Mistakes to Avoid After a DWI Charge in Houston

If you have never been arrested before, being charged with DWI can be an overwhelming experience and it is easy to make a mistake that can negatively impact your chances of getting the best possible result in your case. After a Houston DWI arrest, the most common mistakes include missing deadlines, hiring the wrong attorney, violating bond conditions, or simply being too impatient to wait for a good result. This article explains why these mistakes are to be avoided after a Texas DWI arrest.   

Missing your driver’s license hearing (ALR) deadline

After a DWI arrest, the truth is that there is no urgency to act, and as discussed in the next section, you should take your time to hire the right attorney. However, the one deadline you should keep in mind relates to your Administrative License Revocation case, as you only have 15 days to fight a suspension of your driver’s license. 

In Texas, if you have been arrested for DWI, you will typically have a separate administrative case against your drive’s license known as an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) case, which will trigger a 90 or 180-day driver’s license suspension depending on whether you agreed to give a breath or blood sample (and the result was above a .08), or whether you refused to give a sample.

The ALR case is completely separate from the criminal case and takes place in a different court with a different prosecutor and judge. Under the rules that govern the ALR case, you have 15 days to request a hearing. If you do not request a hearing, then your license will be suspended.

Experienced DWI attorneys win the majority of their ALR hearings so if you make a timely request, then it is likely your license will not be suspended. Additionally, sometimes your attorney can gain valuable information through the ALR hearing, as the prosecutor is required to share information and documents with your lawyer. But unfortunately, many DWI defendants (particularly those with no prior criminal history) miss the 15-day deadline. This is one of the most common mistakes after a DWI charge. 

Failing to hire an experienced DWI attorney

Although first-time DWIs are charged as misdemeanors, they are highly technical and specialized cases which can be more complex than most felonies. For this reason, it is very important to hire an attorney with the background and experience to effectively fight the case. 

There is a lot to consider when choosing a DWI attorney. Apart from DWI-specific training and experience, you should also consider an attorney’s actual trial experience (many criminal attorneys rarely, if even, go to trial), their familiarity with the courts, and communication skills. 

When you are arrested for DWI you may be bombarded with texts and letters from a variety of attorneys but it is a good idea to take your time and do your research. Contrary to what some high-pressure lawyers may tell you, there is no need to rush to hire a lawyer in a DWI case (in fact it’s probably a good idea to be wary of a lawyer that insists you have to hire them right away). Find out what you can about a lawyer’s training and reputation and do not be afraid to ask questions. Choosing the right DWI is a critical decision in a DWI case and can make all the difference in the outcome. 

Violating your bond conditions

One of the most common reasons defendants in DWI cases in the Houston area run into problems is by not following their bond conditions. Bond conditions are the rules that you must follow while your case is pending.

In the Houston area, when a person is arrested for DWI, they will have a court appearance soon after their arrest. At the first court appearance, the judge will set bond conditions that must be followed throughout the case. Typically, these prohibit drinking or using drugs and driving without a license. Depending on the severity of the case, a judge could also order a defendant to have an interlock device in their car, be subject to random drug and alcohol testing, and limit travel. In the Houston area, the most common reasons defendants bonds are revoked in DWI cases are due to drinking, skipping tests on an alcohol monitoring device, or driving without a license. 

If bond conditions are violated several bad things could happen. First, a defendant’s bond could be revoked and a defendant would be put back in jail, where they would have to bond out again. Next, the prosecutors and judge could take the view that the defendant has a serious drinking problem or does not respect the rules of the court. In a close situation, this could affect the outcome of a DWI case. 

Not understanding the immigration consequences of a DWI

If you are not a citizen of the United States, a DWI could affect your legal status in the country so it is important that you completely understand the immigration consequences of a DWI. Most DWI specialists do not handle immigration law as immigration law is highly complex. 

At Ceja Law Firm, many of our DWI clients are not United States citizens and we are always conscious of ensuring that their criminal case does not negatively impact their immigration status. Although we specialize in DWIs and criminal defense, we work with several immigration attorneys to make sure we always take our client’s immigration status into account when handling a criminal case. Additionally, all staff at Ceja Law Firm are fluent in Spanish and highly experienced in handling DWIs. 

Not waiting for a good result

The reality is that properly defending a DWI can take many months and sometimes close to a year. In the Houston area, the process of obtaining all of the evidence necessary to be able to evaluate a DWI can take as much as 6 months. Some defendants make the mistake of becoming impatient with the process and opt to resolve to have the case handled quickly instead of correctly. But as we tell our client at Ceja Law Firm, you can have a DWI handled quickly or have it handled right. 

Attorney Jose Ceja is a former prosecutor who regularly obtains dismissals and acquittals in DWIs throughout the Houston area. He has spent hundreds of hours studying the science of breath and blood testing and is highly knowledgeable in all aspects of DWI defense. If you are charged with DWI in the Houston area, call Ceja Law Firm today for a consultation.