Were you recently charged with a DWI? This is a position that a lot of people find themselves in every year.
There are about 1.5 million Americans arrested for driving while intoxicated each year. About one out of every 120 licensed drivers face DWI charges every 12 months.
In the immediate aftermath of being charged with a DWI, you might not know what to do or where to turn for help. It can be a scary experience for people who’ve never faced such a serious legal charge.
You’re going to have a long road ahead of you if you’re ever charged with a DWI. As long as you make the effort to take the right steps, you can make it out on the other side unscathed. You might even be able to avoid some of the consequences that often come along with a DWI charge.
Here are five important steps to take when you’re facing a DWI charge.
When you’re arrested for DWI, you’ll likely get taken to your local jail.
In some cases, you may go through processing and get released from your local jail without having to pay bail money. Other times, you might have to pay bail to leave jail and go home.
If your bail is a few hundred dollars, you can probably pay it yourself. If you’re not able to cover the cost of bail on your own, you’ll need to rely on a bail bondsman in your area for help.
A bail bondsman will put up the money you need in exchange for a small fee. You can then leave jail without putting up the full bail yourself.
You will then need to attend all your upcoming DWI-related court hearings. Otherwise, your bail bondsman will send someone out to look for you since they’ll lose the bail that they put up if you don’t show up for court appearances.
You need to make sure that you take your DWI arrest and your DWI-related court hearings very seriously. You could put everything from your driver’s license to your freedom at risk if you don’t.
When you first return home from a DWI arrest, you’re going to experience a wave of emotions. You’ll feel disappointed, frustrated, angry, embarrassed, and confused.
It’s going to take you some time to process those emotions and work your way through them. While you’re doing it, you should aim to improve the situation a little by getting in touch with a DWI lawyer and getting them on your side.
You shouldn’t pick any DWI attorney, though. Instead, you should choose one that has a wealth of experience representing those charged with DWI.
The laws related to DWIs are very complicated. They vary from state-to-state and are always changing. This can make it difficult for someone who doesn’t specialize in DWIs to represent you in court.
Before bringing a DWI attorney on board, you should meet with them and make sure that you feel comfortable while speaking with them. You should also ask them what specific actions they’ll take if you ask them to serve as your DWI lawyer.
If you hire the wrong DWI lawyer, it could make your current situation worse than it already is. Do your homework and find the best possible DWI lawyer in your area to handle your case moving forward.
When you’re charged with a DWI, there is a decent chance that you’re going to lose your driver’s license for at least a short time. It’s one of the many punishments those arrested for DWI face.
There are some things that you can do to limit the impact that a DWI arrest has on your ability to drive. Scheduling a DMV hearing is one of the first things you can do to try and keep your license intact.
In most states, you’ll need to request a DMV hearing within a week or two of your DWI arrest to stop your driver’s license from getting suspended automatically. You need to take action right away to continue driving for the time being.
In Texas, for example, those charged with a DWI have 15 days to request an administrative license revocation, or ALR, hearing. This hearing will allow you to appeal the suspension of your license.
Your DWI attorney can talk to you about setting up a DMV hearing and help you keep your license for as long as possible. It’ll prevent your DWI arrest from having an immediate impact on your ability to drive.
All across the country, lawmakers have made a concerted effort to crack down on DWIs. They’ve done it in the hopes of preventing first-time DWI offenders from turning into repeat offenders.
With this in mind, there are a lot of people who don’t see the sense in paying a DWI lawyer to take their criminal case to court. They don’t think that they have any chance of winning a DWI case in court, so they opt to plead guilty to DWI without examining their legal options.
If you’re ever charged with a DWI, you should not take this approach. A judge might end up throwing the book at you if you enter a guilty plea in court following your DWI arrest.
You also shouldn’t attempt to fight your DWI case in court on your own. Some people try to do this and quickly find out that it’s almost impossible to do.
Instead, let a DWI attorney take care of coming up with the right defense for you in criminal court. They may very well find something in your case that will force a judge or jury to reduce the charges filed against you or throw them out altogether.
A good DWI lawyer will examine your case to see:
Hiring a DWI attorney to represent you in your criminal case doesn’t guarantee a victory in court. It will give you a much better chance of walking out of the courtroom victorious, though.
After getting charged with a DWI and going through an entire criminal case connected to it, the last thing you’re going to want to do is to go through the whole process again. It can be a very stressful time in your life and take a lot out of you.
You should make every effort to avoid going through it again in the future. Steer clear of doing anything that might put you in a position to get charged with a second DWI.
If you suspect that you might have a drinking problem that led to your DWI arrest, consider getting professional help for it. It’ll limit the chances of you turning into a repeat DWI offender.
You can also limit your chances of getting charged with a DWI for a second time by taking cabs or ridesharing vehicles when you’re out on the town. Even if you’re only going to have one or two drinks during a night out, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel and potentially put yourself into a risky situation.
Whatever you do, don’t blow off your DWI arrest and fail to learn from it. There is a lesson that you should take away from it.
People charged with a DWI will often tell you that it was one of the worst moments of their lives. The laws ensure that those arrested for DWI don’t ever forget the experience.
People charged with a DWI will also often tell you that you don’t have to let a DWI arrest keep you down forever. As long as you learn something from it, you can overcome your arrest and turn yourself into a better person than you were before.
Start the process of dealing with a DWI arrest by working your way through the steps we’ve laid out here. They’ll help you make the most of a bad situation and stop your arrest from taking too much of a toll on you.
Need help tracking down a good DWI lawyer? Read the articles on our blog to get the assistance you need.
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