(817) 803-2392 info@mierslaw.com

Probation Do’s and Don’t’s

Probation Do’s and Don’t’s Many people end up on probation and of those who do each year, many have never been involved in the criminal justice system.  I get a number of calls regarding probation revocations and have seen many get revoked for stupid, irresponsible behavior. Sample case:  Client comes to me with a new DWI.  She had been a 4 year probation for a burglary in which she received deferred adjudication probation.  Client was in early 20’s and was on the 6th year of the 4 year probation.That means if she completes probation successfully, there will be no conviction on her record.  Client was in early 20’s and was on the 6th year of the 4 year probation.  How does that happen?  She needed to complete 40 hours of community service and did not so the judge extended probation for a year.  After year 5, community service hours still not done, so he extends for a year.  It was in year 6 that she was arrested for DWI.  This case, by the way, was a felony.  Client was in early 20’s.  Full disclosure: I did not handle the revocation case.   What happened is with the new arrest, the judge had enough and revoked the probation.  All she had to do was 40 hours of community service and had 5+ years to do so.  She didn’t and went to the state pen for a couple of years. First thing, do your requirements and do them quickly.  If you get a DWI, you have a DWI education class or DWI repeat offender class to complete if not your first...

Child Support Amnesty Project Great Start for ND, Can Texas Do It?

Child Support Amnesty Project Great Start for ND, Can Texas Do It?   North Dakota announced an amnesty program for past due child support which, to me, sounded better in headline then in actuality, but reality had to kick in.   There obviously can’t be any kind of forgiveness as no one owed child support will forgive child support payment arrears.  You’re dreaming if you think your ex would do something along those lines.  But while forgiveness of child support payments is out of the question, there are some good points to the program. If a North Dakota citizen enters into the child support amnesty program, they will get credit toward past due paid and will get any license suspensions dropped.  It sounds like a good idea.  At least someone is trying to do something.  But the reality is that this, like other amnesty programs like the Texas DWI Surcharge Amnesty program, is a public relations gimmick that really isn’t going to solve anything. To solve the problems of arrears, real legislative changes are necessary.  For example, eliminate arrears prior to DNA test where the father doesn’t meet presumptive status.  That would probably end a substantial amount of arrears.  I also find that taking away a driver’s license is counterintuitive to getting money since most need a license to get to work or to simply be employed.  A lot of the punitive measures are a bit of cutting off one’s nose to spite their face.  It’s time for a change and at least one state is thinking about...

Uber Effect on DWI Non-Existent in Austin’s First Weekend Without Ride Sharing

Uber Effect on DWI Non-Existent in Austin’s First Weekend Without Ride Sharing   Uber and Lyft, the app-based ride-sharing services have become quite popular for people who either don’t use taxi’s or public transportation due to convenience or lack of service.  They are easy to use and the prices are usually much better than the traditional means of acquiring transportation.  So popular that there is a so-called Uber effect on the way we get around.  Among other facets of life, there has been deemed an Uber effect on DWI.  Basically, as the theory goes, Uber is easy, cheap, and taking intoxicated drivers off of the road by being a very desirable alternative to a taxi (or a police car). With there being some issues of a criminal nature concerning Uber drivers (and Lyft, but I’m going to say Uber throughout) cities have started new attempts to regulate these drivers.  The big sticking point in Austin is fingerprint based background checks.  Really shouldn’t be an issue but it is.  Uber said that they would pull out of Austin and basically that would spell trouble because of the Uber effect on DWI. Well, they left Austin and last weekend was the first weekend without ride-sharing programs.  So, what are the results?  Is there an Uber effect on DWI?  Answer, in preliminary results, would suggest….no. Last year during the weekend of May 15-17, Austin police arrested 50 people for DWI and 46 on the weekend before that.  This year, they arrested 50 people for DWI and 44 on the weekend before.  Numbers are steady.  However, as the police stated in an Austin...

