What happens after being arrested for DWI? While a DWI offense itself is a terrifying thing to reckon with, the uncertainty that follows being arrested can often be just as scary. What happens to you after the police take you away? Is there anything you can do to help your case in the meantime?

The Houston DWI attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm are here to talk you through the process of a DWI arrest so that you can have an idea of what to expect and look out for common mistakes people make during the aftermath of their arrests.

Whether you’re wondering what to do after a DWI arrest or how your DWI case will unfold, Thiessen Law Firm is here to help. Call Thiessen Law Firm at (713) 864-9000 today and ask them to help with your DWI charge.

What happens to a person when they are arrested?

When a person is arrested for DWI they are immediately taken into police custody. They will be handcuffed and taken to the closest police station for booking. The booking process involves personal information being recorded as well as fingerprints and photographs being taken before the arrestee is moved into holding while they wait for the judge. While much of the arrest process is out of your hands, there are a couple of things that warrant discussion.

Blood and breath tests

One of the big questions when talking about what to do when pulled over for DWI is “Should I take the breath test?” Contrary to popular belief, “Do Not Blow” is often bad advice. Why?

If you refuse the breath test there is an overwhelming chance that they put you through a blood test, which is a much more accurate indicator of blood alcohol content, and are often sent off for drug screenings after they’ve been analyzed for alcohol content.

Even worse: in Texas, the penalty for refusing a blood or breath test for your first DWI arrest is an immediate 180-day suspension of your driver’s license. (You can contest this suspension, as will be explained below.) If you refuse the breath and/or blood test, you will be asked to sign a statement stating you were warned of the consequences of refusal.

What to do if your license is suspended in Texas

Within 48 hours of your arrest, you will be brought before a “neutral and detached magistrate” (not necessarily a judge, but an attorney or retired judge) who will decide if there was probable cause for your arrest. Once again, you will be read your rights and informed of the charges against you. If probable cause is determined, bail will be set, which, when paid, allows you to be released from custody while your case is pending.

If your license is suspended, you will receive a temporary driving permit that is good for 41 days, and have 15 days from the date of the “Notice of Suspension and Temporary Driving” to contest the suspension.

This is where having a qualified, aggressive DWI defense attorney is crucial. If you end up being convicted of DWI, your license can be suspended from six months to a year, depending on various factors, including your age, prior convictions, and the nature of your case.

Continue reading about probable cause and reasonable suspicion in Texas.

What to do if someone is arrested in Texas

Now you know what happens to a person when they are arrested, but what can you do for them? If you are not the one being arrested, you can still do a lot to help your friend in need.

  • If you are present during the arrest, calmly and politely ask the police officers what the person is being charged with, as well as the name of the police station where they will be taken for holding.
    • If you were not present during the arrest, you can check the Houston Police Department website and the Harris County Jail (or whichever county jail applies) website. If these don’t work, we recommend calling the station to speak to someone who can help you locate the person who was arrested. 
  • Call a bail bondsman. They are your best shot at getting someone out of holding as quickly as possible.
  • Call a Houston DWI lawyer and ask them to defend your friend’s rights.

It is very important that you remain calm and do not argue with the police officers during the arrest. If there are any battles to be won, they will not be won with police officers who have made up their minds to make an arrest, and you will likely end up making the situation worse.

Continue reading about what to do when someone gets arrested.

How long do you stay in jail after being arrested?

For most DWI offenses, whether it’s a DWI first offense or your third DWI, you will be offered bail. If you were offered bail, you would typically only have to spend a few hours in custody after a DWI arrest.

If you are arrested under suspicion of intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter, you may not be offered bail for a while, and even then, your bail amount will be much, much higher.

How long does it take to get sentenced after being arrested?

The timeline for sentencing after being arrested for a DWI can vary widely, depending on the complexity of the case and the backlog of court proceedings. DWI cases typically go through several stages, including pre-trial hearings, plea negotiations, and possibly a trial.

Sentencing can only occur after a conviction or guilty plea, during which the court determines the appropriate penalties. Sentencing for a DWI conviction in Texas can range from fines and license suspension to probation or incarceration, depending on the severity of the offense and any aggravating factors present.

Continue reading: What does taking a plea deal mean?

How long can you be held in jail before seeing a judge in Texas?

No matter what you are arrested for in Texas, you can typically expect to see a judge — or a “neutral and detached magistrate” — within 48 hours. If you are awarded a bond it will be set during this first meeting with the magistrate, after which you will be eligible to post bail to be released.

You may have heard that they can only legally hold you for a certain amount of time without formally charging you, and while this is technically true, people are held for longer than 48 hours all the time, particularly in Harris County, where the criminal justice system can get pretty backed up. This underscores the importance of hiring a skilled DWI attorney who can protect your rights from the moment that you are arrested.

When you get arrested what happens to your phone?

When you are arrested in Texas all of your possessions are put into holding until you are released, including your cell phone.

While the police aren’t technically allowed to access your phone without a warrant, if they have reason to believe that there is evidence of a crime on that phone, or if they believe that there is information on the cellphone that will be deleted after your release, they will likely be able to get one.

Your Houston DWI lawyer can protect you after a DWI arrest

If you are arrested for a DWI, your first priority should be contacting an attorney who specifically specializes in DWI defense, as your DWI lawyer could have a profound impact on what happens after being arrested for DWI. The award-winning attorneys of Thiessen Law Firm have the experience and expertise required to fight your DWI conviction, and if your case goes to trial, ensure you receive the fairest treatment possible under Texas law.

Our DWI attorneys have made a name for themselves by protecting our client’s rights in high-stakes DWI cases. We’ve won 1,000s of cases and gotten 100+ Not Guilty verdicts for our clients.

Call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online to get your DWI arrest under control and take control of your future.

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Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.