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Kyle Lowe, Criminal Defense Attorney

Kyle Lowe Criminal Defense/DWI Attorney

Licensed to practice law since 1993 in New Mexico, and since 1997 in Texas, Kyle Lowe has been trying cases for 16 years. His only focus is Criminal Law. Beginning his career as an Assistant District Attorney in New Mexico, Kyle quickly worked his way up to Deputy District Attorney and became the designated DWI Prosecutor for the office.

 

In his 5 years as a prosecutor Kyle tried more than 60 cases to juries to include the first State prosecuted wiretap conspiracy case in New Mexico history...

 

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Posts Tagged ‘DWI’

Intoxication hit-and-run law amended

March 25th, 2013 by Kyle Lowe

After heart-wrenching testimony about two recent alcohol related hit-and-run deaths, the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee proposed new legislation.  According to an article in the Austin American Statesman, the new law would close  a loophole in current state law that allows intoxicated drivers to escape with less punishment if they leave the scene of a fatal accident.  Currently a third-degree felony, Senate Bill 275 would make it a second-degree felony if a driver fails to stop and render aid in an accident involving death.  Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin, who authored the new bill, stated that because hit-and-run drivers are often intoxicated, they know “to leave the scene to avoid prosecution for intoxication manslaughter” which currently carries a potential prison sentence of 2-20 years. Failure to stop and render aid alone, whether or not a death is involved, is currently punishable by 2-10 years.  Watson pointed out that drivers who flee the scenes of alcohol related collisions know that police officers will be unable to conduct field sobriety tests (including blood draws) that could immediately garner an intoxication related charge.  Watson further stated that hit-and-run related fatalities are rising in Texas.  Of 393 hit-and-run collisions investigated by the Austin Police Department in 2012, 12 involved deaths.  Houston had 36 deaths and Dallas had 12.  The Criminal Justice Committee unanimously agreed that the the increasing numbers of Texas hit-and-run incidents warrants a stiffer penalty.  They approved Watson’s bill and sent it to the full Senate for debate and passage.

Austin DWI arrests will likely spike during SXSW 2013

March 9th, 2013 by Kyle Lowe

It has arrived.  The much anticipated yearly convergence of all things high tech, indie and musical known as SXSW.  The ten day annual conference/festival draws folks from around the world and the number of visitors is projected to be in the hundreds of thousands.  With the increase in visitors comes an increase in crime, but nothing that APD foresees as unmanageable.  According to APD Assistant Chief Raul Munguia, the biggest spike will be seen in thefts.  Typically the scenario for thefts consists of people setting their cell phones, purses or bags down one minute then turning back around to find them gone.  Last year saw seven aggravated assaults, four aggravated robberies and four sexual assaults.  The alcohol fueled fest is also expected to produce an increase in DWI and alcohol related offenses.  DWI arrests shot up 100% (from 15-30) between 2011 and 2012.  Conversely, arrests for public intoxication decreased from 83 in 2011 to 49 in 2012.  This dip is attributed to a change in APD’s protocol as it relates to Austin’s tourism boom.  Munguia stated, “With PI’s, our goal is not to arrest them and throw them in jail.  Our goal is to make sure everyone’s safe.  When people come down to SXSW and most of these events, they come in groups.  And oftentimes what we’ll do is release a person who is intoxicated to a sober person that’s with them that’s going to take charge of them and get them out of there.  And that’s what we prefer to do.”  Munguia calls this approach “tourism-centered policing”, police presence that implies law-abiding expectations delivered with a congenial, non-confrontational tone.  Feedback from our city’s first ever F1 event was very positive.  Munguia says all he heard was how pleasant the APD officers were.  Given that Austin has become what Munguia refers to as an “events city”, APD’s new approach to public safety appears to be both effective and well received.

Increased demand for DWI blood testing cited as one cause of Austin Crime Lab backlog

March 8th, 2013 by Kyle Lowe

The Austin Police Crime Lab, started nine years ago in response to severe delays in DPS forensics analysis turnaround time, is now experiencing it’s own serious backlog.  The reasons?  According to an article in the Austin American Statesman, an increased demand for blood analysis in drunk driving cases, an increase in the collection of forensic evidence in general, and staffing that is the same today as it was nine years ago.  The chronic delays caused Travis County’s 13 criminal court judges and both the District and County Attorneys to request immediate funding from the City Council to hire three new forensic chemists.  It’s considered a band-aid, but the City Council responded with $181,000 for three new hires and lab equipment to ride out the rest of the budget year.  The in-house testing of blood, DNA, fingerprints, ballistic and narcotic samples was aimed at shortening the turnaround time experienced by sending everything to the Department of Public Safety.  Instead, it is now causing the delay of criminal cases.  Since 2008, forensic samples sent to the crime lab has increased 25%.  Astonishingly, the number of blood samples sent to the crime lab over the same period of time rose 355%.  The increases align with a greater push by the Austin Police Department on DWI cases as well as “no refusal”  initiatives which allow officers to obtain blood search warrants on suspected drunk drivers.  The average wait time for blood testing is now 200 days, six times longer than it was three years ago.  The new staffing should ease the current backlog, however, forensic testing is an extremely careful process that takes time.  The hope is that the increased staffing will help ease the bottleneck of pending criminal cases.