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Hazardous Holidays Happenings

With Labor Day quickly approaching, summer is officially coming to a close and most people across the country will be wrapping up their summer and enjoying their three-day holiday weekend. While holidays are a time for fun and merriment, and the ever so appreciated extra day off work – they can also be surprisingly dangerous.

While New Years and Thanksgiving typically rank highest in most accident-prone holidays, Labor Day isn’t too far off. As time on the road during this three-day holiday increases, so do the chances for accidents. The National Safety Council estimates 405 fatalities will occur this Labor Day weekend.

Because more injuries and fatalities happen during Labor Day, we decided to take a closer look at the data for all holiday hazards. Below are our findings on the prevalence of holiday injuries and fatalities.

So, be aware, be cautious, but enjoy your Labor Day BBQ’s – wherever they take you!

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Marijuana Legalization by the Numbers

Long considered the longshot dream of stoners, the marijuana legalization movement has picked up a considerable amount of steam in recent years. After decades with little to no progress advancing their cause, advocates of marijuana legalization pushed through ballot measures in Colorado and Washington in 2012.

Two years later, three Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, DC followed suit. Now, in 2016, there’s even more states considering legalization initiatives: California, Nevada, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

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This rapid expansion of marijuana legalization corresponded with a similar increase in public opinion in support of marijuana legalization. Over the last 40 years, the trend in support has remained mostly flat, but in the last 5 years, support for legalization has increased dramatically. In 2011, a majority of Americans supported legalization for the first time, according to Pew Research Center.

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Interestingly, public support for marijuana is divided between those who have and those who have not tried marijuana before. But, to the chagrin of activists, not everyone who has tried marijuana before thinks it should be legal. According to polling data, 29% of people who oppose legalization have tried marijuana before. Conversely, 71% of people who support marijuana legalization have tried marijuana before.6a

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With more and more states liberalizing their marijuana laws, there’s no consensus on the best way to regulate marijuana sales. Each state so far has its own quirks and weird regulatory rules. For example, Colorado originally mandated that marijuana growers, processors, and retailers be vertically integrated, while Washington prohibited vertical integration. While Colorado and Oregon legalized at-home growing, Washington state prohibits it. These laws have been changing rapidly, and all manner of marijuana sales are illegal according to the federal government.

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States also differ on penalties for breaking their legalization laws. Each state lets you possess at least 1 oz of flower, which is more than enough for most people. However, pick up more than that, and be prepared to face harsh penalties. In Colorado, more than 12 oz of marijuana (still 4 oz less than 1 lb) could get you fined up to $100,000. In Washington, only 1.4 oz could get you up to 5 years in prison.

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One of the main reasons activists give for supporting legalization efforts is the tax revenue that recreational sales of marijuana will bring in. Along with saving on incarceration costs, states like Colorado have seen record level of tax revenue going to schools. In the graph below, you can see how much tax revenue each state has brought in over the course of retail sales in the state. (Alaska isn’t included because recreational sales haven’t started there yet.)

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Effects of marijuana legalization haven’t been all positive, however. There’s some evidence that since marijuana was legalized, more people have been driving while high. In Washington, the proportion of drivers testing positive for THC rose from 19% in 2012 to 33% in 2015. This poses a distinct challenge for police officers because there’s no easy way to check for marijuana intoxication as there is for alcohol intoxication.

The jury is still out on whether legalization of marijuana is a good idea overall. Ultimately, voters and elected officials in each state will decide. Fortunately, there a number of resources that people can use to lessen the potential negative effects of marijuana legalization, from services like Narcotics Anonymous, to help people with dependency, to Uber and Lyft, to help get you home safe.

A Summary of DWI Infractions in Fort Worth

While everyone knows what a DUI is, they may not be familiar with the more general term “DWI.” The acronym stands for “Driving While Intoxicated,” which includes alcohol in addition to any other drugs that could impair you: marijuana, MDMA, LSD, cocaine, even sleeping pills like ambien. All forms of DWI are illegal by statute in Texas and Fort Worth.

