How Can an Attorney Help Before and After a DWI Charge?
After an arrest on a DWI charge, you may need to prepare to go to trial. This is the main reason that you need to consider hiring an Austin criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer may also decide that it is in your best interest to accept a plea bargain. If so, you would receive a deal that would require you to plead guilty to a lesser charge. This would also lower the penalties against you.
If you aren't eligible for a plea bargain, your attorney will prepare a defense for you to pursue the best possible outcome. They will gather evidence to support your innocence and be the center of any communication. This includes finding any witnesses, discussing the details with the prosecutors and judge, etc.
In some instances, the prosecution doesn't have enough evidence to go through with taking the case to trial. If this is the case, your lawyer may be able to have the charges dropped. If there is a trial, though, an attorney will appear with you at the sentencing hearing once it's complete. Your attorney will have the opportunity to argue for a lighter sentence.
What are the Penalties for a DWI Charge?
Penalties for these charges are harsh. With each subsequent charge, the penalties are even harsher.
- For the first offense, you may receive a jail sentence of 3 to 180 days. You may also receive a fine of up to $2,000. On top of that, your license may be suspended for up to two years. You may also be required to pay $2,000 every year for three years to keep your license.
- For the second offense, your possible jail sentence will increase to between 30 days and 365 days. The fine may be as much as $4,000. Your license may be suspended for as many as two years, and you may receive a yearly $2,000 fee for a three-year period to keep your license. An Ignition Interlock Device or IID will be required from this point on.
- If you are convicted on a third charge, it will be a felony. The prison sentence will be for at least two years or as long as ten years. The fine also increases significantly to up to $10,000. Your license may be suspended for up to two years. The yearly fee will continue to be $2,000 per year for three years to keep your license.
- If you were convicted on a first offense, the court might give you penalties similar to those given to people convicted on a third offense if you had a passenger under the age of 15 in your vehicle at the time of your arrest.
- The extra expense of having the IID installed in your car will be charged to you. You will also need to pay to maintain the IID while it is installed in your vehicle.
What Should I Do If I Get Pulled Over?
Remember that you always have a right to remain silent and refrain from answering any questions until an attorney is present. Since officers now require body cams, it is also likely that you may be videoed for evidence that can be introduced during trial.
Contact Smith & Vinson Law Firm for any DWI Charge
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI in Austin, contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys to handle your case. We make sure to aggressively work to achieve the best outcome for all clients and always protect your rights. Call (512) 359-3743 to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your case.