These are actual case stories from the DWI Dude team. To protect our clients’ confidentiality we have not used any names.
2017 C.C. – Driving While Intoxicated; 3rd Offense – Williamson County
Alice was able to work with prosecutors to negotiate for our client who was out on parole with an impending blue warrant a deal to reduce a DWI 3rd felony offense with a BAC of 0.16 down to a Class A misdemeanor DWI and a sentence of 90 days in county jail. This keeps our client in county jail to do his time and is beneficial in handling his parole matters dealing with only a misdemeanor conviction instead of an additional felony conviction. We and the client were very happy with the results.
2017 V.V. – ALR Hearing – Williamson County
Alice attended an ALR hearing for one of our Williamson County clients to contest the automatic license suspension that comes with a DWI arrest. Alice argued that given our client was asleep in her vehicle and properly situated in a parking space, no traffic violations had been committed and the officer did not see her operate the vehicle, that there was no reasonable suspicion for the stop. The judge agreed that DPS did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there was reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop or arrest the client and dismissed the license suspension. This allows our client to continue driving and avoid a year long suspension that DPS was attempting to impose before our client’s criminal case has even been resolved. We are very pleased with this result for our client!
2017 – M.R. – Possession of a Controlled Substance in a School Zone – Bexar County
M.R. came to our office when he was 17 years old and still in high school. He and his father, a Colonel stationed in San Antonio met with our staff to discuss the charges against him. At 17 years old M.R. was facing being labeled a Felon for the rest of his life because he was charged with Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Paraphernalia, both in a school zone. M.R. had brought a small amount of weed wax (AKA-dabs, hash oil, hasheesh) and a pipe in his backpack to school, where police found it. In addition to the criminal cases, M.R. was also facing disciplinary action from the school district in the form of being expelled from the district. Attorney Sean Simpson met with M.R. to discuss the truth of the events and facts leading up to his arrest so they could determine a game plan for success.
After meeting with the school board it was agreed to that M.R. would be allowed to finish high school at the alternative school and not have to move school districts to graduate. The criminal case was not favorable for us; M.R. was caught red handed with marijuana wax in the school zone. However, our office was able to put together a mitigation packet to show the district attorney M.R. had a bright future and a felony conviction could derail him for the rest of his young life.
The state’s attorneys were set on putting M.R. on felony-deferred probation. This would give him a chance to avoid being a felon if he completed probation but if he messed up once he could be convicted of the felony. Our team was concerned that as young as M.R. was that felony probation could be too much and set him up for failure. Through lengthy negotiations and having M.R. complete some assignments provided by our office Sean was able to secure a misdemeanor Class B Possession of Marijuana with deferred adjudication and early termination plea fro M.R. This meant that M.R.’s felony charge was immediately dismissed and if he finished his short misdemeanor probation the misdemeanor would also be dismissed and he would have no convictions on his record.
A few months after closing the original case Sean received a call from M.R.’s father that a Motion to Revoke probation (MTR) had been filed in M.R.’s case. During probation M.R. kept testing positive for marijuana and had never completed community service or paying his fines. Our office moved quickly to meet with the probation officer in charge and have M.R. complete everything left on probation prior to the first MTR setting. In addition to what was required, Sean had M.R. complete a drug class not required to show to the DA, probation officer, and Judge M.R. would be willing to go above and beyond to avoid a marijuana conviction so he could afford college (In Texas, a marijuana conviction will prevent financial aid).
At the MTR setting Sean presented everything M.R. had completed to the district attorney and probation officer along with some information regarding personal matters M.R. was going through. Our goal was to avoid putting the revocation in the Judge’s hands because of his reputation with MTR’s. Sean was able to do that and show that while M.R. had messed up on probation he was able to turn it around and complete more than what was asked of him. In the end, both the DA and probation agreed to drop the MTR and successfully discharge M.R.’s case with a dismissal allowing him to move out of state and attend college.
Our office and staff understand that not every case is the same and neither is every individual. What works for some may not work for others and some people need more encouragement or even a kick in the butt. We work hard to fight for our clients in and out of the courtroom to ensure their success.
2017 S.A. – Selling Alcohol to Minor
Client was a young lady who worked as a cashier at a local gas station. At the very end of her shift, while closing out, an individual approached with one beer to purchase. In the haste of closing out and trying to help other customers she mistakenly forgot to check his I.D. and sold him the beer. Unbeknownst to her she was being setup on a random TABC raid and was subsequently arrested with a Class A misdemeanor facing up to one year in jail. At the time of the arrest Client was working her way through school, had no criminal history, and had very real aspirations to attend medical school. After meeting with Client, our San Antonio attorney Sean was able to share the complete truth with the District Attorney as well as let them know the consequence this could have on Client’s entire future. Through lengthy discussion, the District Attorney agreed to accept Client into the Pre-Trial Diversion program, which will allow her to maintain a clean record and have the record of arrest removed permanently. She will be able to follow her dream and continue on to medical school. Our attorneys and staff understand that not every case is about whether or not an individual is guilty, but rather the best possible outcome for our client.
2017 A.D. Possession of Marijuana and Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon
Client was arrested for POM and then arrested again for UCW and POM while out on bond. Initial offer was 2 years probation for all charges to run concurrent. Set cases for trial and pressured prosecutors for a better offer. Final disposition was to dismiss both POMs and serve 6 months deferred adjudication for UCW with State unopposed to early termination.
2017 D.B. – DWI Avoided Jail Sentence
Client stopped when officer saw her swerving out of her lane twice after a citizen called 911 to report a drunk driver. client failed sfst and submitted breath test of .189/.207 and had a prior DWI conviction. Client followed our mitigation plan and the class A misdemeanor was reduced to a class B DWI. This allowed for jail time and enhanced penalties to be waived by the state. Client avoided a ten-day jail sentence and additional $3000.00 surcharge that would have occurred.
2017 – C.L. was charged with Possession of Marijuana.
Attorney Stephanie May carefully reviewed C.L.’s police report and video evidence. She observed the Texas State Trooper make an illegal search of C.L.’s vehicle. The Trooper demanded C.L. to roll down all the vehicle windows and then entered his head inside the vehicle and searched inside without any probable cause. Attorney brought the illegal search to the prosecutor’s attention and he immediately dismissed the case.
2016 – T.R. – Bexar County – Assault and Two (2) Motions to Revoke Probation (MTRP) for Possession of Marijuana and Evading Arrest.
