How Can My DWI Charge Be Reduced In Texas?
There are a bunch of different things you can do to help make a reduction happen. The first is don’t get re-arrested for any newer offenses. That’s one of the biggest things you can control. So if alcohol was involved in your arrest, which it most likely was, my first suggestion is to stop drinking entirely. For a lot of my clients, I recognize as I’m a pragmatist that they do not stop drinking entirely. During my practice as an Austin TX DWI defense attorney, I understand that if they are going to choose to continue to drink I want them to be smart about it, not put themselves in situations where they are going to have the potential to be re-arrested. It may have been a condition of your release that a judge chose to put an ignition interlock device on your vehicle or chose to have you maintain a portable alcohol monitor, if, let’s say your vehicle was totaled in an accident or you do not have access to a vehicle, but also possibly if you have a very serious history of DWI, the judge may choose to have you maintain a SCRAM device, an ankle bracelet that monitors your sweat for the presence of alcohol metabolites.
Such a device is continuously monitoring you. If you have any of those 3 devices, then you must be very careful in your consumption of alcohol, if you choose to consume alcohol at all. You have to also think about potential other sources of alcohol other than alcoholic beverages. When I say alcohol here, I’m talking specifically about ethanol, not isopropyl rubbing alcohol or other alcohols, just ethanol is the one that we are primarily concerned with. Many things have ethanol in them but are not alcoholic beverages or what we think of as alcoholic beverages. Cough syrup is one, mouthwash is another, and the more recently the popular drink Kombucha actually has not an insignificant amount of alcohol because it contains live cultures, and the amount of alcohol present in it can certainly change and I think it’s oftentimes much higher than what is reported on the labels. So I would avoid using any of those substances especially directly before you are going to be blowing into a device.
The biggest way that people get in trouble with those devices is not by going and drinking in the evening and then that very evening, going and driving a vehicle but it’s by going out on a Friday or Saturday night, drinking and then the next morning, getting into their vehicle and trying to start the vehicle not realizing that they still have alcohol on their breath. You have to be very careful if you are going to choose to be consuming anything alcoholic not to fall into that trap, but again, my recommendation is to not consume any alcohol whatsoever while you are out on bond for any alcohol-related DWI.
Additionally, almost everyone who is charged with a DWI is going to have a condition as part of their release where the judge wants them to do an evaluation or an assessment with Travis County Counseling and Education Services. Based on the answers you give to the questions about your history of drinking, prior arrests, family history, and things like that, they are going to recommend a certain number of classes for you to take. Make sure you discuss your case in detail with the DWI defense attorneys in Austin, Texas at our office.
For a person charged with a first DWI, I would anticipate that they would have to take a 12 hour DWI education class and for someone charged with a second or subsequent DWI, it will ramp up from there, anywhere from a 30 hour DWI intervention program to intensive outpatient all the way up to inpatient treatment. Whatever they do recommend, I would recommend that you find a way to get that class done and get it done as soon as possible. That is one of the biggest things you are going to be able to do to affect the outcome of the case because if the prosecutors are willing to cut any type of deal with you to reduce the DWI to a non-DWI, one thing that they are going to want to see in order to cover themselves is going to be that class completed up front. The class can certainly be effective for some people. I don’t know that it’s necessary or effective for everyone, but regardless it must be done in order to ensure the best outcome.
With regards to that I think you need to complete it, and you need to pay for it and get the certificate of completion they give you when you are done with a class, because that is what the prosecutors want to see in order for them to be able to feel comfortable with reducing your DWI to a lesser charge; they need to be able to put that in your file so when their superior prosecutors review their files, they are able to say that they are covered. The biggest concern is that when someone is charged with DWI, it’s already so high risk in their estimation, their concern is that if they give you a deal and then you get the DWI dismissed, they don’t want to be seeing a situation where you get involved in a serious accident where alcohol is involved. It is then their concern that the local media is going to pull the paperwork from the previous DWI and say whose signature is this on the dismissal?
They don’t want their name to be in the newspaper at all, but if you’ve completed the class and done the necessary counseling and do not have any issues on your alcohol monitoring device, then they are much more comfortable being able to say to any reporter who calls in the unlikely event that something like that does happen, it says here that you did alcohol counseling and we had a problem proving our case, and their superiors will stand behind them in a situation like that. So getting that class completed and the certificate is going to be integral in order to get your case reduced or dismissed. Make sure you discuss all these issues with the Austin TX DWI Defense Attorney at our office.
In addition to that, there is going to be a onetime 2 hour class that they are going to want you to take. The Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel. In Travis County, the MADD Panel as we call it is offered on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at the Travis County courthouse from 6:30 to 8:30. Doors open at 6:00 and you need to bring $25 and your ID with you.
It is first come, first served and a lot of people in Travis County have to take this class. So I recommend that you arrive early, at least at 6:00 because there is a line that starts outside. Get that class done too. Get the certificate for that and get them to your attorney. Those 2 classes together are going to be very important things that the prosecutor is going to invariably ask me about and say has your client done counseling with the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel? If I get to answer that in the affirmative it is going to be very useful in order to get us a reduction of charges. In addition to that, if you have the time to do any community service at any nonprofit, nonreligious, nonpolitical organization, it’s going to be something that is going to be useful. To know more about the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel, you can talk to the DWI defense attorneys in Austin, Texas at our office.
All of the judges in Travis County will give you credit if you are ultimately placed on probation for any offense for any community service that you’ve done while the case is pending towards any community service that you have to complete as a condition of that probation. Every single probation in Travis County is going to involve you completing some type of community service. So if we get a reduced charge of say, obstruction of a highway or reckless driving, you would anticipate that you would have to complete some community service, so I would recommend starting with 24 hours of community service. In addition to that, if alcohol was involved in your arrest, I recommend that you attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I recommend that you get a sponsor and I recommend that you get signed off on the meetings that you do go to.
Then, you can provide that as proof for your attorney to show the prosecutors. I don’t anticipate that it would be a condition of your probation, but I also think that it is something that can be used in order to maintain your sobriety especially if that’s something that you are having difficulty with while out on bond. So, Alcoholics Anonymous, community service, doing the classes they recommend, and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel. If you are maintaining an ignition interlock device, make sure you don’t have any violations on it. In case of any violation, you can seek assistance from the Austin TX DWI defense attorney at our office. If you are not required to maintain an ignition interlock device, speak to your attorney and see whether or not they would recommend that you put one in voluntarily, not at the judge’s order, but you put that in your vehicle without being asked and maintain it anywhere from a period of 6 to 8 months so you can show compliance to the prosecutor. That’s something which will reflect very positively upon you. Oftentimes, I’ve seen recently, more and more that the prosecutors do want to see that in order to get to a really good resolution on a case.
For more information on Reduction OF DWI Charges In Texas, a free initial consultation with the DWI defense attorneys in Austin, Texas at our office is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (512) 601-0009 today.
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