Richard Alpert

 

Richard Alpert is one of the nation’s foremost experts in the prosecution of intoxication related offenses ranging from Driving While Intoxicated to Intoxication Manslaughter. He served as a prosecutor in Tarrant County for 30 years before retiring. He is the author of DWI Investigation and Prosecution and Intoxication Manslaughter Investigation and Prosecution.

He has spoken at over 400 seminars training prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, scientists, medical personnel and law enforcement agents. Richard Alpert also served for almost two decades as the Course Director for the Texas District and County Attorney Association’s Trial Skills Course and Intoxication Manslaughter School. He also served on the Texas Forensic Science Commission.

Richard Alpert is currently working as a lecturer, instructor, and legal consultant with focus on alcohol and drug related crashes and trial advocacy training to aid in the professional development of prosecutors and law enforcement professionals in Texas and throughout the United States. He is also employed as a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Baylor Law School.  Prosecuting attorneys, law enforcement agencies, and civil attorneys representing victims of drunk drivers may contact him through this website. He is not available for consultation on defense matters. 

To be a prosecutor in Texas is to be part of a family, a family that fights for justice, a family full of brothers and sisters that are not afraid to march forward, when the odds are against them and their only weapon is the heartfelt belief that their cause, no matter how hopeless, is just. We do this not for fame, for most of the battles we fight are out of the public eye. We do this not for money, for most others in our profession are better compensated. We do this because we are called to do this. We do this because our hearts tell us we must. When one of us wins a battle, we rejoice. When one of our number falls, we grieve. And when one of our family falls, dragged down by an enemy that fires and flees, we all weep, we all pray, and we all know that the best way to honor the memory of our fallen brother is to carry on.

Texas Prosecutor's Creed
by Richard Alpert



In my 35 year career, I have never met a more passionate, bold, and more knowledgeable person on DWI as Richard Alpert. His boldness led to a new normal in DWI enforcement, not only in Texas but in many states throughout the country. His passionate approach ushered in the Gold Standards of Truth and Justice with DWI blood draw evidence. Richard is simply top shelf and one of the best prosecutors in Texas. It is an honor to call him “friend” and it has been great honor being in the battle with him.

Bill E Waybourn
Tarrant County Sheriff


Trials

Richard Alpert has tried over 155 jury trials including:

  • 37 Homicide/Death Trials
  • 2 Capital Murders
  • 14 Murders
  • 6 involved officers killed in the line of duty.

Richard Alpert gained national recognition for successfully prosecuting Chante Mallard in the Windshield Murder case. He also tried the first DWI Felony Murder in Tarrant County. Richard Alpert was the lead prosecutor in the so-called “Affluenza Teen” Ethan Couch’s criminal case, in which Ethan Couch was convicted of Intoxication Manslaughter.


Richard is probably one of the most prepared lawyers I have ever seen. I’ve prosecuted with him, defended against him and judged him in criminal cases and his preparation was always the same. He does not leave any stone unturned. Richard is credited with bringing DWI science and victim advocacy to the forefront. His knowledge of specimen analysis is only matched by scientists. He is brilliant. I can’t say enough good things about him.

Judge Darryl Coffey


Awards

2000, 2010 TDCAA – Chris Marshall Distinguished Faculty Award

2001 Metroplex MADD – Joe Encinia Memorial Award for Victim Service

2007 MADD National President’s Award for Outstanding Prosecutor

2007 Go To Prosecutor Award – Texas Lawyer Newspaper

2007, 2008, 2009 recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly Magazine

2008 MADD Hero Award.

2008 NAPC – National Traffic Safety Prosecutor of the Year Award

2009 State Bar of Texas – Prosecutor of the Year Award

2012  Top Notch Lawyer Award – Texas Lawyer

Upcoming Training

Intoxication Manslaughter

Investigating the Crime Scene – The Crash & Beyond

WHEN:               Monday, January 7, 2019 from 8:30-5:30

WHERE:             Southlake PD training facility, 100 E. Dove, Southlake

COST:                $100           8 hours TCOLE reported

INSTRUCTOR:   Richard Alpert

TICKETS AND REGISTRATIONCLICK HERE.