T.R. was a very young man who came to The Law Office of Jamie Balagia for help because he knew he was facing serious jail time and needed someone who would fight for him. Not only was T.R. facing a new charge of Assault, but the State was also trying to revoke his probation for two cases he had previously pled to only a few months prior. To make matters worse, T.R. was in a court with a Judge that is known for her harsh punishments. From the initial intake meeting T.R. was adamant he did not punch a young girl, as the State and their “victim” were alleging he did. Although it was clear a young lady was assaulted, after reviewing the one-sided police reports and witness statements closely with T.R., we were able to see things were not completely adding up with the alleged victim’s story of who assaulted her. Over the course of several hearings attorney Sean Simpson met with prosecutors, probation, and several witnesses to discuss what actually took place. In the end the State and probation refused to drop the case and both MTR’s. So our team set the cases for a contested hearing before the Judge and subpoenaed several witnesses to the case including the state’s own “victim.” On the day of the hearing Sean suggested he and the prosecutor talk to the alleged victim together off the record to avoid the possibility of her providing perjured testimony. During the meeting Sean was allowed to ask the alleged victim questions and it became abundantly clear to everyone in the room that this was a case of jealousy and the State’s alleged “victim” was trying to get back at T.R. After the meeting the State refused to proceed with the new assault case knowing they could not let a lying witness on the stand and as a result both MTR’s were dropped as well! Since that date T.R. has successfully completed his deferred probation on the two older cases and is applying to colleges with a clean record.
2016 -L.M. – Bexar County – Motion to Revoke Felony DWI Probation
L.M. was on felony probation for a DWI 4th which included monthly Urinalysis test. L.M. tested positive several times for methamphetamine and the Judge was inclined to put L.M. in the San Antonio Treatment Facility, which includes 6-12 months of incarceration. After meeting with L.M. and her family discussing the root problem we were able to get L.M. the help and support group she needed. After several hearings with probation, the State, and the Judge we were able to allow L.M. to continue the support she needed while still staying on probation so she would not have a Felony conviction. By allowing L.M. to remain with her family and not go into custody she was able to address her problem as well as save her family and not have a Felony conviction.
2016 J.C. – In March of 2016, we had a case reduced from a DWI to a deferred adjudication obstruction of a highway charge in Williamson County. After J.C. had completed half the term of his deferred probation, we motioned the court for early termination of probation. Having completed all that was asked of him on his probation, the judge granted his early termination and he was released 9 months early from his probation and all charges were dismissed!
2016 N.L. – In Bell County, our client had been charged with his 2nd DWI. After reviewing the video and coming to the conclusion there was nothing to substantiate the claim that our client had been intoxicated and operating a vehicle, we set the case for trial. I also emailed the prosecutor behind the scenes and urged him to review the video. After taking a second look, the prosecutor agreed with me that our client was not intoxicated and dismissed the case.
2016 E.R. – In Williamson County, our client had a theft charge and a DWI charge. Our client had refused all sobriety tests, breath and blood tests like we always encourage our clients to do. Not having much to go on, the prosecution agreed to reduce the charge to a reckless driving and dismissed the DWI. The prosecution also agreed to dismiss the theft charge.
2016 J.D. – Another Williamson County client who refused all blood/breath & sobriety tests. We had this client take a few alcohol education classes and an alcohol assessment up front to demonstrate to the prosecutors that this client did not have any substance abuse issues. After completing these up front requirements, the prosecutors agreed based on the lack of intoxication evidence to reduce the charge to obstruction of a highway and dismiss the DWI charge.
2016 C.H. – In 2014 we had negotiated for our client to enter into a deferred adjudication agreement with Lee County for a 4 year probation period on a felony possession of marijuana charge. After successfully completing all the probation requirements in the 1st half of his probation, we motioned the court for early termination of his probation. The judge said “Merry Christmas” and released our client 2 years early on his probation and the charge was dismissed as a result of a successful deferred adjudication probation.
2016 J.R. – Our client was arrested in a neighborhood in Williamson County for DWI after throwing a beer can out his window while being stopped by the police. Our client had refused to give a blood or breath sample, but he did consent to the field sobriety tests. His performance on the tests did not reflect intoxication and despite the uphill battle involving the beer can, we were able to get the prosecution to dismiss the DWI and refile the case as an obstruction of a highway.
2015 – K.W. – Possession of a Controlled Substance – Kerr County
I was given the opportunity to represent a young lady in a small town on a Possession of Controlled Substance case. While out on bond, she was arrested and charged with various other criminal acts ultimately resulting in 4 felonies and 2 misdemeanors. After lengthy negotiations with both the District Attorney’s office and the County Attorney’s office, a plea agreement for probation and in-custody rehabilitation was reached. I watched a young lady lose custody of her children and be sent away to SAFP for 6 months. I went to the prison and visited with her a few times over the 6 month period. Each time I was met by a different person. Each time I went, I was met by a more mature and healthy young lady. Ultimately, she was released from the program and placed on her probation. The success part of this story really begins with her hard work and dedication to redemption. Within a month of release, this young lady had two jobs. She worked for two years almost 80 hours a week. In those two years, she paid all of her fines, court costs and thousands of dollars of restitution. Currently she is in the process of applying for early release from her probation. If she is released early, she will be among the 1% of people that can truly conquer addiction and piece their lives back together. She has made me and her family so proud of her.
These stories are why I do what I do for a living.
2015- J.L. – DWI 1st with prior Obstructing a Highway – Bexar County
J.L. is a young professional who went out with his friends on Halloween and decided to be responsible and drive his friend home who had drank too much. While heading home J.L. was pulled over for speeding and admitted to the officer he had a couple drinks but was not impaired. Even though J.L. did very well on the SFST’s the officer arrested J.L., mainly because he had a prior DWI arrest. Once the case got to court, the DAs working the case would not offer anything other than a DWI conviction to J.L. because of his prior criminal history. Law Office of Jamie Balagia associate attorneys Sean Simpson and Hallye Casey Braud decided to have a jury trial and let Jason’s peers determine if he was intoxicated. After meeting with Sean and Hallye several times J.L. decided to trust their experience in fighting DWI cases. After a hard fought trial with a very difficult officer trying anything he could to make J.L. look impaired, six jurors from Bexar County saw through the lies. They returned a verdict after a short deliberation of NOT GUILTY. After the trial, the jurors told Sean and Hallye they did not believe J.L. was impaired and that they could tell the officer was exaggerating, if not outright lying! J.L. was finally allowed to remove his ignition interlock after nearly two years and move on with his life and career.
2015- R.J. – Assault – Bexar County
R.J. is a manager at clothing and shoe store in a Bexar County mall. One day while R.J. was working, a couple came into the store and started horsing around and disrupting other shoppers in the store. When R.J. approached them and asked them to cut it out or leave the store they became aggressive towards him. R.J. remained calm but insisted the couple leave the store. While walking the couple out of the store the male began to fight with R.J. and punched him in the face. R.J. pushed back against the male and finally got the couple out of the store. After they left the store the couple came back with a police officer saying that R.J. had punched the lady in the face. Although R.J. was the victim and had sustained injuries, the officers placed him under arrest for assault. At court, Law Office of Jamie Balagia associate attorney Sean Simpson advised R.J. to turn down several deferred adjudication offers from the DA and instead proceed to a jury trial. After several failed requests for the DAs to do the right thing and dismiss the case, Sean set the case for a Jury Trial. On the date of the jury trial the state tried everything they could to get R.J. to accept a plea deal but he remained confident in the Law Offices of Jamie Balagia and refused to take any deal other than an outright dismissal. Once the State realized they were really going to have to try the case, the DA folded her cards and dismissed the case. Not only does R.J. not have an assault on his record but he will also be eligible to expunge the arrest off of his otherwise clean record!
