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Even though you will face a Class B misdemeanor for first-time DWI charges, there are more added conditions and penalties associated with DWI charges than for “standard” misdemeanors. Even if you are granted probation for your first-time DWI charges, you could be ordered to attend some type of educational program designed specially for those convicted of DWI in Texas. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 42A.403 requires those convicted of DWI in Texas to complete the required DWI classes within 180 days of your conviction.
Generally speaking, the court will choose a program for you. In some cases, you can choose a third-party program, however it must be approved by either the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Department of Transportation, or the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
What is the Purpose of DWI Classes in Texas?
The purpose of these DWI classes is to deter drunk drivers with more stringent DWI laws, including sentencing conditions which include DWI classes. The court requires those sentenced to DWI classes to pay for the classes out of their own pocket. In some cases, a single DWI class can cost from $90-$125. For those with multiple DWI offenses, the classes may be even more expensive, and your driver’s license will be revoked until the successful completion of your classes.
How Long are DWI Classes in Texas?
In the state of Texas, the DWI classes you will be required to take are dependent upon your past criminal history. If this is your first DWI in Texas offense, your classes will be a total of 12 hours, usually conducted over three or four days, in some cases, online. Those with multiple DWI in Texas convictions will be required to take more extensive DWI classes, which can take up to 32 hours and can be conducted over a period of 5-7 weeks. The cost for this level of DWI class can be as high as $300.
Topics Covered in Texas DWI Classes
A minor in the state of Texas who is charged with a DWI as a juvenile will be required to take about six hours’ worth of DWI classes, which are about six hours long and can be completed in approximately two days. This level of DWI class costs approximately $60. Some of the topics which are traditionally covered in Texas DWI classes include:
- How alcohol and drugs affect your driving;
- The effects alcohol and drugs have on your body;
- The consequences of a DWI in Texas;
- How to recover from chemical dependency;
- Issues related to alcohol and substance abuse, and
- Making better decisions regarding drinking alcoholic beverages.
What You Should Bring to Your DWI Classes
There are certain items you will need to bring to your Texas DWI classes, including the following:
- Your driver’s license or driver’s license number;
- The court-ordered paperwork for your DWI class;
- Your social security number, and
- Your case number.
Penalties for Failing to Complete DWI Classes or Failing to Complete the Classes on Time
It is important to remember that DWI in Texas classes are not a choice and not an option. If you were ordered by a Texas court to attend DWI courses, you must legally attend, and you must complete the program within 180 days from when the court issues its order. You will be subject to administrative penalties if you fail to attend the required classes, or if you fail to complete the program on time, as ordered. Failing to complete the courses or failing to complete the courses on time could result in having your driving privileges revoked or could prohibit you from obtaining your driver’s license. You can only have your driver’s license reinstated once you have completed all required DWI classes. The types of DWI classes in the state of Texas include:
- Alcohol Programs for Minors in Possession—This is a standardized program which lasts six hours and is designed to help minors increase their knowledge about drugs and alcohol. The topics include the influence of alcohol advertising on young people, the physical, social and psychological effects of alcohol on young people, laws in the state related to the purchase, possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages and decision-making skills as they relate to young adult abuse and addiction.
- Drug Offender Education—a standardized drug education program which is about 15 hours in length. This program is designed to educate drug offenders on the dangers of drug abuse, to identify the drug-use patterns of the offender, and to assist the offender in developing his or her own action plan to reduce future drug behaviors. Course topics can include health issues associated with drug use, getting control of your life after drug abuse or damaging drug behaviors, drug laws, the dynamics of drug use and the cost of drug use and abuse.
- DWI Education—a standardized program which is 12 hours long, designed to help DWI offenders increase their knowledge of alcohol and drugs as these substances related to their driving skills. Helping identify the offender’s drinking or drug use and driving patterns allows the offender to develop a plan which reduces the likelihood of future DWI behaviors. Course topics will include the effects of alcohol on individuals, alcohol and driving abilities, chemical dependency, symptoms of alcohol dependency, the costs of DWI and decision-making abilities of DWI offenders.
- DWI Intervention—This is a 32-hour standardized program designed for offenders with multiple DWI convictions, intervening in an alcohol and drug abusing lifestyle and encouraging entry into treatment programs when warranted. Specific court topics will include chemical dependency, relapse prevention, alcoholism, the physiological and psychological effects of drugs, lifestyle issues, treatment options and 12-Step Self-Help Groups.
If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas or a DUI in Texas, you could be facing harsh penalties. It is definitely to your advantage to have an experienced Houston DWI attorney from Sullo & Sullo by your side from start to finish. We will work hard to ensure you the best outcome for your DWI in Texas charges, most specifically, we will help you avoid time in a Harris County jail, and Harris County criminal records. We believe you deserve a strong, aggressive defense for your DWI in Texas charges. Contact a Sullo & Sullo Houston criminal defense attorney today for a comprehensive consultation regarding your charges.