Monday, September 17, 2012

Bond Conditions Pose Problems For Bryan|College Station DWI

Persons accused of DWI in Bryan|College Station are often subject to "conditions of bond" imposed by the magistrate who set the bond after arrest. In cases where the accused person is alleged to have a BAC of .15 (or above) the magistrates have regularly imposed conditions which include abstaining from the use/possession of alcohol, a driving curfew, monthly meetings with a supervision officer, an alcohol detection device (interlock) for their automobile, and submission to an "alcohol/drug abuse" evaluation. These bond conditions are also imposed on persons accused of subsequent DWI 2nd & 3rd offenses. We have filed challenges to the imposition of these conditions as punitive or unreasonable, especially since the accused person hasn't yet been convicted of any crime. However, we've had limited success. 

If the curfew conditions create a hardship because of work or school scheduling we've been successful in getting our Brazos County judges to adjust the curfew to remove the hardship. Furthermore, I regularly object to my client submitting to any alcohol or drug abuse evaluation. At the time the bond conditions are imposed my client still has the right to remain silent. I instruct them to exercise it. I don't want my client speaking with a bond supervision officer about their recreational use of alcohol and drugs. Those admissions are not privileged and the supervision officer can be called later to testify against the client regarding these statements and admissions. So again, we've been successful in eliminating those types of "evaluation" conditions.

What our judges won't budge on is the alcohol detection device, or interlock. The interlock is designed to prevent someone from starting an automobile until the interlock determines there is NO alcohol in the person's system after they blow. Many clients tell me "well, I just won't drive a car, then." Here's the problem . . . if the client doesn't get an interlock for their car the judge will make them get a device that goes in their home. Yes, that's right. In your home. Furthermore, these devices are serviced and downloaded each month with a report going to both the judge and prosecutor. The devices are also equipped with a video camera which documents the identity of the person blowing into it.

Lastly, the magistrate who imposed these bond conditions then sends the order to the Texas Department of Public Safety. We've seen DPS take action to cancel the client's driver's license unless they obtain a special temporary license requiring an interlock device. It's a royal pain in the backside.

These bond conditions pose problems for Bryan|College Station citizens accused of alcohol related offenses. These conditions imposed unanticipated monthly expenses and provide an easy way for the prosecutors to obtain additional incriminating evidence. If you've been subject to these bond conditions after an arrest, it's important to consult with a good criminal defense lawyer who can help you navigate these troublesome waters.