I RECEIVED A DWI IN DALLS. DO I NEED TO HIRE A LAWYER WHO DOES DWI IN DALLAS?
When you get arrested for a DWI in Texas, the case is prosecuted in the county, not the city. For example, if you get arrested in North Richland Hills, it will be prosecuted in Tarrant County. Similarly, a McKinney arrest will be prosecuted in Collin County. However, there are several cities that cross multiple county lines. For example, if you get a DWI in Carrolton, you may be prosecuted in Denton, Dallas or Collin County depending on where in the city the offense was committed. It is critical that the offense is prosecuted where it was committed. A police officer can see you driving in Dallas County and arrest you there, even though he may be a Fort Worth cop. Similarly, for DWIs, a police officer may arrest you outside of their jurisdiction. However, they will normally call a police officer to take over the investigation from that jurisdiction.
As for attorneys, I always recommend hiring a lawyer that is familiar with the courts in that county. This can be very beneficial in terms of the lawyer being familiar with how the Judge and county prosecutor operates. Defense lawyers are constantly being asked questions of their clients and asking for mercy from both prosecutors and judges. Credibility and an excellent reputation for integrity go a long way. I personally make it a practice to take cases in jurisdictions that are in North Texas because I live in both Tarrant and Dallas counties and also enjoy going to the adjacent counties. I think it is important for my clients that my reputation precedes me in North Texas. As a result, I will not accept cases outside of this geographical area because, although I have the technical expertise, the lack of familiarity with both the local customs and people within unfamiliar jurisdictions is not something I want my clients to be disadvantaged by.”
CAN I GET A COPY OF MY POLICE REPORT? CAN I GET A COPY OF MY TEXAS DWI VIDEOTAPE?
The short answer is yes and no. You can legally go to the police station and request a police report of your case via open records. However, what you will receive will most likely be a few pages of basic information including the police officer, location and arrest made. All the county and district attorneys’ offices in North Texas disallow the sharing of the police report or discovery. This is a direct violation of discovery rules under “open file” policies. There are law enforcement concerns about keeping sensitive information confidential, for eg. a 911 witness’ home address or contact information. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 39.14(a). Article 39.14(f) prohibits defense counsel from providing a copy of such documents to the defendant (other than the defendant’s own statement). Article 39.14(f) also prohibits defense counsel from disclosing to the defendant certain personal information regarding witnesses.
The reality is that going over the police report and discovery in a case is best left to a joint meeting in my office. I always tell my clients, “Once you have read one DWI police report, you have read them all. They are full of ‘typical descriptors.'” Police officers receive training at both the academy and in specialized courses. For example, in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Standard Field Sobriety Course for both practitioner and instructor, participants learn typical descriptors for certain offenses. It has been my experience that much of a police report is not reflective of what actually occurred or was witnessed (eg. slurred speech when the video evidences normal speech). Truth is reality. A police report was written to refresh a police officer’s memory.
Texas DWI Video
Going over discovery also includes going over 911 tapes, witness statements, and videos. The most important aspect of going over discovery is to go over both sides, not just the State’s. The law allows a citizen accused a copy of their Texas DWI videotape specifically. However, this was not always the case. I worked with State Representative Charlie Geren of District 99 and we were able to successfully pass legislation through both the State House and Senate which changed this. That is correct, the Coffey Firm specifically wrote this law.
I find that most of my clients do not ask for a copy of the video, but distributing it is very helpful when getting ready for trial which requires studying every aspect of the video for hours. In short, I have seen medical professionals go over hundreds of pages of medical records in minutes to find what is key and critical. I particularly do this when scanning blood records for an initial assessment. Further, I have spent 24 years studying police reports and forensic evidence. I know what is important, or what will matter. Thus, my advice is to wait and go over all the evidence with me in my office.
MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AFTER MY DWI! WILL I EVER GET BACK TO MY NORMAL, EVERYDAY LIFE?
MY GOAL IS TO GET YOU BACK TO YOU, OR EVEN BETTER!!
Bottom line, if you are reading this then you are most likely feeling a terrible pit in your stomach, angry at yourself, and don’t want to face the world any more than you absolutely must. You are probably scouring the internet, reading as much about DWI as you possibly can, because at this point you are scared to death. Take a deep breath, I am here for you. I have practiced DWI and criminal defense for 26 years. Of that legal career, every day has been dedicated to defending your rights. I have NEVER been, and will never be on the side of putting people in jail.
I bet many of you are thinking, “I never thought this would happen to me!” Once again, take a deep breath and focus on the positive. Now you know the reality that very good people get arrested. You will never look at the world the same. You most likely will grow a lot more compassionate, tolerant, and understanding in your life because of your experience. See? There is good that can come from this! My clients are my favorite people in the world. I love social drinkers. I love people that need and yearn for other peoples’ company. The world would be a very sad and lonely place without “people who need people.” As the Barbara Streisand song goes, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” So, pat yourself on the back for enjoying the company of others and remember that ALL of us make mistakes.
My job is to get you back to the best version of you or even better. The world needs you at your best. Your family, friends, coworkers and networks need to see your unique smile and hear your voice. More so, they need your ideas, work, laughter, and instruction. The world needs you. Please do not let a DWI arrest stop you from being you. You now know better than anyone the importance of encouragement.
Now you can really understand why sometimes giving someone a break makes a lot more sense. You just help pick them up so they can get back on their own two feet. One of the quotes that I live by is from Abraham Lincoln. He said “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” Even George Washington pardoned the ten ringleaders of the Whiskey Rebellion (started over a whiskey tax) after they were sentenced to death. He understood their sufferings, knew their potential for this country and granted mercy. Imagine how many wonderful generations of Americans have come from those then early colonists who just exercised a lapse in judgment.
The DWI process is a scary one. Just know that your fears, questions and concerns are all my job. Everyone at my firm takes these very seriously. We know at the end of the day, we can’t always control the outcome. But we certainly can make the process a bearable one as we do the best we can with your situations. One day, most of you will make it through this situation and you will look back and be proud you made it through. I want to make sure that you do more than make it through. On top of doing the best we can for you legally, I want to make sure you remember all the good that you are and that you do.
So please, know that in these dark, lonely moments I am asking you to share yourself with me. We ask our clients to write out a biography about themselves (it is so important for the Judge and the prosecutor to know the great you too!), send pictures, and (where you feel comfortable) send us character letters. This is just as much for you personally as it is us to help you. If you forget who you are, what good is the legal situation? We can’t let a mistake destroy you.
So, in case you are already a Coffey Firm client, I am asking you to email me just let me know how you are feeling and doing. At the same time, please send me your top 5 goals for this year and let us stay focused on those. There is so much more to life than what happens at the courthouse. Remember, your family and friends need you. Most of all, you need you. I am here to help get you back to you.