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When "It Happens" we can help. We will be happy to discuss your situation. The phone consultation is free so make the call today: 972-559-4548

Articles by Attorney Shannon Edwards

Case Law Changes Definition of Operating for DWI

 

Recent case law indicates the shift in driving while intoxicated away from those not viewed driving or operating the vehicle by an officer or a civilian who can identify the driver.

Case Law

Recent case law from the Hill Country of Texas has come down from the Court of Appeals on the sufficiency of the verdict in a DWI case dealing specifically with the issue of operating. This case law, argued by Mark Lassiter of Dallas, is an appeal from a conviction for a DWI for an individual who was found asleep in a parked car with the engine running. The Court of Criminal Appeals found that without evidence of the individual having operated the vehicle, the evidence was insufficient and the verdict was overturned.

Definition of Operating

The Importance of Jury Selection

 

A trial is more than the presentation of evidence and adherence to rules and burdens of proof. It is also about the people to whom you are communicating these concepts. If those people do not connect to you or understand the message you are sending, it could potentially affect the verdict.

Jury Selection from a DA's Viewpoint

Every county provides their assistant district attorneys with access to jury selection slides. The majority of the time, these slides are handed down from one generation of ADAs to another with little change or adjustment. Six years after I started with the DA's office, I see the same slides being used for definitions of reasonable doubt as I used in my time at Collin County. For example, the DA's will commonly use a slide of puzzle pieces to highlight reasonable doubt. They will then show the slide with the nearly completed puzzle picture and ask if the jury panel can tell what it is then. Nine times out of ten it is a shark or a gun. These standard slides show the DA office is failing to evolve its arguments and in essence does not understand that the jury needs to be talked to, not at.