Many people charged with DWI have no experience with the criminal justice system, and are unsure of what to expect after being cited for DWI in Texas. Here are a few tips on what you can expect from your DWI case, and what your attorney will do to fight to keep the charges off of your record
In Texas, first time DWI is a Class “B” misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $2000 fine, or both. You may also be put on probation, or assessed other conditions, like an ignition interlock.
As soon as possible, your attorney should begin gathering the evidence necessary to defend your case. In a DWI case, this will include, at a minimum, obtaining a copy of the video showing the traffic stop and your performance on field sobriety tests, the police report, and the results of any breath or blood tests. Your DWI attorney will also want to look at other information, such as the background of the officers who arrested you, and information relating to the performance of the machines used in your chemical test.
Once your attorney learns about your case, he will begin fighting on your behalf. DWI cases usually end in one of three ways: dismissal, trial, or plea agreement.
A dismissal is possible in some circumstances. For example, if your attorney proves in court that the police did not have probable cause to stop or arrest you, that could lead to the dismissal of your case. Also, often your attorney can convince prosecutors that they will not be able to convict you at trial, and they may chose to dismiss your case.
If your case is not dismissed, your DWI case may go to trial where a jury will decide if your are guilty, or not guilty, based on evidence presented in court. In all criminal trials it is the prosecution’s burden to prove that someone is guilty of committing an offense. In a DWI case, it is often difficult for the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, because the science that DWIs are based on, including the field sobriety tests and the chemical tests, are unreliable. A good DWI attorney will know how to exploit weaknesses in the State’s case, with the goal of obtaining a “not guilty” verdict.