Archive for the ‘Criminal Law’ Category

You’re under arrest under one count of being ‘Super Drunk’

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Statute adds criminal penalties if BAC is .17 or higher

This past Halloween weekend a more strict law in regards to drunk driving went into effect in Michigan.  Motor vehicle operators who are caught behind the wheel and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .17% will face stiffer penalties and fines.  T he current standard level of intoxication is a BAC of .08.  This new standard of .17 BAC is what is considered ‘Super Drunk’ or ‘High BAC’.  If arrested under this new law, a criminal penalty will be added.  The new law also will add a criminal penalty per 100 milliliters of blood, 210 liters of breath, or 67 milliliters of urine.
Senate Bill 1134 and House Bill 4289 which deals with this was signed into law on January 9, 2009 and took full affect on Sunday October, 31st in Michigan.  Along with the introduction of this new law, a change has been made so that local prosecutors will not be dealing with such cases.  They will be now handled by the Genesee County prosecutor.  According to Rick Aro, Fenton Police Chief, arrests will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis in order to determine if the new statute is appropriate to use. “Potentially, the county prosecutor could be inundated with these cases,” said Aro. “We’ll look at each case and decide whether to go to the prosecutor or charge as we have in the past.”

Other rules for the new law include that the High BAC statute will only be used on first offenses.  The penalties for an OWI(second offense) or OWI (third offense) is more severe than the penalties of the Super Drunk statute.  Other requirements of law include the following:

  • drivers license suspension
  • use of an ignition interlock device while driving on a restricted license
  • participation in an alcohol rehabilitative program
  • requires law enforcement officers to impound a vehicle not equipped with the proper ignition interlock device

Now more than before, it is going to be very crucial to engage and experienced Michigan criminal attorney as soon as possible when arrested for drunk driving in Michigan


Texas DWI Penalties

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment
First Offense DWI (Class B Misdemeanor)
  • Fines:  Maximum of $2,000
  • Jail:  Minimum of 72 hours and a maximum of 6 months
  • Open Container of Alcohol:  If an open container is involved with the arrest then you will serve a minimum of 6 days in jail.
  • Community Service:  A minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 10
community service
A community supervision or probation is often granted for persons who commit a first DWI offense.  This can range from 1-2 years.  Outside of this, there are community supervisions that or typical.
  • Drug/Alcohol Evaluation:  Required submission for evaluation in order to prevent future DWI or disclose any potential issues with drug or alcohol abuse.  In the case that an issue is detected, additional terms are added through the Community Supervision Department.
  • DWI Education Class:  Must be attended and completed within 180 days of the conviction.  Completing this will help individuals of a legal drinking age  avoid the 1 year drivers license suspension.
  • Victim Impact Panel Attendance:  Attend the forum and learn from victims of drunk drivers about the dangers of driving while intoxicated.
  • Maintain Employment & Clean record:  Basically hold down a steady job while committing no other crimes while remaining at the same employment & residence.  This can be changed only with notification to ones community supervision officer.
  • Pay Supervisory Fee:  This is done on a monthly basis by performing hours of community or volunteer service.
Facing a DWI charge on your own can be complicated.  It is advised that you consult with an experienced Austin DWI lawyer when facing charges.  To read more about DWI penalties beyond a first offense visit this article by

Texas County Plans for a Public Defender Office

August 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Final plans are in the making for Texas residents in Harris County who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.  A $4.1 million grant application has been submited to Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense in plans to develope a public defenders office for adults and juveniles.  If the grants come through, they will provide funding for the offices operations for a year.

How do Public Defender offices work?

The entire public defender system is overlooked by a chief public defender.  From their, the office is further segmented into divisions and headed by a chief and selected assistant pblic defenders, investigators and clerks.  Overseeing the office as a whole would be a coard who is responsible for evaulating the system.    According to Caprice Cosper who is the director at the Office of Criminal Justice Coordination stated that 4 divisiosn are within the plan.  The four hopeful divisions are Misdemeanor Mental Health, Appellate, Felony Trial and Juvenile Trial.

Harris CountySo what would this mean for the future?

This type of established Public Defenders Office will provide a judge the opportunity to appointa private attorney to an indigent (one who cannot afford an attorney) client.  Thusly, a new hybrid system will be born where judges have the choice to select a court-appointed attorney or qualified legal representation from the public defenders office.

So… is this a good idea after all?

Supporters of the public defender office say it will attract top lawyers, have more access to legal resources and be easy for the county to monitor.  Those in favor stand behind the idea that you can potentially higher quality attorneys and access to better investigators.  Some, Such as the 3rd Precinct Commissioner Steve Raddick supports it because it can help those who cannot afford legal representation in Harris County.

Those who appose a public defenders office worry that it could wind up being a similar situation as that found in public defender offices across the nation.  This is a system that easy to bread overworked and underfunded attorneys.  Former president of of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association feels similar stating that “in a perfect world, if you get a public defender system with enough money, it would be fine, but there is always going to be a shortage of money.

Other concerns are that of a power play in which the wealthy are able to hire high-powered attorneys to overpower government lawyers.

It would be interesting to get the take on the issue from Collin County criminal defense attorneys and lawyers from surrounding areas in Texas.