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Probation for a Texas DWI

Published: Sep 05, 2016 in Criminal Defense, DUI

When you’ve been charged with a DWI, you might imagine the worst possible consequences. Your fear may have you picturing a long jail sentence and being released only to have your driver’s license suspended. Houston DWI defense lawyer Ned Barnett can help if you’ve been arrested for or charged with a DWI in Texas. Call him today at (713) 222-6767.

While Texas DWI law allows for harsh punishments for first and subsequent offenses, it is also possible to minimize the consequences of a DWI conviction. Probation can be an alternative sentence to jail, but it takes the right defense strategy and a skilled DWI attorney to argue for probation on your behalf. If you’re facing a drunk driving offense, call Houston DWI defense lawyer Ned Barnett to learn more about probation for a Texas DWI.

Obtaining Probation

Probation, also known as “community supervision” under Texas law, is often part of a plea bargain. Prosecutors have the power to negotiate a sentence with you in exchange for your pleading guilty to a crime. Attorney Ned Barnett may be able to negotiate none or only a few days of jail time in exchange for probation.

A judge can also probate your sentence upon conviction, which means you won’t automatically serve jail time, but may do so if you violate the conditions of probation. Your fine and license suspension can also be probated, which means they are reduced or entirely avoided if you successfully complete probation.

When Probation is an Option

Probation is a more likely option if you’re a first-time offender. If you’re in court for your first DWI, you may be able to negotiation probation that includes a DWI education program. Your lawyer can lean on the facts, such as a clean driving and lack of criminal history, to demonstrate to the judge and prosecutor that this was a one-time mistake and you don’t deserve the harsh punishment of jail.

Probation is almost always an option, but it will become more difficult to obtain if the court views you as a habitual offender or others serious circumstances existed at the time of the arrest, such as an open alcohol container in the car, a child passenger, or someone was injured. These mitigating circumstances can make the court concerned for public safety. Your DWI defense lawyer may be able to push for probation, but it might include harsher restrictions.

Common Probation Conditions

The length of your probation depends on the facts of your case. First-time offenders who didn’t hurt anyone may be able to serve a 1 year sentence of probation. However, if you have previous DWI convictions, there was property damage, or someone got hurt, then you may face up to 2 years of probation, which is the maximum period of community supervision allowed for a misdemeanor. A felony conviction can lead to a significantly longer probation period.

Conditions of probation often include:

  • Checking in with a supervising officer on a set schedule
  • Paying a supervisory fee to the probation office
  • Reporting to a supervising officer if you want to travel or move
  • Completing community service
  • Completing drug and alcohol education classes
  • Paying any part of your fine that is not probated
  • Paying court costs
  • Paying restitution to a victim
  • Not consuming any alcohol
  • Submitting to breath and urine tests
  • Paying for the installation of an alcohol ignition interlock device
  • Not committing any additional crimes

Contact a Houston DWI Defense Lawyer

If you are facing a DWI charge, you have to take the possible penalties and consequences seriously. Without the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may not understand how to best defend yourself and frame your case to be awarded probation instead of jail. For more information on probation for a Texas DWI, contact the Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767.