It happens sometimes. You are out having a few drinks with friends that last throughout the night, and by night's end, you think you are fine to drive. You may be. You may be not. You get pulled over for a traffic stop, and the police suspect DWI. A DWI investigation ensues. You are arrested and charged. The problem: a few weeks or months later, you took some new prescription medication and then drove home. But before you got home, you were pulled over for a traffic stop. The officer then suspected you were intoxicated. Your second problem: You already have a DWI case pending. How will this new arrest and charge impact the first DWI case? Alternatively, how will the pending case affect the new DWI case?
Basically: what happens in Texas if you are arrested for DWI while another DWI case is pending?
The answer is, nothing specific. Both DWIs are considered on their own merit as separate offenses. DWI cases are technical cases and no two are the same. Also, a DWI charge is not a conviction, and only DWI convictions can impact a pending DWI case. But you need to make sure you don't get a conviction for the first DWI so it doesn't have an impact on the second pending DWI, and vice versa in case the second DWI case -- for whatever reason -- moves through the court system faster. Here's your guide how to fight the multiple, open, pre-plea DWI charges in Harris County and any surrounding county in the State of Texas.
Five Things to Know If Multiple DWIs are Pending in Texas
There are certain things you can do to better your chances of your multiple DWI cases ending in your favor. The first thing to know is that you have to act; you can't sit around and wait for things to happen because they won't, or if they do, they may not be in your favor. The second thing to know, you can win your cases, or at least have favorable outcomes considering your unique circumstances, but finding the right lawyer will be key. Here are five things to do or know if you have multiple DWIs pending in Texas.
1. Are your DWIs in the same county?
Where your open DWIs are all located matters: whether all are in Harris County or whether one is located there and another one is located in another county like Galveston County, Montgomery County, Austin County, or other counties in the region. If in the same county, the courts may consolidate your cases depending on the circumstances. If they are each in a different county, then your attorney may attempt to file each case as a first offense. The court may not find out about another pending case -- but that said, you should always assume other pending DWI cases will become known at one point.
It is important, therefore, to find a Board Certified DWI defense attorney who both knows and has experience in multiple courts and multiple DWIs and knows how to handle these sensitive yet complex situations. It takes experience, insight, and the ability to use that insight to your benefit. The strategy will first depend on which courts are involved.
2. You need to get at least one case dismissed.
Considering the penalties of multiple DWIs (first DWI v. a second DWI v. a third DWI), it is in your best interests to try to get at least one DWI case dismissed. That means you need to find an attorney who is not all about the plea deals; you need an attorney who will either work to get at least one DWI dismissed prior to trial or take the case to trial and pursue an acquittal. That takes real determination and legal skill.
3. What happens to ALR hearings?
By the time you were arrested for the second DWI, you may have already either requested or attended an ALR hearing associated for your first DWI arrest. ALR hearings are an important part of your DWI defense strategy. That means hopefully you found the best DWI attorney in Houston before your ALR hearing. But there are other things to consider, too. What does a second ALR hearing mean in such a short time and how will that affect your day-to-day living? You need an attorney who can help you win your ALR hearing in the first place so if a second one occurs, you are in a better position. An experienced DWI attorney will walk you through this process made more complex by multiple pending DWIs.
4. What happens after you plead not guilty in both instances?
After you have pled not guilty to both DWIs, there will be the issue of pursuing alcohol programs or other programs concurrently if that is part of your strategic defense. Sometimes a lawyer will ask you to take an alcohol or drug evaluation and start a program to use that as leverage in your defense. How it is applied when you have two open cases can be tricky. It requires resourcefulness and thoughtful strategy.
5. When should you retain the best DWI attorney for you in Houston, TX?
After an arrest, whether for a DWI or another alleged crime, you should look for a defense attorney best for you. Determining what is best for you requires analysis of your own expectations about your case and its outcome. If you want to have the charges dismissed or to go to trial and pursue an acquittal, then you need to be particular about the defense lawyer you hire. You want a defense attorney who is:
- Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specializations in criminal law because this testifies to the attorney's skill, knowledge, and capability to successfully take cases to trial.
- Board Certified by the National College of DUI Defense -- the only agency accredited by the American Bar Association to certify U.S. lawyers in DWI / DUI defense -- because this demonstrates the attorney's knowledge of and capabilities in DWI / DUI defense specifically.
- Well-known and regarded in the legal community for his or her legal, technical, and trial skills because this exemplifies more than anything an attorney's legal competency.
Contact a Board Certified DWI Attorney in Houston, TX
Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers to be Board Certified in both criminal law and DWI defense. He is also often invited to speak at events and workshops specific to DWI and DUI topics throughout Texas and the United States. It is his mission to hold the prosecutor, judge, and jury accounts to the legal principle that you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Contact our office today at (713) 229-8333 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your DWI case(s) with Doug Murphy and his legal team.