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The first thing one can do to help obtain the best possible future outcome is to hire competent, experienced, and skilled counsel well-versed in Texas DWI Defense. The area of DWI Defense is very complex and is a very niche area of the law. Unless an attorney keeps up to date with current case law and all other relevant topics, one would not be able to competently handle a DWI case in the best manner possible. An experienced Texas DWI Defense attorney will apprise one of all relevant and proactive steps that needed to be taken, as well as made aware of all relevant deadlines that need to be adhered to. One thing that people can do to be productive is requesting an ALR hearing and hiring an experienced DWI attorney who has tried a lot of cases and who has done the proper NHTSA training. In my opinion, any attorney who handles a DWI blood test case should have taken a course in gas chromatography because that’s how blood is tested in Texas. In a breath test case, having a sound understanding of how the Intoxilyzer works is important.

One can also possibly start helping mount the best defense possible by advising a sound course of action to employ that will possibly best be utilized in court. An attorney should advise one to timely request the ALR hearing and to also, if possible, to obtain a new driver’s license if it was confiscated after the release from jail. If an individual’s driver’s license is confiscated following an arrest that was deemed a refusal, a “Temporary Driving Permit” (DIC-25) should have been given among the paperwork given upon release from jail. If this is the situation, the ALR hearing should be requested within 15 days. However, if done promptly following an arrest for DWI, one can go to a DPS substation and request another driver’s license if they report it as lost (technically it was!). They will then mail them a new one, and having this going forward in the process can be very helpful when doing activities that require official identification (renting a vehicle on trips, using a credit card, etc.). It is often the case where individuals do not pay attention to, and therefore do not take full advantage of the ALR hearing process as an investigation tool.

Next, it is important to not do anything on social media. Actually, it is advisable to just delete all social media accounts. Next, it is important to note not to go on social media and possibly vent your frustration in any way. The police and the DA’s office very well could be watching anything you do or post on social media. Stay away from it. Another thing you can do to help yourself is to deactivate or delete, all of your Internet social media accounts. Prosecutors and their investigators will look you up on websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We don’t want them investigating you on those websites because they’ll use things you post there against you. They’ll identify your friends and call them on the phone to ask about you.

Next, one should not drink alcohol, or consume any illegal substances…period. You are now on bond for a DWI charge. The worst thing for you would be to be found to be in violation of your bond and put back in jail for consuming alcohol, or what’s worse, to possibly find yourself having to face another DWI charge or another intoxication-related offense. If one has to have an ignition interlock on their vehicle, it can put one in a very tough stop if they have violations when trying to operate their vehicles. It cannot be stated enough that it is very wise to stop drinking, bar hopping, or cease to engage in any other possible risky behavior. You do not want to make the situation any worse, which will obviously make things harder on a person that what they are already facing.

It can also help to start to assemble and gather any relevant witnesses and evidence. After one has chosen a suitable attorney, requested the ALR Hearing, and possibly order a copy of another driver’s license in the mail – the next step is to gather as much evidence as possible related to the incident, while your memory is still fresh. One of the first (and perhaps easiest) things that can be done is obtaining a receipt for any alcoholic beverages consumed on the night in question. If the document is favorable to the defense, it could possibly be used later in the trial. It can be helpful to go back and get your receipts from the bar if you really did only have two drinks. Write down a narrative of everything you remember because if your case goes to trial, it might be a year or two later, and sometimes those memories fade. Of course, most importantly, do not get in trouble again and comply with all conditions of your bond.

Other possible factors that could help would be getting medical examinations by doctors as quickly as possible. It also may be helpful to document any possible medical condition an individual may have that could have contributed to a symptom otherwise attributed to intoxication. For instance, if a person has had extensive knee surgery in the past, it would likely seriously hinder their ability to be able to conduct the SFST’s. If this is the case, it would be helpful to gather any medical documents pertaining to such a condition and prepare them to file well in advance of trial in order to be used as a pertinent piece of evidence. It is most helpful for a jury to hear information that was diagnosed or examined right after a DWI arrest, such as if there were any medical problems you may have that may have caused a police officer to seem to observe signs of impairments to the exclusion of all other possibilities. The police officer is tasked with making very quick determinations on the side of the road, and have no medical training whatsoever if such condition did exist. It can be helpful to a jury to hear from a physician with far greater training and experience in assessing a patient and diagnosing such medical conditions. It can help even further if you go immediately after you are released from jail, especially if the BAC comes back at a level that is deemed to be higher than.

