In Texas, most people arrested for DWIs bond out of jail and wait for their next court date. However, for some offenses, a court will require that you sign and abide by conditions of bond during the pendency of your case. Like the bond itself, the conditions are there to ensure that you appear in court and do not get into any more trouble along the way. If you have bond conditions in your DWI case, it is important to understand how they can affect the disposition of your case.  

What are conditions of bond?

Under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 17.40, a court has the authority to impose “any reasonable condition of bond related to the safety of a victim of the alleged offense or to the safety of the community.” Hence, bond conditions are court-imposed requirements that you must follow while on pre-trial release until your case is resolved.

A judge signs an Order Setting Conditions of bond that you will be provided upon posting bail or shortly thereafter. You will be required to sign an acknowledgment that you have received and understand these conditions; thereby agreeing to follow all of the terms imposed.

What are bond conditions in a DWI case?

Most first time DWI offenders are not subject to bond conditions. However, this varies from county to county. You will generally see bond conditions imposed on the following types of intoxication cases:

On these cases, courts will generally require that you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. In addition, you may also be required to check in with your pre-trial services officer, submit to drug testing, refrain from drug or alcohol use, and abide by a curfew. In more serious cases, a judge will require you to wear a SCRAM device and/or a GPS monitor. A SCRAM device is an ankle bracelet that provides 24/7 transdermal alcohol testing.

What happens if I don’t comply with the conditions?

Bond conditions are zero tolerance. If you fail to obey these conditions you are at risk of being jailed again.

Courts and prosecutors will monitor whether or not you are following the conditions of bond. Most commonly, they will obtain reports from your pre-trial services officer or reports directly from the interlock company. These reports will indicate whether you have failed to check-in or have had a positive breath alcohol content (BrAC) on your interlock device.

If you have violated any condition of bond, the court first sets your case for a show cause hearing. In most courts, this is an informal hearing wherein the pretrial services officer or prosecutor tells the court any violations you have incurred while out on bond. At that point, the judge can decide to add additional conditions to your bond, or revoke your bond altogether. If your bond is revoked, then you will go back to jail and wait for the judge to set another (higher) bond.

If the prosecutor firsts gets wind of any violations, they may file a Motion to Revoke Bond. This asks the court to revoke your bond and place you back in jail for your failure to comply. A hearing on a motion to revoke bond is different from a show cause hearing in that the rules of evidence apply. Your attorney will work to ensure your due process rights are not violated.

In addition to a revoked bond, failing to follow conditions of bond can lead to consequences in the overall outcome of your case. For example, if you don’t check in with your pre-trial services officer or continue to drink alcohol while on bond, a prosecutor will be less likely to offer probation. The logic is simple: if you can’t abide by your conditions of bond, how would you be able to follow similar conditions of probation?

Moreover, any noncompliance with bond conditions will be admissible at a sentencing hearing. Thus, if you go to the judge or jury for sentencing on your case, they may be less inclined to hand out a probation sentence.

Can I get the conditions removed?

Yes, although you should think twice before trying to do so.

No one wants to have conditions of bond, but following your bond conditions could be helpful in the long run. If the prosecutor sees that you are doing everything that you should while on bond, your attorney could negotiate and secure a less severe sentence. Perhaps you only need 12 months of probation instead of 24, or 3 days of jail instead of 30. Following your conditions of bond can be great mitigating evidence to utilize during negotiations.

Although bond conditions can prove to be helpful in your case, sometimes they are not always feasible. If you drive a company car and cannot install an interlock device, you might need to file a motion to amend or remove that bond condition. The judge will then decide, based on the evidence, whether that condition can be removed completely, substituted for another condition, or remain the same.

Be aware that if you’ve tested positive for alcohol or have had a high BrAC on the interlock, a judge will be less inclined to remove any bond conditions regardless of your circumstances.

Bond conditions can act as a double edged sword. Make sure that you understand all of the conditions that are in place to ensure compliance. If you have questions or concerns regarding your conditions of bond, contact me today.   

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