We aggressively defend DWI/DUI cases and the reason is simple. There’s no choice.
Drunk driving laws have been a one-direction vice grip which have been tightened over and over and over since the early 1980’s when Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers (“MADD”) was formed.
That trend will probably never be reversed regardless of how mean, thoughtless, or illogical punishment becomes and here’s why — being cruel to people accused of drunk driving is no-brainer easy politics. Especially in Texas.
In Texas we generally trust judges and juries on all sorts of cases and give them wide discretion to do what they will with people that sell drugs, hurt children, or swindle money from senior citizens. But the legislature forces judges to hammer even first-time offenders of DWI/DUI regardless of the facts, regardless of the person’s good life history, and regardless of the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
The best way I can describe a first-time DWI/DUI charge in Texas is as a ‘misdemeanor on steroids.’ The Texas legislature has taken the approach which can best be described as, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
Here are just some of the examples the legislature requires on even a 1st DWI/DUI arrest which are not required on other criminal or traffic offenses:
1. No deferred adjudication (which means you can’t ever mitigate, seal, or clear your record if you plead guilty);
2. Minimum 72 hour jail sentence;
3. $1,000 annual surcharge to maintain a driver’s license for three years if convicted ($2,000 per year if there is a test score over 0.16 or $1,500 if a 2nd conviction);
4. Enhanced punishment if there is a test score over 0.15 at the time of testing (not the time of driving);
5. No early release from probation;
6. Mandatory interlock ignition device if there is a test score over 0.15 for at least 1/2 of probation;
7. Warrantless blood draws if you’re suspected of felony DWI;
8. Possible blood draw on 1st time arrest with a warrant;
And on… and on… and on….
We aren’t big believers in tough talk, war stories, or chest beating. We simply play the hand we are dealt in every case. Where someone feels wrongly accused – we fight. Where a case is borderline – we fight. Where someone has made a mistake but the punishment is cruel, demeaning and far exceeds the mistake – we fight. That’s our simple philosophy.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas. Nothing in this article should be considered as specific legal advice. For any specific legal advice, you should consult a DUI Lawyer located in Nashville directly.