• Justin Sparks

How Long Is Probation for DUI?

Overview of Court-Ordered DWI Probation in Texas


When a person is charged with a DWI in Texas, it's natural to be concerned about the potential consequences of a conviction. Many people may be concerned about what would happen if they are convicted of a DWI while the case is still pending. Essentially, the majority of those who are convicted of a first-time DWI are placed on DWI probation.


The good news is that, in a first-time DWI case, the judge will most likely dismiss or postpone the full jail sentence, requiring the candidate to submit to probation department supervision for a length of time rather than going to jail. Probation, while not as humiliating and burdensome as a prison, can still be a huge annoyance.


Driving while intoxicated is a serious violation in Texas, and court-ordered DWI probation imposes significant requirements on the probationer. It's crucial to note, though, that the majority of the DWI probation conditions are in place to help guarantee that the probationer does not re-offend and instead performs on probation and in life.


Probation in Texas is defined as "community supervision," which indicates that the probationer stays in the "community" while being "overseen" by a probation officer. As a first-time DWI conviction, probation can last anywhere from six months to two years.


A probation violation can result in re-arrest, detention, and the risk of further fines, jail sentence, and community service hours if the probationer does not comply with any of the probation conditions, including something as easy as failing to report to the probation officer.

Because of these serious repercussions, it is essential for anyone on DWI probation to adhere to the judge's and officer's probation rules and to call an expert Fort Worth DUI lawyer as soon as possible if they breach their probation. In the meanwhile, it's crucial to understand what happens if someone is sentenced to a probation program for a DWI.


What Is Probation?

What Is Probation?


Probation in Texas, for a DWI, is essentially a contract between the probationer and the judge. The agreement's core principle is that the judge will "probate" or "delay" a jail sentence if the probationer agrees to observe a tight set of rules for the duration of their probation. This term is known as "probation," and it can last up to two years.


If the probationer breaks the agreement, the judge may decide not to "suspend" the sentence any longer and instead compel them to serve the prison sentence that the judge decided to suspend during the initial hearing.

What Is Required of You on a DWI Probation in Texas?


When someone is placed on probation for a DWI, the judge will give them a list of "do's and don'ts" to follow for the duration of their probation. There are various things they must accomplish during this time:


Pay Fees: A DWI probation usually comes with a fine, but the probationer will also have to pay court charges, restitution, and probation monitoring fees on top of that. The expense of going to court is usually around $350-$400, and probation supervision fees are usually around $60 per month.


Report to the Probation Officer: Everyone on DWI probation is given a probation officer with whom they will meet regularly. These meetings are usually held once a month, although they might be held more frequently for high-risk probationers or less frequently for those who are more cooperative. The probation officer works for the judge to ensure that the applicant has completed their sentence.


Attend Court-Ordered Meetings: Anyone on probation for a DWI must attend court-ordered special classes. The DWI Education Program is one of these courses, and most courts will require them to participate in a Victim Impact Panel hosted by the local MADD chapter.

Probationers will also be required to watch the "Jacqueline" film at the local Probation Department. In most cases, they'll have six months to finish all of the classes prescribed as part of their probation.


Testing: All Texas citizens on DWI probation are expected to submit to alcohol and/or random drug testing on a routine basis. If any issues are discovered, the probation will most likely be extended with additional classes, community service hours, and/or jail time.


What Happens If Someone Gets a DWI for the First Time in Texas?


What happens after an individual's first DWI in Texas is largely determined by the facts of their case and the expertise of their Houston DWI defense attorney. They should talk to a lawyer about pretrial diversion, expungement, probation possibilities, and other options for minimizing the impact of a DWI conviction on their life.


DWI attorneys with experience will also be able to tell a client whether their DWI arrest and breath or blood test were valid. Lawyer-scientists are particularly well-equipped to handle these concerns and protect an individual's rights regarding criminal law.


What Is Community Service?


Probation is the same as community supervision. While on community supervision, probationers are watched by a "probation officer" who is responsible for ensuring that they follow all of the probation's rules.


What Happens If Someone Messes up Their Probation?


