WHAT IS A DWI PRETRIAL INTERVENTION PROGRAM?
DWI Pretrial Intervention Harris County – Pretrial diversion is one option for DWI dismissal in which you might be eligible if you are facing DWI charges in Texas for the first time. DWI pretrial intervention is one type of a community supervision program that permits an individual facing DWI charges to accept responsibility for the crime without being convicted. DWI pretrial intervention programs in Texas can lead to a possibility of the dismissal of charges if specific criteria are met.
THE GOAL OF DWI PRETRIAL INTERVENTION PROGRAMS
The goal of pretrial intervention programs in Texas is the prevention of future DWI incidents through a rehabilitative process. While a qualifying offender participates in the program, his or her DWI case remains pending in court until all conditions of the program are met. Completion of the intervention program does not remove the DWI arrest itself from someone’s criminal record, but it does prevent a conviction from going on record. (Note: completion of the program opens up the possibility to file for an expungement, where the records of the case are destroyed by law enforcement. Seeking an expungement is a completely separate legal process in which the arrested person has to petition the court for consideration.)
PRETRIAL INTERVENTION PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY
People with eligible DWI cases can seek admission into the pretrial intervention program in the county where the case is pending. Every county has different requirements for eligibility. The case must be assessed by a prosecutor first to determine if there are facts that warrant denial of offering entry into the program.
In Harris County, there are general guidelines for eligibility into this program for first-time DWI offenders. To be eligible, offenders must have no prior criminal record and must have a current driver’s license and up-to-date car insurance. In addition, any blood or breath test result from the arrest must show a blood alcohol content below 0.15 or lower. Further, offenders cannot have been in a DWI-related accident that resulted in any injuries or deaths. There can be exceptions to the general rules of admission into the program.
When a defendant is accepted and agrees to participate in the program, he or she must sign a waiver that states that the paperwork for applying into the program can be used in trial if the defendant testifies. That scenario could happen if there is a violation of one of the conditions of supervision, then the contract is voided or canceled, and the case ends up going to trial. What typically happens is the defendant completes the program, then the court will dismiss the criminal case, allowing the defendant to work with his or her lawyer to explore the possibility of clearing the criminal record via expungement.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR DWI PRETRIAL INTERVENTION?
Once someone is accepted to participate in a DWI pretrial intervention program in Harris County, Texas, he or she will be required to meet the terms of the contract. The term for pretrial intervention typically runs for one (1) year but can go as long as two (2) years. Recently, the Harris County DA’s Office has even agreed to dismiss cases after the defendant provides proof of completing an online DWI-education course. However, the conditions of supervision will vary depending on each individual case. All eligible cases require participants to perform community service hours, complete DWI-education classes, have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles, and attend regularly scheduled meetings with assigned probation officers. Other requirements might include submitting to random drug and alcohol tests, including breath tests at any time. Note also that during the course of the pretrial intervention program, participants cannot break the law and be arrested for other crimes.
DWI Pretrial Intervention for a Safer Community
Pretrial intervention is available in most Texas counties, including Harris County which comprises most of the Houston metroplex area.
“This program provides probation supervision for a one-year term for first-time DWI offenders. Participants are required to meet with a probation officer once a month, complete 16 hours of community service, complete a nine-hour drug and alcohol course, as well as install an alcohol monitoring device in their vehicles as conditions of their contract. Other stipulations may be required if their assessment recommends.”
~ from the Office of Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg
WHY HIRE A LAWYER FOR PRETRIAL INTERVENTION
Whether to apply for a pretrial intervention program should only be a discussion with your lawyer until after the government has turned over their evidence, there has been a thorough investigation into all the evidence, the witnesses and the law as it applies to your case. If after having a conversation with your lawyer about the situation and it is clear that government will not dismiss the case for another reason, you may want to consider whether you meet the requirements for participation in a Texas DWI pretrial intervention program. Going into the program takes the risk of conviction through a trial off the table, and puts the outcome of the case in your hands. Hiring a lawyer to assist you in going through this process can potentially help your situation. Sometimes defendants do not meet the initial criteria for entry into the program, but an attorney with experience handling DWI cases may be able to present your situation in a different light. Additionally, the whole point of going through the pretrial intervention program is to be able to erase records of the case and an attorney with experience handling expunction matters would be something to consider when hiring a lawyer as well.
If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated in Harris County, you may be eligible to participate in the pretrial intervention program as a first-time offender. A reputable, skilled lawyer can help you through the process and get you on to a path with no criminal records haunting you.
DWI Pretrial Intervention Harris County – If you or a loved one is facing DWI charges in Houston or the surrounding area call Collin Evans Law. Collin Evans understands the stress and worry that comes with being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. With more than a dozen years of experience and success in obtaining DWI dismissals in Harris County, he is ready to fight for you in your DWI case. Do not hesitate to reach out to the legal counsel at Collin Evans Law for answers to your questions and for legal counsel about your DWI case. Contact Collin Evans Law online at any time or by phone at 713-225-0650 for a free consultation, to discuss your situation and the next steps you should take.