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DWI Deferred Adjudication

DWI Deferred Adjudication

Texas has the unfortunate reputation for implementing harsh driving while intoxicated laws. Some of these include the fact that DWI offenders are unable to apply for deferred adjudication, which most states allow. Since 1984, people who were charged with DWI were forced to display it on their record to future employers, landlords and peers.

Thankfully, Texas has passed new legislation to ease up on DWI laws. Texans can now petition for deferred adjudication if they’ve been charged with driving under the influence as of September 1, 2019. This has made a huge impact on how DWI trials and plea deals are handled. Not only has it helped DWI offenders, but the new law has assisted district attorneys since they are now flexible when it comes to plea deals. To learn more about the new deferred adjudication law and the process itself, we recommend you contact a defense attorney.

DWI Lawyer for Deferred Adjudication in The Woodlands, TX

If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with DWI, we recommend you get in contact with a professional criminal defense attorney. New laws in Texas have now granted DWI offenders the ability to obtain deferred adjudication, meaning no conviction on your record. For more information, we highly advise you contact Horak Law.

Matthew Horak has years of experience handling DWI cases. He’s up to date on the legislative news surrounding DWI and uses his skills to effectively and efficiently defend his clients. Call (713) 225-8000 to learn more about his practice and set up your first consultation free. Matthew Horak represents people throughout Texas including Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Harris County and Montgomery County.

Overview of DWI Deferred Adjudication in Texas 

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What is Deferred Adjudication and How Does it Work in Texas?

Deferred adjudication is simply an alternative form of community supervision, otherwise known as probation. It shares a lot of the same conditions as a standard probation sentence and normally focuses on rehabilitation rather incarceration as punishment. However, what separates deferred adjudication and community supervision is that you enter a plea, but the judge adjudicates your guilt rather than putting a conviction on your record.

Essentially, it means you won’t have any final conviction on your criminal record. You will only have the possible arrest if it occurred on your record. If you finish the program successfully, then the judge will dismiss your charges and you won’t sustain a conviction on your record. Some requirements for a deferred adjudication sentence are random drug screenings, rehabilitative classes, or community service hours.

Deferred adjudication is not granted to everyone. Offenders with a certain criminal history or have had their guilt deferred recently won’t be granted deferred adjudication. You cannot obtain deferred adjudication if you have a prior conviction for:

You and your attorney can request deferred adjudication if you don’t have any of the crimes above on your record or haven’t received deferred adjudication in the last five years. If the prosecutor, judge and victim agree, then you’ll be granted deferred adjudication and avoid having a criminal conviction on your record.

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Texas Allows DWI Cases to Obtain Deferred Adjudication

Since 1984, Texas residents who were charged with DWI were forced to retain a criminal record even though it was a relatively non-violent crime. The purpose of the removal of deferred adjudication was to force DWI defendants to face their actions and avoid drinking and driving. However, the result was a massive backlog of DWI cases and thousands of people being unable to move on due to a criminal record.

First-time DWI offenders can now get a “second change” with the new law passing in September 1st, 2019. If you’re convicted of DWI, you can now apply for deferred adjudication if it’s your first offense and you haven’t received deferred adjudication within the last five years. Some violent DWI offenses such as intoxication assault don’t qualify for deferred adjudication. 

You must follow certain conditions if you receive a deferred adjudication sentence. First, you must install an alcohol monitoring device of some sort. If you have a car, then you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID). Those without a car must have a portable alcohol monitor (PAM). Both monitor your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and notify the appropriate authorities if you blow over the limit.

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What’s the Difference Between Deferred Adjudication and Probation in Texas?

Probation and deferred adjudication are both types of community supervision, but with different outcomes. Both require you to enter a plea of guilty or no contest, however if the judge grants you deferred adjudication you won’t have a conviction on your record. Probation, on the other hand, requires the judge to put a final conviction on your record.

With probation, the judge “probates” your sentence and allows you to complete the community supervision program in exchange for avoiding jail or prison time. The downside of probation is the fact that employers and licensing agencies will see a conviction on your record even If you never stepped foot in jail. It also means if you commit another crime that prior conviction can be used against you in court.

The biggest drawback from probation is that you’re ineligible for non-disclosure. Petitioning for non-disclosure is the only way you’ll be able to seal your records. This means you will never be able to hide your conviction from future employers, landlords or peers.

Deferred adjudication requires you to take a plea, but the judge won’t accept it. They instead will defer your guilt and you will be able to complete the deferred adjudication program. The conditions associated with deferred adjudication are much less restrictive and can be less costly than standard probation. Once you successfully complete the program, you can even apply for non-disclosure after an appropriate amount of time. You can then seal your record from the public and only some governmental entities and licensing agencies will be able to access it.

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Additional Resources 

Administrative License Revocation Hearing – Visit the official website for the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Access the site to learn more about the DWI related suspensions, how long they are, failed DWI testing and how to apply for a hardship license with an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing. 

Texas Deferred Adjudication Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about their community supervision and deferred adjudication. Access the site to learn more about the elements, defenses, legal terms and process for community supervision.

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Defense Lawyer for DWI Deferred Adjudication in The Woodlands, TX

If you or someone you know has been arrested for deferred adjudication, we highly suggest you hire an attorney you can trust. One great option is to contact Horak Law. Criminal defense attorney Matthew Horak has years of experience handling DWI cases and follows legislative news closely to ensure he’s prepared for every case.

Call (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation with Matthew Horak free. He understands how tiring it can be handling DWI charges and all their conditions. Let us help you and set up an appointment today. Horak Law represents people throughout the greater Montgomery County area including Conroe, The Woodlands and Magnolia.

This article was last updated on November 22, 2019.


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