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Brown Law Firm
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Brown Law Firm
F. Edward Brown

208 E. Central Aveune, Suite 107
Belton TX 76513
(254) 634-2587

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Alt. Phone: (254) 933-1511
Fax: (254) 549-2411
Mobile: (254) 899-8164



Brown Law Firm

Please Call : 254-634-2587


Since 1992, F. Edward Brown has earned a solid reputation for providing high quality legal services in assaults, child abuse, child protective services, child custody, domestic violence, dui, dwi, divorce, drug cases, juvenile law, probation violations, sex crime cases, homicide, manslaughter and murder cases in the Bell, Coryell, Milam, McLennan, Falls and Williamson County,Texas areas.

I understand the emotional and financial impact these matters can have on your life. What was once a stable and supportive relationship between you and your spouse and your family can quickly disintegrate into a battle over child custody and child abuse allegations. I can help you take charge of your divorce and begin planning for your life after marriage.

One of my strengths is lending my clients compassion and support. However, this does not detract from my ability to aggressively protect your interests in court. Practicing law for more than 16 years has provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the Texas Family Code, Texas Penal Code and the Texas Court system.

If you have a legal problem in the practice areas above, do not try to handle the legal situation yourself. Contact an experience Texas defense attorney to make sure that your rights are protected.

I invite you to contact me now for your free case audit and evaluation.

Serving communities in:
 
Bartlett, Belton, Cameron, Copperas Cove, Fort Hood, Gatesville, Georgetown, Harker Heights, Kempner, Killeen, Marlin, Nolanville, Rogers, Temple, Waco.

Colleges:

Prairie View A & M University, B.S., Industrial Electronic Technology 
University of North Texas, M.B.A., Industrial Management and Economics
University of Houston, J.D., Law

Bar Admissions:

Texas State Bar, 1992 
U.S. District Court, Western District - Waco Division, 1994 
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, New Orleans, La., 1996

Memberships:

Texas State Bar 
Bell County Bar Association 
Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Association

We accept cash, money order, Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards.
 

Please Call : 254-634-2587

Please Call : 254-634-2587

DUI & DWI Laws - Texas

DUI and DWI

In Texas, you can be charged with drunk driving if you were driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. But what does that mean? It means that for every 210 liters of breath (or 100 milliliters of blood or 67 milliliters of urine), you had 0.08 grams of alcohol according to the Breathalyzer test. Attorney Ed Brown understands the Intoxilyzer 5000 problems with accuracy and reliability. I know what the police officers know gives me a huge advantage in court. 

The Question is Not Did He do It?

The Question is can the Prosecutor Prove It?

We are one of the few criminal defense firms in the area that focuses on DWI and DUI defenses and is prepared to take your case to trial. Contrary to popular belief, a DWI is winnable. I am NOT quick to plea bargain. The stakes are too high.

A DUI or DWI conviction is too expensive not to retain and experienced Texas criminal defense attorney with extensive knowledge of the law to take your case to trial, if necessary.

I help drivers and families by providing aggressive defense against drunk driving charges in federal, Texas and military courts. There are many possibilities in a DUI  and DWI case. Regardless of your situation, do NOT automatically assume the charge is valid or that it cannot be beaten. I have vigorously challenged drunk driving cases  on many legal grounds successfully, Including improper field sobriety test, breath tests and probable cause to stop or search.

I also will represent your for FREE at the administrative license revocation hearing if you contact me within 15-days of your arrest.

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Why should you hire F. Edward (Ed) Brown? 

Experience counts. For DUI cases, this is especially true. The long-term costs of a drunk driving conviction are very significant for any driver. Workers who depend on their drivers' license to get to work, families who need a licensed driver to provide transportation, and students all face serious consequences after a DUI or DWI arrest.

Texas law places serious consequences on drunk driving convictions. But the worst part is that people arrested for drunk driving are often good people who just made mistakes, or good people who were wrongly accused of something they did not do.

I am recognized for my drunk driving defense skills. Having practiced law for more than 17 years. I have studied the technical aspects of DWI laws, taking the time to learn the details that only police officers usually know. I know the laws on drunk driving, so I know when the tests were given incorrectly or resulted in errors. I show judges and juries when Texas police officers have not proven their case.

Most importantly, I stand beside you. I understand that bad things happen to good people. And I know that you deserve a serious defense. Get your free online case evaluation now. 

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The Top 10 Mistakes Lawyers Make in Drunk Driving Cases . . . And How To Avoid Them 

Get your FREE Texas DUI / DWI Case Evaluation by clicking here.

Even though all attorneys are "schooled" in a wide variety of legal areas, a huge amount of expertise comes from practical experience and exposure to particular areas of law. Many lawyers limit their practices to "criminal defense", but DWI is even more detailed than the average "criminal" case.

For DWI cases, a whole lot more is involved. The complete practice of DWI also involves science. Many lawyers attend law school to avoid math and science. Vigorous defense involves appreciable knowledge in science and physiology as we are talking about the effects of alcohol on the human body.

Because of this complexity, many attorneys make 10 big mistakes when it comes to defending DWI cases ... mistakes that can meaningfully harm their clients either immediately or in the future.

You see, a DWI conviction can have serious ramifications: license suspension, deep lung ignition interlock devices, increased insurance rates, large fines, jail time, loss of professional license and even loss of employment.

To protect yourself and help decide on the right attorney for your case and the best disposition for your case, you need to know what these mistakes are:

Mistake 1 - Assuming the Case Can't be Won

Since limiting my practice to DWI cases, I have come to believe that assuming a case can't be won and pleading you guilty is the single most important mistake that attorneys make in representing people charged with DWI.

You see, many attorneys simply give up and advise their client to plead guilty for probation after getting a breath test result at or above the legal limit and reviewing the police version of the incident,. And actually, if it is your first offense, you are probably going to get probation anyway. In fact, even if you take your case to trial, your punishment will not be increased and you will get probation.

As a matter of fact, potentially the breath test, blood test and roadside tests can be wrong . . . resulting in incorrect conclusions. Police even have a lower standard to apply when making an arrest decision.

For example, many things can effect a breath test which should be investigated and challenged. For example, recent scientific testing has shown that work conditions (such as volatile chemical exposure), extensive dental work, Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder (G.E.R.D.), air bag deployment and even a simple fever can yield a "false high" breath test result.

Is it more costly to defend than to plead guilty?

Sure it is. But with so much at stake and a permanent record of a conviction (all arrest and accusations can be erased if you win), the possibility of winning your case should be closely examined. And, in the long run, it may cost you less than you may think.

And it's just not you costs that are involved in your case. Lawyers have to make a living too. There are only two ways for a criminal defense lawyer to make money: 1) handle as many cases as possible as quickly as possible (by simply pleading you out) for a low fee or 2) perform a quality defense for a reasonable fee. A thorough, professional defense requires time and knowledge. If its your reputation and livelihood that are at stake, which lawyer do you want?

Mistake 2 - Not Conducting a Full Client Interview

My initial client consultation lasts about an hour. In that meeting I complete a 5 page interview questionnaire covering the time of stop, the officer's actions at initial contact, field coordination exercises, conditions where testing was conducted, transport to jail, videotaping of your arrest, details of your entire day before your arrest including meals eaten, medication taken, a full night's sleep and work conditions . . . just to mention some of what's covered.

After all these facts are given to me, I then fully explain the two prosecutions involved in a DWI arrest, the license suspension and the criminal prosecution and ask you how these prosecutions will directly affect their lives.

Plus, I then explain the various methods for complete resolution of your case and give a preliminary opinion as to which disposition may be most appropriate for you. I do not ever predict a final outcome in a preliminary interview because I believe such an opinion is "educated guesswork" and do not feel that you come to see me for my guesswork.

If the attorney(s) you contact does not sit down and visit with you face to face, and spend some time with you, run, don't walk out of their office!

Note: I do not generally talk with new clients who call. My time is valuable and so is yours. If a person does not have enough time to come to my office and receive a free consultation, I do not have enough time to discuss their case.

Mistake 3 - Not Reviewing the Video with you

I am completely amazed at the number of clients who come to my office for a second or subsequent DWI arrest who have told me that they never saw the videotape of their first arrest. I have even learned that some attorneys practicing DWI defense do not even look at the video before advising their client to plead guilty!