Course Description:

Richard Alpert is one of the nation’s foremost experts in the prosecution of intoxication related offenses ranging from Driving While Intoxicated to Intoxication Manslaughter. He served as a prosecutor in Tarrant County for 30 years before retiring. He is the author of DWI Investigation and Prosecution and Intoxication Manslaughter Investigation and ProsecutionHe has spoken at over 400 seminars training prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, scientists, medical personnel and law enforcement agents. Richard Alpert served for almost two decades as the Course Director for the Texas District and County Attorney Association’s Trial Skills Course and Intoxication Manslaughter School. He also served two terms on the Texas Forensic Science Commission. (Visit www.richardalpertlaw.com for more details about instructor’s credentials and training experience)

Through interactive lectures and actual case studies, this course will teach attendees, from a prosecutor’s perspective, how to properly investigate Intoxication Manslaughter cases.  Topics covered will include: crash scene preservation, evidence preservation, scene documentation, the crime scene beyond the crash site, witness interviews, drafting of blood evidence search warrants, the challenges of drug toxicology, and charging decisions.  Attendees will learn about obstacles they may encounter in their investigation and will be given the means to overcome those obstacles.  The ultimate focus of this training is to teach attendees how to ensure that their case is trial ready.

Register for this training event.

Training

Richard Alpert has trained hundreds of prosecutors, judges, expert witnesses, and police officers on the prosecution of intoxication-related offenses. Here is a list of representative courses Richard Alpert has taught.

  • Southlake PD Training Center

    • Intoxication Manslaughter: “Investigating the Crime Scene
      The Crash & Beyond”. (8 hour Course)
      November 19, 2018
  • Upshur County CSCD – Regional Training

    • Courtroom Testimony: Key’s to credibility, Preparing to Succeed
      June 21, 2018
  • Vermont Department of State’s Attorneys Annual Training Event

    • June 5 – June 8, 2018 – Woodstock, Vermont
    • Voir Dire – “Presenting your case to the Jury”
    • Cross Examination – “DWI Defense Experts & Witnesses”
    • Case Docket Management for Prosecutors
  • ODOT Transportation Safety Divisions
    2018 Police Traffic Safety Conference

    February 7, 2018 – Bend, Oregon

    Case Study – The “Affluenza Teen”

  • Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association’s 2018 Winter Training Conference

    February 9, 2018 – Boise Idaho

    Presenting the Crime Scene – The Crash and Beyond

  • 2017 Texas Legislative Update

    Sep. 8, 2017 – Southlake PD Training Center

    Sep. 19, 2017 – Southlake PD Training Center

  • Lethal Weapon – Crash Investigations and Prosecution

    September 11-15, 2017 – Bend, Oregon

    • Presenting the Crime Scene – The Crash and Beyond
    • Courtroom Testimony – Preparing to Succeed
    • Initial Case Review – Bringing Order to Chaos
    • Speaking Truth to Grief – A Prosecutor’s Guide to Victim Relations
  • Advanced Fourth Amendment Course

    • Jan 16-19, 2017 – Garland
    • Jan 23- 26, 2017 – Kingsville
    • Feb 20-23, 2017 – El Paso
    • May 14-18, 2017 – Austin, TX
    • June 26 –29 2017– Houston, TX
  • Courtroom Testimony:  Key’s to Credibility – Preparing to Persuade

    • 2017 DUI Multi-Disciplinary Training Conference – Oregon – April 21, 2017
  • Effective Roadside Interrogation

    • Southlake Training Facility – July 2017
  • Blood Will Tell

    • Southlake Training Facility – May 8, 2017
  • Search & Seizure for Law Enforcement

    • Sponsored by Grimes County DA Office, Navasota Texas
    • Jan 27-28, 2017
  • Effective Courtroom Testimony

    • Texas Border Prosecution Unit
    • Region 1 Meeting – Alpine – April 26, 2017
    • Region 3 Meeting – Edinburg – March 9, 2017
    • Region 2 Meeting – Concan – March 24, 2017
  • TDCAA Advanced Trial Skills Course
    Baylor Law School

    • Dealing with Defense Experts
    • DWI Case Law Update 2012
    • Intoxication Manslaughter
      Case Law Update 2016
  • TDCAA ANNUAL CRIMINAL & CIVIL LAW UPDATE

