Deferred Adjudication Now Available to DWI Defendants
A new law went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1 that allows people who committed driving while intoxicated for the first time to receive deferred adjudication. People who plead guilty to DWI and complete their probation can prevent a conviction from appearing on their public criminal record. However, a subsequent DWI charge would still be treated as a second DWI offense in court. The deferred adjudication law is seen as an alternative to full prosecution for people who made a one-time poor decision, such as underage drinkers or people driving home after a holiday family dinner.
As previously mentioned, deferred adjudication is available to DWI defendants if they have never been previously convicted for DWI. Also, this option is unavailable if the DWI incident occurred before the law was enacted on Sept. 1. The judge will decide whether deferred adjudication is appropriate given the circumstances of the case. You may be denied deferred adjudication if:
- Your blood alcohol concentration level was 0.16 or greater.
- Someone was injured or killed during the DWI incident.
- You have a commercial driver’s license.
A person accused of more serious DWI charges may not be deserving in the court’s eyes of a reduced punishment. The court wants to be confident that you pose little risk of repeating your mistake by driving while intoxicated again.
How It Works
Prosecutors may recommend deferred adjudication to the court if they believe that a criminal conviction is unnecessary in your case. You would plead guilty to DWI, but the court would put you on probation instead of convicting you, which would include using an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Once you have completed your probation, the court will dismiss your case. You must wait for two years after the end of your probation to file a petition of nondisclosure, which would block law enforcement agencies from sharing your DWI charge with the public. If you did not have an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for at least six months during your probation, then you must wait for five years to file a petition. Your criminal record is ineligible for sealing if you had a vehicle accident that involved someone else, including a passenger in your vehicle.
Contact a San Antonio DUI Defense Lawyer
Accepting deferred adjudication in your DWI case has some drawbacks, such as how long you must wait to seal your record and still having a DWI on your record if you are ever charged again. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can help you decide whether it would be smarter to try to beat the charge in court. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.