But what if I AM Guilty of DWI?
I have many clients come into my office, or give me a call, and say something along the lines of . . .
"I am guilty. I just want to plea guilty and get this over.
Do you think I even need a lawyer?"
The answer is a VERY strong "YES!" My job isn't simply to get innocent people found not guilty, or to get guilty people "off." Sometimes, my job is to make sure that you are treated fairly and receive a fair punishment throughout the process.
DWI has a very large punishment range. Up to 180 days jail (6 months in jail!), and up to a $2,000 fine. Obviously, if you were not involved in an accident, never in trouble before in your life, you do not deserve to spend the next half of the year in jail.
Probation is also a possibility with a DWI conviction. Quite frankly, it is the most common punishment with a DWI conviction. But even within the realm of probation, there is a very wide range of punishment. You can receive up to 2 years of punishment. Since you pay $50-$60 per month for the pleasure of meeting with a probation officer, one year less probation can mean $720 extra in your pocket.
The conditions of your probation can be as wide as you can imagine. If your plea bargain is not properly negotiated, you could end up with some overly harsh conditions. Good negotiations may help you avoid having a deep lung device (ignition interlock device) attached to your car. This is an apparatus that requires you to blow into it to start your car, and periodically while driving. If you have friends or business associates in your car, it can be quite embarrassing. Not to mention, it costs about $60 per month to monitor... a price paid by YOU. Over two years, it can cost you $1,440+.
Other conditions on your probation could be larger amounts of community service (costing you money when you are not working), larger fines, and even Jail AS A CONDITION OF YOUR PROBATION. That means, that even though you get probation, you still have to go to jail anyway, and still get probation.
Another, and most important consideration, is that if you plea guilty, you have 100% chance of being found guilty, and having a DWI conviction on your record for the rest of your life. Sometimes, you have the opportunity to be found not guilty at trial, which is not necessarily the same thing as being found innocent. If your rights were violated, etc., a trial is usually the only chance for your to keep this off your record.
What it boils down to, is that even if you are guilty, you still need a good DWI lawyer to make sure that you are treated fairly.
If you would like to speak to me about your DWI case, give me a call at 1-888-DWI-FRISCO, and we can sit down and talk about your case.