Houston DWI Penalties
Statistics show that the number of convictions for first-time offenders of DUI laws is fairly high but a sentence of probation usually accompanies it. One reason for this may be the results of a study done by the U.S. Justice Department. Their findings revealed that convicted drunk drivers are much more likely to seek out support programs to address their drinking and driving issues if they receive a probationary sentence versus incarceration. For details specific to your case or situation it is advisable to speak with a Houston DWI attorney at the Law Offices of David A. Breston to help with legal representation and for a more comprehensive explanation.
Often in the case of probation, the judge will be stern in his (or her) warning to the defendant about repeating any appearance before them in the courtroom for any future, similar events – but then show a measure of leniency in the sentencing itself.d
In other words the defendant may be required to pay hefty fines but be given probation. Probation is a sentence that allows for the convicted person to remain free of incarceration as long as they follow rules and regulations stipulated by the court. Probation is offered in lieu of jail time at the discretion of the judge but should a person disregard the probationary requirements they can be taken into custody and confined for a period of time.
While probation is the most sought after sentence by defense lawyers and their clients (short of an acquittal of all charges) because it is the least restrictive the courts also benefit from this choice as well. The cost of housing an individual in county facilities is becoming prohibitive and the court system is looking for less costly alternatives to punishing persons who are not considered (in general) to be a threat to society.
Probation is still a form of punishment, however; it’s just punishment that one serves outside a prison cell. It is meant to be rehabilitative but not in the same way as incarceration. Persons who receive probation may be required to attend alcohol education classes or Alcohol Anonymous meetings. Be guaranteed that you will be asked to pay fines and fees and your driving privileges may be suspended or revoked for a period of time.
They may also be compelled to perform some type of community service. This could include such things as speaking to other persons about the dangers of drunk driving or visiting victims of drunk driving accidents and/or their family members so that the convicted drunk driver has a first-hand and up-close look at the consequences of the behavior. This is considered to be more profound, life-altering and effective deterrent to future drunk driving than any jail sentence could elicit.
Finally, you will be scheduled to meet regularly with a probation officer. This may happen at the courthouse or other social services facility. The probation officer will have separate requirements and expectations of you throughout the probationary period and will weigh in at the end of the sentence.
In order to ensure that your probation is successful attend all scheduled meetings with your probation officer and the courts and pay your fines on time.
There are many unfortunate surprises that await a person who has been charged and/or convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana or driving while intoxicated. For the purposes of this entry we will refer to them as ‘collateral damages’. First the experience of being arrested is unpleasant enough but after you are arraigned and walk out of the jail you may find that your car was impounded – so you’ll have to get a ride home. Impound and towing fees can be quite hefty depending on the circumstances. Your license will be in suspension in short order so you must either hire a top rated Houston criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of David A. Breston or otherwise lobby the municipality to prevent this. You may or may not be successful in this endeavor. If you were arrested in Houston on a drug crimes charge, call us today to speak to our attorneys immediatly.
Expect your insurance rates to skyrocket – and in many states your insurance company will be required to inform the state that they would be willing to continue to insure the driver. Too, if the person is looking for gainful employment a DWI conviction on your record may cause a prospective employer to reconsider their intent to hire you. If you are employed your current boss and company will need to be told (versus ‘finding out’ another way) and this is the type of incident that could prevent you from advancing in the organization among other things – and it may play a role if an organization begins to downsize as well. Finally, in some cases the employer may simply choose to fire you because of the liability involved with a convicted drunk driver.
In addition, most people don’t realize that a DWI conviction can wreak havoc with travel plans. There are a number of desirable locations that will no longer be available to a person who has been found guilty of driving while intoxicated. Our neighbor to the north of us is a great example. A DWI conviction or drug possesion charge in the United States is a felony offense in Canada and according to their immigration laws, persons with a felony conviction are prevented from entering the country.
One of the choices at the disposal of the courts is to insist that the convicted driver install and maintain an ignition interlock device for a period of time. If this is required the addition costs could run into the hundreds or even up to a thousand dollars. And, let us not forget that there will be costs associated with the ticket itself as well as other court fees and fines.
But, arguably, the worst of the collateral damage may be in the relationships with your family and friends. A spouse or significant other suffers the same punishments as you – only indirectly. Any money that is spent to deal with a drunk driving charge and conviction is money that could be used by the family for other things. Too, it’s just a little embarrassing when people learn that someone has been charged or found guilty of driving while intoxicated.
Don’t drink and drive.