DLD Violation Hearings – Consequences and How to Defend Them

By Bo Kalabus
bo@kalabuslaw.com
Office: 972-562-7549
Collin County 24 Hour Jail Release 214-402-4364
www.rosenthalwadas.com
 
An Ignition Interlock or Deep Lung Device (DLD) is a portable machine that is installed on the vehicle to prevent the car from starting if it detects alcohol in the driver’s system. Depending on certain circumstances, such as a high BAC, accident, or multiple DWIs, a person may be required to have a DLD installed on their vehicle as a condition of bond for a DWI arrest. If a person is not driving, a judge may order that the person have a home alcohol-monitoring device they have to blow into at certain times of the day. The providers of the devices send reports to the courts once a month to determine if a person is having alcohol violations.
 
If you are ordered to have one of these devices while you are on bond for a DWI charge, you certainly have to watch your step. A person is on bond until the DWI case is resolved by going to trial or by taking a plea agreement. It can take several months up to a year from the time of arrest until the case is resolved. The primary condition of a DWI bond is to not consume any alcohol. This can be a harder request for some than others. If a person consumes alcohol while on bond, these devices will certainly catch your actions at some point. If that is the case, the judge will set what is called a DLD violation hearing.
 
The stakes are high at one of these violation hearings as the judge has the power to hold your current bond insufficient, which means you are immediately taken to jail following the hearing. At this point, the judge can then set a much higher dollar bond amount and/or may add additional conditions such as AA meetings, or adding a SCRAM device—a alcohol/drug monitor attached to the ankle of the person. Depending on the circumstances of the situation the judge may also have you held with no bond, which means you will be unable to get out of jail until your criminal charge is resolved.
I have helped many clients navigate these tricky waters by getting to the heart of the issues the client is going through and developing an action plan to present to the judge. Every situation is different and there is a big difference between a malfunctioning device and a person that is struggling with addiction. If you are having problems while on bond for a DWI charge, give me a call.

The Criminal Charges Against Me Have Been Dropped, Now What?!

 

214-402-4364-Writ Bond Hotline
bo@kalabuslaw.com
Office: 972-369-0577

If you have been arrested for a crime and those charges are later dropped, or refused for prosecution by the District Attorney, that’s great news.  However, you will still need to proactively remove the arrest from your record.

I’ve seen this situation happen in both misdemeanor and felony cases for clients where the police thought at the time they had enough evidence to arrest for an offense; however, after further review, the intake prosecutor believed for whatever reason they could not make the case and refused to accept it for filing or presentation to the Grand Jury.

When the case is refused, the District Attorney issues a drop charge letter to the police agency that arrested the person informing them the arrested person will not be prosecuted by the District Attorney.  It also instructs that if the person has an outstanding warrant due to the charge, then the warrant is to be recalled.  Moreover, if the person has been released from jail on a cash bond on the charge, the bond is to be discharged and the bond money be returned to the person named in the receipt for the bond.

Even though the case has been dropped, the arrest is still on your record until you file for an expunction.  An expunction is a civil lawsuit that will need to be filed to properly clear the arrest off your record.  Even though the case has been dropped, you will have to wait the applicable waiting period to let the statute of limitations run for the offense before moving forward with an expunction.

If you have been arrested for an offense and that charge was later dropped or dismissed, give me a call to discuss your options and make sure the arrest is properly cleared from your record.

Recent Case Win–.202 BAC DWI-Not Guilty

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

Client was clocked going down the highway at 105 MPH.  Following field sobriety tests, my client was arrested for DWI. A blood sample was obtained and the results alleged that my client’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was .202. There were serious questions regarding the validity and reliability of the blood test.  In a trial before the court, my client was found Not Guilty.

As you can imagine, my client was relieved and very pleased with the result.


 

What Do I Do If A Police Detective Is Trying to Contact Me?

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

Whether you think you did something wrong or not, your first call should be to me.

When an investigator is reaching out to a person about a crime, it’s a very serious thing. Investigators are very skilled at getting people they are questioning to talk and make admissions about crimes without the person of interest really knowing what they have just done to themselves. It’s an art and they are good.

Investigators usually call a person of interest and convince them to come down to the station to talk to them. Once there, the investigator will set them at ease and tell them they have a right to a lawyer and that they are free to leave anytime—people always seem to forget that part. Then the questioning begins. An investigator is talking to you because they are missing something in their investigation-remember if they had all their evidence, they would not need to be fishing. They may act like they know everything about a case, but it just may be a theory of theirs, and they are bluffing to see if you can give them the piece of information they are missing. It’s high stakes poker, and the investigator has the high cards.

