Will There Be a Video of a DWI Arrest?

July 31, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

Probably, it depends on where the arrest took place.

DWI Arrests in Richardson, Plano, Frisco, Allen and McKinney are virtually all video-taped.  Texas law formerly required only larger cities and municipalities to have cameras on squad cars.  The law has since been amended so that all police cars have video cameras.  Some agencies that were not previously required to have cameras may take a bit of time to come into compliance for logistical and/or budgetary reasons.

You should always assume that you are being video and/or audio taped with talking with police.  The tape protects you just as it does the police.  Police reports frequently only highlight the facts which support the officer’s conclusion — that the driver is intoxicated.  The video, though, shows the entirety of the situation.  It exposes when police try to exaggerate their claims on any given case.  

Each county has different policies for releasing the video tapes to defense attorneys.  Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant Counties are all fairly easy to work with in attaining videos, however, they are frequently not available to the defense for a month or more after the arrest because the video must go from the agency to the District Attorney’s office — and then a copy must be made for the defense.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly. Contacting the attorney through this forum does not create an attorney client relationship and communications sent through this forum are not privileged nor confidential.

 


What Happens After A DWI Arrest?

July 13, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

I am frequently asked “what now” after someone is released from jail on a driving while intoxicated arrest.  Though the specific answer may vary depending on where in Texas you were arrested, here are some answers to common questions:

What is My Legal Status?

If you just got out of jail for a DWI or DUI arrest, then you are technically released on bond.  This means have conditions to live by to assure you appear in court (or in certain cases) do not endanger the public.  You will probably not be formally charged with DWI for several weeks or in some cases (usually where there is blood evidence) for several months.  The District Attorney’s office in your county will review the report and decide whether to file a case against you with a document known as an “information.”  In Collin County virtually every case where an officer makes an arrest ultimately gets filed.

What Happens Now?

A DWI is two cases in one.  There are the driver’s license suspension issues and then there are the criminal aspects.

For the driver’s license suspension portion, you must remember you have 15 days appeal any driver’s license suspension issued because of a breath test refusal or failure (score of 0.08 or greater) within 15 days of the arrest with the Texas Department of Public Safety.  These are highly technical proceedings which lawyers commonly handle.  If a voluntary blood specimen was given, then you have 20 days after you receive notice your blood was above 0.08 blood/alcohol concentration.

For the criminal side of the case, you can expect to appear in court for an announcement when the case is filed with the information.  This appearance is more of a work-session between your lawyer than the prosecutor than an actual appearance before a judge (though in some jurisdictions the judge may wish to proceed with technical matters that require you to visit with them).  It is the announcement where your lawyer will have some access to the police report (again, depending on the jurisdiction) and access to the video evidence in the case.

Ultimately, you and your attorney will decide whether you wish to plead guilty to the charges with a plea bargain — or plead not guilty and have a trial.  It is also possible the State may dismiss the case depending various other factors.

Is My Driver’s License Suspended Immediately?

No.  If you were given a document called a DIC-25, then you have a temporary driving permit valid for 40 days from the date of the arrest.  If you appeal the suspension, the temporary permit is valid until your administrative law review hearing (ALR) which could be several months later.  This is the case even if the officer confiscated your driver’s license.

Can I Get This Off My Record?

Yes.  The steps may be different in each unique case, but not guilty verdicts and expunctions are common for DUI and DWI cases.  You should visit with a lawyer directly about how to accomplish this in your case.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article should be considered legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should contact a lawyer directly.


What I Like About Defending DWI Cases Collin County

July 9, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.thecollincountylawyer.com

(972) 369-0577

Defending driving while intoxicated case presents a unique challenge to lawyers.  This is because long before entering the courtroom, you can detect a stiff headwind of resistance working against you which lasts the entire case.

You get the sense the legislature, lobbyists and victim advocacy groups, and even many jurors don’t stop to consider whether the police are right when they make an arrest.  Even the news media runs article after article about how if the courts and police were just meaner and tougher on these cases — they would somehow go away.  There is an unmistakable and heavy bias which reaches far beyond whether drunk driving is a problem — and assumes everyone suspected of DWI is guilty.

No one wants drunk drivers on the road.  Everyone’s heart breaks for victims of drunk drivers.  The vast majority of people respect and trust police which is one of the things that makes Collin County a great place to be.  But legislators, activist groups, and police are human.  By their very nature, groups with this degree of moral authority tend to make up the rules as they go along — and therein lies the potential for them to badly hurt innocent people in the name of the public good.

I enjoy the challenge of showing jurors that not everyone caught in the wide-cast-net of DWI is a drunk driver.  I enjoy showing the jury how the framers of the constitution knew the timeless attitudes of accusers, authority figures, and even society’s tendency to rush to judgment.  Most of all, I enjoy the challenge of winning cases where there is a steep up-hill climb with skeptical jurors, difficult police officers, and strict rules limiting our ability to defend the case.

