Can You Appeal Your DWI Conviction in Texas?


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A driving while impaired (DWI) conviction may seem like the end of the world, but it is not. While being convicted of DWI can be stressful and overwhelming, you might still be able to appeal your DWI conviction in Texas.

According to the official website of the Texas Judicial Branch, DWIs accounted for 21% of the new misdemeanor cases filed in 2020.

The criminal justice system in Texas allows people convicted of DWIs to file an appeal and challenge their conviction. However, the appeals process in Texas can be complex and confusing, which is why you might want to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney.

At the Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard, our criminal defense lawyer has a proven track record of success winning DWI appeals for clients throughout the State of Texas. If you believe that you were wrongfully convicted of DWI in Texas, do not hesitate to speak with our lawyer to explore your legal options.

Get a free consultation with our Texas criminal defense lawyer by calling (254) 220-4225 or filling out this contact form.

Do You Have the Right to Appeal a DWI Conviction in Texas?

Yes, your right to appeal a DWI conviction is recognized under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 44.02. The defendant has the right to request an appeal if they were convicted of a crime.

While a plea bargain may not be appealable if you accepted it knowingly and voluntarily, it may still be possible to appeal your guilty plea in Texas. Consider speaking with a knowledgeable defense lawyer in Texas to determine if you can appeal a guilty plea or conviction in your DWI case.

What Happens When You File an Appeal Request?

When you file an appeal, you formally request to have a higher court review and reverse the decision made by a lower court. The appeals process is not a new trial for your DWI case. When handling your appeals request, the higher court will not take into consideration new evidence presented by your lawyer.

Appellate courts focus on questions of law rather than questions of facts. The goal of requesting an appeal is to have a higher court determine if any errors occurred in applying the law at the lower court level.

How Long Do You Have to Appeal Your DWI Conviction in Texas?

While anyone convicted of DWI or another crime has a right to file an appeal, there is a deadline for filing an appeal request in Texas. According to the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, a defendant can exercise their right to request an appeal by filing a notice of appeal within 30 days of the date the judge signed a final judgment.

If you fail to file a notice of appeal within 30 days, you will be barred from requesting an appeal in your DWI case. However, in some cases, a skilled lawyer may be able to extend the time for filing an appeal request. If the deadline is extended, the defendant will have 90 days to file a notice of appeal after the judgment was signed.

It is vital to start preparing your appeals case as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can assist you with the proper and timely preparation of your DWI appeals case.

What Are Common Grounds to Appeal a DWI Conviction in Texas?

There are dozens of grounds to appeal a conviction, but some of the most common reasons to request an appeal after a DWI conviction in Texas include:

  1. False arrest. Many appeals cases after a DWI conviction are based on the fact that the defendant was a victim of false arrest. However, in order to prevail in an appeal based on a claim of false arrest, the defendant’s lawyer must be able to prove that the arresting police officer did not have probable cause to arrest the defendant.

  2. Improper admission/exclusion of evidence. Before the trial, the judge will determine which pieces of evidence are admissible and which ones should be excluded. If the judge allowed inadmissible evidence to be used during the trial or excluded admissible evidence, which had a substantial impact on the outcome of the trial, the appellate court is likely to overturn the conviction.

  3. Ineffective assistance of counsel. This ground for an appeal is based on the defendant’s deprivation of their constitutional right to a fair trial. When alleging ineffective assistance of counsel during an appeal after a DWI conviction, the defendant must demonstrate sufficient evidence proving that their lawyer failed to perform in a reasonably competent manner, which affected the outcome of the case.

  4. Juror misconduct. Jurors must be impartial and act fairly during a jury trial. However, if the defendant can prove that the jurors engaged in unlawful conduct that negatively affected the outcome of the trial, the appellate court may grant the defendant’s motion for a new trial.

If you believe your constitutional rights were violated or any legal errors were made during the trial, consider consulting with a skilled defense lawyer to determine if you have grounds to request an appeal after your conviction.


How to Request an Appeal After Your DWI Conviction?

Under Texas law, you have only 30 days to request an appeal after the judge signs a final judgment in your DWI case. Before you file a notice of appeal, consider speaking with a knowledgeable lawyer to understand your options.

Your lawyer will file a notice of appeal and prepare a motion for a new trial as soon as possible to protect your freedom and rights. However, keep in mind that there is limited time to request an appeal after a DWI conviction in Texas, which is why you have no time to waste.

The sooner you contact an attorney to work on your case, the more likely your attorney is to build a winning appeals case. If you cannot submit a notice of appeal at this, you can still request an appeal by filing the notice with the clerk of the court where the trial was held. The clerk will then forward your notice to the appropriate appellate court.

