Blog

Warrant Issued for Failing to Register as Sex Offender

Brian Dunlap was found guilty of having sex with a 16 year old 20 years ago in New Mexico, and today there is a new warrant out for his arrest. Crime Stoppers of Houston reported that Dunlap failed to register as a sex offender in Harris County resulting in a warrant being issued.

His previous conviction for the sex crime resulted in a sentence of two years of community supervision. His last know address was in the 5500 block of Kodiak in Spring. The warrant was issued by both Harris and Brazoria counties.

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 for information regarding his whereabouts.

Crime Continues to Decline Across Houston

While Houston was recently rated as the 4th most dangerous city in Texas according to a study we completed, crime is still showing a downward trend in the city. The most recent crime statistics from City-Data.com show that the crime index for Houston in 2014 was 534.5, down 151.4 points from 2002.

While murders and rapes show a slight decline, the rate of arson’s across the city showed a seriously decline of almost half. In 2002, there were 1,696 arson crimes in Houston and that dropped to just 716 in 2014.

Houston Arson Crime Rate

Image source: City-Data

Unfortunately the decline needs to be more significant across the board to alter Houston’s reputation for being a dangerous city. The Houston crime rate is still more than double the national average, with robberies showing the biggest gap.

The Most Dangerous (and Safest) Cities In Texas

Crime in Texas

What makes a city dangerous? What makes it safe?

Obviously, the amount of crime is a key factor, but is safety simply having a low crime rate? How does the police department presence or lack there of influence public safety? Does it make a tangible difference? The answer is difficult to quantify, but it’s probably a combination of both – along with dozens of other factors.

We hired the team at 1point21 Interactive, a data visualization company, to help us find the safest and most dangerous cities in Texas ( with populations over 100,000) by looking at three key factors:

  • Crime
  • Police Presence
  • Community Socioeconomic factors.

The map above shows cities and their violent crime rates. The larger the circle, the higher the violent crime rate.

Texas Dangerous City Rankings

Texas Safest Cities Rankings

Detailed Findings - Crime



Crime and Public Safety

In 2014, more than 900,000 crimes were committed in the state of Texas. That’s to 3,349 crimes for every 100,000 people, and includes everything from petty theft to murder.

While being a victim of any crime is enough to make one feel unsafe, violent crimes have a much more profound impact on public safety in a city than do property crimes or drug crimes. A violent crime is a crime in which an offender uses or threatens force upon a victim.

According to the FBI, four main offenses are considered violent crimes: murder and non-negligent manslaughter (or homicide), rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

It may be no surprise that of all the Texas cities, Houston has both the highest raw number and rate of violent crime. However, Houston does not have the highest murder rate – which belongs to nearby Beaumont – and is in the bottom third for rate of rape – top spot here goes to Amarillo by a substantial margin.

 

Detailed Findings - Police and Community



Investment In Policing

Earmarking more resources for the police department does not necessarily ensure lower crime rates and thus make cities safer. However, a recent study of 239 cities found that nearly all of the ten cities with the heaviest investment in policing saw a drop in either violent crime, property crime or both.

What’s more, according to the Department of Justice, as cities across the nation slashed police department budgets several things have happened:

  • Many police departments have stopped responding to all motor vehicle thefts, burglary alarms, and non-injury motor vehicle accidents.
  • Investigations of property crimes, fugitive tracking, a variety of white collar crimes have decreased.
  • Many agencies have greatly reduced training opportunities for their officers. As we’ve seen in many recent cases of police interaction, a lack of police training can have a significant impact on public safety. 

Recruitment for new police officers is down as well in most cities across Texas, which may not bode well for improving public safety. Rampant budget cuts play a huge factor in not only bringing on new police officers, but keeping the ones they already have.

Due to the low starting pay and dangerous nature of the work, the city of Houston has resorted to offering a $5,000 incentive just to join the force. However, financial incentives aren’t a reality for most cities, and one Texas town even cut the police department from their budget altogether, although it has since returned. These occur on a federal level too, as $1.2 billion in funding was recently cut from the Budget Bill.

Community Socioeconomic Factors and their effect on Crime

Poverty

Perhaps more than any other socioeconomic factor, poverty has a significant impact on crime and therefore safety.  Countless studies have linked the two and regression analysis has shown a significant linear relationship between them, a very strong indicator that where there is more poverty there will be more crime.