If a probationer is suspected of violating their probation for a DWI in Texas, they should look for an experienced DWI lawyer like Sparks Law Firm, it will be extremely advantageous. Even in the event of probation violations, getting a representative early may be capable of preventing the filing of revocation warrants or the eventual revocation of probation.


An experienced DWI lawyer may be able to help a probationer not only in avoiding the maximum punishment requested by the prosecutor but also in minimizing the consequences of their probation violations. Probationers always have the option of pleading "not true" to their probation violation allegations and presenting a defense during their case, but this is nearly always best achieved with the assistance of an experienced DWI lawyer.

If Someone Is Given Probation After a DWI Conviction, How Long Must They Be in Jail For?


Jail sentences for first convictions can be totally probated, which means an individual won't have to serve any time in jail if the court lets them serve their sentence on "community supervision."


Even if a probationer is given probation, if the state establishes that they have been convicted of a DWI-related violation more than five years before the present arrest, they will have to serve a minimum of 72 hours in jail. This requirement is for 72 consecutive hours or three days. As an example, an individual cannot report at 8 p.m. and leave at 12:01 a.m. midnight after serving only 16 hours.


What Are the Usual Probation Conditions for a DWI in Texas?


Here are some of the most common probation requirements for DWI:

  • Two four-hour DWI education classes

  • Victim Impact Panel – M.A.D.D. – three-hour session

  • Volunteering in the Community (24-100 hours)

  • $1,000 in fines and court costs

  • 30 minutes to an hour for an alcohol/drug evaluation

  • No alcohol

  • Ignition Device for Interlocking

  • Crime Stoppers fee

All people sentenced to DWI probation are required by law to undergo a drug or alcohol addiction evaluation. Unless the judge waives the rule for a good cause proven (in a first DWI or repeat offender situation) or a jury convicts an individual to community supervision only with no driver's license suspension, Texas DWI education classes are also mandatory (for a first DWI only). An individual will also be subject to other probation requirements that apply to all misdemeanor convictions. In most cases, the courts will require them to:

  • Voluntarily submit to random drug tests (also known as UAs)

  • Conduct no further crimes

  • Avoid injurious/vicious actions, as well as those of "immoral" character

  • Report to a court probation officer on a monthly basis

  • Allow probation officers to inspect their home and workplace, stay employed, and get permission before leaving the county or state

  • Pay any penalties and court fees

  • Support independents

  • If their workplace or residential address changes, they must tell the court


Can People Get DWI Probation in Texas for Their Second DWI?


If this isn't a person's first time drinking and driving, they're unlikely to face DWI probation in Texas. When a property is harmed or a person is injured, jail time is usually required.

With a regular second DWI conviction, an individual should expect to spend at least three days in jail, with the possibility of serving up to one year in prison. In addition, they will be required to pay annual fines. Intoxication manslaughter convictions, unlike normal DWI convictions, nearly always come with hefty penalties and lengthy prison sentences.


DWIs, Expungement, and Non-Disclosure


Parts of an individual's criminal record can be cleared (expunged) in Texas so that they're no longer a part of the public record and are no longer viewable by potential employers conducting background checks.


It can also help in finding a suitable apartment, enrolling in college or graduate school, obtaining a mortgage approval, or obtaining a state-issued professional license. To seek an expungement, an individual must have not been found guilty or had the criminal charges dismissed.


A conviction cannot be removed, which is the bad news. Because they are "final convictions," DWIs for which an individual was convicted and served straight probation cannot be sealed or removed from their record.


However, if they were sentenced to deferred adjudication probation for a DWI charge that was later dismissed, they can apply for "non-disclosure" to have the arrest and court records kept from the public. If an individual gets this status, they can lawfully say "no" on a job application if asked if they've ever been convicted or sentenced for a DWI in Texas.


Furthermore, if an individual was arrested for DWI but was found not guilty, they may be eligible to have their record sealed. However, under Texas law, a straight-up conviction cannot be sealed under any circumstances.


Even if an individual is not eligible for expungement or non-disclosure of their DWI records, a Governor's pardon or a petition of Habeas Corpus may be an option. These two possibilities are difficult to come by, but not impossible.


What Should People Do If the DWI Probation Is Being Revoked by the Probation Officer?


