Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a common offense, but it can lead to prison or jail time. Since DWI is normally a nonviolent offense the courts may offer an alternative sentencing referred to as community supervision or probation. If you’re court ordered to community supervision, then you’ll be required to complete the listed conditions instead of time behind bars.
Community supervision is a much more desirable substitute than incarceration. However, it does come with some cost. If you’re put on probation, you’ll be required to complete a list of terms and conditions. Failure to complete the requirements in time could result in you facing the full statutory penalties of your DWI. It’s imperative you’re informed about how DWI probation functions before making any major decisions.
Attorney Explains DWI Probation in Houston, Texas
In some cases, a judge will offer you community supervision rather than incarceration. If you’re put on probation, then you’ll be required to fulfill all their requirements to avoid jail or prison time. In addition, you could face the full legal punishment for DWI if you fail to meet the listed conditions.
DWI community supervision demands a lot out of the defendant. You could be required to meet your probation officer, attend DWI school, undergo random drug and alcohol screenings and more. This is why it’s important to have legal representation on your side. The attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. excel at all types of DWI law including violations of DWI probation.
Call now to schedule a case consultation today. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area including Houston, Bellaire, Tomball, and West University Place.
Overview of DWI Probation in Texas
- Possible Conditions for DWI Community Supervision
- Other Conditions for DWI Probation
- What Happens if I Violate My DWI Probation?
- Additional Resources
Conditions for DWI Community Supervision in Texas
DWI is a relatively frequent charge, so you could be offered community supervision instead of jail or prison time. Probation is simply a list of prohibitions and requirements that must be completed within a specific time frame determined by the court. If you’re able to finish all the conditions in a timely manner, then you’ll be able to have your charges dismissed.
DWI community supervision has both standard probation conditions and rehabilitative ones chosen by the judge. You could be subject to a substance abuse and alcohol treatment evaluation and then program depending on the results. The program must be approved by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse or the Texas Criminal Department of Justice.
It’s likely you’ll also be required to complete a 12-hour DWI Educational Program. The program must be finished within 180 days of entering your plea. You can find DWI classes through third-party companies, but they must be approved by the Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Criminal Justice. If you’re a repeat DWI offender, then you must attend a 32-hour class.
In some cases, the judge will order you to install an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID is essentially a breathalyzer attached to your car. You’ll be required to submit a breath sample to start the engine. If you have a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or more, then the car will automatically turn off. You will also be required to pay for the installation and monthly fees out of pocket.
You’ll probably have your license suspended if you’re put on probation for DWI. The suspension will depend on if you have any prior DWI convictions. You could have your license suspended for up to:
- 12 months for the first offense; and
- 2 years for the second or subsequent offense
Not everyone is eligible for community supervision. DWI offenses which have a prison term of more than ten years cannot qualify for probation. For example, you cannot receive probation for intoxication manslaughter because it can result in up to 20 years in prison.
It’s important to understand there’s no guarantee of what will be listed on your probation. You could be subject to these conditions, but the judge may choose not to implement them. It will depend on how the legal proceedings go and the circumstances of the crime.
Other Possible Conditions of DWI Probation
The majority of community supervision terms follow the same outline. You can find the basic conditions of probation under Section 11 of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 42.12. Some community supervision conditions include, but aren’t subjected to:
- Commit no other crimes;
- Avoid vicious habits such as consuming alcohol or drugs;
- Stay away from high-crime areas and other people involved in crime;
- Report monthly to your community supervision officer;
- Allow the officer to visit your home or elsewhere;
- Gain and maintain reasonable employment;
- Remain in one place during your probation;
- Have all court costs and fines paid;
- Support any dependents such as paying child support;
- Undergo alcohol or drug screenings;
- Pay restitution costs; and
- Submit a DNA sample to the Department of Public Safety (DPS)
What Happens if I Violate My Probation for DWI?
Texas takes the requirements of community supervision very seriously. Violating your probation could result in severe legal consequences. In many cases, a probation violation is nothing more than a simple misunderstanding. Some people have “violated” community supervision for simply being late to an appointment with their probation officer.
Thankfully, you have options if you’re accused of violating your probation. With legal representation on your side, you could contest the violation with a hearing. A judge will hear both you and the state’s cases to determine if you violated your community supervision.
A probation hearing has a different standard of proof than traditional criminal trials. The prosecution must prove you violated your community supervision by preponderance of the evidence, meaning you more likely than not violated probation.
If the judge believes you violated probation, they could do one of the following;
- Modify your community supervision;
- Reinstate your community supervision; or
- Revoke your community supervision
Community Supervision Rules – Visit the official website of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure to learn more about probation. Access the statute to learn community supervision requirements, fees associated with probation, and how to have your probation reduced or terminated early.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Visit the official website of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) which regulates community supervision and incarceration in Texas. Find more information about their Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, rehabilitation programs, and answers to frequently asked questions.
DWI Attorney in Harris County, Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI, it’s imperative you gain legal representation. A conviction could lead to harsh fines and even jail or prison. You could avoid incarceration entirely with a strong defense by Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc..
Call the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. to evaluate your case. We can assess your charges to see if you’re eligible for probation. Our attorneys can formulate a strong defense plan to help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today at (713) 224-5529 for a free consultation.
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. represents people accused of DWI throughout the Harris County area including Bellaire, Tomball, Pasadena, and West University Place.
This article was last updated on March 11th, 2019.