If you’re facing DWI charges in Texas, there are a handful of things you should know — primarily, what to do and what not to do. Understanding these simple DWI do’s and don’ts could save you from a permanent stain on your record. Let’s take a look at what do’s and don’ts you should keep in mind when you’re facing DWI charges in Texas.
1. Don’t do too much talking
When it comes to DWI charges in Texas, the fight for a Not Guilty charge starts as soon as you’re pulled over. And whether you’re driving while intoxicated or not, remaining silent is some of the best advice we can dish out.
But what does remaining silent look like? Here’s what you should know:
- Do give over required information such as your name, drivers license, and insurance information
- Do not offer up any details on where you were and what you were doing
- Do not consent to any searches
- Do let the officer know that you’re invoking your right to remain silent
These simple tips can help you navigate a traffic stop and help you avoid digging yourself into a hole your lawyer can’t dig you out of.
2. Do know your traffic stop rights
During a traffic stop, you don’t have to immediately agree to absolutely everything the police officer asks of you. As we just covered, you can refuse to answer certain questions. But this is just the beginning of your traffic stop rights and what you’re allowed to refuse. Make sure you know all of your traffic stop rights to improve your chances of avoiding DWI charges in Texas.
- You can refuse a breathalyzer (although we usually recommend to blow and not bleed)
- You can refuse field sobriety tests (such as walking in a line and standing on one foot)
- You can refuse a search of your vehicle (and we recommend doing just that)
- You can refuse to stop recording (you are within your right to record a traffic stop on your phone, just be cautious if you are visibly intoxicated)
3. Do invest in a Houston DWI lawyer
From intoxication manslaughter cases to run-of-the-mill DWI charges in Texas, there’s one thing that’s consistent with them all: DWI charges should not be taken lightly. A DWI can remain on your record permanently and mess with your future — tainting everything from employment to child custody agreements to living arrangements.
When you consider finances, in particular, a simple DWI charge can set you back anywhere between $8,000-$12,000. First DWI in Texas penalties can include a $2,000 fine with additional annual fines of $2,000 for up to 3 years, and second DWI in Texas penalties can include a $4,000 fine with the additional annual fines.
When you consider these fines alongside employment issues, the financial implications can seem never ending. Compare these costs with the cost of hiring a lawyer, and it becomes very clear, very fast which option is wiser.
Additional DWI Penalties in Texas:
- Jail Time: 3-180 days
- License Suspension: up to 2 years
- Miscellaneous: DWI intervention or education program, drug testing, and ignition interlock device
Keep in mind, these are for a first-time DWI charge. If you’re facing a 2nd or 3rd DWI charge or a DWI involving property or bodily damage, the penalties will be much harsher. For more information, check out our article: How Bad is a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas?
4. Do understand your options for keeping your record clean
When you don’t invest in an experienced lawyer, it’s more likely that you’ll miss out on viable opportunities to keep your record clean such as pretrial diversion, deferred adjudication, or a full-on Not Guilty charge. It’s important to understand what your options are, what these options mean for your DWI charges in Texas, and what the chances of success are with each option.
Pretrial diversion does not necessarily mean that you’re innocent of a crime, and many people falsely assume that pretrial diversion automatically means that your record is wiped clean. This is simply not true. You will need to follow specific requirements to successfully complete a pretrial diversion program, and only then will you be eligible for expungement.
With deferred adjudication, on the other hand, you do admit guilt and charges do show up on your record. Adjudication is more helpful when it comes to felony DWI penalties; however, it could be more beneficial for you to seek out a Not Guilty verdict as opposed to deferred adjudication. Again, the best way to figure this out is with a skilled lawyer.
5. Do contact Thiessen Law Firm for top DWI defense
After you’re facing DWI charges in Texas, the biggest mistake you could make is not taking the charge seriously. It’s time to start fighting. With Houston’s top DWI attorney Mark Thiessen on our team, we can coach you on DWI do’s and don’ts and help you overcome DWI charges. Mark is a triple board certified DWI specialist who has successfully achieved over 100 Not Guilty verdicts and thousands of dismissals.
More Helpful Articles by Thiessen Law Firm:
- Intoxication Manslaughter Probation
- DWI With a 0.15 Alcohol Level in Texas
- How to Get a DWI Dismissed in Texas
- Charged with First-Time DWI with Accident
- Your Right During a Traffic Stop