Even if a person does not confess to a crime, sometimes responses to questions don’t make sense, or stories change and this can be just as damaging as a confession. The interview is video recorded, so every grimace, or long pause, or nervous twitch is captured. This video will be played later at trial and can be the State’s best evidence in prosecution of the charge.

If an investigator is trying to contact you, you need to contact me. Once the investigator knows a criminal lawyer represents a person, they will stop trying to contact that person. At that point I contact the investigator and see what they have on the person and see if it is advisable to talk to the investigator or not. 99% of the time its not advisable to the investigator. This is not something you should try to handle by yourself.

Should Pilots Take the Breath Test if Pulled Over for Suspicion of DWI?

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

“Should I take the tests?” is the number one question I get asked in my practice regarding DWI arrests. For people in most professions, my usual answer corresponds with what I believe 99% of criminal defense attorneys think, which is “less is always best”. Simply put, the less evidence there is against you, specifically no field sobriety tests, no breath test, the better the case will be for you at trial. Yes, if you politely refuse the tests you will be arrested, but the end result may be an acquittal at trial due to lack of evidence.

For pilots however, my advice is totally different. For a pilot, especially a commercial pilot who earns a living flying, keeping peace with the FAA is the primary concern. In short, if a pilot refuses a breath or blood test, their license is in serious jeopardy.

Two things will red flag a pilot on a DWI stop and if either of these two events occur the FAA will assume the pilot has a substance abuse problem—even on a first offense. The first is if pilot refuses a breath or blood test and the second is if the pilot has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over .15 (.08 is the legal limit in most states). The refusal or high BAC send strong signals to the FAA and you just can’t un-ring the bell if it happens.

So, what happens next? With a pending DWI case regardless of the BAC, the next medical examination for the pilot could be a huge shock. The AME will have no choice but to defer the FAA medical application. And that will end the flying until a time when the pilot can get his medical back. The trap door on the medical application is at line 18.v of FAA Form 8500-8, which asks the pilot to report “arrests, convictions and administrative actions”. When a pilot checks that box “yes” following a DWI arrest, the local AME will be required to transfer this application to the FAA’s aerospace medical certification division for further review.

If the medical application is deferred, it’s a long road back for the pilot. At that point, the pilot must receive a substance-abuse evaluation from a recognized counselor (DOT substance abuse professional) in order to be further considered for a medical certificate. This can be a very expensive and lengthy process. An AME cannot perform this evaluation without additional certification by the DOT (not the FAA). This makes the renewal process longer and more arduous.

As you can see, the choices people make can have a huge impact on their careers, especially if you have a professional license on the line, like a pilot. If you want to drink, take an Ubur. It’s just not worth it.

After Dallas Tragedy-Top 5 Things You Need To Know When Pulled Over By The Police

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Dallas we must all examine how we interact with police officers if we are stopped for a traffic offense. On a normal day police have very difficult jobs. Usually they are alone and every time they approach a vehicle it is a dangerous situation. However, these are not normal times for the police or us. Tensions for both are at an all time high point. Therefore, we must examine what our actions signal to police when we are stopped. Here are a few helpful tips on how to handle yourself during a traffic stop.

1) Pull Over As Soon As You Can

The longer it takes you pull over the more suspicion this raises to the officer. They are thinking that you may have a reason for wanting to evade them such as having a warrant, or you are buying time to try to hide contraband in the car. This type of situation makes the officer think you might be dangerous and sets the tone for the questioning to come.

2) Pull Over in a Safe Place

It looks really bad if you pull over in a dangerous place, such as pulling to the left median on the Tollway or a major interstate for example. Usually in this scenario it makes the officer have to approach on the right side of the car with traffic flying right by them. This is a very dangerous situation for the officer and again it sets the tone for the questioning.

3) Keep Your Hands Where The Officer Can See Them

Keep your hands on the steering wheel up high where they can be seen or on the window frame while the officer approaches. Nothing puts an officer on point more than movement in the car as they approach. They have no idea if you are looking for your insurance or your trusty .357.

4) Let The Officer Talk First

The officer is going to want the first word. Let them have it and follow the lead. Being interrupted is frustrating for the officer. Don’t make a minor situation worse by being a know it all. The officer is in control.

