Frequently Asked Questions

General DWI Questions

I was arrested for a DWI, what should I do next?
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Posting your bond is the first step to get out of jail as quickly as possible. Once your bond is set, bail may be posted as a cash bond with the sheriff’s office. Most often, people contact a bail bondsman to post their bond for them. For a bondsman recommendation in Harris or surrounding counties call Cannon Law at (346) 406 – 5114.

The next step you should take is contacting an attorney right away. Not only are you facing a deadline to save your driver’s license, but also evidence can be lost each day you wait.

An experienced attorney does not wait to receive evidence from the prosecutor’s office. It can be vital to conduct a scene investigation in a person’s case as close in time to the incident as possible. Moreover, Cannon Law wants to preserve the evidence in your case by sending subpoenas to the police agencies as soon as possible before any evidence can be lost or destroyed.

It might sound cliché, but time is truly of the essence in your case.

Start the process today by contacting Cannon Law.

Should I hire a DWI attorney? When?
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Hiring a DWI attorney is invaluable to your case. It is better to hire an expert in DWI who maintains a deep understanding of the many complex issues that often arise in a DWI case, than a general practitioner who has a more shallow knowledge of several areas of practice.

Also, DWI laws and issues change on a regular basis. When your attorney dedicates their practice solely to DWI, they are more capable of keeping current on changes to the law and will apply them strategically to your case.

Do I have to tell my employer I was arrested for DWI?
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It depends. Different companies have different rules regarding DWI arrests and convictions. Many employment contracts lay out the guidelines and rules surrounding this issue. Pay special attention to the wording your company uses. There is a big difference between being ARRESTED for a DWI, and being CONVICTED of a DWI.

If your company asks you to report any misdemeanor CONVICTIONS other than traffic tickets/moving violations, then you would likely not have to report the arrest. Many companies allow you to wait until you have plead guilty, or were found guilty of the crime you have been charged with. (Innocence until Proven Guilty)

If your company asks if you have been ARRESTED for or CHARGED with any misdemeanor or felony charges, then you would likely need to report the incident to your company, and let them know you have hired a highly respected firm, and fully intend to fight your case.

Cannon Law can help you decipher whether or not you need to report your situation to your employer. Contact Cannon Law now for a free consultation.

How long does a DWI case take to fight?
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This answer depends on a few different factors: police agency, breath or blood test, and the court a person is assigned. Typically speaking, the only people who have their case resolved “quickly” are simply pleading guilty and accepting the state’s generic plea offer. Evidence can take time to trickle in piece by piece- police reports, accident reports, blood results, videos etc.

On average in Houston and surrounding areas it would take 6 months to one year to fight a DWI case the proper way.

Some police agencies can take longer to submit their reports and videos to the DA’s office and defense counsel. Other agencies submit their report and finding instantaneously.

Breath test cases tend to move a little quicker than blood cases because the breath result is established on the night of the arrest. Blood labs can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to submit their results to the district attorney’s office and defense counsel.

Finally, the court a person is assigned to can also affect the time it takes to properly fight their case. Some court’s have busier trial dockets than others at varying times throughout the year.

Cannon Law promises not to drag your case out any longer than necessary. It is our goal to achieve the most desirable result for you, in the shortest amount of time necessary to aggressively fight your case.

What is the difference between a DUI and a DWI in Texas?
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In Texas, a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge applies only to minors. A minor is not permitted to have any deductible amount of alcohol in their system. Therefore, a minor does not have to be legally intoxicated to be charged with a DUI. A DUI conviction can carry a penalty of up to $500 fine, a 60-day suspension of ones driver’s license, community service requirements, and mandatory alcohol-awareness classes.

However, a minor can still be charged with a DWI, if they are legally intoxicated. (See definition for legal intoxication here). A DWI will carry the possibility of higher fines, stricter punishment, and potential jail time. (See the punishment rules for Driving While Intoxicated here).

What does Intoxication mean for a DWI case?
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The most common element disputed in a DWI trial is legal intoxication.