  • Fifty-three percent of people in prison earned less than $10,000 per year before incarceration
  • Lower-income youth commit four times more violent crimes than middle-class youth.

Poverty affects more than just those committing the crime. Victimization rates among lower income groups are significantly higher as well. Those in households at or below the federal poverty level (FPL) have violent crime victimization rates of over double those of higher income households AND are nearly three times as likely to be the victim of a gun crime.

Unemployment

One might argue that unemployment has a lot to do with an area’s poverty rate – and our study found that to more or less be the case.  Texas cities with high unemployment rates generally have higher rates of poverty.

However, when studied on its own, unemployment rates do correlate with higher crime. One national study found that a 1% increase in unemployment rate increases property crime by 71.13 per 100,000 inhabitants and violent crime by 31.87 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Education

The fact is that schooling significantly reduces criminal activity.  Several studies have linked lower educational attainment with higher rates of arrests and incarceration.

According to the Justice Policy Institute, nine out of the 10 states with the highest percentage of population who had attained a high school diploma or above were found to have lower violent crime rates than the national average, compared to just four of the 10 states with the lowest educational attainment per population.

Just how much could raising high school graduation rates affect public safety?

Methodology

In order to identify which Texas cities (over 100,000 residents) were the most dangerous, the Darrow Law Firm analyzed data across three key dimensions – Crime, Police Presence, and Socioeconomic Factors.

Within these dimensions, we identified and ranked 12 relevant metrics that influence the safety of a city.  Our data set and rankings are a reflection of the following metrics and corresponding weights.

Crime: Triple Weight

  • Overall Crime Rate per 100,000: Full Weight
  • Total Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: Full Weight
  • Murder and Homicide Rate per 100,000: Full Weight
  • Forcible Rape Rate per 100,000: Full Weight
  • Robbery Rate per 100,000: Full Weight
  • Aggravated Assault Rate per 100,000: Full Weight

Police Investment: Full Weight

  • Police Officers per 100,000: Full Weight
  • Police Department Budget per Capita: Full Weight
  • Violent Crime Per Police Officer: Full Weight

Community Socioeconomic Factors: Full Weight

  • Poverty Rate: Full Weight
  • Unemployment Rate: Full Weight
  • Percentage of Residents Who Are High School Graduates: Full Weight

Data Sources

Crime data was sourced from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program and reflect data for 2014.

Police Force officer and budget data was gathered from each city’s police department website.

Demographic information was gathered from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Area Vibes.

100 Cities in Texas with Highest Violent Crime Rates

Note: The circles in the map above represent the violent crime rate in the area. Hover over the circles to see city name and the violent crime rate.

Analyzing the latest data from the FBI’s 2014 Crime in the United States reports, we looked at which cities in Texas have the highest rates of violent crimes. Since the most populated areas will typically have the highest number of crimes, it wouldn’t be safe to assume the cities with the most crime are the most dangerous in Texas. We calculated the violent crime rate in each city by  dividing the total number of violent crimes by the population and multiplying by 100,000.

formula

The table below can be sorted by clicking on the table headers. The columns at the top include:

