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Grant M. Scheiner - Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer

What to Expect from a Texas DUI or DWI Case – A Brief Overview

If you are arrested for DWI or DUI in Houston or anywhere in Texas, you may be unsure of what to expect. This is common. Criminal defense lawyers know that more than for other offenses, people charged with DUI or DWI are new to the criminal justice system.

Criminal cases, including DWI or DUI cases, typically end in one of three ways: dismissal, trial, or by some sort of plea agreement with the State. Many people charged with a DUI or DWI in Texas will want to know how their case will be resolved, and what the likelihood of a dismissal is.

Before your DUI or DWI lawyer will be able to recommend the best strategy in your case, he will need to conduct his own investigation. This will include obtaining police reports, videos, results of breath or blood tests, along with the underlying data of those tests, and any medical records that could be relevant. Additionally, your DWI or DUI attorney may want to visit the scene of the alleged offense. A thorough investigation is essential to successfully defending a Texas DWI or DUI case. Criminal defense attorneys know that this can take several weeks or even months.

Although thousands of DWI and DUI cases are filed in Texas every year, only a very small percentage are dismissed. Experienced criminal defense lawyers know that cases can be dismissed for several reasons. In some cases, a police officer might not have had a proper justification to make a traffic stop. In legal terms, this is known as reasonable suspicion. In other cases, a case could be dismissed if the officer did not have enough evidence to arrest you. This is known as probable cause for an arrest.  An arrest can lack probable cause if the police officer did not administer any Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) or administers them incorrectly. Even if the stop and arrest where valid, a case can also be dismissed if it is weak, and the District Attorney’s office does not feel it can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

If your criminal case, including a DWI or DUI, is not dismissed, it will usually be resolved by either trial or plea. Experienced criminal defense lawyers know that cases can go to trial for several reasons, and that it can be difficult to generalize. However, people charged with DWI or DUI who have no prior criminal record will generally go to trial in three situations. The first is where their case is strong, and they have a high likelihood of winning at trial. The second is where a plea agreement for a DWI or DUI cannot be accepted under any circumstances. This is a common situation for people who could lose a professional license as a result of accepting a plea. The last situation where DWI or DUI cases proceed to trial is where the offer from the District Attorney is not much worse than what a person would get if they went to trial and lost. In other words, although a case might not have a high likelihood of winning, in some cases, a person may decide he or she has “nothing to lose” by going to trial.

A good DWI or DUI criminal defense lawyer should conduct a thorough investigation on your behalf and then help you obtain the best possible result in your case. After all, that’s the attorney’s job, not yours.