Arrested for driving while intoxicated in Texas? Texas has the highest incarceration rate in the US, so a DWI arrest in Texas is nothing to take lightly. The consequences for a Texas DWI can be devastating, so it's important you know what to do and what not to do.
To give yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome, there are several things you should avoid. Review the following common mistakes you should avoid after a DWI arrest;
1. Ignoring the Charges
A Texas DWI arrest doesn't just go away on its own. Don’t assume because it’s your first offense that the law will be lenient. Many people also believe misdemeanor crimes like driving under the influence are not as serious as felonies.
Because drunk drivers statistically have higher chances of causing road fatalities and accidents compared to non-impaired drivers, most states are very tough on DWI arrests. Texas is among the toughest.
The penalties of driving while intoxicated include fines, license suspension, and possible jail time. A criminal record may also taint your professional reputation, which will affect your employment prospects.
2. Trying to Negotiate with the Police
Some people think that an arrest is a lack of understanding between them and the police. So they try to clear things up by talking their way out of the arrest. However, anything you tell the police can and will be brought up against you in court.
So, avoid negotiating with the police over your arrest.
3. Admitting Guilt
A DWI arrest doesn’t mean you’re guilty. If you admit to guilt, you deny yourself and your criminal defense attorney the chance to mount a serious investigation into your arrest and build a strong case for your defense.
Also, you offer the judge the full discretion to give their verdict, and they could sentence you to serve maximum penalties.
4. Not Hiring a Lawyer
Texas DWI laws are complex. There are things that must be done quickly in order to secure the best possible outcome. Test results, details of your arrest, witnesseses, and other details are crticial areas that could make all the difference.
Therefore, you should seek legal advice as quickly as possible. An experienced Texas DWI lawyer will understand what to do and how to fight for you.
5. Driving on a Suspended License
Resist the urge to drive after a DWI arrest, especially if the court suspends your license. This is considered a misdemeanor crime. You could be jailed for 60 days and fined an excess of $500.
If you need to get to school, work, or run some errands at home, you can apply for an Occupational Driver's License. But before your driving status is clear, avoid driving at all costs.
Of course, driving while intoxicated should be avoided at all costs.
6. Failing to Appear in Court after the DWI Arrest
Several court hearings usually follow an arrest for driving while intoxicated. If you don't appear in court for your trial, the judge may issue a bench warrant. This results in a second arrest and more penalties.
7. Hiring An Attorney Based On Cost Alone
The state of Texas has virtually unlimited resources to prosecute DWI cases. With the highest conviction rate in the US, Texas puts more people in jail than any other state. It's not a place you want to go it alone.
Hiring a good, experienced attorney won't be cheap. Not all attorneys are the same concerning experience, and some DWI cases are not easy to represent. It's not advisable to opt for a divorce attorney just because they charge lower rates for DWI cases. It would be in your best interests to hire an attorney who has significant legal experience with DWI cases.
Like anything else in life, you get what you pay for. A reputable experienced Texas DWI attorney will cost more than an inexperienced lawyer. However, they will have the best shot at winning your case. You'll need to ask yourself: What's your freedom and your future worth to you?
8. Not Applying for an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing
The Texas Department of Public Safety suspends driving licenses within 15 days of a DWI arrest. Requesting an ALR hearing can prevent the indefinite or permanent suspension of your driving privileges.
Keep in mind that the Administrative License Revocation is different from post-conviction license suspension.
Remember that driving without a license is a traffic offense with additional penalties.
9. Not Requesting the Officer’s Presence at the Motor Vehicle Hearing
Having the officer present at your hearing may help your defense. A good DWI attorney can learn more from watching him testify than from having his report read in the court.
The officer should be present to clarify the events and circumstances of your arrest. If they fail to do so, your license may not be revoked.
If you don’t request the officer to be present, it may be necessary to issue a subpoena or waiver their presence.
10. Talking to Other People About Your DWI Case
Remember that anything you say can be used against you. Resist the temptation to discuss your trial with your family and friends because they could be used as involuntary witnesses against you.
Try not to forget the details surrounding your DWI arrest as this is in your best interests. To help your defense in any criminal case, seek the legal advice and services of a competent attorney.
11. Taking the First Offer
The first offer from the DA is usually a way to end the case with the least amount of work. It’s not a bargain, and only a small number of cases get reduced to a lesser charge or get dismissed at all.
If you take the DA’s first offer, you deny the judge the ability to rule on constitutional challenges. Also, you can’t raise issues on constitutional problems as the State proves its case against you.
12. Not Doing Your Homework
It's important to compare lawyers, but beware the "bait and switch". Many large firms focus on volume of cases. They advertise heavily and put a lot of effort into reviews and image. But beware. Large firms often hand off DWI cases to less experienced lawyers on staff or paralegals.
Make sure you know exactly who is working your case. Ask questions and don't be afraid to address reviews or other information about the firms practice. Great online reviews and awards mean nothing if it's not the person actually working your case.
13. Taking Too Long To Get Help
Wasting too much time may put your case in jeopardy. Don't put off or take too long hiring legal representation if you want to increase the chances of winning your case. The most advisable thing to do is research and hire a lawyer immediately after your DWI arrest.
Knowing what to do and what not to do after a DWI arrest will help protect your rights. Its recommended practice to choose a lawyer than to risk facing the charges without one.
If you’ve been arrested or facing DWI charges, please explore our blog and contact us for help.