NOT TAKING MATTER SERIOUSLY. Sometimes people do not take a DWI charges seriously because they think they are very routine and only misdemeanors. People think DWI's are given fairly common, often negating the importance of handling the matter with care. This is not a very wise assumption to make. A DWI conviction can and will follow you the rest of your life. Do not plead “Guilty” without a very thorough understanding of the facts involved and any potential defenses. The potential range of punishment for DWI's is perhaps the most severe of all misdemeanors. Jail time, probation, license suspensions, possible DPS surcharges, are all very real possibilities with any DWI arrest. Additionally, each subsequent DWI gets enhanced to a more serious degree upon each successive conviction.
REPRESENTING YOURSELF. Many people either try to represent themselves with their DWI Case, or they wait too long to hire an attorney. One should never represent themselves in any criminal case, especially in a DWI case. It has been said that “a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Do not make this mistake. The ramifications at stake are simply too severe. Similarly, you should not wait too long to hire an attorney. If you hire an attorney, it is wise to give them time to mount an effective defense. The sooner you hire your DWI attorney, most of the time the better.
HIRING ATTORNEY BASED ON FEE ALONE. There are many “so-called” DWI defense attorneys advertising their services at incredibly cheap rates. Instead of hiring these attorneys, it is likely better to just go with mistake #9 to save your money. The reality is that the penalties for DWI are perhaps the most severe in relation to any other misdemeanor case. It is impossible, therefore, to do an adequate job without a reasonable fee. Attorneys advertising and charging incredibly cheap rates usually cut client-service in exchange for an appropriate fee. As it is with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Try to search for an attorney that will work with you and who will arrange an appropriate financing plan that is specific to your needs. Fighting a DWI charge shouldn't cause you to go broke, but do not simply choose your attorney based ONLY on the fee charged.
NOT HIRING AN EXPERIENCED DWI DEFENSE ATTORNEY – There are many attorneys out there who gladly accept a fee to represent you with your DWI case. However, just because someone attended law school does not mean they are qualified to handle your DWI case. Hire someone that has taken the time to study the specific nuances of DWI defense. It is important to have someone who has specialized their practice in DWI Defense, and can help navigate the various procedural, evidentiary, constitutional, and sentencing issues specific to Texas law. Hire someone that is Certified in the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST's), and also someone that has an understanding of the Intoxilyzer 5000, which is the evidentiary breath testing maching used in Texas by law enforcement. Also hire someone that has previous experience studying the various pitfalls of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN), as this is the most common SFST conducted during a DWI investigation. Finally, hire someone that has taken the time to understand how to mount a successful defense in a blood DWI defense case. This is perhaps the most difficult area of DWI law to master. A good DWI Defense attorney should have taken some time to try and develop a decent understanding of how to fight a DWI case with a blood result. The reason for this is simple: DWI law is complex, it involves a lot of science, and a generalist cannot be everything to everybody. Knowing how to defend a DWI case involves considerable preparation, familiarity with the law, and knowing what motions to make and when. An attorney that concentrates in DWI law has that knowledge.
BELIEVING A .08 CHEMICAL TEST OR HIGHER CANNOT BE BEATEN. There is a multitude of ways for a DWI with a chemical test to be beaten. Often there are medical conditions that deliver a false-positive result, such as GERD. Often the tests are not performed to optimum standards, and should therefore be disregarded. If the chemical test is right at or near the .08 BAC level, the result could possibly be attacked by virtue that the level would have been under “at the time of driving.” A “retrograde extrapolation” could be performed to calculate that the person had a BAC of under .08 before the test was administered. Additionally, the initial traffic stop itself can possibly be attacked and ruled inadmissible on legal grounds via a motion to suppress. There are a variety of avenues, therefore, to approach any DWI defense case, regardless if there is a chemical specimen.
IGNORING COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES. Often people do not properly consider the collateral consequences of a DWI conviction, such as possible license suspensions/revocations, surcharge fees, and increases in auto insurance rates. The ramficactions for a Commercial Driivng lIcense holder (CDL) are perhaps the most severe, and in some scenarios the CDL holder can lose their ability to drive for work purposes for extended periods of time. People often do not realize that the Department of Public Safety issues a surcharge fee where anyone with a DWI conviction is forced to pay $1,000 a year to keep their license. If you receive a probated sentence following a DWI conviction, the terms and conditions of probation usually are quite extensive. Not only do you have to report to a probation officer and pay monthly probation fees, you have to perform community service and attend an Alcohol Education Program.
NOT SCHEDULING ALR. Many people (and attorneys) do not schedule the Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR) because they deem it not worthwhile. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the ALR hearing is scheduled and the arresting officer properly subpoened to appear, if they do not show then the license suspension will be dismissed. If this does not happen, the ALR provided the attorney with an excellent opportunity to “lock-in” testimony of the arresting officer. Officers can be known to suddently “remember” pertinent details at trial settings. If the officer is properly cross-examined at the ALR hearing, they will have minimal latitude with their memory suddenly refreshing.DRIVING WITH SUSPENDED LICENSE. Many people simply disregard the license suspension that sometimes occurs following a DWI arrest. This can be a very costly mistake. Not only will this likely result in an additional Class B misdemeanor “Driving While License Invalid” and another trip to jail, it could also result in an additionall license suspension and an increased surcharge fee. Obtaining an occupational license is something that should always be considered wheneer a license is suspended.TAKING FIRST OFFER. The criminal court system often works very slowly. Many people grow tired of waiting and sometimes agree to plea to a DWI conviction “just to get it over with.” FAILING TO APPEAR