Every year, we celebrate New Year’s Eve with the intention and goal to start anew. To make ourselves better in the New Year.
Unfortunately, if you were arrested for DWI over New Year’s, you may have to work even harder to keep your resolutions – and one of them had better change to “fight back against my charges.”
Why? Because the consequences of a conviction are incredibly serious. It will not only cost you thousands, but also force you to put your life on hold.
Sadly, this is something that many Texans will likely be going through this year. Over 400 people across the state were arrested for DWI as we rang in 2018, and the numbers for this year are likely to be just as bad.
Luckily, an arrest is not a charge or a conviction. There are many steps between getting pulled over and suffering a guilty verdict. In this post, we’re going to cover what happens next and what you need to do to increase your chances of getting your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
Request a Hearing
Before you do anything else, you must request a hearing. Drivers have 15 days after their arrest to schedule a hearing date. This initial hearing will not be the dramatic court case that you see on television, so do not feel like you have to rush to put together your defense quite yet.
Call a DWI Lawyer
At your first appearance in court, a judge will ask you whether or not you have hired a lawyer. Everyone has a right to legal counsel, and you should make sure you get someone with a track record of success. The sooner you reach out to Texas criminal defense attorney, the better.
Before your first appearance, tell your lawyer all of the details about the night of your arrest. There are many defense strategies that can be used to fight DWI charges – the more information you give your attorney, the better they can do their job.
Go to Court for Your First Appearance
It is very important to show up to each court appearance on time. Dress properly and be polite to the judge. At this time, a judge will schedule another hearing and give your lawyer time to talk to the prosecutors.
Additionally, after your first appearance in court, your lawyer will be able to ask the prosecutors and officer for documents and information that will help you build an aggressive defense strategy.
Talk to Your Lawyer about Your Options
When your legal counsel meets with the prosecutors, they may come back with a plea offer. This is an option that exchanges a guilty plea for a reduced sentence.
The penalties for DWI in Texas are very serious. Plea bargains often look like a nice alternative to going to trial, facing serious penalties, and possibly losing.
Don’t make the decision rashly, though. Talk to your lawyer about your options. Your attorney probably won’t tell you which avenue to choose, but they may offer information on how easy or difficult they believe it will be to fight your DWI charges based on the evidence at hand. After your discussion, you take a plea deal or go to trial. Keep in mind that you can still potentially take a plea deal right up to the moment where your verdict is read in court.
Gather as much evidence as you possibly can throughout this entire process. All DWI defendants are innocent until proven guilty, and chemical tests that “prove” your guilt may not be as accurate as they seem.
Do not give up hope after a DWI arrest. You can fight for your license, your future, and your life with the help of a skilled Texas defense attorney.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth, making sure they receive the strongest possible defense when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.