The Dallas DWI Court Process
After an individual is arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), the State will charge the driver with a criminal DWI offense . The Dallas DWI court process is then broken into two distinct factions: the criminal offense and license suspension .
The Criminal Case
DWI criminal offenses are handled by the state prosecutor in criminal courts. There will be a series of court dates in county criminal court to handle the offense, unless it is a felony charge, which would take place in district court. An offender’s first appearance can be anytime between a few weeks to a few months following his or her arrest. The progression of the case depends on the volume of cases on the docket handled by the designated court and prosecutor.
The offender is required to attend the first criminal court hearing, but after retaining a lawyer, Dallas criminal court does not require the offender to attend subsequent hearings. The defense attorney will do all of the work at and in preparation for the hearings. If an offender does choose to attend his or her hearings, the offender must indicate his or her presence. The defense attorney will file motions and collect evidence on the offender’s case. Upon reviewing the evidence gathered, the attorney will then prepare to challenge the DWI charge.
The defense attorney will then engage in negotiations with the state prosecutor and will obtain a plea bargain offer in exchange for a guilty plea by the offender. The guilty plea may require:
- Alcohol education classes
- Community service
- Driver’s education classes
- Substance abuse programs
The offender will then decide whether to accept the plea offer or reject the offer and proceed to trial.
At trial, the defense attorney will be able to:
- Present and collect evidence
- Cross examine the state’s witnesses
- Challenge the validity of evidence collected by the State (ex. the accuracy of blood alcohol content tests)
The case will be argued in front of a judge or in front of both a judge and a jury. If the offender is found not guilty, the case is over and he or she may be entitled to expunge the DWI arrest from the criminal record. If the offender is found guilty, there will be a sentencing hearing where the judge or jury decides a criminal punishment such as:
- Jail time
- License suspension
At the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing, the Department of Public Safety will determine whether the offender’s license will be suspended. ALR proceedings take place in front of State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). An offender is entitled to an ALR hearing if it is requested in a timely fashion by either the offender or the defense attorney. Failure to request a hearing results in an automatic license suspension. Hearings must be requested within 15 days of the DWI arrest. The burden of proof for ALR hearings is very low, so the State usually wins.
Have You Been Charged With a Dallas DWI?
If you have been charged with a DWI in Dallas, it is important that you seek a strong legal defense to guide you through the complex court process. The Wilder DWI Defense Firm is equipped with a team of attorneys who are highly experienced in DWI-related offenses and have a proven track record of success. Contact the Wilder DWI Defense Firm today to schedule your free consultation.
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