It can happen to anyone. You’re out with your friends, have a few too many drinks, and try to drive home. Unfortunately, if you do so, you may be at risk for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense.
If you’ve been arrested for DWI in Texas, your license will be suspended unless you take action as soon as possible. Here are some tips to follow to help maintain your driving privileges:
- Hire an experienced DWI attorney immediately. You will automatically lose your license 40 days after your arrest if you don’t fight your DWI charge. Your lawyer knows how to fight this charge. If you can’t afford a lawyer, contact the Indigent Defense Office in your county and one may be appointed for you.
- If you refused to provide a blood or breath specimen, you must request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing within 15 days of your arrest. At the hearing, a judge hears your case and decides if there is sufficient probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of DWI. Your lawyer can effectively question the arresting officer about why you were arrested. Even if you lose the ALR hearing, you gain invaluable information that helps your case later. If the judge determines that there is probable cause, your license will be suspended.
- If you missed the deadline to request an ALR hearing or if you provided a breath or blood sample and decide to fight the charges, your lawyer will begin discovery to review the police report, arrest records, and videos. If you refused a Breathalyzer, your lawyer may be able to show that, based on the video, you were not intoxicated. If the video shows that you are in control and there are not any other mitigating factors, you should consider taking your case to trial. If you appear impaired on the videotape, your attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain for you.
If your license is suspended, your DWI defense attorney may be able to help you mitigate the damage, such as by helping you obtain an Occupational Driver License.
Does your ex-spouse pit your child against you? Does your ex-spouse speak negatively about you to your child? Are you constantly being denied visitation for no reason? These are signs of parental alienation and, if this is happening in your life, you need to take steps to combat it before it gets worse. A child needs both a mother and a father — don’t give up on your rights to see your child and fight for child custody and visitation even if your ex-spouse is trying to alienate you from your child.
Parental alienation is often prevalent in child custody disputes. It is usually defined by a campaign of denigration and hatred by one parent against the other parent. Family law judges will recognize this as a factor in determining the outcome of a child custody dispute, so if it is happening to you, there are some options available to help you. If custody has not yet been decided, make sure the judge knows what is happening. Keep a diary and provide specific evidence.
Some other options include:
- Request a child custody evaluation ― A psychiatrist could profile both parents and present findings to the court regarding the child’s ability to form a relationship with each parent.
- Request mediation ― You can present the dispute to a mediator who can make suggestions and provide recommendations on what the parents can do to protect the child’s best interests. This process often works well because it is less confrontational than litigation.
- Request a guardian ad litem ― This is a special attorney who watches out for your child’s best interests. A guardian ad litem can help work out conflicts and determine what is in the best interest of your child.
- Create a new parenting plan ― If you already have a parenting plan in place and it is not protecting your rights, your attorney can help you create a new plan that includes specific protections for time with your child.
All parents have a right to a meaningful relationship with their child, so if you are being wrongfully excluded from your child’s life, consult with an experienced San Antonio child custody attorney to determine the best course of action to remain in your child’s life.
Driving while intoxicated has severe consequences for any driver, but if you are a commercial driver, your livelihood is also on the line. A commercial party bus driver in Illinois was recently charged with criminal and professional penalties for allegedly driving students to their prom while he was intoxicated. And who can forget the limo driver who drove some Detroit Red Wings hockey players after they won the Stanley Cup? The limo driver was intoxicated, and the crash left one player in a coma, one player unable to walk, and the limo driver in jail.
In Texas, if a commercial driver has a blood alcohol limit of 0.04 percent or higher, the driver is over the legal limit. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial drivers. FMCSA regulations state that any commercial driver operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher is considered to be driving under the influence. Further, if you hold a commercial driver’s license and you either refuse a chemical test or you take one and have a BAC of 0.04 percent in a commercial vehicle or 0.08 percent in any other vehicle, your commercial license will be disqualified for one year. If you drive a commercial vehicle with hazardous materials, the penalty is three years.
Under Texas law, if you have a commercial driver’s license and you are convicted of a DWI, in addition to the penalties you will receive under the DWI statute (such as fines, possible jail time and suspension of your regular driver’s license), you will also lose your commercial driver’s license for at least one year. This is true regardless of whether you were driving a commercial or non-commercial vehicle at the time of your DWI arrest. A second DWI conviction will result in the loss of your commercial driver’s license for life. However, you can apply for reinstatement after 10 years.
If you are a commercial driver, being unable to drive means being unable to work. If you find yourself facing DWI charges, consultation with a tenacious San Antonio DWI attorney is critical to maintaining your livelihood.
A common misconception is that estate planning is only for married people and families. That is simply not true and, because nearly 47 percent of the adult population is single, it’s more important than ever to consider estate planning for singles.
Making estate plans is vitally important if you are a single person, and your planning will differ in many ways from planning for married persons. Further, if you are a single baby boomer, your financial strategies will be different than those for younger single people. Here are some planning tips for single persons:
- Plan to leave your assets in a way that you want. If you don’t make a plan, the state has a default plan for you that won’t be customized at all. You might have certain family members that you want to receive your assets, but if you don’t plan for certain people to receive certain of your assets, it may not happen. Those people or charities probably won’t receive your assets because the state’s default plan will not take into account your own personal preferences.
- Plan for incapacity. A medical power of attorney and a financial power of attorney make sure that your wishes are carried out during periods of incapacity. These documents are very important for a single person because there is no spouse to make these decisions if you become incapacitated. These documents allow you to appoint someone you trust to make these decisions for you.
- Plan for retirement. If you are nearing retirement age, try to remain employed as long as possible to increase retirement savings and Social Security benefits. If you are younger, put aside as much money as you can each year into a 401k or other retirement savings vehicle. People of all ages should also consider purchasing long-term care and disability insurance.
Calling an experienced San Antonio wills and estates attorney today will help get these plans in place so that you can coast into your golden years.