Up until recently the answer to this question was that it was impossible to get a deferred adjudication on a DWI. Yes, you can get deferred adjudication for a first time DWI in the State of Texas. This article addresses deferred adjudication, the consequences of deferred and how to get deferred adjudication. This is a relatively new development as people who were arrested for DWI before September of 2019 could not receive deferred adjudication for a DWI. Many people who are arrested for a DWI have no criminal record so they need to be careful when accepting plea bargains and they need to understand all of the potential consequences.
What is Deferred Adjudication?
Deferred adjudication is a type of probation or community supervision where if you comply with your conditions, if you do everything that you agree to do, the case is dismissed. This sounds like a great deal. Unfortunately, there are several hidden gotchas that apply to DWI deferred adjudications. Understanding the benefits and the risks of accepting a DWI deferred adjudication will make you a better consumer of criminal defense services and give you better insight into the criminal justice system.
Who Qualifies for a DWI Deferred?
The better question maybe, who does not qualify for a DWI deferred. First, you do not automatically qualify for a DWI deferred adjudication. The State has to offer it to you and allow you to apply for deferred adjudication. They will not offer it to you (because the statute does not allow it) if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a .15 as measured by their breath test machine or by their blood test. They will not offer it to you if you’ve have a prior DWI. There could be other reasons they will not offer it to you. Some prosecutors refuse to offer deferred when there is an accident involved or if someone else was injured. Other prosecutors won’t offer it if the accused was not polite to the arresting officer. Each case is different and its your lawyer’s job to make sure that your case is put forward in the best possible light. This increases the chance of being offered deferred adjudication.
How Can A Criminal Defense Attorney Help Get Deferred Adjudication?
Getting cases dismissed, taking cases to trial and negotiating on behalf of our clients. These are some of the ways criminal defense attorneys work to get their clients the best possible results. When someone is accused of a crime a criminal defense attorney’s job is to reduce the consequences to the client as much as possible. At The Locke Law Group, we look at your DWI from every perspective. We immediately demand an ALR hearing forcing the State to submit their reports in a sworn format and subpoenaing the police officer so that we can subject them to cross-examination. We then use any inconsistency that is developed to argue that our client deserves deferred adjudication. This is how we overcome arguments like those referenced above, that our client doesn’t qualify because he was in an accident or because his BAC was too high.
What Will I Have to do if I Accept Deferred Adjudication?
If you accept deferred adjudication for a DWI you need to be prepared to be on this kind of probation for at least one year. Additionally, you will have an interlock device in your vehicle. This is a device that you blow into and it tests your BAC to determine if you have been drinking. Any detectable amount of alcohol can cause a violation
Is Deferred Adjudication my Best Option?
Not necessarily. Deferred adjudication for a DWI is different than other types of deferred. If you get another DWI your deferred can be used to enhance (make more serious) your new DWI accusation. Also, it stays on your record. You need to consult with a DWI attorney to make sure that your case cannot be dismissed and that it is not worthwhile to take your case to a jury trial. Winning a jury trial or getting your DWI dismissed will allow you to get a clean record once your case is over. ]These are questions you must know the answer to before accepting a deferred adjudication, or any other DWI plea. We are here to help, whether you’ve just been arrested or if you’ve been to court several times we will be glad to discuss your options with you.