Interviewer: For a first time offender with no aggravating circumstances or enhancing circumstances, what’s the range of penalties that they may face if they’re convicted?
Gary: First time offenders are looking at, if their blood alcohol is below 1.5, we can negotiate a plea bargain agreement if they want to resolve the case fairly quickly. It’s called obstruction of highway by alcohol and for that offense the probation is usually set for a little longer period of time. They can put you on a year probation or two-year probation on occasion, and you will have to install an ignition interlock device. The benefit of negotiating that plea bargain is you do not have pay the surcharges that the state of Texas hits you with.
A DWI conviction in Texas carriers a surcharge for three years of $1,000 a year, so $3,000 for three years if you’re convicted of DWI in Texas. To keep your license you must pay one thousand dollars a year; if you don’t pay your surcharge your license will be suspended.
With that in mind, many people will readily agree to the obstruction of highway plea bargain agreement because they avoid that surcharge bill. That’s especially true if they don’t want to fight the case because there is little in their favor, such as really no issues with the stop, or issues with the breath test. Without any factors in the case to dispute, it is going to be one of these cases that we don’t have a whole lot to work with and then we might look at that plea bargain agreement.