Finding You The Right DWI Attorney In Houston Texas

3 Tips For Choosing The Best Houston DWI Attorney

Have you recently been charged with a DWI in Houston, Texas? This is an unfortunate event that can severely impact y our finances, your future employment, and may even lead to jail time. It’s in your best interest to find the best Houston DWI attorney to assist you with your court case. Here are three tips that will help you choose the right lawyer for the job.

1. Know What Your Options Are.

There’s nothing fun about being charged with a DUI. It’s only natural to want to get the process over with as quickly as possible. Even so, you need to stop and take the time to consider all of your possible options. The last thing that you want to do is rush into a poor decision.

At some point, the Administrative License Revocation Program (ALR Program) will send you a letter with a suspension notice for your license. You will then have a total of 15 days to assess your options and choose a course of action. It’s a good idea to use this time wisely and learn as much as possible about your options.

You should use that time to contact local attorneys in the Houston area. Discuss the case with several different attorneys, listen to their advice, and compare what they have to say. Your goal should be to have the best possible legal defense by the end of those 15 days. That may require requesting referrals, reading online reviews, and creating a list of possible attorneys.

2. Don’t Fall For Marketing Hype.

Butler Law Firm | The Right Houston DWI AttorneyBusinesses need marketing to succeed. Unfortunately, many take it too far and advertise bold claims that they know aren’t exactly true. This is true for many different markets, including DWI and DUI lawyers. Many will claim that they are DWI specialists with all of the experience and training needed to win your case.

In reality, those lawyers may not have the skills needed to defend you at all. Some of them make money simply by moving clients through the system regardless of the outcome of the case. Such lawyers certainly don’t care for your interests.

Does that mean there are no true DWI/DUI specialists in Houston? Absolutely not. As you spend your time speaking with various attorneys you will come to find those who really are specialists the field of DWI/DUI law. Those are the lawyers you want to add to your list for further consideration. But how can you tell the difference between the two?

A good indication of true specialist is when the lawyer mounts their own investigation into the case. This is something that a DWI specialist who cares about your defense will always do. On the other hand, if they are just a law firm with a savvy marketing team, then they likely won’t spend money investigating the case. You should ask them if they plan to investigate the case and use that information to determine their true intention.

There are other factors to look for as well. For example, a true DWI/DUI specialist will handle primarily cases that relate to their specialization and do so on a consistent basis. Having handled a few similar cases in the past doesn’t make a lawyer an expert or a specialist. Such lawyers can easily become overwhelmed by the complexity and constantly changing nature of DWI law.

Gauge the experience of the lawyer by asking them about their experience with cases similar to yours. How many similar cases have they handled in the last 12 months? What is their overall success rate for DWI cases? And find out if they are certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. The best Houston DWI attorney will have a lot of experience, a high success rate, and the needed certification.

This brings up the third tip, which is all about asking questions.

3. Get Answers To The Important Questions.

You need to get answers to the important questions before signing any deals with a lawyer. Your future is at stake so don’t feel at all shy about asking a stream of questions. Here are a few that you should consider asking any potential lawyer.

Do you have experience handling these types of cases in Texas?

It’s always a good idea to work with an experienced attorney. And that doesn’t just mean an attorney with experience in general. This is a DWI case, which means you want a lawyer who has experience with other DWI cases. They should handle similar cases every month.

Are you going to conduct an investigation?

This question was briefly touched on earlier, but it’s important enough for a second reminder. A DWI specialist with your interest at heart will definitely launch their own private investigation into the case. If they don’t, then they are likely more worried about their profit margin than your legal defense.

Do you foresee any difficulties with the case?

DWI law is extremely complex and is often changing. You need to do your best to work with the attorney and provide any documents they need. If they foresee any potential difficulties, then try to work with them to find potential solutions. You don’t want to find yourself working against your attorney while they are trying to protect you.

Are you going to handle the case yourself?

It’s not uncommon for large law firms to use different lawyers than the one whom you actually spoke to. While this isn’t always a bad thing itself, it’s important that you know this beforehand. You will want to find out about the attorney who will actually handle your case and their expertise. The same rules apply to that attorney as would any other attorney you interview.

Getting The Help You Deserve.

While it’s certainly easier than defending yourself in court, choosing the best Houston DWI attorney is still a difficult task. Use the three tips and additional questions above to make the process as easy as possible. Contact our office today to speak with a local DWI lawyer about your case.

