You've been arrested on suspicion of DWI in Houston. Now you have to prepare to defend yourself against criminal DWI charges. For many, this can be very overwhelming. You may even feel defeated before the case ever really gets off the ground. Try not to let your emotions get the best of you. In these situations, you need to approach your DWI defense with hope and the motivation to get the very best outcome.
It is important to acknowledge and accept that there will be obstacles along the way. However, knowing which obstacles exist and how you can overcome them can be a huge asset to your DWI defense. Here, we discuss the challenges you may face during your Houston DWI case and how those challenges can be addressed
What Are the Obstacles You Face with a Houston DWI Charge?
When you are charged with DWI in Houston you will have the opportunity to defend yourself. Along the way, there will likely be a number of obstacles that stand between you and a successful outcome. Some of these obstacles are internal, or of your own making. Others are external or derived from the facts and circumstances of your specific DWI case.
Internal obstacles are those that you put in your own way. These may include:
- Possessing a negative or defeated attitude from the onset of your defense
- Entering a plea other than “not guilty” because you don't think you can win
- Accepting a plea deal without talking with an experienced Houston DWI lawyer, or
- Deciding against hiring an attorney and trying to fight the charges yourself.
The good news is that internal obstacles don't have to exist. You can avoid many of these obstacles by simply approaching your DWI case with a positive attitude and asking for the help you need.
External obstacles are those that exist regardless of the things you do after your arrest. These may include:
- Evidence obtained by the state
- Your criminal record, or
- Police misconduct.
These obstacles can be more difficult to overcome. However, with the right attorney by your side, you can put up a good fight and minimize the adverse consequences of these things.
Your DWI & You as Your Own Worst Enemy
You may not believe that you have any control when you are the defendant in a criminal DWI case. However, that's not entirely true. While the state will control most aspects of the proceedings, there are things you can do to increase the odds of a successful outcome. The best thing you can do is to get out of your own way. Don't be your own worst enemy and put unnecessary obstacles in your way.
Don't Assume You'll Lose
Remember, you are innocent of criminal charges until the state can prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. One of your jobs as a defendant is to provide the jury with enough doubt so that the state can't satisfy its burden of proof. However, you can only get to this point in a criminal case if you believe that you can be successful. There is no way you can win if you assume you'll lose and give up before the case even really gets started.
Consider the Consequences of Your Plea
In the early stages of the proceedings, the state will make it seem as though they have a slam-dunk case. They'll point to all of the evidence they have to show that you are guilty of the crime, including breath or blood test results, eyewitness testimony, officer reports, or field sobriety tests. This is designed to make you nervous and lose hope. The state doesn't want you to put up a fight. Prosecutors want you to plead guilty and accept whatever penalties they decide are appropriate given the circumstances.
At this point in time, you may not have even had the opportunity to search for and speak with an attorney. While the state may have some evidence to support criminal DWI charges, there's really no way to tell if that evidence is valid and/or reliable. If you enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, chances are you'll never know. You'll also give up the right to defend yourself. If you enter a plea of not guilty, you give yourself the opportunity to really learn about what the state has to support its case against you. Once you've decided to fight, an experienced Houston DWI lawyer can help you overcome any external obstacles that may stand in your way.
Don't Let the Cost of Defense Stand in Your Way
When you are accused of driving while intoxicated it's important to assert a strong defense. The strongest defense will be led by an experienced Houston DWI attorney. The idea of hiring an attorney can be overwhelming. You may have limited resources and be nervous about spending money to fight a losing battle.
Try not to worry about the costs of a DWI defense. Hiring an attorney will significantly increase your chances of securing a positive outcome. It's better to spend money up front to defend yourself than simply concede and accept the costly consequences and pay later. A DWI conviction will result in harsh penalties and generate a criminal record. Spending a little bit of money to defend yourself can help you avoid these life-changing things and a much more costly conviction.
Your DWI & the Facts of Your Case
There will be obstacles in your DWI case that exist regardless of your attitude and desire to fight. These will typically involve the facts and circumstances of your case. While these obstacles can be more challenging to overcome, it is not impossible. An experienced Houston DWI lawyer will know how to approach these obstacles, create a legal strategy, and present a persuasive argument in your defense.
Evidence Obtained By the State
The primary external obstacle in your DWI case will involve evidence obtained by the state. This may include:
- Breath test results
- Blood test results
- Field sobriety test results
- Eyewitness statements or testimony
- Breath test refusal, or
- Police officer statements or testimony.
Prosecutors will try to move forward with any evidence that supports the assumption that you've driven a vehicle while intoxicated. However, you have the right to examine this evidence and challenge its validity.
Your attorney will carefully analyze all evidence secured by the state, searching for ways to challenge its reliability. Any issue with the evidence can be brought up in court. Attacking the validity and reliability of evidence can hurt the state's case and make it difficult for prosecutors to satisfy their burden of proof.
Police officers must perform their job duties in a way that do not infringe upon your Constitutional rights. They must have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop and probable cause to perform a search or make an arrest. If officers violate your rights in any way, the state's case against you can be on very unsteady ground.
This is particularly true if your attorney finds that any evidence was obtained in violation of your rights - such as through an illegal search, seizure, or arrest - they will immediately file a motion to suppress. If the motion is granted, the state will not be allowed to use that evidence to prove your guilt. Without evidence, it can be very difficult for the state to satisfy its lofty burden of proof.
Prior Arrests and Convictions
Prior arrests and convictions can pose a challenge when your DWI case goes to trial. The state will point to your prior run-ins with the law to establish a pattern of misconduct. This can present difficulties if you have multiple DWI convictions or a history of criminal activity. The jury may give more weight to this anecdotal evidence than is really necessary. This could cause them to mistakenly believe that prior misconduct has a bearing on your behavior today.
What can you do? Your attorney should address the jury's concerns head-on. If you've been in trouble before, you now have the opportunity to explain yourself. Point to the fact that you've paid your debt to society and learned your lesson. Identify any steps you've taken to rehabilitate yourself and live a life within the law. Don't let the jury worry that your criminal record is any indicator of future behavior.
Commit to a Strong DWI Defense
You'll face many obstacles along the way when you're charged with DWI in Houston. Some of these obstacles will be of your own creation while others will simply exist because of the circumstances of your case. It's important to understand that your attitude and approach to your case will affect both the internal and external obstacles. If you don't fight, you can't win. Putting forth a strong defense can help you avoid many of the negative consequences of a DWI conviction. Hiring an attorney will make the chances of success even greater.
Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. if you're facing criminal charges for DWI in Houston. Our criminal DWI defense lawyers understand that your future is on the line. We're prepared to help you challenge and fight to overcome every obstacle along the way. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.