    • Blood Evidence Investigator Track 2016
    • Thoughts on McNeely – Panel 2013
    • Alcohol Toxicology 2011
    • Blood Search Warrants 2008
    • DWI Case Law Update 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005
  • State Bar of Texas
    40th Annual Advanced Criminal Law Course

    • Voir Dire – State’s Perspective 2014
  • TDCAA – Forensic Blood Draws: Faculty Development for Medical Professionals – Baylor Law School

    • Courtroom Testimony 2013
  • TDCAA 2013 FORENSIC EVIDENCE SEMINAR

    • Blood Toxicology Basics 2013
  • State Bar of Texas
    Making or Breaking Your Case – The Role of Forensic Science

    • Attacks & Responses on Blood Sample Integrity 2012
  • 38th Annual Advanced Criminal Law Course

    • How to Try a Blood Case 2012
  • TDCAA

    • Legally & Scientifically Gathering Blood Evidence in DWI Cases 2011
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association Car Wrecks Seminar

    • What the D.A.’s Office Look at in deciding to prosecute
      Motor Vehicle Accident/ Intoxication Cases 2006
  • Texas Alcohol & Drug Training Institute 2nd Annual Impaired Driving Conference

    • DWI Case Law Update 2006
  • 2005 Texas Homicide Symposium – Collin County D.A.’s Office
    Investigating Intoxication Manslaughter 2005
  • Fall 2003 North Carolina D.A. Association Meeting
    “Blood Evidence” 2003
  • National District Attorneys Association

    • Trial Advocacy Faculty 2003, 2005, 2006
  • TARRANT COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

    • Preparation & Presentation of the Intoxication Manslaughter &
      Intoxication Assault Case
      2002
  • TDCAA DWI REGIONALS

    • Intoxication Manslaughter Case Work up – Blood Test Evidence July – Sept 2001
    • DWI Case Law Update. July – Sept 2002
  • U.T.A. DEPT. OF CONTINUING EDUCATION

    • Instructor: Criminal Procedure & Criminal Law 1994 – 2001
  • TEXAS MUNICIPAL COURTS EDUCATION CENTER

    • Annual Prosecutors Skills Seminar Nuts and Bolts DWI/DUI Law: 1998, 1999
  • JUDICIAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE CONFERENCE

    • DWI Bond Issues: Mandatory & Discretionary Bond Conditions
      for Repeat Offenders 1998
  • THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SCHOOL OF LAW
    CRIMINAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY INSTITUTE

    • Voir Dire: Jury Selection Techniques for the Successful Trial Attorney
      Speaker/Faculty 1998
  • TDCAA

    • DWI & Intoxication Manslaughter 1996, 2000, 2001
    • Investigation and Trial Advocacy 2003, 2005, 2007
    • Speaker/Faculty Advisor/Course Director 2009, 2011
  • MADD

    • Victims Assistance Institute 1994, 1995, 1999,
    • Role of the Prosecutor 2000
  • ADVANCED CRIMINAL LAW SEMINAR

    • DWI – Panel Member/Speaker 1993

Publications

 

DWI Case Law Update

Richard Alpert’s DWI Case Law Update has become the go-to guide for judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys across Texas who are preparing for (or are in) trial. The Case Law Update covers significant cases that affect the prosecution and litigation of intoxication-related matters. The Case Law Update is updated throughout the year. Check back periodically for the latest edition. To use the electronic table of contents, scroll past the embedded document and use the link below to download a copy of the Case Law Update.



DWI Investigation and Prosecution (2016)

Once upon a time, driving while intoxicated was viewed as little more than a traffic ticket, as evidenced by its negligible range of punishment—a range that was minimal and whose boundaries were rarely tested. Even when intoxicated driving resulted in death, the crime was simply called an “accident,” and the killer got a slap on the wrist, paid a fine, kept his license, and drove away to drink and drive and perhaps kill another innocent victim.

The offense of DWI takes or ruins the life of more citizens than any other crime. Like some contagious virus, it has spread to every city in this country. DWI has killed more than twice as many Americans in the 1900s than have died in every war this country fought since its creation. DWI is a crime that chooses the sex, age, and number of its victims at random.

