Since HB 3582, 86th Texas Legislature passed and became effective in September 2019, defendants now have the possibility of getting deferred adjudication (probation) on their DWI conviction.
If you are facing a DWI conviction, consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg. Our defense team may be able to negotiate a plea deal that ends with you receiving probation instead of a jail or prison sentence. We offer free initial consultations to help people like you understand your legal rights.
You may be Able to Use Certain Factors to Your Advantage to Get Probation
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42A.001 refers to probation as “community service,” and notes that people who receive community service may be able to defer criminal proceedings on their case without judgment. They may also be able to suspend any jail or prison sentences they face by agreeing to fulfill the legal terms of their probation sentence.
A judge may grant you deferred adjudication community service if, upon hearing the evidence and receiving a plea of guilty, they deem it “the best interest of society” and an appropriate sentence for your case, per Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42A.101.
Which Factors Might Lead to a DWI Probation?
Certain factors might make your DWI offense seem less severe and, therefore, reasonable for probation. These factors include:
- Your case does not involve any other aggravating factors, such as running a red light or evading a police officer.
- This was your first offense of a DWI-related crime.
- You were not working at the time of the offense (for drivers who carry a commercial driver’s license or CDL).
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was not above 0.15 percent (or 0.08 percent for commercial drivers).
- You were not committing the offense while a child was inside your vehicle.
Even if your case does not involve any of these factors, that does not mean you are not eligible to receive probation. Even a person charged with a third DWI offense may submit an application to get a deferred adjudication, so do not assume you are not eligible to fight for the same outcome.
Our legal team can review your case to see which factors may be used to your advantage when negotiating a plea deal with the judge.
You Must Comply with Probation Terms Given to You by the Judge
Probation acts as a contract between the judge and the defendant. The judge may suspend a jail or prison sentence for your DWI conviction if you agree to their probation terms, which generally involve:
- Avoiding drugs or alcohol
- Avoiding committing any other criminal offenses
- Finding new employment or continuing your regular employment/school obligations
- Paying fees, such as court fees, probation supervision fees, and other administrative fees
- Attending special classes, such as DWI education courses or M.A.D.D.’s Victim Impact Panel course
- Submitting random drug and/or alcohol test samples
- Installing an ignition interlock device into your vehicle, unless otherwise stated by the judge
- Reporting to your probation officer on a routine basis, whether daily, weekly, or monthly
How Long is a Typical Probation Period?
When you receive deferred adjudication for a DWI conviction, the length of your probationary period varies based on the severity of your DWI and other factors of your case, such as whether this is your first or repeated offense.
For example, for a first-time offense of DWI, a probationary period may range between six months and two years. Our criminal defense attorneys can review your case to see if we may be able to negotiate a shorter probationary period with the judge ruling your case.
Probation Violations can Lead to Harsh Penalties
Failure to abide by your probation rules may subject you to harsh penalties, such as:
- Jail or prison time
- Additional fines
- Additional time to your probationary period
- Revocation of your probation period
Should you be accused by your probation officer or another party of violating the terms of your probation, notify our legal team right away. We can have one of our criminal defense attorneys review your case to see whether the allegations against you can be contested.
We can Argue Whether the Allegations Have any Merit
In some cases, defendants may be wrongly accused of violating their probation. Our team may be able to defend your innocence and keep you on track in your deferred adjudication.
For example, if you had to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, this requires you to submit a breath sample before you drive. However, if you use mouthwash when cleaning your teeth, traces of the alcohol can be picked up by the device, which might send an alert that you violated your probation. It’s advised to wait at least 15 minutes before performing this test.
Our team may be able to argue that you received a false positive due to the mouthwash and help you avoid additional penalties on your probation.
Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg
If you are facing a conviction for driving while intoxicated, you may be able to negotiate a plea deal to receive deferred adjudication (probation) instead. A criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can review your case and strategize a defense for you. For a free consultation, call our team today.