Never Plead Guilty To DWI In Texas Without A Lawyer
You were recently pulled over for drunk driving and arrested. Now, you are considering pleading guilty to getting the whole mess behind you. However, you should never plead guilty to a DWI without a lawyer. The Texas police work hard to catch drunk drivers, and prosecutors are highly motivated by negative public sentiment against drunk drivers to convict them. Representing yourself in a DWI case is never a good idea. League City DWI attorneys at Mark Diaz & Associates have an impressive record defending alleged drunk drivers, and we are ready to fight for your rights today.
What Are The Penalties For A First-Time DWI?
Drunk driving killed 963 people in Texas in 2020, and the public takes a dim view of drunk drivers. That is why it never pays to plead guilty to a DWI in Texas without retaining an attorney; there is strong public pressure to hammer convicted drunk drivers with harsh penalties. Even for a first-time DWI in Texas, you can get pummeled by the state for a conviction. Penalties include:
- A potential fine of up to a $2,000 fine, and/or a potential statutory fine of $3,000
- These potential fines could increase if it is alleged that you had an open container in the vehicle.
- Up to six months in jail
- Loss of your driver’s license for no less than 90 days and up to a year
- A first-time DWI can also lead to probation and alcohol treatment classes you must attend or risk losing your license.
- Many other collateral consequences that will be discussed below
What Are The Penalties For A 2nd DWI?
If this is your second DWI charge, you want to have a lawyer at your side. A second DWI is a Class A misdemeanor; you will get up to a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail. A second DWI conviction means your driver’s license gets suspended for up to 18 months, and you must pay to reinstate it. In addition to the penalties listed above, it should be noted that there is no possibility of a deferred probation for this type of offense.
What Are The Penalties For A 3rd DWI?
A third DWI is extremely serious. It is a third-degree felony that can get you up to 10 years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000. Even worse is being convicted of intoxication manslaughter, which means you killed someone when you were intoxicated in Texas. This is a second-degree felony, which may result in up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In addition to the steep penalties listed above, it should be noted that there is no possibility of a deferred probation for this type of offense.
What Are Other Texas DWI Conviction Consequences?
If you are not convinced by the criminal penalties for a DWI conviction, you should consider the collateral consequences of a sentence. These other consequences could dog you for years:
Lost Employment Opportunities
Most employers do background checks, and the chances of getting the job probably vanish if there is a DWI charge or conviction on your record. A DWI charge is seen as a negative reflection of your character, and some employers may not even bother to hear your side of the story. They also may worry that some with a DWI background will be an unreliable employee.
Texas is considered ‘at will’ for employment, so an employer can fire you for any reason, including a criminal conviction. Some organizations have a zero-tolerance policy for any criminal record, especially DWIs, and a conviction could result in you being fired.
Furthermore, if you have a professional license, such as a CDL, it is at risk. You could have a professional license suspended or revoked and be left without work. It does not matter if the DWI happened in your personal vehicle; your commercial driver’s license can still be suspended.
Lost Educational Opportunities
When you apply for college, the institution will probably ask if you have a criminal history. If you have a DWI conviction, there is a good chance they will reject your application. If they do accept you, they will probably look at others who do not have a criminal history. If you are enrolled in school now, you risk being suspended or expelled if convicted.
Being Unable To Rent Housing
Apartment managers check backgrounds as employers do. They may not rent to you if they see you were convicted of a crime. Also, property managers often think drunk drivers are a problem and want nothing to do with them.
Loan officers will often check your financial history but may also check your background when making a lending decision. A drunk driving conviction can raise worries that you are unreliable and may not make your payments.
Between the criminal and collateral consequences of a DWI conviction, you can make few worse decisions than pleading guilty for drunk driving without a lawyer. There are many things that your attorney can do to aid your case, making the investment well worth the cost.
What Will A Texas DWI Attorney Do For You?
The penalties for a Texas DWI conviction are unpleasant, and you want to avoid them at all costs by retaining a skilled lawyer. Your drunk driving lawyer in League City is not merely there to sympathize and hear your side. They will fight tirelessly to win the DWI case, from preparing you for court hearings to challenging the state prosecutor to questioning evidence. There are many more things your DWI attorney can do to obtain the best outcome, including:
Use Their Extensive Knowledge of State DWI Laws And Penalties
If there is one big reason to hire an experienced League City DWI lawyer, it is that they come to the table with years of skill and experience that will give you the best support and advice. Your attorney has spent years dealing with all types of drunk driving cases and has seen it all. Their skill and experience give them an edge in understanding the charges and how to beat them. From knowing the questions to asking witnesses to present evidence to finding holes in the state’s case, your lawyer’s knowledge increases the chance you can walk away with your freedom.
DWI attorneys also have the skill of deemphasizing parts of your case that are unhelpful to highlighting what benefits it. Furthermore, an experienced DWI defense lawyer knows the local courts, judges, and prosecutors, which can give your lawyer an edge when negotiating a deal.
Reduce Your Time Behind Bars
After any DWI arrest, you will need to make at least one court appearance, and you could face jail, depending on the charge. Your attorney’s goal is not just to dismiss the case but, in some circumstances, to ensure you spend minimal time behind bars.
Your attorney will try to ensure you do not need to go to court for most legal proceedings and will represent you when absent. This allows you to go about your business at home or work with more peace of mind. You can be comfortable that your lawyer is striving to dismiss the case or reduce the charges. Your lawyer will also attempt to reduce your time in jail by discussing alternatives, such as house arrest, community service, and rehabilitation.
Present A Strong Defense
When the judge or jury decides the case, the thing that matters most is the strength of your defense. You can rely on an experienced DWI defense attorney in League City to construct a strong defense based on your case particulars.
Handle Documents And Evidence
A large factor in any Texas DWI case is the evidence. Your guilt or innocence will hinge on the evidence drafted and submitted by both sides. It can be highly stressful to deal with evidence and paperwork without a lawyer, including police reports, photos, toxicology reports, police videos, etc. But your DWI attorney knows how critical timely evidence is to win a DWI case and will handle the evidence and paperwork efficiently to prepare your case effectively.
Help You Decide On A Plea
It can be challenging to know if you should plead guilty or not guilty to a DWI charge in your arraignment. Your attorney’s advice will be critical in determining your plea. Their advice will be based on the likelihood of a favorable result with the plea you decide.
Avoid Jury Bias
A constant problem with winning a Texas DWI case is the bias that exists in the system against drunk drivers. Without an attorney, it can be challenging to convince a skeptical jury of your innocence, but with an experienced attorney, they may trust you more and be more open to your views. Your attorney will strive to present your best side and make the jury more sympathetic to your side.
Contact Our League City DWI Lawyers Today
If you are charged with a DWI in Texas, you may think you do not have a chance to beat the charge, so you decide to plead guilty without a fight. This is almost always a huge mistake and could cost you dearly now and for years. You should always retain an attorney to fight for your rights. Contact our League City DWI lawyers at Mark Diaz & Associates who will aggressively advocate for you and offer the best defense, so call (409) 515-6170 for a free consultation today.