What To Do After Being Arrested for DWI or BWI in Texas?

With the rising number of first time DWI arrests in Austin, Burnet, Marble Falls , and other surrounding hill country areas, many people are finding themselves in the position of having to deal with a new and unforeseen legal problem.  Most of us find that the process immediately following jail release to be just as scary and daunting as getting arrested.We are faced with frightening questions and possibilities that seemingly came out of nowhere.  What’s going to happen to me? Am I going back to jail? Will I lose my job? How much money is this going to cost? What about my driver’s license? These questions are just a small portion of the thoughts that start running through your head.  This is a difficult topic to cover generally because ever DWI/BWI case is different.  Is it a collision? Is it a first offense? Is there a blood or breath test? All these circumstances affect how a case is handled.  This post can be used as a step-by-step guide of what to do immediately after being arrested in most cases to begin taking care of your new problem and get yourself on the road to putting this event behind you.  It should take you no longer then a day or two to complete these steps.

5) Get a Picture ID.  Most arrests also result with your driver’s license being confiscated for either refusing the breath/blood test or consenting to the test and failing.  Remember your license is not automatically suspended, but you will still need a photo ID for many things, and no matter the circumstances of your case, it could be several months before you get another hard copy of your driver’s license.

4) Determine Your Employment Situation.  Telling your employer that you were arrested is complicated.  Some jobs require notification immediately.  Others have no written policy regarding this situation and would otherwise never know unless you inform them.  That is something you will have to address.  Does my employer need to know this happened to me?  Will I lose my job if I tell my boss knows this happened? Many occupations requiring state licenses or certifications like teachers, nurses, lawyers, doctors, etc., require you notify the state licensing at some point in the legal process.  It is best to consult with your lawyer before you tell anyone about your arrest and discuss it fully to determine what course needs to be followed.  As your lawyer, I will always walk you through the reporting process to the state as well because there are many rigid requirements often associated with any occupational licenses.

3) Determine Your Family Situation.  This is particularly tricky.  Family members can be very supportive in these difficult times.  Not talking about your problem at all may be very bad idea.  Many have probably been in your situation.  Be careful accepting their advice, but it will help you to hear about other people’s experiences with the legal system to see how they made it through it.   Others may be very disappointed in you and not be as forgiving.  Only you can judge who is appropriate to talk to about this, but it may give you a little relief to just get it off your chest and explain it, but make sure this person is trustworthy and will not spread the news.

2) Recall Your Version of Events.  As your lawyer, I need to know exactly what happened the day and night you were arrested.  As we get into your case, I will have all kinds of offense reports, videos, and lab reports from the state.  That is going to be their side of what happened.  I care much more about your side.  Start with the time you went to bed the night before and record everything you recall leading up to the time you were released from jail. DO NOT SIGN or DATE this recollection.  DO NOT SHOW THIS TO ANYONE EXCEPT ME.  Don’t save it on your computer or make copies.  This information cannot fall into the wrong hands.  I will not show it to anyone.  I will use it to determine all the issues in your case, including the determination of whether you may testify in court down the road.  If you have had ANY medical or dental issues ever in your life, then I need to know about them.  I will also need to know all the problems you have ever had with your vehicle or boat.  The longer you wait to record this information, the less you will recall about what happened.  Do this as soon as you can following your release from jail.

1) Hire a DWI/BWI Defense Lawyer.  As much as you may think you can handle this without an attorney, you are wrong.  Hiring an inexperience lawyer may be no different than handling it by yourself.  You have to hire someone who has handled hundreds of these cases.  There are numerous issues both scientific and procedural in DWI/BWI cases that inexperienced lawyers will have no clue what to look for or how to handle.  There are also fast deadlines in your case that have to be addressed in order to save your driver’s license.  Many times people will hire the cheapest attorney they talk to only to be disappointed and in reality, damaged by the outcome of the case.  I’ve tried all kinds of these cases to juries with success.  I know how to handle the field sobriety tests, the breath test, and the blood test.  Just because the state says you are over a .08 doesn’t mean you’re guilty.  I handle all collateral matters associated with the arrest for no extra fee.  I will handle your driver’s license hearing, your occupational driver’s license if needed, help with your employer notification if necessary, deal with your insurance company, etc.   Financially, good representation isn’t cheap, and I understand that is an important factor for you.  My policy regarding fees is flexible, and I do not want to lose your business or see you hire an inexperienced lawyer because of money.  Trust that it is more expensive to be represented by an amateur than an experienced professional.

I hope this post gives you some insight on how to handle the frightening experience you’re enduring.  It may also be productive to reflect on how this arrest occurred.  It may be an awakening to a problem or it may be another example of flawed procedures used by the government to make arrests for DWI/BWI cases.  Whichever it may be, you can and will get through this time.  I want to be the lawyer that lights your path to the other side.

Other helpful links:

Jail Release
What do if pulled over after drinking

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