Expunction & Nondisclosure

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A criminal history can dramatically affect your life. Employers can deny you a job. Landlords can refuse to rent to you. Lenders can deny you credit.

Expunction is the legal process through which criminal records of arrests are destroyed. Many people believe that once a criminal case is dismissed, all the records are destroyed. This is not true. Arrest records, court records, records of release, fingerprint and computer records all exist and persist even when charges are dismissed. If the case resulted in any type of probation, either community supervision or deferred adjudication, the records cannot be expunged, regardless of how long ago the conviction occurred.

Texas law allows a certain person who has had their criminal case dismissed or who has been found not guilty to apply for an expunction of the criminal records. If an expunction is granted, all state agencies are ordered to destroy any records that they may have of the arrest. This means that the police department, the jail, the court, the clerk’s office, and all other agencies that had official records of your arrest must destroy them.

Under a recent Texas Supreme Court decision (State v. Beam), if your case is dismissed, you may have to wait until the statute of limitations runs before you can file a petition to expunge your records. If you have been acquitted or found not guilty of a crime in Texas, you are entitled to have your records expunged. If you have been acquitted or found not guilty you do not have to wait for the statute of limitations to run before filing to expunge your records.

Texas law allows a person who successfully completes a deferred adjudication probation for certain criminal offenses, to apply for an Order of Nondisclosure that seals the records from the general public. This is a brand new right that individuals have to seal their records. There are waiting periods involved (which have recently been shortened) and some offenses do not qualify and are not eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure.

Betty will gladly talk to you free of charge to determine if you are eligible to obtain an Order of Nondisclosure of your deferred adjudication probation, if the offense occurred here in Travis County. However, keep in mind that the Texas Legislature has carved out several exceptions to the types of records that can be sealed and when employers can view them.

Contact Betty Blackwell for your free appointment to see if you qualify to clean your criminal arrest record in Travis County, Texas.

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DWI: Administrative License Revocation

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Texas law requires that anyone arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) have two cases filed against them: a criminal case filed in the county where they were arrested, and a civil case filed by DPS. While the criminal case is more potentially more serious, the civil case, called an Administrative License Revocation, can carry some very harsh consequences.

If this is your first arrest for DWI, you face a suspension of up to 90 days for providing a breath or blood test over 0.08% BAC or a suspension of up to 180 days for a refusal to provide a breath or blood sample. If you have been arrested for DWI, refused to take a breath or blood test, or failed a breath or blood test within the ten years before the date of your arrest, you face a suspension of up to 1 year for providing a breath or blood test over 0.08 BAC or a suspension of up to 2 years for a refusal to provide a breath or blood sample.

If you are under 21 at the time of your arrest and have any alcohol in your system, your license can be suspended from 60 to 180 days depending on whether or not you have prior convictions for alcohol-related offenses.

If you hire us to represent you on your criminal case, we will represent you at the ALR hearing free of charge. Although we will vigorously fight the legal basis that the officer had to come into contact with you and eventually arrest you, if the officers do show up, it is very likely that your license will be suspended. Even if we lose the ALR hearing, it gives us an opportunity to get discovery from police officers and to lock them into a particular version of the facts surrounding your arrest.

If your license is suspended, we can ask our local judges to give you what is known as an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL). An ODL allows you to drive during certain hours of the day to go to work, counseling, and perform essential household duties (such as grocery shopping). However, an ODL is only valid for between 4 and 12 hours a day. (If you are pulled over outside of your permitted hours, you can be charged with another Class B Misdemeanor.)

Betty Blackwell will defend your rights in your DWI criminal case and the ALR proceedings. Call to schedule your free consultation with a lawyer who is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Call Betty Blackwell.

DWI Consequences

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FIRST DWI

Even a first-time offender faces serious penalties. A DWI 1st is a Class B Misdemeanor and a conviction carries up to 180 days in jail or a probationary sentence of up to 2 years, a fine of up to a $2,000 and the possibility of an additional license suspension of up to one year. The judge can sentence a person convicted of a DWI 1st to up 30 days in jail as a condition of probation.

In addition to being expensive, probation remains on your record forever, without any hope of expunging or sealing that record. If you submitted to a breath or blood test and the results were over 0.15 BAC, then you are required under Texas law to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your car, even if you are not the owner!

If you arrested for a DWI and you are under 21, you may also be required to install the IID on your car. You may be required to perform some community service as a condition of probation, in addition to being responsible for court costs. DPS will also attempt to suspend your license, up to 90 days for a failed breath test and up to 180 days for a refusal (this may be higher or lower depending on whether you have been arrested for DWI before).

Finally, if you are convicted of a DWI, you will be required by DPS to pay a annual surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years.

SECOND DWI

A conviction for a DWI 2nd in the State of Texas carries with it potentially higher penalties, even if the prior conviction was in another state or several years ago.

First of all, any person convicted of a 2nd DWI must do some jail time, even if they ultimately receive probation. DWI 2nd is a Class A Misdemeanor and a conviction carries a sentence of up to a year in jail or a probationary sentence of up to 2 years, a fine of up to $4,000 and an additional license suspension. The judge can sentence a person convicted of a DWI 2nd to up 60 days in jail as a condition of probation.

Most judges in Travis County will require the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) as a condition of pretrial release as well as a condition of probation. You may be required to perform some community service as a condition of probation, in addition to being responsible for court costs.

DPS will also attempt to suspend your license. Depending on when your last suspension was, you may ineligible for the Occupational Driver’s License during a blackout period. If you are convicted of a DWI, you will be required by DPS to pay a annual surcharge each year for three years.

