SENTENCING FOR DWI CONVICTIONS
Brazos County DWI Attorneys Fight For Good Results in Your Case!
Clients hire us for results. Consequently, we work hard to achieve the best result possible for each client. Sometimes a DWI can be won because of an illegal traffic stop or an illegal seizure of evidence. Sometimes the prosecutor’s case is unpersuasive and the jury finds our client not guilty. Other times, a DWI may be negotiated to a lesser charge. Considering the case, one of our principal objectives may be to obtain a reduction. Obstructing a highway is a common reduction charge. Reckless driving and deadly conduct may be charges used to negotiate a satisfactory plea bargain, as well. Nevertheless, my first objective is to identify ways we can win the case, or avoid a conviction. My next objective is to obtain the most favorable plea offer possible from the prosecutor. That doesn’t mean we will accept it, though. It simply means we get to the prosecutor’s bottom-line during negotiations. Brazos County DWI attorneys will help you decide at that point whether to make a deal or request a jury trial.
DWI First Offense
Admittedly, sometimes a DWI conviction is unavoidable because of the poor facts in the case. In Texas, a first conviction is a misdemeanor offense and there are principally two sentencing options. The first option is probation. On probation, any jail term is suspended and the person is assigned to community supervision. The minimum length of probation is six months and the maximum is two years. For a DWI first offense, the maximum fine is $2,000, plus court costs. If a person is placed on probation, they can expect to meet monthly with a probation officer, and they will have to take special DWI offender classes and complete community service. Additionally, there will be an interlock device requirement during the probationary period.
In our county, probationers must also contact the community supervision department each day to determine if they’re selected for a random urine screen. During the probation, a person is not allowed to consume alcohol or possess alcohol, and they are not permitted to visit places where alcohol is the principal source of income for the establishment. This includes places like bars and night clubs. Also, the person may be expected to pay restitution if any is owed. The Department of Public Safety also assesses surcharges against the person’s driver’s license for 3 years after a DWI conviction, even if the sentence is probated. Someone under 21 years of age will get an additional driver’s license suspension after conviction, even though they were placed on probation. Persons 21 years or older will not. And generally speaking, a person will not spend any more time in jail, although six months in jail time hangs over their head during the course of their probation in case they fail to comply with any of their probation conditions. Experienced Brazos County DWI attorneys can explain all your important options regarding sentencing.
Another possible sentencing outcome for a first DWI is what we call the Electronic Monitor program (or house arrest). Many times EM is a viable, and actually a preferable, option to probation. Probation is very time consuming, but often the EM option can be much more advantageous. Under the EM program, a person is sentenced to jail time. However, the jail sentence is served under house arrest with an electronic monitor on their ankle. They get to sleep in their own bed and eat their own food during the time they serve on house arrest. The monitors include a GPS tracking device and, in some cases, an alcohol detection device called SCRAM. While on house arrest the person can go to work, go to school, and they are permitted to perform other essential household duties. Otherwise, they’ve got to be confined inside their home. There are very strict Electronic Monitor rules. Brazos County DWI attorneys will explain these rules to you. The judge can revoke the electronic monitor privilege, and the person would have to serve real jail time, if they violated any of those strict rules. Of course, the person must pay for the EM device, which usually costs around $20 a day. Lastly, house arrest will result in an additional driver’s license suspension, even for persons over 21 years of age.
DWI Second Offense
Next is what we call a DWI second. That means the person was convicted once before for DWI and now they are being prosecuted for the second DWI. Probation is definitely an option here as well, although the probation conditions are more stringent. In addition to what we talked about earlier for a first DWI, under a second conviction the maximum fine is increased to $4,000. Under a DWI second, there is a mandatory driver’s license suspension occurring after conviction, even for probation sentences. There are also three mandatory days in jail that must be served, even if the person is granted probation. Lastly, there is a full year of real jail time hanging over the person’s head while they are on probation in case they violate any probation terms. House arrest is also an option for a DWI second. It’s much the same as described earlier for a DWI first offense.
Once a person is convicted two prior times for DWI, they face felony prosecution after arrest for a third DWI. With felony offenses, probation can be an option with similar conditions. But with a felony DWI, the person’s maximum fine is now increased to $10,000, plus court costs. There is a mandatory driver’s license suspension, a mandatory 10 days in jail as a condition of probation, and between two and 10 years of state prison time hanging over their head. This is very serious. For a felony DWI, there is no house arrest option, it’s either probation or prison time upon conviction for a DWI felony. Brazos County DWI attorneys are best equipped to help you avoid prison time. Call now!