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Typical jail time for first DWI? Is it better than probation?

Plano, TX |

Hi, I'm in the beginning of a DWI case against me. I have a clean record and will be going to trial for the charge in Collin County.

If I am found guilty, I am considering forgoing probation for straight jail time, if it's only a few days. I understand I will still have to deal with the license aspect separately and the surcharge.

A. What is the typical jail sentence for first time DWI? I know it ranges from 3 days to 6 months, but I wanted to know the typical sentence.

B. Will the judge make the jail sentence harsher if I turn down probation?

C. Would you recommend doing the jail time instead of probation?

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Attorney answers 1


You really should ask you lawyer what s/he expects. Most of the time in my experience if the DWI facts are plain vanilla the defense and the prosecutor just agree to the punishment. That said, in some courts one needs to go to the jury for punishment because of problems with the judge.

The judge might make punishment harsher if you turn down probation because it indicates you are not willing to change or avoid drinking, etc. But at the same time the judge knows that the benefits to taking probation as opposed to a quick jail sentence are few. Which leads to the Q regarding probation versus jail. If you get probation you can take a class so your license is not suspended but if you get jail time there is a license suspension from 6 months to 1 year. This is a separate suspension than the administrative one for failing or refusing the breath test.(Note - the judge could order that you be given credit for the ALR suspension time on the conviction suspension time although most lawyers do not know this and even fewer judges will agree to do it.)

You should also be aware that most judges will not grant a request for an occupational license if one is not on probation.

Although I have answered the question to try to help you, you should consult with a lawyer in your area in person on the matter. In addition, my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us.

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