This is your case and you should be as fully informed as possible about all of the facts in your case. The video is a key factor in any DWI case and both you and the attorney should review it before making a decision to take a case to trial or plead guilty.

Be sure that any attorney you hire for your case will allow you an opportunity to review your video with or without him. Not doing this simple act is malpractice for the attorney and stupidity for you.

Mistake 4 - Not Examining All of the Facts before Deciding on a Disposition

Many attorneys tell clients that their DWI case is dependent on the video or if they took a breath test. In my opinion, this is simply not true. There are many other facts to consider to determine whether or not a case is winnable.

There are three or four factors that must be considered as a whole before any attorney can give you any opinion of value about your case. Your attorney must consider your side of the story, the police version and the maintenance history of the breath test machine if a breath test was taken. All of these components together make up a DWI case.

For example, I have had many cases with breath tests well over the legal limit of 0.080 (0.23) and have been successful at trial. A thorough examination of the machine maintenance records revealed that the machine was NOT WORKING the day this client was tested. His video also demonstrated that he could do every field sobriety exercise without making a single mistake.

Another example is a bad video. I have represented clients with medical conditions or suffering from other ailments that prohibited them from performing balancing tests. Introduction of medical records and testimony from people who have known them have convinced juries that they were not affected by alcohol but that they just couldn't do these particular exercises.

I have also had cases in which the police officer deviated from what was written in his police report on the night of the arrest or has a bad history. If a police officer is perceived as being deceptive and not fair in making an arrest or testifying in court, juries seldom reward their performance with a guilty conviction.

In one case I was able to show that a particular officer had been reprimanded by Internal Affairs for conducting a "DWI arrest contest" with another officer to see who could make the most arrests in a particular month. The jury was not pleased with either participant in the contest.

As you can see, I have won cases with bad videos, high breath tests and awful police reports. Why? Because it is how all of these parts fit together that matters in your case. There may be valid explanations for any one of these component parts and without a complete investigation of the facts, any prediction of results is a guess.

Mistake 5 - Not Considering All Penalties for Conviction

Each client presents his or her own unique facts with their case. The individual must be wholly considered to render effective representation for you.

In cases in which there are multiple offenses pending (DWI, DWLS, Probation Revocation, Marijuana charges, etc.), punishment is a critical issue to you. Although you may be able to win one or more of the charges, you may be convicted of others. In these types of cases, the attorney should look at all of the cases together.

For example, the burden of proof for a probation revocation is much lower than for a conviction in a criminal case. Because you have already been found guilty and ordered to obey certain conditions, the State need only prove "more likely than not" that you violated any one of the probation conditions.

Remember, you were granted probation because you promised to abide by the terms and conditions ordered by the judge. Just because you did not live up to your part of the bargain does not mean that the judge will not honor his promise to jail you if you violated his order.

In multiple offense cases, the attorney should advise you on the effects of all types of dispositions in your case. Although it is not desired, a short jail sentence may be preferred over doing some jail time and continuing for an extra year on probation, subject to being jailed again in the future should you violate a condition again.

Many attorneys do not fully explain the effect of having multiple cases pending at the same time and as a result, you suffer. If you have more than one case, be sure that your attorney understands this and explains all possibilities for resolution of all of your cases rather than only addressing one of them.

Mistake 6 - Not being familiar with Standardized Field Sobriety Testing

Field Sobriety Testing are the exercises an officer has you do before deciding to place you under arrest for DWI. Although they look fairly simple, they are to be conducted, evaluated and scored in a standardized manner in order to be valid indicators of intoxication.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) were developed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration in a grant by the United States government. As such, an "official" training manual and trainer's manual has been published from the studies conducted under this grant. Every good DWI lawyer has these manuals.

Armed with these manuals, a DWI attorney can demonstrate at trial why the results observed by the police officer and his conclusions should not be believed. If the officer did not follow his training, the manual itself states that the "validity has been compromised". This is powerful and compelling evidence at trial.

In many cases the officer does not follow the manual or conducts his own field coordination exercises. If he states that he is trained and experienced, he is quite embarrassed when you point out that he has not been trained or certified according to the national standard. In fact, many of the individual officer's non-standardized tests were specifically found to be unreliable in this study.

If this can be pointed out at trial or at the license suspension hearing, these tests are excluded from any consideration by the judge or jury!

At the very least your attorney should be familiar with these manuals and have studied them carefully. They provide a wealth of resources for cross examination of a police officer at your trial. If unfamiliar with these studies and manuals, the attorney cannot effectively cross examine the arresting officer in your case.

Because of the importance of these manuals and procedures, some attorneys are beginning to seek out and obtain training on in SFSTs themselves. It has been an invaluable tool for serving my clients at trial and license suspension hearings.

What's the point? It's simple. If your lawyer doesn't know the SFST's, how can he or she attack the way the arresting officer conducted them in your case?

Mistake 7 - Not telling you the definition of Intoxication

Everyone knows what drunk is, but few people know the legal definition of intoxication. Each state legislature has specifically defined "intoxication" or "impairment" or "under the influence" for their state's DWI laws. Although this may not be the definition that is commonly used, it is the definition in a DWI prosecution.

Texas defines intoxication as follows: "Not having the normal use of your physical or mental faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance or drug, or a combination of two or more of these substances or any other substance into the body" or "having and alcohol concentration of 0.080 or more" at the time of driving.

This law takes into account both regular and occasional drinkers. Although a person's breath test may be below the legal limit, they still may not have the "normal" use of their faculties. Under the law, this is intoxication.

On the other hand, a person with an alcohol concentration at the time of driving of 0.080 or more that has the "normal" use of their faculties is also considered intoxicated. Therefore it is critical to examine the proof on all definitions of intoxications when advising a client on the disposition options and likelihood for success.

An attorney who does not fully explain the law under which you are being prosecuted is not providing you with any service at all. Unless this definition is fully explained and understood, the lawyer should probably not be handling DWI cases.

Mistake 8 - Not being familiar with breath / blood testing

This may sound unimportant if you refused a breath test, but even in refusal cases, knowledge of the absorption and elimination rates of alcohol in the human body can be powerful evidence in your case.

If you took a breath or blood test, this knowledge is critical. Without a thorough understanding of the science and technology supporting chemical testing, your attorney is "unarmed" to defend against it.

A good DWI lawyer attends advanced training seminars to learn as much as he or she can about chemical testing. Machines break down and make mistakes. Without knowing how they work or how they don't work, your attorney cannot defend against this evidence.

For example, in breath testing many things besides alcohol can yield results. One example is a common chemical called "Toluene". This compound is found in most petrochemical products from gasoline to paint to furniture polish. Lengthy exposure to toluene can test positive as alcohol on the standard breath test machine (Intoxilyzer 5000, CMI). There is no filter in the machine to test whether or not this substance is affecting your test.

To complicate matters, Toluene registers on a breath test machine at three times the actual concentration as it assumes that it is alcohol! There is a reported case in Georgia where a floor refinisher and a police officer were in a room for eight hours polishing wood floors and both tested at 0.10 without ever having anything to drink!

There are also many other things that can affect a breath test result that are much more common. For example a diabetic will test positive for alcohol just because of the chemicals produced by the diabetes. Air bag deployment has also been shown to elevate a breath test score.

Most recently it has been documented that persons on the "Atkins Diet" will also test positive for alcohol on a breath test machine without having anything to drink at all!

Blood tests, although more reliable than breath tests, can also have problems and produce inaccurate results. Most blood tests in DWI cases are done at a hospital rather than a forensic laboratory.

Hospitals have different procedures for analysis and reporting than do police labs. As a matter of fact, hospital blood tests are reported higher because many times they do not examine the "whole blood". They typically measure the alcohol in either the "plasma" or the "serum" of the blood which automatically yields a higher result.

If your attorney is not familiar with blood testing, he may assume that you tested over the legal limit when in fact your results indicate that you are below the legal limit!

Mistake 9 - Not explaining and considering an expert in your case

As you can probably already see, some of the issues presented in DWI cases involve complicated information. To present these at trial you must have a witness who is an expert in the area which you intend to explore.

