Timeline of a Collin County DWI Case

Most people arrested for a DWI have little or no experience with the criminal process, especially in Collin County. Not knowing what to expect after the police have accused you of a crime can be a source of considerable stress and anxiety. Understanding the basic timeline of a Collin County DWI case is a good way to begin educating oneself in what to expect. The following is a basic timeline of a Collin County DWI case.

1. Investigation and Arrest

If this article has caught your interest, then you are likely already intimately aware of this unfortunate step in the process. While the investigation of almost every DWI case will involve field sobriety tests, not every case involves a breath or blood test. It has become pop-culture knowledge that people have the right to refuse a warrantless breath or blood test. What is less well known is that we have the right to refuse all tests, including roadside field sobriety tests. More information about the standardized field sobriety tests can be found HERE.

2. Processing

While most of the cities in Collin County use their city jail as an initial detention hub, every person arrested for a criminal offense in Collin County (Class B or greater) must be processed through the Collin County Detention Facility. Periodically, city jails will transfer inmates to the Collin County facility where they will be processed and held until bond is set and posted or the case is resolved. Because setting a bond could take several days, a Collin County attorney can demand that a bond be set immediately by filing what is known as an “attorney writ bond.” If a person is released on a writ bond prior to being transferred to Collin County, he or she must appear for processing at the Collin County facility within 10 days. A discussion on attorney writ bonds can be found HERE

3. Bond Hearing

A person arrested for a DWI has a constitutional and statutory right to a bond. However, Section 17.40 of the Code of Criminal Procedure permits a judge to impose any reasonable condition of bond “to secure a defendant’s attendance at trial.” Courts have interpreted this language to give judges wide latitude in attaching conditions to a person’s bond. Usually, in a DWI bond hearing, the issue is whether to require installation of a deep-lung device (also referred to as an ignition interlock device). This hearing is held on the first Monday after the expiration of 7 days from arrest. A discussion on the deep lung device can be found HERE

4. Administrative License Revocation and Hearing

If an officer requested breath or blood specimen in the course of his investigation there are three potential license consequences: (1) a 180 day suspension for refusing to take the test, (2) a 90 day suspension for consenting and then failing the test, or (3) no license suspension for the very few who consent and pass. While, the investigating officer makes a preliminary decision on the same night of the arrest, this decision is subject to an administrative hearing. The hearing must be requested within 14 days of the arrest, but date of the hearing may not be scheduled until well after the criminal process has begun.

5. Case Filed

After the initial arrest, the investigating officer submits his investigation to a supervisor for approval. If approved, the police department will submit the investigation to the district attorney’s office requesting the district attorney to prosecute. Once accepted, the district attorney will file a charging document known as an “information” in the County Court. The Court will require a person charged with a misdemeanor DWI to appear on a date that is roughly one month after the filing date.

6. First Appearance

The first appearance serves an administrative function more than anything else, and usually takes place roughly one month after the filing of the information. By the first appearance, many people charged with DWI have retained an attorney. During the first appearance, the attorney for the defendant can meet with prosecutors, obtain or request police reports, and learn the State’s initial recommendation. Once these tasks are accomplished, the court will permit the attorney time to conduct investigation by scheduling a subsequent appearance.

7. Subsequent Appearances

Sometimes subsequent appearances are necessary before a decision is made in a DWI case. If only partial evidence produced by the prosecutor on the first appearance, or if the Defendant needs more time for investigation, the Courts will permit a case to be rescheduled so that the decision to plead guilty or not guilty will be a well informed one.

8. Decision

Ultimately, a person charged with a DWI will be required to plead guilty or not guilty. The decision is one which should not be taken lightly; DWI cases involve serious and long-lasting consequences. Having legal representation is critical in assessing the merits of a particular case; more importantly, legal representation is necessary when the decision is to plead not guilty and to require the State to prove it’s case in trial.

*Kyle Therrian is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice on any case you should contact an attorney directly.

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