The 10 Biggest Mistakes Most People Make After Being Arrested for DWI — and how to avoid them
1. Assuming you will lose the case
Many people charged with DWI believe that they have no chance of winning. Maybe they failed a breath test. Perhaps they think no one will believe they were innocent because there was an open container of alcohol in the car. The truth is that the case against you may not be as solid as you think.
For example, did you know there are many factors that can affect the accuracy of a breath test? Scientific testing has shown that work conditions (such as volatile-chemical exposure), extensive dental work, Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder (G.E.R.D.), air-bag deployment, and even a simple fever can yield a “false high” breath-test result. Additionally, breath tests must be performed under strict guidelines. Failure to fully comply with those guidelines renders the results questionable at best.
In other words, breath tests may be thrown out of Court or explained away.
2. Not fighting the automatic suspension of your driver’s license
Under Texas law, you have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing and fight to save your driver’s license. Failure to ask for this hearing will result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license, as set out below.
Suspension Provisions for Adult Drivers
Without any prior alcohol or drug-related contacts against the accused driver during the previous 10-year period, the periods of suspension are as follows:
Age of Driver
21 or older
Prior alcohol or drug
contact w/in 10 years
Refusal Penalty Trans.
Failure Penalty Trans.
NOTE: If the person who refuses to perform various tests is a resident without a license, an order will be issued denying the issuance of a license to the person for 180 days.
NOTE: the term “prior alcohol or drug contact,” as used to lengthen the period of suspensions stated above, has been defined as “a driver’s license suspension, disqualification, or prohibition order under the laws of this State or any other state resulting from a conviction for driving while intoxicated,” or “a refusal to provide a requested specimen,” or “providing a specimen showing an alcohol concentration of a level specified in §49.01 Texas Penal Code” (an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater).
3. Not taking the matter very seriously
Being charged with DWI is serious. Not only will you be criminally prosecuted, you also risk losing your driver’s license automatically for failing to request your hearing in time. Further, you could be facing probation, jail, and fines, in addition to surcharges applied by the D.P.S. that could range from $3,000 to $6,000 over 3 years. See: Penalties
Driver’s License Surcharges. And all that is on top of higher vehicle insurance rates.
4. Not asking the lawyer about her/his DWI experience
DWI cases involve complex laws and highly technical scientific evidence. You should ask how many DWI cases a lawyer handles per year. You should also ask for the science behind the evidence to be explained to you.
5. Talking to anyone but an experienced DWI lawyer about your case
Every case is different. Different facts involve different provisions of the law. Friends and family may have had a similar experience, but the DWI laws change so frequently and the penalties have increased so severely, the options available to you may be entirely different from those of others.
6. Driving while your license is suspended
Driving during any suspension is another crime which will result in your arrest and a separate prosecution. Additionally, your license will be suspended again if convicted of this crime.
7. Negotiating a quick plea bargain so that you can “put this case behind you”
Accepting a plea, of any kind, is an admission of guilt and a complete waiver of your constitutional rights. It could lead to jail time and suspension of your license, which means you could lose your job, get behind on bills, and face thousands of dollars in State fees just so you can drive again. It could lead to probation, which means you will have to attend classes, perform community service, report monthly to a probation officer, and pay thousands of dollars in fines, Court costs, and State fees. Probation is a serious disruption of your life. Worse still, if you are caught violating your probation (example: testing positive for alcohol or getting behind on your community service), your probation can be revoked and you could be sentenced to jail.
8. Not arriving in Court on time
Harris County judges take their jobs seriously. They expect you to live up to every term and condition of your bail bond. If you fail to appear in Court on time, your bond can be forfeited, meaning you will lose the entire amount of the bond and will be jailed until a new bond is posted (more money spent) or until the time of your plea or trial.
9. Not hiring a DWI Lawyer
DWI law is not a simple criminal case. It involves civil law, criminal law, administrative law, traffic law, and criminal procedure. You are facing potential jail time and thousands of dollars in fines, Court costs, and surcharges. Without a knowledgeable, experienced Houston DUI attorney on your side, your ultimate fate is predictable. You will lose! Qualified DWI lawyers can offer you the most choices for the best disposition of your case.
10. Choosing an attorney based solely on cost
The State of Texas has charged you with DWI. Our state has almost unlimited resources (attorneys, investigators, police, etc.) to prosecute you. You should expect to pay your lawyer a fair fee based upon his or her time devoted to your case, his or her experience, and his or her reputation. If you choose the lowest price, you will probably receive the lowest amount of attention and expertise. You deserve the best possible defense. Don’t let money be an obstacle. Houston DUI attorney Clyde Burleson offers reasonable rates and a payment plan to fit your budget!