If you’re faced with a DWI charge in Texas, you probably want to get this incident behind you as quickly as possible so you can get on with your life. But hold on there, pardner! DWI defense is a complicated business, and making hasty decisions is the worst way to handle your case. In my line of work, I see my share of lost DWI cases because the client committed one of these deadly DWI sins.
Sin #1. Thinking All Attorneys are the Same
DWI defense is a complex field. Every case depends on a variety of physical, mental, legal, and scientific factors that must be considered as a whole if you are to have fair representation in court. The best DWI attorney is one who keeps up with advancements in DWI defense and maintains certifications in these areas. He or she will also limit the number of cases they (or their firm) accepts each year, so they can provide the best attention possible to every client.
Every job industry has its good eggs and bad ones; think about it…is every athlete equally talented? Would you trust just any doctor with your brain surgery? Of course not! So why would you make the mistake of assuming that any and all attorneys are capable of handling your case properly?
Sin #2. Quickly Accepting a Settlement from the Prosecutor
The first offer you are given is not a deal. Any attorney who takes the first offer from the prosecution is only trying to get rid of your case with the least amount of work. With this type of lawyer, you’ll never get to raise legal issues or make the State prove its case. This is not legal defense—this is a dump truck lawyer. “Dump Truck” is what attorneys call other lawyers who want to dump their clients quickly by having them plead guilty instead of providing a vigorous defense.
How do you know if you’re working with a “Dump Truck” lawyer? S/he will:
- Bring up a plea bargain first, before hearing about the facts of the case.
- Promise to handle your DWI case with no court appearance by you. (Some attorneys advertise “No court appearances; no time off work.” I shouldn’t have to tell you that this is no way to win your case.)
- Promise both low cost and quality representation. When it comes to attorneys, these two traits are mutually exclusive. If the attorney is primarily selling himself as the “low fee option,” it means he is not well-qualified and/or will spend little or no time in preparing the case.
- Quote a low fee after a brief conversation. Any attorney who does this has already decided to plea your case, not defend you. It is best to spend 1-1 ½ hours with a qualified attorney before deciding to hire him or her. (There should not be a fee for this initial consultation.)
- Meet you for the first time at court and expect you to pay them to be there. This is not representing you. Your first meeting should be a detailed investigation of your case in his/her office. Only then can the lawyer give an initial evaluation and advise you properly about the next steps.
- Operate his/her firm with no office or staff. If a DWI attorney asks to meet you at a restaurant or law library, run! It takes a great deal of preparation to properly defend a DWI case, and a lawyer should have staff members to support the attorney as well as you.
- Answer their phone when they are in court. I can already hear you asking: “But doesn’t that show how dedicated he is to my case?” To that, let me ask you a simple question: Do you want your lawyer leaving the courtroom during your case to take a cell phone call?
Before beginning to fight your Texas DWI case, educate yourself about what it requires of the attorney. Go to DWIDude.com for some questions to ask a potential attorney when you meet with him for the first time. If he can’t answer those questions to your face, he may not be the warrior you need in the courtroom. Next, education yourself about what your DWI case requires of you. Stay active in your case and make sure you don’t commit one of the seven deadly DWI sins.