Common Defendant Mistakes
The following are some of the biggest mistakes people make after being arrested for a DWI in Texas, and how to avoid them:
Blowing into the machine or giving a blood test. Although breath and blood test cases can be won, it is better not to. Always refuse to blow!
Making incriminating statements on the arrest video. Comments such as “I couldn’t do this sober,” just give the prosecutor more material to work with.
Even considering a lawyer that is not a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist. Achieving Board Certification is the only way Texas lawyers can label themselves a “specialist” in any recognized area of the law. This prominent title distinguishes them from other lawyers who may not be qualified to handle your case. This may be the single best insurance policy available to verify that your lawyer has the qualifications, courtroom experience, and knowledge that you need to get the best DWI results.
Hiring a lawyer based on cost alone- You get what you pay for! Although the saying is generally true that, “good lawyers ‘aint cheap and cheap lawyers ‘aint good,” it is possible to find a qualified lawyer for a reasonable price. Sort by qualifications first, then hire the most qualified lawyer that you can afford. If you shop by price alone, you will probably end up losing your case!
Hiring a law firm that has no former prosecutors. Lawyers who have been prosecutors have special insight in to the other side. Like Board Certification, this is a good insurance policy to take out on your DWI case.
Hiring a law firm that is not “A/V Rated” by Martindale Hubbell. Martindale-Hubbell rates lawyers in the United States and Canada as a result of a peer review system with a history that spans more than a century. It is probably the most used source when lawyers are looking to hire other lawyers, but prospective clients can take advantage of it too.
Waiting too long to hire a lawyer. If you wait more than 15 days to hire a lawyer in a DWI case, you just lost your right to challenge the driver’s license suspension. Don’t wait to talk to a lawyer-do it now!
Hiring a lawyer that does not go to court every day. Many lawyers just sit around their offices all day and talk on the phone. You need a courtroom lawyerto stand up to the DWI prosecutors effectively. Ask all prospective lawyers if they spend almost every working day of the year in the courtroom handling DWI cases.
Thinking that you can effectively represent yourself. Never fall for this misconception! DWI cases are extremely complicated. Many lawyers are not even qualified to handle one properly, and you are definitely not qualified to do it.
Not inquiring about a lawyers’ DWI experience. Ask lawyers about their DWI dismissals and jury trial results.
Taking the prosecutor’s first offer. If you take a plea early on, you admit everything that you are charged with and waive all rights you have to contest it. Your case not only need to be completely investigated, you also need to maximize your leverage on the prosecutors by making them work. Never settle without a fight!
Missing your court date. This can result in the forfeiture of your bond, a warrant for your arrest, and a civil suit from the county to recoup the amount of your forfeited bond. Even if you have not yet hired an attorney, you must show up at your own court dates.
Not switching lawyers if you find out that you hired the wrong one. If you already hired a lawyer, but later obtain information—perhaps from a website such as this one—that the lawyer you hired may not be the best one for your DWI, you are not completely out of luck! It is easy to hire a new lawyer! Your old lawyer will sign what is called a “motion to substitute counsel” and your new lawyer will then file it with the court. This is a normal practice and the judge will understand. You may even be entitled to a refund from your original lawyer.
Not setting your DWI case for a jury trial. We believe that a jury setting is the best way to get the prosecutors to listen to your side of the case. This really puts the heat on and is an essential part of getting the best possible outcome. People who are scared of setting the case for trial usually do not get the best results.
Contact one of our Board Certified Criminal Specialists to learn all the details of what you can do to avoid making mistakes in your DWI case.