If you are arrested under suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Houston, you'll be taken to jail while the police investigate further. But where is jail, exactly? The Houston area is home to more than 6 million people, so there must be more than just one, right? In fact, Harris County alone has multiple jails and prisons. Each facility has its own purpose, covering different geographical areas or holding those accused of certain crimes. But regardless of the specific facility, jails in Harris County are unpleasant places you want to avoid.
It may feel like a conviction for DWI is inevitable. However, a DWI conviction and the potential incarceration sentence that comes with it aren't guaranteed. Many Harris County DWI cases are defensible, and hiring the right Houston DWI attorney can go a long way in successfully defending yourself at trial. If you have been arrested for DWI in Harris County and are concerned about the ramifications of a conviction, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today. One of the best Houston DWI attorneys available, Doug Murphy is ready to review your case with you.
What are the jails and prisons in Harris County and who is sent there?
Given the large population of Harris County, it should be no surprise that there are a variety of jails and prisons. This includes juvenile detention facilities maintained by the Houston Police Department up to state and federal prisons within Harris County.
Houston Central Jail
Houston, Texas 77002
The City of Houston has not one, but two jails. The jail you will be taken to upon arrest depends on where you are within the city limits. In nearly every case, your stay in the city jail will be brief. For most minor arrests, you will be able to bond out or be released fairly quickly. What's more, you will be transferred out of the city jail within 24 hours of booking for any charge classified as a Class B misdemeanor or higher. If that is the case, you will be transferred to the Harris County Jail.
Houston Southeast Jail
Houston, Texas 77048
The Southeast Jail operates exactly like the Central Jail, it simply serves a different geographical area. Like with the Central Jail, you will be transferred to the Harris County Jail within 24 hours if you are facing a charge more serious than a Class C misdemeanor.
Houston Police Department Juvenile Division
The one exception to the procedure described above relates to defendants under the age of 17. While defendants age 17 and older will be processed at the nearest county jail, younger defendants will be processed at the Houston Police Department Juvenile Division. This includes arrests for charges of underage DUI. A Houston DUI attorney may be able to help a minor obtain their release from custody and keep any conviction off their record.
Harris County Jail
The Harris County Jail actually consists of three individual jails:
- the 1200 Jail located at 1200 Baker Street;
- the 701 Jail located at 701 North San Jacinto; and
- the 1307 Jail located at 1307 Baker Street
While these are three separate facilities, they are all within close proximity of each other. Combined, the three jails can hold nearly 10,000 inmates at any given time. The Harris County Jail holds defendants convicted of Class B or Class C misdemeanors who are serving their sentence. They also hold defendants awaiting trial on both misdemeanor and felony charges.
Pam Lyncher State Jail
2350 Atascocita Road
Humble, Texas 77396
Formerly known as Atascocita State Jail, the Pam Lyncher State Jail is a Texas Department of Criminal Justice facility for men located in rural northern Harris County. The prison holds special needs offenders, including low, medium, high, and security risk offenders.
Joe Kegans State Jail
707 Top Street
Houston, Texas 77002
The Joe Kegans State Jail is located within the Harris County Jail complex inside the City of Houston. The Joe Kegans State Jail is an intermediate sanctions facility for men that opened in 1995. It primarily holds low-risk offenders and parole violators.
Federal Detention Center - Houston
1200 Texas Avenue
Houston, Texas 77002
While all of the other facilities discussed above are city or state jails, the Federal Detainment Center – Houston is operated by the federal government. Known as FDC Houston, the facility holds over 1,000 inmates of both genders. While the prison does hold a few inmates serving short sentences, it is primarily for prisoners awaiting trial in the Southern District of Texas.
What programs are provided at each?
The programs available at each facility vary, but each of them hosts the required necessities including medical, dental, and psychological treatment programs. The state prisons, due to the typical sentences, have more in the way of programs for inmates. Inmates can obtain their GED or obtain other types of educational degrees. This includes a variety of career training options.
What are the conditions for inmates at Harris County jail?
Unfortunately, the conditions of the Harris County Jail have long been known for their poor conditions. Harris County is routinely sued over these conditions, which have developed a reputation similar to more hardened federal facilities. These poor conditions have been well-chronicled over the years.
In 2011, the Department of Justice launched an investigation into the jail over inmate deaths, overcrowding, and inadequate access to medical treatment. The DOJ's final report cited poor access to medical care and major safety hazards as top concerns. The DOJ review came after the jail failed four of its previous six state inspections.
In 2014, it was the Texas Commission on Jail Standards that began an investigation. The investigation centered around abhorrent cell conditions after photos of an inmate's bug and garbage infested cell was leaked. This incident eventually led to six deputies losing their job and dozens more facing discipline.
Because a Texas DWI charge is higher than a Class B misdemeanor, any jail time you are required to serve will be at the Harris County Jail. Thankfully, a Houston DWI lawyer may be able to keep you from serving a day in the Harris County Jail.
Why fight a DWI conviction and avoid jail or prison in Texas?
Due to jail overcrowding, there are a number of circumstances that can lead to you avoiding jail time if you agree to plead guilty. This can include taking part in DWI courts or supervised probation. However, those programs aren't always in your best interest.
For starters, while you may avoid jail time you will still wind up with a criminal conviction. A conviction can be career ending for some people; it can even lead to the loss of your professional licenses and security clearance. Ultimately, your best chance for being acquitted or having the charges against you dismissed is through fighting your DWI and taking the case to trial if necessary. Fighting your DWI case ultimately gives you your day in court. It is your opportunity to show a jury of your peers that you have been wrongfully accused.
There are risks involved with fighting your DWI as well. For starters, fighting a DWI can be costly. In addition to the cost of hiring Houston DWI attorneys or Houston DUI attorneys, you may also have additional costs related to developing your defense. This can include accident reconstruction experts, deposition costs, and other expert fees. And while these fees can be costly, there are hefty costs involved with pleading guilty to DWI as well. These include fines, court costs, probation fees, the cost of an ignition interlock device, and more.
In his extensive experience, attorney Doug Murphy has learned that fighting a DWI charge is often your best chance to obtain a dismissal or acquittal. In many cases, a jury may decide to acquit you of all charges once they hear you out. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. to learn more about how a DWI charge in Harris County can be beaten.
Who can help you fight your Texas DWI conviction in avoid jail?
If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Harris County, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today. Doug Murphy is an experienced DWI lawyer and DUI lawyer located in Houston, Texas, but serving the greater Houston metropolitan area. He has years of positive outcomes due to his aggressive approach to DWI defense. Doug Murphy approaches every case as if it will go to jury trial.
While many Houston DWI attorneys are happy to just convince their clients to plead guilty and move on to the next payday, Doug Murphy always puts the needs of his client first. In many cases, that means taking a case to trial. His methods are tried and true, which is why he is regularly sought after as a speaker and educator for other DWI defense attorneys. At the end of the day, winning your Houston DWI case is his top priority. To discuss the merits of your case with the best DWI attorney in Houston, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today to set up your free consultation.