If you’ve recently been arrested under suspicion of DWI, you’re likely wondering whether you can avoid jail time by qualifying for DWI probation in Texas. The good news is that for many people who are charged with DWI, particularly those charged with a DWI in Texas first offense, DWI probation is likely an option. 

When you are approved for DWI probation in Texas, the judge is essentially trading in time served in jail for time served under community supervision, during which you will follow strict rules and report to a probation officer. In some counties, there is also a probation program called Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), which is probation that leads to dismissal if successfully completed.

While probation is no walk in the park, it certainly beats jail time. If you’re hoping to secure probation for your DWI, continue reading to find everything you need to know — and if you or a loved one has been charged with DWI, call the trusted DWI lawyers in Houston at Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 for trusted legal assistance. 

How does probation work for DWI in Texas?

Probation, often referred to as community supervision, is a legal alternative to imprisonment for people convicted of a DWI in Texas. Some of the main components of probation for DWI in Texas are as follows:

  • You will be required to pay fines. Between court and probation, you’ll be required to pay a series of Texas DWI fines. Court can set you back up to $6,000 and monthly probation fees can be around $50-$100 every month.
  • You will be required to attend regular check-ins. For a DWI conviction, you’ll be required to check in with your probation officer at least once a month. During these check-ins, the probation officer will make sure you’re adhering to your DWI probation terms.
  • You will be required to attend meetings. Between community service and educational classes, there are a handful of meetings you’ll be required to attend during DWI probation in Texas.
  • You will submit to routine testing. During probation, you are expected to avoid alcohol and drugs. Your probation officer will conduct routine testing to ensure this.
  • You may be required to maintain employment, refrain from traveling, and of course avoid any run-ins with the law. 

Not everyone who is convicted of DWI will be eligible for DWI probation. The court determines eligibility based on things like your criminal history, the severity of the DWI offense, and whether there were any aggravating factors involved in the case.  

Can you get off probation early for a DWI in Texas?

Those wondering about Texas DWI probation early release will be disappointed to hear that probation cannot end early after a DWI conviction. While the length of your probation will vary depending on the severity of your case, fulfillment terms do not change. 

It would still behoove you to successfully adhere to the terms of your probation, however, because you can get your terms adjusted. Once your probation officer trusts you they can require fewer drug tests, check-ins, community service hours, and things of that nature. 

Consequences for a DWI probation violation in Texas

What happens if you fail a drug test on probation? It will be counted as a probation violation by your probation officer. When people on community supervision commit DWI probation violations, the probation officer will likely do one of a few things, including:

  • Issue a warning
  • Increase supervision
  • Modify the terms of the probation
  • Revoke probation and force incarceration

Common violations include failing drug and alcohol tests, missing scheduled meetings, and not completing required programs or service hours. More serious violations will cause more serious punishments, including the lengthening of community supervision or revocation of probation entirely. 

Is jail time mandatory for 1st DWI in Texas?

While jail time is not mandatory for a first DWI in Texas, it is a possibility. What happens after your first DWI in Texas will depend heavily upon the particulars of your case and the skill of your Houston DWI lawyer. Penalties for a DWI conviction in Texas 

Penalties for the various DWI charges in Texas are as follows:

OffenseChargeMaximum fineJail time
First offense DWIClass B misdemeanor$2,0003 – 180 days
Second offense DWIClass A misdemeanor$4,000180 days – 2 years
Third and fourth offense DWIThird-degree felony$10,0002 years – 10 years
DWI with a child passengerState jail felony$10,000180 days – 2 years
Intoxication assaultThird-degree felony$10,0002 years – 10 years
Intoxication manslaughterSecond-degree felony$10,0002 years – 20 years

Hiring an experienced DWI attorney will increase your chances drastically of avoiding a conviction entirely. We recommend hiring an attorney with some bonafide to make sure you’re getting someone who can win a DWI case. Some of our favorite things to look for in an attorney include:

  • Board Certified in DWI or Criminal Law
  • Texas Super Lawyer
  • ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist 

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Mark Thiessen of Thiessen Law Firm is triple Board Certified, a 12-time Texas Super Lawyer, and an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist. 

Can you get DWI probation in Texas for your 2nd DWI? 

If this isn’t your first time getting caught drinking and driving, then it’s very unlikely you will receive DWI probation in Texas. Jail time is usually required, especially if property is damaged or a person is injured.

With a standard 2nd DWI conviction, you can expect to spend at least 3 days in jail, with the potential for jail time to extend up to one year. You will also be expected to pay annual fines. Unlike standard DWI cases, conviction in intoxication manslaughter cases is almost always accompanied by heavy fines and longer jail time. 

How long does a DWI stay on your record in Texas?

Unless you and your lawyer petition for DWI expungement, a DWI conviction will remain on your record for the rest of your life. Having a DWI on your record can severely limit your work opportunities and wreak havoc on your professional and personal life. 

The best thing that you can do to keep a DWI off of your record in Texas is to win your DWI case. If you are acquitted you can get a DWI charge removed from your record. What does acquitted mean? Acquittal means that the court was not able to convict you after bringing charges against you, and comes in the form of not guilty verdicts, dismissals, or dropped charges. 

For more information, please see our article regarding DWI expungement

Looking for DWI probation in Texas? Thiessen Law Firm can help. 

DWI probation in Texas is likely only a possibility if this is your first DWI charge, but even if this is your second or third time being arrested under suspicion of DWI, you have the ability to fight. With the right DWI lawyer at your side, you can defend your freedom in a court of law and give yourself a chance at walking away. 

Mark Thiessen and his team of Texas DWI attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm can help you defend your freedom and, if necessary, help you negotiate your probation requirements, jail time, and more. 

We have secured thousands of dismissals for our clients over the years. Give Thiessen Law Firm a call today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online and ask us to fight for you. 

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Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.