Not all cases need an expert, but when one is suggested, you need to know. Many attorneys do not want to use experts as they feel it makes them appear ignorant. Lawyers are experts in the law. Scientists are experts in science. It's that simple.

Chemical testing issues can best be handled by qualified experts. Your attorney should be familiar with and have access to experts if suggested by the facts of your case. Not only should the expert be knowledgeable, they should also be good witnesses. Scientific issues can be difficult to explain and even harder to maintain the jurors' attention during trial.

The big mistake lawyers make regarding experts, however, is they do not discuss experts at the beginning. Expert witness get paid for their appearances at trial and they are typically paid very well. Clients hate to be surprised the month or week before trial that they need to spend extra money for the best possible chance of winning their trial.

The point? If an expert is needed for your trial, you should know as soon as possible. You should also be fully explained the costs and benefits of using an expert in your case.

Mistake 10 - Not being a trial attorney

Trial attorneys are a special breed. Like surgeons, they may not have the best bedside manner, but they consistently win their cases.

You should not hesitate to ask your lawyer how many DWI cases he has tried and won. A good trial attorney will brag about his wins and honestly discuss his losses. Criminal cases are not easily won and no one wins all of them. Anyone who tells you that they do is not telling you the truth.

How do you know if you hired a trial attorney? The best place to start is at the courthouse or by asking other lawyers. Trial lawyers are well known at the courthouse. Although court personnel cannot recommend an attorney to you, they can tell you whether or not an attorney goes to trial regularly.

Also, other attorneys should be asked. Trial lawyers are well known if not infamous in their geographical areas. Good trial lawyers openly share their cases with other attorneys and many teach at lawyer seminars.

If you want to win, you need a trial lawyer. Any lawyer can plead you guilty. If you want to fight your case and have any chance at winning, these are two questions you must ask your prospective lawyer, "How many DWI cases have you done?" and "How many do you win?" No trial attorney I know will hesitate to answer both questions.  

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SPECIAL REPORT
The 10 biggest mistakes most people make after being arrested for a DWI in Texas . . . and how to avoid them.

1. Not requesting a hearing within 15 days to try to save your license.


Texas laws require an AUTOMATIC LICENSE SUSPENSION if you do not request this important hearing in time. Most DWI attorneys can assist you with this process before your appointment.

2. Not taking the matter seriously.

DWI is very serious. Not only will you be criminally prosecuted, you also risk losing your license automatically for failing to request your hearing in time.

3. Not hiring an attorney.
 
DWI law is not a simple criminal case. It involves civil law, criminal law, government law, traffic law and criminal procedure. Without a knowledgeable, experienced DWI attorney on your side, your ultimate fate is predictable. Only a qualified DWI lawyer can offer you the most choices for disposition.

4. Choosing an attorney based solely on cost.

Your opponent in this lawsuit is the State of Texas. It has almost unlimited resources (attorneys, investigators, police, etc) to prosecute you. You should expect to pay a fair fee based upon the time, effort, experience and reputation of the attorney. If you choose the lowest price, you are certain to obtain the least amount of effort toward defending your case.

5. Not asking the attorney about her/his DWI experience.

Most criminal defense lawyers treat DWIs like any other criminal offense, which can be a big mistake. In most large cities, a few lawyers have had the most experience successfully defending DWI cases. You should not be afraid to ask how many DWI cases an attorney handles per year. You can also ask how many cases the lawyer has taken to trial, and won! You also need to ask how vigorously they intend to fight for your license.

6. Driving while your license is suspended.

Driving during any suspension is another crime which will result in your arrest and a separate prosecution. Additionally, your license will be suspended if convicted of this crime.

7. Taking the prosecutor's first offer.

Accepting a plea, of any kind, is an admission of guilt and a complete waiver of your Constitutional rights. It's certainly no bargain for you. Plus, very few prosecuting attorneys have the authority to dismiss or even reduce a DWI offense. Without a thorough investigation of your case, you cannot possibly know whether or not their offer is reasonable.

8. Fail to appear in Court.

You were released from jail because you posted some sort of bond. If you fail to appear for Court, your bond will be forfeited and a warrant will be issued for your arrest to bring you to Court to deal with your case. If your absence is flagrant, you may be jailed until your trial.

9. Talking to anyone but an experienced DWI attorney about your case.

Every case is different. Different facts involve different provisions of the law. Friends and family may have had a similar experience, but the DWI laws change so frequently and the penalties have increased so severely, that the options available to you may be entirely different from those of others.

10. Think that talking to numerous attorneys will help you handle it on your own.
 
Without an attorney, you are relying in the kindness and integrity of your major opponent. Without knowing the rules that govern the entire process, you may be prevented from even presenting any meaningful defense.

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  Administrative License Hearing Fight to save your license!

If you drive after your license has been suspended, you can be arrested, fined up to $2,000 and serve 6 months in jail and face further license suspension.

Request a hearing and all discoverable information regarding your arrest. It will give you a preview of both the civil and criminal case against you, a rarity in criminal cases.

The hearing purpose is to defend suspension of your driving privileges for either refusing a breath or blood test, or taking a test and scoring over the legal limit of 0.08.

This hearing is held at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). It is a civil action to suspend your license.

Again, there is no attorney's fee for this service if you retain my office for your dui or dwi defense. My service includes the following:

1. Accepting representation as your "attorney of record" with the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS).
 
This is to assure that all information about your hearing comes through our office. There are many deadlines involved in license suspensions, and missing one cannot be repaired.

2. Requesting all discoverable information

We request all documents intended to be used to suspend your license. This will include all paperwork created by the arresting officer in your case. It will describe why you were stopped, why the officer believed you were intoxicated, and whether or not you submitted to chemical testing.

These are all critical elements of this case. If any one element cannot be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, your license will not be suspended.

We provide you with a copy of all information retrieved in your case. This is important, because we need you to review it to see if it "jogs your memory" for additional facts or contradicts your recollection of the events of your arrest. You will have copies of the actual reports filed with the TDPS by the arresting officer.

3. Subpoena arresting officer (you are responsible for this costs).

We subpoena all officers with personal information about your arrest and accusation for DWI. This serves two purposes. If they appear at your hearing, we are given an opportunity to question them under oath as to exactly what their testimony will be at your trial.

Many times police are not well prepared for these civil actions and provide testimony at the ALR hearing which will greatly assist your DWI case. Remember, if you lose your ALR, but win your DWI, your license suspension will be permanently erased from your driving record.

The second reason for the subpoena is based upon the ALR rules. If an officer is served with a subpoena to appear at your ALR hearing and fails to appear, your ALR will be dismissed because his reports will not be admissible. Many DWI officers work late night shifts and do not like to bother coming to these hearings.

4. Appear and Defend Your License

I will appear at your hearing and conduct a defense of your case. If the officer appears, I will ask him questions for the record. If the officer fails to appear, there are still many civil objections that can be made to avoid your suspension.

5. Prompt Notification of the Results of Your Hearing

I normally receive the Administrative decision within one week of the hearing date. Immediately upon receipt, my office will contact you by phone  or e-mail and by letter to tell you the results. We know that this is a stressful time for you and want you to have this information as soon as possible.

6. Occupational Drivers License (ODL)

As I told you previously, if I can't prevent your license suspension, I'll get you an Occupational License for no additional attorney fees! You will be obligated, however, to provide the county filing fee and TDPS's reinstatement fee.

If your license is suspended, I will contact you and thoroughly explain the limits of this special license. I will try to accommodate your driving needs during this suspension period. Remember that the law will restrict your driving to any 12 hours during a 24 hour period.

I also appear in Court to assure that your license is granted as requested. Some courts require a formal hearing and others do not. I will do whatever is necessary to keep you driving during your suspension period.

I then forward all necessary paperwork to TDPS to insure that your ODL is granted in a timely manner. I will provide you with a certified copy of the Order granting your license, which is effective immediately.

You may be required to attend and complete an alcohol awareness course for this license. I have many resources to assist you in completing this requirement.

Once completed, I file your certificate of completion with the Court to again insure that your driving privileges are not further interrupted.

