New Law Helps Those Charged with DWI or DUI in Texas
Anyone charged with a DUI or DWI first time offense can tell you that the penalties can be devastating. They can lose their ability to work, and if it goes on their public record, it can severely dampen their capacity to find employment in the future. Thankfully, back in June Governor of Texas Greg Abbott signed a bill into law which will soften the harsh penalties and give accused persons a second chance in the eyes of the law.
This new law takes effect on September 1st and will give people recently charged with a DWI or DUI the chance to not have their charges be on their public records. The caveat is that after their two-year probation is over, they must choose to have an ignition interlock breathalyzer device for six months to make sure they are not driving while under any influences. This new bill extends to other low-level, low offense charges; these charges include nonsexual and nonviolent misdemeanors classified either Class A or Class B. The hope is that by decriminalizing lesser offense crimes the law won’t unfairly punish minor slip ups and can keep unnecessary stains off of citizen’s public record. This way people can still find work even after they go through a slight hiccup in their life choices. While this bill makes sure that a charge won’t go on someone’s public record, Ian Inglis Attorney at Law states that the base penalty for a first time DUI or DWI offense can be up to a $2,000 fine and six months in prison. There is a multitude of reasons that show that a breathalyzer test can’t always be trusted, so the possibility that someone could face such punishments from something that may not even be accurate is awful. This new law can provide some flexibility so that people charged can go back to getting on with their lives.
Personally, this law is a significant step in the right direction. For years I have thought that the current laws punishing people were too harsh and debilitating. Nobody should ever lose the ability to go to work just because of what could potentially be a misunderstanding. It is worth noting that this bill doesn’t reduce potential jail time or fines that come with a charge only that fact that a charge won’t go on a public record for the first offense. These fines and penalties can still be intense unless someone gets the proper legal representation to lower them.
A step in the right direction, this bill will help reduce the stigma that comes with a misdemeanor and felony charge to citizens trying to get their lives back together from a mistake in their past. With a second chance in the eyes of the law, statistics will show that public reform will skyrocket and that such a second chance won’t fall on ungrateful shoulders. However, it is still important for those who are accused of such crimes to adhere to the Texas laws in the future.