If you are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, you may be able to seek probation instead of time in jail or prison. However, a DWI lawyer is key to a successful defense in the event of a third DWI charge. They can help you build an effective defense and advise on whether to participate in plea negotiations.
According to Texas Penal Code § 49, if you are arrested for DWI a third time, with two prior convictions, your penalty can include a stiff fine, license suspension, and up to 10 years of prison time, which can be suspended to probation instead. A DWI defense attorney from our firm can evaluate your case and decide if you should seek probation under certain conditions.
What is Probation?
Probation is called community supervision in Texas and it’s an agreement between you and the court that you will adhere to certain conditions to avoid going to prison for your DWI conviction. When your attorney reviews the case and decides how to proceed, they may decide a probated sentence is the best case scenario, if so, they will fight for the shortest term of probation, lowest fines, and shortest term of license suspension in exchange for a guilty plea.
In a plea deal, you agree to admit guilt to a lesser charge in exchange for less restrictive punishment, for example, probation instead of sitting down in prison. While on probation, you will not be confined to a jail or prison cell. Instead, you can continue to live your life with supervision and certain behavioral restrictions.
Conditions of Probation in Texas DWI Cases
If you are on probation, you may be required to:
- Regularly report to a probation officer
- Complete community service
- Abstain from alcohol and non-prescription drugs
- Avoid committing any other crimes
- Stay within a particular county, state, or other jurisdiction unless granted permission to leave by the Court.
- Submit to breathalyzer tests when requested by the court or law enforcement
- Use an ignition interlock device (IID) approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
- Pay fees, fines, restitution, donations, and supervisory fees as required by the Probation Office and the court
While these conditions may seem onerous, they allow those convicted of DWI to continue to exist in society, where they can work and see their friends and family. Probation is typically considered preferable to incarceration.
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Your DWI Circumstances Affect Your Chances for Probation
When you are arrested or charged with DWI in Texas, the conditions surrounding your DWI incident play a significant role in whether the court will be willing to suspend a sentence of prison time and place you on community supervision.
Important circumstances that can affect your DWI case in Texas include:
- Whether there are previous DWI convictions
- Whether there was an accident
- If the accident caused serious bodily injury or fatalities
- How much property damage occurred as a result of the accident
- If there was a child present in the vehicle
- Whether the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above the legal limit and by how much
- If a firefighter, peace officer, emergency medical personnel, or judge was injured or killed while on duty due to the DWI incident
- If there was an open alcoholic beverage in the vehicle
They Also Affect Other Aspects of Your Case
Each of the above conditions can affect how the judge or jury views your case, affecting your ability to bargain for more lenient penalties. DWI circumstances can affect:
- The length of your jail, prison, or probation sentence
- The amount of any fines levied by the court and the State
- The length of your driver’s license suspension
- Whether you can apply for or retain a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor
A DWI defense lawyer will be familiar with the factors that can affect your bargaining position in a DWI case. They will know how to present your case to establish the best potential for a plea bargain, reduced sentence, or even case dismissal. Therefore, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney with experience handling DWI cases in Texas.
A Skillful DWI Attorney Can Negotiate Better Terms
If you face DWI charges for the third time, you will likely face much more severe consequences than you did for the first and second offenses. Texas law outlines increasingly significant repercussions for repeat DWI offenders, including longer jail terms, higher fines, and extended license suspension. In addition, it may be difficult to convince a judge or jury to offer a more lenient sentence.
A defense attorney with knowledge of DWI charges can navigate the complexities of your case and develop a winning strategy to seek the best possible outcome. They will examine the evidence to determine whether there were any mistakes made during your arrest or BAC testing and use this information to negotiate a reduced sentence.
Discuss Possible Sentencing in Your DWI Case with Our Firm Today
Blass Law has the knowledge and criminal defense expertise necessary to defend your legal rights in a court of law.
Contact us today to discuss how our law firm can help you seek a dismissal or probation for your third DWI offense.