The court process for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge can be intimidating. How does court work? What does a hearing involve? Where is the courtroom? Understanding what happens in DWI court can take the confusion out of the process even before you set foot in a courtroom.
Criminal court proceedings take place at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in Travis County. The Center handles both felony and misdemeanor criminal cases. The address is:
Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center
509 West 11th Street
Austin, TX 78701
The first step in the court process is an arraignment where a defendant enters a plea – not guilty, guilty, or no contest. Next, at a preliminary hearing, a judge will determine whether or not a trial needs to take place. Sometimes a plea deal can be struck at this stage where charges or sentences are reduced in exchange for a plea of guilty or no contest. Many DWI cases terminate at this stage, but some will go on to a formal trial.
If a case is not resolved at the preliminary hearing, a trial will be scheduled. Defendants have a choice between a bench trial heard by a judge or a full jury trial. At trial, the jury will hear the evidence of the case and arguments by both the prosecution and defense. They then determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant by unanimous vote and, if necessary, determine the sentencing or punishment.
An experienced attorney will thoroughly explain the court process to you if you’ve been charged with DWI in Texas. Contact The Law Office of Ken Gibson to schedule a free, no obligation case evaluation and discuss your options.