Austin and the surrounding Texas Hill Country are top areas for tourism in Texas. We have awesome rivers, lakes, weather, and entertainment. This piece of the state is a favorite for all types of people from all over the world. Not only do we host global events like Austin City Limits Festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest, and South by Southwest, but beginning in November 2012, we will also host the nation’s only Formula 1 (F1) Race. F1, although locally less familiar, is popular worldwide, and come November, this region will be overcome with race goers from Europe and elsewhere. It’ll be like a mini Olympics in terms of foreigners and local economy boom. The greater Austin area, including the Texas Hill Country and the Highland Lakes, enjoys an awesome tourism industry as well due to the rivers, lakes, wineries, and beautiful wild flowers. Add three major universities to the list, and this area becomes overwhelmed with out-of-towners, particularly during football season.
Driving and Boating While Intoxicated arrests occur to many of our visitors every year at these events and locations. People don’t think about local law enforcement efforts when they come to our little slice of heaven to enjoy themselves. “No Refusal” weekends and mandatory blood draws are things others do not know about our area. The problem arises after they’re arrested, when the tourists have no clue how to handle their new legal issues. While most are somewhat familiar with their own state’s laws, Texas laws can be very intimidating and confusing to a “foreigner”.
Several of the most common problems are related to an individual’s driver’s license. They think, “Well, I don’t have a Texas DL, so I don’t have to worry about it.” This is false. Texas DPS will issue you a “dummy” Texas driver’s license number, suspend it, and then notify your state that it has been suspended, and under an Interstate Compact and Full Faith & Credit clause of the US Constitution, your out of state license may be suspended by Texas. Another issue that comes up is whether an out-of-stater can receive and serve probation for an offense committed in Texas in their home state. This is not that simple of a process either. Again, we have to research the existence of an Interstate Compact with the home state and Texas, and then determine if this level of offense can be transferred. In many cases, particularly with a class B misdemeanor like a first DWI or BWI offense, it cannot, leading to probation or community supervision not being a viable option for a potential sentence. Also, a big problem for visitors who face charges here is how to make court appearances. Court cases can last up to a year before being resolved, and in many instances, can take longer. Most courts require one setting a month. That is a lot of travel if you have to appear at every setting. Many courts, such as Travis County, will allow your attorney to appear on your behalf for most court settings, but not all courts are this flexible.
If you are arrested in Austin, Kerrville, Burnet, San Marcos, or elsewhere in the region, you need a lawyer who knows how to handle the above and many other issues facing someone with serious criminal charges. I have handled many cases for college students and visitors from out of state with success. Contact me and I will give you a free consultation, explain your rights, and teach you the process that we will undertake to make this as smooth of a situation as possible.