Butler Law Firm Addresses DWI Lookback Periods

Understanding A DWI Lookback Period In Texas

Butler Law Firm | DWI Lookback Period In HoustonWhen an individual is convicted of a DWI in the state of Texas, it is going to leave a negative mark on their driving record as well as a criminal record. There are many companies that will not hire an individual who has a criminal record or a DWI. If the DWI was labeled as a felony, it is going to put the individual at more of a disadvantage of finding work and even housing, as many landlords will not rent to convicted felons.

With so much negativity surrounding a DWI, one must ask themselves, when will the DWI be removed from my record? Unfortunately, in the state of Texas, there is no such thing as a lookback period. In fact, a previous DWI conviction will always be looked into if a new DWI charge is created. An example of this is an individual can be arrested for a second DWI in 2017 and ten years from now they can be convicted of a third DWI, even though a considerable amount of time has passed.

Knowing that a DWI is never going to disappear from your record it is essential that you fight hard if you have been accused of a DWI. There are going to be times when only a DWI attorney Houston TX is going to be able to stop a permanent mark from being applied to your record

Is It Possible To Get A DWI Conviction Expunged?

In Texas, they will allow certain criminal records to be sealed or expunged. However, in the case of a DWI conviction, it is a permanent situation and will never be expunged. As you can see, this is one of the reasons you must fight a conviction aggressively. However, if an individual was arrested for a DWI but never charged or the charges were dismissed, it may be possible to have that arrest expunged from your record. In addition, expungement is available for low-level alcohol-related misdemeanors, just keep in mind, not for the majority of DWI offenses. It is best to bring all legal questions to a DWI attorney in Houston to find out if expungement would be possible after an arrest and if it would help with any subsequent convictions.

An option is record sealing which would help to prevent the escalation of any DWI conviction in the state of Texas. Once a record has been sealed, it is much more difficult for a third party to gain access to your file without a court order or warrant. It is essential to know that any law enforcement agency will be able to view your arrest and driving record, which means that an officer will be able to tell if you have had a previous DWI regardless of a sealed record. However, there are many benefits with a sealed record, so it is best to consider talking over the situation with a DWI lawyer.

We Focus On DWI Defense

One of the most important aspects after a DWI defense is to align yourself with an attorney that is only focused on DWI. If you have been arrested for a DWI, it is essential that you turn to the best Houston Texas DWI attorney for legal protection Our goal is to have all the charges against you dismissed which means you will never have to worry about anything being tied to your permanent record. Of course, we will need to discuss the specifics of your case and create an optimal defense strategy for you. Do not wait until it is too late, contact us today or call Butler Law Firm and allow us to begin fighting for your rights.

Butler Law Firm Educates On Texas DWI Law

What You Need To Know About Texas DWI Laws

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), there are three people killed or injured every hour as a result of a drunk driving accident in Texas. The high number of intoxicated driving incidents and the dangers involved when someone is driving while intoxicated have resulted in Texas implementing some of the most restrictive DWI laws in the United States. If you have been arrested and charged with a DWI and believe the charges are unwarranted, it is important that you become knowledgeable on Texas DWI laws since they will be critical to the success of your case. It is also a good idea to hire a qualified Houston DWI lawyer to help with your case.

Texas Limits For Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

Butler Law Firm | Texas DWI LawUnder Texas law, any driver of a passenger vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered to be legally intoxicated. Even if a person appears to be completely in control of their actions, thoughts or motor skills, if their BAC exceeds the minimum limit, they cannot operate a vehicle. If the person is operating a commercial vehicle, their BAC must not exceed 0.04%. This lower minimum represents the State’s belief that operating a commercial vehicle requires greater focus and skill than operating a standard automobile. If the driver is under age 21, they may be considered legally intoxicated if their BAC exceeds 0.00%. The laws in Texas are among the strictest in the country and the state is very serious about stopping anyone who is driving while legally intoxicated. With the intense effort in Texas to solve the DWI problem, a law enforcement officer may stop and arrest someone for a DWI without administering a BAC test to prove they are legally intoxicated. If the driver exhibits any driving behaviors which law enforcement deems dangerous and has any detectable amount of drugs or alcohol in their system, they can be pulled over and arrested for a DWI. This law can lead to unlawful arrests for DWI, but it takes a Houston DWI lawyer to evaluate the evidence and the case and make that determination.

