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This has been a major source of aggravation for individuals charged with Driving While Intoxicated, and those who defend them. Texas law requires that a Judge order installation of a breath testing device on the vehicle of those who take a breath or blood test if results show concentration over .15. For many years, Judges took this as a suggestion. However, that has ended and every Judge orders this requirement as a condition of bail.
Lately, and especially in the larger counties such as Harris County, we have been observing Judges to be ordering these devices liberally. It is not uncommon for County Judges to order a device installed as a DWI bail condition when there has been an accident, or for any other aggravating circumstance. Of course this is contradictory to the presumption of innocence, but Judges know that it is expensive and time consuming to challenge DWI bail conditions in the Court of Appeals.
Inexplicably, some Judges are ordering the interlock device in every DWI! In addition, County Judges are ordering the same conditions as District Court Judges, by ordering that anyone arrested for Driving While Intoxicated be subject to pre-trial supervision by the probation department, with conditions like urinalysis tests and forbidding the accused from consuming any alcoholic beverages.
When bail conditions are too burdensome, an experienced lawyer can make an argument to the Judge as to why his client should not be burdened by exceptional bail conditions. For example, when a Judge orders an accused not to be around places where alcohol is served, this may be inconsistent with employment responsibilities and should be brought to the Judge’s attention.