The problem with DWIs is that they happen to good, hard-working Americans. They happen to you, your neighbor, even law enforcement agents. They happen to any of us who drink alcohol and then drive. They happen because we think we are sober enough to drive. Sometimes we may be, sometimes we may not be. In either circumstance, you could potentially find yourself arrested and charged. It's usually a poorly maintained portable breathalyzer or an unscientific field sobriety test that becomes the deciding factor that gets you arrested. And it's because of these things, alongside a breath or blood test taken at the station, you think the verdict is already in, so why fight it?
Fighting a DWI has its pros and cons, and experienced, Board Certified DWI and criminal defense lawyer Doug Murphy shares some of these pros and cons with you. Full disclosure, though: Doug Murphy is the kind of attorney who routinely fights DWI cases and does not give up or does not settle. That means, he isn't interested in plea deals if they are not in your best interest. That means he goes all the way to trial -- in fact, preparing for trial from day one -- because it is in your best interests almost always to do so unless he gets the case dismissed prior to trial. But those kinds of dismissals usually materialize because you are preparing and negotiating with a trial in mind. With that said, here are some of the most common pros and cons of fighting your DWI in Harris County.
Pros: Reasons You Should Fight Your DWI in Harris County
First of all, you should know that not only should you but you CAN fight a DWI charge in Harris County, Texas. These charges are defensible, no matter how much evidence you think there is against you. Here is a list of pros why you should fight your DWI charge in Harris County.
Pro #1: You maximize chances for dismissal or acquittal.
Fighting a DWI charge is often your only means to the dismissal of the charges or an acquittal at trial. In fact, if you do not fight your DWI, then you probably pleaded guilty or no contest. Whether you do so at your arraignment or via a plea deal doesn't matter because the problem with this route: your chances for a dismissal or acquittal are nil and you end up with a criminal record. For most of you, the DWI charge was your first ever charge of any kind. Now, a pleading of guilty or no contest lands you a criminal record. This record can have a serious impact on your life.
Pro #2: You help prevent the damage made by collateral consequences of a criminal record.
If you do not fight your DWI charge, then -- as mentioned above -- you probably pleaded guilty or no contest, which means you now have a criminal record. Though you can now get a first-time DWI expunged, it's not so in all cases. And in the meantime, your arrest and criminal record are still out there.
In what's known as collateral consequences, you could find it hard to find a job, obtain housing, or be approved for a loan. In some cases where you need either security clearance or a professional license -- like a pilot's license, nursing license, or medical license -- your chances to acquire or maintain it can be hindered. A first-time DWI will not mean an automatic denial of security clearance or a professional license, but it opens the door for questioning and the DWI conviction will remain in your profile for future reference when you need to renew the license or clearance, or for those times when you are charged with a DWI again.
Pro #3: You get to save your name in the community.
Whether you ever cared before or not, if you are charged with a DWI, you will likely care what the community thinks of you, including family and co-workers or colleagues. It's embarrassing. It makes you look reckless. It can be demoralizing. Fighting the charge is your best bet to get it dismissed. Prosecutors are overloaded and funding for the State to investigate and convict a person on a DWI charge can be limited. Furthermore, with an attorney like Doug Murphy who works on your behalf tirelessly, the prosecution knows you mean business, so saving your name in the community is possible if you fight the DWI charge.
Pro #4: You get to have your day in court.
If you have been charged with a DWI, having your day in court can help you exonerate yourself. You get to tell your side of the story. You get to describe how the police behaved with you. You get to explain yourself. From the stand, you get to talk to the jurors and let them get to know you. Having your day in court matters to you and your case. It is the moment of truth when jury members are able to identify and empathize with you more so than they can with the State.
Pro #5: If convicted, your sentencing will likely be lighter than if you pleaded guilty initially or accepted a plea deal.
