Earlier this month, police officers responded to calls about an early morning crash on Highway 59 in Stafford. When they arrived on the scene, they began to suspect that at least one of the drivers involved in the accident was intoxicated. Officers questioned 44-year-old Richard Robert Bryant and learned that he had been drinking earlier in the evening. He was arrested on suspicion of DWI after he failed field sobriety tests. A breath test was also performed, which showed that Bryant had a blood alcohol concentration of .149.
At trial, Bryant's attorney argued that Bryant had suffered a concussion in the crash. This, he claimed, is why he had performed so poorly on field sobriety tests at the scene. However, a concussion could not explain the fact that Bryant's blood alcohol concentration was nearly twice the legal limit. Bryant agreed to a plea deal with state prosecutors, in which he was able to secure a relatively light sentence. He's required to complete 12 months of probation but avoids time behind bars.
This result of probation may or may not have been the best outcome for him -- as the plea deal and subsequent probation still leaves Bryant with a criminal record. It also prevented him from challenging the field sobriety tests and breath tests in court, which could have resulted in an acquittal at trial. But probation is what he got. So, it gives us a chance to look at probation as a penalty for DWI.
What is Probation as a Penalty for a Texas DWI?
Probation is a criminal penalty that is supposed to focus more on rehabilitation than punishment. It's a form of supervised release from state custody. While on probation, you're expected to exhibit good behavior, abstain from criminal activity, and complete certain court-ordered requirements.
The specific terms of your probation will be tailored to fit your particular crime. For example, if you're charged with DWI, the terms of your probation may include a requirement to complete a drug and alcohol treatment program. Someone sentenced to probation for a crime not involving drugs or alcohol, however, may not have this same requirement.
Terms of probation for DWI can include
- Community service hours
- Mandatory attendance at AA or NA meetings
- Alcohol education treatment or counseling
- Random drug testing
- Work requirements, and
- Fines and fees.
How long does probation last? It depends. In most situations, probation is imposed for anywhere between 6 and 24 months. You'll be required to meet with a probation officer regularly to ensure that you're staying on track.
What happens if you violate probation? A judge has the authority to revoke your supervised release. When this happens, you can be required to serve time behind bars. Alternatively, a judge can modify your probation by adding more restrictive terms or extending its duration.
Probation isn't off the table if you've been arrested for DWI in Houston but it is also not always the best solution if it means agreeing to a plea deal. Hiring an attorney to lead your defense will help you secure the best possible outcome in your criminal case. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. to schedule a free consultation and learn more.