Though I’m probably biased in favor of Collin County jurors, I enjoy trying cases in front of people that live in places like Allen, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and Richardson for the reason they are intelligent and open minded.  Without people even willing to listen — having a fair trial anywhere would be impossible.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly.  Contacting the attorney through this forum does not create an attorney-client relationship nor are any communications confidential or privileged.


Study: U.S. Police Interrogation Methods Flawed

July 3, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

Bigfoot… UFOs… False confessions…  all three concepts are far-fetched nutty theories any police officer or prosecutor will tell you doesn’t exist (normally as they roll their eyes).

This article, “Interviewing suspects: Practice, science, and future directions” published by the British Psychological Society, however, shows the topic is no laughing matter.  Not only do false confessions exist, but American law enforcement recklessly, intentionally, or obliviously utilizes pressure tactics proven to alarmingly raise the chances an innocent person questions their own innocence or attempts to extricate themselves from a psychologically terrifying situation and ultimately admits to a crime they didn’t commit.

The contributing factors according to the article include (but aren’t limited to) (1) a presumption of guilt by the interrogator; (2) focusing on traits of deceitfulness rather than traits of truthful responses; (3) unreliability of traits associated with being deceitful; (4) presenting the accused with false evidence or bluffing about unknown evidence; (5) minimizing or distorting the degree of the crime (implied leniency); (6) sleep deprivation and/or isolation; and (7) the psychological profile of the person confessing (whether factors such as susceptibility to anxiety, age, or cognitive ability play a role).

The article is obviously far more comprehensive than any editorial or summary I could write on the topic.  One of the most striking studies the paper cites is the “forbidden key” study where people are told that hitting a particular “forbidden” key on a keyboard will cause a computer to crash.  As the study goes, the computer used crashes and the person is blamed for hitting the forbidden key even though they were known not to have.  Though the tests were varied several different ways, techniques such as minimization, alleging of false evidence, or even bluffing that incriminating evidence would likely be found later all dramatically increased and in some instances doubled the false confession rate as high as 94% — the subjects internalizing and questioning their own innocence.  And as a scary afterthought — the article also discusses how judges and juries are very inadequate safeguards to bad confessions.

The article ultimately discusses the use of a British technique designed to be more open-ended and less judgmental in nature than the techniques used in the U.S.

It is a fascinating topic for anyone who wants to clinically study the psychology behind police work and behind a person confessing.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  Communications sent through this forum are not privileged and do not create an attorney-client relationship.  For any specific legal situation you should consult an attorney directly.


Failure to Stop & Render Aid (Hit and Run)

July 2, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

After a car accident a person has several duties dictated by the Texas Transportation Code. The duties vary slightly based on the type of accident, injury or damage that occurs, but in general a person has the legal duty to stop and provide other persons damaged with identifying information.

Chapter 550.021 — 550.026 of the Transportation Code list the specific duties as they apply to different situations based on severity and the type of damage that has occurred.

Specific Scenarios:

Accident causing personal injury or death (550.021):

  • Duty:  Duty to stop, return or remain on the scene and provide reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangements for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation/ Duty to report immediately to police;
  • Information: Must give name, registration and insurance information;
  • Penalty:  Third Degree Felony if accident caused death or serious bodily injury/ Between 1 and 5 years of prison if accident caused bodily injury only.

Accident Involving Vehicle Damage Only (550.022)

  • Duty:  Duty to stop, return or remain on the scene;
  • Information: Must give name, registration and insurance information;
  • Penalty:  Class B misdemeanor if damage $200 or more/ Class C Misdemeanor if damage is less than $200.

Accident When Hitting Unattended Vehicle (550.024)

  • Duty:  Find the owner or leave information/ statement in a conspicuous place;
  • Information:  Name & address of the operator and owner of the vehicle/ statement of how the accident occurred;
  • Penalty:  Class B Misdemeanor if $200 or more in damage/ Class C if $200 or less.

Accident Hitting Structure, Fixture or Highway Landscape (550.025)

  • Duty:  Person must make a reasonable attempt to locate property owner or person in charge/ also duty to file police report if damage more than $1,000;
  • Information:  Identifying information of the operator and owner of vehicle and registration;
  • Penalty:  Class B Misdemeanor if $200 or more in damage/ Class C if $200 or less.

For specific questions you should review the statute provided.

Defending Hit & Run Cases

You should never attempt to explain or discuss an alleged hit and run with law enforcement without the assistance of a lawyer.  Remember that police in this situation are often not looking for your truthful explanation but are trying to build a case against someone they have long since decided was guilty.  You cannot lie to law enforcement but you do have a right to remain silent and have counsel involved.  The stakes are just too high in a hit & run case.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice in any situation you should consult an attorney directly.  Contacting the attorney through this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship an communications through this blog are not confidential nor privileged.