Do You Advise Your Clients To Undergo Voluntary Counseling In DWI Cases?
Many people who are released on bond for their first time driving while intoxicated offense are not ordered by the court to complete any sort of drug or alcohol counseling. However, everyone who is convicted of driving while intoxicated and placed on probation is ordered to do standard DWI counseling. This usually includes a 12-hour DWI education class and a 2-hour Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel. We recommend that all of our clients do this counseling upfront instead of waiting until they get convicted and are ordered to do the counseling. By doing the counseling upfront, you show the courts and the prosecutors who we are negotiating with a willingness to comply with the rules and regulations of the court. Ultimately, our goal is almost always to prevent you from having a DWI conviction.
There is nothing you can do to change the evidence, such as the blood they took or the video they made of you performing tests on the side of the road. What you can change is the amount of education or treatment that you have received. When I sit down to talk with a prosecutor, having certificates of completion of the standard DWI counseling is some of the best ammunition I can bring to the negotiating table. If I can’t bring that ammunition, it is extremely unlikely that the prosecutor is going to be willing to negotiate.
A lot of people are concerned that doing the counseling is going to make them look guilty. If your case ends up going to trial, the trial will be broken down into two parts. The first part is where the jury determines guilt or innocence and if they find you guilty then they determine the sentence in the second phase. In the first phase, they do not know and will not be informed about whether or not you participated in any counseling or rehabilitative programs. On the other hand, if you do get convicted and they later have to determine your sentence, we are likely going to be arguing with the prosecutors over what the appropriate sentence in a case like yours is going to be.
If we can demonstrate to the jury that you’ve already done the counseling that would normally be required as a condition of probation, we can make a much stronger argument that they ought to give you a minimum sentence of time served rather than two years on probation. Having completed the standard driving while intoxicated counseling upfront is one of the best things that the defendant can do to help themselves throughout the process of defending against a charge of driving while intoxicated.
If you have been accused of driving while intoxicated, whether you were well over the legal limit, just barely over the legal limit or even under the legal limit, our advice is the same: do the standard counseling upfront. It will better prepare us to defend you and obtain the best result possible.
For more information on Voluntary Standard DWI Counseling In Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (512) 478-9898 today.
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