If you are arrested and facing criminal charges for a DWI, the first thing you need to do is remain silent. The minute you agree to speak to the police, you may be in a lot of trouble. Next, ask for a lawyer, specifically a DWI lawyer, who will provide additional advice on how to proceed next. Here are three important things your DWI attorney will probably advise you to do when you are facing criminal charges and you appear before the judge.
Only Talk to the Judge or Speak When You Are Directly Spoken To
You are in a very serious position, one that could cost you your freedom. Showing any sign of disrespect by speaking out of turn, yelling, cursing or trying to speak over the judge can make the judge look quite unfavorably upon you. Allow your lawyer to speak for you, and only speak to the judge if he or she speaks directly to you. Behaving respectfully in court may help your case, while acting with disrespect may make the situation worse.
Be Remorseful and Show Remorse
Being remorseful for your actions when the evidence shows you did the crime can be of some help too. Being remorseful is not the only part of this; you have to show remorse too. Letters to victims and survivors, plus the willingness to accept alternate forms of punishment and rehabilitation (e.g., entering a rehab program, not driving a car for five to ten years, etc.) may be just enough to sway the judge from sentencing you to hard time in prison. Begging for mercy (when and where allowed and appropriate) may also help show the judge your level of remorse for your actions.
Realize That, Even If You Are Sentenced to Prison, the Appeals Process May Be Able to Help
While your situation looks quite dire, and a prison sentence makes it worse, your DWI attorney can file an appeals process if there is any evidence that points to the contrary regarding your criminal charges, or if you are a first-time criminal offender with a drug- or alcohol-related charge. The sentence may be deemed too harsh or too long by another judge, which is why an appeal may work in your favor. Ergo, even if you are sentenced to prison, there may be some chances left through the appeals process, but you have to accept that it will take some time.
For more information about dealing with a DWI, contact an attorney such as Thomas A Corletta.