Standard Bond Conditions for a DWI

If you have been arrested or charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), chances are you will have bond conditions, which are rules ordered by a judge that you must follow while your case is being handled in court.  

Bond conditions are typically issued at the time a person is arrested and arraigned by a magistrate judge. A judge can order almost anything as a condition of being on bond, so long as it is reasonable and related to the safety of the individual arrested and/or the safety of the community or the victim.  

Most counties have standard bond conditions for a DWI case, but they can vary depending on the judge. The bond conditions will also depend on the offender’s criminal history.  

Here are some of the typical bond conditions for a DWI suspect in Texas: 

  1. No alcohol 

A person arrested for DWI will be ordered not to drink any alcohol while on pre-trial release. No alcohol means no beer, wine, liquor or other beverage containing alcohol. This is regardless of whether the person is driving or plans to drive. 

  1. No illegal drugs or prescriptions drugs that are not prescribed  

Typically, a judge will order that a person arrested for DWI not take any illegal drugs while on bond. The order usually includes prescription drugs that are not prescribed to the arrestee. 

  1. Random drug testing 

A judge may order that a person arrested for DWI submit to random drug testing. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 17.44. states, “A magistrate may require as a condition of release on bond that the defendant submit to: 

(1)  home confinement and electronic monitoring under the supervision of an agency designated by the magistrate; or 

(2)  testing on a weekly basis for the presence of a controlled substance in the defendant's body.” 

  1. Ignition Interlock Device 

An ignition interlock device (“Deep Lung Device” or “DLD”) is an electronic system designed to test a person’s breath for alcohol. There are a number of different companies that manufacturer and sell DLD’s in Texas. The three main providers are Smart Start (https://www.smartstartinc.com/), Life Safer (https://www.lifesafer.com/), and Intoxalock (https://www.intoxalock.com/). A DLD is installed in the car and requires the driver to blow into the device to start the car as well as randomly while driving. These devices then report the breath readings to the supervision office to ensure the suspect is not drinking and driving while on bond. 

If a person has a prior conviction for DWI or DUI, the judge is required to order a DLD as a condition of bond. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure article 17.441 states that “a magistrate shall require on release that a defendant charged with a subsequent offense under Section 49.04, 49.05, or 49.06, Penal Code, or an offense under Section 49.045, 49.07, or 49.08 of that code: 

(1)  have installed on the motor vehicle owned by the defendant or on the vehicle most regularly driven by the defendant, a device that uses a deep-lung breath analysis mechanism to make impractical the operation of a motor vehicle if ethyl alcohol is detected in the breath of the operator; and 

(2)  not operate any motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with that device. 

(b) The magistrate may not require the installation of the device if the magistrate finds that to require the device would not be in the best interest of justice. 

(c) If the defendant is required to have the device installed, the magistrate shall require that the defendant have the device installed on the appropriate motor vehicle, at the defendant's expense, before the 30th day after the date the defendant is released on bond. 

(d)  The magistrate may designate an appropriate agency to verify the installation of the device and to monitor the device.  If the magistrate designates an agency under this subsection, in each month during which the agency verifies the installation of the device or provides a monitoring service the defendant shall pay a reimbursement fee to the designated agency in the amount set by the magistrate.  The defendant shall pay the initial reimbursement fee at the time the agency verifies the installation of the device.  In each subsequent month during which the defendant is required to pay a reimbursement fee the defendant shall pay the fee on the first occasion in that month that the agency provides a monitoring service.  The magistrate shall set the fee in an amount not to exceed $10 as determined by the county auditor, or by the commissioners court of the county if the county does not have a county auditor, to be sufficient to cover the cost incurred by the designated agency in conducting the verification or providing the monitoring service, as applicable in that county.” 

  1. Portable Alcohol Monitoring Device 

In some cases a judge may order a person on bail for DWI to use a portable alcohol monitoring device. The portable alcohol monitoring device is about the size of a cell phone. The person must submit breath tests throughout the day on the portable device to ensure that the person is not drinking alcohol. Typically, the device requires 3-5 tests per day. The portable alcohol monitoring devices are a substitute for individuals who are no longer driving a car following their arrest. 

  1. SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Device 

The SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring device is a higher-level alcohol monitor. The device is attached around the person’s ankle. The device tests the wearer’s subdermal alcohol concentration every 30 minutes. Basically, a person wearing the device is on constant alcohol monitoring to ensure there is no further drinking of alcoholic beverages. The device then uploads its results every day to the supervision department. The device can be highly effective, but it is expensive and cumbersome.  

The bond conditions will depend on the county of arrest as well as the individual facts of a case. A person must comply with their conditions of bond, or the judge can revoke the bond and place the person back in jail. If you do not like the conditions of the bond placed on you or believe they should be modified, an experienced criminal attorney can assist you in modifying the conditions.  

A violation of bond conditions can be a serious allegation and you need expert legal advice. You need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately before you speak with the court or the pre-trial release officer. 

If you have been arrested for a DWI in McKinney, call the Fredericks Firm at (972) 474-8575 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation. We are also serving clients in Collin County, Plano, and Frisco! 

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