Articles Posted in Texas Laws

If my license is suspended for DWI, can I still drive to work? 

If you are facing a charge for DWI and your license is suspended, you may be eligible for what is known as an Occupational Driver’s License or ODL for short. This type of license allows a person to drive a non-commercial vehicle if their license is suspended, revoked, or denied because of DWI. 

Eligibility. 

One of the first questions we ask our criminal consults is: Have you ever been arrested before? We do this not to embarrass you or make you feel bad, but to make sure we know what could possibly happen with your case. There is a chance that, based on your prior record, your state jail felony could be bumped up from anywhere to a 3rd-degree felony to a 1st-degree felony. We call this a punishment enhancement.

When we ask about your record, it includes needing to know ANY PLACE you’ve been arrested. Including other state and other counties. It also includes ANY TIME you’ve been arrested, no matter how long ago it was. When a prosecutor receives your case, the first thing they do is have an investigator run your background. These are FBI like background checks that can find EVERYTHING. Therefore, the best advice is to be upfront immediately so we can know how to prepare for your case. 

How can they do this? 

So your license to drive is suspended but you are still driving? That happens a lot in Texas. We’ve designed our State in a way that driving is required to function. You can’t walk to work in most areas, and public transportation is not something Texas has invested in. So people have to drive and sometimes will continue to do so after their license is suspended.

What’s the offense for driving with license invalid in Texas? That’s Texas Transportation Code Section 521.457(a)(2). It is illegal in Texas to operate a motor vehicle; on a highway; during a period that the person’s driver’s license or privilege was suspended or revoked under any Texas law.

How bad is it to commit DWLI? What’s the range of punishment?

Assault Family Violence is one the worst misdemeanor charges a defendant in Texas can face (the other being DWI). Worst as in the collateral consequences of a conviction, or even a plea for deferred adjudication, can be life-changing. As a result of the serious nature of these charges, many family violence cases end up set for trial. At its core, a family violence case is still an assault, and there many defenses to an assault charge, including self-defense. If you are looking at a jury trial for an assault, one thing your lawyer must prepare for is the jury charge. That is, what the jury will be instructed to do once evidence is considered. If you are trial strategy is based on self-defense, then you want the jury to be able to consider that defense in the jury charge.

What’s the law on self-defense in family violence cases?

It’s the same as self-defense for any other type of assault.

Intoxication Manslaughter is basically a regular DWI with an additional element, that the defendant’s intoxication caused the death of another. It’s a 2nd-degree felony, which means a possible 2-20 year TDC sentence and a fine of up to $10,000.

Let’s look at Texas Penal Code 49.08-

Sec. 49.08. INTOXICATION MANSLAUGHTER. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:

You are standing on a sidewalk outside your apartment complex while smoking a cigarette, a police officer approaches and asks what you are doing, and if you know anything about a crime that occurred earlier that day. Do you have to speak with the police? Can you leave?

The police don’t have to arrest you to speak with you. And if you aren’t in custody, or subject to custodial interrogation, the police don’t have to read you your rights (Miranda warnings). Many clients ask if the police can “just start asking questions” and tell me “they never read me my rights.” In the case of consensual encounters, the police can just ask you questions, without reading you your rights.

What is a consensual encounter?

Texans love guns. We love booze. We live in a state with crappy public transportation. The result? A lot of people with concealed handgun licenses (CHL) get arrested for DWI in Texas. And a lot of people who want to get a CHL have a DWI conviction on their record.

The answer is no, you can’t get a CHL after a DWI conviction, at least for a while.

A misdemeanor DWI conviction will disqualify you from getting a CHL for a period of 5 years. Don’t take my word for it. Here is a DPS statement on the subject

Good news in the world of DWI’s has emerged from the 85th Texas Legislature. If certain criteria are met, now, it may be possible to file a petition for non-disclosure on DWI convictions. Texas House Bill 3016, Government Code 411.0731, defines the procedure and criteria. Section 411.0716(a) explains that this new act will apply to DWI’s committed before, on, or after September 1, 2017.

Does my DWI conviction qualify?

This new section will only apply to a person who has successfully completed a term of community supervision. This means that your community supervision was not revoked, you successfully served any jail time given and you paid all court costs, fines, and any other restitution imposed as part of the conviction.

This is part 3 of our on-going series on Texas Penal Code Section 22.01 Assault. Today we are going to talk about way to make a regular Class A assault (bodily injury) a felony. That would be an assault against a public servant. Section (a)(1)(b)(1) defines assault on a public servant as an assault against-

a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant;

This requires that the defendant a) know the person is a public servant, and b) the public servant is performing is performing an official duty or (c) or in retaliation from the performance of an official duty. A third degree felony has a range of punishment of 2-10 years in TDC, and a possible $10,000 fine.

There are many different offenses with the word “assault” in them in Texas. Assault by Contact, Assault on a Public Servant, Sexual Assault, Assault Family Violence, Assault by Contact (Class C) etc. Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code covers a broad range of conduct, everything from Class C misdemeanor assaults to Second Degree Felony Assault. Let’s dive into the statute and see what’s going on here.

First up, what is an assault in Texas?

Basically, it’s causing bodily injury, threatening bodily injury, or offensive physical contact. Specifically

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