If you're in drug or alcohol treatment, the last thing you need is a DWI charge, especially if your treatment program was court-ordered. The stakes are even higher if a court convicts you of a DWI right now, so you need an experienced DWI attorney immediately. Remember, just because the police charge you with a DWI doesn't mean a court will convict you. You have options, and you have defenses to the charge. Attorney Doug Murphy can help.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs
For drug and alcohol treatment, there are both inpatient, full-time programs, and part-time outpatient programs. The best program for you will vary depending on the severity of your addiction and medical and counseling professionals' recommendations.
- Inpatient Treatment
Inpatient treatment in Texas involves a stay at an alcohol or drug rehabilitation facility for the entire treatment period. This stay can mean being away from home for several weeks or even longer. Some inpatient treatment facilities are privately owned, and some are owned by the state or local government. Government facilities are often the best option for those without health insurance or with low income. In some cases, health insurance will cover some or all of inpatient treatment costs. Unfortunately, private facilities tend to have better treatment facilities but are also much more expensive. While medical professionals typically reserve inpatient treatment for more severe cases, there are benefits to staying onsite, including:
- Temptation Limits: While you are in an inpatient treatment facility, you're less likely to be subjected to easy access to drugs or alcohol. It can be easier to learn to manage cravings and change behavior patterns when your normal routine and life doesn't get in the way.
- Medical Treatment: Withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can cause physical symptoms, ranging from unpleasant to life-threatening. While in an inpatient treatment facility, you will have medical professionals monitoring your physical condition and symptoms.
- More Accountability: While in an inpatient treatment facility, you'll have peers going through treatment with you day and night. You'll also have the support of medical professionals to keep you accountable.
- Peer Bonding: In an inpatient facility, you'll have the support of others going through drug and alcohol treatment. You may create lasting relationships in treatment that can support you even after leaving a treatment facility, helping to keep you clean and sober long-term.
- Outpatient Treatment
Outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs do not involve overnight stays. In outpatient treatment, you will go through many of the same individual and group counseling sessions. You will receive much of the same substance abuse assistance as well, but during outpatient treatment, you will return home at the end of the day.
- DWI Court and SOBER Programs
DWI court in Harris County is for drivers with a high risk of multiple DWIs without treatment. The program is not for first-time offenders. The Saving Ourselves By Education and Resources (SOBER) program gives drivers facing mandatory jail time a treatment option that allows them to identify the root cause of their substance abuse issues. The program also allows for a reduction in court-ordered fines and community service hours.
The Harris County judicial system works in conjunction with Harris county alcohol treatment programs for the SOBER program. The treatment program lasts between nine and 16 months. Upon completion, drivers still face supervised probation. The program is voluntary, but there are some downfalls to the program. You cannot use drugs or alcohol while you are part of the SOBER program. If you don't comply with these limitations, you could end up in jail. If you're currently part of a SOBER treatment program and the police arrest you for a DWI, you need to immediately speak with an experienced DWI attorney.
Changing Treatment Programs
If the police arrest you for a DWI while you're currently in an outpatient treatment program, you may want to consider changing programs or switching to an inpatient treatment facility. Immediately entering an inpatient treatment program won't affect whether a court finds you guilty, but if you face sentencing for a guilty DWI verdict, it may affect your sentences.
After a guilty verdict, whether from a jury trial, a bench trial, or a plea deal, the court will look to the prosecutor to determine your recommended sentence. While the court must remain within statutory guidelines, the judge does have some flexibility in rendering your sentence. In many cases, the prosecutor's recommendations will also carry a great deal of weight. If you moved from an outpatient to an inpatient treatment program, the prosecutor and judge might see this as evidence that you are serious about completing a treatment program and removing the possibility of treatment interruption or temptation.
If you do move to an inpatient treatment program with a new pending DWI charge, you should:
- Hire an attorney immediately. You need legal guidance to ensure the best possible outcome for your trial and sentencing. This DWI isn't a situation where you should try to represent yourself, particularly if you're in an inpatient program that allows minimal contact with anyone outside the facility. You need an experienced DWI attorney handling your case and ensuring you meet all the court's deadlines and requirements.
- Keep your attorney informed about your treatment progress. Your attorney will certainly provide you with legal guidance about your case and how your DWI can affect your treatment, but you need to ensure your attorney knows how your treatment progresses so they can represent you in court.
- Don't miss any court deadlines. You want the court to see that you take your drug or alcohol treatment seriously. It isn't a good time to miss a hearing and then try to ask for forgiveness later. Your attorney can ensure that you're represented in court for every hearing and ensure you know any other court requirements or deadlines. If you can't be in a hearing because of essential treatment or withdrawal, your attorney can work to arrange dates on your behalf while still following the court's rules.
- Comply with all treatment requirements. It is not a good time to break the rules. Inpatient treatment facilities have stringent rules to assist your recovery. Follow all of the guidelines in your treatment facility strictly.
Before changing treatment programs after a DWI, you should discuss your options with an experienced DWI attorney.
If you're facing a DWI while you're in treatment for drugs or alcohol, you need an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. You need an attorney with extensive education, training, and experience dealing with the legal and technical issues related to DWI cases. Not just any attorney has the experience to handle DWI cases. You don't want an attorney who will simply tell you to plead guilty and hope for the best. It's important to remember that you do have options. Some of the defenses available in DWI cases include:
- Challenging blood or breath tests,
- Challenging field sobriety tests,
- Challenging whether the police officer had reasonable suspicion for the stop,
- Challenging whether the police officer had probable cause for the arrest,
- Challenging Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) results,
- Challenging witness and police officer testimony,
- Using police reports to challenge police officer recollection of events and proper administration of the law,
- Moving to suppress evidence or witness testimony, among many other defenses.
Hire a Board Certified DWI Expert
If you're facing a DWI charge while you're already in drug or alcohol treatment, you need a defense attorney who is considered an expert in DWI defense. Only attorneys Board Certified in DWI Defense can claim the title of "expert" in DWI cases.
Attorney Doug Murphy is one of only two attorneys in Texas who is Board Certified in both DWI Defense and Criminal Law. Doug is Board Certified in DUI Defense by the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD), accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also Board Certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Doug has extensive experience representing clients charged with multiple DWIs, as well as:
- Intoxication assault,
- Intoxication manslaughter,
- DWI with a child under 15 in the car,
- Drug possession,
- White-collar crimes,
- Boating while intoxicated,
- Felony DWIs,
- Multiple pending DWIs,
- DWI with prescription drugs,
- DWI with a commercial driver's license,
- Domestic violence, and more.
Doug works hard to educate the legal community regarding DWI defense and is a sought-after speaker on DWI and criminal defense law. He also gives back to the Houston legal community, having served on the Board of directors for the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. As a member of the TCDLA, he's received numerous TCDLA President's Awards for his leadership.
Doug understands what a frightening experience this is, and he brings more than 20 years of experience in criminal defense and DWI work to the table.
Best Lawyers in America recently named Doug the "Lawyer of the Year" for 2021 for DWI defense, and The Houston media calls Doug "a drinking driver's best friend." Let him fight for you too. Call us at 713-229-8333 today to set up a consultation.