Experiencing an Arrest for DWI in Texas Can Be One of the Most Stressful Events in a Person’s Life. While a First Offense DWI Is Still a Misdemeanor, It’s a Completely Different Experience From Getting a Standard Traffic Ticket.
Between the Social Stigma Often Associated With a DWI Arrest and the Potential for Criminal Charges, This Experience Can Significantly Impact You. To Help People Better Understand Both the Experience and the Impact, We’re Going to Break Down the Arrest Process for a Standard DWI.
If You or Someone You Love Is Facing a DWI Charge, It Can Also Be Wise to Consider Consulting a Professional DWI Attorney in Houston or the Relevant State. Laws May Vary Based on Federal or Local Considerations, So Each Case Will Change Accordingly.
Being pulled over does not immediately mean that you’ll be arrested, but that is where any DWI arrest begins.
Typically, an officer will pull you over, ask you a few questions about what you’ve had to drink, and potentially administer a series of field sobriety tests. If the officer in question believes that you’ve failed these tests, they may arrest you for suspicion of DWI.
If this happens, the next steps are being taken into custody and driven to the local jail. For example, if you’re arrested for DWI in Harris County, you’ll usually be transported to the downtown jail on San Jacinto, where you’ll wait for processing and any official charges to be drafted.
This is where case building can begin.
Oftentimes, arresting officers don’t read you your rights at the moment of arrest. Technically, Miranda warnings are only required if they plan on questioning you, so failure to read the rights isn’t a get out of jail free card like many expect.
Even though your rights may not have been read to you, the police can still use what you say as evidence while you’re in custody. Most patrol cars come with recording equipment for both safety and evidence collection, so evidence collection is fairly easy on the part of the police.
In lieu of your Miranda rights, however, an arresting officer will often read you a statutory warning, and request that you provide a blood or breath sample. While you can refuse these, officers will typically seek a warrant to collect the sample in the same evening.
A Note on Sobriety Tests
Sobriety testing, while objectively accurate, is unfortunately subject to imperfect application. In many cases, the results can vary based on the officer administering the tests.
Field sobriety tests rely on the officer in question having an acute sense of a person’s normal functionality and then comparing that against your supposedly impaired state. We have spoken at length about the efficacy of field sobriety tests here if you want to learn more about how these tests may be used against you in a DWI arrest case.
What Happens to Me?
If you’ve agreed to the test or the officer has procured a warrant, you’ll be sent to the corresponding facility to collect the sample. That usually means the station for a breath sample, or a sanitary facility for the blood sample.
You’ll be held in custody before, during, and for a while after your sample collection. Usually that means the local jail.
What About My Car?
Your vehicle is likely to be searched, towed, and stored in a local impound yard.
If your car is towed in Houston, 713-308-8580 is the number for the Wrecker Tow Line responsible for handling most police towing cases. You can also go to the Houston police website and use their towing management option.
Be sure you have a record of your license plate or VIN so you can search for your car. Additionally, you’ll need to pay the towing charge and daily impound fees in order to secure the release of your car. In some circumstances, you may be given an opportunity to notify friends or family so they can pick up your car without towing.
Once you get to the local jail, you’ll be processed and put into the system. The process usually includes an officer collecting your personal information, like your name, address, date of birth, social number, and so on.
Outside of this information, you’re not required to speak with any officers. This is when most people invoke their rights to remain silent and request a lawyer, preventing any additional collection of evidence
What Happens to My Stuff?
The jail will seize and inventory your personal belongings, returning them only after you are released. If your personal possessions are considered “evidence,” there’s a chance you may not get them back even after your release.
Fingerprinting and fingerprint records may be collected to confirm your identity and to see if you have any outstanding warrants or are suspected in other pending criminal matters.
Bail is the monetary amount a court sets for arrested people to pay if they want to be released from jail immediately and to assure an appearance in court.
Bail Payment and Options
For first time offenders, bail is usually set somewhere around $500. Bail can be posted as a cash bond with the Sheriff or Court, or — if you cannot afford bail — you can secure a surety through a bail bondsman.
For bail bondsmen, be sure to work with a credible option. There are a number of credible, local bondsman to work with in Houston. Call Trichter, LeGrand, Houlton & White Law Firm if you would like a recommendation for a reputable bondsman based on the area of your arrest.
Assuming you can pay your bail through one of these methods, release may take around 12 hours from your initial arrest time depending on where you’ve been arrested.
From arrest to release, you’ll have to contend with the various tests, questions, and expectations as a DWI suspect. At some point, likely after you’ve been processed, it may be prudent to consider legal counsel.
Hiring a DWI attorney to defend you as soon as possible may improve your chances of successfully fighting DWI charges you face after an arrest. Legal proceedings after a DWI arrest can be complicated and daunting, which is why proper legal representation is vital.
One of the reasons we put together The Trichter, LeGrand, Houlton & White Law Firm was to provide legal representation to people facing DWIs specifically. We have a great deal of experience in contesting and winning DWI cases, and we’ve learned that DWI cases benefit from that experience.
Be sure to take your decision for legal counsel seriously, and consider working with a DWI attorney that has a positive record of working with DWI cases.
If you’re interested in working with Trichter specifically, get a free consultation concerning your DWI case today.
Being arrested for DWI in Houston can happen pretty quick, and sometimes it’s hard to recall all of the details the longer you wait. That’s why it’s imperative that you let your attorney know all the details of your arrest and processing as soon as possible, so they can get to work building your case.
DWI cases often come down to the details, and small details can be the difference between a win and a loss. Providing your attorney with as many details as possible is an important place to start, not just concerning your arrest and testing, but also concerning your personal well being.
Health Factors, Circumstances, and Other Factors
DWI arrests may happen even when you’re not actually intoxicated. Field sobriety tests can be unreliable because they don’t check for all aspects of a person’s physical capabilities.
For example, many medical conditions, injuries, mental conditions, and medications may cause similar levels of instability that don’t impact your driving but may impact your ability to perform a stressful roadside test after you’ve been pulled over.
Alert your attorney to, and only your attorney, to any and all potential details that might influence your physical or mental state while driving, as they could be vital inroads to a successful defense during your DWI arrest case.
Keep in mind that attorney-client privilege protects everything you discuss with him or her. That is the 5 Steps in Your DWI Arrest.
Stress and uncertainty about the potential outcome of your case is natural, but it’s better to trust your attorney throughout the process. Working with a professional DWI lawyer is a good step because you can trust that they’re handling your case with years of experience and professional litigation skills under their belt.
Your DWI attorney should also help you keep track of your approaching deadlines, including things like your ALR hearing — which can help you keep your Driver’s Licesne — and upcoming court dates, strategy, options, and what to expect throughout the entire process.
At the Trichter, LeGrand, Houlton & White Law Firm, we will not only aggressively fight and defend you, but we also work diligently to minimize the stress of your case by keeping you informed and involved. Our experienced DWI attorneys handle hundreds of DWI cases each year, so we know how things work for Houston DWI arrest cases.
If you’d like to speak with a professional DWI attorney at the Trichter, LeGrand, Houlton & White Law Firm today, simply give us a call or fill out the contact form with the necessary details. We’re experienced, trained in forensic science, and we’ve been helping people in the Houston area address their legal needs for years.
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