5) Be Polite

Golden rule time–be polite and courteous. Remember you are being videotaped too. Remember your rights, but stay cool. You can politely refuse to take field sobriety tests and then keep your mouth closed. Don’t make a scene by yelling at the officer asking if you are detained.

If you are charged with a crime, you should contact a competent Collin County Criminal Lawyer to represent you and examine all the possible defenses you could have with your case.

Police Body Cameras Cut Both Ways

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

More and more Collin and Dallas County police agencies are using body cameras these days. Being filmed during a police investigation is not an entirely new concept, as police in-car dash video recorders have been around for quite some time now. However, the police body camera can show much greater detail during a police encounter, which can be both helpful and harmful to defense of a criminal case.

In defending a criminal case, I find for the most part having events videotaped is very helpful. The video recording is the best objective evidence of an event and I would rather have a dash camera or body camera video in a case I’m working on than not. Take a DWI for example, an officer may put in his report that he just witnessed the worst driving ever and that’s why he stopped the vehicle.   But when we review the patrol car video the driving doesn’t look near as bad as the officer described. In fact, the driver may not have violated any traffic law and the officer may not have had an objective reason for pulling the driver over. This type of video evidence will keep the officer from exaggerating his testimony at trial. However, the dash camera can have limitations. Often the footage is grainy and the audio can be muffled.

Police body cameras take the recording to the next level in detail. Take the same DWI example, when the officer goes to the window of the car that body camera will be focused right on the driver’s face. If the driver is impaired due to alcohol and exhibiting slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or is slow to respond to questions this will be very apparent on the recording. That type of scenario may not play to well for the client. However, if the driver is not obviously impaired and officer exaggerates these details in his police report the video recording will be our best evidence in defense of the case.

The body cameras are also recording all audio. As a result, I can hear the conversations between the police officers when they huddle up to discuss the status of an investigation and the radio calls. Back on the DWI example, if a back up officer arrives and is being briefed by the arresting officer there is no limit to what information I can find out about how they think the investigation is going. This is a great tool in identifying any bias the police officer may have or whether they think the evidence they have is strong or not. Sometimes the officers forget they are being recorded and you would be surprised as to what you hear.

The body cameras are also very helpful in identifying the exact timeline of events and the behavior of both the arrested person and police officer—especially if there is a dispute on any of these issues.

Overall, body cameras are going to be here to stay. My experience with them so far has been very positive in defense of my clients.  If you are charged with a crime, you should contact a competent Collin County Criminal Lawyer to represent you and examine all the possible defenses you could have with your case.

Synthetic Cannabinoids Are Not Only Illegal, But Dangerous

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

What Are Synthetic Cannabinoids?

Synthetic cannabinoids refer to a growing number of man-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked, or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes.

These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are related to chemicals found in the marijuana plant. Because of the similarity, synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called “synthetic marijuana”, and they are often marketed as “safe,” and legal alternatives to marijuana. In fact, they may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, severe or even cause death.

Manufacturers sell these herbal products in colorful foil packages and sell similar liquid incense products, like e-cigarette fluids, in plastic bottles. They market these products under a wide variety of specific brand names; in past years, K2 and Spice were common. However; now hundreds of other brand names exist, such as Joker, Black Mamba, Kush, and Kronic.

For several years, synthetic cannabinoid mixtures have been easy to buy in drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores, and gas stations. This easy access and the belief that synthetic cannabinoid products are “natural” and harmless have contributed to their use among young people. Another reason for their use is that standard drug tests cannot easily detect many of the chemicals used in these products.  However, in Texas these products are now illegal and carry the same penalties as marijuana possession cases.

What Do Synthetic Cannabinoids Do?

Synthetic cannabinoids act on the same brain cell receptors as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana.

So far, there have been few scientific studies of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the human brain, but researchers do know that some of them bind more strongly than marijuana to the cell receptors affected by THC, and may produce much stronger effects. The resulting health effects can be unpredictable, which makes this drug dangerous.

Because the chemical composition of many synthetic cannabinoid products is unknown and may change from batch to batch, these products are likely to contain substances that cause dramatically different effects than the user might expect, that again makes these products dangerous.