AAA Question Validity of DWI Tests for Marijuana

DWI and Criminal Defense Lawyer have been trying to get the public’s attention about the arbitrary and unreliable methods for testing whether a driver is impaired.  While this is regarding marijuana, it’s a start.  AAA has come out to scrutinize testing and it is hitting the national news as I saw the report on NBC’s TODAY SHOW.  Below is the article from AZ Central.   WASHINGTON — Motorists are being convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana based on arbitrary state standards that have no connection to whether the driver was actually impaired, says a study by the nation’s largest auto club. The problem is only growing as more states contemplate legalizing the drug. At least three, and possibly as many as 11 states, will vote this fall on ballot measures to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, or both. Legislation to legalize the drug has also been introduced in a half dozen states. Currently, six states where medical or recreational marijuana use is legal — Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington — have set specific limits for THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes people high, in drivers’ blood. But the study by AAA’s safety foundation says the limits have no scientific basis and can result in innocent drivers being convicted, and guilty drivers being released. “There is understandably a strong desire by both lawmakers and the public to create legal limits for marijuana impairment in the same manner we do alcohol,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s president and CEO. “In the case of marijuana, this approach is flawed and not supported by scientific research.” The Arizona...

Emotional Aspects of Divorce

Another great article.  Whether going though divorce or custody issue, this may help explain what you are dealing with. Psychological and Emotional Aspects of Divorce   by Kathleen O’Connell Corcoran June 1997 This article summarizes many of the common psychological and emotional effects divorce has on men, women and children. The divorce rate in the United States is the highest in the world. Over fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Welcome to the majority. Divorce Effects and Prevalence B. Effects of Divorce on Children C. Emotional Stages of Divorce D. Typical Reactions of Children to Divorce E. Signs of Stress in Children Divorce Effects and Prevalence It may be helpful to understand a little about divorce and the typical effects it has on men, women and children. The divorce rate in the United States is the highest in the world. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Sixty-seven percent of all second marriages end in divorce. As high as these figures are, what is also true is that the divorce rate appears to be dropping. The reasons for this change are not clear. Many people cannot afford to divorce, many people cannot afford to marry. Another reason is that “baby boomers,” who account for a large proportion of our population are no longer in their 20s and 30s, the ages when divorce is most prevalent. The societal expectation is that divorced life is less satisfying than married life. Divorce is associated with an increase in depression–people experience loss of partner, hopes and dreams, and lifestyle. The financial reality of divorce is often hard to comprehend: the same resources must...

A Divorce Primer For All

You just can’t find enough good articles to prepare someone for what will come during a divorce.  When I do, I like to repost.  No matter how many times you tell someone what to expect, it isn’t enough.  Below is an article from Breanne Walters on the Huffington Post.   Divorce : A Primer For All (Yes, That Includes You) Much has been written on the subject of divorce, yet likely it goes unread by those who are married. “It doesn’t apply to me,” we think. “That will never be me.” And for many who are married, that it will never be them is, thankfully, correct. For many others, self-included, it isn’t. Whether or not you find yourself in that place you never thought you’d be, the reality is that you likely know someone who has been or will be. And for them and, perhaps yourself, I humbly suggest you know some basics on the subject. Because (apparently) just like when someone dies, if you haven’t been there then you struggle with what to say to the newly divorced. And sometimes, you inflict hurt with the words you choose because, like myself, you thought “It doesn’t apply to me.” My thoughts on divorce, prior to my own, were naive. My pastor had said something about locking the back door because, in marriage, you can’t consider that back door. In marriage, you work it out. You don’t leave. There is no back door. But, as I discovered, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes that door needs to be unlocked and, despite what the church believes, it’s for the best that...

Florida Looking to Make Changes to Divorce Laws

Florida Looking to Make Changes to Divorce Laws   This is not happening in Texas, but Florida is looking to end permanent alimony and utilize a plan of equal sharing when it comes to child custody from the outset.  This is meaningful because it directly affects post-divorce payments. Ending permanent alimony is self-explanatory.  There will be no more infinite payments of support after divorce.  Texas frowns on the post-divorce payments.  Alimony here is temporary and not easy to achieve.  Texas looks into the circumstances of the parties and speculates on prospects after the divorce. The starting point of custody being equal time is more surprising, but not all too uncommon these days.  But for many it is uncommon and Florida looks to make an attempt, or at least it seen that way, to minimize child support.  I have spoken to judges in Texas who feel that split time does not mean there isn’t child support.  They feel that post-divorce home environments should be on par with each other and that is what is in the best interest of the child.  I have felt that the guidelines of Texas child support aren’t flexible enough.  This may lead to a rethinking of those laws as well.  I believe that child support should be paid.  Don’t get me wrong.  But, when have so many behind in payments, who, as a result, get jailed or lose a drivers license that could lead to them losing their job, we aren’t doing anyone any favors.  Article is posted below.   Divorce bill foes rally at Capitol urging Scott to veto it again By Jeff Schweers...

