DWI Dismissal Houston Texas Texas has some of the harshest laws in the nation for driving while intoxicated. An arrest and conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) may result in a strict sentence that includes jail time and fines. If placed on probation instead of jail, there are many conditions like motor vehicle monitoring, DWI education classes, and community service, to name a few. Aside from those penalties, a DWI conviction will significantly impact your life in terms of personal and work relationships and your independence in everyday life. If you are arrested and charged with a DWI in Texas, it is crucial that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise you of your options going forward.
One option you might have if you are facing DWI charges in Texas for the first time is participation in a pretrial diversion program. Pretrial diversion programs may be able to keep you from getting convicted of the DWI after you take responsibility for the offense.
Over the years, Texas prosecutors instituted a variety of different programs to address the large number of DWI arrests and alcohol-related accidents across the state. Texas has implemented the pre-trial diversion program in several counties to offer first-time offenders charged with misdemeanors a second chance. Texas pretrial diversion programs are in place to give an eligible offender the opportunity to get the case dismissed and records of the case expunged after successfully completing the program.
A pretrial diversion program in Texas requires supervision for first-time DWI offenders who qualify for the program much like probation. The prosecution presents a defendant with conditions of the supervision in a contract. The county probation department will handle the supervision. The District Attorney’s Office oversees the program and makes the ultimate determination of whether a defendant completes the program. There is typically a zero-tolerance policy with the supervision and if there are any violations the contract gets revoked. If the defendant completes the set of program requirements successfully within a designated time period the case gets dismissed. While participating in the program, the prosecutor ceases action on the case to allow time for completion.
Pretrial diversion programs in Texas have specific qualifying criteria to determine whether an offender can participate in a pretrial diversion program. These criteria include having no prior convictions or deferred adjudications on record, accepting responsibility for the current offense, and some District Attorney’s Offices require that the case does not involve an accident or high blood alcohol concentration results. Examples of the conditions required if accepted into the program include reporting to a probation officer regularly, submitting to drug and alcohol testing, being employed or enrolled full-time in an accredited school/education program, committing no new offenses after the DWI arrest, and sometimes more. The eligibility requirements can vary, depending on which county the case is prosecuted in. Further, the program in one county may have different conditions for offenders than a program in a different county in Texas. (Note: even if an offender meets the eligibility requirements of the pretrial diversion program in his or her county, he or she still might not be approved to participate. A competent criminal defense attorney can advise an offender of the best steps to take towards gaining admission to the program.)
Pretrial diversion programs in Texas can be personalized for each defendant, as supervision and conditions that are suited to one defendant are not always the most effective for a different defendant. The requirements of the program will vary depending on the specific charges against each offender. Most Texas pretrial diversion programs will last for a year (though some might take longer), but some District Attorney’s Offices may agree to terminate the supervision early. Other typical requirements for supervision can include completion of community service, attendance at alcohol and/or drug education classes, participation in counseling/therapy, reporting to a probation officer, and getting permission to travel outside the state. While these requirements are some of the more common, they are not the only ones and not all of them will apply in every case. The exact parameters of a participant’s program will be determined based on the offender’s background and the specific circumstances of the DWI arrest.
Once a DWI offender completes a pretrial diversion program in Texas, he or she can work with an experienced attorney to have his or her case dismissed. After a dismissal is granted, a defendant becomes eligible for an expunction of the DWI from his or her record. However, some pre-trial diversion contracts require that a defendant wait after dismissal before filing an expunction, sometimes as long as two years. During the waiting period, the defendant cannot be convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense. Once his or her attorney verifies the offender’s eligibility, he will file a petition for expunction of the criminal records. Unlike deferred adjudication and probation, pretrial diversion programs result in a genuinely clean record for the defendant if the DWI charge is expunged from the record after completion. A defendant he or she can lawfully deny that the arrest ever occurred and that charges ever were filed once the expunction is granted.
DWI Dismissal Houston Texas If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas and find yourself in need of professional legal representation, consulting with an experienced attorney who is familiar with such charges is your best chance to fight them. The experienced and qualified legal team at Collin Evans Law can help you in the Houston, Texas area. Collin Evans will help you understand the charges against you and discuss the ways to fight those charges. If a dismissal of the DWI charges against you is not an option, Collin can provide valuable legal guidance on to how to proceed with your case, including discussing the possibility of participation in a pretrial diversion program. If you choose to apply for the program, he will help you navigate the process. For a free consultation and more information about the legal services available from the knowledgeable and experienced team at Collin Evans Law, contact them any time. Criminal defense attorney Collin Evans is ready to fight for you.