Contrary to what many people might think, a driving while intoxicated charge – a “DWI” – is not a “minor” criminal charge. The potential consequences of a conviction are serious, including a potential driver’s license suspension, a term of court-supervised probation and even court-ordered alcohol or substance abuse treatment. And, of course, the more serious the charge, the more likely a defendant is to be sentenced to serve time behind bars.
Presumption of innocence
That is why the “presumption of innocence” is so important for defendants in Texas. Although some of our readers may think that this presumption is enshrined in the US Constitution as an individual right, that actually isn’t the case. In reality, the presumption of innocence has developed over the years through previous Supreme Court decisions and through state and federal statutes – all as a means to ensure that criminal defendants receive a fair trial.
So, what does the presumption of innocence mean for your DWI case? Well, criminal charges can be broken down into “elements” – the pieces of each allegation. In essence, the presumption of innocence means that the prosecutor is required to prove every element of the charges a defendant faces. If any single element of a criminal charge is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the presumption of innocence rationally leads to the conclusion that the defendant is not guilty.
Plan your defense
DWI cases can be tough to defend – prosecutors take them seriously. Be sure to put the time in to think about the appropriate strategy to defend against the charges in your DWI case.