The fact that DWI has evolved from its early perception as a minor crime to its current level of prominence is due in large part to the efforts of MADD. (I won’t even bother to state the meaning behind the letters because anyone who bothers to open this book knows what they stand for.) Since MADD’s inception in 1982, drunk-driving deaths have declined markedly. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, more than 50,000 people lost their lives each year on our nation’s public roads—more than half of those deaths involved an alcohol-impaired driver. According to NHTSA national statistics, in 2009, an estimated 9,813 people died in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater). These deaths constitute 32 percent of the 30,797 total traffic fatalities in 2009. In comparison, there were 1,960 more deaths in 2008, but the percentage of those intoxicated drivers involved in fatal crashes only declined by .04 percent. The state with the largest number of traffic fatalities was Texas, with 3,071 killed. Of that number, 1,235—or 40 percent—had a BAC of .08 or above. As bad as those numbers are, there is no state that has done more than Texas to fight this battle, with law changes and innovative practices that expand the ability of law enforcement to obtain the evidence needed to hold these dangerous drivers accountable.

There are a multitude of reasons why the offense was once considered no big deal. In my heart I feel that one of those reasons is the difficulty that comes with trying to prove the commission of that offense. The goal of this book is to serve as an aid to those prosecutors who face the charge in trial daily; to help them overcome the difficulties inherent in attempting to prove an offense that, at its core, is based upon an “opinion.”

Most DWI cases do not involve “falling-down drunks” who stumble from their cars and give breath samples that register at over twice the legal limit. Instead, most cases—if they include bad driving from the defendant at all—involve a driver weaving within a lane, and police stops during which a defendant performs, at most, three field tests whose methods are often hard to follow and whose scoring is an easy target for defense cross-examination. DWI prosecutors will most likely be trying cases where as long as two hours has passed between when the suspect was driving and when he appears on a videotape at the station house. On that tape the suspect does not sway, does not slur his speech and wants to talk to an attorney before he decides to give a breath sample (rather than admit that he won’t give a breath or blood sample because he knows the result will convict him).

The difficulty of trying these cases is exacerbated because they seem to rise and fall on an “opinion” by an officer, an “educated guess” that the law has been broken by this citizen who, unfortunately, reminds every juror of their father, mother, sister, brother or themselves. In my 10 years as chief of the misdemeanor division in Tarrant County, I have seen young prosecutors with less than a month of experience march into court with facts as weak as these—or worse—and defeat seasoned defense attorneys whose practice is filled with clients accused of heinous capital crimes. I’d like to think my advice and my study of this crime and the laws that define it has helped prosecutors find the tools to pull off such victories. In this book, I hope to pass on those tactics and advice that have come from trying to help young attorneys overcome the obstacles inherent in trying such cases and to show juries the path to understanding that the crime they have heard about in trial—even though it may have taken less than a day to present—is not a minor offense.

This book provides suggestions on ways to pick a jury, give an opening statement, and present officer and scientific testimony. It covers tactics for cross-examining the criminal defendant and defense experts. It suggests ways to sum up the importance of the crime and the strength of your case to a jury. It presents arguments that have convinced jurors to send first offenders, whose commission of this offense has resulted in the death of another person, to prison.

Not all of the suggestions in this book were invented by me. Like all good prosecutors, I have watched others and stolen the best they could offer. But some of the suggestions in this book are of my own creation. Beyond reading this book, you are invited to do what I have invited prosecutors in and out of my office to do for more than a decade: Call me or send me a message through this site with your questions and problems.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that you are equipped for trial so that when your judge asks you, “What says the State?” you can respond with words and actions that will leave no doubt to that judge, the defense, and the jurors that you are, in every sense of the word, “Ready.”

Purchase DWI Investigation and Prosecution (2016).

Intoxication Manslaughter Investigation and Prosecution (2014)

September 1, 1992 my life and the focus of my career as a prosecutor changed forever. After 4 1/2 years as a prosecutor in the Tarrant County DA’s Office I had advanced to the position of Chief of a Felony Court and I was ready for a change. My love for teaching led me earlier that year to accept an offer by my supervisor to rotate to the deputy chief position of the misdemeanor section. By this time I had done some DWI training and written some papers and I was looking forward to helping train new prosecutors. On the evening of September 1, 1992, I saw on the late night news that a FWPD Officer, Brent Wisdom, had been killed by a drunk driver. I was assigned to prosecute that case. A little more than a month later, on October 9, 1992 two Arlington police officers, Jerry Crocker and Terry Lewis, were killed by a drunk driver and I was assigned those cases as well. I thought I was prepared to handle these cases. I had been very successful in the DWI cases I had prosecuted while in misdemeanor and I had over fifty-five felony trials which included ten Murder and two Capital Murder trials. My trial experience led me to believe I was capable of handling any case that came my way. I was no stranger to high profile cases and I was prepared for and understood that there would likely not be offers made on these cases.

