If you’re arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Houston, it can be a hell of an experience. The process of fighting criminal charges in Harris County can be complex. If you’re convicted, the consequences can be severe.
Understand the DWI Laws in Texas
Texas law defines Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) as operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Intoxication can be due to alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. In Texas, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is considered legally intoxicated for drivers aged 21 and over. For commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04%, and for drivers under 21, any detectable amount of alcohol is considered illegal. If you’re stopped by any law enforcement agency in the Houston area, and you’re intoxicated, you’ll be arrested and jailed.
Know the Penalties for a DWI Conviction
The penalties for a DWI conviction in Texas can vary depending on several factors, such as the driver’s BAC, prior convictions, and whether there were any injuries or fatalities involved. Potential penalties include:
- Fines and court costs
- License suspension or revocation
- Jail time or community service
- Mandatory alcohol education or treatment programs
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
Act Quickly: Hire an Experienced DWI Attorney
The first and most important step in handling a DWI charge in Houston is to hire an experienced DWI attorney. A skilled lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, protect your rights, and potentially reduce the severity of the consequences. Be sure to research and select an attorney with a strong track record in handling DWI cases.
Remain Silent and Avoid Self-Incrimination
After being arrested for DWI, you have the right to remain silent. It is crucial to exercise this right and avoid making any statements that could be used against you in court. Wait for your attorney’s advice before answering any questions or making any statements to law enforcement or prosecutors.
Request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing
In Texas, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked after a DWI arrest. To challenge this, you must request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing within 15 days of your arrest. Your attorney can help you request this hearing and represent you during the process.
Gather Evidence and Witnesses
A strong defense requires solid evidence and witnesses. Work closely with your attorney to gather any relevant information that could support your case. This may include surveillance footage, receipts, or witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
Consider Potential Defenses
There are several potential defenses that your attorney may explore, depending on the circumstances of your case. These could include challenging the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of the breathalyzer or blood test results, or even presenting evidence that you were not intoxicated at the time of the arrest.
Understand the Plea Bargaining Process
Depending on your particular situation, your lawyer may recommend negotiating a plea bargain with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Negotiating a deal could involve pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for reduced penalties. Sometimes it’s a good idea to enter a plea bargain and other times is a bad idea. Be prepared to weigh the pros and cons of accepting a plea bargain and discuss your options with your attorney.
Prepare for Court
If you decide to take the case to trial, you need to be prepared. Work closely with your attorney to develop a strong defense strategy, and be ready to take the stand. When you go to court be sure dress professionally and conduct yourself appropriately in court. This type of demeanor will make the best possible impression on the judge and jury.
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities During the Trial
During the trial, it is essential to know your rights and responsibilities. You have the right to a fair and impartial trial, the right to be represented by an attorney, and the right to testify or remain silent. Be sure to follow your attorney’s guidance throughout the trial, and do not hesitate to ask questions if you are unsure about any aspect of the process.
Need Additional Help?
Talk with A DWI Lawyer
Facing a DWI charge in Houston can be an overwhelming and stressful experience. By following these tips and advice, you can work with a lawyer toward the best possible outcome for your case. Remember, the key to a successful DWI defense is hiring an experienced DWI attorney. If you need help with a misdemeanor or felony DWI charge in Houston, contact a defense attorney ASAP.