  • City name
  • Murder/Non-Negligent Manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Rate of Violent Crimes
CityPopulationViolent CrimeMurderRapeRobberyAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeBurglaryLarceny-TheftMotor Vehicle TheftArsonTotal crimesCrimes per 100,000Rate
Hearne 4,441.00 76.00 0.00 2.00 1.00 73.00 109.00 36.00 70.00 3.00 0.00 185.00 4,166.00 1,711.00
Bellmead 10,077.00 171.00 0.00 13.00 15.00 143.00 1,122.00 86.00 1,002.00 34.00 1.00 1,294.00 12,841.00 1,697.00
Gonzales 7,452.00 111.00 0.00 6.00 4.00 101.00 347.00 88.00 250.00 9.00 2.00 460.00 6,173.00 1,490.00
Nash 3,111.00 46.00 1.00 1.00 3.00 41.00 78.00 13.00 61.00 4.00 0.00 124.00 3,986.00 1,479.00
Navasota 7,294.00 107.00 1.00 7.00 5.00 94.00 260.00 51.00 191.00 18.00 0.00 367.00 5,032.00 1,467.00
Three Rivers 1,942.00 28.00 0.00 0.00 1.00 27.00 68.00 30.00 36.00 2.00 0.00 96.00 4,943.00 1,442.00
Elsa 6,820.00 96.00 0.00 2.00 2.00 92.00 308.00 70.00 238.00 0.00 4.00 408.00 5,982.00 1,408.00
South Padre Island 2,916.00 41.00 0.00 11.00 8.00 22.00 551.00 62.00 476.00 13.00 0.00 592.00 20,302.00 1,406.00
Gladewater 6,455.00 85.00 0.00 8.00 6.00 71.00 485.00 108.00 363.00 14.00 0.00 570.00 8,830.00 1,317.00
Queen City 1,475.00 18.00 1.00 0.00 1.00 16.00 44.00 17.00 27.00 0.00 0.00 62.00 4,203.00 1,220.00
Weslaco 37,458.00 452.00 1.00 18.00 55.00 378.00 2,653.00 467.00 2,117.00 69.00 4.00 3,109.00 8,300.00 1,207.00
Robstown 11,742.00 133.00 0.00 0.00 11.00 122.00 513.00 158.00 341.00 14.00 1.00 647.00 5,510.00 1,133.00
Cuero 7,042.00 78.00 0.00 3.00 1.00 74.00 240.00 52.00 181.00 7.00 2.00 320.00 4,544.00 1,108.00
Raymondville 11,113.00 123.00 0.00 4.00 6.00 113.00 564.00 156.00 392.00 16.00 14.00 701.00 6,308.00 1,107.00
De Kalb 1,653.00 18.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 18.00 54.00 30.00 22.00 2.00 0.00 72.00 4,356.00 1,089.00
Premont 2,703.00 29.00 0.00 2.00 1.00 26.00 65.00 38.00 26.00 1.00 2.00 96.00 3,552.00 1,073.00
Oyster Creek 1,118.00 12.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 11.00 36.00 9.00 22.00 5.00 0.00 48.00 4,293.00 1,073.00
Pittsburg 4,522.00 48.00 0.00 6.00 5.00 37.00 178.00 65.00 107.00 6.00 2.00 228.00 5,042.00 1,061.00
Hempstead 6,482.00 68.00 0.00 6.00 5.00 57.00 226.00 97.00 121.00 8.00 2.00 296.00 4,566.00 1,049.00
Donna 16,374.00 166.00 0.00 5.00 16.00 145.00 941.00 243.00 656.00 42.00 5.00 1,112.00 6,791.00 1,014.00
Houston 2,219,933.00 22,008.00 242.00 812.00 10,186.00 10,768.00 104,197.00 21,629.00 68,125.00 14,443.00 716.00 126,921.00 5,717.00 991.00
Cleveland 7,713.00 75.00 1.00 12.00 13.00 49.00 717.00 77.00 601.00 39.00 5.00 797.00 10,333.00 972.00
Schulenburg 2,904.00 28.00 1.00 0.00 1.00 26.00 89.00 25.00 62.00 2.00 0.00 117.00 4,029.00 964.00
Early 2,812.00 27.00 0.00 7.00 1.00 19.00 88.00 18.00 68.00 2.00 1.00 116.00 4,125.00 960.00
Hudson 4,717.00 45.00 0.00 7.00 2.00 36.00 124.00 38.00 80.00 6.00 0.00 169.00 3,583.00 954.00
Odessa 113,619.00 1,068.00 11.00 65.00 148.00 844.00 4,217.00 735.00 3,004.00 478.00 24.00 5,309.00 4,673.00 940.00
Balch Springs 25,305.00 233.00 2.00 15.00 30.00 186.00 1,079.00 212.00 721.00 146.00 0.00 1,312.00 5,185.00 921.00
Beaumont 117,898.00 1,050.00 16.00 91.00 293.00 650.00 5,530.00 1,456.00 3,861.00 213.00 40.00 6,620.00 5,615.00 891.00
Borger 12,974.00 113.00 2.00 6.00 5.00 100.00 468.00 125.00 308.00 35.00 0.00 581.00 4,478.00 871.00
Lubbock 241,826.00 2,084.00 12.00 128.00 333.00 1,611.00 10,617.00 2,288.00 7,563.00 766.00 46.00 12,747.00 5,271.00 862.00
Texarkana 37,687.00 325.00 1.00 41.00 64.00 219.00 2,393.00 512.00 1,699.00 182.00 13.00 2,731.00 7,247.00 862.00
