CEDER LAW FIRM - WELCOME INFORMATION
I will be assisting Carl throughout your case. I know that this is a very difficult and stressful time for you, so I would like to take a few moments to explain some details of the court system that may arise in the duration of your case. The contents of this letter will answer many of your questions. Please read it thoroughly and keep it on hand to refer to as your case progresses.
The first thing that you must realize is that Carl spends a great deal of his time in court. Another large portion of his day is spent preparing these cases for court. Your case requires many hours of work and each case takes a tremendous amount of time and care. As Carl’s paralegal, I work hand in hand with him throughout your entire case and can help you with many of your questions. Because we pride ourselves on excellent client communication, please contact us whenever you have a question or concern regarding your case. My email address is email@example.com. I check my email throughout the day. Rest assured that your case is being handled as promptly and efficiently as possible.
With this in mind, let me explain a few very important details about opening your file. The following items are essential:
1. Driving History: I will need a copy of your certified abstract driving history in order to secure an occupational driver’s license if one becomes necessary. If the officer did not confiscate your DL, please view the following website in order to purchase the driving history:
The lack of driving history is often the one item that ends up taking the longest to receive. In the event the officer confiscated your Dl, please use the attached mail-in request to purchase your Dl history by mail. This takes roughly 4-6 weeks to receive back. We cannot move forward with an occupational driver’s license without it.
2. Administrative License Revocation Hearings: If your case involves an ALR Hearing and our office handled the initial appeal letter, we will receive notice within two months of a hearing date. If you or another attorney sent the request for a hearing to TX DPS, please make sure you send us a copy of the letter that was sent for your file. You should receive a notice of a hearing date within 6 weeks of the receipt of the request by TX DPS. If you do not receive the notice, contact me immediately, so we can investigate the cause of the delay. Also, any notices that you receive from TX DPS concerning any court proceeding, please contact me immediately to confirm that our office has been notified as well. We will notify you of the same if we receive a notice.
3. Changes of Address: Do not forget to notify our office of any changes in address, phone numbers, employment status, etc., that may occur during the course of your case. If we need to reach you, time will be critical, and your failure to stay in touch with us may carry dire consequences.
Next, let me explain a few of the steps that your case will take. The first step is called a Pre-Trial Conference. This is the first appearance date when you appear before the court. When the time is right, we will also file motions and other important paperwork in your case. It is important that you are present for this court date. Failure to be in court can result in forfeiture of your bond, an arrest warrant being issued and denied renewal of your license for failure to appear. Whenever possible, we will appear without you in order to not inconvenience you and to relieve some of the stress that you may have about your case. Please understand that it requires special permission from the Judge to move or reset a case, so if this is necessary for you, please contact us to allow us time to approach the Judge before your scheduled court date. I will always notify you by email or text to make you aware of whether or not we will need you present and if so, what time to arrive.
Also, at a subsequent pre-trial conference, we will file the previously mentioned motions package for your case with the court seeking some type of action related to the case. Motions, simply put, are requests that we make of the court to grant us some type of relief. This relief is usually asking that some part of the State’s evidence be excluded from trial when the case goes to court. We may seek to exclude a breath or blood test result, field evaluations or a custodial statement made by you after your detention, but before any Miranda advisements were given to you (e.g., You have the right to an attorney; you have the right to remain silent…,etc.”).
In addition, we will file a motion for the prosecutor to send us the discovery in your case. Discovery is a general term that relates to the production of evidence that the state intends to present against you in court. An example of discovery is a list of the State’s witnesses against you, plus information on how to locate them. This also applies to Offense Reports or videos related to your case. Obtaining discovery allows us to be as fully prepared as possible when we enter court so that there will be no surprises. Anytime our office receives any documents regarding your case, we will always make sure that it is forwarded to you.
Next, we will request oral argument of these motions. This is a very important step as it sometimes allows our attorney to attack various aspects of the State’s case prior to trial. The elimination of harmful evidence is the primary purpose and goal of “motions.” There will be no jury involved at a motions hearing. Present at a typical motions hearing will be the judge, your attorney, the prosecutor, the State’s witness (the arresting officer) and yourself. Some cases require additional witnesses. The judge will hear motions and argument from both sides, then grant or deny the motions. Some judges refuse to hear motions until the day of trial. We prefer a separate motion and hearing and request the trial judge to schedule a pre-trial hearing in all cases.