DWI Penalties In Texas

In Texas, if you are convicted of a DWI, it is considered a Class B misdemeanor most of the time. This assumes the offender has not been convicted of a DWI in the past and there were no injuries from the DWI accident. If the circumstances of the DWI incident warrant it, the DWI classification can be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor, or if serious enough, a felony.

If you are convicted of a DWI in Texas, you face several possible penalties:

  • Extensive prison or jail sentences
  • Fees and fines that can reach into the thousands of dollars
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Revocation or suspension of the driver’s license
  • Mandatory alcohol or drug abuse rehabilitation treatments
  • DWI safety and education courses
  • Increases in auto insurance
  • Community service

Texas Considers Driving A Privilege Not A Right

It is legal to drink alcohol and use any legally obtained drug, either prescription or over the counter. Texas residents and visitors do not have the right to operate an automobile when under the influence of alcohol or drugs if their driving ability is impaired. Under Texas law, driving is a privilege, not a right. This is not only true in Texas, but everywhere in the United States. Driving is considered to be an earned privilege, never a given right. When a driver violates Texas DWI laws, Texas allows the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and the TXDOT to take away a person’s driver’s license.

How To Fight A DWI Charge

When you are arrested and charged with a DWI in the Houston area, the Butler Law Firm should be your first call. We are the best Houston DWI lawyers and know what it takes to prepare a DWI defense. When you hire our firm, you can be assured of the best legal representation. Our experienced Houston DWI lawyers are on your side and will help protect your driving privileges and your freedom.

Contact Butler Law Firm or call now for your FREE case evaluation.

What You Should Know About An Under-aged DUI

Getting Involved With A DUI When Under 21

Butler Law Firm | Under-aged Drinking in Houston TXThere are studies that have shown that close to 40% of the drunk driving issues that end in fatalities happened in Texas in 2014 with the drivers being under 21. One of the top reasons for fatalities on the road is drunk driving, and that’s why getting a DUI at under 21 means stricter penalties. If you’re not old enough to drink and have been charged with a DUI, you need to know what the consequences are. In the blog here, we’ll let you know what a DUI attorney can tell you about penalties you’re faced with.

Texas is what is known as a zero tolerance state.

If you’re over 21 years of age, you can get a DUI if your BAC is more than .08% but Texas is a state with zero tolerance. If you are under 21, this means that you may be charged with a DUI if you have a BAC over .00%. If you drink even one drink and drive then you could get a DUI if you’re not 21 years of age.

The Legal Problems That Stem From An Underage DUI

If you’re arrested for getting a DUI, you could end up dealing with these penalties.

The First DUI

  • Going to jail from 3 to 180 days
  • A fine reaching up to $2,000
  • A license that’s suspended for up to 90 days

Your Second DUI

  • You could go to jail for one year
  • The fine will be up to $4000
  • A suspended license lasting a year

There are more problems than just these if you are a driver under 21 that gets a DUI. It depends on what happened, but here are some things you can face:

  • Endangering a child violations
  • A minor in possession charge
  • Giving alcohol to minors
  • Alcohol soliciting
  • Possession of an ID that’s fake
  • More traffic violations

When you get a DUI it can make you have to pay more in insurance costs, too. A lot of insurance companies see someone with a DUI as someone who is a risk and they may even cancel your policy. Other times, they may make you pay a hundred or more for a period of time after you get the DUI. You can end up paying $12,000 extra in insurance over just 5 years!

If you got arrested for being an underage drinker with a DUI, you need a DUI lawyer in Houston that can help. The process involving a DUI can be hard to deal with, especially if you’re underage. Butler Law Firm has a team of professionals that will work as hard as they can to help this turn out better for you.

You should contact us today by giving us a call to get a consultation that’s free.

Stay Safe With A DWI Attorney In Houston After Labor Day Weekend!

Were You Driving Labor Day Weekend?Highway Patrol Crackdowns Were Expected!

Labor Day weekend ran from Friday, September 1st until the 4th, which is Monday and Labor Day itself. Every year, this is a short break from the hard-working schedules so many Texans live regularly so they can enjoy some time with friends and family. They might get together at home or take quick road trips inside the Lone Star State. Unfortunately, the annual Labor Day weekend also carries with it many driving while intoxicated arrests, both across the nation and the state, leading to an increase in business and demand for DWI lawyer in Houston TX professionals.

