Here's our advice for getting through this.
5 Mistakes People Make After A DWI Charge
Charlie walks through misconceptions and mistakes that people make after getting arrested with a DWI.
FOLLOW all BOND CONDITIONS
What is a bond?
A bond is the paperwork that allows the sheriffs to release you from jail. It may be a “personal bond” or a “surety bond” (used by bail bondsmen). Either one could have bond conditions.
What bond conditions are you talking about?
In addition to going to court when required, judges occasionally add conditions to the bond – such as the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) or getting an alcohol and drug evaluation (CES). Make sure that you have read and understand all the paperwork you were given when you were released from jail. If you have a question about something, call us at 512-472-1113.
HOW DO THE JUDGES DETERMINE WHETHER TO ADD CONDITIONS TO A BOND?
Judges usually add conditions to a bond if you have been arrested before or if the allegations surrounding the arrest (which they can see from the probable cause affidavit) are unusually dangerous. A high blood alcohol content, collision, or exceptionally bad driving will usually cause the judge to include bond conditions.
Do I have to pay for the personal bond?
Yes. The amount will be written on the little yellow “coupon” that is attached to the bond paperwork. You can make the payment online here.
How to pay your Travis County personal bond fee
What happens if I don’t follow my bond conditions?
Pretrial Services will notify the judge of your non-compliance. The judge can raise/revoke your bond and issue a warrant for your arrest.
Can an attorney get the judge to change my bond conditions?
Sometimes. However, the judge is unlikely to remove any alcohol monitoring requirements without a really good reason.
The judge ordered me to get an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). What is that like?
Here is a short video I made about what it’s like to have an IID in your vehicle. Here is a coupon for 10% off from Smart Start. Here are the rules when you have to get an IID. Watch out for these deceptive advertisements from IID companies.
What if I don’t have a car?
The judge will likely require you to get a portable alcohol monitor (which must be blown into 4 times a day – and is therefore harder to use than the IID). There are situations where the judge may remove an alcohol monitoring requirement after 3-6 months (if there have been no violations). An attorney will have to ask the judge to agree to the removal before you can stop using the device.
Do I still need to get an IID if you don't have a car?
Keep track of your TX Driver's License Status
I still have my TX driver's license. Does that mean my privilege to drive will not be suspended?
No. Your driving privilege can be suspended even if you possess a physical copy of your driver’s license.
How does the temporary driving permit work?
Most people who get arrested for a DWI get a temporary driving permit in their packet of jail paperwork. Here is a video about how it works.
Don't get arrested while this is pending
That’s ridiculous. Why would you even say that to me?
Unfortunately, I’ve had many clients get re-arrested while their first case is pending. I think the stress of getting arrested causes some people to seek relief in alcohol – which directly affects the judgment center of the brain. All I am saying is that you probably didn’t expect to get arrested the first time either, right? Be super careful while this case is pending.
Why? What happens if I get arrested again?
If you are arrested again while your case is pending the judge and prosecutor will think that you are a safety risk to the people of Austin. The judge will add every condition to your bond that they can think of – including an alcohol-detecting ankle monitor and an IID. Yes, both of them! You may even have to spend 3-7 days in jail before the judge will release you. Any probation that you ultimately receive would be severe, expensive, and include long-term counseling and continued alcohol monitoring.
I won’t get arrested again, I promise.
COMPLETE THE DWI CLASSES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE & LOOK FOR OUR ACTIONPLAN EMAILS.
But I was only arrested – I haven’t been convicted yet. Why do you recommend that I take classes?
The prosecutors usually give you credit for taking the classes in advance. It shows that you are taking the case seriously. Almost every possible outcome requires that you take these classes, so you might as well get some credit for taking them quickly, right?
What is the D.W.I.E. class?
The 12-hour D.W.I.E. class is required for nearly every first time DWI arrest. The class is taught over three days for four hours a day, but each class provider has a different schedule of when the class is offered. The class is not allowed to be taught in a single day – three days is the minimum required by the State.