 DUI and DWI Useful Information

You've been arrested for DWI and your license has been suspended. How do you get your license back? Contact F. Edward Brown at fedwardbrown@gmail.com now.

Attorney Brown handles DWI cases in the following areas, among others:

Driving while intoxicated, first offense, is a Class B Misdemeanor that is defined at Texas Penal Code 49.04.
 
"A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place".

The elements are:

The defendant, on or about a particular date was operating a motor vehicle in a public place (street, highway, beach, parking lot, etc.)

In a particular county

While intoxicated

The Texas legislature has specifically defined the term "intoxication", as that term is used for prosecution of DWI cases - Texas Penal Code 49.01(2).

The State may prove intoxication in three different ways:

not having the normal use of physical faculties OR

not having the normal use of mental faculties OR

having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

It is important to note that the law provides for intoxication by the introduction of any intoxicating substance into the body. Having valid prescription for a substance is not a defense to DWI.

Fine: A fine not to exceed $2,000.00.

Confinement in the county jail for a term not to exceed 180 days.

 Intoxication Assault: A third degree felony "A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake, while operating a .... motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another" (Texas Penal Code 49.07)."

Fine: A fine not to exceed $10,000.00.

Confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (Penitentiary) for a term of not less than 2 year nor more than ten (10) years.

  Intoxication Manslaughter: A Second Degree Felony "A person commits an offense if the person:

...operates a motor vehicle in a public place, and...

...is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake."

Fine: A fine not to exceed $10,000.00.

Confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (Penitentiary) for a term of not less than 2 year nor more than twenty (20) years. 

What do you need to do now before anything else? Click on Contact Us on the left to get your FREE Texas DUI / DWI Case Evaluation.

 

FREE TEXAS DWI DUI CASE EVALUATION

Complete the CONFIDENTIAL online questionnaire, I will contact you personally within 24 hours (48 hours if over the weekend). 

 Tactics in Texas DUI / DWI Cases

  So exactly what can I do for you when I say that there are quite a few defense tactics?

Let me show you what I mean through actual examples. 

Use of Medication

Ron is a computer technician. He was 46 years old and had never been in trouble before. He was arrested in February and again in March for DWI. He was in a state of panic because the only option offered by the prosecutor was for him to spend three months in jail, a fine of $750.00 and lose his license for six months.

Ron told me he didn't know what happened on either arrest. He said that the last thing he remembered on both nights was taking his medicine and going to bed. The next thing he remembers was waking up in jail the next day. Ron did not seem to be lying to me and I thought there was something very unusual happening with this case.

After reviewing the police reports of the arrest I learned even more disturbing facts. On the first night, Ron had rear ended two cars in a left turn lane and then fled the scene. He had driven for about a mile when his truck jumped the median in the six lane parkway and came to rest against a brick wall. When asked by the officer where he was going, Ron told him that "he and his friends were going to the parade."

There were only two problems: there were no other people in the truck and there was no parade!

Ron was arrested and taken to jail. The video showed a man obviously not having the normal use of his physical or mental faculties but very "out of it". Ron readily agreed to take a breath test which showed an alcohol concentration of 0.040 (legal limit 0.080), half the legal limit. I began to suspect the medication even more.

On the second incident the police report was worse. It seems that a another driver had seen Ron weaving across all of the lanes on the interstate and almost striking several other cars. The citizen followed as Ron drove several miles through several residential areas of Killeen. Ron exited the interstate and proceeded on a county road at about 80 mph. A car in front of him tried to get off onto the shoulder and was rear ended by Ron. Ron didn't stop. He sped forward and made a U-turn and headed straight for the car he had hit earlier. The people in the other car were in fear for their life and pulled into a driveway at the last minute.

The report continued: Ron kept driving in the same direction, where he eventually met the police. He again made a U-turn, off the roadway and led three police officers on a 17.3 mile chase at speeds of 100 mph! Ron only was stopped when he misjudged a right turn in another county and wrecked his truck.

Ron was arrested and the transporting officer testified that Ron "did not seem to know anything that was happening or comprehend what was going on." Ron again agreed to take a breath test and this time the results were 0.006, well below the legal limit and slightly above the range of accuracy for the breath test machine.

I researched Ron's medication and medical history. It seems that two years earlier he was hospitalized for a mild heart attack and underwent angioplasty for blockage near his heart. He also had very high blood pressure (240/140). After being released his doctor put him on a regimen of blood pressure medication. This medication however caused insomnia and Ron could not get more than 1 hour of sleep each night. The doctor then prescribed another drug to help him get to sleep: Ambien.

This course of treatment seemed to work well for Ron for almost two years when these two incidents occurred. After his second arrest, Ron returned to the doctor and the Ambien was immediately discontinued. No more problems have been reported.

I researched Ambien in the Physician's Desk reference. Because I have a registered nurse on contract, I knew about this book that is published by drug manufacturers warning about all adverse effect of drugs that were documented during FDA approval. To my amazement there were five pages on Ambien. The usual drug may have two pages, but never had I seen five.

After reading the reported side effects closely I discovered that a rare, but documented, side effect was "somnambulism" or sleep walking. I then began to research what a person could do while sleep walking and was it possible that this was what happened to Ron. I learned that you can perform any activity while sleep walking and that the only difference was that you were not "awake" and therefore not aware of what was happening. I also noted that this side effect lasted almost exactly as long as Ron's memory was missing.

I made a strategy decision to try all of Ron's cases before the same jury. I believed that one jury should hear all of these facts and make the decision on all cases as they were all related to the side effect of Ambien.

At trial I defended two charges of DWI, one charge of hit and run and one charge of evading arrest. Intoxication was never contested as we conceded that Ron had lost the normal use of his physical and mental faculties by the introduction of alcohol and a controlled substance. The prosecutor called ten witnesses who all testified that Ron was really "out of it". They described someone in an altered state of consciousness.

I called a registered nurse to teach the jury about Ambien. The PDR pages were introduced and the RN explained that Ron's actions were likely caused by the long term use of this short term sleep medication. She also stated that the descriptions given by the other witnesses indicated a person who was in a somnambulistic state, appearing awake and doing normal things, but being controlled by his subconscious.

Before final argument, I argued that Ron's actions were involuntary and mandated a certain instruction to the jury to find him not guilty if they believed that his driving and intoxication were involuntary. This motion argument took approximately two hours as a record needed to be preserved in the event there was an appeal.

Texas law is now very strict on DWI charges and the law seems to state that it doesn't matter whether or not you suffer from unknown side effects from prescription drugs or someone slips something into your drink without your knowledge. If you aren't normal and you drive, you are guilty of DWI. The judge denied my requested charge on this issue.

This jury deliberated for three hours and 47 minutes on both cases before coming to their verdicts in his cases. Ron was found not guilty of evading arrest and hit and run because the voluntary instruction was given for those charges by the judge. Ron was convicted on both of the DWI cases. Instead of the three months in jail however, the jury granted probation in both cases and total fines of $2,000. They also agreed not to suspend Ron's drivers license for any of these offenses.

Much relieved at the verdicts in his cases, Ron is now back to normal and swears that he'll never take any medication for sleeping again. The jurors also said that they had heard of Ambien, but they would never take it. One juror also shared with me that his father suffers from Parkinson's disease and had a similar experience with a new medication. He asked me if I thought he could be prosecuted for DWI under Texas law and I sadly stated that I believed that the law appeared to state that he could.

This was a VERY unusual case and not likely to be repeated. Because of my use of expert witnesses and consultants in medical science, drugs, breath testing and general research, I was able to obtain favorable results.

And that's the point here. While each case depends on its own facts, a knowledge of applicable medical science, drugs, breath and blood testing, and Field Sobriety Testing is invaluable in defending a DWI. The outcome of your case may well depend upon it. My background shows that I have that knowledge, and that I can use it to help your case.

Moreover, which is often overlooked when someone selects an attorney, you need one who is willing to believe you and fight for you with every possible defense. These are the types of cases that I enjoy the most.

Before I go any further, let me tell you that I'm not promising that I can do the same in your case. That would be unethical. Every situation is different.

That was pretty interesting , wasn't it?

Let me give you another example.

You Can't Win ... If You Plea Guilty!

Intoxication is not the only issue.