Butler Law Firm | Houston Labor Day Weekend DWIsTexas has a number of local and statewide law enforcement agencies, and like their colleagues across the United States, they are very aware of the higher odds of motorists getting behind the wheel after they’ve had too much to drink at their Labor Day festivities. That awareness actually stirs up overzealousness in a few officers, who might start seeing drunk drivers anywhere they look, even if the driver is not actually legally intoxicated. Certain police departments might also have higher arrest quotas for DWI’s over the Labor Day weekend, which puts undue and unintentional pressure on their officers to put more drivers in cuffs over the course of their shift.

In any case, it honestly shouldn’t matter to you if police officers are arresting people unjustly or not, since the only real way to stay out of your own DWI trouble is just not ever drink and then drive over Labor Day weekend. Our DWI lawyers in Houston TX are ready to stand beside you and preserve your legal rights, as well as your driving privileges, no matter what, should you get arrested for something like DWI. On the other hand, we’d much rather see everyone around us just stay safe to start with.

Here’s a handy list of effective ways to have to avoid needing a DWI lawyer in Houston TX over the labor day weekend so you can just avoid drinking and driving as a combination:

Designated driver

Also known as DD in many cases, this is perhaps the oldest trick known to exist, and yet, it’s still more effective than any other option. Have your immediate circle of Labor Day friends and family choose someone to be the designated driver, and then hold them accountable for their pledge not to do any drinking. Even a single alcoholic beverage is too many for someone who is the DD.

Collect the keys

At a number of parties, the party host collects the keys of attending drivers and puts them some place safe. When someone wants to leave, they have to prove their sobriety to a sober host so it’s established they’re okay to drive. Always check with the hosts of any Labor Day event or party you go to in order to find out if they’re doing that.

Ridesharing

If your smartphone doesn’t have a ridesharing app already on it, put one there. Most Androids already have Uber on them, for instance. If you get too drunk for driving safely, then a ridesharing app might be your safe way home. You can always expect higher than usual rates over Labor Day weekend due to increased demand, but your per-mile fee is going to be a lot cheaper than a crash or an arrest.

Houseguests

Do you personally know the hosts of your Labor Day weekend event or party that you’re going to? Do you trust them? Ask them if they’re going to let intoxicated drivers spend a night safely in a guest room or couch. As always, it’s a lot better to be late tomorrow then have a crash or arrest today.

Pull over

There are times where alcohol needs a while before really starting to impact the cognitive abilities and motor skills of a person. It’s entirely feasible that a driver might start heading home after a Labor Day event or festivity thinking they’re safe to drive, just to find out they’re actually not when already on the road. In these situations, the best possible idea is to pull entirely off the road, hopefully into a parking area, where you can call a taxi or ride to get you home. Be mindful of the fact that if a police officer discovers you asleep in your car while you’re intoxicated, you can still face a DWI charge, even if the vehicle is off and not moving.

In Closing

We know that folks sometimes make mistakes, but if you found yourself getting arrested for a DWI over the Labor Day weekend, then we sincerely hope that you consider us as your DWI lawyer in Houston TX if you need veteran representation you can trust for compassion. Find out just that quality of legal service and let us make your case; call or contact us right away from a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.

Understanding Open Container Laws in Texas

Who To Call If You’ve Been Charged With An Open Container Violation In Houston Texas

Texas is known for its strict DWI offense and open container laws. Yet, even with the number of citations or arrests because of driving with an open container of alcohol in the car, it is possible to defend against these charges. The best DWI lawyer in Houston Texas knows what works when defending against DWI and open container charges and will work on your behalf to get the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.

FAQs On Texas Open Container Law

The first step to protecting your rights is to know what they are and understand how the laws work. This is a brief list of the most frequently asked questions concerning the open container laws in Texas. The answers can help you better understand any citations or charges you may have.

Butler Law Firm | Houston Open Container LawHow Does Texas Define An “Open Container”

Texas defines an open container of alcohol as just that. It is any bottle, jug, can, bag or anything else that contains liquid, specifically alcohol. If the container is missing any of its original packagings, is currently open or has been open, or is missing any of its liquid contents, it is considered to be an open container in Texas. Even if you don’t have any measurable blood alcohol concentration level, you can still be charged with an open container violation.

Can An Open Container Of Alcohol Be Legally Present Anywhere In A Vehicle?