What is the Appeals Process After a DWI Conviction in Texas?

Appealing a DWI conviction can be a complicated process. If you decide to file a notice of appeal, you need to understand what happens next in your appeals case.

1. Your Notice is Submitted to the Clerk

Once you file a notice of appeals with the court that held the trial, the notice will be forwarded to the appellate court for review. The notice will also include relevant information about the conviction and trial. Your lawyer will help you make sure that the clerk includes the necessary information when submitting your records to the appellate court.

2. Request a Copy of the Transcript

As mentioned earlier, the appellate court has no authority to review any new evidence submitted by the parties after the trial. For this reason, the appellate court will only consider limited information about your DWI case, including the transcript from the trial.

Your lawyer will reach out to the court report to request a copy of the transcript from the trial. The copy will be forwarded to the appropriate appellate court that reviews your appeals case. Requesting a copy of the transcript can be expensive. Depending on the length of your trial, the cost could be anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000.

3. Drafting a Legal Brief

During this step, your lawyer will draft a legal brief containing the necessary information and issues that should be addressed on appeal. The success of your appeals case after a DWI conviction hinges on your lawyer’s ability to prepare a well-drafted legal brief.

4. Waiting for the Appellate Court to Review Your Case

The appellate court will review the relevant information submitted by the clerk, the copy of the transcript, and the legal brief prepared by the defendant’s attorney before issuing its opinion or decision. In some cases, the appellate court may request the defendant, their lawyer, and the State to appear in court to provide oral arguments.

5. Waiting for the Appellate Court’s Decision

Once the appellate court reviews all available information and records, it will decide whether or not there are sufficient grounds to reverse the lower court’s decision either in part or in whole.

What Happens After Your Appeal is Granted or Denied?

One of the two things can happen after you file a notice of appeal in Texas: the court will either grant or deny your appeal:

  • The appeal is granted. When the court grants your appeal, the lower court’s decision may be reversed. If the decision is reversed, the State has the opportunity to request a new trial in your DWI case.

  • The appeal is denied. If the court denies your appeal, there may still be a way to overturn your DWI conviction. If the appeal is denied, you may still be able to request further appellate review in the State’s highest court.

If your appeal request is denied by the highest court, your last option for contesting a conviction is to file a habeas petition with a federal court. This may be an option when your constitutional rights were violated.

When Should You Appeal Your DWI Conviction in Texas?

While you have the right to appeal your DWI conviction in Texas, your appeals case will only be successful if there is sufficient evidence to prove that you were wrongfully convicted. For example, your appeals case could be successful if there is evidence that the trial court improperly applied the law, which resulted in your conviction.

You can appeal a DWI conviction in a variety of situations. One of the most common situations in which convicted individuals might want to consider appealing a DWI conviction include:

  • Police misconduct

  • Illegal vehicle stop

  • Illegal search and seizures

  • Tampering with evidence

  • Faulty Breathalyzer device

  • Improper administration of blood tests or field sobriety tests

  • Mishandled blood samples for a BAC test

  • Failure to suppress inadmissible evidence

  • The court’s suppression of your admissible evidence could have changed the outcome of your trial

  • Juror or prosecutorial misconduct

  • Improper application of a federal or State law

  • Procedural or clerical errors

  • Violation of your constitutional rights

As you can see, there can be dozens of reasons to appeal a DWI conviction in Texas. However, even if you prevail in your appeals case does not necessarily mean that the criminal process against you is over. The State will still have an opportunity to secure a conviction in a new trial.

If you are considering filing a notice of appeal after a DWI conviction in Texas, speak with an experienced attorney to determine if you have valid grounds to appeal your conviction. Get a free case review with our detail-oriented and compassionate DWI defense lawyer at the Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard.

Do You Need a Defense Lawyer to Appeal Your DWI Conviction?

While you are not legally required to hire a defense lawyer to request an appeal after a DWI conviction in Texas, being represented by a skilled lawyer increases your chance of a favorable outcome.

An experienced lawyer will represent your best interests throughout the appeals and re-trial process in your DWI case. Appealing a DWI conviction is more complicated than it might seem. That is why seeking legal counsel from a lawyer who understands the appeals process can be beneficial.

The court is more likely to grant your motion to appeal when you have a lawyer who is capable of presenting your arguments in a convincing manner. At the Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard, we can help you understand your options if you lost your DWI case or are otherwise unhappy with the judge’s decision in your case.

Our results-driven and aggressive lawyer is prepared to evaluate the facts of your DWI conviction to determine if appealing the conviction can overturn the conviction in your case. Schedule a free case review with our criminal defense lawyer to determine whether or not legal errors occurred in your DWI case. Call (254) 220-4225 or fill out our contact form today.


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