Charlene was an out-of-town police officer's wife. She was also a chiropractor. A criminal conviction for DWI was not something that she needed on her resume. When she came to my office she was highly distraught. She wanted and needed--to win.

The facts were fairly simple. It seems that a local police officer had "set up shop" just outside a local sports bar after midnight. He reported that he saw Charlene speed out of the parking lot and swerve going down the service road to the interstate. He decided to follow Charlene to look for any more erratic driving. Charlene entered the interstate after making a legal U-turn and the police officer saw no more reckless driving, but decided to stop her and check her out.

Of course Charlene admitted that she had been drinking as she had just left the bar, but the officer did not believe that she had only had "a couple of beers". The officer asked Charlene to perform several balancing tests and the HGN (eye) test, which she did. In the officer's opinion Charlene was intoxicated and she was arrested and taken to jail.

At the jail Charlene was videotaped and did not appear to have very good balance. She performed the exercises again and did very poorly. When asked to count her money for inventory into the jail, Charlene could not do it even after trying three times. Her speech sounded slurred and she did not appear "normal" on the video. I truthfully told Charlene that winning would be an uphill battle, but that I couldn't win if I didn't try. Charlene agreed.

At trial I contested the delay in stopping Charlene for "burning off" out of the parking lot and observing no more bad driving. The officer was also questioned about his "stakeout" at the local bar, which he denied. The video was played and the look on the jury's face was one of which seemed to say, there's no question this gal's not intoxicated.

During direct examination the officer testified that he stopped Charlene in the 79000 block of Central Expressway. When I heard this I recalled all of the traffic tickets I had done previously in this area and realized that Charlene was stopped and observed driving in another county. Rather than try to get the officer to admit that he had filed the case in the wrong court, I did not question him.

When Charlene took the stand (a rare strategy for me, but Charlene insisted), I admitted a Maps co of the area. The prosecutor tried to object, but Mapsco is a recognized authority on the streets of the city. The prosecutor only glanced at the map when it was admitted.

In my closing argument, I asked the jury why didn't the prosecutor bring them the map? Why did I have to do it? I then picked up the map which clearly showed the 79000 block of Central Expressway was in another county as was the local bar and all of the driving before the stop. I reminded the jurors that they had sworn to require the state to prove all of the elements they had outlined in jury selection. I used this Mapsco exhibit to point out that the county of offense was an essential element in the case.

After twenty minutes, the jury returned with a verdict of not guilty. When asked their thoughts and reasoning they informed me that while they believed that Charlene was driving while intoxicated, they also believed that it happened in the nearby county and not in the county in which the trial was being held. They took their oath seriously.

This is not an unusual event in the trial of a case, but it was not a planned strategy for winning. Trial offers many unusual opportunities and only a skilled and experienced trial attorney can guide a case to victory with constantly changing facts. It is critical that you ask any attorney you visit what his or her trial experience has been. 

Let me give you one last example.

Do You Believe in Machine Justice . . . if so, then Do We Need Jurors

  The Breath Test Machine Made a Mistake

I'll call this client Clyde. Clyde was an NCO (non-commission officer) who was looking to move to Fort Bliss, Texas. He appeared to be a very responsible person who was afraid of a DWI conviction. This was especially true when he learned that he would not be admitted to warrant officer school if he had a DWI conviction on his driving record.

Clyde told me that he and his friends had been out for dinner and drinks that night, but that he had a big dinner with his two beers and three glasses of wine. The dinner and five drinks were over a four-hour period. When he was arrested, he believed that he wasn't intoxicated and agreed to take a breath test. Imagine his surprise when the officer told him that his results were 0.26 or three times the legal limit!

Because of my training on the breath test machine, I asked Clyde all of the questions that I normally do to determine what may have affected the results. According to generally accepted scientific principles of absorption and elimination of alcohol, I predicted that his breath test should have been in the range of 0.020 - 0.040.

Another confusing part of the case was the video at the jail. During the video Clyde was polite, cooperative, displayed excellent speech and balance. The officer had Clyde perform five (5) sobriety exercises just before the breath test and Clyde made only minor no mistakes. In other words, these tests did not validate the breath test results. For Clyde to have had a concentration of 0.26 he would have had to drink about 15 beers in two hours!

I told Clyde that something must have been wrong with the machine and that I would obtain and review the machine records for the month before and after the testing. When I got the records, I noticed that it said that the machine was "Operating Correctly" on every day except the day that Clyde took the test. I told Clyde that I thought we could win his trial with this evidence and we proceeded to trial.

With these records in hand, I decided not to contest the introduction of the breath test results. When the prosecutor's expert took the stand, I asked him if he had the records for this machine. He did and much to my surprise his records indicated that the machine WAS "Operating Correctly" on the date of Clyde's arrest!

I compared his records to mine and noted that the operational status was printed on a different line and that my records were identical except that they had been produced three months earlier. It was the same computer-generated report. I then admitted his records and had him identify and admit the records I had obtained from his officer three months earlier. I also had the expert make the calculation for the jury that Clyde would have had to drink 15 drinks in two hours to have this result.

In closing argument the prosecutor said that Clyde must have a "high tolerance" for alcohol and I objected that there was no evidence of tolerance in the trial (Clyde took my advice and did not testify). My objection was sustained and the jury instructed to disregard that comment.

In my closing I pointed out how well Clyde had done on the balancing, reading, alphabet and walk-the-line tests. I then showed them both of the records for the breath test machine and asked them to decide why these records had been altered. The jury had a very quizzical look on their face when I pointed out the identical records and the appearance that the "Operating Correctly" notation had been added at a later date.

This jury deliberated for 15 minutes and returned a verdict of not guilty. When asked their thoughts, they said that they did not believe the machine because Clyde could not have done that well after drinking 15 drinks. They were also very curious (as was the prosecutor) as to why the records appeared to have been altered and they therefore didn't know which one to believe.

Needless to say, Clyde was ecstatic. He is now a successful chief warrant officer at Fort Bliss,Texas and his DWI arrest and accusations have been completely erased from any and all records created as a result of his arrest and accusation for DWI.

Could the same be true for you? I don't know now, but if you call for your free case audit and case evaluation, I will explore all these types of possibilities with you.

The lesson is these DUI cases are winnable.

Remember, you can't win . . . if you plea guilty. Go ahead and give me a call for your free case audit and evaluation, now.

 

Sex Crimes - Texas

Are you facing serious sex crimes accusations?

Are you fearful at the prospect of a lifetime sex offender registration?

Do you need a lawyer to serve as your aggressive and loyal advocate in protecting your rights?

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Bell County, Texas Lawyer Protecting Your Rights in Sex Crime Investigations

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Facing a sex crime investigation alone can be intimidating. People are often scared, and sometime even innocent people say incriminating things that require an explanation later in court.

At the Brown Law Firm in Belton, Texas, I have more than seventeen (17) years experienced available to help you with issues related to a sex crime investigation. I make sure that your rights are protected; I  go to great lengths under the law to prevent the filing of charges against you.

Under Texas law, accusations of child sex abuse must be reported and investigated. Child sex crime investigations are conducted by Child Protective Services (CPS) and by local law enforcement. I understand how CPS approaches and investigate. I use my knowledge and experience to help my clients through what can be a difficult time, and to mitigate any potential damage caused by a negative CPS investigation report or law enforcement investigation.

 How Early Action by a Sex Crimes Attorney Can Help You

Sex crime allegations often place the accused in a difficult position.  Because of the stigma of sex abuse charges, good people who are arrested for sex crimes often find their personal and professional lives ruined. Even if the situation fails to escalate beyond formal accusations, personal and professional consequences may be felt for years to come.

At the Brown Law Office, I do everything possible under the law to prevent charges from ever being filed if you contact me early during the investigation. I work with clients thoroughly and completely investigating the facts involved. I can also negotiate with government agencies like CPS and law enforcement.

Killeen, Texas Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

Being accused of a sex crime does not make you a bad person. You still have rights and dignity to uphold. I am ready to defend your rights immediately.

Serving clients in and around the Central Texas area, our child abuse defense team brings experience and determination to each and every case.