Next comes the trial. A misdemeanor trial consists of a 6-member jury. A felony trial consists of a 12-member jury. As the time for trial draws closer, we will be coordinating witnesses and subpoenas if necessary. We may need your assistance in providing the necessary information on witnesses to assure that this is done timely and correctly. It is critical that you stay in touch with your fact witnesses, if there are any, since we will need to be able to reach them and provide them with a subpoena to secure their appearance.
One thing that you must understand is the likelihood or probability of a reset or continuance of court dates. Court dates are subject to change at the last moment. Please make sure that we know where to reach you at all times. Conflicts between cases invariably occur for a variety of reasons. For example, it is not unusual for two jury trials to be set for the same date. In these instances, court rules require that the older case must be heard first.
There are times when your case may not be reached during the trial calendar that you are scheduled for and is reset to another date. This can be extremely stressful and disruptive to you, but you must realize that we are basically at the mercy of the Court. There is little we can do to prevent it. Going to court is not like going to the doctor. We cannot make an appointment. We go when they tell us to appear. If you see that you are going to have a conflict, please let us know immediately. We will do what we can, but there is also a possibility the Judge may choose to not grant a reset. Most judges have tunnel vision when it comes to the scheduling of court time.
Some cases could be pending for 4-6 months before a decision is made on the driver’s license. Our advice to Texas residents is to immediately obtain a Texas Identification Card for use until your case is resolved. These may be obtained at the same place that you get your Texas driver’s license. State regulations limit such identification cards to Texas residents. Remember, this is not a license to drive and you must keep your temporary permit with you when driving. (Non-resident drivers licensed by another State should explore whether you can procure a replacement license or similar ID card in your State without running afoul of your State’s law.)
Most DWI arrests result in an Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR) before the Texas Department of Public Safety and State Office of Administrative Hearings. This assumes that you either filed a timely “appeal” of your suspension, or that you had us assist you with this. These suspension hearings are conducted before an Administrative Law Judge who is a completely different judge than the judge handling your DWI case. It is also held in a different court location. The Administrative License Revocation hearing is civil by nature. As such, it is not required, though suggested, that Carl attend this hearing. With it being civil by nature, it only requires 51% of the evidence to suspend your DL.
As proof of your continuing right to drive, you must carry the DIC-25 with you at all times. This is the Temporary Driving Permit issued by your arresting officer, which permits you to have limited driving privileges. Please note: the DIC-25 form EXPIRES at the end of 40 days. If you missed your ALR Request deadline (within 15 days after you received, or are presumed to have received your DIC-25), you may be without driving privileges on the 41st day. If a timely request for a hearing (an appeal) was filed, you should receive the Notice of Hearing from our office or from the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
Any letters from DPS that you receive that set a hearing date or which indicate that the proposed suspension is withdrawn must be kept with you, too. This is your proof of your right to drive in Texas. Keep them in the car that you are driving at all times, along with our business card.
Another key factor in every case is paying your attorney fees on time. Fortunately, about half of our cases are resolved before a trial date is scheduled, and the “trial” portion of the fee is never due from those clients. The balance of your trial fees is due once your case is set on the trial docket. Please contact me at any time if you have a question about a trial fee or your account.
If your case requires expert witnesses, you must cover the cost of the expert’s fees and expenses for his/her time preparing for and attending court. Once we have received the video/audio tape and Offense Reports, we will discuss the necessity of an expert witness. You must approve this expenditure since it is generally a major expense.
Please understand that a DWI cannot be resolved overnight. Generally, cases could be pending for 6 months to 12 months, depending on the court’s docket and how anxious you are to resolve this. It is important to remember that time is on our side. The Law Office of Carl David Ceder will do everything we can to help you through this stressful time.
Please contact me if you have questions or concerns about your case. You can reach me at 469.340.0106. This number also receives text.
Criminal Defense Paralegal