I was in for a big surprise. As I prepared these cases for indictment, I discovered a multitude of special statutory provisions I had never worked with before. I encountered police investigation deficiencies, problems with the collection and testing of physical evidence and the challenge of trying to accomplish the goal of holding the charged individuals responsible and obtain proper punishments from a jury. I learned about many of these problems while preparing for and in the midst of trying these cases. I attribute my success in these early cases to the help of my investigators and my trial partners, the dedicated time and help of the investigating officers, some creativity and a certain amount of luck. By the time I had finished trying those first three cases, I was determined to ensure that other prosecutors who had to deal with these cases would be able to learn from my successes and my mistakes.

Since that time my career as a prosecutor has been focused on DWI and Intoxication Manslaughter prosecutions. In the time since those first trials, I have prosecuted nineteen cases that involved individuals who killed others because they were driving while intoxicated. In those years I have seen the legislature make changes in the law related to these charges and rules for collecting evidence in these cases. I have worked with the legislature to make many of those changes. I have written a book for TDCAA, now in its third printing, on the topic of Investigating and Prosecuting DWI cases. I helped TDCAA create a course devoted to teaching officers and prosecutors how to investigate these cases and I have directed that course since its inception. I have trained thousands of officers and prosecutors throughout the state on the law and techniques they must understand to prosecute these offenders. My training efforts have extended to my County’s local hospitals and have focused on teaching nurses the law and procedures that should be followed in the collection of evidence in these cases.

Along the way I have met and had the honor of working with many dedicated investigators, prosecutors, and police officers. I have had the assistance and support of the local, state and national MADD chapters. Most importantly, I have had the benefit of working for an elected District Attorney, Tim Curry, who supported me every step of the way to ensure that the victims of these offenders both in and outside of our County got the justice they deserved. This has not been a fun or completely successful journey. There have been setbacks and one loss along the way, but I have been determined to learn from my mistakes and move on. The natural culmination of the last 17 years of prosecution and training is in this, my second publication.

This book is designed to introduce prosecutors to the challenge of trying Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault cases and to help the investigating officer better understand what prosecutors need to get from their investigations to be successful at trial. It is not an “Accident Reconstruction” book as there are plenty of those around and I recommend one very excellent example of such books to the reader later in this publication. It is my hope that this book will help ensure that all those who commit this crime will be held accountable and all victims of these crimes will receive the justice they deserve for the loss they have suffered.

Purchase Intoxication Manslaughter Investigation and Prosecution (2016).

Richard has always pushed those of us around him to be better at what we do — and those of us around him are all the better because of it. I have seen Richard Alpert go toe-to-toe with the toxicologist on the other side, knowing the papers and studies they were using, and also knowing the papers and studies that dispelled their stand on the matter. He is a true master, a great teacher, mentor, and friend.

Tim Lovett
Owner of Crash Dynamics


Resources

 

Texas District and County Attorneys Association

Statistics on Intoxication-Related Offenses

Legal Sciences – A subscription-based resource that features Professor John Kwasnoski explaining collision investigation and reconstruction. To subscribe, use Access Code: ALPERTLAW.

Mark Thielman – One of my favorite new authors.

National Traffic Law Center

Texas Forensic Science Commission

Texas Legislature

Texas Courts Online

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Crash Dynamics

Varghese Summersett PLLC 

Contact Richard Alpert

 

Richard Alpert will always be a resource for prosecutors around the state. Richard remains dedicated to the prosecution of DWI cases and does not consult with defense attorneys or testify as a defense witness.

Richard is also available to lecture to students and law enforcement agents. He will is also available to consult with civil attorneys who are seeking to hold drunk drivers financially responsible for the harm they cause. You can get in touch with Richard by using the form below.