By hiring the best attorney for you in Harris County, TX and fighting your charge, your attorney will likely strategize your defense so that the State's case is weakened enough to cause an acquittal. Alternatively, if you are not acquitted, the defense weakened the State's case to the extent that caused the charges to be reduced and/or a lighter sentence to result. The judge -- unlike if you failed to fight your charge -- has a chance to hear your story, learn a thing or two about you, and sympathize your position, and that can make all the difference in sentencing.
Cons: Reasons You May Not Want to Fight Your DWI in Harris County
There aren't many reasons you should not fight your DWI. Some attorneys may try to persuade you to take a plea deal instead of fight, but these deals are often not in your best interests. You may think, however, that the police have your breath and/or blood tests, so the odds are you'll be found guilty so why expend all that money, time, an energy just to be found guilty in the end? That's the thing, with a skilled attorney, you can fight the charge. That said, here are three reasons you may not want to fight your DWI charge in Harris County, Texas.
Con #1: It can be costly to fight a DWI.
There are costs to fighting the DWI. As noted above, one of the costs of not fighting the charge are the collateral consequences you can expect if you plead guilty or no contest. But of course, if you do decide to fight a DWI there are financial costs you can expect. Developing your defense is not inexpensive in certain situations. If an accident reconstruction is needed, if expert testimony is required, if other circumstances mandate it, the costs can rise in addition to the attorney's fee.
That said, you can expect financial expenses, too, if you do not fight a DWI. Sentencing most often incorporates fines. There are also court fees that you will still have to pay and the possibility of restitution if you admitted to damaging any property or causing any bodily injury. Pleading guilty or no contest does not free you of the financial burden of a DWI charge. Besides, in many cases, alleged DWI offenders hire an attorney who then talks the person into a plea deal, so you already paid attorney fees. If you are going to pay for an attorney, pay for the best and fight the charge, or else your money is more or less wasted. And that's a financial cost you don't want to make.
Con #2: It can be time-consuming to fight a DWI.
It's true. Fighting a DWI can take time, months to a year or even longer. Gathering evidence, analyzing the evidence, negotiating with the State, filing pre-trial motions, attending hearings, conducting discovery, and then eventually going to trial all takes time, energy, and resources. It can be stressful trying to remember everything you need to do about your DWI and still continue your day-to-day living.
But of course, that stress can be alleviated with an experienced, competent DWI lawyer in Houston TX. An attorney who knows the law, the court system, and the ins and outs of a DWI case is an attorney who can help put you at ease. Doug Murphy is a Board Certified DWI and Board Certified criminal defense attorney who has been trusted by thousands of DWI clients throughout the years to take care of their cases and to contact them when they are needed. In this way, clients can rest assured their case is in good hands and they are able to go on about their daily lives as though a big cloud is not hanging over their heads.
Con #3: There is no guarantee fighting the charge will result in a more favorable outcome for you.
This is also true. Just because you fight a DWI charge and go to trial does not guarantee an outcome for you. Just about anything can happen at trial. It's a scary thought of leaving your future up to a jury of 6 or 12 people.
But again, this is where retaining an experienced, formidable attorney comes into play. Doug Murphy understands juries. Doug Murphy is strategic during voir dire, the time jury members are selected. He can identify who will work to your benefit and who will not. Then, once at trial, he works the jury. He makes sure to identify with them, to connect with them, to garner their trust in him and in you. This is also why when choosing an attorney, you want one who has the kind of experience Doug Murphy has, someone who has deep trial experience and has been successful at it.
When to Contact the Best DWI Attorney in Harris County for You
Doug Murphy is the best at what he does. His clients attest to it. His peers confirm it. When he isn't fighting on your behalf to dismiss DWI charges or acquit you on DWI charges, he is traveling Texas and beyond to teach other attorneys how to defend their clients in DWI cases. He has a deep commitment to his work and to his clients. Winning your DWI case is his main priority. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today either online or at (713) 229-8333 to discuss your case.