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What happens if you are arrested for DWI in Texas?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | DWI

The last thing someone wants to see on their way home from a work event or night out with friends is the lights of a police cruiser behind them. Getting pulled over is an anxiety-inducing experience for many, especially if they’ve consumed alcohol in the last few hours.

When a police officer thinks that someone has had too much to drink, a traffic stop may lead to an arrest. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Texas are possible after someone drives particularly poorly, causes a crash or fails a chemical test.

What can someone who has been arrested on allegations of a DWI infraction expect to occur next?

Spending a night in jail

Typically, someone arrested for a DWI could spend one night or several nights in state custody. They need to attend and initial hearing in front of a Texas judge to arrange for their release. At that hearing, a judge informs them of the charges the state intends to pursue and sets a bail amount so that someone can post bond to secure their release. Often, the amount is between $200 and 1,000 for a first DWI charge. It may be much higher for those with repeat offenses on their record or in cases involving crashes.

Waiting for a trial

It typically takes months before someone has an actual trial in front of a criminal law judge in Texas. Defendants often wait between three and six months, sometimes more, to have a hearing where they can enter a plea in response to their charges. During that time, the defendant can potentially work with their defense attorney to prepare a workable defense strategy. The state must provide its evidence to the defense team before trial, which gives the defendant and their lawyer an opportunity to challenge or undermine the state’s case.

In some cases, people may seek to negotiate a plea deal, but often the focus is on gathering or reviewing evidence. Proof that someone has a medical condition or questions about the maintenance of the breath test device could play a key role in someone’s defense strategy.

Knowing what to expect may help people feel confident about their decision to fight DWI charges. Motorists who defend against those allegations can potentially protect their driving privileges and their reputations.