Can You Get Off Probation Early in Texas for DWI?
They say that one DUI is already one too many. Still, the law seems more tolerant of first-time offenders who do not typically get incarcerated. The same goes for low-risk misdemeanors by people who have already had one or two DWI offenses, though that happens less often.
The truth is, drivers who do end up on probation do not get away that easily, either. Instead, they have to adhere to certain rules and regulations provided by the court. But can you get off probation early in Texas for DWI if you are on your best behavior? And how long does this sentence even last?
What Does DWI Probation in Texas Entail?
A person driving under the influence of alcohol is likely to get noticed by the police officers overlooking the traffic. In most cases, the officer will catch them swerving, speeding, or even forgetting to turn on their turn signals. When that happens, the driver is to step out of their vehicle and take a breath alcohol test. If the breathalyzer shows a concentration higher than 0.08%, the officer will make an arrest.
Typically, first-time offenders and those who have not endangered anyone do not get prison time. Instead, the court puts them on DWI probation. In other words, the judge sentences the driver to a period of “community supervision” where they will rehabilitate and get rid of the habit of driving under the influence.
While on DWI probation, the offender needs to follow the regulations set by the court. For example, they might have to pay probation fees and a drunk-driving fine of up to $10,000. During this time, they should also attend meetings and educational classes. Besides, they will have to report to the probation officers at least once a month. Most importantly, a driver guilty of DWI will have to give up drinking altogether as long as they are on probation.
How Long Does DWI Probation in Texas Last?
The amount of time a person will spend on DWI probation depends on the particular case. Typically, most drivers get community supervision for about one or two years. Thus, for a Misdemeanor DWI, the offender will likely get under 24 months of probation time. On the other hand, third-time DWI conviction, Intoxication Assault, and Intoxication Manslaughter probations can last up to 10 years.
Some of the factors influencing the length of a DWI probation are the following:
● how high the driver's blood alcohol concentration is
● whether or not the driver already has a criminal record
● whether or not the DWI results in an accident (property damage or injury)
● the driver's overall behavior in front of the police officers making the arrest
● how many and which felonies the offender has made while driving under the influence
● the experience of the offender's criminal case attorney
● the policies of the prosecuting office
Can DWI Probation Be Ended Early in Texas?
A DWI offender in Texas is expected to serve every minute of their sentence. In other words, they will not be able to get off probation early in this state. However, the judge might be able to reward their good behavior by adjusting the probation terms. For example, they can reduce the number of monthly visits the driver needs to pay to the probation officer.
Also, the judge can decide to cut the number of hours the driver needs to spend on community service. In some Texas counties, the offender might even get a "non-reporting" status on completing all of their probation terms. Alternatively, they may have their interlock device removed prematurely.
What Happens When the Driver Breaks the Probation Rules?
If the offender decides to go against the rules of DWI probation, they can face an MTR. The Motion to Revoke Probation will likely result in the termination of community supervision. However, the driver will get jail time instead and might have to pay additional fines.
A driver on probation for a DWI in Texas will need to follow the rules set by the court. They will have to take regular blood alcohol tests, visit the probation officer, and attend meetings. Depending on the case, their community supervision should not last longer than two years. Unfortunately, they will not be able to get off probation early in this state.
Still, if they are on their best behavior, the judge might decide to adjust the probation terms. Thus, the driver can get fewer community service hours or probation officer check-ins. The bottom line is that it's important to seek the help of the top DWI attorneys in Fort Worth.