If you’re facing a DWI charge in the Lone Star State, you should become familiar with your options and quickly. Every state is different, and every case is unique. There are no guarantees. But an experienced attorney can be the difference between exoneration and jail time.
According to Stephen E. Dennis Attorney at Law, P. C., with experience in thousands of such cases, one of the most important things to do is request an ALR hearing from DPS within 15 days after being arrested. This can stop the immediate suspension of your license to drive and is an important first step in your defense.
In Texas, if the 15 days since your arrest have lapsed, you may still qualify for an occupational license that will let you keep driving legally. This option does not exist in most states. In Texas, you are essentially facing two separate issues: 1) the DWI charge itself and 2) suspension of your license. Even though the DWI charge is serious enough to put you at risk for large fines and possible jail time, you may at least be able to drive legally in the interim until your case comes up.
When it does, your case can present a few possible outcomes. It could be completely dismissed. If the District Attorney feels he or she has a weak case, the DA may move for dismissal rather than lose. A trained attorney will know how to look at the evidence, find weaknesses in the case against you, be familiar with the court and judge you will appear before, and have a sense for your chances. Hopefully, your attorney will have some long-time experience working with the prosecution and know how they think.
Another possibility is to go to trial and receive a verdict of not guilty. The prosecution has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Only an experienced defense attorney can look at a case and see the weaknesses that may be exploited to sew reasonable doubt into the eyes of the court. “Reasonable” is a relative term and one dependent entirely on the eyes of the beholder, in this case, your judge. What is reasonable to you may not mean the same thing to him.
You may be able to get the case dismissed by plea bargaining. It’s an old and well used tactic, to plead guilty to a lesser offense. The advantage is that the DWI will not appear on your record, though the lesser offense could be unpleasant. Lesser offenses could include things like reckless driving, public intoxication or even driving under the influence if you are under 18.
These options require the opinion of an expert attorney, but they also require your active involvement. Only you can ultimately weigh the options and risks from your point of view. But don’t wait, especially if you are in the 15-day window to file for an ALR hearing.
If you need one thing in Texas, it is the ability to drive.