Synthetic cannabinoid users report some effects similar to those produced by marijuana:

  • elevated mood
  • relaxation
  • altered perception—awareness of surrounding objects and conditions
  • symptoms of psychosis—delusional or disordered thinking detached from reality

Psychotic effects include:

  • extreme anxiety
  • confusion
  • paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
  • hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they are not

Serious Health Effects

There can also be serious health effects associated with synthetic cannabinoids. People who have used synthetic cannabinoids and have been taken to emergency rooms have shown severe effects including:

  • rapid heart rate
  • vomiting
  • violent behavior
  • suicidal thoughts

Synthetic cannabinoids can also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart, as well as kidney damage and seizures. Use of these drugs is associated with a rising number of deaths.

What You Need to Know About Vehicle Searches and Your Expectation of Privacy in Your Vehicle

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

Usually a warrant is required to search to search a person’s residence. An automobile, however, is an entirely different animal than a house, for example. There is an exception to the warrant requirement for automobiles. The rationale is that cars are mobile, and they could depart the scene before an officer has time to get a warrant from a judge to search the vehicle. Another thought behind the exception is that since cars are regulated by state laws and are on public streets, drivers should have a reduced expectation of privacy in comparison to their residence.

The automobile exception to the warrant requirement has two parts:

  1. If the police have probable cause that the car contains something illegal like a prohibited weapon or drugs, then they may search the car. One circumstance I hear most often is an officer after approaching a vehicle smells marijuana from the inside of the car and that triggers the probable cause for the search.

Under this part of the exception, the officer can only search the part of the car where what he is looking for may be found.

For example, if a police officer pulls a driver over for speeding and smells marijuana, he may search the entire car for the drug, including any containers like the center counsel, glove box, or purses. But if he has probable cause to believe that you have an illegal knife in the car, he could only search where the knife could be hidden and not, say, in a pack of cigarettes.

  1. If an officer makes a lawful arrest of the driver of the car, he may make a warrantless search of the passenger compartment of the car. This is called a search incident to arrest.

Keep in mind an officer may always search your car without a warrant if you consent to the search. Sometimes police will pose the question with the implication that you do not have the legal right to refuse. However, you can always refuse to consent. Another approach is the officer may tell you that if you cooperate with him and consent, things will be easier on you, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

Also, if you are being arrested following a traffic stop, your car could be towed and searched pursuant to an inventory search. The police department has to have a policy regarding how to conduct an inventory search. The rationale behind an inventory search is to protect the police from claims property was stolen or lost down the road. The inventory search is not supposed to be a rouse to allow police to rummage through a car, however, police can go through your car to create an inventory.

Can Police Use a Traffic Stop as an Excuse to Search My Car?

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

If the police see you speeding, swerving, or committing any other traffic offense, the officer has reasonable suspicion to pull you over, write you a ticket and send you on you way. The officer can also, check your driver’s license, check to see if you have auto insurance, and run your license to see if you have any outstanding warrants.

An investigative detention (like a traffic stop) must be temporary and last no longer than is necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop. Similarly, the investigative methods employed should be the least intrusive means reasonably available to verify or dispel the officer’s suspicion in a short period of time. It’s the state’s burden to demonstrate that the seizure it seeks to justify on the basis of a reasonable suspicion was sufficiently limited in scope and duration to satisfy the conditions of an investigative seizure. See Florida v. Royer, U.S. 491 (1983).

Where this gets interesting is if the officer for example, sees your vehicle swerving at night and pulls you over. The officer gets to the car window and starts talking to you and he smells alcohol, sees you have bloodshot eyes, which he considers clues of intoxication. Now at this point the officer may have developed additional reasonable suspicion to get you out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests in addition to the stop for swerving. Another scenario might be if you are pulled over for speeding. As the officer approaches the vehicle, he sees a bag of marijuana on the seat next to you and now the officer has probable cause to arrest you for possession of marijuana and can search your vehicle.

Reasonable suspicion exists when, based on the totality of the circumstances, the officer has specific, articulable facts that, when combined with rational inferences from those facts, would lead him to reasonably conclude that a particular person is, has been, or soon will be engaged in criminal activity.  This is an objective standard that disregards any subjective intent of the officer making the stop and looks solely to whether there exists an objective basis for the stop.  The facts relied upon to support a conclusion of reasonable suspicion must amount to something more than a general suspicion or hunch.

Since there is no bright line rule on the when the officer develops reasonable suspicion, it’s an area where a defense to a criminal case can be mounted especially if the officer can not back up his reasonable suspicion with articulable facts or inferences to support his continued detention of you on the roadside. You should consult a Dallas or Collin county criminal lawyer to discuss your case if you are facing charges.