Clarksville 3,156.00 27.00 0.00 3.00 0.00 24.00 124.00 37.00 85.00 2.00 1.00 152.00 4,816.00 856.00
Yorktown 2,121.00 18.00 0.00 3.00 2.00 13.00 29.00 12.00 16.00 1.00 0.00 47.00 2,216.00 849.00
Gilmer 5,168.00 43.00 0.00 0.00 4.00 39.00 209.00 39.00 161.00 9.00 1.00 253.00 4,896.00 832.00
Center 5,302.00 44.00 0.00 2.00 8.00 34.00 254.00 51.00 193.00 10.00 0.00 298.00 5,621.00 830.00
Tatum 1,386.00 11.00 1.00 0.00 0.00 10.00 42.00 8.00 32.00 2.00 0.00 53.00 3,824.00 794.00
Dalhart 8,327.00 64.00 0.00 2.00 4.00 58.00 180.00 38.00 134.00 8.00 2.00 246.00 2,954.00 769.00
Willis 6,127.00 47.00 0.00 9.00 8.00 30.00 173.00 51.00 113.00 9.00 1.00 221.00 3,607.00 767.00
Surfside Beach 523.00 4.00 0.00 0.00 2.00 2.00 10.00 4.00 5.00 1.00 0.00 14.00 2,677.00 765.00
Onalaska 1,703.00 13.00 0.00 6.00 1.00 6.00 53.00 21.00 31.00 1.00 0.00 66.00 3,876.00 763.00
Big Spring 28,338.00 216.00 1.00 5.00 36.00 174.00 1,333.00 310.00 965.00 58.00 5.00 1,554.00 5,484.00 762.00
Alamo 19,054.00 145.00 1.00 6.00 13.00 125.00 1,244.00 160.00 992.00 92.00 2.00 1,391.00 7,300.00 761.00
Sealy 6,253.00 47.00 0.00 2.00 4.00 41.00 193.00 68.00 113.00 12.00 0.00 240.00 3,838.00 752.00
Sinton 5,745.00 43.00 0.00 3.00 2.00 38.00 168.00 34.00 125.00 9.00 3.00 214.00 3,725.00 748.00
Winnsboro 3,356.00 25.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 25.00 71.00 12.00 52.00 7.00 0.00 96.00 2,861.00 745.00
Balcones Heights 2,873.00 21.00 0.00 3.00 3.00 15.00 450.00 19.00 403.00 28.00 0.00 471.00 16,394.00 731.00
Palmview 5,634.00 41.00 0.00 10.00 3.00 28.00 336.00 46.00 277.00 13.00 1.00 378.00 6,709.00 728.00
Port Aransas 3,854.00 28.00 0.00 6.00 0.00 22.00 307.00 41.00 253.00 13.00 0.00 335.00 8,692.00 727.00
Alice 19,689.00 143.00 1.00 8.00 6.00 128.00 1,029.00 245.00 740.00 44.00 11.00 1,183.00 6,008.00 726.00
Kingsville 26,329.00 191.00 0.00 3.00 17.00 171.00 977.00 235.00 715.00 27.00 1.00 1,169.00 4,440.00 725.00
Sunset Valley 693.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00 121.00 1.00 119.00 1.00 0.00 126.00 18,182.00 722.00
Jacksonville 14,755.00 105.00 0.00 14.00 17.00 74.00 615.00 181.00 421.00 13.00 4.00 724.00 4,907.00 712.00
Boyd 1,271.00 9.00 0.00 0.00 1.00 8.00 36.00 8.00 25.00 3.00 0.00 45.00 3,541.00 708.00
Mexia 7,438.00 52.00 0.00 5.00 5.00 42.00 345.00 52.00 279.00 14.00 2.00 399.00 5,364.00 699.00
Beverly Hills 2,012.00 14.00 0.00 0.00 2.00 12.00 93.00 22.00 58.00 13.00 1.00 108.00 5,368.00 696.00
Lacy-Lakeview 6,655.00 46.00 0.00 6.00 6.00 34.00 267.00 62.00 188.00 17.00 3.00 316.00 4,748.00 691.00
Port Lavaca 12,414.00 85.00 1.00 13.00 1.00 70.00 358.00 99.00 236.00 23.00 1.00 444.00 3,577.00 685.00
Whitewright 1,613.00 11.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 10.00 28.00 10.00 16.00 2.00 1.00 40.00 2,480.00 682.00
Amarillo 197,724.00 1,344.00 7.00 228.00 283.00 826.00 9,343.00 1,834.00 6,659.00 850.00 36.00 10,723.00 5,423.00 680.00
Humble 15,588.00 106.00 0.00 14.00 49.00 43.00 1,633.00 147.00 1,332.00 154.00 2.00 1,741.00 11,169.00 680.00
Canton 3,566.00 24.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 24.00 153.00 0.00 152.00 1.00 0.00 177.00 4,964.00 673.00
Nolanville 4,507.00 30.00 0.00 0.00 2.00 28.00 78.00 17.00 59.00 2.00 0.00 108.00 2,396.00 666.00
Dallas 1,272,396.00 8,457.00 116.00 781.00 3,856.00 3,704.00 45,669.00 11,685.00 26,939.00 7,045.00 385.00 54,511.00 4,284.00 665.00
Kemah 1,964.00 13.00 0.00 1.00 4.00 8.00 252.00 13.00 237.00 2.00 0.00 265.00 13,493.00 662.00
Corpus Christi 319,211.00 2,094.00 27.00 280.00 377.00 1,410.00 14,110.00 2,316.00 11,233.00 561.00 50.00 16,254.00 5,092.00 656.00
Snyder 11,610.00 75.00 2.00 6.00 0.00 67.00 445.00 109.00 325.00 11.00 0.00 520.00 4,479.00 646.00