2015 – A.R.- Possession of Marijuana 0-2 oz, Bexar County
A.R. was stopped by the SAPD Gang Unit about 7pm on New Year’s Eve. Officers alleged they pulled him over for going under the speed limit in the left lane and they were also concerned he may be intoxicated. Subsequently, Marijuana was found in plain view on the passenger seat.
After I set the case for a Motion to Suppress the stop, the prosecutors conceded that there was no reasonable suspicion that A.R. had committed any traffic violation or that any criminal activity was occurring. The prosecutors requested the Court dismiss the case and A.R.’s case was dismissed.
Law enforcement cannot stop/detain citizens without first having a reasonable suspicion that a crime (including a traffic violation) has occurred.
2015- A.A.- Driving While Intoxicated- 2d, Bexar County
A.A. is a 58 year old man who fell asleep in the drive-thru line one night. A.A. had worked a 17 hour day at his maintenance position. The staff of the restaurant contacted the police instead of attempting to wake A.A. up and assist him. When officers arrived, they immediately conducted sobriety tests to which elderly Mr. A performed well on. He was asked for a sample of his breath. Mr. A invoked his constitutional right to refuse to provide a sample. He voiced his refusal five times. However the officer continued to hassle him about providing a sample. Mr. A ultimately was coerced and provided a sample against his will. The Law Office of Jamie Balagia, P.C. filed a motion to suppress the breath test in the case due to it being involuntarily obtained. The State dismissed the case.
2015 – A.F. – Driving While Intoxicated, Uvalde County
A.F. was originally charged with a DWI case. A.F. was treated poorly by the officer even after being cooperative and performing all field sobriety tests. A.F. ultimately refused to provide a sample of breath or blood. After constant negotiation between the attorneys of the Law Office of Jamie Balagia, P.C. and the prosecutor, we were able to negotiate a reduction to a Class C misdemeanor, open container citation. A.F. was happy to avoid a DWI conviction.
2014 – C. H. – Driving While Intoxicated – Felony – Hays County
I tried a case to a jury in Hays County, Texas. CH was arrested for DWI-Felony 3rd or more. Because CH was convicted of a theft by check case in the mid 1980’s the State decided to try to force a plea of guilty by enhancing his range of punishment from 2-10 years in prison to 2-20 years in prison and a possible $10,000.00. In addition, because of his prior felony conviction he was not eligible for probation from a jury. Meaning if he went to the jury for punishment the least he could be sentenced to was two (2) years in prison.
Prior to jury selection the State offered him four (4) years’ probation on a felony conviction and a fine of $1000.00. My client, partly because of the possible prison sentence, offered to plead to a misdemeanor. The Assistant District Attorney literally laughed in our face and said he could take the probation or they would ask for 15 years. In polite society I cannot state my client’s response.
A jury was picked and the State put on its case, which basically was the testimony of the DPS trooper and a video of the field sobriety tests administered on the side of the road. The reason for the stop was alleged to be speeding. During cross examination I thought the trooper was inept. We rested without calling any witnesses.
The next morning each side argued the evidence. The jury was out a total of less than SIX (6) minutes and found my client NOT GUILTY. Considering the Assistant District Attorney’s response to our attempt to compromise before the trial I just want to say “WHO’S LAUGHING NOW”. The judge granted an immediate expunction of the arrest and the two (2) years driver’s license suspension imposed by DPS was immediately lifted and erased from my client’s driving record.
2013 – R.C. – Interlock Violation Hearing – Bexar County
RC had two violations on his ignition interlock device; the first on 4/20/2103 and the second on 4/23/2013. Judge immediately issued warrant and told Megan that upon his arrest he would have to sit in jail for a while. The 4/20/2013 violation proved not to be RC by virtue of the camera on the II device. The 4/23/2013 violation alleged a BAC of 0.23. Adam filed a Motion to Recall the Warrant and Reinstate Bond with a request for a hearing. On client’s court date the Judge did recall the warrant but ordered prosecution to call the II company and have an employee come down and explain the violation report. Once that was done then RC could go to jail. The Court notified the office the next morning that the II Employee would be at the courthouse in 30 minutes. Megan and Adam arrived in court – Megan brought the office II in her briefcase! The Judge went on the record and the II Employee explained how the first violation was not RC. He went on to explain that the 4/23/2013 was the client and that it was indicative of alcohol being present. RC maintained that it was body spray from the get go. The II Employee stated that because there was no clean retest after the 0.23 BAC failure it must be alcohol. Judge agreed. THE PERRY MASON MOMENT – through Megan’s questioning it was revealed that the report sent to the Judge was not complete and was actually missing the retest after RC blew 0.23. Judge then ordered II Employee to get the complete records. He did and it showed that not only did RC retest 2 hours after the 0.23 failure but he blew a 0.00!!. The failure was a 0.23 and the retest 2 hours later was 0.00 – that indicated that RC had not been drinking at all. Judge GRANTED the motion and ordered RC to go through the orientation for use of the device again.
2013 – S.Y. – Driving While Intoxicated- Dismissed after Motion to Suppress – Bexar County
SY was yet another victim of the San Antonio-area DWI witch hunt. The Bexar County District Attorney, Susan Reed, has built a strong propaganda campaign targeting those who drink and then drive. This tunnel-vision emphasis on DWI arrests has led to over-zealous police work, where officers will arrest first and ask questions later. That is exactly what happened to SY. While driving one night, SY committed a minor traffic violation, which led to him being pulled over by an SAPD officer. Before the officer did any sort of investigation, he had decided that SY was intoxicated and arrested SY. Before arresting SY, the officer did not ask SY to preform field sobriety test nor did he ask SY any other questions related to drinking. Unfortunately, arrests like this, based on little or no evidence at all, are becoming increasingly common. Remember, if you are stopped by an officer, you can ask: 1. Why I am being stopped? and 2. Am I free to leave? If you become the victim of over-zealous police work, you need an experienced team that will passionately fight for your rights. At the Law Office of Jamie Balagia, we routinely go to war for clients who have been violated and victimized by a government that cares more about the number of convictions than the good of its citizens. If you need a passionate fighter to go to war for you, call us, 210.394.3833.
2013 – G.M. – Driving While Intoxicated – Bexar
I (DWI Attorney Jamie Balagia a/k/a the DWI DUDE) appeared in court today and announced “Ready For Trial” in a hospital blood draw case. The blood draw was not a forensic draw but was a 0.162 ETOH. The State used a Grand Jury Search Warrant to get my client’s hospital records which included comments about the patient’s intoxication, the intoxication level and the blood results. This case involved a motorcycle crash and the client was transported to the hospital by EMS. Client received many broken bones and internal injuries. The officer noted the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage and red, bloodshot eyes along with the admission of 4-5 drinks while at a club. Many lawyers would have thought this case un-winnable but not the crew at dwidude.com.
