If you have never been accused of driving while intoxicated, you may be wondering if you need a DWI lawyer in Houston. Since drinking and driving is a crime, DWI charges in Houston, TX are dealt with in criminal court. Under the law, you have the right to represent yourself, but most defendants opt not to do this.
Many people say that first-time offenders get the same result whether they are represented or not. However, this isn’t always the case since some first-time DWI charges can actually be felonies. The best thing to do is to at least schedule a consultation with a Houston DWI attorney.
How A Houston, TX DWI Lawyer Can Help You
Most DWI attorneys offer one free or low-cost consultation to prospective clients. You should take advantage of this. Getting a legal opinion will help you to understand how serious your case is and how much you stand to lose. While you can get a lot of information on the Internet, it is very difficult to assess your own case. In addition, laws change over time and each case is unique.
When you meet with the lawyer, take your police report and a list of any questions you want answered. Based on this consultation, you can determine whether you want to hire an attorney to handle your case. If you intend to fight the charge, you will need to present legal and/or factual defenses. You will also need to know how to compel the state to present the evidence it has against you. Then, you must challenge that evidence. The average person will not be able to manage all this. Even if you intend to plead guilty, an attorney may be able to get your punishment reduced.
Hiring a skilled, experienced lawyer is, therefore, usually the best decision you can make. DWI’s shouldn’t be taken lightly, even if it’s your first offense. If your liberty, reputation and professional standing are at stake, hiring a lawyer should be seen as an investment.
Why You Need DWI Attorney in Houston
A lot goes into successfully defending a Houston DWI case. There are many facts relating to your case which may seem insignificant to you. To an attorney with extensive knowledge of the legal system, these facts may get you acquitted. If you represent yourself, you won’t get any special treatment in court. You will be held to the same standards as a lawyer.
It is more than likely that you will find it difficult to question witnesses and introduce evidence. This is because you won’t know the rules which govern these essential aspects of a trial. Experienced trial lawyers know exactly how the process is conducted and what is and isn’t allowed.
Another challenge will be addressing the scientific issues surrounding DWI cases. Attorneys know that chemistry, anatomy, and physiology can all be used to call a DWI charge into question. Concerns may be also raised over how field sobriety or chemical tests were conducted.
If you don’t get these details right, a lot can be at stake. If your blood alcohol concentration is less than .15%, the usual penalties for a first-time DWI are:
- A fine of up to $2,000
- A jail sentence of between three and 180 days
- A driver’s license suspension of 90 to 365 days
If your BAC is .15 or more, the fine can be as much as $4,000 and you can spend up to a year in jail. The penalties increase for second and third convictions. You can also be charged with a felony for a DWI offense if:
- You were transporting a child under the age of 15. In this case, you may have to spend up to two years in jail and pay a fine of up to $10,000.
- You were in a car accident in which someone else suffered serious injuries. This is called intoxication assault. You could spend up to ten years in jail and be fined up to $10,000. You will also have to do at least 160 hours of community service.
Contact Eddington & Worley to Discuss Your DWI Case Today!
DWI charges should not be taken lightly and criminal penalties are not your only concern. You may find it hard to get a job or rent an apartment. If you already have a job, you could lose it, especially if you rely on a professional license to practice. If you want to protect your reputation and livelihood, it is best to hire a DWI lawyer in Houston. At Eddington & Worley, our attorneys know the rules which govern traffic stops. We know when a chemical test wasn’t obtained legally and when there is not enough evidence to convict you. If you want the best chance of being acquitted, contact us today.