Have you been arrested for an alleged driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense? If so, you are probably wondering what is going to happen next. You are likely asking yourself questions such as: Will I have to appear before a judge? What will happen in court? Will I end up receiving jail time? The most important thing to remember is that you should make every effort not to respond to questioning by law enforcement until you have a DWI defense lawyer by your side. It is important to remember that everything you say can later be used against you in court, even if you believe the statement to be completely harmless.
Austin Criminal Defense Attorney Richard T. Jones has more than two decades of experience, so he can provide you with the guidance you need through your DWI court proceedings. The seasoned lawyer has provided an overview about the basic steps you can expect to occur after your arrest.
Further Testing by Law Enforcement: After you are arrested for alleged DWI, the law enforcement officer will likely ask you to submit to additional chemical testing. Chemical testing includes breath, blood and urine tests. It is important to note that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test in the state of Texas, you can end up facing harsher DWI penalties, such as a longer driver's license suspension.
Filing of Charges: After making the arrest and conducting additional testing, state prosecutors will usually formally file DWI charges against you. Results from tests of impairment—such as field sobriety tests, and breath and blood tests—will typically be as evidence against you.
Arraignment: In this step, the court will inform you of your charges, and you will need to enter a plea of guilty, no contest or not guilty. If you and your lawyer plan to take your case to trial, you will need to plead not guilty. Otherwise, you will receive sentencing with the other pleas.
Pre-Trial Hearing: The pre-trial hearing is used to address any legal issues related to your case before trial, such as missing evidence. This is the stage where your attorney can file any pre-trial motions, such as motion to suppress certain evidence from trial. Plea negotiations also often occur at this stage of the DWI court process.
Trial: If you have not already had your charges dropped or entered into a plea deal that works in your favor, your DWI is then taken to trial. In this step, attorneys on both sides present evidence and question witnesses in front of a judge and jury. The verdict determines whether you are found guilty or not guilty. Guilty verdicts result in sentencing.
In addition to your court proceedings, you will also need to undergo administrative proceedings concerning your driver's license suspension. It is vital that you have strong legal representation during both your criminal and administrative proceedings. Contact The Law Office of Richard T. Jones immediately after you arrest to get the help you need!