If you have been arrested for a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), it is essential to take immediate steps to protect your legal rights and minimize the consequences of your arrest. The Case Examples below are hypothetical situations written to give you an idea of how the court system operates. Although they are not real examples, they are based on what we have witnessed as DWI attorneys for many years. These examples are practical and can happen. Here are some steps you can take after getting arrested for a DWI:
Contact a DWI Attorney
One of the first things you should do is contact an experienced DWI attorney. They can provide legal advice, guide you through the legal process, and represent you in court. Don’t wait until your court date to hire a lawyer. All that time leading up to the court date is time in which the lawyer could’ve been strategizing and helping you.
Jane was arrested for DWI. She took the breathalyzer and blew .176. She went to her first court date, which is the Arraignment, planning to plead guilty because she figured she had no case. The judge accepted her guilty plea because he is the judge, not an advocate for her best interests. After the plea, she thought she would take her paperwork and leave. Instead, the judge remanded her and put her in jail for two days. Shocked and afraid, she questioned the judge as to why this was happening. He said, “the law states that when you are convicted of DWI and your blood alcohol limit is .15 or above, you must serve a mandatory two days in jail.” She begged him to not implement the two days, stating that she has a big work meeting the next day and she will lose her job. He said, “too bad. Maybe you should’ve hired a lawyer.”
Request a DMV Hearing
In Louisiana, you have only 30 days to request a DMV hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. Your attorney can help you request the hearing and represent you at the hearing. But, if you wait after the 30 days has expired, your license will go into suspension and you lose a right granted to you by law.
Troy was arrested for DUI on July 1, 2022. He refused the breathalyzer. His court date on his paperwork was September 6, 2022. He decides he won’t hire a lawyer until the week before his September court date. He never made a request for an Administrative Hearing for his driver’s license. As he is driving to work during the week before court, he is stopped for speeding. The officer says he is going to ticket him for driving under suspension. Troy is enraged and said he had a temporary license after his DWI arrest. The officer clarifies that the temporary license is only good for 30 days. Troy becomes angry and belligerent. The officer ends up booking him for resisting an officer. He is then required to sit in jail all day before posting bail. Now he has a whole new set of charges. The driving under suspension charge leads to a one-year suspension of your driver’s license if convicted.
Attend All Court Hearings
It is essential to attend all court hearings related to your case. Missing a court date can result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. Your attorney may appear for you at some court appearances. Talk to your lawyer about that being a possibility. Nevertheless, if you plead guilty to DWI, you must be physically in court. Your lawyer cannot plead guilty to DWI for you.
Jose got arrested for DUI in Louisiana and given a court date. He was only in Louisiana for a couple of months working for a contractor at a plant. Soon after his DUI arrest, his job was finished and he moved back to Texas. His employer then sent him to Michigan to start a new project. He never made his court date in Louisiana. The judge issued a bench warrant for his failure to appear and ordered a bench warrant bond in the amount of $5000. Two years later, Jose is on a vacation with his family in Florida. As they are driving down the interstate towards Disney World to arrive at their destination, Jose was pulled over for speeding. The Florida police officer ran his information and discovered that he has a bench warrant from Louisiana for the DUI. The officer got Jose out of the vehicle, placed him in handcuffs and brought him to jail. He waited in jail for 30 days before being released because Louisiana decided to not extradite. He lost his job. His family vacation was ruined. Be sure to attend your court date.
Avoid Future Legal Trouble
After a DWI arrest, it’s crucial to avoid any future legal trouble, such as driving under the influence or other criminal activity. This can impact your case and potentially result in additional charges. The judge could put you in jail if you catch another charge while the DWI case is pending. If you are on bond, a condition of that bond is to not have any criminal activity. The judge could revoke your bond and make you stay in jail until the case is disposed of.
Stan got arrested for a DWI on St. Patrick’s Day. He was booked, bonded out of jail, and given an arraignment date. Two weeks later, he got another DWI in the same city. Once again, he posted bond and was released. He appeared at his arraignment for the first DWI thinking he would just plead not guilty and get another court date. After he was arraigned, the prosecutor made a motion for bond revocation. The prosecutor informed the judge of the new DWI arrest while Stan was on bond. The judge revoked his bond on both DWIs and ordered him to be remanded without bond. He was required to sit in jail for 4 months waiting for the next court date where he pled guilty. He lost everything.
Overall, getting arrested for a DWI can be a challenging experience, but taking immediate action and working with an experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process and minimize the consequences of your arrest.