Hospital draws are done for quick surgical reasons and are not scientific in nature. The hospitals are not concerned with getting a blood alcohol content that will carry the day in court. They are trying to ascertain medical conditions that could effect their decisions during surgery. We don’t’ know how well the testing devise is maintained, whether the draw area was cleaned with an alcohol solution or even if this blood belonged to our client. You have to take these cases to the mat and never assume the blood result is correct. The hospital personnel would have been required to come to court and testify during the three to four day trial.
The prosecutors were not prepared for my announcement and moved for a continuance. Because they had already used a Not Ready Continuance in the past the judge honored my speedy trial objection theory and overruled their Motion. This case was dismissed and we can file an Expunction to get the client’s arrest record cleared. The client could not have a DWI conviction on his record and was ecstatic about the results obtained by our office. Never think that your case can’t be won. It doesn’t always work out this well but clearly hiring the right DWI trial lawyer is always a great idea.
2013 – R.G. – Driving While Intoxicated – Bexar County
RG was arrested after having a minor fender-bender. RG was at fault for the accident, and admitted so from the beginning. RG was sitting at a traffic light and messing with his CD player. When RG glanced up and saw the light had turned green, he let off the brake and slowly started to accelerate, assuming the vehicle in front of him would do the same at a green light. RG, still messing with his CD player, didn’t realize the car in front of him was not moving, and he tapped the rear of the vehicle. While most can understand a minor accident like this as exactly that, an ACCIDENT, the San Antonio police officers saw a crime. Multiple police officers arrived to scene of the accident, but no one talked to or questioned the two men in the other vehicle. Their attention focused entirely on RG. RG was polite and cooperative with the officers. After two different officers evaluated RG and could not determine that he was intoxicated, they called a “more persistent” officer to investigate. RG performed standard field sobriety tests, and this “more persistent” officer determined he had failed. None of the officers had or used a video camera at the scene of the accident. They did not give RG the chance to perform the field sobriety tests at the jail where they do have a camera. RG even asked one of the officers if he could perform the test on camera. He was told, “Nope, it is my word against yours.”
Finally, 14 months after this accident, RG was given the chance to fight for and prove his innocence. After five witnesses and two grueling days of trial, six members of Bexar county agreed with me (Trial Attorney Megan Roper) that the state could not prove their case and that RG was not guilty of driving while intoxicated.
2013 – D.M.S. – Possession of a Prohibited Weapon – Bexar County
DMS was wrongfully charged with possession of a prohibited weapon (knuckles). While DMS was shopping in an HEB, her boyfriend at the time got into an altercation with the manager. Just moments before her boyfriend was put into cuffs, he emptied his pockets onto DMS’s shopping cart. In his pockets just happened to be a pair of knuckles. Both DMS and her boyfriend were arrested for possession of the knuckles. At our first trial date, the prosecutor offered to give DMS a class c ticket (like a traffic ticket), but DMS stood her ground. She had not done anything wrong, and she could not live with an arrest and conviction being on her record forever. On January 18, 2013, DMS and I (Trial Attorney Megan Roper) showed up prepared to try the case. But finally the prosecutor really evaluated the merits of the case, knowing I was ready to pick a jury and defend DMS all the way, and the prosecutor did the right thing and dismissed this ludicrous charge.
2013 J.C. – Driving While Intoxicated – Comal County
On 01/14/13, I (DWI Defense Attorney Tristan Dau) began a trial for Driving While Intoxicated in Comal County Court with Judge Randy Gray presiding. The Comal County prosecutor, Amanda Sharp, represented the State. This was a D.W.I. case where our client performed the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) and invoked his Constitutional right to decline to give evidence against himself by submitting to a breath test. After a day and a half of trial, the jury deliberated for exactly thirty minutes and eleven seconds. They returned a unanimous true and correct verdict of NOT GUILTY.
In order to put this trial into context, you’d have to know about the hero I represented. With all due respect, our Client was fifty-four years old at the time but looked like he could have been seventy. He walked and spoke like any number of senior citizens I’ve seen across the aisle in church.
At the start of trial preparation, all of the attorneys of this firm considered the weaknesses of his case. The New Braunfels Police Officer wrote that our Client was in a near collision on IH-35. The SFSTs looked bad. On video, our Client could not recall his home address. He admitted to drinking “several cocktails” earlier that day. He was born in Kentucky and raised in New York State, so his manner of speech was different from the southern twang we Texans are accustomed to hearing. In the police report, the officer noted all of the above in a manner that would lead the reader and listener to believe our Client was D.W.I.
In Opening Statements, the prosecutor nearly convinced the jury that a serious vehicular crash was narrowly avoided and that our Client’s truck was swerving all over the roadway before a veteran, protector of the public’s safety, New Braunfel’s finest was able to stop the truck and prevent further danger. After Judge Gray asked if there were any discovery or video issues to address before we took lunch, the prosecutor underhandedly handed me a DVD to watch. This DVD was the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) DVD of an unknown person’s eyes allegedly displaying HGN. Our firm had not received this DVD as part of the State’s disclosure of their files. This DVD was not filed with the Court’s file. I had no way of viewing the DVD until after the jury came back from lunch. Judge Gray allowed me to watch the DVD and then heard my objection to it outside the presence of the jury. The basis of my objection was three fold. First, there would be no witness that could lay the foundation for this video. Second, the video was not relevant to this trial because it was not our Client’s eyes. Third, the video contained hearsay written statements concerning eyes without HGN and eyes with HGN. The Prosecutor had known that she would offer this DVD as demonstrative evidence to show the jury what the officer would be looking for in someone’s eyes. She had the time to gather case law from other jurisdictions and recite their opinions to Judge Gray. I relied on the Texas Rules of Evidence that are applicable to every jurisdiction but my objections were summarily overruled. For each objection, Judge Gray asked me to show why it was objectionable instead of directing the Prosecutor to justify its admissibility. (The jury later told me that they did not believe the video was relevant nor could they tell the difference between both sets of eyes.)
During direct examination, the jury heard testimony about how our Client committed the traffic violation of Failure to Maintain a Single Lane, Texas Transportation Code 545.060. This violation forced an unidentified white car to take evasive action to avoid an imminent crash with our Client’s truck. While following our Client, the officer testified to witnessing a second traffic violation of Failure to Signal Lane Change, Texas Transportation Code 545.104. The officer made a traffic stop based on these two traffic violations. After smelling the strong odor of alcohol from the truck, the officer decided he needed to do a D.W.I. investigation. At the conclusion of the SFSTs and ABCs and the Modified Rhomberg Balance, the officer made the arrest.
Our Client could be seen on the officer’s video horribly failing the SFSTs. However, on cross-examination, the officer could be seen horribly administering the SFSTs to our Client. The officer testified he was trained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the detection of D.W.I.’s and he received an update course sometime in 2009. I had his TCLEOSE records ready and asked him to point out his 2009 update course. Of course, he didn’t find the update course because he didn’t do it. I then proceeded to ask him questions about the training he received. I had to show him the training manual numerous times to correct his understanding of the tests. (The jury later commented on this fact.) I had to show the officer the Transportation Code to correct his understanding of the law. (The jury lamented on this fact as well.) He did not know that failure to maintain a single lane is not illegal if it could be done safely. He couldn’t believe that signaling continuously for 100 feet is not the law for changing lanes.
