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Man Spends Years in Jail before DWI Charges are Tossed

Updated: Aug 27, 2023 @ 6:46 am

Less than 1 minute Reading Time: Minutes

A disturbing media story highlights the importance of hiring your own legal counsel to represent you in criminal cases, including DWI. According to this report, a 66-year-old man in Harris County spent three years in jail before having his felony DWI charge ultimately dismissed. During this time, his lawyer never visited him in jail and did less than 10 hours of work on the case. The man, Michael Carter, has filed a malpractice lawsuit against the attorney, Jerome Godinich, after finally securing release from jail.

As a law firm with offices in Harris County, we aren’t terribly surprised by this story. Many appointed attorneys juggle mammoth caseloads which prevent them from giving adequate attention to each individual case. The result is often injustice—and devastated lives. Contact Tad Nelson & Associate today to speak with a DWI lawyer at our office about your charges. We promise to provide the highest level of service to anyone we agree to represent. We have handled all types of DWI cases, from first-time offender to DWI assault and manslaughter.

Locked Up…and Forgotten

Police arrested Michael Carter in 2018 for suspected driving while intoxicated. He was out on parole at the time, which meant any conviction could result in a revocation of his community supervision and decades in jail.

According to his story, he was asleep in the car but not driving when the police found him and cuffed him. He was held without bail on the DWI charge, and his judge appointed Mr. Godinich to represent him. Unfortunately, his lawyer did almost no work on the case and did not respond to multiple letters or phone calls. A lone member of Mr. Godinich’s law firm did visit Mr. Carter a few times, but lead counsel never did. The attorney only billed for 8 hours of work over three years.

Remarkably, Mr. Carter spent about three and a half years in jail as his case was stuck in the criminal justice system. When he finally secured release after dismissal, his life was ruined. He learned of his release from the bailiff, not his own lawyer.

Mr. Carter has filed a malpractice lawsuit against his former attorney. His tale serves as a reminder that those accused of DWI need committed, aggressive representation, and should not passively accept the appointment of someone without doing their homework first.

No Investigation

According to his complaint, Mr. Carter’s lawyer did almost no investigative work on his behalf, such as requesting an independent test of a blood sample or speaking to witnesses who might prove his innocence. As the years rolled by, Mr. Carter wrote to the judge directly, asking for information and complaining about the lack of movement on his case. He filed more than a dozen motions.

Investigations are critical for all criminal matters, including DWI. Important pieces of evidence can disappear quickly, such as witnesses. Blood samples can also get lost, unfortunately. We understand Mr. Carter’s frustration at the lack of investigation.

Protect Yourself—and Your Freedom

If you are arrested for DWI, you deserve the best lawyer possible. Under no circumstances should you agree to a public defender. If you are charged with a felony, the judge might offer to appoint a private attorney. As the above story makes clear, however, some of these appointed lawyers are juggling too many cases. You do not want to slip through the cracks.

Call Tad Nelson & Associates to discuss how our law firm can help. We have swung into action to defend the rights of hundreds of men and women accused of DWI. Also ask about our different payment methods. You can afford us. Our law firm believes in the importance of a thorough analysis of all known facts, with independent investigation sometimes necessary to flesh out the record.

Public defenders are often overwhelmed. But appointed private attorneys can also take on heavy caseloads, and there is inadequate oversight from the county.

Hiring your own lawyer makes sense. We can give close attention to your case and fight for your freedom. We also believe in keeping lines of communication open with our clients. We want to hear from you. You should not be left wondering what is happening with your case. Instead, we will be by your side every step of the way.

Call Our Law Firm Now

Tad Nelson & Associates has more DWI experience under our belt than most other firms in Texas. Call us today to speak with someone on our staff about your DWI and whether we can help you.

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the TBLS.

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