If you have been charged with a DWI while on probation in the Houston area, you need an experienced DWI attorney to protect your rights. The Houston-area DWI probation lawyers at Blass Law will fight to get the best outcome possible for your case. A DWI arrest does not necessarily mean that your probation will be revoked, but you need to act fast and you need to have an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side. Don’t delay, call Blass Law or request a case consultation today!
It’s common knowledge that the Texas courts impose harsh penalties on people convicted of DWI. Judges are quick to take away your driver’s license, impose hefty fines and even put people behind bars if convicted. If you are convicted of any DWI offense in Texas, probation is likely to be part or your sentence. How long and how cumbersome the probation is depends of the severity of the charge and the expertise of your defense.
Pretrial Diversion for DWI
In some cases, DWI defendants can enter a contract with the state and potentially have the charge dismissed if the terms and conditions of their contract are completed. In this technical process, the DA may dismiss the charge upon successful completion of the terms of the agreement. The defendant must successfully complete tasks such as community service, a VIP (Victim Impact Panel), SOP (Supportive Outpatient Treatment), IOP (Intensive Outpatient Treatment), and not commit a crime other than a Class C traffic violation.
Although pretrial diversions are relatively uncommon, it can be a valuable way to avoid suffering a criminal record in some cases. Following the DWI pretrial diversion, your attorney may be able to file for an expunction. This basically erases the arrest and criminal case. However, failure to meet the terms of the contract often results in the State proceeding with the case and prosecution.
Suspended Sentence Probation for DWI
In any case where a defendant is granted probation, the Judge suspends the jail sentence and imposes community supervision. This can happen if someone is convicted of a first offense DWI all the way to more severe cases and those that involve repeat offenders. Defendants should be fully aware that with each conviction, the possibility of doing time behind bars increases. But when state prosecutors face an experienced DWI defense attorney, they tend to weigh things like the expense of a trial and the possibility of losing the case.
The same holds true for defendants who may have failed a breathalyzer or been involved in a car accident while allegedly under the influence. A suspended sentence with probation allows defendants to keep their freedom under state supervision. If you complete the court-ordered requirements, you may not have to serve time. However, violating the terms of a DWI probation often results in immediate incarceration. Suspended sentence probation tends to be a last chance to stay out of jail.
Can I get Deferred Adjudication for a DWI?
In short; no. Deferred adjudication means that you plead guilty to driving while intoxicated, but the judge in your case postpones (or defers) finding you guilty until you have completed the requirements of the deferment. Once you have completed the conditions of your deferment, the judge can set aside your guilty plea and you will not have a conviction on your record. In Texas, DWI defendants do not qualify for deferred adjudication by law.
Despite not having the opportunity for deferred adjudication, you still have options to keep your DWI arrest off of your record. You may be able to have your case dismissed or get a not guilty verdict. You may qualify for expunction of your record. These outcomes require a strong criminal defense lawyer like the attorneys at Blass Law.
Texas DWI Probation Penalties
Determining the terms and conditions of a DWI probation involve negotiations between a criminal defense attorney and government prosecutors. Your attorney will work to get you the best possible outcome, including reduced or no jail time and reduced fines. Reducing your jail time will likely come with increased “community supervision” or probation. Common conditions of DWI probation in Texas include:
- Fines and Fees: There are generally fines and court fees associated with DWI probation sentences. Beyond those, you can expect to pay for at least a portion of the probation supervision costs and restitution if you were involved in an accident or a victim incurred a loss.
- Probation Officer/Community Supervisor Monitoring: People on probation are assigned a probation officer who will schedule monthly meetings. They could be required more often if the official finds a need or less frequently in some instances. Your probation office reports to the court and missing a meeting could result in a DWI probation violation.
- Alcohol Education Requirements: The court generally mandates classes to educate offenders about the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse. These may include the DWI Education Program, and Victim Impact Panel offered by MADD. The court often requires those on probation to complete an education component within six months.
- Random Screenings: Alcohol and drug testing remain a common part of probation. The court may require abstinence during the probationary period. Failed screenings can result in your probation being revoked, additional hours of community service and jail time.
- Ignition Interlock System: The court may require you to have an alcohol monitoring device installed on your vehicle at your own expense. This is often a condition if the probationer is allowed to maintain driving privileges.
Along with these conditions, people on DWI probation are generally tasked with community service, remain under travel restriction, and must not commit a crime. Just as DWI offenses are met with harsh penalties in Texas, probation violations are not tolerated by the courts.
Texas DWI Probation Violations
The court views your probation as the last chance to stay out of jail. Any violation of the terms and conditions of your probation can quickly result in an arrest warrant. The probation officer managing your case or state prosecutor could file a motion to revoke your probation. These are some common reasons a DWI probation may be revoked:
- Arrested While on Probation
- Charged with a new law violation
- Failure to Make Court-Ordered Payments for Fines, Fees or Restitution
- Failure to Attend Educational Classes
- Caught drinking while on probation
- Failing to Complete Community Service
Once the state has filed a motion to revoke probation, you will be subject to a hearing. The court will decide whether revoke probation entirely and move forward with sentencing that could include incarceration or other punitive measures.
Probation violators face an uphill legal battle because the burden of proof is lower in this type of hearing. It’s up to your attorney to provide an effective defense and prove you did not violate the terms and conditions of your probation. The other alternative is to present mitigating circumstances and persuade the court to allow you to remain out of jail. That’s why it’s imperative you work with an experienced Texas DWI probation defense attorney.
Request a DWI Probation Case Consultation
If you received a DWI in Houston, you need an experienced DWI probation lawyer to represent your interests and defend your rights. The expert attorneys at Blass Law can get the best result for your case, whether this is your first DWI offense and you are looking for reduced probation, or you were charged with DWI while on probation. You have a narrow opportunity to defend yourself and reduce your penalties, so don’t delay! Call our office or request a consultation.