THIRD DWI

If you have been previously convicted of two or more prior DWIs, regardless of the where they were or when you were convicted, any subsequent arrest for DWI is a Third Degree Felony. This charge carries between 2 and 10 years in State Prison or up to 10 years of felony probation, a fine of up to $10,000 and an additional license suspension. Also, the judge can sentence a person convicted of a Felony DWI to up 180 days in prison as a condition of probation.

Probation will most likely require a person accused of a Felony DWI to complete an intensive inpatient or outpatient drug/alcohol treatment program as well as continuing counseling. All judges will require the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) as a condition of pretrial release as well as a condition of any probation.

You may be required to perform some community service as a condition of probation, in addition to being responsible for court costs. DPS will also attempt to suspend your license. Finally, if you are convicted of a DWI, you will be required by DPS to pay a annual surcharge for three years.

Don’t Lose Your License Due to a DUI/DWI Arrest

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If you are charged with DWI, you face automatic suspension of your license unless you request a hearing to contest the suspension. Work with Austin DWI attorney Betty Blackwell to prevent the suspension of your license. In addition, DUI defense lawyer Betty Blackwell can thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your case and will seek to have the charges against you dropped if there is questionable evidence or not enough evidence to guarantee that the prosecution will get an easy conviction. Don’t leave it to chance; get the sound legal counsel and representation that you need from the Law Office of Betty Blackwell if you are facing any sort of drunk driving charge in the Austin area.

The Pros And Cons Of Finding Attorney Services Online

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Getting the best attorney services is sometimes a dilemma to us. Where will we look for the best attorney services? Will we be able to get the best one around? Can we afford to hire the best? These are just few of the questions that haunt us every time getting attorney services came up. And the worst thing is that, if we don’t know whether we can trust an attorney or not. What we can do is to arm ourselves with the right information about attorney services and were good to go.

Now, finding a reliable attorney services can be daunting. You need to make several trips to the business districts to visit several attorneys offices so you can compare on their offers. But, if you are not into making such trips and want a more convenient way of getting attorney services, the World Wide Web is where you should be. Yes, you can find just about anything on the Internet. And finding attorney services online is just among the things that you can do using this technology.

However, you have to be aware of the consequences of getting attorney services through the web. The following are some things which you can consider before deciding to go online for attorney services;

The Benefits of Attorney Services Online

-With online attorney services you’d be able to get legal services at the convenience of your home

-You can initiate the transaction anywhere and anytime you want

-You don’t have to wear preppy and formal clothes for meeting with your attorney

-On the web, you can find as many legal directories as you can in just a few clicks; making you able to compare many services within minutes

-You are not compelled to hire the attorney right away unlike when you’re meeting with them personally. You tend to feel that you are obligated to hire him/her since you’ve already meet him/her in person.

-The Downside of Attorney Services Online

-The chances of dealing with fraud attorneys are high

-The risks of hiring unreliable attorney services are greater than when you know the firm personally

-You are faced with thousands of choices; hence, you tend to get confused on which attorney services to choose.

-You cannot see whether the attorney is sincere on helping you or not

There you go; the pros and cons of getting attorney services online. But you know what; you may not experience the cons of this and still get the best services that you need. How? Just by being wise in the way you choose.

No matter where you opt to hire attorney services, the best thing to do s you could get the best one, is to ask for referral. Yes. Ask your friends or relatives whether they know of attorney services firm that is reliable and can give you the kind of services that you need. They may have worked previously on some attorneys with good records and refer them to you.

Another thing that you need to consider before hiring an attorney, whether online or not is to meet with him or her before finalizing the deal. This way, you can decide whether the attorney services he or she offered will suit your needs. Lastly, you need to hire attorneys that are experts on the case that you need legal services for. Like, if you need to settle a divorce case, you have to hire someone who is knowledgeable about divorce and can guarantee you the best services that he or she can offer.

Travis County DWI or DUI Lawyer

As a lifelong resident of Austin and a DUI attorney with years of experience within the Travis County judicial system, Austin DWI Lawyer Betty Blackwell is the one to depend on if you are charged with DWI or DUI. When you retain the services of the Law Office of Betty Blackwell, you are getting an Austin DUI lawyer who will do everything necessary to aid you in trying to avoid exorbitant financial penalties or the loss of your driver’s license.

There are certain circumstances when your DWI defense attorney may also be able to get the charges against you dropped or reduced to a lesser charge. With so much at risk, the smart solution is to work with an Austin defense attorney like Betty Blackwell who has had extensive success in handling cases very similar to yours.

How To Choose A Lawyer?

Choosing a lawyer can be a tough decision. The most important part of the decision is what type of attorney you will require. If you are going to court for a possession charge, you need a Criminal Defense Lawyer. If you are going for a divorce, naturally you want a divorce lawyer. Choosing specialized representation is always a good idea because the person you choose as your attorney will have a vast wealth of knowledge on that particular subject, instead of a small amount of experience in many different fields.

You don’t need your personal injury lawyer to know anything about divorce law right? So where do you find a reliable lawyer? The most convenient way it to look online. There are a few reliable web sites out there for finding an attorney in your city or state. Generally you want to search based on the type of representation you require, followed by your state or closest major city.

 

What are you looking for in a lawyer? Well you definitely want him to be an honest, warm person. Don’t waste your time with people who seem like your not worth theirs. You also want someone with experience. Inquire about experience : how long he/she has been practicing, what school they graduated from, etc. Most attorneys will happily show you their credentials. If they hesitate, they likely don’t have many credentials and you might want to stay clear of that particular person.

Overall, when looking for the right attorney you just gotta use your judgement. The same rules apply to choosing a family doctor or a psychologist; you want to feel comfortable that you are being taken care of. Never be afraid to ask questions, and most importantly keep yourself involved in your case. If you are filing for bankruptcy, read up about the laws and exemptions of your particular state.