Yes, you can transport an open container in the trunk of your car or vehicle. There must be no access to the vehicle from inside the car. If the vehicle doesn’t have a trunk, the open container must be stored in the locked glove compartment or another locked storage area or held behind the very last row of seats. If the open container is stored anywhere else, it is a violation of the Texas open container law. If the open container is within arm’s reach of either the passenger or the driver, Texas law enforcement officials may charge either of you with a violation of the open container law. A good example is the Smart Car. If you are driving a Smart Car which is very small, and have an open container of beer in the trunk, it is possible to be cited for an open container violation since the trunk is only a foot from the driver’s seat.

What About If My Car Isn’t Moving?

Your car doesn’t have to be moving for you to get cited for an open container violation. You can even be parked in your own driveway or in a parking lot and if you have an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, you are breaking the law. Additionally, if you are hosting an event with alcohol and have drinks available in your vehicle, such as a tailgating party, you are violating the open container law.

If I Pull Over To Sleep After Drinking, Can I Be Charged With a DWI Or An Open Container Violation?

In Texas, law enforcement officials can charge you with a DWI and/or an open container violation even if you’re parked or sleeping in your car. If you are too drunk to drive home, law enforcement officials will probably determine that you were driving while drinking before you stopped to sleep.

What Type Of Penalties Are Possible If I Get A DWI And An Open Container Charge At The Same Time?

In Texas, an open container violation is categorized as a Class C misdemeanor. If you are also charged with a DWI, this can be upgraded to a Class B misdemeanor which brings higher possible penalties. This applies whether you are a Texas resident or not. It is possible you will receive more jail time or a higher fine and you will most likely lose your insurance coverage. The state could also impound your vehicle and it will cost you a fee to get it back.

Call Us Today If You Are Charged With An Open Container Violation

Attorney Jim Butler is the best DWI lawyer in Houston Texas and can help when you’ve been charged with a DWI, open container violation or both. Call today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

What You Should Know About Your ALR Hearing in Houston

What to Know About ALR Hearings

After a DWI arrest, one of the most confusing steps to take is to request an Administrative License Revocation hearing or an ALR hearing. This pressing issue is the result of having failed to take a blood test or a breath test during your DWI arrest. This puts your license in danger of being suspended for a long time. Here are some questions and answers about ALR hearings.

How Long Can My Driver’s License Be Suspended?

Anywhere from 90 days to two years. The length of your suspension has to do with factors such as your age and whether or not you have had any other DWI’s. The only way to stop this is to request an ALR hearing right away.

How Long Do I Get to Request an ALH?

You have 15 days from the time of your arrest date to ask for a hearing. If you do not do this within this time period, your license will be suspended after 40 days following your arrest.

What Happens at the Hearing?

The hearing is set to decide if the license suspension should be overturned or upheld. The following questions will be asked:

  • Did the peace officer have reasonable suspicion to stop the driver?
  • Was there probable cause on the part of the peace officer that the driver was intoxicated?
  • Did the driver get a chance to provide a breath or blood specimen?
  • Did the driver refuse to take a breath or blood test? Or, if they did, was their alcohol concentration above the TX legal limit?
  • In What Ways Does the ALR Affect the Court Case?

The hearing is separate from your criminal DWI case. It is only a civil administration process. Your court case for the DWI is a different matter. If you are convicted of driving while intoxicated, the judge still has the power to suspend your driver’s license.

Should I have an Attorney at the ALR Hearing?

You have two choices for an ALR. You may defend yourself or you may choose to hire an attorney to defend you. Your best option is to hire an experienced Houston attorney because the Department of Public Safety will have an attorney at the ALR hearing. You should, too, or you will be put at a disadvantage.

The attorney at Butler Law Firm are experts at handling ALR hearings. We have years of experience to help you. Call an attorney for ALR hearing in Houston or contact Butler Law Firm now for a free consultation now.

How To Conduct Your ALR Hearing Process

Is An Attorney Necessary For An ALR Hearing?

Butler Law Firm | ALR Hearing in Houston TXFollowing a DWI arrest, drivers are afforded 15 days in which to take the necessary steps to protect their driving privileges. This is done by making a request for an Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR). Time really is of the essence when it comes to making this request, because a failure to do so results in automatic license suspension. To make certain that this process goes smoothly and that you are properly represented, the assistance of a DWI lawyer with Butler Law Firm can prove pivotal.