Man Impersonates Police for DUI Checkpoint…and He’s Intoxicated

Man Impersonates Police for DUI Checkpoint…and He’s Intoxicated When are DUI checkpoints illegal? A) When not authorized by law B) When not performed by actual police officers C) When the person performing is intoxicated D) all of the above   If you chose D), you are a winner.  Checkpoints not authorized by law do happen.  In Texas, DWI sobriety checkpoints are illegal.  There have been some drivers license checkpoints set up in bar areas at 2am, which have been found to be illegal DWI checkpoints, as they aren’t divorced from the process, and let’s face facts, it was a subterfuge for sobriety checks.  These events do happen. But what about B) and C)?  Something like that wouldn’t happen, right?  As Lee Corso says, “Not so fast, my friend.”  Check out this article from CBS Pittsburgh.  A young man took it upon himself to set up a checkpoint using a flashing blue light bar.  Problem, as you may have guessed is that he wasn’t law enforcement.  Bigger problem, maybe, maybe smaller than impersonating an officer, was that he, himself was, in fact, intoxicated.   Below is the article if you don’t want to click:   SOMERSET, Pa. — A Pennsylvania man set up a fake drunken-driving checkpoint only to be charged with drunken driving himself when real troopers arrived to investigate. The (Somerset) Daily American says 20-year-old Logan Shaulis will be sentenced June 27. He pleaded guilty Thursday to drunken driving, possessing instruments of crime, and impersonating a public servant. Police say Shaulis used a flashing blue light bar, parked diagonally across state Route 601 and set up road flares...

FBI Doesn’t Like to Share Their Tech Either, Apple

FBI Doesn’t Like to Share Their Tech Either, Apple   Without the help of Apple, Inc., it looks as if the FBI has been able to crack the cell phone of the San Bernardino shooter.  Noticeably missing was a press conference about all the wonderful data that they were able to uncover. That’s neither here, nor there.  What should be noted, is that the FBI was able to unlock the phone on their own and a private company was not forced into the law enforcement business.  This is still America, and no matter what the situation may be, when a private citizen (Apple employees, don’t get me started on the corporation as a person b.s.) is commanded into duty, we lose some of that luster that we celebrate on July 4th.  Kudos to the FBI for being able to take care of this on their own.  I knew you had the power all along. A bit more sketchy, and at the risk of sounding hypocritical, is the realization that the FBI is probably not going to share the technique used to hack the iPhone with Apple.  It’s curious because more and more people are storing more and more personal information on their phones with online banking and Apple Pay.  Hacking phones can lead to greater instances and more damaging instances of identity theft.  The FBI actually has a great interest in sharing the information with Apple.  The public at large has a great interest in sharing of information between the two.  The FBI doesn’t seem to be much into sharing their technology. The Register has published an article regarding the FBI initiating...

Name Calling as Grounds for Divorce? No Thanks, India

Name Calling as Grounds for Divorce? No Thanks, India A court in India has found that a woman calling her husband a “fat elephant” is grounds for divorce.  Now, name calling as grounds for divorce has not hit stateside and let’s hope that it doesn’t.  I should also state that the husband weighed 220 pounds and I’d be quite ecstatic if I saw 220 again.  Uber-sensitivity will become a new allegation if this progresses.  The article came from the BBC and is below:   India court says ‘fat elephant’ taunt grounds for divorce A court in the Indian capital has ruled that calling a husband “fat elephant” could be grounds for divorce. The Delhi high court upheld a 2012 lower court order which had granted divorce, saying that taunting a spouse amounted to “mental cruelty”. The 35-year-old businessman weighs 100kg (220lb). He said his wife regularly “humiliated him for being overweight and incapable of satisfying her sexual desires”, Indian media reports said. “The calling of names and hurling of abuses such as ‘Hathi’ [elephant], ‘Mota Hathi’ [fat elephant] by the appellant in respect of her husband – even if he was overweight, is bound to strike at his self-respect and self-esteem,” India Todayquoted Justice Vipin Sanghi as saying. “Obviously, the respondent was sensitive to such taunts, and it is not the appellant’s case that the taunts were made jokingly, or out of love and affection, and without malice,” he added. The woman had said her husband’s allegations were “vague and non-specific”, but the court rejected her...