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. The following is meant as a brief overview of what first-time DWI offenders can expect in Houston and Texas.
The penalties for DWI can range from nothing (if your case is dismissed or if you are acquitted at trial) to 180 days in jail, a $2000 fine, or both, if you are convicted. You may also be put on probation for as much as two years.
DWI cases can take up to several months to defend properly. Your DWI lawyer will need to evaluate your case by obtaining the offense report, watching any videos related to the case, and obtaining the results of chemical tests, which can include breath test results or blood test results (currently in Harris County, blood samples take several months to be analyzed). DWI cases typically end in one of three ways: dismissal, trial, or by plea agreement. Once your DWI attorney has all the evidence needed to defend your case, he or she will have a good idea what is the best possible outcome in your case.
In addition to the DWI case, you will also have to defend your driver’s license in what is known as an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) case. Your ALR case generally has no effect on the criminal case, and vice versa. If you consented to a breath or blood test, the Department of Public Safety will try to suspend your license for 90 days, or 180 if you refused. After you are arrested, you have 15 days to request a hearing; otherwise your license will be suspended automatically for the applicable time period. If you request a hearing (which is strongly advisable) the department will have to prove that there was probable cause to stop your vehicle, and to arrest you.
By hiring an experienced team of DWI lawyers, you can maximize your chances of obtaining the best result in your Texas DWI and ALR case. It is important to note that DWI law tends to be specialized, and it may be wise to hire Houston lawyers who focus on DWI cases.