DWI DURING COVID-19

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The nightmare is you were -screaming into your computer –stressed out about everything, and after a couple of drinks you -decided to drive a couple of blocks over to the Circle K to pick up a snack.  It so happens that an officer was working late and saw you roll through that stop sign.  The inevitable quizzes at 1:30am were given by the officer along with an invitation to do some tests “just to see if you are ok to drive.”  Sure… An hour later you are getting jabbed with a needle in the arm in jail on a DWI.

What about Covid-19!? Am I going get sick? What else could possible happen to me in the course of this DWI?

First, some good news:

  1. You probably are not going to get sick.  I represent people in DWI cases only, and over the last 6 months none of the people who have come into my office had Covid.  Only one person who I have been representing since before the pandemic tested positive, and he has been quarantined with his wife.
  2. If this is your first or second DWI, you are not going back to jail.  Well, unless you are in Seguin, sorry, it could happen.
  3. You will not be going to court for a while, and your lawyer can handle everything from his office, especially if he is close to the courthouse like me.
  4. You have 15 days for your lawyer to request the driver license hearing that you do not need to attend.  On the DWI there is no rush because the courtrooms are closed.
  5. You have a right to a jury trial if you wish, but the juries probably will not be back until after Thanksgiving, or later.  Then stand in line because it’s first come first serve.  There is plenty of time to resolve your case.
  6. If you want to make a quick plea bargain to “get it over with,” which I never recommend, you can do that over a Zoom hearing in 2 months or so.

And that final comment brings me to the point of this blog post.  DWI conviction is forever.  It is not ok.  It leads to bad things in the future.  Even a “deferred adjudication” DWI is, in fact, a conviction which will lead to bad things in the future.  Most people do not know that.  Now you do.

Don’t feel pressured by the pandemic to move quickly on this case.  The prosecutors are not giving bargain-basement deals because of a case overload.  They are not that busy because for a period of time the police were just not arresting people that often. The Governor even issued a proclamation that we can drive with an open container in the car!  This offense has not been on the police hit list for the last few months.  But, they are coming back.

Another thing is that the court-appointed lawyer is not going to handle your driver license issues unless you pay him.  That is a civil matter, and he is appointed on the criminal case.

So if you have been arrested for DWI these are the do and don’ts for now:

  1. Go get a duplicate license and get to a lawyer within 15 days.
  2. Don’t try to work a quick plea deal thinking a deferred adjudication (if you are eligible) is the best and quickest thing to do.
  3. Talk to more than one lawyer.
  4. The cheapest lawyer is not always the best deal.
  5. Don’t rely upon representation that someone has some sort of connections on the inside of the system.
  6. This is a serious matter, and you need to hire an experienced DWI lawyer.
  7. Finally, do not take legal advice from friends who are not lawyers.

If you would like to talk, give us a call.