What If I’m Arrested for DWI While on Parole in Texas?

A first-time arrest for DWI is normally a simple misdemeanor in Texas. This means that if tried and convicted, the defendant faces a penalty no harsher than 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a one-year suspension of their driver’s license. But even a misdemeanor DWI arrest can lead to substantially more serious consequences if the defendant is already on parole following conviction for another crime.

Man Convicted in 1991 “Gay Bashing” Murder May Go Back to Jail

Due To A Parole Violation Following A Single-Car DWI Accident

Case in point: Recently, the Houston Chronicle reported that a man was arrested for DWI in Montgomery County, Texas, after crashing his car into a ditch. This might not have made news headlines except for the fact the man was Job Bruice. In 1991, Bruice was part of a group of 10 men that stabbed and killed 27-year-old Paul Broussard. Police believed the attack was motivated solely by the fact Broussard was gay. Indeed, many credit the Broussard killing as leading to the adoption of the term “gay bashing.”

Man Arrested for Parole Violation
DRAMATIZATION

Bruice, who was wielding a knife at the time of the attack, pleaded guilty to murder. He was then sentenced to 45 years in prison. But in 2015, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to grant Bruice parole after serving just 25 years. According to the Chronicle, Bruice had been living in Harris County until the time of his most recent DWI arrest.

That arrest prompted the Board of Pardons and Paroles to issue what is known as a “blue warrant.” This warrant allows law enforcement to keep Bruice in custody even if he posted the $1,500 bond attached to his new DWI charge, the Chronicle noted. In other words, Bruice will remain in jail pending a separate administrative hearing where the Board will decide whether or not to revoke parole altogether.

No Alcohol Consumption While on Parole or Probation

When a prisoner is released on parole in Texas, they are required to follow certain terms and conditions. Obviously, they cannot commit another crime, including a misdemeanor offense like DWI. But parolees are also typically barred from consuming drugs or alcohol at all. So let’s say a parolee is arrested for DWI but they are acquitted of that charge because their blood-alcohol level was still below the legal limit. Even then, parole may still be revoked if the parolee was found to have any amount of alcohol in their system, as that would qualify as a violation of the terms of parole.

Also note that parole from prison is a different matter than receiving probation–or “community supervision,” as it is known in Texas–for a DWI conviction. With probation, the judge agrees not to send a person convicted of drunk driving to jail in the first place provided they meet certain conditions. Similar to parole, a person on probation cannot commit any further crimes, including DWI, and must abstain from consuming alcohol until their term of community supervision expires.

If you have additional questions or concerns about how a drunk driving arrest may affect your status as someone on parole or probation, contact Houston DWI lawyer Tad A. Nelson today.