If someone has been suspected of violating their Texas DWI probation, they're entitled to a judge-led hearing. By a balance of probabilities, the state must show that the probationer breached the terms of their probation.


They should contact an attorney promptly if they have violated their DWI probation, are concerned that they may have violated their DWI probation, or have been suspected of breaching their DWI probation. Therefore, if a probationer responds quickly, they will have more options for assistance.


If the DWI probation is revoked, and the probationer is sentenced to confinement, the required jail time imposed as a condition of probation under 42A.401 will not be applied toward the completion of the term imposed by the judge for the probation violation.


Can Someone Get Released Early from Their DWI Probation?


The ability of a court to grant early release to a probationer is discussed in Chapter 42A Section 701 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Nevertheless, the judge's ability to discharge someone from probation does not extend to drunk driving convictions, according to this law. Therefore, no, if someone has been convicted of a DWI in Texas, they won't be able to get out of probation early.


If the probationer successfully fulfills all of their probation terms, they may be eligible for "non-reporting" status in some counties, and the interlock device may be deactivated.

The interlock device must be used for at least "50 percent" of the duration of community monitoring, according to the law. This option is offered on a case-by-case basis and varies by court and county.


How Do People Avoid Interlock Violations?


Judges frequently mandate ignition interlock devices (also known as Deep Lung Devices) to be fitted into the vehicles of people suspected of DWI who are on bond or under community supervision for DWI offenses. An occupational license may also require the use of interlock devices.


Before a probationer's car can start, they will have to blow into the ignition interlock device. The technology will prohibit the automobile from starting if it detects the presence of alcohol on someone's breath.


If this happens when they're on bail or community supervision for a DWI and the gadget detects alcohol, it's known as "blowing dirty," and a failed test most often requires a court appearance. The judge may revoke their bond or probation, placing them back in jail, or suspend their ODL during the court appearance.


Breath testing instruments, on the other hand, are prone to false positives, particularly when residual mouth alcohol is present. As an example, a teaspoon of wine will not raise a person's blood-alcohol level more than a trace, but it will raise the results of a breath alcohol test by 0.50 percent BAC for 15 minutes!


A 0.50 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) would be enough to kill someone, but one teaspoon of alcohol would have no effect. In 15 minutes, any remaining oral alcohol is completely gone. The amount of alcohol in the blood decreases with time at a consistent pace of roughly 0.02 per hour.


Straight Probation and Deferred Adjudication


Straight probation differs from deferred adjudication in that straight probation begins with a permanent sentence. Because the conviction is definitive, earning straight probation has the primary benefit of avoiding county jail.


Probation is preferred to deferred adjudication. Furthermore, deferred adjudication starts with no conviction and a guaranteed dismissal process. The charge is dropped if all contract terms are met by the end of the postponed term. In many circumstances, the allegation can be sealed later with a non-disclosure petition.


How Much Are Probation Fees?


Fines and court costs will be coupled with probation fees. Typically, it costs around $70-$90 each month.


An Attorney Can Help Anyone Build an Argument in Their Defense

An Attorney Can Help Anyone Build an Argument in Their Defense


Because the burden of proof is lower in this form of hearing, probation offenders face an uphill legal struggle. It is up to an individual's attorney to mount a strong case and demonstrate that they did not break the terms of their probation.


The other option is to offer mitigating circumstances to the court and urge them to let the individual out of jail. That is why a probationer needs to consult with a qualified Texas DUI defense lawyer. They can also help find out how long after a DUI can you get a CDL, that is, if your driver's license was suspended.


Call the Sparks Law Firm Now


Probation for a DWI conviction comes with a slew of challenging and costly restrictions. If a person has been charged with driving while intoxicated, it is important that they hire the best DWI defense attorney to represent them.


Whether this is an individual's first DWI charge and they want to reduce their probation, or they were charged with a DWI while on probation, the attorneys at Sparks Law Firm can help them get the best result possible. They also help find answers to other questions such as what happens when you get pulled over for a DUI and what to do next.


To schedule a free consultation with Sparks Law Firm and experience an excellent attorney-client relationship, you may call its team today.