A DWI conviction can put your life on hold, especially if you’re involved in law enforcement or the military. Both the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement (TLOE) and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) states a DWI conviction is grounds for disciplinary action.
As a police officer, you could face career-related consequences such as suspension or even the revocation of your badge. You can contest for a probated license, but you’ll be restricted by the conditions listed in your probated license. Some of these include specified reporting conditions, document submission conditions and required voluntary duty.
Military personnel face their own internal consequences for DWI. Whether your DWI happened on base or civilian grounds, you could be subject to administrative penalties by your commanding officer. Your officer could lower your rank, pay or require you to participate in substance and alcohol abuse treatment.
Don’t wait another moment to save your livelihood. If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI and are employed by law enforcement or the military, it’s important you seek trusted legal representation.
Attorney for Police & Military in Houston, Texas
Driving while intoxicated can not only put you in jail but could devastate your career. Police officers and military personnel face life-changing consequences if they’re convicted of DWI. If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI and is a currently a police officer or in the military, it’s vital you contact an attorney from Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc..
The attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. have an in-depth understanding of both statutory and career-related penalties of DWI. We have represented numerous police officers and military men and women in Texas criminal courts. Call us today at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a free case consultation.
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. defends clients throughout the Houston metroplex area including West University Place, Pasadena, Tomball and River Oaks.
Overview of DWI Consequences for Military and Law Enforcement
- Statutory Penalties for DWI in Texas
- Military Punishment for DWI Off Base
- Military Consequences for DWI On Base
- DWI Consequences for Police Officers in Texas
- Suspension Terms for Officers with DWI
- Probated Suspension Terms for Police Officers
- License Revocation for Law Enforcement with DWI
- Additional Resources
Statutory Penalties for DWI in Texas
For both police officers and military personnel, there’s a chance you’ll be facing the statutory penalties for DWI. Military personnel may face differing penalties if their DWI occurred on a military base. Police officers tend to face statutory penalties in conjunction with career-related punishments imposed by the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement (TLOE).
The chart below outlines the statutory penalties for DWI in Texas.
|Number of Offenses:||Offense Level:||Jail/Prison Time:||Fine:|
|Class B Misdemeanor||Minimum of 72 hours in jail; maximum of 180 days in jail|
|Class A Misdemeanor||Minimum of 30 days in jail; maximum of 12 months in jail.|
|Third-Degree Felony||Minimum of 2 years in prison; maximum of 10 years in prison.||$10,000|
A judge will normally include added conditions to a DWI sentencing. Some of these include:
- Driver’s license suspension;
- Drug and alcohol evaluation;
- Drug and alcohol treatment program;
- Required DWI education course;
- Community service hours;
- Surcharges of up to $2,000 annually for three years by DPS
Military Punishment for DWI Off Base in Texas
A deciding factor in how your DWI will be handled is where the offense happened. If your DWI happened off base, then you’ll likely be placed in civilian court. There you will be required to face the statutory penalties for your DWI. However, you could also be subject to administrative penalties imposed by your commanding officer.
Your commanding officer cannot detain you, but they can implement a punishment they deem fit for your DWI. Some of these consequences include, but are not limited to:
- Reduction in pay;
- Reduction in rank;
- Forfeiting pay for a period of time;
- Alcohol or substance abuse evaluation;
- Required treatment for alcohol or substance abuse;
- Letter of reprimand;
- Loss of certain privileges;
- Correctional custody;
- Restrictions to specified limits; or
- Extra duties decided by your commanding officer
Military Punishment for DWI On Base in Texas
A DWI is handled differently if it happens on a military installation. UCMJ § 911 states you could be charged with a military DWI if you do any of the following:
- Operate a motor vehicle while impaired on drugs or in a wanton manner;
- Operate or is in physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated;
- Was driving with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of:
- The legal limit of the state where your DWI occurred;
- 10 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
- 10 of alcohol per 210 liters of breath
Your offense will be handled under court-martial instead of traditional criminal courts. The court-martial process is basically a military court composed of military personnel. The military offers two types of court-martial trials based on the offense being tried.
The majority of misdemeanor offenses are handled under special court-martial. A special court-martial is composed of no less than three officers which act as jury or a military judge. The defense will have an opportunity to present evidence and their case in court similar to a civilian trial.
If you’re found guilty, a special court-martial can impose career-related consequences including, but not limited to:
- Forfeiture of two-thirds pay for 6 months;
- A discharge for bad conduct;
- Confinement for 12 months; or
- Other relevant forms of punishment
Other higher offenses are managed by general court-martial. A general court-martial consists of five court members who act as jury, military judge, prosecution and the defense. You can choose to have your verdict decided by a military jury or judge. The following are some possible punishments you could face in general court-martial.
