As with White Collar Cases, these cases often bring people into the criminal justice system for their first time ever. The person is often in jail for their first time, they are tired, and just want out. These cases have become extremely political, and prosecutors in some jurisdictions draw arbitrary lines in the sand as to what first time offenses they are willing to reduce and which ones they will not based on criteria such as: was there a collision, the alcohol level of the person’s blood or breath, and whether or not the person refused to provide a blood or breath sample.
The fact is that as these cases have become more and more hot-button political issues with groups like MADD supporting prosecutors behind the scenes, so too law enforcement has become overzealous and frankly sloppy in their decision-making to arrest in these cases. There are many angles to attack a DWI, however, the first thing to realize is that you have only 15 days from the date of arrest to challenge the suspension of your license with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Elizabeth Resendez is the attorney in our office who will put you at ease, allowing you to have the confidence in knowing she will arrange for a hearing for your license suspension, will have back-up plan if your license is suspended so you may drive with an occupational license, will fight to ensure justice is done in your case, and will meticulously review your DWI video to look for every angle to combat the case. These cases are always reviewed looking to minimize your criminal record and to lessen the impact on your driver’s license.
DWI or BWI 1st or DWI with a child passenger
These are the charges which often will garb people into the system for the first time. You have been arrested, you were in jail for about 12 hours, you are scared, you are embarrassed and you are worried about your job, your family and your finances. We are here to help.
There are a lot of moving parts to these cases because you may have three different Judges handling your case depending upon how you were arrested. Let’s say that you were pulled over for speeding by an officer from the Austin Police Department which later leads to your arrest for a first time DWI. If the officer issued you a speeding ticket, the speeding ticket would have to be challenged in Austin Municipal Court (Judge 1). If you had a driver’s license, there will be an ALR (Administrative License Revocation) hearing which will take place in front of an administrative law judge (Judge 2). Your DWI case will be handled by one of the Travis County Courts at Law (Judge 3) or in the case of DWI with a child passenger, by one of the Travis County District Courts (Your Judge 3).
You may be required early on to get an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. You may also find yourself in the position that your license will be suspended between 90 and 180 days and you need to get an occupational license. We will help you through all of these decisions while challenging the evidence in the underlying DWI case. We analyze the reason for the stop. We analyze whether there was reason to get you out of your vehicle and how any field sobriety tests were administered. In the event a blood sample is taken after you refused to give one, we scour the affidavit for search warrant looking for any legal challenges in an effort to see if we can get an unfavorable blood result suppressed (thrown out) because your rights were violated in some way.
Our most important service is providing you with options…the risk of going to trial versus not going to trial. We talk to you about what your record will look like depending on what circumstance you choose. We look for alternatives to any conviction including a diversion program where afterward your case could be dismissed. As with all of our clients, we do not judge your actions. You’re not alone. Guess what? Most people who have come before you told the cops that they consumed two beers when in actuality, that was not true. No worries. It is common and we will guide you through everything and if in the end, the decision is that you want to fight at trial, that is what we are trained to do.
DWI 2nd and DWI 3rd or More
After the first DWI, prosecutors look at individuals charged again with these offenses much more harshly. The prosecutor’s overall demeanor changes from one that was somewhat forgiving (of the first offense) to one that can be quite inflexible. A DWI 2nd is a Class A misdemeanor which carries up to 1 year in the Travis County jail. A DWI 3rd or more is a 3rd Degree Felony with a range of punishment of 2-10 years in prison and the possibility of probation (but please note that even with probation there is a 10 day jail time minimum).
There are many different versions of these offenses. Sometimes it’s an older person whose past DWI conviction was 30 years ago. Sometimes there has been a new life triggering event which caused the person to start drinking again (a cancer diagnosis, loss of a loved one, loss of a job) and without thinking, the person drives. Other times the person may realize that the person actually has an issue with alcohol that needs to be addressed.
As with a first time DWI, we still look to present the client with the most options we can. We are still looking to protect the driver’s license and fight the case while exploring alternatives which at times might involve seeking out the root issue causing the client to enter the criminal justice system again. We still look for every way to avoid a felony conviction and to avoid prison time or jail. And, of course, trial will always be an option.
Contact our criminal defense team today by calling (512) 647-2598 or requesting a free consultation online now.