How many days as a condition of DWI probation are required in Texas?
It seems counterintuitive but it is true – for some DWI offenses in Texas, there are days as a condition of DWI probation. It’s counterintuitive because why would you sit in jail on a probation sentence instead of just sitting those days out in jail and have no probation sentence? So let’s break down what it means to have days as a condition of probation in Texas.
Days as a Condition of DWI Probation is Sometimes Mandated
First, for certain DWI offenses, it is mandatory to do some time in jail as a condition of probation. For example, on a DWI-Second (aka DWI-Misdemeanor Repetition), you have to spend at least 72 hours in jail as a condition of probation.
While I would be very hard-pressed to ever recommend accepting a plea to probation that involves jail time as a condition, let’s first look at why you might.
To use the DWI Second as an example, if you were to get a straight jail sentence, the jail time begins at a minimum of 30 days and goes up to a year. So in most cases, the jail time as a condition is much less than the actual jail time you’d likely get on a straight jail sentence.
The example because even easier to understand on felonies. For example, you must serve 120 days in jail as a condition of probation for an Intoxication Manslaughter charge. The flip side of that is a 2-20 year sentence for straight time. Even applying the most favorable parole terms (which is never a guarantee) someone is looking at 6 months in prison versus 120 days in a county jail. Almost everyone would pick the county jail time.
So there are instances in which days as a condition makes sense.
Statutory Provisions Regarding Days on DWI Probation
The statutory provisions regarding the number of days an individual must complete as part of DWI probation can vary based on the specific circumstances of the case and the offender’s criminal history. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and the Texas Penal Code outline the guidelines for DWI probation, including the conditions related to days served.
For example, under Section 42A of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the judge can impose certain conditions of probation on a DWI offender. These conditions may include:
Days in Jail
The judge may order a certain number of days in county jail or a jail treatment program as part of the probation sentence. This can range from a few days to a more substantial period, depending on factors such as blood alcohol concentration (BAC), prior convictions, and the judge’s discretion.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
A judge may require the installation of an IID on the offender’s vehicle. This device prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath.
Offenders may be required to complete a specified number of community service hours as an alternative to jail time. This can serve as a form of rehabilitation and a way for the offender to give back to the community.
Alcohol Education Programs
Completion of alcohol education programs or counseling sessions is often a mandatory condition of DWI probation. These programs aim to address the underlying issues that led to the offense and reduce the likelihood of future incidents.
Credit for Days as a Condition
Typically when you serve a county jail sentence, you get two days credit for every day you are in jail. If you are a trustee, meaning you do work for the sheriff, you may even get 3-for-1 credit. Days as a condition of probation is different because you only get day-for-day credit. There’s no 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 credit.
What are the minimum days as a condition of probation for DWIs in Texas?
DWI – 0 days as a condition of probation (30 max)
DWI BAC >/= .15: 0 days as a condition of probation (30 max)
DWI with Open Container: 0 days as a condition of probation (30 max)
DWI Second: 72 hours as a condition of probation (30 max)
DWI Child Passenger: 0 days as a condition of probation (180 max)
DWI Felony Repetition: 0 days as a condition of probation(180 max)
Intoxication Assault: 30 days as a condition of probation (180 max)
Intoxication Manslaughter: 120 days as a condition of probation (180 max)
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