Not every Texan who ends up with a first-time charge of driving while intoxicated receives a conviction. A conviction is not immediate, nor is it set in stone.

Because of the serious and potentially damaging impact a DWI charge can have on your future, finances and freedom, you should review the following steps on what happens after you receive a DWI charge so you can take measures to improve the outcome.

The arraignment

Your first court appearance is where the court will formally charge you with a DWI. During your arraignment, you will receive the option to secure a private DWI defense attorney or to rely on a court-appointed public defender. You may also receive an offer for a plea deal if your blood alcohol content was lower than 0.08%.

At this point, you may feel overwhelmed by everything that is going on. It may seem cheaper and more advantageous to choose a public defender or accept a plea deal since it is your first DWI offense. You may fair better by taking your case to trial and choosing a private attorney who can give your case the proper attention it deserves.

The consequences of a DWI conviction

If you plead guilty or accept a plea deal, you lose the right to a fair trial. You can no longer challenge the evidence or change your plea at a later date. You may or may not receive probation or have to spend some time behind bars and pay a hefty amount in fines and restitution. The state may revoke or restrict your legal driving privileges. You may also end up with a DWI conviction on your criminal record that could have a lasting impact on your insurance premiums, employment, education, professional credentials and many other opportunities that you may encounter in the years to come.