While the only roadside test for intoxication deployed on Texas roads is the breathalyzer, the officer can order a blood test if he or she believes you are impaired by another drug. While you can refuse to the blood test, in most cases, the penalties for doing so are greater than penalties of incurring a DWI itself. In the case of drivers under 21, any level of alcohol found in the blood is enough for a DWI conviction.

Even so, breathalyzers and devices used for blood tests may not be calibrated properly, which may be used as a DWI defense. Employing a Fort Worth DWI Attorney can help you mount a legal defense. No matter what the situation, the best thing a person charged with a DWI can do is hire a competent DWI lawyer.

Proving a Dallas DWI in Court

There are four things that the prosecution needs to prove in Texas in order for there to be a DWI conviction. They are that someone was intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. All of those elements have to be true for the defendant to be convicted and it is one of the jobs of an experienced Dallas DWI attorney to try and prove that all four things do not fall into place.

For the prosecution to prove you were indeed intoxicated, a Blood Alcohol Concentration level of .08% must be found via either a breathalyzer test or blood tests. If you were not drinking, but were under the influence of drugs, that needs to be proven through a blood or urine tests. The arresting officer also has the right to use field sobriety tests as grounds for arrest, but many experts agree that using this as evidence alone is not always reliable. Your DWI attorney in Dallas will verify if all of these tests were given according to procedure.

The definition of the second two elements, operating a motor vehicle, means that the person in question must be in a vehicle operated by a motor with the keys in the ignition. The vehicle must also be in operable shape, meaning it must be able to be driven. The public place that the vehicle is operating in while you are allegedly intoxicated is defined as any area that the public or a substantial amount of people has access to. This can include regular streets, highways or any public grounds where people convene like hospitals, shopping areas or schools.

If all of these elements line up correctly, the state does have a case against you and a Dallas DWI lawyer needs to work to poke holes in that case for an acquittal or at least try to make sure you get the minimum penalties allowed by law. He or she will investigate everything that happened at the time you were charged and you must reveal everything to your attorney and not lie at all. You cannot ask for a good defense if the person defending you does not have all the facts. You do not want any surprises occurring at trial that can lead to a negative outcome.

And, remember, you do not have to face these charges alone and do have rights. If you are been arrested for driving while intoxicated, call a DWI lawyer in Dallas today for help.

Zero Tolerance for Under 21 DWI in Dallas

Facing a DWI charge as a minor can be a frightening experience that resulted from one mistake you will come to regret immediately. In Texas, there is a zero tolerance law for people under the age of 21. If a minor is found with any amount of alcohol in their system whatsoever and is behind the wheel of a car, that minor will be charged with driving while intoxicated and needs legal help fast from a knowledgeable Dallas DWI attorney.

As a kid, you have your whole life ahead of you and facing criminal charges can both utterly frightening and completely daunting. You never thought you would have to deal with something so young in life and didn’t believe a little bit of alcohol could cause so much harm. But, the fact is it was illegal for you to be drinking at all, much less drinking and then driving.  And, just because you are a minor, it does not mean a conviction will not show as part of your criminal record. Unless you go to court to have your record sealed, it will. If as an adult, you make this mistake again you can be tried as a second-time offender and face even harsher charges.

Your Dallas DWI lawyer will explain to you the consequences of a conviction while he prepares your case. If you are under 21, your DWI charge is classified as a Class C misdemeanor, and you can face a fine of up to $500. You license can be suspended for up to two months and you may be required to perform 20-40 hours of community service. You may also be required to complete an alcohol awareness class. If you are under 18, you can face the same penalties as you would if you were between the ages of 18 and 21, but your parent or guardian will be required to accompany you to any court appearance. Your parent or guardian may also have to attend any alcohol education program a judge sentences you to.

If you are convicted of a DWI, learn from your mistake. If you only experience this one conviction, it may be expunged from your record after you turn 21, but not if you have subsequent charges. To help avoid any conviction, cooperate with your lawyer and be honest with him or her about the incident in question. If you or your parents are not sure of your rights, call a DWI lawyer in Dallas today for help.

