When stopped for a DWI in Texas, many people end up panicking and doing the wrong things making things worse. From the moment you are pulled over for a traffic infraction, it’s vital that you know your rights as a citizen under the United States Constitution. And, if you are arrested, you cooperate with balance between further protecting your rights while allowing officers to do their job.
Here are three key strategies to keep in mind if you are facing a DWI arrest.
1. Stay Calm Before And After Your Arrest
Your evening probably didn’t start off with thinking that you were going to get arrested for DWI. As you were driving home after a party or from a restaurant or bar, you see the patrol vehicle with flashing red and blue lights behind you and you pull over to the side of the road.
The officer greets you at the driver’s side window and requests your license and proof of insurance. Have them ready as soon as you realize that you are the one being pulled over, then put your hands at the top of your steering wheel where he can see them—especially if you are being pulled over in the evening when it’s dark.
The officer may ask you where you’ve been that evening. You have a right to not to answer. Answering “… at a restaurant with family…” or “… at a party with friends…” only gives him the opportunity to ask the follow-up question, “Did you have anything to drink?” If you say “Yes”, you only give him probable cause to request that you take a field sobriety test or blow into a breathalyzer. Do not answer any questions about where you’ve been or what you’ve been doing during a routine traffic stop. To be blunt, it’s none of the officer’s business.
Recommended Read: How to Protect Your Rights During a DUI Traffic Stop
2. Stay Quiet, But Comply
But let’s say you do answer the questions and you take the field sobriety tests and you’re arrested. Don’t panic. Take a few breaths and stay calm. Do not answer any more questions. You have the right to remain silent. Don’t argue with the officer because they have made their decision and it’s done. The time to argue your case is before the court. Do not resist arrest or, worse, run. That just adds additional charges which means more possible fines and penalties to your DWI. Let the officer do their job now.
Remind yourself that you can and will get the help you need to protect your rights and freedom. You will need an experienced attorney to help you with this.
3. Lawyer Up And Be Patient… Again
After you’re arrested, you’ll need to call someone to post bail. Once you’ve bailed out, call an attorney. Have your case number ready since the lawyer’s office will access to it through the court database.
There’s a lot to process now. Remember, you have two cases here. The first is your driver’s license which was revoked at the time of your arrest. You should have an attorney at your administrative license revocation hearing or ALR which will be within 15 days of your arrest. Bring your attorney because this is when a lot of facts about your case are presented and your attorney can use this evidence during your criminal proceeding.
The second is your criminal case for the actual DWI. This can take months of going back and forth to the courthouse. The court process is a pain in the ass by design. You will miss work going to court and you’ll be required to pay fines, but it’s important that you mount the most aggressive defense you can.
If you are found guilty of your first DWI, it will go on your record should you get arrested for DWI again. In a subsequent arrest, the judge will weigh the fact that you’ve been found guilty of DWI before and will punish you more severely.
Working with an experienced lawyer in a timely manner will help you navigate the complexities and formalities of your case. They’ll immediately start working on building a strong case to help you get the representation you need.
Recommended Read: Why Should You Hire A DWI Lawyer?
If you’re looking for a DUI attorney in the Greater Houston area, contact Attorney JL Carpenter at 713-561-5931. She has extensive experience in providing vigorous advocacy and strong defenses to people who are facing DUI charges. When you’re ready, schedule a consultation. She defends those accused of DWI and DUI across Friendswood, Clear Lake, Houston, Galveston, Webster, Katy, and other cities in the Greater Houston area.