If you have been arrested for DWI in the Houston area, it is easy to feel lost and unsure of what to expect. You may also be wondering what actions you should take to maximize your chances of protecting your record, your freedom and your driver’s license. It is very important to consult with an experienced DWI attorney after an arrest. But below are four actions that you should always take after a DWI arrest:
- Keep your driver’s license hearing deadline in mind
In Texas, most people who are arrested for DWI will also have a separate case against their driver’s license known as an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) case. This case takes place in a separate court, with a separate prosecutor and a separate judge. Essentially, if you refused to give a breath or blood sample after a DWI arrest, you could face a driver’s license suspension of 180 days, whereas you will face a suspension of 90 days if you gave a result of 0.08 or higher.
Although your DWI attorney will handle the ALR case (in fact, you do not even have to attend the hearing), the hearing must be requested within 15 days. It is very important to keep this hearing date in mind. Although there is generally no rush to hire an attorney after a DWI arrest (as discussed below, you should find the right attorney for you), you should keep this deadline in mind. Although it is preferable for a DWI attorney to make the request on your behalf, it is also possible to make the request for a hearing yourself if you are getting close to the deadline.
- Follow your bond conditions
One of the main things that will take place at your first court date is that the judge will review your bond conditions. Bond conditions in a DWI case will vary depending on the facts, the judge and the criminal history of the defendant. For example, if you have a prior DWI, or a high breath result, the judge may order an interlock or portable alcohol monitoring device. At a minimum, most courts order people charged with DWI to not drink alcohol and not commit new law violations.
Whatever your bond conditions are, it is extremely important that you understand them and follow them closely. In DWI cases, most defendants get in trouble for violating bond conditions regarding alcohol consumption. If it is alleged that you have not followed your bond conditions, your bond officer will file a violation report, and the judge could revoke your bond (which means that you would be arrested again and have to post a new bond). Getting your bond revoked could also affect how your case is resolved as the prosecutor and judge will believe that you are a person who does not follow the rules or have respect for the court’s orders. For these reasons, it is very important that you follow your bond conditions in a DWI case.
- Let your attorney do the work
Properly defending a DWI can be a lengthy process. In the Houston area, it can sometimes take 6 months or more before all of the evidence has been received.
To handle a DWI case correctly, a DWI attorney should challenge every stage of the case, including the traffic stop or detention, the police investigation, the accuracy of the breath or blood test, and the police’s conclusion that a defendant was intoxicated. But doing so takes time. We tell our clients that you can have a DWI handled quickly, or you can have it handled correctly. It is very rare for clients to want a DWI handled quickly rather than correctly.
By hiring the right attorney, you can allow your attorney to handle the DWI while you go back to your normal life. Hiring the right DWI attorney allows you to hand off some of your anxiety about the outcome of the case.
- Choose the right attorney
After you are arrested for DWI, many defendants have an understandable tendency to rush and hire an attorney to handle their case. The truth is that most attorneys do not have the training and experience to maximize your chances of an excellent result in a DWI case. It is a good idea to take your time and find the right attorney for you. There is a lot to consider when choosing a DWI attorney.
As explained in this post, when choosing a DWI attorney, it is important to hire an attorney with the technical experience and trial experience necessary to deal with the complexities of a DWI. Most attorneys do not have in-depth knowledge of the unique police procedures that are part of DWI cases, or the science of breath or blood testing. Additionally, many attorneys are not trial attorneys and do not have the willingness or experience to take cases to trial (although your DWI may not go to trial, an attorney can be far less effective in negotiation if he has the reputation of being a plea lawyer).
Other factors to consider are the attorney’s familiarity with the local courts, their communication skills and their price range. It is always wise to take your time, do your research and choose a DWI attorney with proven results to handle your case.
Attorney Jose Ceja is a former prosecutor who has dedicated his career to the practice of criminal law. He has spent hundreds of hours studying the science of breath and blood testing and is certified to administer Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). He regularly obtains excellent results for his DWI clients. If you have been arrested for a DWI anywhere in the Greater Houston area, call Ceja Law Firm for a free consultation.