Whether you’ve been wrongfully charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or a lapse in judgment led to poor decisions, you deserve the right to a fair trial. This includes being heard by a jury of your peers. Unfortunately, many facing criminal charges are unaware of their rights, such as a jury trial. Keep reading to learn more about your options and discover how Houston DWI defense attorneys can protect your rights when facing a criminal charge.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for a DWI in Texas?
Before understanding your rights to a jury trial, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the penalties for a DWI charge in the Lone Star State.
Generally, DWIs are often charged as misdemeanors. However, this does not mean they should be taken lightly. Even a first-offense DWI charge can result in up to one year in prison and fines of up to $4,000. You will also have your licenses suspended. With each DWI, the penalties become more severe.
There are also circumstances in which you can face a felony DWI charge. Being charged three or more times with this offense, driving while intoxicated with a minor in the vehicle, and causing bodily harm or death while driving under the influence can all warrant a felony charge.
What Is a Jury Trial?
When charged with a crime, the United States Constitution protects your right to be tried by a jury of your peers. Essentially, this means your case will be presented in front of men and women who will use the facts to determine whether or not you are guilty of the crimes you’re facing. In most cases, a jury trial is the norm.
However, there is an alternative option. In some instances, a defendant may request a bench trial. Unlike a jury trial, the only person who will hear the facts of your case and issue an outcome is the judge.
What Should I Consider if I’m Facing Charges?
If you are facing charges, the most essential thing you must do is consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It’s never in your best interest to try navigating these proceedings on your own.
There are pros and cons to both a bench and jury trial, so you should consult with your attorney before requesting one or the other. They can give you advice about which route they believe would be best for your specific circumstances.
At the Gonzalez Law Group, we understand the complexities of the Texas legal system. As such, you can rest assured knowing your case is in competent hands. Our attorneys will do everything possible to help you through these challenging circumstances. Contact us today to learn how we can help when you’re facing criminal charges.