In Closing, the Prosecutor pulled the classic prosecutor move. She spent a little time going over the elements of the case and saved the main argument until after I gave my closing argument. In her rebuttal argument, she shifted the burden of the trial onto our Client. She told the jury that he had loss the normal use of his mental faculties by not giving evidence of his blood alcohol concentration. I objected. I was overruled by Judge Gray, yet again. The prosecutor then told the jury to do the walk and turn test in the jury room. I objected because that was a blatant disregard for the jury charge that was just read out to them. The jury charge said that the jury could only consider the evidence that came from the court and not from personal experience or outside sources. When asked for a response, she stated the jury could do the SFSTs if they wanted to. The judge finally sustained an objection of mine but would not move for a mistrial. The irony of the situation is that the jury charge was written by the prosecutor herself! Evidently, none of her trial tactics made a difference. In the end, the jury saw through the nonsense and rightfully prevented a false conviction. NOT GUILTY!!!
2012 – R.A. – Driving While Intoxicated – Comal County
In May 2011, an off-duty police officer was arrested for driving while intoxicated in New Braunfels, Texas by a DPS Trooper. He called the Law Office of Jamie Balagia for help. We heard his call and went to work on the case.
We obtained the police report and analyzed it for signs of his innocence. We got a copy of the video to verify what really happened. We demanded a copy of the Breathalyzer results and found our client was under the legal limit! From the outset, it was clear to us that the Comal County Prosecutors were deaf to this injustice. The prosecutors took a firm stance and refused to listen to reason. They offered him a guilty plea to DWI. When we reminded them that this was a death sentence to a police officer’s career, they cold-heartedly responded with, “He should’ve known better.” We responded by preparing the case for trial.
Before we go to war in the courtroom we prepare weapons to defend and attack the prosecution’s case. We meticulously worked on the case. We went over every line of the trooper’s report and watched every minute of the trooper’s police video. We identified inadmissible evidence, signs of sobriety, inconsistencies between the report and the video and even consulted with medical experts about this case.
In October 2012, the case went to a jury trial. We started with the judge ruling on pre-trial motions on evidence that was inadmissible. We based our arguments on both case law, as well as statute. We attempted to keep the prosecution from using our client’s prescription medication as evidence because it was irrelevant in this case. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest criminal court in Texas, decided this issue a few years ago. The court reasoned that without an expert who could testify to a prescription medication intoxicating effect on the person accused of DWI, the prescription medication was irrelevant and inadmissible. In our case, there was simply not enough information for ANY expert to testify about the drug’s effect on our client. The judge overruled our objection. The judge overruled the law. The judge overruled the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
The prosecutor called the trooper to the stand. To hear him testify, you’d think that he created the field sobriety tests themselves and that he was a foremost expert in pharmacology. He assured the jury that for every DWI arrest he ever made where the person gave a breath sample, every one of them had been over 0.08. He looked over at our client and said, “I’ve never been wrong.” However, we had found three breath tests where the person arrested had blown under 0.08. In our case, our client submitted to a breath test that gave two different results, 0.079 and 0.083. When asked why the trooper didn’t ask for client to give another breath test, he callously said our client could obtain his own independent breath test. We were baffled by his response because we know of no agency or company that would go to a jail while someone’s incarcerated and give them a breath test. The jury ultimately found the trooper’s testimony unreliable.
Next the prosecution tried to confuse the jury with expert testimony. They brought two experts. They brought the breath test supervisor to testify about the results of the breath test. The supervisor tried to testify beyond the scope of her knowledge regarding alcohol elimination rates. We objected and told the judge we could ask her questions that would expose her lack of knowledge on the matter. The judge saw how serious we were and saved the supervisor the embarrassment. Next, they called a forensic toxicologist to testify about our client’s prescription medication. To his credit, this expert said that he did not have enough information to give an opinion. He could only give testimony about the prescription medication in general. We then approached the judge again about his erroneous ruling during pretrial. The prosecutions own expert admitted he couldn’t render an opinion due to a lack of information as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had stated in another case. We called for a mistrial. The judge overruled us, the law and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals yet again. But we refused to give up.
At the end of trial, we made our closing arguments. We appealed to the jury’s sense of reason and logic. We asked them to disregard the prosecutor’s rhetoric and distasteful character attack of our client. Three long hours went by before the jury came back with the verdict… Not guilty!
After the verdict, the prosecutor began to doubt whether he should’ve taken this case to trial. The bottom line is that against a lesser prepared, qualified and experienced defense team this case would have ended in a Guilty verdict. When facing odds like this you have to “call the Dude!”
2012 – H.G. – Driving While Intoxicated – Bexar County
In 2008, HG was stopped by SAPD for allegedly speeding. HG was exhausted. As a waitress, HG had worked multiple double shifts for several days in a row. The officer must have confused her symptoms of exhaustion with signs of intoxication, because HG was arrested and charged with the offense of driving while intoxicated.
Despite having no video of HG that night, no sample of HG’s breath, and no sample of HG’s blood, the government continued to prosecutor HG’s case for the next four years. In early July 2012, HG finally had her day in court.
After nearly four years of maintaining her innocence, HG was finally victorious. HG received a verdict of NOT GUILTY, when a jury of six of her peers decided that the state had failed to prove HG’s guilt.
In today’s world, when we are bombarded by the message “drink, drive, go to jail,” it is easy to forget that EVERY criminal defendant is PRESUMED INNOCENT. Don’t forget, it is the government’s obligation to prove a person’s guilt. It is not the job of the defendant to prove their innocence.
If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with a crime, it is important to have a knowledgeable person fighting for your rights and demanding that the government uphold its obligation. If you have a pending criminal charge, it’s not too late to demand your justice. CALL THE DUDE NOW! Let us go to war for your rights.
2012 – K.J. – Possession of Marijuana – Bexar County
KJ was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. The District Attorney alleged she had over 30 grams in her purse. Today, KJ’s charge of possession of marijuana was dismissed after the Judge rightfully ruled in our favor after hearing was held on our Motion to Suppress.
KJ was at a friend’s apartment and when she went to leave a police officer as blocking her car. The police were there on an incident not related to KJ. When KJ realized she was unable to leave she headed back to her friend’s apartment to wait until she could move her car. One of the police officers saw her walking away and decided to approach and question her. Without justification the police officer yanked KJ’s purse away from her and searched it.
KJ’s constitutional rights were violated. KJ’s action did absolutely nothing to warrant such harrassment by a police officer. This charge carried the potential for up to six months in jail, a $2000 fine and loss of her Texas Driving License privileges for up to one year. Plus a drug conviction on her record for the rest of her life.
Search and seizure law can be very complicated. That is why it is so important to have a knowledgeable attorney who is willing to fight for your constitutional rights. If you or someone you know is in a similar situation let us at the Law Offices of Jamie Balagia help you and we will FIGHT FOR YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS!
