In November of 2005 I was arrested for DWI in Onalaska, Tx. Appeared on assigned court date and was informed by the judge that case was before Grand Jury pending possible felony indictment.
Having had no dealings with the "felony" side of the law, I hired a local attorney that afternoon. He assured my wife and I that all would be well and I "would not" go to prison.
There was no more contact initiated by he or his office until two days before the court date exactly 1 yr. later. Calls and inquiries were sometimes answered, sometimes not. I should have known then.
On the court date I was informed by my attorney that my plea would be guilty, and in order to receive probation that I must waive my right to appeal.
I feel as if I let myself get sold down the river.
What do you make of this?
DUI / DWI Attorney
Poor communication between you and attorney. Nothing you said sounds particularly unusual-just not the best communications- but it is easy to see why you have questions and suspicions. I don't know what you did, but I hope it works out. In the meantime, are you spending an equal amount of time admitting you have an alcohol abuse problem that needs immediate attention?
It's still possible that you got the best outcome possible, but your attorney should have kept you more well-informed throughout the process.
Criminal Defense Attorney
In Texas, the trial court must certify your right to an appeal. On a plea bargain case, the court can limit or restrict your right to an appeal. In the majority of plea bargain cases, there remains no right of an appeal and the plea becomes the final disposition of the case. (guilt/innocence). The waiver only covers the court's actions up to the plea and sentencing. It does not waive your right to appeal future problems with issues that might arise due to a motion to revoke probation or accelerate the sentencing.
It is NOT unusual to waive your right to an appeal contemporaneously with a plea in Texas. If you feel that you have a defense, that you are not guilty, or for some other reason do not want to accept the plea, visit with the attorney. His job is to help you make a fully informed decision. Criminal defense attorneys are in court very often and it is difficult to return all telephone calls, although most of us try very hard to return them all.
As long as you comply with the terms and conditions of probation, you should be ok. Sometimes a plea bargain is made and accepted to limit the risk of exposure to jail or prison. There are no guarantees to the outcome of a trial. But a first time felony charge, (and assuming little to no misdemeanor criminal history), will usually result in a probated sentence. (Of course that also depends on the facts of the case and how egregious the alleged conduct might be.)
If you pay all the fines, fees and costs, perform all the community service hours, take any required programs/classes/counseling etc., you might be able to file a motion for early discharge from probation and have any conviction set aside, your plea withdrawn, and the charges dismissed. The key is to accept where you are at this point, don't get upset, get committed to completing the requirements of your probation and committed to following the terms and conditions of the probation order. Show a positive attitude to your probation officer, (not anger or non-acceptance). Resolve to be the best probationer that your PO has ever had, and they will generally, when the time is right, assist you, providing a good reference, to the court for an early discharge.
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