Better Free on Bail
Bail enables a defendant arrested on a DWI charge to leave jail while awaiting the DWI charge's trial, dismissal, or other disposition. Better to be free while awaiting trial than to languish in jail. Freedom on bail enables a defendant to work, care for family, and help the DWI defense lawyer prepare for trial. Bail traditionally involves posting a specific sum of money that the defendant would forfeit if not returning to court as ordered. Bail bond companies save the defendant from posting the full cash amount by posting a bond instead for a fee a fraction of the amount of bail.
Complying with Bail Conditions
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 17.15 permits the judge, magistrate, or another officer at arraignment to set bail conditions for the defendant's release. Under Article 17.15, those conditions
- must give reasonable assurance that the defendant will comply;
- must not oppress the defendant who no one has yet convicted of a crime;
- must consider the offense and its circumstances;
- must consider the defendant's ability to make bail; and
- must ensure the safety of the crime victim and community.
Common bail conditions for a DWI charge include installing and using an ignition interlock device (IID) in the defendant's car, participating in alcohol-awareness education, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, submitting to alcohol and drug testing, avoiding rearrest on DWI or other criminal charges, and occasionally home curfews or even home confinement.
Committing Bail Violations
The defendant who commits a bail violation faces a court hearing. In the worst case, the court may revoke bail, committing the defendant to jail to await trial. A bail violation that revokes the defendant's bail could mean languishing in jail for weeks or months while awaiting trial on the DWI charge. Bail revocation could also mean losing a job, career, marriage, home, child custody, and other hugely important things. Common bail violations while awaiting trial on a DWI charge include:
- getting in a fight or other dispute at a bar or club while drunk;
- a second or subsequent DWI arrest while awaiting trial on the first charge;
- arrest for drug crime, domestic violence, or other serious crime;
- getting stopped while driving a vehicle without the mandated interlock;
- failing to show for alcohol-abuse education or other mandated class;
- leaving the county, state, or country, or violating a curfew.
An Extreme Example
A recent report highlights an extreme example of a clear bail violation while awaiting trial on DWI charges. The 23-year-old defendant was out on bail awaiting trial on intoxication-assault charges, for allegedly killing two others while driving intoxicated on I-35. One of the defendant's bail conditions was not to frequent bars or to imbibe. Yet the report alleges that Denton bartenders called the police when they recognized the defendant imbibing at Fry Street bars. Police video of the imbibing defendant convinced the judge to increase bail to a prohibitive $775,000, leaving the defendant committed to jail.
A Board Certified DWI Specialist for Your DWI Defense
Don't let your DWI charge lead to a conviction. Don't even let it lead to revocation of bail. Retain Board Certified DWI Specialist Doug Murphy to advocate your DWI defenses and beat the DWI charge. Attorney Murphy, the 2021 Houston DWI Lawyer of the Year, is one of only two Texas lawyers holding both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 to discuss your case today.