10 Things People Do to Botch-Up Their DWI Case
1. TREAT THIS LIKE A TRAFFIC TICKET.
This charge is serious, treat it that way. A DWI conviction can result in over $8000.00 fines and penalties not to mention the consequences of losing your license and possibly even jail time. The punishment range for a first time DWI is up to 180 days in jail. While a traffic ticket can only result in a fine and increased insurance.
2. WAIT TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY.
Hiring an attorney in a timely manner is important. First, you have 15 days to request an administrative license revocation hearing (ALR). Requesting an ALR on time can help you receive important documents from the Department of Public Safety regarding your case. It gives you an opportunity to pin the officer down on important elements regarding your case. Hiring a qualified attorney as soon as possible is also important because memories sometimes diminish. Furthermore, many times defenses that deal with medical issues requires more time to obtain evidence. Waiting too long to hire an attorney can make a good case become a loser.
3. HIRING AN ATTORNEY BASED ONLY ON THE FEE.
The State has unlimited resources and experienced officers who are trained to testify in these types of cases. You need an attorney who charges a fee which allows him to put time and effort in order to successfully challenge the prosecution’s case. Lawyers, who routinely charge too little, must take on a larger number of cases at smaller fees in order to keep their doors open. Many times, those attorneys who have a large volume of cases are “spread too thin” and can not spend the time required to present a successful defense to your case. Look for a reasonable, predictable fee, not the cheapest. Attorney’s who only charge 100.00 to 200.00 for representation are not serious about getting a successful result in your case.
4. NOT ABIDING THE DRIVER’S LICENSE LAWS.
You could lose your privilege to drive.
5. DRIVE AFTER THE TIME YOUR LICENSE HAS BEEN REVOKED.
This is a great way to get charged with a new offense when your DWI case is pending. Being charged with a new offense can get your bond revoked and you being placed in jail.
6. NOT EXPLORING ALL OF YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES IN YOUR CASE.
7. Taking First Offer The Prosecutor Makes.
Taking the first offer is not smart it’s just a way to end your case with the least amount of work. Few cases are dismissed or reduced to a non-alcohol charge at this stage before a proper investigation of the case can be done. Without a proper investigation you risk losing certain constitutional challenges you may have. A good case can become a loser by accepting a deal too soon.
8. MISS YOUR COURT DATE.
The Court will issue a warrant for your arrest and revoke your bond. This is not a traffic ticket don’t treat it like one. The next time you are stopped for a traffic violation, you will spend some time in jail and have to post a bond for your future appearances.
9. TALK TO A PROSECUTOR OR THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER ABOUT YOUR CASE.
Some people believe that officers and prosecutors can be reasoned with, without the help or advice of an attorney. BIG MISTAKE!!!!!!!!!! First, anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. I can not tell you how many times a defendant or a parent of a defendant without experience in DWI law says the wrong thing because they believe a rational explanation can absolve them. For example I have had people who call me who can’t understand why the state won’t dismiss the case once they tell the prosecutor they had a valid medical prescription. (Click here for details.) What often happens is they make statements, which end up making their case worse.
NOT HIRING A DWI ATTORNEY
Many people believe that any attorney can handle a DWI. WRONG! Only a DWI attorney is qualified to handle the detailed scientific and technical knowledge that surrounds a DWI conviction. If you would not have a heart surgeon perform brain surgery, then why would you hire a family lawyer to handle a DWI. Members of the National College for Dui Defense (www.ncdd.com) are experienced DWI attorneys. I have been a member of the National College for Dui Defense for several years and I am a graduate of the NCDD summer session at Harvard Law School.