What to Do After a DWI Arrest in TexasPublished: Mar 17, 2017 in DUI
Facing a DWI charge in Texas can be very frightening and considerably stressful. If you have never experienced an alcohol-related offense before, then you probably don’t know the best way to handle the situation. Without help from an attorney who is both knowledgeable about Texas law and experienced in DWI defense, you are likely to miss crucial deadlines or make serious mistakes. Both of these issues increase the chance of being found guilty of a DWI and sentenced to the maximum punishment under the law.
Don’t handicap yourself, instead gain an advantage by working with a Houston DWI lawyer from the Law Offices of Ned Barnett. Call today at (713) 222-6767 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
What to Do After a DWI Arrest in Texas
In the hours and days following your arrest for a DWI, you should:
- Not answer police questions without a lawyer: When you are arrested, you will be told you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say can be used against you in court. These statements are part of your Miranda rights and you would do well to listen to them. If the police attempt to question, you should state that you choose to remain silent and would like an attorney. The police must then wait to interrogate you until you have a public defender or private attorney with you.
- Hire an attorney: You should have an attorney with you during all police questioning to ensure your rights are protected and the police do not go too far. However, you may not have known to obtain a lawyer during this time. That is OK. It is not too late to hire a private attorney and begin to build your defense. Simply contact an attorney as soon as possible for your greatest chance of success during your case.
- Plead not guilty: If you are taken to an arraignment where a judge informs you of the charges against you, you will be given an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. No matter what you think of the circumstances or your actions, you should plead not guilty at this time. By doing so, your case moves forward to your trial, where you and your attorney can present your defense.
- Speak with your attorney about your potential defenses: Once you have been released from jail, you and your attorney will need to look into the situation including obtaining a copy of any video of your arrest, the police report, and a copy of any chemical tests you submitted to like a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test. Your attorney will also discuss your actions leading up to the arrest, such as where you had been and whether or not you had been drinking. It is essential to tell your lawyer if you have any medical conditions or were on any prescription or over-the-counter medications at the time of the arrest. After you and your attorney have thoroughly investigated and analyzed your case, you can discuss the best possible steps forward and potential defenses. You may have the option to plead guilty, negotiate a plea bargain, or defend yourself during a trial before only a judge or a jury. Your lawyer can explain which of these options is best for your case.
- Request a hearing regarding your automatic driver’s license suspension: You only have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request and administrative license revocation hearing. This is your only opportunity to argue against the civil license suspension that can go into effect prior to your being convicted of a DWI. During this hearing, you and your attorney go before a judge from the Texas Department of Public Safety. You will need to argue that there was not enough probable cause to arrest you for a DWI and that a license suspension would be inappropriate or unlawful.
- Seek an occupational license: It is incredibly difficult to keep your license after a valid DWI arrest. However, you may get back some right to drive through an occupational license. Also known as an essential need license, this would give you the opportunity to drive to and from work, school, or certain essential household-related errands despite your revoked license. You may be restricted by what days and times you can drive as well. You must ask the court for this license and provide proof of your insurance. Your attorney can file this petition and represent you during the necessary hearing. Having legal representation during this process can be helpful in order to persuade the judge that you have a true need to be able to drive, such as being unable to attend college courses through public transportation or being a single parent who needs to be able to get to work.
Contact a Houston DWI Lawyer Today
Attorney Ned Barnett has more than three decades of experience working in the Texas criminal court system. He started his career as a federal and state prosecutor before concentrating on criminal defense. For the past 20 years, he has been a board certified criminal defense lawyer by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Additionally, he offers you DWI-specific experience. He has certifications in DWI field sobriety testing, the operation of breath test machines, and gas chromatography, which is the process used for DWI blood tests.