A city councilman for the town of Tom Bean, Texas who was released by police despite appearing “heavily intoxicated” during a traffic stop was involved in a head-on collision a few days later. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:
[C]ity councilman, Benjamin Vincent, was arrested after the vehicle he was driving crashed into one driven by a Tom Bean ISD school official, according to both the Sherman Herald Democrat and Sherman TV station KXII.
Vincent was booked into the Grayson County Jail on a charge of intoxication assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Days earlier, on Saturday, July 22, 2017, a Whitewright, Texas police officer observed a car driven by Vincent cross into the oncoming lane. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram report continues: “During the course of the traffic stop, the driver was found to be heavily intoxicated and admitted to consuming an entire bottle of wine in the three-hour period preceding the stop,” the news release said. “[The officer] made a decision to allow someone to come pick up the individual in lieu of making an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated.”
The Whitewright police officer had already submitted his resignation to that police department and was seeking employment with a different department. According to the news reports, the officer made statements at the scene that indicated he would have arrested councilman Vincent were he not about to leave the police department. Upon learning of the incident, the Whitewright police chief sped up the officer’s departure plans by firing him.
Stories of police officers doing favors for fellow officers or elected officials who have been pulled over for driving while intoxicated are not common. There is no doubt that in years past this behavior was more common, but today with omnipresent cameras, this kind of thing is less common. Still, it is troubling to see this kind of favoritism by law enforcement officers.
If you have been arrested for suspicion of DWI in north Texas, you need to talk to an experienced Texas DWI attorney. At Blake & Blake LLP, we are Fort Worth DWI Lawyers who are ready to help you get the best outcome possible. Call us at 817-440-4444 or email us to see what we can do for you.
Just in time for training camp, the Dallas Cowboys received troubling news regarding one of their linebackers. Damien Wilson, who played in approximately 27% of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps in 2016, was expected to be an important part of the Cowboys’ 2017 defense. He may yet be a big contributor this year, but he is now facing criminal charges and a possibly lengthy suspension by the NFL.
Wilson was arrested on July 4, 2017 in a Frisco, Texas parking lot after he was alleged to have backed his SUV into a woman who was attempting to save the space for her friend. Wilson is also alleged to have brandished a rifle, but the accounts are conflicting. Wilson himself has blamed “road rage” for the incident.
The Dallas Morning News reports: “Wilson, 24, has posted bond and been released, police spokesman Ryan Chandler said. Each charge carried a $10,000 bond. The charges are second-degree felonies and, if convicted, Wilson could face two to 20 years in state prison and up to a $10,000 fine.”
If you are charged with aggravated assault or any other crime, you need the Best Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys to fight for you. At Blake & Blake LLP, we are experienced Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys.
According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, a driver suspected of DWI has crashed into a home featured on the popular HGTV home-improvement program. The house is known as the “Three Little Pigs House.” The owners of the home were asleep at the time of the accident and were not injured, but their home has suffered “considerable” damage.
If you or a loved one is arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, you need an experienced Texas DWI Attorney to fight for you. At Blake & Blake LLP, we are experienced Fort Worth DWI Defense Attorneys and are ready to assist you in your time of need. Give us a call at 817-440-4444 or email us at email@example.com.
From the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal comes a report of Texas criminal defense attorneys celebrating Independence Day by reading the document that started it all: the Declaration of Independence.
Quoting from the article:
Members of the Lubbock Criminal Defense Lawyers Association took turns Friday morning on the courthouse lawn reading the grievances against the British King that American colonists listed in a document that became the foundation of a country of people governed and protected by the rule of law.
Chuck Lanehart, a Lubbock attorney, told the dozens of people in the audience that the reading the association members did was similar to how colonists first heard the Declaration of Independence.
“There was no television, there was no radio, there were no telephones, no Twitter, no Facebook,” said Lanehart, one of the organizers of the event. “There were newspapers, but 50 percent of the population could not read. And so broadsides were prepared and brought all across the colonies to places like this, town halls, courthouses, and the Declaration of Independence was read just as we have done today.”
The criminal defense attorneys also read the Bill of Rights, the name given to the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Mr. Lanehart provides a perfect summary of the importance of the two documents:
“Both documents target absolute tyranny,” Lanehart said. “Both documents are designed to protect the people from government excesses. Both documents identify people void of class or privilege, yet demanding righteous human treatment. The Bill of Rights contains the rules, the tools that we as lawyers use every day in this courthouse and in courthouses across the country.”
If you have been charged with a crime in Tarrant county, or anywhere in North Texas, you need a Texas criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. At Blake & Blake LLP we are experienced Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys ready to help you fight for the best possible outcome to your case.
