In the United States, there are more than one million people arrested every year for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If convicted, those charges bring severe consequences including a criminal record, loss of driver’s license, heavy fines, and possible loss of employment.
The court system is complicated and you need a DWI/DUI lawyer that knows the legal process and can help you reach the best outcome possible. Once you schedule the consultation you may be wondering what you should take to that first meeting.
We are going to explain the difference between a DUI and DWI charge and let you know 5 important documents to take to your first meeting with your attorney.
Every 20 minutes in Texas someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol. For those reasons, the penalties for DWI and DUI are severe. We are going to explain the difference between driving while impaired and driving under the influence.
Texas laws state that a person is legally intoxicated with a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher. At that level, the person can be placed under arrest and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Intoxication is not limited to alcohol. A person can also be considered intoxicated if they are impaired by having drugs in their system. Those drugs can be either illegal or legal.
Texas Penal Code Section 49.04 states that a person who operates an automobile in a public location and does not have a “normal level of physical or mental faculties” because they have consumed alcohol or drugs is driving while intoxicated.
After two or more DWI convictions during a five-year period, drivers are only allowed to operate a vehicle with an interlock ignition device installed.
You can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if the BAC is less than the legal limit of 0.08.
This is a charge that can happen if a minor has any detectible amount of alcohol or drugs in their system as set forth in Texas Penal Code Section 106.401. A DUI is a Class C misdemeanor and can have a lifelong impact on a minor.
In Texas, first time DWI/DUI offenders can be fined up to $2,000 and sentenced for up to 6 months in jail. They will also incur a driver’s license suspension and annual fees of $2,000 per year for 3 years to retain driving privileges.
In addition to criminal charges, fines, and a suspended driver’s license, convictions on any of these charges can have a huge impact on your auto insurance rates. That is why it is imperative to contact a DWI/DUI lawyer who is familiar with fighting these cases in court.
When you meet with an attorney there are documents that will assist your attorney in preparing your case. Here are 5 documents to take to your initial consultation.
The arrest record includes the ticket issued, temporary license, BAC results, and any other documents you were given at the time of your arrest or release from jail. The attorney will know how a BAC device works, how blood is collected and analyzed, and how to litigate any issues in court.
Bring in a list of any witnesses, including their name, address, and phone number. This would be anyone who was present at the time of the arrest and can provide any information that may assist the attorney in representing you.
Your medical records will be important if you are on any legal medications that may have affected the outcome of your breath or alcohol test results. This will include information regarding what medication you take, its impact on your ability to function, and whether it is generally safe for you to operate a motor vehicle while the medication is in your system.
It is important your attorney knows your complete criminal record. The prosecuting attorney will pull this information and use it against you. The attorney needs to know about any prior misdemeanor or felony convictions in addition to any prior DUI or DWI convictions or arrests.
Your driving record will have an impact on your case. This can be obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety Driver License Office. Any unpaid tickets or fines need to be paid so your record is as clean as possible.
Your attorney will ask you about the traffic stop. The lawyer will use this information combined with what they receive from the prosecuting attorney to determine if the stop was legal.
An officer must have a legitimate reason for making a traffic stop. If you were weaving back and forth in your lane, the stop is reasonable. If they saw you pull out of a bar parking lot at 2 am but there was no indication you were impaired, that is not reasonable.
Your attorney will review all breathalyzer and blood test results. They will look at whether the tests were properly administered and if there is reason to question the results.
A demand for discovery will be made by your attorney. This means they will file paperwork that requires the prosecution to provide them will all evidence there is against you. They will receive evidence that may be difficult for you to obtain, such as police car video, body camera video of the stop, and recordings of any 911 calls claiming you were driving erratically.
Your DUI/DWI lawyer will be familiar with the court system. They will know what the judge normally requires from offenders who appear before them on alcohol-related charges.
Your attorney may suggest you do things to improve your position with the court. This may include attending Alcoholics Awareness (AA) or Narcotics Awareness (NA) meetings on a weekly basis. The attorney will want periodic copies of your attendance sheets to show the prosecutor and court.
They may suggest you attend an alcohol awareness school or impact weekend. Follow the attorney’s recommendations. They will know what if the judge frequently orders offenders to attend courses and getting a jump on it improves your standing.
You never know when you or a loved one may be accused of driving impaired. When it happens you will be nervous, stressed, and unsure what to do or who to call. That is why you should have in your phone contacts “DWI/DUI Lawyer” and the phone number (713) 903-7608.
Having a lawyer with experience and skills from the moment of arrest can have a huge impact on the outcome of your case.
Schedule a virtual consultation or call (731) 903-7608 with any questions you have.