The state must prove one of three things to establish a person is legally intoxicated. To summarize-

  1. A person lost the normal use of their mental faculties due to the introduction of drugs or alcohol

    OR

  2. A person lost the normal use of their physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol

    OR

  3. A person has a blood alcohol concentration of a .08 or higher at the time of driving

What does it mean for a person to lose their normal physical or mental faculties? This is extremely subjective. For example:

The average person being pulled over for a DWI test would likely not perform a balancing test as well as Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles might perform the same exact test which is being used to determine one’s physical faculties.

Moreover, a person who is dealing with stress in their personal life from a divorce, work, or health issues may not exhibit the same mental faculties as they normally would, even if they have not consumed any alcohol.

Finally, it is not enough for the prosecutor to produce a breath or blood test at or above a .08, alone. This result must be found to be reliable beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, they must prove that a person’s results were a .08 or higher at the time a person was driving. Often the “at the time of driving” requirement can be difficult for the state to prove if the defense attorney has the proper knowledge and training in the science of retrograde extrapolation.

Simply put, a high BAC does not necessarily mean you will be found guilty of a DWI. It is important to hire a knowledgeable DWI attorney who is experienced in this area, and can show a jury or judge the potential issues involved with the testing methods currently used by the government in DWI cases.

Is my DWI a misdemeanor or a felony?
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In most circumstances, a first or second DWI is a class B or class A misdemeanor. (See more punishment details here)

A DWI can be charged as a felony under some circumstances, for example-

  • When there is an accident involving serious bodily injury, you could be charged with Intoxication Assault

  • When there is an accident involving the death of another person, you could be charged with Intoxication Manslaughter

  • If you have plead or been found guilty in two prior instances, you can be charged with a felony DWI Third

  • If you were arrested for DWI with a child passenger, you can be charged with a felony.

Contact Cannon Law to learn more about your DWI case.

Can I seal my DWI conviction?
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As of September 2017, House Bill 3016 might allow you to conceal your DWI conviction.

Concealing your past DWI conviction could potentially help you with future job opportunities, insurance rates, and a public criminal record. Contact Cannon Law here and read more information here to see if you are eligible for a DWI non-disclosure under this new law.

What are the pros and cons of hiring an attorney from the county in which I am charged?
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This is such an important question. There can be pros and cons of hiring an attorney from the county of your pending case.

My best advice would be to ask each attorney the following questions:
How well do they know the county?
How often do they practice there?
Are they familiar with the judge, and do they know how the judge rules and feels on particular legal issues?
Do they know the prosecutors?
Do they take court appointments in that court?

There are two important ideas to consider-

Often, you want a lawyer who is familiar with the judge and prosecutors in your case, so he/she knows how the judge will likely rule on certain legal issues and how the prosecutor will usually craft and present their case. Therefore, your attorney can construct and provide a well researched and prepared defense strategy.

Also, it is important to ask about an attorney’s court appointments. I have found that often when attorney’s take court appointments from the court, they feel more pressure to “settle” or plea cases in fear they will not be appointed more cases in the future from that court.

As Cannon Law does not accept any court appointed cases, these outside monetary influences and circumstances do not affect any case strategies and legal defenses. The Cannon Law goal is simple, fight for you no matter what.

What should I expect at my first DWI court date?
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This varies by county. In most counties, the first court date is simply to determine whether you have or plan to hire an attorney. If you have an attorney, they will sign on to your case, collect any evidence that has been submitted to the state, and reset your case to a later date.

Usually this is the lowest stress of all of your court dates (even though you may not feel it at the time). Court usually begins by “calling docket.” This can be compared to taking attendance during grade school.

The best way to reduce your stress-

  1. Hire a knowledgeable attorney to represent you

  2. BE ON TIME

  3. Dress appropriately. You don’t need to wear a suit, but wearing business casual attire will show the court staff and judge that you take the charges against you seriously.

I realize attire or being on time might seem small in the grand scheme of the charges you face, but this is your first impression in front of the judge. It matters.

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