Houston DWI Attorney: Driving While Under The Influence
Driving while under the influence, DWI, is considered a very serious crime in every state. A DWI charge will be handled in a criminal court. You will have the right to provide your own representation in criminal court. Most defendants either use the services of a public defender or they hire a private attorney. This article will provide you with some basic information that you may find beneficial when making a decision on which type of legal representation is best for you.
It is extremely difficult for anyone who has no legal experience or training to understand all of the weaknesses and strengths of a DWI case. The law, in regard to DWI issues, is very complicated and always changing. This means that every case will be completely different and unique from another. This is one of the primary reasons why you will want to receive counsel from an experienced DWI lawyer. The majority Houston DWI attorneys will provide a perspective client with a free consultation. However, even if you are required to pay a small fee for this consultation it will be money well spent. Do not forget to bring along the police report and any other pertinent documents. Also, have a list of questions that you want the lawyer to answer.
Standard First Defense Plea Offer
You may have heard that a prosecutor will present you with a standard first defense plea offer. You may think that this means that it is the same offer that they provide to everyone. A first offense is normally at the lower end of a DWI sentence. If the incident did not involve injuries, the guilty party does not have any prior DWI convictions, or there is not a high blood alcohol concentration then it is often considered a standard first DWI.
In practical theory, a standard offer will be the same no matter if the defendant is represented by a public defender, private lawyer, or no one at all. Therefore, a defendant may conclude that it is not worth the time or money to retain the services of any of the Houston DWI attorneys. Unfortunately, this is misguided information because a standard offer is normally only a starting point. An experienced and knowledgeable Houston DWI attorney can frequently whittle down a standard offer by introducing mitigating factors or by showing any weakness in the prosecution’s case. A qualified attorney will be familiar with the district attorney, local law practices, and the judge who oversees the case. When a defendant has viable causes, or mitigating circumstances, then not accepting the standard offer may be advisable. A defendant who tries to represent himself will unlikely know about these types of defenses. Therefore, before you accept a plea deal it is in your best interest to at least get an attorney’s opinion.
Every criminal defendant will have the right to legal counsel. If the defendant cannot afford to retain the services of a lawyer, then the court will appoint a lawyer for you. An appointed lawyer is usually someone from a public defender’s office. A public defender is a qualified lawyer who typically handles a larger number of criminal cases, which include DWIs. Public defenders are also generally acquainted with local law practices, district attorneys, and judges. This knowledge is always beneficial when plea-bargaining is considered. Public defenders are also very experienced with trial skills because they spend a lot of their time taking cases to trial. Does this mean that a public defender is your best choice for handling a DWI?
The truth of the matter is that using a public defender will have its downsides. Most public defenders are swamped with large caseloads. Therefore, many defendants feel that their particular case is not getting enough attention. Also, you do not get to choose which public defender you want. You get whatever public defender the court appoints you. A public defender can only represent you in criminal court. When you are arrested for a DWI charge it will involve two different proceedings. The two different proceedings are a criminal court case and proceedings with the (DMV) Department of Motor Vehicles. A defendant who uses a public defender must deal with any proceedings by the DMV on their own.
When you retain the services of a DWI attorney, you will have someone that can represent you in both criminal court and DMV proceedings. The advantage for you as a defendant could be a shorter license suspension period and a better overall outcome. This alone would be well worth the money. The number one reason why most defendants do not choose a private lawyer is the cost. To retain the services of a DWI lawyer will cost anywhere between $1000 and upwards to $5000. If your DWI case goes to trial, then it may be even more expensive.
Hire A Houston DWI Attorney
However, if you can afford to hire a DWI lawyer then you will be getting someone who has an in-depth understanding of DWI law and its defenses. A general practitioner, on the other hand, may not have this type of experience or knowledge. A DWI attorney can often lead to better results such as an improved plea bargain or a complete dismissal of all charges.