2012 – T.S. – Driving While Intoxicated – Bexar County
T.S. came to us on a DWI 1st. During the officer’s testimony at the ALR hearing, it was revealed that this was not only his first DWI, but his first arrest ever. He gave outlandish testimony about our client’s behavior and his administration and interpretation of the standardized field sobriety tests. Because our trial attorneys are certified as Practitioners of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) and have taken the DWI Detection courses, we are able to put extreme pressure on the testifying officers while cross examining them. After reviewing the transcript from that ALR hearing, the prosecutor outright dismissed T.S.’s case.
2010 – C.G. – Driving While Intoxicated – Travis County
CG was charged with DWI. After discussions with the prosecutor it was agreed that the state would dismiss the on the condition that the defendant not commit a new offense for 365 days and perform 40 hours of community service. She was not required to waive her rights to plead not guilty and demand a jury trial in the event she failed to abide by the conditions.
2010 – B.C. – Driving While Intoxicated – Travis County
BG was charged with the offense of DWI in one county and then was arrested for another DWI while this case was pending. In lieu of a pre-trial hearing the State agreed to dismiss the DWI, refile to obstruction of a passageway with a fine only. No jail and no probation.
2010 – J.B. – Driving While Intoxicated – Travis County
JB – Defendant was arrested for a felony DWI and had a forced blood draw of .18. He was arrested behing the wheel of his vehicle, the engine running, parking brake engaged with heater running and he was fast asleep. Raised the defense that defendant was not driving, not in a public place and insufficient evidence as to what his alcohol level was at some other time when he may have been driving. Found not guilty.
2010 – T.O. – Driving While Intoxicated
T.O. was stopped at 2:30 in the morning after a police officer observed T.O. strike a curb. T.O. is a college student with no criminal history and a bright and ambitious future ahead of him. T.O. came to the DWI DUDE seeking quality DWI representation to protect his clean arrest record and criminal history.
T.O. was very cooperative with the police and to his own detriment attempted to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) that consist of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk and Turn test, and the One Leg Stand test. Austin Police Officer also had T.O. perform the Romberg Balance test.
T.O. looked great on the arrest video during the performance of these tasks but after completion of them, he was placed under arrest for DWI. T.O., in an attempt to prove his sobriety then took a Breath Test at the Travis County Jail on the Intoxylizer 5000 EN and blew almost twice the legal limit.
After attempts to resolve the case with the State to a Non-DWI offense and deferred adjudication proved fruitless, the DWI DUDE set T.O.’s case for a jury trial.
Prior to picking a jury, the Judge heard the DWI DUDE’s Motion to Suppress. The officer must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. Reasonable Suspicion is defined as specific, articulable facts that indicate an offense has occurred or will occur in the very near future. In other words, police must have a valid reason to pull you over, ie. speeding, headlights not illuminated, etc.
Fortunately for T.O., the DWI DUDE found case law that stated striking a curb a single time is not sufficient Reasonable Suspicion to effectuate a traffic stop. The Judge heard the evidence and granted T.O.’s Motion to Suppress and therefore the State could not introduce any evidence of the SFSTs or the Breath Test at trial and the state had to DISMISS the DWI!
2010 – M.R. – Criminal Trespass; Driving While Intoxicated – United States District Court
Client accidentally turned into the initial entry point to one of the local military bases. As he attempted to exit the entry zone the military security forces stopped his vehicle and began investigating his presence. During the questioning period the authorities decided to pursue a DWI investigation. Client informed the officers that he was following my advice to invoke his Constitutional Right to decline to take tests or answer questions. In federal court the defendant does not have the right to a jury trial in a misdemeanor DWI case.
After reviewing the case I felt that the prosecutors would have a hard time overcoming the presumption of innocence. I focused on the lack of bad driving facts combined with an overall lack of evidence to present to the magistrate. The typical DWI investigation involves a vehicle in motion stage (driving facts), a personal contact stage (initial face to face exchange) and an arrest decision stage (sobriety tests). This case was based solely on the personal contact stage and the arresting officers were did not have extensive DWI investigation experience.
I enter into discussions with the Federal prosecutors and we discussed the strengths versus weaknesses of the case. We were able to work out a plea bargain that included the dismissal of the DWI charge and a plea to a short probationary period for Obstructing the Roadway. My client was extremely excited about the case results and he was able to avoid the mandatory jail time that he was facing when he hired my firm.
2010 – D.T. – Driving While Intoxicated – Travis County
A young client who came to the DWI Dude to help keep his record clean of any criminal history. D.T. was pulled over for Speeding 47 mph in a 30 mph speed zone and pulled over just off of MoPac in the city of Austin at 2:15 in the morning. The arresting officer in D.T.’s case is a very well known APD DWI Enforcement officer who makes dozens of DWI arrests each month. D.T. provided the officer with a copy of his driver’s license but was unable to locate his insurance. The officer stated in his offense report that he detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from D.T.’s breath, D.T. had bloodshot and glassy eyes. D.T. admitted to the officer he had consumed three beers and a rum and coke over the previous three hour period. The officer had D.T. perform the standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) that include the HGN, the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand. The arresting officer also had D.T. perform the Romberg Balance test. The officer noted all observable clues on the HGN and even videotaped D.T.’s eyes during the test. However, the officer only observed 2 clues out of the possible 8 on the Walk and Turn and only one clue on the One Leg Stand. Further, Mr. D.T. was very cooperative, responsive, and spoke articulately when answering the officer’s questions. Still, D.T. was arrested for DWI and taken to jail where he refused the Breath test. Initially upon watching the DWI video with the County Attorney’s office, the prosecutors handling the case offered D.T. to dismiss the DWI in exchange for a plea to Obstruction of a Passageway, another Class B misdemeanor. D.T., mindful of his criminal record and the desire to keep it free of any serious charges or convictions, rejected this offer and his case was set for trial. On that day we appeared and announced “ready for trial” the prosecutors offered to dismiss the DWI in exchange for a plea to a Speeding ticket and a $100 fine. D.T. knowing he was guilty of Speeding, but not DWI, agreed that this was a fair offer, and walked away from the judicial process with a sense of VICTORY and gratitude to the DWIDUDE team.
2010 – S.B. – Driving While Intoxicated – Bexar County
March 30, 2010 – I was brought in by the primary attorney to win this DWI with No Breath Test. After reviewing the police report and realizing there wasn’t a video I went into action. I looked into my Video Achieves and found another DWI Video by the same arresting officer. I performed a DWI Video written review and discovered that the arresting officer performed the HGN portion of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) incorrectly in the prior case.
Under Texas case law, Emerson v. State of Texas, if the SFST administration is done incorrectly then the results of that test shall be suppressed. I agreed to assume First Chair in this trial and I cross examined the arresting officer and after the State rested I put my client on the stand and questioned him during the direct examination portion of his testimony.
During the cross examination of the arresting officer I got him to agree that according to the SFST Manual the administration of the HGN must follow protocol or the validity of the field studies is compromised. After a rigorous cross examination I got the officer to admit that he does the HGN and the other tests according to protocol in every DWI investigation. After locking him into that statement I compromised the officer’s testimony by playing the DWI video tape in my possession which showed that same officer failing to follow the protocol during the HGN test. The Judge disregarded the HGN results and it appeared that the credibility of the officer was severely damaged.
