If you’re arrested for a DWI in the state of Texas, don’t panic. You are not guaranteed to be found guilty even if the circumstances give you a grim outlook. With care and thorough preparation, you can significantly reduce your chances of a conviction, or at least reduce the penalties. Follow these important steps to make sure your bases are covered before you enter a court of law.
Step 1: Hire an experienced attorney
This is instrumental in securing lighter penalties or an acquittal on your DWI. While you might think it’s cheaper to represent yourself, that decision could have a monumental impact on your future. Consider the typical penalties for a DWI: you could face hefty fines, imprisonment, community service, mandatory DWI education programs, and a license suspension or revocation. Your insurance provider could also hike up your rates or even cancel your coverage. These outcomes can impact your livelihood and put a huge strain on your finances. A criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in DWI cases can help you avoid the worst.
Step 2: Return to the scene
If there was an accident at the location of your arrest, you should immediately take detailed photos of every vehicle involved. If that’s not possible or not relevant, make sure you return to the location within a day or two—the sooner the better—and take some photos or videos of your surroundings. You’re looking for evidence of damaged property, tire marks, broken road signs, and anything unusual that might have something to do with your arrest. Your attorney can give you more tips on where to look.
Step 3: Document the circumstances
Write down your account of the arrest, and the events leading up to it, within 2 to 3 days. You’re more likely to remember the details if you do it sooner. You’ll want to document the 24 hours leading up to your arrest in detail, including everything you ate and drank, how much sleep you had the previous night, whether you had health issues or took medications that day, everyone you were with, and everything you did. If you can add the approximate times to every entry, you’ll end up with a more precise account.
Step 4: Speak with your witnesses
You should meet up with everyone who was with you throughout the six hours before your arrest. Get their recollections of that day, like in the account you wrote for yourself, and see if they can remember anything that might help your case. If more people can corroborate your story, you’re more likely to seem credible in front of a judge or jury.
Step 5: Appeal your license revocation
Even if it was your first offense, you most likely had your driver’s license suspended with an Administrative License Revocation (ALR). You must request an appeal or hearing within 15 days of your arrest. Since your ability to drive can impact your ability to work, take care of your children, and more, you should get an attorney to file the request on your behalf.
Step 6: Prepare for court
Once you’ve documented the events leading up to your arrest, you’ll also need to figure out an approach to your DWI charge. Will you plead guilty or not guilty? Has the prosecution offered you a plea bargain? Your lawyer will be able to look at all the facts and help you come to the best possible decision. They will also advise you on the best way to prepare for court, supporting your credibility and the strength of your defense.
It’s clear that a DWI conviction can severely impact your driving record, your finances, and your livelihood. A skilled lawyer can help you prepare the best possible defense. Contact Frankfurt Law Firm to get the thorough, professional, and aggressive legal representation you need to fight the charges effectively.