If you were recently arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, you probably have a lot of questions about what happens next. Will you go to trial? How long does the process take? These are just a few aspects of the DWI process you will want to know before your day in court.
After you are arrested for DWI, your first court appearance will be at your arraignment. Here, the judge will inform you of the charges against you, and then ask you to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, you will most likely be sentenced then and there. However, if you submit a not guilty plea, the judge will set the date for your next court appearance.
You may be required to attend a pretrial a few weeks after your arraignment. As the name suggests, a pretrial is a trial before your real trial. During this hearing, the prosecution will submit the evidence against you, and the judge will then determine whether it can be used in the trial.
The next step in the DWI process is the actual DWI trial, which takes place shortly after the pretrial and typically lasts one to two days. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may be tried by a panel of jurors or by a judge. Contrary to what you may think, a jury trial is not always the best option for your DWI case. As a result, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney before your DWI trial.
In order to convict you, the prosecution must prove you are guilty of the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Any inaccurate evidence, such as faulty breath testing devices or incorrect police reports, can therefore be challenged. An experienced DWI attorney can evaluate the evidence against you and determine the best defense strategies for your specific case.
After the prosecution argues its case against you, the judge or jury will then determine whether you are guilty or not. If convicted of the charges, you will be sentenced. Penalties may include jail time, expensive fines and license suspension. The conviction will also be reported to the DMV, where it will remain permanently on your driving record.