The client did a great job of truthfully testifying (or he wouldn’t have taken the stand) and withstood a harsh cross examination by the prosecutor. After considering the evidence presented and the lack of foundation to the arrest, the Judge found our client NOT GUILTY. This ended what had become a nightmare for the client and his plans for his future. He was ecstatic and we look forward to getting his arrest record expunged in order to put this matter to a final rest.
2010 – N.R. – Driving While Intoxicated – Travis County
N.R heard from a friend that our office had great success in fighting DWIs in Travis County. When he was charged with a DWI 2nd, N.R scheduled an appointment to come in for his free consultation with the DWI Dude. N.R had a collision one night on I-35 in North Austin after leaving a happy hour with some co-workers. When the officers smelled the odor of alcohol on N.R’s breath, they began to suspect he was over the limit. Whenever an officer detects alcohol and the suspect admits to drinking, there will always be a DWI investigation. N.R has been in this situation before. Unlike most of our clients, N.R refused to do any of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTS) and refused the Breath and Blood tests. These kinds of cases are referred to as total refusals. Total refusals provide the State with less incriminating evidence as opposed to cases where suspects comply with the officer demands. N.R maintained his composure, and appeared coherent, sober, and normal on his DWI arrest video made at the scene. He was subsequently arrested and charged with DWI 2nd. Initially, N.R’s case was not easily resolved due to the County Attorney’s firm stand against negotiating total refusal cases. We set this case for a jury trial allow N.R to exercise his Constitutional rights we all have when charged with a criminal offense. When we appeared on trial day and announced “Ready”, the County attorney offered N.R two years probation on a reduced charge of Reckless Driving. This offer was promptly accepted by N.R as it assured he would not receive a second DWI conviction as a result of his arrest.
2010 – T.J. – Driving While Intoxicated – Travis County
This DWI arrest began as a three car collision. The arresting officer detected an odor of alcohol and stated T.J. seemed disoriented. Officer requested T.J. to perform the SFSTs (standardized field sobriety tests). SFSTs include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN), the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand. T.J. had a prior DWI conviction so he was vaguely familiar with the process, and knew it was in his best interest to not perform any of the SFSTs. Not only did T.J. refuse to perform the SFSTs, he also refused to take the breath and blood tests at the jail.
T.J. remained cooperative and polite with the police officers despite not taking the tests. This is critical when refusing the SFSTs. When you feel you are suspected of wrong doing, there is no need to act defensive, instead, behave normally and inform the investigating officers you are not comfortable performing any tasks they request or answering their questions. It is imperative you remain calm, speak clearly and articulately because you are being video and audio recorded during the entire transaction.
After T.J. was arrested, he came to our office for help. A second DWI conviction carries a maximum punishment of up to one year in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $4000.00. It is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Eligible defendants who get probation will have to serve a minimum of 5 to 30 days in the county jail as a condition of probation. T.J. did not want to risk his freedom and hired us to protect his rights. Because of his behavior while being recorded, T.J. left the government’s attorney little to work with trying to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, most prosecutors’ offices in the state of Texas are not inclined to plea bargain cases where defendants refuse all requested tests. We call these types of cases, “total refusals”. While they may be the toughest to plea bargain, they’re probably the easiest as a category to defend at trial. All citizens enjoy a constitutional “presumption of innocence”. This means that in all criminal cases, the government bears the entire burden of proving defendants guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. This is the primary reason this law office urges those suspected of DWIs to REFUSE ALL TESTS, including the field sobriety tests, the breath test, and the blood test.
When T.J.’s case was called for trial, we announced “Ready”, and the government offered our client deferred adjudication on a non-DWI class B misdemeanor and dismissed the DWI -second. Upon successful completion of deferred adjudication, the class B misdemeanor Obstruction of a Highway/Passageway will also be dismissed. What started as a three car collision, should end as only a three car collision.
2010 – D.C. – Driving Under the Influence – United States District Court
DC was spending the weekend fishing outside of Corpus Christi on Federal Park property. He was heading into town after a long day of surf fishing and exceeded the beach speed limit of 15 mph. A Park Ranger initiated a traffic stop and noticed that DC had an alcoholic beverage in the cup holder of his vehicle. The Ranger requested that DC perform sobriety tests (SFST) on the beach.
DC agreed to perform the SFST because he had not consumed enough alcohol to be above the 0.08 limit and he knew he wasn’t intoxicated. DC showed 6 of 6 clues on the eye test (HGN) but showed no clues on the Walk and Turn (WAT) or One Leg Stand (OLS) Tests. DC then agreed to blow into the hand held breath testing device and showed a result greater than 0.08 BAC. The Ranger decided to arrest DC for DWI due to the results of the eye test and the hand held preliminary alcohol testing device.
[This is one of the reasons why I advise citizens to decline to take the eye test. If the investigating officer improperly administers the eye test he can actually cause your eyes to jerk. If the officer sees your eyes jerking he will more than likely arrest you for DWI based on those results solely.
I also advise against blowing into a hand held breath test devise because it can react to a number of substances other than alcohol. It will also show a high reading if you had recently consumed a drink – open container in drink holder to vehicle.
I do advise Commercial Drivers License holders to take the hand held breath test because if you blow under the officer may decide not to arrest you. If you blow over and get arrested you certainly know not to take the Intoxilyzer Breath Test at the jail.]
By the time DC arrived at the jail his blood system had absorbed more of the alcohol that was in his stomach and that pushed his blood alcohol reading to a 0.081. DC was booking into jail on a Federal DWI charge and released on bond in the morning.
I was able to show the prosecutor that under the circumstances of the arrest DC was probably under the legal limit when he got stopped (while driving) so he disregarded that 0.081 evidence. After discussing the fact that DC passed the WAT and OLS portions of the SFST with flying colors the prosecutor offered DC an “Obstructing the Roadway” charge with no jail time which DC was excited to accept.
By hiring our law office to represent him in Federal court, DC made a very wise decision and was able to eliminate the risk of a DWI conviction. I believe we were able to attain this result due to our high level of experience, training and knowledge in the DWI field. The prosecutor was convinced that we could disprove much of his evidence and he did the right thing to see that justice was served.
2010 – T.S. – Driving While Intoxicated with Child under the age of 15 – Milam County, Texas.
Client is pulled over for not having a front license plate. She has her son with her, who happens to be 14 years of age and two months shy of his 15th birthday. Client is charged with DWI with a child passenger under 15 years of age, a state jail felony. Client and another adult passenger both have open containers in the vehicle, and also an 18-pack of Budweiser beer on ice in a cooler. Client fails all of the standardized field sobriety tests (SFST’s), and also fails a portable breath test (PBT) before being arrested. She refuses a breath test at the police station. Client is only offered a felony conviction before trial. The DWI DUDE proceeds to submit her case to a jury. During voir dire, 160 people are listed on the venire, and approximately 100 show up for jury duty. The case is a cluster from the get-go, as the formation of how the jury is seated and paneled is not very organized or uniform in anyway whatsoever (which only serves to make the defense of the accused more difficult). A jury is eventually picked and seated, and the trial then proceeds. The arresting officer is someone many people in the community know well, for better or worse. At trial, it is discovered that the offense report for the arrest was made almost a month after the arrest. Prior to pointing this fact out to the jury, the arresting officer made clear how he knew from the beginning he would be charging the accused with a felony, which would have lasting repercussions for life. However, despite this, on cross-examination the arresting officer had to admit that he failed to investigate the arrest and charge fully, despite the gravity of the offense.