The Fourth of July holiday generally sees a large increase in drivers on the road as people make their way to the lake, or the fireworks show, or wherever else they want to celebrate Independence Day. Knowing that drivers are out in larger numbers, Texas law enforcement agencies often make a point of stepping up their presence in general and their efforts to catch suspected drunk drivers in particular. This year is no different, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:
“Citizens can expect to see more police presence out on the roadways during the upcoming Independence Day holidays thanks to grant funding from the Texas Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Program. The additional funding will pay overtime salaries for officers to conduct Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) activities including DWI enforcement as well as speed compliance.”
In addition to the increased presence of police and state troopers, we will certainly see north Texas law enforcement agencies tout “no refusal” periods around the holiday weekend. During these times, judges will be on-call to receive requests for search warrants to compel blood draws from drivers suspected of DWI. The Star-Telegram reports that the STEP DWI enforcement program will be taking place between June 24th through July 5th.
These periods of increased DWI enforcement are now a routine part of the holidays in Texas. If you have been arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated in Tarrant County, you need to speak with a Fort Worth DWI Attorney. At Blake & Blake LLP, we have handled many Fort Worth DWI cases and have also represented clients accused of DWI in surrounding counties. We know how to help you. And remember, if you have been charged with DWI you only have 15 days to request an ALR hearing or else your drivers’ license will be automatically suspended.
A Houston police officer has been indicted by a Harris County grand jury for kicking a suspected burglar who had already been shot and for tampering with evidence in the case. The incident took place in February, but the indictment by the grand jury was just handed down last week.
The officer had hurried to his own home upon learning that a burglary was reportedly in progress. The officer confronted the suspected burglar who was allegedly carrying some of the officers person property from the home. A struggle ensued and the officer shot the suspected burglar.
According to the Dallas Morning News:
“[v]ideo taken by witnesses of the incident indicated that Johnson then kicked Carr while he was down. ‛Officer Johnson delivered a number of blows with his foot by kicking Carr while he was on the ground incapacitated after he’d been shot,’ Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said at a news conference.”
Prosecutors also allege that the officer moved the suspected burglar’s tool, a pickle fork, to support the officer’s claim that the burglar had used it to threaten him.
This is the second case in the past two weeks of a Harris county law enforcement officer being indicted by a grand jury. A Harris County deputy and her husband were recently indicted on charged related to the death of a man allegedly placed in a chokehold by the deputy’s husband.
While indictments make headlines, it is important to remember that the grand jury’s only function is to determine whether probably cause exists to believe an offense has been committed. A grand jury’s indictment is far from a finding of guilt beyond-a-reasonable-doubt. If you are accused of a felony in Fort Worth, or anywhere in Tarrant County, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. A Fort Worth Grand Jury Attorney can help you understand the charges you are facing and help you defend yourself. If you have not yet been indicted, your attorney may be able to present evidence for consideration by the grand jury that can result in a “no bill.” If you need help with a grand jury or any criminal law matter in Tarrant, Dallas, Hood, Parker, Johnson, or any other Texas counties, Blake & Blake LLP can help. Our attorneys are experienced in defending criminal cases and have successfully represented clients accused of felonies. We have a track record of obtaining no bills from grand jury proceedings.
Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court denied without comment an appeal by country music legend Randy Travis attempting to prevent public release of his 2012 DWI arrest video. Mr. Travis had filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Attorney General seeking an order to prevent release of the arrest video. In 2016, the Third Court of Appeals in Austin had ruled that the video was a public record and had to be released. By denying Mr. Travis’s petition for review, the Supreme Court allowed the ruling of the Third Court of Appeals to stand.
It is worth noting that Mr. Travis filed a civil lawsuit against the Texas DPS and the Attorney General seeking to prevent release of the video. This was not part of the criminal case against Mr. Travis. And it is for that reason that the final say rested with the Texas Supreme Court and not the state’s highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals.
This is not a surprising result, as it is clear under Texas law that arrest videos are public records and it is equally clear that public records are subject to disclosure to news media and others. We suspect that Mr. Travis and his lawyers did not expect to be able to prevent release of the video but were instead hoping to drag out the process as long as possible so that when the video was finally released the news media and the internet would have moved on to other stories.
If you have been charged with DWI in Tarrant County (including Fort Worth, Arlington, Keller, Grapevine, Colleyville, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Haltom City and many other municipalities), you need a Tarrant County Criminal Defense Attorney with experience handling DWI cases. At Blake & Blake LLP, we are experienced Fort Worth DWI Attorneys who can help you achieve the best outcome in your case. Give us a call at 817-440-4444 or you can contract us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
“No refusal” weekends are a popular tactic employed by Texas law enforcement. As we have posted about before, these programs basically involve a heightened law enforcement presence on roads and highways combined with judges standing by to sign off on search warrants to compel blood samples from drivers who refuse to submit to breath or blood tests.
