DWI Probation in Texas (2023) | FAQ

What does DWI Probation in Texas involve?

In Texas, if you are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), you are likely to face probation as part of your sentence if convicted.

Texas DWI probation is a legal status that allows you to avoid serving jail or prison time. Instead, it requires regular reporting to a probation officer with strict conditions that must be followed.
This post will provide a comprehensive guide to DWI probation in Texas, including its definition, eligibility, requirements, and consequences for probation violations.

What is DWI probation in Texas?

DWI probation is a type of community supervision that allows individuals who have been convicted of DWI to serve their sentence outside of jail or prison. It is also known as “community supervision” or “deferred adjudication,” although deferred adjudication is rarely available for DWI offenses in Texas.

When a judge grants DWI probation, the offender is ordered to comply with certain conditions for a set period of time, typically between one to two years for a misdemeanor offense. If the offender violates any of these conditions, the judge may revoke their probation and order them to serve the original sentence, which typically includes jail time.

dwi probation in texas

Who is eligible for DWI Probation in Texas?

The eligibility criteria for DWI probation in Texas depend on the severity of the offense, the offender’s criminal history, and other factors.
Not everyone charged with DWI in Texas is eligible for probation.

Probation for a DWI in Texas is generally available to anyone who has not had a previous felony conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to convince prosecutors to give you probation even with a felony conviction on your record.

What DWI cases are eligible for deferred adjudication in Texas?

You cannot receive deferred adjudication for a DWI if: 

  • You have a prior DWI
  • You have a commercial driver license (CDL)
  • To be eligible to receive deferred adjudication, you cannot have any prior DWIs on your record. You cannot have a commercial license and you cannot have a blood alcohol concentration of a .15 or more. You cannot be involved in an accident that caused damage to anything other than your own vehicle.

What are the Requirements of DWI Probation in Texas?

If you are granted DWI probation in Texas, you will be required to follow certain conditions, which often include completing the following:

  • DWI education course
  • Substance abuse evaluation
  • MADD Victim Impact Panel

You should also expect the court to order:

  • Submitting to regular drug and alcohol tests
  • Installing an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle for repeated offenses or a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or greater at the time of the test
  • Monthly reporting to a probation officer
  • Avoiding any further criminal activity
  • Not allowing driving without a license
  • Not denying any breath blood or field sobriety tests if stopped for suspicion of DWI
  • Pay fines and court costs
  • Completing community service

The specific requirements of DWI probation in Texas can vary depending on the judge and the offender’s circumstances. It is essential to work closely with an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure that you fully understand the conditions of your probation and comply with them.

How many days as a condition of probation are required in jail for intoxication offenses in Texas?

Intoxication Offense Days as Condition of Probation Required in Jail  Statute
1st DWI – Penal Code 49.04 (b) Class B 0 to 30 days CCP Art. 42A.302(a)(1)
1st DWI with Open Container – Penal Code 49.04 (c) Class B 0 to 30 days CCP Art. 42A.302(a)(1)
1st DWI with BAC 15 or Greater – Penal Code 49.04 (d) Class A 0 to 30 days CCP Art. 42A.302(a)(1)
2nd DWI – Penal Code 49.09 (a) Class A 72 hours to 30 Days; unless with prior offense w/in 5 years 5 to 30 days CCP Art 42A.401 (1)(2)
DWI Felony Repetition Penal Code 49.09 (b)(2) Third Degree 10-180 days Art. 42A.401(3) 
DWI Child Passenger – Penal Code 49.045 State jail felony 0-180 days  
Intoxication Assault Penal Code 49.07 Third-degree felony 30-180 days Art. 42A.401(a)(4)
Intoxication Manslaughter Penal Code 49.08 Second-degree felony 120-180 days  Art. 42A.401(a)(5)

What are the Consequences of Violating DWI Probation in Texas?

Violating any of the conditions of your DWI probation in Texas could result in the judge revoking your probation. Depending on the level of your DWI offense, probation revocation could include jail or prison time, additional fines, and other penalties.

Furthermore, violating probation could lead to a permanent criminal record, which could impact future employment, housing options, and other detrimental consequences to your life.

DWI Probation in Texas FAQs

Can I drive while on DWI probation in Texas?

Driving while on DWI probation in Texas depends on the specific conditions of your probation.
If the judge orders you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle, you may be allowed to drive as long as you pass the breathalyzer test.

However, if you are not ordered to install an IID, you may face a driver’s license suspension. You will be required to have a valid license or occupational license.

Can I leave Texas while on DWI probation?

Again, it depends on the specific conditions of your probation. Courts often require you to stay in the county you are reporting to and any contiguous county.

You must report any travel plans to your probation officer and receive their permission to remain in compliance with your probation conditions.
If your probation officer approves, you may be able to leave Texas temporarily, provided it complies with your conditions.

Can I drink alcohol while on DWI probation in Texas?

No drinking is typically a condition of DWI probation in Texas. If ordered by the court to abstain from alcohol, you must comply. Violating this condition can result in probation revocation.

