It’s late. You are on your way home. You have had just a couple of drinks at dinner. You have no reason to be concerned about anything UNTIL you see those red and blue lights flashing behind you. You think you are getting a traffic ticket until the focus of the officer’s questions shift from your speed to the amount of drinks you have had and the location of the bar you just came from. The next thing you know you are being asked to perform roadside exercises called standardized field sobriety tests. A million things are going through your mind right now. However, in an instant you are being asked to turn around and place your hands behind your head. You are now being arrested and charged with DWI. Your nightmare is only beginning.
15-Day Deadline For Your ALR Hearing
The first thing that needs to be done as soon as you are out of jail is to mark down on a calendar, 15-days from the date of your arrest. This is of critical importance, because you have only 15-days to request your administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing, or it will be deemed to have been waived. Every DWI lawyer handles ALR hearings for their clients. A sure fire way to find out if you are dealing with a DWI lawyer or not is if they mention your ALR hearing. A DWI lawyer knows that the ALR hearing is a critical component of any DWI case. If the person you have consulted with either on the phone or in person has failed to mention anything about your ALR (or worse – suggested that you show up for it yourself and handle it on your own!!!) then you need to run as far from that lawyer as possible and start searching for a DWI Defense Attorney and not a plea bargain lawyer.
After this 15-day deadline has been calculated, you need to begin your search for a DWI Defense Lawyer. You may be asking yourself, “well aren’t all criminal defense lawyers also DWI defense lawyers?” The answer to that question is a loud, rumbling, NO!!!! That would be like asking if all cars are the same. Sure they can all take you from point A to point B, but getting there in a Yugo is a different experience than arriving in a Ferrari. The Yugo may not even make it the distance to get you where you need to go. The same can be said for your “run of the mill” defense lawyer. They are like the Yugo. Just because they call themselves a criminal defense lawyer, does not mean they actually know what they are doing when it comes to defending someone charged with a DWI.
Ask about their level of experience handling and trying DWI cases. Plea bargain lawyers will love the first part of this question because it means they get to tell you they have handled 1,000’s of DWI cases. At first glance it seems like you might have found your lawyer. However, when you ask them how many DWI cases they have tried to a verdict in the last 5 years, the number will often be zero or one. That is when you know you have found a plea bargain lawyer who is interested in pleading you guilty and never ever planning on fighting your case in trial.
Do your homework. Find the defense lawyers who have actually tried DWI cases to juries. Interview these DWI defense lawyers in person. Make sure you are completely comfortable with the lawyer you choose to represent you in your DWI case. After all, the choice of whom you have as your lawyer in this case could be the most important decision you make.
- DWI – 1st Time Offender
- Aggravated DWI – BAC > 0.15
- Repeat Offense DWI – 2nd (Class A Misdemeanor)
- DWI With Child Passenger
- Felony DWI – 3rd or More