Some specific crimes a person can be charged with under the Texas Penal Code are:

criminal solicitation of a minor (under 17)
aggravated kidnapping
public lewdness
indecent exposure
indecency with a child (under 17 years of age)
improper relationship between educator and student
improper photography or visual recording
sexual assault
aggravated sexual assault
prohibited sexual conduct
prostitution
promotion of prostitution
obscene display or distribution
obscenity
sale, distribution, or display of harmful material to minor (under 18)
sexual performance by a child
employment harmful to children
possession or promotion of child pornography
sex offenses

Avoid Lifetime Sex Offender Registration

If convicted of a sex crime, following jail or prison time or deferred adjudication, you will be forced to register as a sex offender. Registration with local law enforcement is annual. Failure to register creates yet another firestorm of adverse publicity and aggressive actions by law enforcement.

Contact Us Now Before Talking to Investigators

If you are charged with sexual assault,  indecency with a child or Internet sex crime,  you have rights. Protect them by retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced lawyer regarding a sexual assault or a legal matter related to Megan's Law, contact  Brown Law Office by calling 254-634-2587 or 254-899-8164. Go ahead and contact us today.

Your calls and e-mails are welcome. Initial contact is FREE.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Assault

I was charged with assault against my wife. If she calls the District or County Attorney's office and tell them that she does not want me prosecuted for this offense, is the DA or CA required to dismiss the case?
Does there have to be some type of visible injury for someone to be charged with assault?

Criminal Law

What do I look for in hiring an attorney?
I've been charged with a crime, what do I do now?
What happens when I go to court?
What is going to happen to me if I'm found guilty?
What is the difference between probation and deferred adjudication?
There is a warrant for my arrest, what should I do?
What if my case is set at "no bond?
The police did not read me my rights; will my case be dismissed?

DUI & DWI

What must be proved to find you guilty of DWI?
How do I avoid being arrested for DWI?
How do I keep my license from being automatically suspended?
Does the ALR hearing effect my criminal court case for DWI?
Will I have to go to jail if this is my first DWI?
How does a DWI effect my criminal record? Will I have a conviction if I receive probation?
How much can I expect in fines if I receive probation?
Is a breath sample always correct?
What if the arresting officer did not read me my rights until after I completed sobriety tests at the station?
What should I expect from a lawyer?
What are the major areas of concern in a DWI case?
Non-Arrest Bonds: What should I do if I have a warrant for my arrest?
What are your rights if you are arrested?
What if I am not read these Miranda rights?

Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?
Can I be arrested for domestic abuse if the injury is minor?
Drug Crimes
What are the common legal challenges raised in drug cases?
How is drug court different from regular criminal court?

Juvenile Law

What is juvenile court?
What is the maximum age for juvenile court?
My child was charged criminally for causing damage to my neighbor's property. I have paid for the repairs to my neighbor's property and my neighbor is satisfied. Will the charges be dropped automatically?
Do we need a lawyer to represent my child even if my child is innocent?
If my child simply intends to plead guilty, why does he or she need a lawyer?
What do I look for in hiring an attorney?
Do I need to post a bond for my child?
The police say my child is being charged with a crime, what is going to happen?
What does the court consider in deciding whether to detain or release a juvenile?
What happens when I go to court?
What is an adjudication?
Are children locked up in the same places as adults?
What is diversion?
What is restitution?
What is a status offense?
What is going to happen to me if I'm found guilty?
Can juvenile records be sealed?

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 Assault

I was charged with assault against my wife. If she calls the District or County Attorney's office and tell them that she does not want me prosecuted for this offense, is the DA or CA required to dismiss the case?

No. Although your wife is considered to be the victim, the crime is also considered to be against the "peace and dignity of the State." Although your wife's desire not to prosecute may or may not be helpful regarding punishment, often times these type of offenses are prosecuted with or without the assistance of the victim.

Does there have to be some type of visible injury for someone to be charged with assault?

There are several categories of assault in Texas. For misdemeanor assaults, visible injury is NOT required. ANY instance of pain can be considered "bodily injury". Also, just a threat of bodily injury can possibly be considered an assault under Texas law.

Criminal Law

What do I look for in hiring an attorney?

You need a lawyer with experience in the area of law where your problem exists. For example, when facing criminal or juvenile charges, you need a lawyer experienced in criminal or juvenile law. Not all lawyers are experienced in these areas. These are specialized areas of law that follow different rules and procedures. You need a lawyer who understands your case and is able to effectively protect your rights.

Legal fees are also an important factor in choosing your lawyer, but do you really want the cheapest attorney when your freedom and liberty are on the line? The old adage you get what you pay for is certainly true when it comes to legal fees. Quality representation is what you should seek to find, but that representation should come at a fair price.

I've been charged with a crime, what do I do now?

It is very important that you consult with an attorney as quickly as possible. You have key constitutional rights that need to be protected. Depending on the type of case, legal motions and requests may need to be filed immediately.

If you have not yet posted bond, you need an attorney to review your case and determine whether or not your bond can be lowered, thereby saving you hundreds of dollars in bonding fees. This is a critical time to consult an attorney otherwise you could end up being arrested on the warrant and end up spending more time in jail waiting to bond out (or spending more money by getting arrested while driving and then having your car towed and stored, incurring additional expenses).

If you have posted a bond, or if you have a loved-one in jail who is unable to bond out, your attorney needs to begin working on preserving critical evidence that may aid in your defense.   

What happens when I go to court?

Your first court setting is usually called the "arraignment." Historically, this is when the court will tell you what you are charged with and the range of punishment for that offense. Some judges forgo the formality of an arraignment. In those courts, your attorney will simply give you that information.

This is also an opportunity for your lawyer to gather information about your case by reviewing the District Attorney's file. In Bell County, the District Attorney has an open file policy, allowing defense attorneys to view the police report and other evidence associated with your case. Also, at this time, the District Attorney may make a plea offer in an attempt to "plea-bargain" the case and avoid a trial.

Often, this setting will result in a reset of your case to a future date. This is usually necessary so that your attorney can gather additional information, talk to witnesses, and test the state's case and evidence. Your attorney will be able to advise you on whether or not you should reset your case. At the Brown Law Firm, we strive to complete your case with as few number of court appearances as necessary, without sacrificing your rights.

What is going to happen to me if I'm found guilty?

That depends upon the offense. Sometimes your lawyer will be able to "plea-bargain" for a lesser charge or a lesser sentence. The range of punishment ultimately depends upon the conviction offense. The following list gives the range of punishment by class of offense:

Class C misdemeanor (tickets): fine only, amounts vary by offense

Class B misdemeanor: up to 180 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 fine

Class A misdemeanor: up to one year in jail and/or up to $4,000 fine

State Jail felony: minimum 6 months in state jail, maximum 2 years in state jail, without credit for "good time", and up to $5,000 fine

3rd degree felony: minimum 2 years in prison, maximum 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine

2nd degree felony: minimum 2 years in prison, maximum 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine

1st degree felony: minimum 5 years in prison, maximum 99 years or life in prison and up to $10,000 fine

**Note: This list serves as only a baseline for punishment -- certain enhancements (prior criminal history or aggravating circumstances) can increase the punishment range by increasing the minimum time, the maximum time, or both. And, some clients will qualify for probated sentences or deferred adjudication in lieu of jail/prison sentences.

Because the punishment range depends upon the conviction, this is where an experienced lawyer can help. As an experienced criminal trial lawyer, Brown Law Firm will work toward the best possible outcome, which might include a dismissal or a plea to a lesser charge which means a lesser sentence.

 What is the difference between probation and deferred adjudication?

Probation refers to "community supervision." In a probation case, the defendant is found guilty (i.e., convicted) and sentenced to a period of time in jail or prison; however, the jail time or prison time is "probated" or suspended, meaning put on hold. Probation time can range from 6 months on a misdemeanor to 10 years on a felony. During the probation period, the defendant meets with a probation officer and is monitored closely to ensure compliance. Some of the rules of probation include: commit no offenses, perform community service hours, pay a fine, pay court costs, not use drugs or alcohol, provide random urine tests, attend counseling or therapy, work faithfully or attend school full-time. Other rules often apply but are based on the particular offense. And, for any probation, the judge may order some jail time as a condition of the probation. At the end of the probation term, if the defendant is successful on probation, the judge will release the defendant from probation; however, if the defendant violates probation, he is subject to being sentenced to jail or prison for the period of time originally assessed. Probation gives a defendant the opportunity to stay out of jail or prison and be a productive member of society.

