By Collin County Criminal Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
I am frequently asked “what now” after someone is released from jail on a driving while intoxicated arrest. Though the specific answer may vary depending on where in Texas you were arrested, here are some answers to common questions:
What is My Legal Status?
If you just got out of jail for a DWI or DUI arrest, then you are technically released on bond. This means have conditions to live by to assure you appear in court (or in certain cases) do not endanger the public. You will probably not be formally charged with DWI for several weeks or in some cases (usually where there is blood evidence) for several months. The District Attorney’s office in your county will review the report and decide whether to file a case against you with a document known as an “information.” In Collin County virtually every case where an officer makes an arrest ultimately gets filed.
What Happens Now?
A DWI is two cases in one. There are the driver’s license suspension issues and then there are the criminal aspects.
For the driver’s license suspension portion, you must remember you have 15 days appeal any driver’s license suspension issued because of a breath test refusal or failure (score of 0.08 or greater) within 15 days of the arrest with the Texas Department of Public Safety. These are highly technical proceedings which lawyers commonly handle. If a voluntary blood specimen was given, then you have 20 days after you receive notice your blood was above 0.08 blood/alcohol concentration.
For the criminal side of the case, you can expect to appear in court for an announcement when the case is filed with the information. This appearance is more of a work-session between your lawyer than the prosecutor than an actual appearance before a judge (though in some jurisdictions the judge may wish to proceed with technical matters that require you to visit with them). It is the announcement where your lawyer will have some access to the police report (again, depending on the jurisdiction) and access to the video evidence in the case.
Ultimately, you and your attorney will decide whether you wish to plead guilty to the charges with a plea bargain — or plead not guilty and have a trial. It is also possible the State may dismiss the case depending various other factors.
Is My Driver’s License Suspended Immediately?
No. If you were given a document called a DIC-25, then you have a temporary driving permit valid for 40 days from the date of the arrest. If you appeal the suspension, the temporary permit is valid until your administrative law review hearing (ALR) which could be several months later. This is the case even if the officer confiscated your driver’s license.
Can I Get This Off My Record?
Yes. The steps may be different in each unique case, but not guilty verdicts and expunctions are common for DUI and DWI cases. You should visit with a lawyer directly about how to accomplish this in your case.
*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 should be considered legal advice. For legal advice about any situation you should contact a lawyer directly.