- Pay reduction;
- Rank reduction;
- A bad conduct or dishonorable charge;
- Confinement for up to 10 years;
- Hard labor for a specified period of time;
- Dismissal as an officer; or
- Other relevant forms of punishment
DWI Consequences for Police Officers in Texas
Law enforcement are supposed to protect Texas roads from people who violate traffic laws. However, sometimes police officers make mistakes. If you’re in law enforcement and you’ve been charged with DWI, you might be in trouble. Texas Occupations Code § 1701.501 states TLOE could suspend or revoke your badge if your DWI is:
- Felony-level; or
- Directly reflects your duties as a police officer
The Texas Commission of Law Enforcement also reserves the right to impose administrative penalties. You could be saddled with a fine of up to $1,000 per day per violation. The cost of your administrative penalty is based on the following factors:
- If you have a history of violating the Occupations Code;
- The seriousness of your DWI;
- What amount is necessary to deter others from future violations;
- If you made any efforts to correct your DWI; and
- Any other relevant information
Suspension Terms for Officers with DWI in Texas
TLOE could suspend your badge for a period of time if you have a DWI conviction. The suspension period is determined by the level of offense your DWI is. The following chart summarizes the suspension terms for officers with a DWI conviction.
|DWI Offense:||Degree of Offense:||Suspension Term:|
|Class B Misdemeanor||60 Days|
|Class A Misdemeanor|
|Third-Degree Felony (Placed on community supervision)|
If you were put on probation for a non-felony DWI, then you could have your license suspended for up to 10 years. TLOE uses several factors to determine a suspension term such as:
- How serious the DWI was;
- Your mental state during the DWI;
- If your DWI included threats of bodily injury or coercion;
- Your violation history;
- If you’re a danger to the general public;
- Aggravating factors present in your DWI; and
- Any evidence used to refute mitigating factors
Probated License Terms for Officer Convicted of DWI
Depending on the circumstances, you might still be able to use your suspended license. TLOE states you could probate your license if there is proof of mitigating factors. Some of the factors TLOE uses to determine a probated suspension include:
- If you have a history of compliance with court-ordered probation;
- If you have tried to rehabilitate yourself by terms not required in your probation;
- Your post-arrest employment record; and
- If you were court-ordered restitution
You can request a hearing to have your license suspension probated. At the hearing, TLOE will be able to sit and hear your presented evidence for why your suspension should be probated. If you’re successful, TLOE can impose some conditions on your probated license. These include:
- Specific employment requirements;
- Added reporting conditions;
- Document submission conditions;
- Mandated voluntary duty; or
- Any other condition imposed by TLOE
License Revocation for Law Enforcement with DWI
The worst possible outcome of your DWI is a revocation of your professional license. TLOE is entitled to revoke your license if they believe the DWI directly relates to the duties of the law enforcement occupation. The following factors are used to determine if a DWI directly relates to the responsibilities of a police officer.
- The severity of the DWI;
- The relationship of the DWI with the duties of law enforcement;
- If your badge gives you more opportunities to engage in criminal activity of the same caliber or type; and
- If your DWI impacts your capacity, ability or fitness required to be a police officer
Officers with a felony-level DWI conviction will have their license immediately revoked. A revocation of your license will mean you’re barred from pursuing any future licensing or certification of TLOE. Basically, it could be the end of your career.
You can reinstate a revoked license with the assistance of a skilled attorney. A practiced attorney can request a hearing and present several proofs of facts to negate your revocation.
TLOE Commission Rules – Visit the official website of the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement to learn more about their current disciplinary procedures for police officers. Access the site to learn the commission rules, the Rules Handbook and other resources.
Uniform Code of Military Justice- Visit the official website of the Texas Military Department to find the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Find more information about prohibited offenses under military law, the procedures for court-martial and how military appeals work.
Lawyer for Military DWI Punishment in Harris County, Texas
If you or someone you know is employed in the military of law enforcement with DWI charges, it’s crucial you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You will need representation for both criminal and administrative penalties from your career.
Call Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. to speak to a seasoned criminal defense attorney today. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. has years of experience defending people in standard court, disciplinary proceedings or even court-martial. Don’t wait another moment and contact us today at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a case consultation.
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area including Tomball, West University Place, Pasadena and Houston.
This article was last updated on March 11th, 2019.