Though ALR hearings are technically civil administrative procedures that have no impact on the criminal case, it remains extremely important because it is where license suspensions stemming from the initial arrest are upheld or voided. A skilled attorney has the experience and knowledge required to fight for your rights and pursue reinstatement of your license.

When you request this hearing, the effect is to force the Texas Department of Public Safety to present proof that the DWI arrest at issue was in fact valid. The Department will bring its own lawyer, making it all the more critical to have your own legal counsel on hand. Securing the guidance of an experienced ALR hearing attorney in Houston is the best way to boost the chances of keeping your license.

ALR Hearing Process

If, at the time of your arrest, you declined to undergo blood or breath testing, the Department will need to establish that probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop you existed at the time. It will also be necessary for the opposing side to show that there was probable cause to believe that you operated a vehicle on a public roadway while you were intoxicated, that you were asked to submit to testing and that you refused.

If you did not pass the testing administered by law enforcement, the Department will need to demonstrate that your blood alcohol content (BAC) was at least .08 while you drove in a public place. The requirement of showing that reasonable suspicion or probable cause to make a stop will also remain.

The facts surrounding the arrest and your prior driving record will play a role in the outcome of such a hearing, with license suspension of 90 days to two years being the possible result. Do not allow yourself to go in unprepared. Make sure you understand your legal rights and bring aggressive counsel to the table in order to protect your ability to drive.

The professionals of Butler Law Firm have represented clients in a multitude of ALR hearings and have achieved positive results in more than 9 out of 10 cases. By calling the Butler Law Firm today, you can take comfort in the fact that you have secured the zealous advocacy necessary to obtain the best possible outcome in your ALR hearing.

Contact us now for more information regarding your ALH Hearing process!

You Need To Know Your Rights Before Being Pulled Over For DWI

Are You Required To Talk To The Police When Pulled Over For A DWI?

From the moment you are pulled over under suspicion of a DWI or driving while intoxicated, the traffic officer will start questioning you. The questions may sound friendly enough but the process is actually designed to get you to admit to drinking and driving without the officer needing to rightfully interrogate you. “Have you been drinking? How many drinks did you have? When was your last drink?” are all common questions that are asked.

In this situation, it is best to remain quiet even if the officer is intimidating or you feel impolite. You are not required to answer these questions and an officer cannot legally coerce you into a confession. Whether you answer the questions or not is entirely up to you at the end of the day.

Your Fifth Amendment Right

Butler Law Firm | Pulled Over For A DWIIn just about all circumstances, it is usually recommended to follow the instructions of a police or traffic officer. However, when these instructions contravene your rights, it is not necessary to comply. Your Fifth Amendment Right provides you with the right to remain silent without any repercussions.

The Fifth Amendment provides this protection by guaranteeing that due process be followed when you are suspected or accused of committing a crime or when you have been charged with a crime or offence. As part of this due process, you are not required to answer any questions that may incriminate you in any way until you have spoken to a lawyer or attorney. Keep in mind, that anything you say or do can be held against you in a court of law. Therefore, you have the right to remain silent.

However, simply refraining from answering any questions could give the wrong impression. It is best to inform the officer that you would prefer to answer questions once you have spoken to an attorney and that you are taking the Fifth Amendment and remaining silent until your attorney arrives. This will have the added benefit of showing the officer that you are aware of your rights.

It is also not recommended to take your right to remain silent too seriously. Questions related to your contact and personal information such as your name and address should be answered as these cannot be misconstrued or used as evidence against you.

It is also highly recommended to contact an attorney who deals specifically with DWI cases. Butler Law Firm provides the best DWI attorney Houston and deals exclusively with these types of cases and it is advisable to have their number saved on your phone in the event that you are pulled over under suspicion of a DWI. They will be able to provide you with the best advice and defense to protect your driving privileges and record.

Call us today or contact Butler Law Firm for more information!

What You Should Do If Your Teenager Gets Pulled Over With Friends Who Have Drugs In Their Car

Is Your Loved One Guilty By Association?

Say your teen is hanging out with friends of her. One of them offers to give her a ride home. However, the friend gets pulled over for speeding because he was driving too fast. At least it was not a DUI offense in Houston, or not yet.

