DWI Jail Credit for Time Served

Posted by Doug Murphy | Apr 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

No one goes out for a good time expecting to end up in jail on a DWI charge. But DWI arrests and incarcerations certainly happen. And sometimes, depending on the day and time of arrest, the county of arrest, and other factors, that brief jail stay following an arrest can last more than the night. Indeed sometimes, jail time can stretch into a few days or more, while awaiting arraignment and release on bond.

Credit for Time Served

Jail time at arrest for a DWI charge wouldn't seem to offer any special silver lining. The arrestee gains nothing from the jail time if the DWI arrest doesn't result in a conviction carrying a sentence involving jail time. The jail time following arrest is then a waste of time. Yet if the DWI arrest results in a plea or conviction carrying a sentence of jail time, then jail time at arrest is generally a credit against that sentence. If the jail sentence is short enough, such as a few days, then credit for the time already served may mean no more jail time.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 42.03 provides that the sentencing judge give credit for the time that the defendant spent in jail for the case. The same provision extends the credit to time served in certain court-ordered treatment or residential facilities. Interestingly, counties differ on how much credit they give for jail time, some granting only one-for-one time while others granting two or even three days of sentence reduction for each day served in jail. Calculating credit days can also be harder than it looks, when authorities move the incarceree from jail to jail or records of jail time are incomplete. But the credit is generally available.

How Credits Work in a Texas DWI Case

One recent story involving an El Paso businessman arrested on a DWI charge a year before his conviction and sentence illustrates how the credits can work to the defendant's advantage in a DWI case. A year is an awfully long time to spend in jail awaiting a plea bargain or trial on DWI charges. Yet, at the time of his arrest, the man had just received a suspended sentence and probation for a much more serious crime. The DWI arrest allegedly violated the man's probation, for which the court held the man in jail pending resolution of the DWI charge.

In that case, the court imposed a stiff one-year DWI sentence after the man pled guilty to the DWI charge but credited the man for the year he had just spent in jail on the probation violation, awaiting results of the DWI charge. Long story short, the man walked free the same day of his one-year DWI sentence, with the year of jail-time credit. That's a remarkable outcome due entirely to jail-time credit.

Let Expert Representation Be Your Advantage

Let's face it: you'd rather not have to spend any time in jail and rather not need any jail-time credit. Board Certified DWI Specialist Doug Murphy can help you defend and defeat a Texas DWI charge. Attorney Murphy's standing as a national DWI expert confirms his premier skill to aggressively defend DWI charges. Let attorney Murphy help you beat DWI charges.

But if you do have the unfortunate experience of spending time in jail after a DWI arrest, then know that 2021 Houston DWI Lawyer of the Year Doug Murphy has the expertise both to advocate your prompt release on bond and to document and calculate your due jail-time credit. You need not languish in jail unnecessarily. Trust attorney Doug Murphy, one of only two Texas lawyers holding both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification, to gain your release and keep you from serving additional jail time. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 to discuss your case today.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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