Drugs Can Also Equal a Dallas DWI

Alcohol is not the only thing that can lead to a DWI charge. Although it is what most people think of when they hear the words “driving while intoxicated”, intoxication itself can also mean drugs, even if the drugs are legal. If any substance impairs your mental capabilities at all, you can be considered unfit to get behind the wheel of a car. No matter what type of DWI you may be charged with, you need to have an experienced Dallas DWI attorney by your side to present the best defense possible.

An officer in Texas has the right to pull you over if he feels your driving is reckless and suspects you may be intoxicated. He may ask you to perform a few field sobriety tests before then asking you to submit to a Blood Alcohol Concentration test at the scene. If you were driving under the influence of drugs, a BAC test will mean nothing and the officer also will have the right to search your car. If illegal drugs are found, you may be facing more than just a DWI charge and can be facing possession charges as well, having more of a need for a DWI attorney in Dallas than ever.

After explaining your case to your Dallas DWI lawyer, one with experience and know how will investigate everything that happened leading up to charges being brought against you. Everything the officer did had to have been done according to rules and procedures, and one misstep on the officer’s part can break a prosecutor’s case. While a sign of integrity in an attorney is him or her being honest with you about what you are up against, you must also be honest with your attorney  about the circumstances that led up to your arrest so that you are both on the same page and there are no surprises in court.

A DWI conviction, as well as a conviction for possessing illegal narcotics, can have a profound effect on the rest of your life, as well as your family’s life. You can face jailtime, as well as a license suspension and steep fines. You may end up with a criminal record that can affect both your current employment and also future employment opportunities. Texas takes these kinds of offenses seriously and so should you. If you are facing this type of uphill battle, call a DWI lawyer in Dallas today for help.

Common Penalties for a DWI in Dallas

Whether you are a first-time offender or not, a DWI charge in the state of Texas can be a frightening experience as you wonder how it will impact the rest of your life. Although it is considered a Class B misdemeanor, it is still a criminal charge with serious consequences. You can face steep fines that you may not be able to afford, as well the time behind bars. The state of your drivers’ license is also at stake and you face the possibility of losing it for an extended period of time. Hiring an experienced Dallas DWI attorney to represent you in a case like this is key to your case and an honest attorney will educate you on what you are up against.

There are different penalties depending on whether this is your first time charged and convicted for a DWI offense. If it is your first time, you may be forced to pay a fine of up to $2,000 and also face the possibility of a jail sentence that can be a minimum of three days, but a maximum of 180 days. You can also lose your license for as little as 90 days and as long as one year. While the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Concentration in Texas is .08%, if your BAC was .15% or more, you face the possibility of being tried as a second-time offender and if convicted, that can come with even harsher penalties. Your fine can be much more steep and as high as $5,000, and you face the possibility of anywhere from 30 days to one year behind bars. Your license can also be revoked for as little as six months and as much as two years.  A second time offender charge is also classified as a misdemeanor and not a felony, but a DWI attorney in Dallas is just as critical and necessary.

If it your third DWI offense, then felony charges in the third degree can come into play. Your fine can be as high as $10,000 and you can spend up to 10 years in jail. If there was any bodily harm done when driving while intoxicated whether it is your first offense or not, 10 years in jail may also be necessary. If a death occurred, this can be considered intoxication manslaughter and you can be facing a 20-year prison sentence, but a good Dallas DWI lawyer can help you get a lesser sentence.

A Texas DWI charge is a serious matter that requires serious attention no matter how severe. For the help you need in court, call a DWI lawyer in Dallas today.

Your Dallas DWI License Hearing

A DWI charge in Texas can involve a variety of court dates, not all of which are criminal. One of the most important court dates you need to make sure you are prepared for is the one involving your license suspension. If you refuse to take a test to determine your Blood Alcohol Concentration or you fail a BAC test, then you will need to attend what is known as an Administrative License Revocation hearing. Success at this hearing is imperative to your financial wellbeing if you need to drive to and from work each day or if you even drive as part of your job. Your best bet is to not go it alone and have an experienced Dallas DWI lawyer by your side.

