Is a DWI the same thing as a DUI? No, these are very different legal terms. A DWI, or Driving While Intoxicated, refers to someone who is driving a vehicle and has lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties. However, a DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, refers to someone under the age of 21 with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. How do the police test for the “normal use of your physical or mental faculties?” Police use a series of “standardized tests” on the side of the road when they suspect someone of DWI. The most commonly used tests are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the One-Leg Stand, and the Walk and Turn Test. It is important to remember that these tests need to be performed by the officer according to specific procedures or they can be challenged in court. Do I have to perform the standard field sobriety tests? No, but keep in mind that your refusal to do them may be used as evidence against you. What are the punishments for a first DWI in Texas? Punishment for DWI cases can be harsh, including jail time, fines, and a license suspension. A DWI 1st conviction carries a possible punishment of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $2,000. Probation is available for DWI convictions, with terms and conditions that may include community service hours, drug testing, initiation interlock, surcharges, and various classes. If I am arrested for DWI in Wilson County, what happens? After the officer places you in the back of his vehicle, you will be taken to the local Wilson County Jail. You will be booked, fingerprinted, and taken to see a magistrate judge who will formally state your charges and then set a bond amount; once your bond is made, you will be released from the jail to await your first court date.
Shortly after, your case will be sent to the Wilson County Attorney’s Office, where it will be examined by DWI prosecutors. Once your case is filed and set for court, your attorneys will receive a letter informing them of your first court appearance, called an arraignment. Because of the complexity of DWI cases, it is likely that multiple trips to court will be necessary as your attorneys work on your case. What should I do after being released from Wilson County Jail? Schedule an appointment with a local Wilson County criminal defense lawyer for a consultation where you can learn what to expect, what to do next and to begin preparing your defense. We always advise a local criminal attorney, as they will be most familiar with the local court rules, customs, and procedures. An immediate focus needs to be on your Driver’s License, as suspensions will occur quickly if you don’t take action. Should I just plead guilty? Absolutely not; a DWI conviction and the associated criminal record, fees, surcharges, and license suspensions will follow you for years.