According to a recent news report, there are about 5,000 to 6,000 DWI arrests every year in Austin. Probing the statistics further, Travis County recorded on average a 70 percent year-over-year rise in people killed in DUI-related crashes in 2017. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can lead to serious road crashes, injuries, and loss of life. If you received a DWI-related traffic ticket in Austin or elsewhere in Travis County, taking the DWI classes can be an effective way to get your traffic ticket penalties reduced.
Why Do I Need To Take DWI Classes?
DWI classes are court-ordered for offenders convicted of driving while under the influence. You may need to take DWI cases to fulfill the terms of your DUI/DWI case, reduce penalties or get your license reinstated by a Travis County judge. Drivers completing mandatory DWI classes have a set amount of time from the start of their suspension period to complete the DUI classes. As part of your offense’s consequences, you are required to pay for the courses out of your own pocket.
What Classes Are Needed Based On My First, Second, And Third Offenses?
The majority of first DWI offenders in Travis County take two classes, namely a 3-hour session (MADD – Victim Impact Panel) and a 12-hour DWI Education course (DWIE). Certificates are awarded once you complete these classes.
Being convicted of a second or 3rd DWI in Austin, Texas, is treated as a Class A misdemeanor. If you have been arrested many times on alcohol or drug-related charges, you will likely be required to take more and different classes, such as the DWI Intervention Program.
What Does a 12-Hour Class Look Like?
The state of Texas designed the DWIE class curriculum used in Austin traffic schools. The classes are implemented in group counseling sessions combined with an 8th-grade health class. Although no one really likes to take the DWI classes, they can help you gain new safe road use insights. They also create an ideal environment where you can self-reflect on your relationships with alcohol and drugs.
The course is designed to elicit conversations where the participants can share their opinions on diverse alcohol-related topics. Some of the things that you learn in class include:
- How alcohol and drugs impact your driving ability
- The consequences of a DWI conviction on your daily life and career
- Ways that alcohol and substances can affect your driving and reflexes
- What to expect with your DWI case and how future DWIs can affect your life
- How to prevent drinking and driving
- Best ways to avoid future trouble with the law
Can I Take an Online DWI Class In Austin?
Austin is part of Travis County, which does not allow those facing some aspect of DWI/DUI arrest or conviction to take the DWI class online. As such, you must appear in person at traffic school.
However, the 12-Hour DWIE class can now be taken remotely due to the current COVID 19 pandemic challenges. For the first time in history, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) has given companies temporary permission to offer the class online. However, the TDLR did not provide guidelines on how to conduct online classes. Each company will likely devise its own way of doing it.
What If I Was Arrested But Not Convicted?
The prosecutor typically gives offenders some credit for taking classes in advance. Taking your courses before your conviction can be an effective way to show the court that you are taking the course seriously.
In some cases taking the classes in advance can earn you reduced terms of probation, reduced fines, and reduced community service length. In cases where there is minimal evidence of intoxication, advanced classes can lead to case dismissal.
How Long is the Class?
The length of the classes can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of your DWI offense. If your BAC is low and didn’t cause any crash, the judge may order a few classes. However, serious DWI offenses may need longer courses.
- Important Note: A class is 12 hours spread over three days. Generally, Traffic School runs on a pre-determined weekday or weekdays, or it can run over a weekend: Friday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday afternoon. The State of Texas mandates the curriculum and training companies must follow strict guidelines. Once you complete the DWI course, you will receive a certificate of completion.
Are There Scenarios Where I Don’t Have To Take The Classes After A DWI Arrest?
There are up to three scenarios where you may not be required to the courses:
- If you plead guilty and prefer waiting for your sentence in county jail, which usually takes between 30 and 90 days.
- If you have a jury trial and you win the case
- If your case is thrown out by the judge out of a technicality, for example, where the police violate the law during your arrest
Where can I get the 12-hour class in Austin?
There are approximately seven private companies in Austin offering 12-hour DWIE classes. Additionally, the course is also offered by the Travis County Counseling and Education Services. Most of the companies have their own schedule. However, they are not allowed to teach it in a single day. A general schedule takes three days of four hours a day.
What is the cost of a DWI Class in Austin?
The 12-hour course designed for first-time DWI offenders in Texas may cost you $70. Repeat offenders may be required to attend the more expensive DWI Intervention Program, a 30-hour class that costs $185.
Our Lawyers Can Help With Your DWI Case
In Austin, a DWI conviction can result in several years in prison, hefty fines, lost license and driving privileges for several years. Whether you are a first-time or multiple offender, you are probably not prepared for the conviction’s actual cost. Our highly experienced defense attorneys can fight for you and ensure you don’t face harsh and stiff punishments that poorly represented offenders often face. To learn more about DWI law and get help navigating the challenges you’re facing—reach out to the team at Stephen Bowling.’