Your license will be automatically suspended if you do not make the effort to request an ALR hearing as soon within 15 days of receiving a notice of suspension. You can request and attend this hearing on your own or you can have your DWI lawyer in Dallas request one for you and prepare an adequate case for you getting your license back. Make sure whichever lawyer you choose is experienced at ALR hearings, as well as with Texas DWI criminal proceedings and laws. Your lawyer will question you on whether you were informed of your rights at the time the charges were brought against you regarding your license and other aspects of your DWI case. And, the ALR hearing will be an excellent place for your Dallas DWI attorney to learn and get a feel for how the prosecutor will try the criminal portion of the DWI proceedings.

A DWI charge can be a costly one, and your license may be the first thing you need to pay for. When your license is reinstated, a $125 fee will be required. This can be in addition to any fines leveled against you if you are criminally convicted at a later date. If you do not win the argument at your ALR hearing and your license is indeed suspended, it can be for up to 180 days if this is your first offense. If this is your second offense in a 10-year period, then you can lose your license for up to two years. A DWI case is no laughing matter whether it is your first time facing one or not. Call a DWI attorney in Dallas today to get the help that you need.

The Right Dallas DUI Attorney to Take Your Case

A DWI charge in Texas can be a serious offense. Although it is classified as a Class B misdemeanor if it is a first-time offense, you can still face a license suspension, jail time and steep fines you many barely be able to afford after court fees and possibly missing days of work. It can change the course of your entire life, not just the present, and in this case your best offense is a good defense. That is why who you choose as your Dallas DWI attorney is of the utmost importance.

Being arrested for a DWI can be a traumatic and frightening event that can leave your mind cluttered. You know you have to find a lawyer, but have no idea where to start. Do you just pick a name out of the Yellow Pages and go from there or do you do your research to make sure you are making the right choice of representation? Of course the answer is to do your research as best as you can. While the Yellow Pages might be one resource, another more modern one is the Internet.

You can even use it to read testimonials from both lawyers and client. Another excellent resource is the Texas bar association, where you can get a list of Dallas DWI lawyers, as well as their credentials. Once you have a short list, your next job is to call a few attorneys and briefly discuss your case. You can often get a feel for who you will work well with from a phone call, but it is always best to meet in person before hiring someone to defend you in a criminal case.

At a meeting with a DWI attorney in Dallas, ask him or her about their success rate and how long they have been practicing. Be wary if they seem to promise you outcomes that seem to be good to be true for your situation and know that up front honesty regarding the uphill battle you may face is a sign of true integrity. Also, a good rapport with your attorney is imperative. You will be spending a lot of time together as he or she investigates your case and prepares a defense. Most importantly, know that you are not alone when facing DWI charges and that there are professionals who can help. Call a DWI lawyer in Dallas today to find the help you need.

An Overview on DWI Infractions in Dallas

What do you mean by driving under intoxication? In Texas (and in most parts of the US), driving while under the influence involves running any vehicular machine while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Because drug intoxication is also a part of the criminal offense, the phrase ‘drunk driving’ is not always the same term.

Texas police officers make use of sobriety tests to check whether the driver is intoxicated or not.  The minute the police officer is able to establish that the person operating a vehicle is intoxicated with drugs or has a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .08 or above, that particular person can be apprehended. In case of a minor, there’s no normal volume of alcohol content as long as it has been confirmed that the offender is intoxicated, even just a bit, the person may be arrested.

But then, several of the devices utilized by policeman have been found to be unreliable, and that’s why there are more and more people charged with DWI who are able to incur acquittal. But that is by making use of the help of a Dallas DWI attorney. In addition to this, there are other defenses that can be helpful to win the case. If ever you’re charged with DWI in Dallas, the best possible thing that you can do is to hire a good law firm. The lawyer will fundamentally educate you of how DWI prosecutions can be disputed.