Fiesta 2023, Holiday Fun, and DWI Defense.
The holidays are fun. This is when we meet up with family and friends to celebrate and catch up. But this is also when police crack down on suspected drunk drivers. As a result, the number of DWI arrests goes up during the holidays. Especially during Fiesta.
Further, suspected DWI drivers often, but not always, have a clean record. That is to say, the DWI arrest is the first time a driver has been in trouble with the law. Consequently, the driver may feel lost and unsure about what to expect. For this reason, I want to answer the most common questions I get from first-time DWI offenders.
What happens after a DWI arrest in Texas?
A. Bail out of Jail.
The first thing that happens is that you should call someone to bail you out of jail. Fortunately, most first-time DWI cases are misdemeanors. This means no one was hurt or killed during the crime. So the bail amount will be low.
B. Confront the Fear.
After police arrest you for DWI, you may feel different emotions. They include shame, embarrassment, anger, or stress. These emotions are normal.
But the strongest emotion people feel after a DWI arrest is fear. It is the fear of going to jail, losing a job, or losing something important in your life because of the DWI. And this fear can cause problems in your case.
The biggest problem is fear makes it hard to think through your options carefully. So you need to be aware of this emotion. Once you recognize and deal with this emotion, it will make it easier for you to make some important choices. For example, which DWI lawyer should I hire? And, should I take a plea deal or fight my case?
C. Search for a DWI Lawyer you feel comfortable with.
The easiest way to search for a DWI lawyer is to use Google or Bing. Look at the attorney reviews to see what other people in your position said about the lawyer. But be careful, some lawyers cherry pick the reviews to improve their image. Nevertheless, this is one factor that clients consider when hiring a lawyer.
After that, start calling the lawyers to schedule an appointment. Or you can even send them an online request for a consult. Even better, many lawyers will talk to you over the phone about your case.
Once you find a lawyer you want to talk to, then listen carefully to what he or she tells you. From there, ask the following questions:
- Does the lawyer come across as sincere and genuine?
- Does the lawyer sound interested in helping me?
- Do he or she have experience handing DWI cases?
- How does the lawyer’s fee compare to the fees of other lawyers I have talked to?
- Is the lawyer giving me sound advice?
- Do I trust the lawyer I am talking to?
These are just a few of the questions you should consider when hiring a DWI lawyer. But most important of all, trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, then move on to the next lawyer.
What are the most common penalties for a first-time DWI offense in Texas?
|DWI Type.||Jail Time.||Fine Amount.||Probation Option.|
|DWI-1st.||72 hours to 180 days in jail.||$0 to $2,000.00.||Yes.|
|DWI-1st w/BAC of .15 or more.||0 days to one year in jail.||$0 to $4,000.00.||Yes.|
|DWI-2nd.||30 days to one year in jail.||$0 to $4,000.00.||Yes.|
|DWI-Open Container.||6 days to 180 days in jail.||$0 to $2,000.00.||Yes.|
However, if someone is hurt or killed during the crime, then a Texas DWI turns into a felony. Similarly, if the driver has two or more DWI convictions, then the third one turns into a felony.
Finally, probation is an option for a first-time DWI case in Texas.
Should I ask for an ALR hearing after a DWI arrest in Texas?
Yes. DPS will suspend your driver’s license if you are arrested for a DWI in Texas. However, you can challenge the license suspension at an ALR hearing. Most important of all, you can use the ALR hearing to help fight your DWI case.
In particular, the ALR hearing allows you to “freeze” the arresting officer’s testimony. The ALR Judge will record the officer’s testimony electronically. After the hearing, you can request transcripts of the hearing. Then you can use the transcripts to cross-examine the officer during your criminal trial if he or she changes her story.
The best part of all, requesting an ALR hearing is free and easy to do. The easiest way is to make the request online. Finally, you do not need a lawyer to make this request. However, you need to make this request within 15 days from the date of your arrest. Otherwise, you will waive the hearing.
If DPS suspends my license because of a DWI arrest, can I get an occupational license to drive?
In many cases the answer is yes. This is true for first-time DWI motorists with a clean record. You simply file a petition with the court and ask for an occupational license. This license will let you drive to work, school, and to other important locations. In most first-time DWI cases, the judge will grant your request if your paperwork is in order.
Should I hire a DWI lawyer or stick with my court appointed attorney?
This is one of the most common questions I get from the public. And the answer depends on two things. Your budget and your goals.
There are many good court-appointed attorneys in Texas. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of bad court-appointed attorneys in Texas. So who your court-appointed attorney is will help you answer this question.
If your court-appointed attorney does not return your calls or does not seem to care about your case, then you should hire an attorney. This is because you really need someone to lookout for your interests in court. But if your budget is tight, then this factor may answer the question for you.
On the other hand, if your court-appointed attorney is working your case and returning your calls, then you may want to stick with the attorney and protect your budget.
In addition, if you want to fight your case, then you should consider hiring an attorney. This is because you can choose which lawyer will help you. And you can hire a lawyer with experience fighting DWI charges. In addition, you can hire a lawyer who can dedicate the time to help you out.
Finally, if you want to hire a DWI lawyer–make sure to shop around. After you speak with several attorneys, you will get a rough idea of the market price of your case. Once you learn the realistic price range for your case, then you can focus on hiring the lawyer in your budget that you trust to protect you in court.
What are the pros and cons of hiring a DWI lawyer?
Benefits of hiring a DWI Lawyer:
- You can pick a lawyer with the right experience to handle your case;
- The lawyer will return your phone calls and treat you with dignity and respect;
- The lawyer will dedicate time to handle your case.
Cons of hiring a DWI Lawyer:
- You may hire a Dud. (The lawyer charges a lot, but does little or no work.)
- You may overpay for a lawyer if you don’t shop around before you hire one.
San Antonio DWI and DUI Defense.
Perhaps the best defense to a first-time DWI charge in Texas is to avoid it all together. You can do this by hiring a ride-share company like Lyft or Uber. In fact, this is what most DWI lawyers do when they go out to Fiesta or any Holiday event. For many of us, drinking and driving is just not worth the trouble of getting arrested.
However, if you are arrested for a first-time DWI charge in Texas, then you have options. These options including fighting your case or working something out. And a good DWI attorney can help you explore those options without scaring your or pressuring you into pleading out.
Attorney Genaro R. Cortez.