Three reasons to hire an attorney after a drunk driving arrest in Texas
Drunk driving is considered a serious offense in Texas and is punished harshly, which is why it may benefit drivers facing DWI charges to hire an attorney.
There were 65,609 people arrested for driving under the influence across the state of Texas in 2015 alone, the state’s Department of Public Safety reports. Particularly if it is their first offense, many underestimate the severity of a drunk driving arrest. Thinking DWI charges are a manageable legal problem to deal with, they may choose to represent themselves. However, there are several reasons why it may benefit those who have been charged with drunk driving to obtain legal representation to aid in their defense.
Knowledge of the laws
Numerous factors may affect the severity of people’s DWI charges, and thus, the potential penalties they could face. These include, drivers’ blood alcohol concentration levels at the time of their arrests, whether they were involved in a collision that resulted in significant damage or injuries, their prior alcohol-related records and whether they had a minor in the vehicle at the time of their arrests.
Drunk driving lawyers understand the ins and outs of the laws, including the applicable aggravating circumstances. Additionally, they are often familiar with the processes that must be kept to. They may draw on their knowledge to ensure people are not charged too harshly and that their rights were not violated at any point during their arrest.
Familiarity with the evidence
In addition to law enforcement officers’ observations, DWI arrests are often based on people’s performance on field sobriety tests and their breath test results. While such tests may be a valuable tool for the authorities, there are numerous factors that may affect their outcomes. Attorneys who focus on alcohol-related offenses may have knowledge of such issues, and understand how to raise them to a judge or jury in order to call the evidence into question.
When it comes to chemical testing for suspected drunk drivers, there are specific procedures law enforcement and the test operators must follow. DWI lawyers are aware of these processes and how to make certain they were adhered to. In cases when the procedures are not followed, a drunk driving attorney may have the evidence withheld from the court hearings.
Dealing with the consequences
If they plead guilty to or are convicted of DWI, people may face a range of penalties, some of which may be harsh. These include being sentenced to between three and 180 days in jail, fined a maximum of $2,000 or losing their driving privileges for up to one year. In some cases, the court may see fit to limit the severity of drivers’ penalties and order them to participate in alcohol education programs or place them on probation.
Legal representatives who primarily handle drunk driving cases are generally familiar with the state’s minimum and maximum sentencing requirements. They may use their relationships with the court and prosecutors and their knowledge of the penalty options to argue for limited consequences.
Working with an attorney
For people in Texas and elsewhere, the effects of a drunk driving arrest may have lasting implications, on both their personal and professional lives. Those who have been charged with DWI may benefit from obtaining legal counsel. A lawyer may look out for their interests throughout the legal process, as well as assist them in building a sound criminal defense.