Being arrested for a DWI (driving while intoxicated) can be a frightening and confusing experience that no one wants to go through. Many people charged with a DWI have no prior offenses, are new to the criminal justice system, and don’t know what to expect from the process or if they should even hire a criminal defense lawyer. Even though drunk driving is among the most common criminal charges in Texas, that does not mean it is any less serious than other crimes. Drunk drivers can face serious jail time, expensive fines, and loss of mobility if convicted. Criminal cases, including DWI cases, typically end in either a dismissal, trial, or with a plea agreement with the State. To be able to get the best outcome, it is essential to hire a DWI lawyer who can guide you through the process and advocate for the best result possible in your unique situation.
In Texas, the legal definition of driving while intoxicated is found in the Texas Penal Code, Section 49.04, which states that an individual is considered intoxicated while operating their motor vehicle when doing so in a public place. The Texas Penal Code specifies that intoxication means not having a normal level of physical and/or mental faculties due to the consumption of alcohol, a controlled substance, or a dangerous drug. Intoxication can also be defined by having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more. This means a driver can be charge with a DWI even if their BAC is not at the legal limit – if their mental or physical abilities are impaired due to the use of alcohol or drugs. A police officer can determine if an individual is impaired by performing a field sobriety test as well as using a breathalyzer to analyze BAC via a breath sample.
If you have been arrested for DWI, even if you think it will be a cut and dry case and you will end up paying the fines anyway, contact a DWI lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced DWI lawyer will be able to offer the best strategy for your case with which to possibly obtain a dismissal or lessen your fines. Once hired, your DWI lawyer will conduct their own investigation into your case including obtaining police reports, videos, results of breath and blood tests, as well as any data relating to the tests taken, and any medical records that may be involved. Your DWI lawyer will visit the scene where you were pulled over and will document any evidence found. Criminal defense attorneys know that a thorough investigation is critical to successfully defending your case and they are ready to advise you on each step to take – even if the process takes several weeks to months.
After thoroughly investigating your case, your DWI lawyer may find grounds for your case to be dismissed. Many experienced DWI lawyers know that cases can be dismissed for a variety of reasons. If the police officer who arrested you did not have proper jurisdiction to make a traffic stop where you were pulled over, the case could be dismissed. If the police officer did not have enough evidence to arrest you, the case could be dismissed. An arrest could lack probable cause if the police officer administered the field sobriety test incorrectly and the case could be dismissed. The allegations against you must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, so even if the arrest was valid the case could be dismissed if there just isn’t enough evidence to convince the court or jury. Only an experienced DWI lawyer will know what strategy to take based on their investigation of your case and will know the possible ways to get the criminal charges dismissed.
If your case is not dismissed, it will either continue on to trial or a plea agreement there may be negotiated. DWI laws are complex and punishments can vary so greatly, so without a DWI lawyer you may not fully understand your options when it comes to trial if you choose to represent yourself. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may first try to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution before heading to court. They will make sure you are getting the best deal possible that minimizes the impact of a DWI conviction on your future. If a plea agreement is not possible, the case may proceed to trial. The case may also go to trial if your lawyer feels the evidence on your side is strong and there is a high likelihood of winning in court. A good DWI lawyer is always ready to defend you in court. Another situation in which a DWI case may go to trial is if the District Attorney’s plea offer is not much worse than what the individual involved may get if they went to trial and lost. Even if there is not a high likelihood of winning the case, it may not be detrimental to at least try to win by going to trial if you are left with no realistic plea alternative.
A DWI lawyer will have extensive knowledge of the potential consequences their client may face if they are convicted of a DWI. These penalties can be very harsh and can include being sentenced to significant jail time, fines, and losing driving privileges. Some courts will also order a defendant to participate in alcohol education programs or place them on probation. Experienced criminal attorneys know the state’s minimum and maximum sentencing requirements and can use their relationships with prosecutors to advocate for reduced consequences. Your DWI lawyer is there to look out for your best interests throughout the legal process as well as ensure you have a sound criminal defense.
Houston DWI Lawyers
J.D. Silva & Associates has experience representing countless clients facing a wide range of criminal charges. We realize being pulled over by law enforcement and going through the process of a DWI arrest can be overwhelming and upsetting. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start fighting on your behalf.