because you may just be unlucky. After all, with increased efforts by law enforcement to deter drunk driving, it really doesn’t take much to get arrested. As a criminal defense lawyer in Houston who is also a DWI specialist, I understand this all too clearly.

But if you have an issue with alcoholism, then we need to help you address that. If we don’t first address your drinking problem, then you are more likely to come back with another DWI. And neither we (as a community) nor the courts want that because we all drive the same streets you do.

So, as a responsible citizen and a law firm that cares about our clients welfare, we try to get our clients the help they need to address all the issues we can that caused their DWI arrests and help both legally and become a better member of our community.

Why an open container is dangerous in DWI Offenses

Texas law says, you cannot drive while you’re impaired from alcohol and it says that you cannot drive with an open container. A DWI lawyer will tell you that if you are caught with an open container, the character of your offense will be changed and jail time will automatically be added to the minimum of the sentence you receive. If you are stopped, an officer is going to smell the open container, which will continue to have an odor, and he or she will assume you are drinking and driving.

So don’t drive with an open container — even one that’s empty! Don’t take any chances — if you have an empty container in your vehicle, just throw it away in the trash (and definitely not out of your car window).

What happens after “Not Guilty” in a Texas DWI arrest?

While the best outcome in a DWI case is a not guilty, you need to know that a DWI arrest record never goes away, unless you request an expunction of your record. An expunction allows the State of Texas to erase all the related DWI records to your case that were generated by the arrest. It’s like a legal time machine that brings your records back to the time before you were arrested making sure they are permanently and completely removed.

How many records? Let’s say a police officer in the City of Houston arrests you, the City will have a record that they will file with the Police Department. The Sheriff’s Office will have one when you are jailed and the Clerk’s office will have one when your case is filed. The District Attorney’s Office will have another record when they prosecute your case and, finally, the Texas Department of Public Safety will have one in relation to your driver’s license and criminal history.

So if a future employer conducts a background search, those records can be discovered and cause you a great deal of embarrassment or, worse, a lost job opportunity. A criminal defense attorney who is a DWI Specialist knows how to correctly and thoroughly file for an expunction and bring your criminal history back to where it was before your arrest.

Bandera DWI Lawyer

FORMER HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY EDWARD MCCLEES JOINS TRICHTER & MURPHY P.C.

HOUSTON — Aug. 3, 2015 — Trichter & Murphy P.C. announced today that former Harris County District Attorney and Chief of the Organized Crime Section, Ed McClees has joined the leading Houston DWI law firm as its newest criminal defense attorney.

“Ed McClees has been a very talented and effective prosecutor with the Harris County Office of District Attorney for several years,” said J. Gary Trichter, principal and founder, Trichter & Murphy P.C. “His aggressive and thorough nature, which made him a leader with the DA’s office, as well as his reputation for seeking fairness and justice for Harris County citizens will give our clients their best opportunity for a favorable outcome in their criminal cases.”

McClees, the newest Houston, Texas, DWI lawyers with Trichter & Murphy, gained notoriety for trying DWI cases for two years as a prosecutor and chief prosecutor for Harris County misdemeanor court. As chief of the Organized Crime Section, he prosecuted cases involving complex organized criminal activities, including fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, false statement to obtain credit, engaging in organized criminal activity, money laundering, aggravated robbery, theft, murder and other crimes. He also supervised prosecutors, investigators and support staff. He also served in the civil rights division.

“Trichter & Murphy is one of the most respected criminal defense law firms in Houston. Their reputation for providing strong criminal defense while showing tremendous compassion to their clients is one of the many reasons I joined the firm. I take my role of upholding the United States Constitution seriously and hold that defending the rights of our clients is the most important judicial role in our country,” McClees said.

Prior to joining the Harris County Office of District Attorney, McClees worked for the Callahan Law Firm PC and the Watts Law Firm LLP. He received his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and graduated cum laude with a B.S. from Texas A&M University.

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.