The courts and law enforcement take driving under the influence very seriously. A driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction is likely to be accompanied by a probation period if it is a first offense or that is the only charge. The purpose of this probationary period is for the defendant to prove that they will not break the law and can drive without drinking. The individual will be monitored by a probation officer who ensures that they follow through with the terms laid out by the court. Their job is to verify that the law is being followed and report back if it is not.
In Texas, probation is referred to as “community supervision.” This is due to the fact that an offender gets to live within their community while abiding by the orders of the court, as opposed to serving jail time.
For a first offense DWI, the probation period can last anywhere from six weeks to two years. It is likely that a judge will probate a sentence for a first DWI rather than assign jail time, but it depends on the facts of the case. Not every person is eligible to receive community supervision. Cases in which the amount of jail time would be over ten years do not qualify for such a program. An example of such a case is one that results in a manslaughter conviction with the DWI charge. This would exceed the ten year maximum to qualify for community supervision so the person would instead be subjected to a period of incarceration.
There are several penalties that someone must submit to when they are assigned probation.
These ramifications can be required and any violation of them will result in consequences for the probationer
The probationer will have to pay a monthly supervisory fee, which goes to the probation office that they report to. On top of this regular fee, there are other one time payments such as court fees, fines, etc.
Report to Probation Office
It is required that the person on probation report to their probation officer. This meeting can sometimes be as little as once a month but it depends on the charges and risks associated with certain probationers. Those who are thought to be more of a risk are likely to have more frequent check-ins.
Attend Alcohol Education Classes
It is often required by the court that the probationer attend alcohol or DWI, education classes. The goal of these courses is to teach people about the risks of alcohol. These programs must be completed within six months of entering a plea during the probationary period. If any classes are missed, or not completed in time, it can be considered a violation and will result in further consequences. It is also likely that in addition to education classes, the judge will require the probationer to attend a victim impact panel. This is a time where people who have been affected by DWI crashes talk to those who have been charged.
If a probationer makes any violations during their probationary period, they risk having their community supervision revoked. There are different causes for violations of probation, and sometimes a violation can be the result of a misunderstanding. In any case, a probationer will always have the opportunity to defend their case and may always plead “not true.” Attorney Benson Varghese of Varghese Summersett PLLC says, “If you violate your probation in any way, it is vital to seek an attorney immediately. They could help you defend your case and may be able to help you keep your community supervision intact.”
Community supervision, while often preferred over serving jail time, has specific and strict requirements. There are many mandatory obligations to keep track of and deadlines that must be observed. All of these elements are decided by the judge depending on the facts of the case, such as the person’s criminal record and the severity of the charges. Having a DWI attorney to help defend against these charges can help someone receive community supervision and avoid jail time.