Which Attorney Should I Hire?
Texas Law DWI laws are very strict and can have severe consequences. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD) is a very powerful entity that exerts an immense amount of pressure as an organization to increase DWI arrests by the police. Thus, our laws are only getting stricter because of this prevailing public sentiment. As well, many of the Counties in Texas have a firm policy against any type of plea bargain in terms of reducing the charges, and most are very much geared towards trying to gain a conviction. Some counties have overall office policies where they will not reduce a DWI to a lower charge, such as “Obstruction of a Passageway” or “Reckless Driving”). Thus, it is imperative that you look for a lawyer that has the requisite training and experience to evaluate and handle your DWI case properly, and more however has a specific background with handling the type of DWI case that has similar facts to the one you may be facing. If you are seeking the serves of counsel, you likely have been through what is often an embarrassing and demoralizing situation of being arrested. While many people have been charged with DWI in the past (Former President George W. Bush is one), for most people, they feel like they have been treated and viewed the same as all other major criminals, offenders after the arrest. You are likely feeling overwhelmed, confused, and stressed.
One proactive step is to face the reality of the charge. A DWI must be handled by a Defense Attorney who will meet the demands the situation requires – while also maintaining a respectful and professional attitude in court at all times. Defending a DWI in a proper manner requires creativity, experience, and passion. Representing the accused against a charge of DWI defense is not for the general practitioner (the attorney who “dabbles”), the lazy, or the timid. Many general practice attorneys may claim or believe they can represent the citizen accused with a charge of DWI in Texas, but if their practice covers a wide diverse area of law, such as civil law, such as family law (divorces, child custody, etc.), probate, estate planning, bankruptcy or any other of the myriad of areas that a lawyer could practice, likely has not devoted the time or resource to fully be competent to represent someone with a charge of DWI. At the very least, you should see an attorney who does a vast majority of DWI cases and has the background and experience that reflects this as such. A very good and salient question is how many DWI cases does the attorney handle per year, what percentage of their docket does it comprise of, and how long and to what degree has their focus been on the area of DWI Defense (aside from if one merely was a prosecutor – in that handling a DWI case when representing an individual is far different than what it simply takes to prosecute one. You want a lawyer who is truly focused and passionate on this area of law and has done all possible to effectively represent someone with a charge of DWI, regardless of the factual scenario. Hiring the wrong attorney can do irreparable damage to your case, to your life, and to your freedom. In contrast, hiring the right attorney can mean the difference in a DWI conviction and an acquittal (being found “Not Guilty” at trial).
Here is What Your DWI Attorney Should Possibly Do (or At Least Think About):
- Review any pertinent evidence related to your DWI case, including all police reports and videos associated with your arrest;
- Assess any strengths and weaknesses surrounding the circumstances of your DWI arrest;
- Help analyze the likelihood of prevailing should your case proceed to trial;
- Help analyze the various risks and rewards inherent in taking your case to trial, including all possible punishment scenarios;
- Give you an accurate understanding of the cumulative effects a DWI conviction will have on your life.
Questions an Attorney Should Be Asking:
- What were your activities prior to the arrest?
- What type of alcohol were you consuming? How many? What kind? When was your first drink? When was your last?
- What types of food had you consumed the day of your arrest?
- What was the behavior of the arresting officer?
- What reason did the arresting officer give for initiating the encounter?
- When did the arresting officer ask you to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (the roadside tests)? Did you perform them?
- How do you feel you performed?
- What relevant statements, if any, did the arresting officer make?
- What statements did you make to the arresting officer?
- Was there a chemical test? If so, do you know the result?
- If it was a blood test, did the issue a warrant?
- Were there any witnesses surrounding this incident (passengers, other officers, etc.)?
- If you gave a breath specimen, did an officer observer you for 15 minutes prior to the taking of the sample?
- Did the officer promise, threaten, or try to coerce you in any way to submit to a chemical test? The following are qualifications your attorney should possess if they are serious about properly defending your case and are passionate about defending citizens accused of DWI:
Some of the Questions to Ask Your Texas DWI Attorney:
- Are you Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization? Less than 1% of all lawyers in Texas are Board Certified, and those that are in criminal law usually have spent the lengthy period working for a District Attorneys Office (rather than working towards the goal of representing the citizen accused of DWI);
- What portion of your practice is devoted to DWI Defense?
- What kind of training and experience have you received related to DWI Defense?
- How many DWI cases have you taken to trial?
- What kind of recent cases have you tried and won? What were the issues which were presented that led to success?
- Are you a certified Practitioner in NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST’s)? This means they have received the same training the police officers received at the academy. It is impossible to adequately represent someone without this knowledge.
- Can you identify the “clues” the investigating officers are looking for when the SFST’s are performed?
- What are some possible ideas based on your experience that may help in defending my case against a conviction for DWI?
- Have you instructed other attorneys on a national, regional, or state level?
- Have you completed training to administer the standardized field sobriety tests?
- Have you completed training as an INSTRUCTOR of standardized field sobriety tests?
- Have you completed the training as a breath test operator of the Intoxilyzer 5000 machine, the same machine used in Texas for evidential breath tests?
- Have you completed the training as a breath test maintenance technician of the Intoxilyzer 5000 machine, the same machine used in Texas for evidential breath tests?
- Have you completed the training as a Breath Test Instructor of the Intoxilyzer 5000 machine? (The same machine used in Texas for evidential breath tests?)
- Intoxilyzer 9000?
- Do you own the field sobriety testing manuals that law enforcement officers use? If so how many?
- Have you attended the annual DWI seminar conducted by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers? What is the most recent course? 13. Do you have instant access to the most experienced DWI Attorneys and experts in the nation?
- What local, state, and national organizations are you a member of?
- Do you try to stay on abreast of current laws and keep up to date on issues that relate to DWI defense?
- Are you DRE(Drug Recognition Expert) trained?
- Axion? Chicago?
– Forensic Lawyer Scientists?
- What are some strategies you use to defend?
- What articles do you use in a trial when cross-examining the state’s expert?
- What is the disconnect defense?
- What is retrograde extrapolation?
- have you obtained any certifications in the field, such as…
- have you achieved awards or recognitions by organizations (TCDLA-Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association trial warrior)
- have you been to any advanced DWI seminars? (MSEMASTERING SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE)
- Do you have successful trial experience in DWI defenses?
- Do you have a successful experience in fighting DWI blood tests?
- Have you had specialized training and participated in lab testing to understand blood testing?
- Are you a member of the National College for DWI Defense?
(DUIDLA-DUI Defense Lawyers Association)?
Did the officer have a legal reason to stop you? Were the field sobriety tests done according to Federal guidelines? Was the chemical test analyzed properly? Do you have a medical condition that would mimic impairment or invalidate the blood alcohol reading?
Attorneys affiliated with the National College for DUI Defense have led the charge in challenging the computer programs used to run breath testing instruments and have exposed deceit and fraudulent record-keeping at a major forensic laboratory, resulting in the overturning of thousands of DUI cases.
Texas DWI Law is tough – as such, a proper defense must be equally firm to help assure the accused is placed on equal footing against the immense power of the state. If you have been arrested for DWI and are reading this, you are undoubtedly nervous and fraught with anxiety at what lies ahead. You are likely looking for answers and hope. While I cannot offer you a guarantee – I can offer only my utmost assurance that I will do all that I am ethically obligated and allowed to do to advocate for you as your Attorney and Counselor at Law.
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