Articles Posted in DWI Legislation

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A third new DWI bill proposed by Representative Guillen deals with the DWI surcharge for those convicted of DWI, but completed the DWI/Drug Court program.  I have spoken about the DWI/Drug Court program in the past.  In Collin County, the only DWI /Drug Court is in Judge Ray Wheless’ County Court #4.

This bill would allow the surcharge to be reduced by up to 80%.  Right now, anyone convicted of DWI 1st must pay 3,000 to the state over three years.  If you are convicted of DWI 2nd, it is 4,500 over 3 years, and if you blow over .16, it is $6,000 over three years.

I think this bill is a great idea, because it gives some incentives for someone to really turn their lives around.  The Drug court is usually reserved for those on DWI 2nd, so it is an important time in those offenders’ lives.

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The second bill relating to DWI Defense has been proposed by Representative Dutton.  I think it is a fantastic idea.

The crux of the bill changes Sec 42.12, which is the community supervision (probation) section of the code.  Right now, there are certain crimes that if convicted and placed on probation, you are not allowed early release off.  They are mostly major aggravated crimes involving weapons or sex offenses.  The worst of the worst.  But strangely enough, DWI was added to it.  This means if you get 2 years probation, you cannot get off early.

Not being able to get off probation early ties the hands of the judges and the prosecutors for people who have been sucessful on probation.  It takes away a lot of discretion for those in the know, that are put in their positions by the people that elect them.  This bill would remove the "DWI restriction" and allow somone on DWI probation to be released early.  It doesn’t make any other changes, such as making it not a final conviction, or removing from their record — simply letting them get off probation early.  Judges/Prosecutors usually only allow this if you have already completed all the terms and condtions of probation (commuity service, DWI classes, etc.).

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I noticed that in the past few days, a few new DWI bills have been proposed.  I found 5 imparticular that may be of consequence to the DWI defense world.

The first, proposed by Texas Rep Riddle.  From what I can see, it related to who can pull blood from a person suspeced of DWI.  It amends the transportation code, which already has a list of "approved" people to pull blood.  This bill seems to add in an EMT or paramedic.  EMT’s and paramedics were specifically excluded from those allowed to pull blood from suspects.

Below is the entire proposed text of the bill:

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Thanks to Robert Guest for pointing out to me that I was mentioned on Dallas/Ft Worth’s 1310 the Ticket.  They pulled up this blog, and the entry HERE.

Apparently, they show’s Gordon Keith was talking about Charles Barkley’s recent DUI arrest.  They were examining the difference between DUI and DWI.  

However, I think the information from my site probably is not what they were looking for.  My site lists the difference between DUI and DWI in Texas.  What they probably wanted to know is why Charles Barkley’s offense was DUI.  The answer is simple.  Each state calls this crime something different.  Acutally, most states refer to the crim of driving while intoxicated / driving under the influcence as DUI.  It is the same thing, with slightly different laws from state to state.  So, what Barkley was charged with is our equivalent of DWI.

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I was pretty disgusted when I read an article today on chron.com.  A while back I posted about Rep. Michael Krusee, who pushed for legislation fining people between $3000-$6,000 for DWI convictions.  Of course, part of this is if you give a breath sample above .16, you are liable to the government for $6000.

Well, as do most judges and people in the know when they are arrested for DWI, they refuse the breath test.  I knew that someone that who pushed for this legislation would never take the breath test.  Not only does the test have tons of problems, but if you score high, you are fined an extra $3,000.

Apparently, today, ‘ole Mike got his case dismissed.    I can’t even begin to tell you how many cases have what would seem to be the same facts as described in the article:

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A recent article in the Dallas Morning News is talking about a new law passed by Texas to help nab more uninsured motorists.

The topic of this post is not whether or not it is a good law, waste of time, etc., but rather who helped champion the law…. Yup, MADD.

In the article, it tells us that:

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Austin, TX DWI Lawyer Jamie Spencer recently posted about whether or not someone should "call out" of those arrested for DWI or other crimes on blogs.

He explains:

I don’t blog about so-and-so got arrested for such-and-such. It’s
-Not my style
-Seems like making fun of people in the same situation as my clients
-Not usually relevant to my ‘niche’
-Overdone by the cut-and-paste bloggers
-Not a case I think I know anything about, since all my info about it comes from the media
-There’s about a hundred more reasons I don’t ‘do’ that type of blogging.

I’d agree with him for the most part.  This was in response to my previous post, and others who constantly tell him "hey, you should blog about ________ being arrested!"

I don’t normally report on people getting arrested.  I haven’t once mentioned Lindsay, Brittany, Nicole, etc.  I felt this one was different for a few reasons.

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The Dallas Morning News has reported that the legislator that helped pass the surcharge for DWI drivers was arrested and charged with DWI himself. 

Naturally, "He refused a Breathalyzer and blood test, according to the affidavit." according to the Austin-American Statesman.

Anyone out there surprised he refused to give a sample of his breath?  I reported about judges and cops knowing about how to refuse tests in the past here and here.

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Frisco is now voting on whether or not to allow longer alcohol serving hours for bars and restaurants.  The proposed (bill?) will allow restaurants and bars to serve until 2 AM, instead of the current Midnight.

I have been approached by many friends and colleagues about the possibility of Frisco having longer drinking hours.  The conversation usually starts, "wow, Hunter, this is something that will probably be great for your business, huh?"

So, here are my thoughts on the matter.

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In an interesting move, the city of Freeport is requiring public event organizers to offer safe rides home from events offering alcohol.

I think this is a neat move.. they could have simply said, “lets put more police on the street,” but instead decided to actually try prevention.  I’ve always believed that more police was never the answer to thwarting more crime.  Most Criminology courses would teach the same.  General deterrence just does not work.

I like this idea, and think Freeport is quite progressive in their thinking.  I’m not 100% sure it should be a requirement, but I like the idea of this being offered at events.