Drinking and driving is never a good idea, regardless of how skillful a driver might be. Even small alcohol intake has been shown to have detrimental effects on a person's motoric and sensory functions behind the wheel. Those who have experienced drunk driving already know the trouble that ensues from it. From losing their license to doing jail time, driving under the influence almost always finds a way to backfire. There's also the matter of having to use a breathalyzer, which, you cannot easily get out from—learn what happens if you deny a breathalyzer in Texas.
Still, people who end up on probation for a DWI may wonder if they can continue with their regular activities during this period. Can you drink on DWI probation in Texas, and what other responsibilities does this sanction entail?
When Do Drivers Go on Probation for DWI in Texas?
What happens on your first DWI in Texas? It is usually first-time offenders who get probation time for driving under the influence. Instead of being incarcerated, a driver guilty of a DWI goes on community supervision. During this time, a probation officer monitors their behavior to check if they are complying with all the rules. In turn, the judge suspends their jail time as long as they obey the court order.
How much time a driver spends on probation for a DWI depends on the situation. In Texas, the probation time for driving under the influence also varies from county to county. Generally, one can expect to get between one to two years of probation. For third-time offenders and intoxication assault or manslaughter, this period is longer.
Which Responsibilities Does a DWI Offender on Probation Have in Texas?
A person guilty of driving under the influence will need to follow several rules during their probation time. Depending on the case, their responsibilities can include the following penalties:
● Paying probation fines. Third-time DWI offenders might look at a $10,000 fine, while the penalty is somewhat lower for the first offense — $2,000. At the same time, the probation fees can be between $50 - $100 a month.
● Checking in. A driver on probation for a DWI will have to pay monthly visits to the probation officer. During this time, the officer will try to ensure the offender is adhering to the probation terms.
● Going to meetings. A person guilty of driving under the influence will also need to attend regular meetings. Apart from that, they will do community work and visit educational DWI classes.
● Other. The judge might also set other rules like maintaining employment or avoiding leaving the country. Also, during this time, the driver must not get arrested or receive any police warnings.
Can a DWI Offender Drink While on Probation in Texas?
Apart from the above responsibilities, a driver arrested for a DWI will have yet another obligation. During probation time, they will take routine alcohol and substance consumption tests. Because of that, they will need to stay alcohol and drug-free as long as their probation lasts. The court will determine how frequently the offender will have to be tested for alcohol.
What Happens if a DWI Offender Violates Probation Terms?
Texas strictly prohibits alcohol consumption while on community supervision, regardless of age. The same goes for the drivers getting probation time due to drunk driving. So, if they test positive on one of the routine alcohol tests, this can lead to an MTR.
In other words, the State will immediately file a Motion to Revoke Probation. This document will include information on when, where, and how the probation violation has occurred. Then, the offender's attorney will have some time to prepare their client's defense strategy. If worse comes to worst, this will result in an arrest warrant and incarceration.
A driver looking to get probation time for driving under the influence might need to prepare for it beforehand. Among other things, this can include gathering information on which responsibilities they should expect to get from the court. A DWI offender will, thus, have to pay fees, attend meetings, and check in with the probation officer.
But if the offender regularly enjoys a drink or two, there is one item on the probation terms list they will need to be particularly careful about. During their probation time, they will have to refrain from drinking altogether. Otherwise, the court will issue an MTR. As a result, this document will end their probation, threatening them with jail time.
If you need help winning a DWI case, get in touch with an experienced Tarrant County DUI lawyer today.