A first-time DWI charge can be a very worrisome experience, with many being unequipped to handle the intricacies of the criminal justice system and complex DWI laws. However, with over 23% of Texans admitting to driving drunk at least once in their lives, it’s evident the true gravity of a DWI charge is often not felt until an individual is pleading for their liberty in front of a judge. While first-time offenders are often unaware of the magnitude of a DWI and may wonder if it’s worth it to hire an attorney for a DWI, the truth is that Texas takes driving while intoxicated very seriously and hands out severe punishments regardless of whether it’s a first-time offense. For those who are asking themselves “do I need a lawyer for a DWI in Texas?”, here are some reasons why many would answer “YES!”.
Why Do I Need A Lawyer for A DWI in Texas?
- DWIs Come With Harsh Consequences:
It is important to recognize the severity of a DWI charge. Some may be under the impression that they do not need to hire a lawyer as they are likely to receive a plea deal for a first-time DWI offense, but this is a lot more common in DUI cases. Many do not know the difference between a DWI and a DUI and are unaware that a DUI is reserved for minors and is filed under Texas Traffic Code, making DUIs less severe than DWIs that are filed under Texas Penal Code. Unlike those charged with a DUI, those charged with a DWI may not fare as well relying on their first-time offender status without competent representation. Texas has been known to suspend people’s licenses after their first DWI or even send them to jail for up to 180 days. With all that is at stake if convicted of a DWI, it is always worth it to consider hiring a lawyer.
- Public Defenders Often Aren’t Good Enough:
While those on a budget may consider hiring a public defender here are some factors to take into account. Although many public defenders are familiar with DWI law, public defenders cannot be chosen, and many are assigned fresh law school graduates who have limited trial experience. Furthermore, unlike a lawyer on retainer who can give each case individualized attention, public defenders usually have a very large caseload, and many times cannot provide a case the attention it requires to obtain a favorable outcome. Even if a public defender can provide their undivided attention to a case, they often lack the resources to hire investigators or expert witnesses that may be crucial in winning the case. While acquiring a public defender is, in most cases, better than self-representation, it is still a lesser guarantee of freedom than hiring a private, specialized defense lawyer.
- There Are Several Benefits To Hiring A DWI Lawyer:
For those still unsure if they do need a lawyer for DWI in Texas, here are some benefits of a DWI lawyer. First, unlike public defenders, DWI lawyers can be carefully vetted and chosen for their expertise in DWI law and defense. While it is well known that, when compared to a public defender, a lawyer on retainer will have a stronger relationship with their client and devote more time to an individual’s case, private lawyers can also save their clients potential time spent in the courtroom. Those who hire a lawyer can often have their lawyer appear at routine court appointments on their behalf, while those with public defenders usually have to appear at every court date alongside their defender. Even if an individual manages to get acquitted in trial after being represented by themselves or a public defender, they will still need the help of a lawyer to seal their court records. A good DWI lawyer will usually be able to get their client a plea deal, settle their client’s case without a trial, and seal their client’s records.
I DO Need A Lawyer For A DWI in Texas!
For those unprepared to navigate the criminal justice system or the consequences of a DWI conviction, a specialized defense lawyer is your best shot at peace of mind and positive results. Now that you are aware of all of the reasons why you do need a lawyer for a DWI in Texas, please, don’t hesitate in looking for expert representation today!