The recent Memorial Day “no refusal” period enforced by Austin police has led to many arrests of drivers suspected of driving while intoxicated. According to Patch.com:
“The latest iteration of ‛no refusal’ netted 166 drunk drivers—a number exponentially greater than previous weekend initiatives. The most recent DWI crackdown was in effect each night between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. from May 26 to June 12. Last year, 107 people were arrested during ‛no refusal’ initiatives for Memorial Day and the ROT Rally, police noted.
“The 164 arrests in the last ‛no refusal’ period (albeit a conflated tally that combines totals from Memorial Day and ROT periods together) was an exponentially greater level during the Superbowl version conducted from Feb. 3-6, when 50 DWI arrests were made.”
I don’t think “exponentially” is the right word here – it means something is growing more and more rapidly, not simply that one number is bigger than another – but it is clear that Austin police were much more active in the recently reported “no refusal” period.
If you have been charged with DWI in Tarrant County (including Fort Worth, Arlington, Keller, Grapevine, Colleyville, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Haltom City and many other municipalities), you need a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney with experience handling DWI cases. At Blake & Blake LLP, we are experienced Fort Worth DWI Lawyers who can help you achieve the best outcome in your case. Give us a call at 817-440-4444 or you can contract us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The term “felony murder” is often confusing to non-lawyers. Everyone knows there is no misdemeanor murder, so isn’t murder always a felony? And the answer is yes, murder is always a felony. But the tricky part here is that the term “felony” in felony murder is not referring to the degree of the offense, it is referring to a legal doctrine that basically says if someone dies during the commission of a felony, the person committing the felony can be charged with the crime we call murder. Every other definition of murder involves a culpable mental state; in felony murder, the commission of the underlying felony is taken as evidence of the necessary mental state. Felony murder is specifically defined in the Texas Penal Code Section 19.02(b)(3) (emphasis added):
A person commits an offense if he:
(1) intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual;
(2) intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act clearly dangerous to human life
that causes the death of an individual; or
(3) commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission or attempt, he commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes
the death of an individual.
A case from Buda, Texas gives an example of how Texas prosecutors can charge people accused of DWI with felony murder. DWI is normally a misdemeanor, but if someone has been convicted at least twice for misdemeanor DWI, each following DWI charge is a felony. In addition, DWI with a passenger under 15 years of age is also a felony. If someone dies in a car crash where the driver is accused of a felony-level DWI offense, prosecutors in Texas can also seek felony murder charges.
Discussing the Buda man’s case, Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau makes the typical argument for a murder charge in such a case:
“That’s a person who has been through the system a couple of times, has undoubtedly been told about the dangers of drinking and driving and has probably been through programs about how people are harmed by this,” said Mau. “Besides a DWI, he’s committing a felony and under our murder statute if a person is committing a felony and does an act clearly dangerous to human life, that’s a murder if it actually causes the death of another individual.”
Anyone charged with a criminal offense in Texas needs to speak with a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney. If they cannot afford to hire their own attorney, they must ask that the court appoint an attorney to represent them. As with any criminal charge, DWI charges are serious and only by consulting with an experienced Texas DWI Attorney can you protect your rights.
Tiger Woods was arrested last month for suspicion of driving while intoxicated after police found him asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle in Jupiter, Florida. When the news first broke, we wondered whether Mr. Woods had taken a breathalyzer or submitted a blood sample for alcohol testing. As it turned out, Mr. Woods did take a breathalyzer which shows a blood alcohol content (BAC) or 0.0. We have now learned from the police report that Mr. Woods told police he had taken Xanax. In addition to Xanax, Mr. Woods had been prescribed Vicodin, Solarex, Vioxx, and Turox, according to the police report.
In Texas, as in Florida, being impaired by legal, prescription drugs can still lead to a DWI conviction. In fact, it is not uncommon for police to eschew the breathalyzer and prefer blood tests precisely because the blood test may disclose the presence of drugs (legal or illegal). As Mr. Woods’s case illustrates, police do not have to show any amount of alcohol to arrest you for DWI. Moreover, because of the interactions between many common pain killers and sleep aids with alcohol, a low BAC with the presence of other prescription drugs can be just as damaging for a defendant as a high BAC.
Mr. Woods is to be arraigned on July 5. We do not yet know how he and his attorneys intend to handle the case. As some DWI attorneys have said, the statement that Mr. Woods issued following his arrest may have hurt his chances of avoiding conviction. His statement tried to make clear to the public that he had not been drinking – something we now know was true – but in doing so he admitted to being under the influence of his prescription drugs. We are sure that Mr. Woods has the best DWI Attorneys working on his case, but even they may have a hard time avoiding a conviction at this point.
If you have been charged with DWI or any crime, you need an experienced Texas Criminal Defense Attorney to obtain the best results. Give us a call at 817-440-4444 so that we can help you.