By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
1. Not consulting an attorney.
DWI laws in Texas are out of control. Many times people feel that if they made a mistake — that their prior good record combined with a rational prosecutor and Judge mean that they won’t be treated unfairly. Even if someone is lucky enough to draw such people on their case — the legislature has tied the prosecutor or Judges hands! There’s no deferred adjudication for DWI and related offenses. There are mandatory sur-charges costing thousands of dollars – and that’s just for starters!
The plain fact is that a DWI arrest is more severe than it looks. A skilled, experienced advocate is can assist in evaluating and fighting a DWI arrest.
2. Ignoring the Case
Being arrested can be a very humbling experience. Drunk driving arrests, though, need to be addressed quickly. There is virtually always a drivers license suspension which results from either a breath test refusal or failure and those deadlines run quickly. Unfortunately I’ll see people in denial over their arrest, but important rights can be lost with unnecessary delay.
3. Making Hurried Decisions
Again, an arrest for DUI, DWI or drunk driving is an extremely traumatic event. My experience is that over time, attitudes about the arrest change. It’s not uncommon for me to visit with someone that wants nothing more than to accept the charges and any and all punishment the State has in store for them — only to change their mind down the road based on changed perspective… And certainly the reverse happens too. I always encourage people arrested for DWI to “let the dust settle” in their lives before deciding to hire a lawyer. While it is important to act quickly with a dwi arrest, it’s bad to sacrifice common sense too.
4. Taking Legal Advice from Non-Lawyers.
There are all sorts of “experts” on DWI cases that don’t have any interest in your outcome. Yet many of these ‘experts’ still insist on giving you legal advice. A lawyer is professionally and ethically on the hook when they agree to represent you. Jailers, the bail-bondsman, or a court clerk who may only see you once in their lives may have a decent understanding of the legal machinations of how a DWI works… But getting 40, 50, or 60 percent correct information is a great way to make a bad mistake.
5. Losing Your Head.
I tell my clients that it’s important that they keep their cool. Some cases take a good amount of time to be resolved and that it doesn’t do anyone good to lose sleep over something that works at the speed of government. Many people drive themselves crazy with angst and worry, but good decisions aren’t made that way.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any specific situation should directly consult an attorney.