What began as such an ordinary traffic stop starts to escalate. The driving seems very nervous, which causes the officer to suspect something else is going on. The officer starts to ask questions. Although teens are not stupid, they can’t outsmart a police officer. Eventually the officer “convinces” the scared teenager to allow them to search the car and their purses.

The officer then discovers illegal drugs in the car’s console. The driver insists they are not his drugs and blames your daughter for them, stating she must have put the drugs in the console when while he wasn’t looking. So the officer makes the decision to arrest everybody.

Dangers Involved With “Joint Possession”

Maybe you think it is simply a misunderstanding. You should be able to just go to the police station and then explain to them that your daughter hasn’t ever used drugs in her life, and that will take care of things. Unfortunately, that isn’t how the legal system in Texas works.

Even if no drugs are found on your child’s actually possession – for example, in their pockets or purse – she could still be charged with a crime if the prosecutor is able to prove “joint possession.”

“Possession” is legally defined by the Texas Penal Code (s1.07(a)(39)) as being the “actual care, custody, control, or management” of contraband.” In order for the Government to be able to prove that the contraband was in the possession of the Accused, it must be provided that (1) the Contraband was in the possession of the Accused and (2) that the Accused was aware that it was contraband in their possession.

It is a lot clear when contraband is found in the purse or pocket of the Accused. However, what about when there is a bag of pot that is discovered in a car that has two occupants in it? Can both individuals be charged with possession of one bag of pot?

Joint v. Exclusive Possession

Butler Law Firm | Best Houston DWI AttorneyWhen drugs or contraband is considered to be possessed by one person it is referred to as “exclusive possession.” For example, if a person is arrested and a gram of heroin is found in the Accused’s pocket or purse by the police, then the Accused will be alleged to have “exclusive possession” of the drug.

On the other hand, “Joint Possession” refers to when there is possession of contraband or drugs by more than one individual. For example, if a car is stopped by a police and there are three people in it, and there is a bag of pot discovered on the floor of the passenger seat, then all of the car’s occupants could potentially be charged with possession of this bag of pot should it meet the Texas Penal Code s1.07(a)(39) definition. It is not necessary for possession to be exclusive – drugs or contraband may be jointly possessed by more than one person. So, therefore, all of a car’s occupants can be charged with possession of one item of contraband.

Here was a Texas case recently that is a good illustration of the way that constructive possession works. A car was pulled over by a Texas police officer because he suspected that there were outstanding arrest warrants out for the driver. The car had two female passengers, with one in the back and the other in the front seat.

The driver’s identity was confirmed by the police officer and he was arrested for the outstanding warrants. With their consent, the officer searches the car’s two passengers but did not find any contraband. However, the car was then impounded and searched after the arrest, and a syringe was discovered by the officers in a compartment under the heater/air conditioner control. There was methamphetamine contained in the syringe.

The offense of Methamphetamine possession is much more serious than, say, marijuana is. The jury, in this case, found the defendant to be guilty of a felony carrying a two-year state prison sentence. At the initial appeal, the defendant prevailed. However, the conviction was reinstated by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals after being appealed by the prosecutors.

It was explained by the Court of Criminal Appeals that although mere presence was not sufficient for establishing possession of an illegal drug, that there were several factors that jurors and prosecutors could use for inferring a link that connected a defendant to know that she or he possessed the contraband. those factors include the following:

  • The police offer found the drugs in plain view;
  • At the time of his arrest, the defendant was under the influence of drugs;
  • “Incriminating statements” were made to the policy by the defendant;
  • Drugs were discovered in an enclosed area; and
  • The overall conduct of the defendant indicated a guilty conscious.

The defendant in this cased argued that one of the passengers in the car must have placed the syringe underneath the dashboard while he wasn’t looking. However, the Court of Criminal Appeals stated the jury could infer that the syringe had been inside of the compartment the whole time.

Is Your Child Facing Drug Crime Charges?

A majority of parents are not aware that their children can be potentially charged with joint possession. That is why it is critical to teach your children to never get in a car they suspect might have drugs in it. It isn’t sufficient for your child to not use drugs. It is also important to be proactive about not allowing themselves to get into situations that are potentially compromising.

We all make mistakes. Simply getting a ride home from someone shouldn’t result in a felony conviction. It is imperative to speak with an experienced drug crimes lawyer in Harris Country if your child is ever charged unfairly with drug possession. Contact the Butler Law Firm today and speak with an experienced Harris County criminal defense lawyer if you are in need of immediate legal assistance.