Sansom Park Village 4,821.00 31.00 0.00 1.00 3.00 27.00 132.00 44.00 76.00 12.00 0.00 163.00 3,381.00 643.00
Burnet 6,096.00 39.00 1.00 6.00 1.00 31.00 109.00 34.00 70.00 5.00 0.00 148.00 2,428.00 640.00
Hamlin 2,042.00 13.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 13.00 35.00 13.00 21.00 1.00 0.00 48.00 2,351.00 637.00
Port Arthur 54,178.00 341.00 8.00 29.00 114.00 190.00 2,131.00 528.00 1,471.00 132.00 9.00 2,481.00 4,579.00 629.00
Edcouch 3,219.00 20.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 17.00 74.00 22.00 51.00 1.00 0.00 94.00 2,920.00 621.00
Mercedes 16,488.00 102.00 1.00 10.00 10.00 81.00 840.00 165.00 639.00 36.00 7.00 949.00 5,756.00 619.00
Livingston 5,168.00 32.00 0.00 4.00 8.00 20.00 320.00 43.00 263.00 14.00 0.00 352.00 6,811.00 619.00
Marshall 24,749.00 153.00 3.00 9.00 24.00 117.00 887.00 215.00 643.00 29.00 9.00 1,049.00 4,239.00 618.00
Paducah 1,132.00 7.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 7.00 7.00 3.00 2.00 2.00 5.00 19.00 1,678.00 618.00
Killeen 139,211.00 846.00 10.00 114.00 196.00 526.00 4,703.00 1,334.00 3,149.00 220.00 38.00 5,587.00 4,013.00 608.00
Andrews 13,153.00 80.00 1.00 13.00 4.00 62.00 310.00 54.00 223.00 33.00 1.00 391.00 2,973.00 608.00
La Grulla 1,652.00 10.00 0.00 0.00 2.00 8.00 14.00 10.00 3.00 1.00 0.00 24.00 1,453.00 605.00
Groves 15,729.00 95.00 0.00 10.00 19.00 66.00 494.00 92.00 368.00 34.00 1.00 590.00 3,751.00 604.00
Pantego 2,500.00 15.00 0.00 0.00 2.00 13.00 93.00 13.00 75.00 5.00 0.00 108.00 4,320.00 600.00
Fort Stockton 8,403.00 50.00 0.00 10.00 5.00 35.00 242.00 62.00 168.00 12.00 0.00 292.00 3,475.00 595.00
Oak Ridge 168.00 1.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.00 3.00 2.00 1.00 0.00 0.00 4.00 2,381.00 595.00
Lamesa 9,334.00 55.00 0.00 13.00 3.00 39.00 374.00 108.00 248.00 18.00 3.00 432.00 4,628.00 589.00
Palestine 18,579.00 109.00 0.00 21.00 16.00 72.00 765.00 165.00 556.00 44.00 1.00 875.00 4,710.00 587.00
Kountze 2,103.00 12.00 1.00 0.00 2.00 9.00 51.00 22.00 26.00 3.00 0.00 63.00 2,996.00 571.00
Pampa 18,520.00 105.00 0.00 0.00 7.00 98.00 820.00 150.00 637.00 33.00 1.00 926.00 5,000.00 567.00
Paris 24,844.00 139.00 1.00 5.00 28.00 105.00 1,087.00 267.00 787.00 33.00 0.00 1,226.00 4,935.00 559.00
Terrell 16,466.00 92.00 0.00 13.00 15.00 64.00 567.00 142.00 384.00 41.00 3.00 662.00 4,020.00 559.00
Linden 1,978.00 11.00 0.00 0.00 1.00 10.00 40.00 21.00 16.00 3.00 0.00 51.00 2,578.00 556.00
Greenville 25,983.00 143.00 6.00 27.00 44.00 66.00 1,193.00 231.00 906.00 56.00 12.00 1,348.00 5,188.00 550.00
De Leon 2,184.00 12.00 0.00 5.00 0.00 7.00 21.00 8.00 13.00 0.00 0.00 33.00 1,511.00 549.00
San Juan 35,982.00 195.00 2.00 44.00 17.00 132.00 1,140.00 155.00 922.00 63.00 0.00 1,335.00 3,710.00 542.00
Luling 5,722.00 31.00 0.00 4.00 3.00 24.00 99.00 20.00 75.00 4.00 0.00 130.00 2,272.00 542.00
San Antonio 1,428,465.00 7,704.00 103.00 1,077.00 1,777.00 4,747.00 77,392.00 12,344.00 57,908.00 7,140.00 298.00 85,394.00 5,978.00 539.00
Howe 2,610.00 14.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 13.00 23.00 7.00 13.00 3.00 0.00 37.00 1,418.00 536.00
Colorado City 4,120.00 22.00 0.00 0.00 1.00 21.00 154.00 83.00 70.00 1.00 0.00 176.00 4,272.00 534.00
Poth 2,065.00 11.00 0.00 3.00 1.00 7.00 46.00 29.00 13.00 4.00 0.00 57.00 2,760.00 533.00
Huntsville 40,059.00 211.00 1.00 37.00 24.00 149.00 956.00 183.00 718.00 55.00 6.00 1,173.00 2,928.00 527.00
Farmersville 3,415.00 18.00 0.00 5.00 5.00 8.00 82.00 35.00 46.00 1.00 0.00 100.00 2,928.00 527.00
Galveston 48,961.00 256.00 6.00 51.00 105.00 94.00 2,054.00 414.00 1,447.00 193.00 17.00 2,327.00 4,753.00 523.00