How much does DWI Probation in Texas cost?

DWI probation costs in Texas vary from case to case and depend on multiple factors.
Those factors include the length of the probation, the specific probation conditions, and the offender’s specific circumstances.

Common costs associated with DWI probation in Texas include the following:

Probation fees: Monthly probation fees are usually required and generally range between $60 and $100 a month, which covers the cost of probation supervision. The fees vary depending on the county and length of probation.

Alcohol education program fees: DWI probation usually requires attending an alcohol education program, which ranges in cost between $100-$300.

Ignition interlock device (IID) installation and maintenance fees: If you’re ordered to install an IID as part of your probation, you will be responsible for paying for installation and maintenance. Installation fees typically range from $75 to $150, and monthly maintenance fees can range from $60 to $100.

Court costs and fines: DWI offenders are generally required to pay court costs and fines as part of the sentence. These costs vary depending on the offense level and other factors but usually amount to several hundred dollars in most cases.

Maximum fines for DWI convictions in Texas:
Class B: $2,000
Class A: $4,000
Felony: $10,000

What are the penalties for a DWI conviction in Texas?

First offense (if Class B)

  • Maximum $2,000 fine
  • Three to 180 days in jail

First offense (if Class A)

  • Maximum $4,000 fine
  • One month to a year in jail

Third offense

  • Maximum 10,000 fine
  • Two to 10 years in state prison

What is an ignition interlock device, and what is it used for?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is installed in a vehicle to prevent it from starting if the driver has consumed alcohol. IIDs are commonly used as a condition of probation for DWI offenders in Texas and other states.

To start their car, the driver must blow into the device, which measures the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If the device detects any alcohol, typically above 0.02% BAC, the car won’t start.
While driving, the driver also might be required to provide random additional breath samples to ensure they are not consuming alcohol.

Each time a driver blows in the device, the event is recorded and reported, and available to the probation officer.

Can you get early release from DWI Probation in texas?

No. However, the judge with jurisdiction over your case has the authority to modify the conditions of probation. You may also be able to convince a judge to give you pro forma status.

What is pro forma status in Texas?

This means non-reporting status. In basic terms, it means the judge is allowing a defendant to serve the remainder of their sentence without reporting to a probation officer.

Facing DWI charges in Texas? Call Varghese Summersett.

The criminal defense team at Varghese Summersett includes former prosecutors and Board Certified specialists with a combined four decades of experience fighting for its clients.

If your or a loved one is facing a DWI offense, contact us for a complimentary consultation where we’ll review your case, go over your options, and discuss a defense strategy. Call us today at 817-203-2220.

  • Maximum $4,000 fine
  • Up to one year in jail

Second offense

  • Maximum $4,000 fine
  • One month to a year in jail

Third offense

  • Maximum 10,000 fine
  • Two to 10 years in state prison

What is an ignition interlock device, and what is it used for?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is installed in a vehicle to prevent it from starting if the driver has consumed alcohol. IIDs are commonly used as a condition of probation for DWI offenders in Texas and other states.

To start their car, the driver must blow into the device, which measures the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If the device detects any alcohol, typically above 0.02% BAC, the car won’t start.
While driving, the driver also might be required to provide random additional breath samples to ensure they are not consuming alcohol.

Each time a driver blows in the device, the event is recorded and reported, and available to the probation officer.

Can you get early release from DWI Probation in texas?

No. However, the judge with jurisdiction over your case has the authority to modify the conditions of probation. You may also be able to convince a judge to give you pro forma status.

What is pro forma status in Texas?

This means non-reporting status. In basic terms, it means the judge is allowing a defendant to serve the remainder of their sentence without reporting to a probation officer.

Facing DWI charges in Texas? Call Varghese Summersett.

The criminal defense team at Varghese Summersett includes former prosecutors and Board Certified specialists with a combined four decades of experience fighting for its clients.

If your or a loved one is facing a DWI offense, contact us for a complimentary consultation where we’ll review your case, go over your options, and discuss a defense strategy. Call us today at 817-203-2220.

dwi probation in texas

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About the Author Board Certified Lawyer Benson Varghese

About the Author

Benson Varghese is the managing partner of Varghese Summersett. He is a seasoned attorney, highly esteemed for his comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field. He has successfully handled thousands of state and federal cases, ranging from misdemeanor driving while intoxicated cases to capital offenses, showcasing his commitment to preserving justice and upholding the rights of his clients. His firm covers criminal defense, personal injury, and family law matters. Benson is also a legal tech entrepreneur. Benson is a go-to authority in the legal community, known for his ability to explain complex legal concepts with clarity and precision. His writings offer a wealth of in-depth legal insights, reflecting his extensive experience and his passion for the law. Not only is Benson an accomplished litigator, but he is also a dedicated advocate for his clients, consistently striving to achieve the best possible outcomes for them. His authorship provides readers with valuable legal advice and an understanding of the complexities of the criminal justice system. CriminalPersonal InjuryFamily Law Contact
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