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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23176
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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DWI jail time

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Hello, I'm a veteran and got a DWI after getting out of the military. I got nabbed with a possession charge as well (marijuana). I spent my time in jail overnight and was the first to be considered for bail in the morning and made it. Also, I was labeled on the lowest threat level on some documents I have. I heard another inmate say about his DWI that he didn't serve any extra jail time, just paid a bunch of fines. I believe I heard this from some other people too, who have gotten a DWI. My question is, Will I have to serve jail time (the 3 day minimum that is mentioned here)?? I will be going to my arraignment soon, and will not have my lawyer with me for that initial hearing, I've also applied for the veteran's treatment court, and will be notified during my arraignment if that was approved.


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am an experienced criminal lawyer.

While the Texas statute does call for a possible jail penalty of 72 hours to 6 months in jail, in most instances a person with a first DWI should be able to get community supervision or probation in lieu of that. You should be able to avoid any further jail.


You should have a lawyer with you on your first court date if you can afford one, as this is a misdemeanor which could have lifetime consequences if not resolved well.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok. I read on some law advice sites saying things like, a lawyer is not required at the arraignment, and just to plead not guilty and tell them you have a lawyer prepared for trial.



Hi Augie,

Your constitutional right to counsel begins at your arraignment. While you don't strictly speaking, need one to plead not guilty, you might find one handy to negotiate something for you, since some DAs will not bargain with unrepresented defendants. Additionally, you can't count on either the DA or the judge to safeguard your rights. They won't deliberately hurt you, but they do have different agendas than your lawyer would..

On the other hand, if you want to save yourself the cost of a lawyer, you can certainly show up without one, plead not guilty, see what the state is proposing for a disposition and if you don't like it, you can always ask the judge for a continuance to come back with a lawyer. This is not at all unreasonable, and it is allowed.
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