Deferred Adjudication refers to a form of community supervision wherein there is no finding of guilt and no conviction, so long as the period of supervision is successfully completed.

For practical purposes, it is the same as being on probation, with the same conditions listed above. HOWEVER, the difference is the judge "defers" the finding of guilt -- the judge applies a wait and see philosophy. If the supervision is successfully completed, there is no finding of guilt and no conviction. But, if the defendant violates the supervision, the judge can find the defendant guilty and sentence him accordingly -- a conviction. Because a successful deferred adjudication is not a conviction, in most cases it cannot be used against the defendant in the future to enhance punishment. The current law even allows most deferred adjudications to be "sealed" as a non-public record after a certain period of time. This is an important advantage because once the record is sealed (or made non-public) the defendant can deny the arrest, charge, and period of supervision -- it need not be disclosed.

Consult your attorney to find out if deferred adjudication or probation is applicable to your case and if you should consider them as an alternative to a final conviction. While it sounds good, it is not always the best alternative!

There is a warrant for my arrest, what should I do?

Contact an attorney as quickly as possible. Your attorney may be able to assist in getting a bond set for you or getting the court to reduce the amount of the bond in your case. This can save you hundreds of dollars in bonding fees. Also, your attorney will be involved from the very beginning to safeguard and protect your rights. In some cases, your attorney will be able to prevent your incarceration by working with a bonding company to post a "no-arrest" bond.

What if my case is set at "no bond?

Again, contact an attorney as quickly as possible. Your attorney will be able to assist you in getting a bond in almost all cases. Your attorney will appear with you in court and request a bond as you surrender to the court. You should also have a bonding company accompany us to court to post your bond as you are surrendered to the court.

The police did not read me my rights; will my case be dismissed?

Most likely, no. These "rights" are referred to as Miranda rights, coming from a Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. The Supreme Court stated that police must inform suspects of their rights prior to interrogating or questioning a suspect in custody (that familiar phrase: "you have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and probably will be used against you at your trial; you have the right to have a lawyer present prior to and during any questioning; if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you; and you have the right to terminate the interview at any time").

When the police fail to read your rights, the effect is simply that your answers to questions made by the police while you were in custody are suppressible. This is where it is important to hire an experienced lawyer who can deal with the suppression issues. At Brown Law Firm, I have dealt with both adult statements and juvenile statements and have been successful in suppressing both, sometimes resulting in a dismissal. Whether or not your case will be dismissed depends upon the other evidence available to the prosecution.

DUI & DWI

 What must be proved to find you guilty of DWI?

Your identity.

You were operating a motor vehicle in a public place, in Texas, while your Blood Alcohol Level was .08 or higher, by the introduction of alcohol, a drug, or a combination thereof into the body.

How do I avoid being arrested for DWI?

Do not give a breath sample. The officer will most likely tell you that you will be arrested if you don't take the Breathalyzer, and that your license will be suspended. What they don't tell you is that if you blow over .08 (the legal limit) you will be arrested and your license will be suspended anyway.

How do I keep my license from being automatically suspended?

In order to keep your license from being automatically suspended, we will request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing to contest DPS's contention that there was probable cause for your arrest.

Does the ALR hearing effect my criminal court case for DWI?

In short, No. DPS will try to suspend your license independent of anything that is happening with your case in court. Additionally, upon a final conviction of DWI, the criminal court judge can suspend your license for anywhere from 6 months to one year depending on your age and the circumstances of your case, prior convictions, etc.

Will I have to go to jail if this is my first DWI?

If you have a clean criminal record and there were no serious injuries in your first misdemeanor DWI, you should not have to worry about doing any additional jail time. In Bell County, probation is an option as an alternative to jail time.

How does a DWI effect my criminal record?
Will I have a conviction if I receive probation?

For DWI's in Texas, even if you receive probation, you will have a final conviction on your record. The law states that on your second DWI, you must spend at least 30 days in jail if you are convicted. This enhancement can sometimes be waived, however.

How much can I expect in fines if I receive probation?

A DWI 1st carries a maximum fine of $2,000 which can be paid monthly as a part of probation. Additionally, as of Sept. 1st 2003, DPS will assess an additional penalty of a minimum of $1,000 per year for three years upon a final conviction for DWI.

Is a breath sample always correct?

Absolutely not. A breath sample from an Intoxilyzer machine can be inaccurate. There are ways to attack the validity of the breath test results.

What if the arresting officer did not read me my rights until after I completed sobriety tests at the station?

This is a common question. Sobriety tests are generally considered non-testimonial in nature and Miranda does not apply to non-testimonial evidence.

What should I expect from a lawyer?

Your lawyer should conduct a thorough investigation of the facts of your case,he should be able to prepare and conduct a rigorous cross examination of the State's witnesses. In most cases, this is the most important part of the trial, he should have a comprehensive understanding of constitutional rights, how they may be violated and how to protect those rights.

He should have experience in the type of case you are hiring him for.

What are the major areas of concern in a DWI case?

Whether the stop was constitutional.
Whether the administration of roadside tests was constitutional.
Whether there was Probable Cause for the arrest.
How Miranda will play a role in the case with statements and other evidence.
How the roadside tests were administered.
The administration of any Breath or Blood Samples given.
The constitutionality of the search and seizure.
Non-Arrest Bonds: What should I do if I have a warrant for my arrest?
You should contact an attorney immediately if you or a member of your family or a close friend has a warrant for their arrest. A warrant is issued by a magistrate or a judge. The arrest warrant commands a law enforcement officer or some other person specifically named to arrest the body of the accused and take the body to be dealt with according to law. By contacting my firm, I can help resolve the warrant problem.

What are your rights if you are arrested?

The police officer is required to take a person in front of a magistrate without unnecessary delay, but no later then 48 hours. The magistrate is required to inform the person accused of:

The charges against him.
They have the right to hire an attorney.
They have the right to remain silent.
They have the right to have an attorney present during questioning by law enforcement or a prosecuting attorney.
The have the right to terminate the questioning at any time.
They have the right to request a court appointed attorney, if the person arrested in indigent or cannot afford to hire an attorney.
The procedures for requesting a court appointed lawyer.
They have the right to an examining trial.
The person arrested is not required to make a statement and any statement may, can and will be used against the person arrested. The magistrate is also required to allow the accused reasonable time and opportunity to consult counsel and to be admitted to bail if allowed by law.

What if I am not read these Miranda rights?

Any confession you make during a custodial interrogation cannot be used against you unless you are first advised of your Miranda rights. Some statements and confessions may be used against you prior to arrest and prior to a custodial interrogation under certain circumstances.

Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is the use of physical, sexual, economic, emotional and/or psychological abuse by an intimate partner or family member to control the actions of another. In most states, domestic violence crimes include behaviors that constitute assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment and other criminal offenses that result in physical injury or death.

Can I be arrested for domestic abuse if the injury is minor?

Yes. Minor physical injuries, and even the threat of violence, may result in an arrest in a domestic violence case. However, the severity of the injury may influence the specific charge brought.

Drug Crimes

What are the common legal challenges raised in drug cases?

The most common challenges in drug cases relate to how the evidence was obtained. If the police violated the defendant's Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights or Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, the court will suppress the drugs or statements as being unlawfully obtained. Without this evidence, the prosecution may not be able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and the case may be dismissed as a result.

How is drug court different from regular criminal court?

Drug courts combine criminal justice and medical treatment models to deal with drug crimes. They recognize that incarceration may not be the most effective method for breaking the cycle of drug addiction and crime, especially for first-time and low-level offenders. Drug courts emphasize a cooperative approach between the prosecutor, defendant and court, and they favor rehabilitation over jail. Successful completion of drug court programs can result in reduced charges or sentences, or dismissal of charges altogether.

 Juvenile Law

 What is juvenile court?