It can be helpful to go back and get your receipts from the bar if you really did only have two drinks. Write down a narrative of everything you remember because if your case goes to trial, it might be a year or two later, and sometimes those memories fade. Of course, most importantly, do not get in trouble again and comply with all conditions of your bond. Obtain receipts, witness statements, etc.  Receipts, witness statements from friends, etc. and other tangible pieces of evidence can help document a story.  These items are sometimes difficult to get, as explained before if the case takes a long time to proceed to trial.  Therefore, try and obtain these documents immediately following the arrest to preserve them if needed later.

In addition, one could start gathering possible intoxication witnesses, which would be individuals who were with the person previous to the incident, and could possibly verify and testify to further assert and offer to account for all relevant details. They could possibly be used as witnesses to corroborate the story of the Defendant. In my cases, there were witnesses who were with the individual before they were arrested, possibly were with them even as passengers in the car or during any activities previously. It is important to gather the information from these individuals as quickly as possible so they do not forget or their memories fade. The case is infinitely more important to you than it is to them, and it is human nature for people to simply not have full recall months or years later when testifying at a trial. Perhaps the most important person would be the individual who first made contact within helping get someone out of jail, assuming they were not with the person before the arrest. If they do not smell the odor of alcohol on the body or clearly see the person has a rough night, they might be able to testify how they have seen you before after a night where you were intoxicated, and it did not seem to be the case here.  It might even be worthwhile to have them record you, possibly to show how your speech was not slurred nor did any physical symptoms appear to be impaired.

Lastly, I think it is important for an individual to sit down and think back on the incident, trying to recall any and all relevant details. It sometimes is painful for someone to recall such an event, but it can be vital doing so close after the event while the memory is fresh. The reality is sometimes DWI cases can take months, and even years to dispose of. Trying to recall specific details and events of something that occurred in the distant past can prove difficult. As such, a hazy memory can possibly be attributed by a Judge or Jury (assuming the Defendant testifies) to them being intoxicated on the night in question (and thus, is the reason they are unable to recall different instances).

Write down the narrative of facts. The facts of the case always matter.  The arresting officer will write down what happened that night. He will place this in a report and turn it in for evidence. You need to do the same. The reality is that if your DWI case proceeds to trial, it may take many months, or even a couple of years, to go to trial. Memories fade with the passage of time. This is especially true with police officers, who make numerous arrests throughout the year. Having a specific recollection of the facts involved to narrate to a jury can be very helpful. Not being able to fully recall the events that transpired will not be very compelling to a jury if the case proceeds to trial.  You will want to tell your side of the story, and the clearer this is, the better. Therefore, write down a narration of the facts as you remember them as quickly as possible. It may even be helpful to go back to the last place you were before the arrest, whether it was a restaurant, a bar, a house, a gas station, or something such a supermarket. If so, it is possible they may still have videos from security cameras, perhaps inside where you could be observed acting normally or in the parking lot where it may show how you behaved quite normally. All of this can be quite convincing and powerful evidence when an attorney advocates how you were not intoxicated to the degree where you lost your normal use and could be the difference between a Guilty and a Not Guilty verdict.

Is Voluntary Rehab, Counseling or Classes Advisable While the Case is Pending?

In a DWI case, there are three different classes you can take if you really want to be proactive. You’re not required to take any of the classes. I generally tell people that they should do them because if you’ve been arrested for DWI, there is some reason for that to have occurred. It never looks bad to a judge or a jury that you’re being proactive in making sure that this doesn’t happen again. Even if you’re fighting your DWI charge, it never hurts to educate yourself by taking the DWI education class, listening to people who have been affected by DWI at the Victim Impact Panels, and getting a substance abuse evaluation done by a licensed counselor. None of these activities admit guilt and all of them convey responsibility and maturity.

I am a strong believer that this is a decision that one should make on their own. If one does have an alcohol or substance abuse problem, then yes – just on a general level, the best option is to seek treatment for any addiction problems. Even if one is not sure, necessarily, I also believe that it never looks bad when one takes proactive steps, such as taking some of the general DWI classes, because the reality is an arrest was made, and all that is being done in theory is ensuring that an arrest is never made again. Generally after a DWI arrest, even if one is not intoxicated under the law, they have consumed some substance that may have attributed to the mistaken belief of appearing intoxicated. Thus, even though you are not required to take them while the case is pending, it never looks bad to a Judge or Jury that one is trying to be responsible, and is only trying to educate themselves to ensure this does not happen again in the future.

Even if you plan to contest the DWI charge, it never hurts to educate yourself by taking the DWI education class, by attending something such as the Victim Impact Panel to listen to how others have been affected by other situations where someone has been injured in an accident where one may have been intoxicated, and/or by having a formal substance abuse evaluation completed by a licensed counselor. None of these activities admit guilt and all of them convey responsibility and maturity.

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