9 Things a DWI Lawyer Will Do for You That You Can Manage on Your Own
Texas drivers arrested on DWI charges typically face more than $17,000 in related expenses. The number of drivers picked up for DWI and DUI has skyrocketed by more than 75 percent in recent years.
This rise is the direct result of Houston police's ongoing crackdown on drunk driving. As the number of arrests goes up, so does the need for DWI defense attorney services.
Keep reading now to learn why you need an attorney if you are arrested for DWI in Texas.
DWI in Texas
Texas takes intoxicated driving very seriously. Law enforcement arrested 3,862 people on alcohol-related charges in the first six months of 2019 alone. Since 2016, Houston's Police Department specifically has ramped up officer training and its anti-DWI efforts.
Increased cooperation between law enforcement agencies has led to more drivers being caught, charged, and prosecuted for drinking and driving offenses. This means that more drivers are finding themselves facing:
- Heavy fines and fees
- Jail time
- Suspended or revoked driving privileges
The costs are steep. Repeat offenders can face up to 10 years in prison, $10,000 in fines, and costs of up to $2,000 a year to keep their licenses per offense.
What Are DWI Defense Attorneys?
A DWI defense attorney is a lawyer who specializes in DWI, DUI, and related cases. They are experts in Texas drunken driving law.
What Can a DWI Attorney Do for You?
DWI attorneys can play a key role in protecting you and your rights after you have been charged with a violation. A good DWI lawyer is routinely the difference between spending time in jail and getting off with manageable fees with your license intact.
Many arrestees are initially hesitant to hire a lawyer.
Some don't understand the severity of the penalties they face. Others are concerned about getting saddled with hefty legal fees. Some simply believe that they can effectively argue their cases on their own.
An informed look at the situation, however, makes it clear that there is no substitute for hiring a DWI defense lawyer. Here are nine key things a DWI lawyer will do for you that you absolutely need if you get arrested in Texas.
1. Help You Understand the Charges Against You
Do you know the difference between DWI and DUI charges? Do you understand why you were charged with the specific offense that you were?
Many drivers have very little idea what different charges mean. They don't know the differences between charges or their severity. They have no way of understanding how accurate or inaccurate the charges against them are.
As a result, they have no way of understanding what those charges mean to the rest of their life. A DWI defense attorney knows all of those things.
Good attorneys can explain your situation to you in plain language. They can help you understand exactly:
- What you are charged with
- Why you received that charge instead of a different one
- What potential consequences you face
- What you can do about it
2. Explain the Legal Process
DWI court cases can be complicated. Understanding the charges against you is only the first step.
Arrestees may need to navigate the:
- Incarceration process
- Bail process
- Legal paperwork
- Court requirements and deadlines
- Vehicle impoundment system
Each of these things can be complex and time-consuming. For those new to the system, just figuring out where to get the information you need to get started can be a nightmare.
An attorney will be familiar with each step of these processes. They explain those steps in easy-to-follow ways. Often, they can also help you get through the steps more quickly and easily than you would be able to manage alone.
3. Work With Law Enforcement to Mitigate Your Charges
America's court systems are perpetually overloaded. Often, prosecutors and law enforcement are willing to reduce charges in return for a guilty plea. This can be ideal for everyone because it makes the system move faster and more smoothly.
However, in order to negotiate this kind of deal you need DWI help from an experienced attorney. Attorneys can also identify situations where you have been charged with an unnecessarily harsh offense. They have the knowledge and experience to bargain your offenses down based on the facts, where appropriate.
Given the steep punishments for drunk driving in Texas, taking every opportunity to minimize your DWI charges is essential.
4. Keep You out of Jail
Texas has more people in prison than any other state in the nation. Drivers arrested on DWI charges face a high risk of joining that incarcerated population.
That incarceration can be costly. Jailed arrestees can face consequences at home, at work, financially, and in other aspects of their lives. Understandably, most arrestees desire to avoid jail if at all possible.
After a DWI consultation, your attorney may be able to help you get or stay out of jail.
5. Suggest and Facilitate Alternative Penalties
In many cases, there are legal alternatives to jail time and losing your license. One example is installing an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle. These devices prevent you from starting your car if you have been drinking.
Diversion to community service, substance control treatment and other alternative programs may also be possible. Alone, there is no way for you to know about all of the possible alternatives. Nor can you know which ones are appropriate in which situations.
Negotiating for alternative penalties is almost never something you can do yourself. However, a good DWI lawyer will have this information. He or she can negotiate on your behalf.
This can lead to substantially better outcomes than trying to represent yourself in a DWI case.
6. Help You Avoid New Charges
Many drivers charged with DWI or DUI are at risk of being charged with other offenses, as well. For example, if children were present during your arrest, you may qualify for child endangerment charges. If your charges stem from an accident in which someone was injured or killed, you can face assault or manslaughter charges.
Weapons, controlled substances, and other problematic items that are found on your person or in your vehicle at the time of arrest can also prompt charges. All of these things can make your situation dramatically worse. They can:
- Increase the fines and jail time you face
- Impact your ability to get bail
- Negatively affect your home and family life
- Carry additional legal penalties
Just as a DWI defense lawyer can potentially help you minimize your alcohol-related charges, they can also help you deal with other charges. They may be able to get other charges reduced or dropped or put together a comprehensive plea package that offers you the best possible outcome.
7. Handle Complications
Additional charges are not the only complications that can arise when you are facing charges.
For example, if you are a caregiver and you are arrested, the people you care for may be left alone and vulnerable. Without quick action to compensate for your absence, they can suffer serious health and safety consequences. Alternatively, they may come to the attention of Social Services, creating an entirely new set of legal issues to deal with.
That is only one example of many of how a seemingly simple DWI arrest can spiral out into a complicated mess. In addition to offering DWI help, your attorney can assist you in effectively managing all the complications that grow out of it.
8. Help You Protect Your Loved Ones
When you get arrested for DWI or DUI, you are not the only person affected. The people you love will also suffer.
Families of arrestees always endure stress and uncertainty. If you have dependents, such as an unemployed spouse, young children, or elderly parents, the consequences can be significantly more severe.
If your car is impounded and your family may lose its only means of transportation. Arrestees who are jailed may lose income, leaving their families struggling financially. No matter what forms they take, the consequences to your loved ones can be heartbreaking.
A DWI defense attorney can assist you in making sure your family is protected while you navigate your DWI court case.
9. Support You as You Move Forward
Many people are surprised to learn that their DWI consultation needs do not necessarily end when their court case does. This is particularly true in situations where complications have arisen, either legally, within the family, or between arrestees and their employees as a result of DWI charges.
DWI is a serious offense. Its impacts can linger in unexpected ways long after the court case is officially closed.
A good DWI lawyer can help you get your feet back under you. They can help you grapple with the effects going forward. With their help, you can stabilize your life as quickly and easily as possible after your DWI.
Finding a Houston DWI Attorney
When selecting a Houston DWI defense attorney, it is important to choose someone with excellent experience and a strong reputation. If you are facing DWI charges, let Houston's premier DWI firm provide you with the expertise you need.