Children who break the law are subject to a separate judicial system called the juvenile court system. Generally, the focus of the juvenile court system is more on rehabilitation than on punishment. In some cases, however, older juveniles who commit crimes that are serious will be charged as adults and tried in the adult criminal courts. In such cases, sentences will be in accord with adult punishment, whereas in juvenile court any incarceration is usually in a rehabilitative setting and generally ends when the juvenile attains the age of majority.

 What is the maximum age for juvenile court?

The most common maximum age for a child to be in juvenile court is seventeen years. Some states set different ages for particular types of crimes. In most states, cases involving a juvenile of any age may be transferred to adult court.

 My child was charged criminally for causing damage to my neighbor's property. I have paid for the repairs to my neighbor's property and my neighbor is satisfied.

Will the charges be dropped automatically?

Not necessarily. Paying restitution may be a factor considered for the court's sentence, but it does not in and of itself guarantee dismissal of the charges. Forgiveness by the victim or parental punishment may be a factor in determining the court's sentence, but it is not a reason for the case to be dropped.

Do we need a lawyer to represent my child even if my child is innocent?

Yes. Children who have been wrongly accused definitely need competent legal representation to ensure that their rights are protected and that justice prevails. Employing the services of a seasoned criminal defense attorney is the best way to prevent injustice.

If my child simply intends to plead guilty, why does he or she need a lawyer?

Children in the juvenile justice system must be represented by a lawyer during most proceedings. Because juvenile proceedings are a combination of civil and criminal rules and procedure, you should hire a lawyer who practices in juvenile court and understands the juvenile system.

In some cases, the judge will appoint a lawyer for the child and require the parents to reimburse the county for the court-appointed lawyer.

 What do I look for in hiring an attorney?

You need a lawyer with experience in the area of law where your problem exists. For example, when facing criminal or juvenile charges, you need a lawyer experienced in criminal or juvenile law. Not all lawyers are experienced in these areas. These are specialized areas of law that follow different rules and procedures. You need a lawyer who understands your case and is able to effectively protect your rights. Legal fees are also an important factor in choosing your lawyer, but do you really want the cheapest attorney when your freedom and liberty are on the line? The old adage you get what you pay for is certainly true when it comes to legal fees. Quality representation is what you should seek to find, but that representation should come at a fair price.

Do I need to post a bond for my child?

No, juvenile offenders are not subject to being released on "bond" but are either detained or released depending upon the circumstances.

The police say my child is being charged with a crime, what is going to happen?

Often juveniles are taken into custody by the police. In some cases, the police will release the child to a parent or guardian. When this happens, the parents are simply told their child is being charged but they can take the child home. During the next few days or weeks, the police are sending their information to the District Attorney. Once the District Attorney receives the information, a petition is filed with the juvenile courts. After the petition is filed, the child and his parents are "served" with paperwork to appear in court on a particular day. Papers are served or delivered to you by a Deputy Constable who usually will come to your home.

Also, the juvenile probation department begins their process. The probation department is responsible for gathering information about your child and your family and preparing a report for the court. In most cases, a probation officer will contact you or your child to discuss his situation. Often, the probation department will contact you even before the petition is filed with the court.

It is important that you and your child talk with his or her attorney prior to speaking with the probation department. Although you will want to be cooperative with the probation department, you must be careful to protect your child's rights. Remember, all information provided to the probation department may end up in the report that is ultimately given to the prosecutor and the court for consideration.

What does the court consider in deciding whether to detain or release a juvenile?

The court considers five factors in determining whether to hold the child in the detention center pending court or to release the child to a parent or guardian: (1) whether the child is likely to abscond or be removed from the jurisdiction of the court, (2) whether a parent or guardian can provide suitable supervision, care, and protection for the child, (3) whether the child has a parent or guardian who is able to return him to court when required, (4) whether the child may be a danger to himself or others if released, and (5) whether the child has previously been found to have engaged in delinquent conduct and is likely to commit a new offense if released.

It is important for the parents (or guardian) to be present with a lawyer at the detention hearing to explore whether or not the judge will release the child. 

What happens when I go to court?

Your first court setting is usually called the "arraignment." This is an opportunity for your lawyer to gather information about your case by reviewing the prosecutor's file. In Bell County, the County Attorney has an open file policy, allowing defense attorneys to view the police report and other evidence associated with your case. Also, at this time, the County Attorney may make a plea offer in an attempt to "plea-bargain" the case and avoid a trial.

Also, at this setting, your attorney will be able to review the court probation report related to your case. The probation department has likely already contacted your family and your school to obtain information about your behavior and performance at home and at school. It is important that the information contained in this report be accurate as it will be relied upon by the court for disposition or punishment purposes.

Sometimes, this setting will result in a reset of your case to a future date. This may be necessary so that your attorney can gather additional information, talk to witnesses, and test the state's case and evidence. Your attorney will be able to advise you on whether or not you should reset your case. At Brown Law Firm, I strive to complete your case with as few number of court appearances as necessary, without sacrificing your rights.

What is an adjudication?

An adjudication is a finding by a juvenile court that a child committed a delinquent act. An adjudication is generally not considered a conviction for a crime and will not deprive the juvenile of civil rights, such as the right to vote.

Are children locked up in the same places as adults?

Federal law strongly discourages keeping children confined with adult offenders or suspects. The law requires physical and visual separation of juveniles and adults. Usually, a child is to be confined with adults for no more than six hours, while awaiting a transfer to a juvenile facility.

Since the goal of the juvenile court system is to rehabilitate rather than punish, juveniles who are incarcerated are sent to places different from adult jails. Many juvenile facilities are more like an ordinary residence than a prison.

What is diversion?

Many cases involving juveniles are not heard in court. The child's case is handled by another agency, usually a public or private social services agency. This is known as "diversion."

The child, the child's parents and the agency come to an agreement about how to handle the child's offense. This will often involve meeting certain conditions, such as, restitution, community service, counseling or school attendance. If the child meets all of the agreed conditions, the case will be dismissed without court action. If the conditions are not met, the child may be referred to juvenile court.

What is restitution?

Restitution involves ordering the juvenile to pay the victim a sum of money designed to compensate the victim for the monetary costs of the crime, usually, property damage. A juvenile court will often order restitution as a condition of probation.

What is a status offense?

A status offense is an offense that would not be a crime if committed by an adult. The most common status offenses are truancy, curfew violations or underage consumption or possession of alcohol. Other status offenses include "incorrigibility."

What is going to happen to me if I'm found guilty?

First of all, juveniles are not found "guilty"; they are said to have "engaged in delinquent conduct" if the court or a jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that an offense was committed.

This is a minor distinction but benefits the child in the future. For example, most job applications ask whether or not a person has been "convicted" of a crime; a juvenile is not convicted therefore may answer in the negative.

If a child is found to have engaged in delinquent conduct, the disposition or ramifications can range from probation where custody is left with the parents or guardians to probation where the juvenile is taken out of the home and placed into a juvenile facility to commitment or incarceration in the Texas Youth Commission. In some instances, the juvenile may face transfer or certification to the adult court to stand trial as an adult.

Can juvenile records be sealed?

Depending on the circumstances, many juvenile cases can be sealed. In a misdemeanor adjudication with a finding of delinquent conduct, there is a two year waiting period before the records may be sealed. The statute‚Äôs states the judge shall seal the records if (1) two years have elapsed since final discharge for a non-felony offense and (2) there have been no convictions or adjudications on any charge since final discharge and no such action is pending.

If the adjudication is for a felony offense, the sealing is discretionary for the court (may or may not be granted) and the child must wait until he or she is at least 21 years of age and there can be no convictions or adjudications on any charge since final discharge and no such action pending. However, in a "determinate sentencing" case, these records may never be sealed.

Another possibility of sealing records without waiting either 2 years or until age 21 exists where there is no adjudication, i.e., no finding of delinquent conduct. This result is common when charges are dismissed or when a case is passed for deferred prosecution (a special form of probation which does not include a finding of delinquent conduct).

Contact Us


F.Edward Brown, Attorney-at-Law
P.O. Box 1782
208 E. Central Avenue, Suite 107
Belton, TX 76513

Telephone Numbers:

Temple: 254-899-8164
Killeen: 254-634-2587
Fax:       254-549-2411

E-mail:
febrown@justice.com

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Killeen TX Criminal Defense Lawyer

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