Houston police officers, Harris County Sheriff’s deputies, and other area peace officers very aggressively look for suspected DWI offenders. Almost every stop ends in an arrest, mostly due to political pressure from advocacy groups. Once these cases go to court, prosecutors are equally aggressive in seeking convictions. In fact, a few jurisdictions have “no dismissal” policies from time to time. If a prosecutor dismisses a DWI case, no matter how weak the evidence, the prosecutor is normally fired.
Because of this environment, there are hundreds of DWI defense attorneys in Harris County. Most all of them are zealous advocates who diligently work to protect their clients’ interests. So how can you select the one that’s right for you?
It may sound trite, but there really is no substitute for experience, because experience really is the best teacher. An extensive background as a criminal defense lawyer is good, and if the person is a former police officer or prosecutor who has insight into how these cases work, that’s even better.
Even more than general experience, the attorney should have specific experience in DWI defense cases. For example, your lawyer should be able to look at a field sobriety test video through a juror’s eyes and properly evaluate its weight.
Many lawyers are simply not aggressive. Over 90 percent of criminal cases never go to trial. Instead, the lawyer arranges for the defendant to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for a lesser sentence or maybe a reduced charge. In many cases, that’s the best possible approach. But prosecutors like to say that attorneys who repeatedly use this strategy hide in “plea closets” and will not take cases to trial. Therefore, their clients do not get the best deals.
Even if the case does not go to trial, the threat needs to be there, because a prosecutor will do just about anything to avoid going to trial with weak evidence and sustain a loss.
Imports are often status symbols. Some people like for their cars to be German, their wristwatches to be Swiss, their deer sausage to be West Texan, and so on.
But a non-Harris County attorney should rarely, if ever, handle a Harris County DWI. Most courts have their own local procedural rules, and many of these rules are unwritten. Violating these rules often draws the ire of the judge or court staff. Furthermore, out-of-town attorneys are often unfamiliar with local juror tendencies, and jury selection is no time for guesswork.
Count On an Assertive Attorney
Choosing the right DWI lawyer is not hard if you use the right approach. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Houston, contact the Law Office of Jim Medl