What to know about probation for a first time DWI arrest in the state of Texas.
Going through a court appearance and trial for a
DWI offense can cause a spout of nerves and anxiety in anyone. When you're sitting
in front of the judge, awaiting the results of your case, it can be hard
to keep the worried thoughts from passing through your head: What kind
of fines am I going to have to pay? How is this going to affect my future
plans and goals? Am I going to have to go to jail?
Luckily in many cases, as long you don't have any prior DWI convictions,
the judge will most likely suspend your entire jail sentence and, instead,
will place you on probation. However, don't breathe a sigh of relief
just yet-Driving while intoxicated in Texas is a serious offense and,
therefore, probation for a DWI is not to be taken lightly.
The state of Texas defines probations as the “conditional release
of an eligible prisoner” and can last anywhere from six months to
two years for a first-offense DWI conviction. If any of the probation
requirements are not met, including something as simple as forgetting
to check in with your probation officer, the individual on probation may
be charged with probation violation, a crime that brings with it the possibility
of more fines, jail time and community service hours.
Because of these severe consequences, it is extremely important that you
follow the probation guidelines set by the judge and probation officer
and immediately contact an experienced DWI lawyer if you violate your
probation. In the mean time, it is important to understand just what happens
when you are put on probation for a DWI:
What is Probation?
Probation for a DWI in Texas is not too different from many other states.
It is basically an agreement that is set between you and the judge committing
that they've agreed not to impose a jail sentence (also referred to
as “suspending a sentence”) as long as you agree to follow
a strict list of rules throughout the period of your probation. This period
of time is called the “probationary period” and may last up
to two years for a first-time DWI offense.
What Must You Do During DWI Probation?
When you are put on probation for a DWI charge, the judge will assign you
a set list of “do's and don'ts” for the entire length
of your probation period. During this time, there are several things that
you must do:
- Pay Fees: In addition the money you must pay for your DWI fine, you may
also have several additional fees that you will be required to pay such
as court costs, attorney fees, payment of restitution, etc.
- Attend Meetings with Probation Officers: All individuals who are on DWI
probation will be assigned a probation officer that they will meet with
on a regular bases. These officers verify to a judge than an individual
has fulfilled the terms of their probation.
- Attend Required Meetings: Some people who are on probation for a DWI may
be required to attend special classes as ordered by the court. Some of
these classes may include a DWI Education Class or completing a Victim
Impact Panel. You usually have six months to require all classes set through
- Submit to Testing: All Texas residents on DWI probation are required to
submit periodic alcohol and/or drug tests. If any problem is detected,
additional terms and conditions may be added on to your probation.
If you are put on probation after a DWI offense or are accused of committing
a probation violation for a DWI in Texas, it will be very beneficial for
you to receive the guidance of an experienced DWI attorney.
Not only will this help you avoid the maximum punishment that may be set
by a district attorney, but a DWI lawyer can also help you to minimize
the consequences of your probation violations. While you have the right
to plead innocent and have a defense presented during your case, this
is almost always best accomplished with the help of an experienced DWI lawyer.