Violent crime rate in cities with a population over 100,000

 

 

In looking at all cities with a population of over 100,000, Houston has the highest violent crime rate in the state at 991 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Odessa, which has been #1 in crimes per capita in the past, was #2 at 940. Beaumont, Lubbock and Amarillo rounded out the top 5.

Can you get your Houston & Harris County DWI dismissed? Check DIVERT

If you have been arrested for a DWI offense in Harris County DWI, you may want to consider the “DIVERT“(Direct Intervention using Voluntary Education, Restitution and Treatment) program. DIVERT provides an opportunity for first time DWI offenders to have the case dismissed if he or she successfully completes the program.

You must meet the following criteria to be eligible for DIVERT:
1. It must be your first DWI charge
2. You must be a legal resident or a U.S. Citizen
3. No prior criminal history (including juvenile offenses)
4. Agree to an interview that evaluates possible alcohol or drug dependency

After submitting your application, the District Attorneys office evaluates your case to determine eligibility. Once that’s established, a 15-minute interview with a probation officer will be scheduled.

Prior to your interview, you will take a drug and alcohol evaluation and pay a $202 program fee. After the conversation with the probation officer, you will be asked to submit to a urine test. If you fail the test, your application will probably be denied.

You will find out before your next court date whether or not you were accepted into the program. If you are accepted, your DWI attorney and the DA will sign a contract in which you agree to attend treatment as outlined in their recommendation and complete the DIVERT ?education classes designed to prevent another DWI.Terms of the agreement include having an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle for a minimum period of time, 16 hours of community service, regular drug testing, a clean record through the length of your enrollment, and meetings with your probation officer once a month.