What is the D.W.I.E. class like?
The D.W.I.E. class curriculum was designed by the State of Texas. The class is like a group counseling session combined with 8th-grade health class. Nobody wants to take the class, but the majority of my clients end up saying that it wasn’t that bad and that they actually learned something. While the curriculum could be improved (the videos and Powerpoint presentation are outdated), I think the class is very effective in creating an environment where people can self-reflect on their relationship with alcohol. Here’s a short video about the 12 hour D.W.I.E. class. You will need your "Cause #" when you take the class. You can find your Travis County Cause # HERE. If you have a Williamson County case, look HERE. If you have a Hays County case, look HERE.
Where can I take the D.W.I.E. class?
Here is a map of all the companies offering DWIE classes in Travis County.
What is the MADD Victim Impact Panel class?
The MADD Victim Impact Panel is a 1 hour online class. Here is an FAQ about how to do it.
What are ActionPlan emails?
We developed an email system that keeps track of what we’ve asked you to do. We update it with new tasks as they become necessary. Look for those emails and click on the link to see more details about the tasks.
COLLECT LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION, AWARDS, ETC.
Who should I ask to write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?
One or two letters from the most accomplished people that you know would be helpful. The person can be a current or former manager, co-worker, teacher, or anyone that has known you for a substantial period of time. Ideally, the letters would be written on letterhead and/or in a business format. Sometimes it is easier to get people to write the letter in an e-mail, and that will be fine.
I don’t want to tell anyone about my arrest.
You can tell the person writing the letter for you that you are looking for a character reference (for a job or education opportunity). The letter does not have to mention the arrest.
What should the letter say?
The letter should talk about your good qualities – honesty, integrity, reliability, hardships you’ve overcome, charity, etc. The more heartfelt and sincere the letter, the better it is for our purposes. Two to four paragraphs is a good length (though it can be longer if necessary). Here is an FAQ about letters of recommendation.
PUT TOGETHER AN INFORMATION PACKET ABOUT YOUR JOB (INCLUDING YOUR RESUME).
The prosecutors will be interested in what you do for a living. Any documentation that describes your responsibilities will be useful.
What if my job is not very impressive? I’m not very proud of it.
You should take this opportunity to make steps towards a positive career change. The good thing about a pending court case is that there is enough time for you to accomplish big things while the case is pending.
CONSIDER PRIVATE COUNSELING
Do I really need to do this?
You don’t have to, but this is the perfect opportunity to explore the possibility that you could benefit from talking to someone. Personally, I am a huge fan of counseling – which is primarily just talking about your life to a neutral party. I have had many clients go to therapists for the first time after their arrest and are very happy that they did.
How do I find a good therapist?
Get online. Read reviews. Go meet a few and see if you like them. If you are having trouble finding someone, call us.
Other than this lousy legal situation I’m in, I’m a pretty stable and grounded person. I don’t think I need to see a counselor.
That’s fine. I’m just saying that talking to a counselor is like getting a massage. Is there ever a time where a massage wouldn’t be nice? One of life’s great pleasures is talking about yourself to another person.
CHOOSE A NEW LIFE GOAL
What are you talking about?
Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do? Go back to school? Get trained in something? Write a book? Start a blog? Get a better job? Now is the time to focus on that goal. Use this lousy experience to motivate you towards something positive. Even something indulgent can be valuable – like traveling somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.
I was actually considering delaying my life plans. Is that ok?
No! Now is not the time to stop your plans, it is the time to accelerate them. Think about it this way: getting arrested was lousy, don’t make it worse by delaying your goals!!
Listen to charlie's 4-part podcast about Austin DWI Charges
Will I learn something from the podcast?
Yes! You will actually learn 100+ things. You can listen on Stitcher .
Buy Charlie's Book
I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS.
No problem. Give us a call – (512) 472-1113 – we’re happy to answer any questions. Or you can e-mail us.