Driving while intoxicated, or DWI is a serious crime in the United States. Especially in the law-and-order state of Texas. Driving while intoxicated has serious consequences, nearly 10,000 people (5) are killed each year in drunk-driving crashes, costing the nation nearly $44 billion in damages. Not to mention the emotional, mental and financial toll that a DWI conviction can do to a person’s life.
If you’ve been charged with DWI in Texas, particularly the Dallas Area, it’s important to understand the seriousness of the charges against you and act quickly. The decisions you make in the days after you’re arrest can make a major difference in how your case gets handled. That’s why you should find a DWI attorney as soon as possible so that they can properly prepare in order to help you with your case.
Understanding the process of DWI in Dallas, and how an attorney can be beneficial to your case, is essential. It means the difference between a lengthy prison sentence and probation, or in more serious cases, life or death. Here’s everything you need to know about finding a good dwi attorney in dallas, and the DWI process as a whole.
What Is the Process of DWI?
In the state of Texas, there’s one of two ways (1) in which you can obtain a DWI charge. The first is by failing a sobriety test. The second is if you refuse to submit to a sobriety or blood test. As in many states, it is illegal to operate a vehicle in a public space with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Depending on which scenario fits your case, the consequences for DWI may differ.
For example, if you fail a breathalyzer or sobriety test, you will immediately be arrested. Arrestees for Dallas County are usually booked in the Lew Sterrett Justice Center and other jails in surrounding counties. The arresting officer will confiscate your license as part of the Administrative License Revocation, and you will have 15 days after the issue of this notice to appeal the revocation of your license with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
There is a chance you may be released from custody on bond or your recognizance, but you must promise to return to court for your arraignment. The arraignment will be the earliest opportunity for you to meet with a Dallas County Public Defender. If you cannot afford an attorney most Dallas counties will provide one to you for free. If you can afford a private defense attorney, now is probably the time to call them. Experts suggest not speaking with anyone about your case until you’ve contacted an attorney. It’s tempting for many people to do this, but it can backfire and end up hurting your case even further.
Should you refuse a sobriety test, while technically it doesn’t increase your punishment, you will still be charged with DWI. And the aforementioned court procedures will still take place. Your license will be suspended (maybe for an extended period of time), you’ll be subject to fines and fees, and possibly face jail time.
Why You Need a DWI Attorney?
From the moment your DWI troubles start, a good defense attorney is in your corner. An attorney will immediately begin working on protecting your rights by challenging every aspect of the prosecution’s case. That means your lawyer will fight tooth-and-nail to get your charges either dropped or reduced.
The right attorney will not only be an expert in drunk driving laws (3), they’ll know when to challenge crucial evidence that might work against you such as sobriety test results or blood tests results, or accident reports that might tell a deeper picture. The point is your DWI attorney is here to help you in as many ways as he/she can possibly. Additionally, a DWI attorney in your area with a lot of experience has built up relationships between law enforcement and the courts. They know judges, clerks, police, and an assortment of people, that just might help your case swing your way.
How to Pick the Right DWI Attorney?
If you’re looking to hire a DWI defense attorney, there are some key traits to consider before you make your decision. First, seek references. Word-of-mouth is often the best form of advertisement, so find people who might have worked with DWI lawyers in the past and see if they can recommend anyone to help with your case.
Next, be sure to find a lawyer who specializes in DWI cases. You don’t want someone with 0 to no experience working in criminal courts, let alone your DWI case. The more experienced in DWI the better attorney. Additionally, these attorneys are more likely to know the prosecutors or judges on your case, which might help things go in your favor.
Find an attorney you feel comfortable with. This is the biggie, as you’ll probably be spending a lot more time with this person than you’d imagined. Find someone who feels like they’re fighting on your side. Last but not least, ask about the total lawyer fees up front. Some lawyers will charge an initial lump fee and then additional surcharges, that might leave you feeling duped. Instead, discuss total costs of your lawyer’s services, and be prepared for any surprises. If you or anyone you know is facing DWI charges in the Dallas region, find a DWI attorney right away. The sooner an attorney can help you with your case, the sooner you let mistakes die in the past.