What does it take to get through a DWI charge with the least amount of punishment? Well first, although there are many DWI lawyers in Houston, you need to choose the one that truly understands the impact this has on your life. There are a variety of different ways. You can mitigate the damages of the offense before it happens. Then there are things you can do after you’ve been arrested. The last, and possibly most consequential, is what your lawyer can do for you.
First, it always helps if you are a first-time offender, or someone who has had a clean record up until your DWI. The difference in punishment for a first and second time DWI offender can be substantial. A repeat offender may face increased fines or a longer period of suspension on their license.
Before you even get a DWI, there are factors, which can expand your punishment. For example, if you have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle at the time of your arrest, your time in jail increases from 72 hours to six days. If you have a child in the car (younger than 15 years old), your penalties will increase. If your Blood Alcohol Concentration is twice the legal limit (two times 0.08, or 0.16), the surcharge applied by the Texas Department of Public Safety will double. These are all examples of factors you can control before getting behind the wheel intoxicated (short of not being intoxicated in the first place).
When you get arrested, there are still things you can do to help yourself. The first is getting in touch with an attorney immediately. After that, it is important to act quickly on a number of things. First, you should request an Administrative License Revocation hearing to retain your driving privileges. If you fail to do this within 15 days of your arrest, your license will automatically be suspended 40 days after your arrest. Next, if you refused to take a breath test or had a BAC of at least 0.08 and lost your ALR hearing, you will need an Operational Driver’s License (ODL) to legally drive. To get your ODL, you will first need an SR-22 form from an insurance company. An SR-22 demonstrates you have coverage and is filed directly with the Department of Public Safety by the insurance company. It is not always a good idea to ask your own insurance for this form, but the reasons for that are probably best for another post.
Lastly, an experienced attorney can help you minimize your penalties and get you through the process with confidence. Your attorney will look for mistakes or loopholes in the law to use to try convincing the prosecutor to dismiss the case. If, for example, the officer or others involved did not follow the correct procedures during your arrest or handling breath or blood samples, your case could be thrown out altogether. If you are a first-time offender, your attorney can use this to persuade the prosecutor to let you into a pre-trial diversion program that ends with the case getting dismissed when successfully completed. An attorney with experience can also fight your charges in trial. If all else fails, an attorney can also try to persuade the judge to go easy on you and minimize your punishment, but there’s no guarantee.
If you have been arrested for a DWI, the Law Office of Collin Evans is here to help you. Call 713-225-0650 today to set up your free consultation.