By signing the agreement, you are pleading guilty to the offense, waiving your right to trial by jury, or the right to appeal from assessment of sentence. If you comply with the conditions of the contract and complete the DIVERT program, your case will eventually be dismissed.

More and more drivers are finding that the DIVERT program is preferable to probation or jail time and fines. It is important to have your Houston DWI attorney with you when you talk with your probation officer or when it’s time to negotiate terms in the agreement.

Four Surprising Facts About Cocaine Possession

Cocaine is a potent stimulant that affects the central nervous and cardiac systems. Made illegal after World War I, the possession of cocaine will result in serious penalties. It’s widely known that the possession of this drug is illegal, but there are some other less-commonly known facts that carry a big punch.

As you may know, being found with cocaine will result in an immediate felony charge. Texas lists cocaine as a “Penalty Group 1” drug, which means it is among the group to carry the most severe penalties for possession and distribution. The severity of the penalty is determined by the amount in possession as well as other factors, including intent and drug-type.

1. Higher Volume Means More Jail Time

Jail time will almost always be sentenced with conviction and serves a minimum of 180 days. Yet did you know that prison sentencing is based upon the amount of cocaine in possession? Any amount has a potential fine with a price tag of $10,000. Possession of anywhere between 4 and 200 grams can result in 20 years in prison. Possession of over 200 grams can result in a life sentence.

2. The Intent to Deliver

If a person is found with cocaine in addition to baggies (the bags commonly used to store cocaine), they can also be charged with intent to deliver. It doesn’t matter if the baggies are full or empty if they are in possession with cocaine, the baggies can be used as circumstantial evidence of intent; even if that wasn’t you plan. Harsher jail and fine sentences are invoked with intent to deliver.

3. Felonies Result in Limitation of Rights

You may know that with a felony conviction comes the restriction or denial of certain rights, such as owning and purchasing firearms or serving in the military, but what you may not know is that a conviction for cocaine possession can also result in drivers license suspension. This suspension is generally a minimum of 180 days, and the person is required to participate in a drug education course before his or her license is reinstated.

4. Not All Drugs are Created Equal

In 2010, Congress passed a bill called the Fair Sentencing Act. This legislation effectively reduced the disparity of both charges and sentencing for possessing crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine in the Federal court system. This reduced mandatory minimums for all new charges, and in 2011, the law was made retroactive, allowing for eligible inmates to apply for a shortened sentence.

The Difference Between an Acquittal and a Conviction

As you may already know, a DWI offense stands for driving while intoxicated, but many people may not know the consequences that come with such an offense or what to do if charged with a DWI.

What Law is the Focus of the DWI Charge?

It is important to know exactly why someone is charged with a DWI. According to Texas law, the legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol content is .08 percent per 100 ml of blood. However, you can still be accused with DWI if the prosecutor believes that your mental and physical abilities were not normal.

According to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, a license suspension or revocation traditionally follows conviction for a alcohol-impaired driving.” However, under the administrative license suspension procedure, a driver can have his license taken away if he or she refuses to take a chemical test. This procedure is allowed in 41 states, including Texas, and has proved to be effective.

A Good Galveston DWI Lawyer can Successfully Find Loopholes and Fight a DWI Charge

A DWI is a very serious offense and very difficult to get out of. The only loophole per say would be a plea bargain, which is where a good Galveston DWI attorney would come in. A plea bargain is when the defendant pleas guilty but to a lesser charge than a DWI, like reckless driving. This is an arrangement between the government and the defendant. Often times the DWI attorney will find this method beneficial to the defendant because the sentence is much less severe.

For instance, if the test shows a [blood alcohol content] to be .09 or .10, the field sobriety tests are inconclusive,… the prosecution may be willing to change the charge from [DWI] to a lesser offense, such as reckless driving… which will result in a far less-harsh sentence, according to the legal information website, Nolo, which in Latin means “I don’t choose to.”

What Kind of Questions Does a Galveston DWI Attorney Ask His Clients?

A good lawyer will want to know your personal and business background, and anything relevant to your case. It is also very important to show your DWI lawyer all the documents that you have concerning your case such as, bail papers, police paper work, etc.

As stated earlier, a DWI offense is very serious and you definitely want to hire a good DWI attorney, one that devotes a good amount of time to your defense and who knows the local legal system.

The sooner you contact a a DWI lawyer, the longer they have to prepare a good case in your favor.