August 6, 2012

Repeat Offenders in Texas More Likely to Get Probation

In Bexar County, Texas, it is not until the third offense that a DWI charge moves from a misdemeanor taken up in County court to a felony taken up in District courts. An analysis of three years worth of court records obtained from the Bexar County District Clerk reveals 52 percent of felony DWI offenders across all Bexar County District Courts get probation in cases where the sentence is decided by a judge. This means that in 700 of the 1,348 cases studied, third time offenders were still put on probation, despite having been put on community supervision for their prior two offenses. One judge cited time between convictions as a factor in his decision. The district does have available alternative sanctions such as ignition interlocks, ankle bracelets, or mandatory blood draws.

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