Imagine this: cold metal on your wrists, an officer leading you into jail, changing into a jumpsuit, posing for a mugshot, and sobering up in a cell with people you don’t know.
Each of these is a reality directly after an arrest for a DWI in Texas.
After the initial shock of finding yourself in this situation, you will secure your release by either paying the bail amount in cash or using a bail bondsman. You will find yourself asking many questions, most of which include some variation of, ‘what comes next?’
We’re going to discuss what to expect after receiving your first or second DWI. Keep reading for more information!
The Long Wait
After your release from jail, life will go back to normal for a while. You may not hear anything from the police or court and may assume that the charge is non-existent.
If you are lucky, this length of time will be about two years. This is the statute of limitations for the state of Texas to charge you with a DUI.
In reality, you can expect an officer to arrive at your door with a subpoena requiring your appearance in court for an arraignment. This arraignment is where you will plead ‘guilty,’ ‘not guilty,’ or no contest.
Before this day comes, it is ideal to retain an attorney. Doing so will allow you to have an open line of communication between you, the judge, and the prosecutor.
Pleading ‘Not Guilty’
When you plead guilty to a DWI, the judge assigns a court date for sentencing. When you plead ‘not guilty’ this charge, you will have a trial date.
This trial date will be when the prosecutor has to prove that you are in fact, guilty of a drinking and driving charge. After the court hears all evidence, your attorney will cross-examine every witness in an attempt to prove your innocence.
During this time, any issues with your arrest, the chemical testing, and officer training will come to light. The judge will ultimately decide whether there is sufficient evidence to charge you with a DWI and then assign a sentencing date.
Consequences for a DWI in Texas
If the judge decides that you are guilty, he has the option to be lenient in sentencing. For a first offense DWI, you can expect:
- Up to $2000 in fines and fees
- Between 3 and 180 days in jail
- Up to 2 years of license suspension
- Educational programs
In addition to these consequences, you may expect to complete community service or support group meetings. Sometimes these may be in lieu of jail time.
Grounds for Dismissal
Of course, everyone wishes for the dismissal of their DWI case. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen as often as people believe.
Depending on the nature of your case, your attorney may negotiate a charge that is lower than a typical first or second offense. Often, this will mean you must plead guilty to a reckless driving charge.
Remember that the best option is to never drink and drive. However, if you are facing a DWI in Texas, obtain the best representation possible by contacting us for a consultation!