Interviewer: How long does it take before the police have the results of the blood test back from the lab? If you take a breath test, are you arrested immediately?
Gary: Well, depending on the results of the test. With a blood test, they won’t get the results back for weeks, a month, so they’ll still arrest you anyway. You go visit the local jail and if you can, you have a relative or a friend bond you out.
After you post your bond, you’ll get out the next morning. After departing the jail you are given a court date but in Texas, all counties handle it differently. In San Antonio, they will give you a court date immediately. Usually, the date is 30 days after the arrest. In different counties throughout the state, it can be six months or seven months before they’ll file on the case. So it just depends on which county you were arrested in when your first court date will be.
Interviewer: Are people then released on their own recognizance?
Gary: Yes, it’s called a PR bond. After spending 24 hours in jail an officer will interview you and most of the time, they’ll let you out on PR bonds because the jail is overcrowded. PR bonds are not always a good thing because they put numerous restrictions on the individual released under the PR bond.
These pretrial officers think they’re federal pretrial officers. They’ll require you to periodically check in with them and you can’t leave the county without court permission, as well as other onerous restrictions. I have even seen them order the installation of ignition interlock devices in vehicles.
"A Surety Bond for a First Offense DWI Is $800 and Is Less Restrictive than a PR Bond"
I always tell my clients, if you’re on a PR bond let’s get off your PR bond as quick as possible, substitute it out for a surety bond and move on. The cost of a DWI surety bonds first offense bond is like 800 dollars, so you’re looking at paying 100 dollars to bondsman to get out and all you have to do is call a bondsman on every Tuesday instead of jumping through hoops with the pretrial officer.
Interviewer: After you are released from jail, has your car usually been impounded?
Gary: The car is impounded. You have to go down to the impound lot and pay a hefty amount of money to get your vehicle out. Hopefully, at the time of your arrest, you don’t have any contraband in your vehicle. Sometimes they search the vehicle and sometimes they don’t.
I’ve had clients that have been in the unfortunate situation of not only getting arrested for DWI, but also being charged with possession of marijuana or other drugs that they forgot were in the car. A word of advice to people, never drive with drugs in your car, the police will find them.