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Steps to Take After You are Arrested for a DWI in Fort Worth

Your actions after an arrest greatly affect the outcome of a case

Other than speeding, DWI is the most issued wcitation in the United States. Authorities make over 1.5 million DWI arrests every year. Even a first offense has severe direct and collateral consequences. The direct consequences often include long-term court supervision and limitation of driving privileges. The collateral effects include auto insurance rates which often triple and loss of commercial driving privileges.

DWI cases are also difficult to prove in court. Chemical tests, like a Breathalyzer test, are not 100% accurate. If the defendant did not provide a chemical sample, prosecutors must rely on circumstantial evidence, making the case even harder to win. Because of these issues, a Fort Worth DWI lawyer can usually resolve these charges successfully. If defendants follow a few basic rules in the wake of an arrest, the chances for a successful resolution increase dramatically.

Do Not Panic

Although the direct and indirect consequences of a DWI are frightening, as outlined above, there is a big difference between a criminal arrest and a criminal conviction. 

We touched on some possible substantive defenses above. Prosecutors must establish guilt in a DWI beyond any reasonable doubt. That is a very high burden of proof. Even if you provided a chemical sample, sufficient credible evidence might be unavailable.

Some procedural defenses are often available as well. If police officers broke the rules during an investigation, the evidence they obtain could be inadmissible in court. For example, if Officer Sam pulls you over for an illegal reason, any evidence obtained as a result of that stop, including a chemical sample, is fruit from a poisonous tree and therefore inadmissible.

On a similar note, DWI prosecutions often have procedural technology issues. Breathalyzers are very sensitive devices. They are especially sensitive to temperature changes. In North Texas, the air temperature often changes quickly and drastically, especially during certain times of year.

All these possible defenses are against a backdrop of decreasing public confidence in police officers. Back in the day, many jurors greatly respected police officers and gave them the benefit of the doubt. That’s no longer true. In fact, police officer respect levels recently hit an all-time low.

Get a Lawyer

If you are free on bond, you are most likely ineligible for a court-appointed lawyer or public defender in Tarrant County and most other North Texas jurisdictions. How do you pick the best DWI lawyer when there are so many possibilities?

  • Cost: This factor should not be the only one in your decision. But it should be a major one. If an attorney’s fees are much lower than normal, that usually means the lawyer is inexperienced and needs to attract clients and build a practice. Your DWI case should not be a lawyer’s training lab.
  • Dedication: Fundamentally, criminal defense is about defending individual rights from government overreach. Attorneys who lack this passion normally are not as effective. So, your DWI lawyer should not practice criminal law as a side show or simply take a few cases for friends and family.
  • Experience: The old adage is mostly true. There is generally no substitute for experience. However, you do not want a lawyer who is experienced in finding the easy way out or taking the state’s first plea bargain offer. You want a lawyer with some trial experience.

Do not rush your decision, but do not take too much time either. The sooner your lawyer gets started, the more well-prepared s/he will be when the case goes to court.

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