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Harris County changing the way it handles DWI probation

Recently, law enforcement agencies across Texas participated in a "no refusal" DWI crackdown across the state. Motorists stopped by police would have to submit to tests if requested by officers, or face the loss of their driving privileges.

The campaign resulted in several individuals being arrested and charged with DWI. For a first-time offender in Texas, penalties include fines that may reach $2,000, and also up to six months in jail. Offenders also lose their licenses, and must pay substantial costs in order to have the licenses reinstated.

As the number of drunk driving deaths in the state continues to grow, officials are going to be much more aggressive when considering how to deal with those convicted of DWI. More patrols mean that more people could face these charges, which also may mean that more people end up being repeat offenders.

The penalties for a second or third DWI offense can increase dramatically. Some counties are reconsidering the approach they take to individuals convicted of drunk driving, so that they do not end up getting charged with subsequent offenses.

The Harris County Community Supervision Department has started a new program that specifically trains certain employees to better understand DWI offenders. These probation officers work with the offenders, and provide additional monitoring and oversight to help detect those who are not meeting the terms of their probation.

Currently, according to the agency, there are nearly 13,000 people on probation for a DWI in the county. This high number of cases can place a significant strain on resources, and it was easy for some of these offenders to slip through the cracks. They did not get the help that they needed, and then they went out and received additional DWI convictions.

Offenders now will be analyzed to determine their likelihood of reoffending. Those who have the highest risk will be assigned to probation officers who have reduced workloads, so that more attention can be devoted to these individuals.

If you have been arrested for DWI, it is important that you realize that you need to take the situation seriously. These cases carry severe penalties, and if you do not address these issues properly, a conviction can impact the rest of your life.

You should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to begin protecting your rights as soon as possible. Your attorney can review the circumstances of the traffic stop, and determine how best to defend against these accusations. Once you have learned about the options that are available, you can make a decision that is in line with your goals. Each case is different, and it is essential that you work with someone that understands how to advocate on your behalf.