Bond Conditions and License Suspension
People charged with DWI must be concerned with more than just fighting their criminal case. While the criminal case is pending, a DWI defendant often has conditions of release (bond conditions) that must be honored to maintain the defendant’s freedom. In addition, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is often seeking to suspend the defendant’s driver’s license through an administrative proceeding that is different from, but runs parallel to, the criminal case.
Aside from a financial obligation (bail amount), a judge can order any condition of release that is reasonably necessary to: (1) ensure that the defendant is available and appears in court when instructed; and (2) protect public safety. For DWI defendants this might include instructions such as:
- Do not use or consume alcohol;
- Do not use or consume drugs except when lawfully prescribed;
- Do not drive a car unless the car has an ignition interlock device installed on it;
- Obtain and use a portable alcohol monitoring device (an in-home device or ankle device);
- Honor a curfew; or
- Do not drive at all.
Failure to honor any condition ordered could result in the defendant being arrested and jailed pending a new (and almost certainly higher) bail amount and additional conditions.
In addition to the criminal case, DPS will attempt to suspend an arrestee’s driver’s license if the arrestee either: (1) refused to give a breath, blood, or urine sample upon request; or (2) provided a sample that exceeded the 0.08 legal limit. The arresting officer will keep the arrestee’s driver’s license and provide him/her with documentation detailing the intent to suspend it. The arrestee only has 15 days to formally challenge this suspension and request a hearing. This is an absolutely critical deadline. If DPS succeeds, the suspension will last for between 90 days and 2 years, depending on the particular circumstances in the case.
Good DWI lawyers understand how to minimize release conditions and challenge DPS to prevent these license suspensions. The lawyers at Shellist Peebles McAlister LLP fight DPS on every DWI case. Our firm’s DWI lawyers have nearly 30 years of combined experience as prosecutors and nearly 30 more years of combined experience as criminal defense lawyers. We are knowledgeable, creative, and aggressive. We know how to approach these cases and will put our experience to work for you!