In closing argument, the prosecutor for the state used a “Not Guilty” display to help prove their case. He had index cards made for all the reasons supporting the theory of the state’s case, and plastered them all over the “Not” section of the display so it only revealed the word “Guilty.” The index cards, for instance, included the “odor” of alcohol beverage smelled by arresting officer from the vehicle, and how there was an “open container” of Budweiser found in the console. The DWI DUDE attorney then, in closing, argued to envision each index card as a balloon. And then made arguments defeating each of the state’s point, and made the analogy that each point asserted was like a dart being thrown at the balloon. For example, a dart was thrown at the “odor” of alcohol claim and the “open container” violation, in that jury was not gathered to base guilt on an “open container” violation, and that any odor detected was as a result of this “open container.” In doing so, the DWI DUDE attorney then made a sweeping motion washing away the entire state’s case, revealing only the “Not Guilty” portion of the sign, and submitting that this was the only verdict that could be rendered.
When deliberating, the prosecutor for the state was very upset at the mistreatment of his own exhibit which was ultimately used against him. After verbalizing this fact, the DWI DUDE attorney simply remarked and pointed out that it was his “utmost duty to represent his client with FULL vigor and zealous advocacy, and would never apologize to ANYONE for doing so.”
The jury returned a verdict of “Not Guilty” almost exactly two hours later.
When being polled, the two DPS troopers who made the arrest blocked the doorway of the jury room in an attempt to block the members of the jury from leaving. This attempt to intimidate and/or harass the jury was short-lived, as members of the DWI DUDE team entered the room and assisted the jury members with their exit.
It was a great victory that was an uphill battle from the very beginning. The state officials helping secure the conviction, from the court reporter to the prosecuting attorneys, all held a certain resentment for the client, as well as towards to the attorneys on the DWI DUDE team. However, this resentment can be directly attributed to the fact that EVERYONE on the DWI DUDE team will always do whatever is in their power to represent clients with their utmost. If a potential client is looking for attorneys who simply lay down when threatened or intimidated by the state, they should look elsewhere for their representation. This case is indicative that the DWI DUDE team will always be fully committing to the representation of their clients, even at the expense of possibly offending those helping to secure the conviction.
R.R. – Driving While Intoxicated 2nd Offense; Resisting Arrest and Evading – Bexar County
This case involved a drinking but not intoxicated driver that had avoided colliding with a deer and struck a tree while doing so. We prepared this case by having our in-house investigator do a scene investigation. We were able to document the deer hazard problem and even had pictures of deer in the roadway. We hired an expert in the area of SFST to show why the tests should not have been administered to a person that had to be removed from an overturned vehicle by firefighters. We have the client prepared to testify and we showed up “ready for trial”. The arresting officers failed to show up at the time on their subpoenas and this was a “preferential setting”. Since this was not the first time that these same officers did not appear for a trial setting in this same case the court denied the prosecutor’s request for a continuance. The case was called for trial and was dismissed for lack of prosecution witnesses. The prosecutor had prepared for trial and did all that was possible under the circumstances and honorably followed the administration of justice by filing the dismissal papers.
J.C. | Federal Cocaine Case (possession of 350 grams of cocaine)
Client contacted our office after being charged in Federal Court, Western District of Texas, with possession of 350 grams of powder cocaine during a traffic stop in San Antonio, Texas. Upon receiving discovery from the government, a review of the police report alleged that during a routine traffic stop for an illegal lane movement the cocaine was located in open sight in the vehicle.
A closer review made it apparent that the traffic stop arrest was a ruse after a set up buy arranged by federal agents working with a confidential informant (C.I.). The client arrived at a fast food parking lot to meet the C.I. but the C.I. never showed up. The parking lot was under federal surveillance at the time and when the client left the parking lot the agents followed him. The agents had an SAPD traffic unit on standby and that officer made the traffic stop almost immediately after the client left the parking lot and entered the highway.
This is a classic set up that is arranged in a number of drug delivery cases by federal and state drug agents. It is also nearly impossible to win at trial since the traffic cop will testify that he observed a traffic violation and subsequent drug seizure. The evidence most likely will not be suppressed and the client could be facing additional sentencing time for failing to accept responsibility in court. Typically a plea bargain is arranged with the federal prosecutor and the defendant receives a reduction in the sentencing range in exchange for not making the government take the case to trial.
In this case the client had never been arrested before and was not involved in a drug distribution ring. The client did not “cooperate” and “snitch” on anyone as the client had drug and alcohol issues and was doing a “one time” sale for financial reasons. My client was facing a sentence of between 30 to 37 months in a federal prison. We entered a Plea of Guilty in order to gain the sentencing reduction points and prepared for a sentencing hearing.
We needed to show the court who the client was outside of the criminal behavior that the case involved. We got family members, friends, co-workers and employers to write letters on behalf of the client. These letters told the client’s story in a personal and up close manner. They covered the past twenty years and talked about the son, father, husband, friend and neighbor that my client had been prior to this incident.
The federal judge took an interest in the person he was sentencing and realized that this was my client’s first arrest. The judge carefully read each letter and saw that he had someone special in his courtroom. The judge looked into the clean past and exemplary behavior of the client. The judge saw a hard working family man who had made a grave error while abusing substances. And the judge decided that society would be better served by placing my client on five years probation instead of placing him in prison. The judge had the heart of a lion and wisdom like Solomon.
It was a great feeling to walk out of the courtroom next to my client surrounded by his family. I have no doubt that with my client will be successful with the support of his family, friends and employer. He is aware that he has a lot riding on his shoulders, including the trust that the judge has placed in him with the courtroom decision he rendered in this case.
Mr. M was pulled over for speeding and later arrested for DWI 2nd. As a result, Mr. M was forced to put the Ignition Interlock Device on his vehicle while released on bond. After careful review and analysis of Mr. M’s case and his performance on the SFSTs, the DWI Dude Team negotiated the dismissal of the DWI 2nd and Mr. M plead to probation on an Obstruction of a Highway and the Interlock Device was removed in less than 3 months.
Mr. L was stopped for failing to signal a lane change, and subsequently arrested for DWI. Many factors such as weather conditions, poor instructions by the arresting officer, and fatigue on the part of Mr. L provided great ammunition for the defense. Negotiations with the prosecutors in the case became fruitless, and Mr. L’s case was set for a jury trial. When the DWI Dude Team arrived in court and announced “ready” for trial, the State offered to dismiss Mr. L’s case in exchange for a plea to a reduced charge.