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Can You Get Deferred Adjudication for DWI in Texas?

Texas DWI attorney

What is deferred adjudication?

It is always a good idea to fight DWI charges. However, when a DWI conviction is all but unavoidable, the right outcome for the defendant may be a deferred adjudication. With this type of resolution, you can avoid having a DWI show up on most public background checks and escape collateral penalties like difficulty getting work, housing, and loans, for example.

For those who qualify, a deferred adjudication may be granted in exchange for a guilty or no contest plea to a DWI (driving while intoxicated) charge. In this case, a judge will, more or less, not accept your plea. They will defer further proceedings on your case without entering an adjudication of guilt. You will then, most likely, be required to fulfill a period of community supervision similar to probation.

Conditions of a deferred adjudication typically require you to successfully complete the orders of your supervision and pay all court costs. Upon successful completion of deferred adjudication, you can seal your record from the public with a petition for non-disclosure (PND). The record will still exist and can still be accessed by law enforcement and state agencies for the purpose of enhancing future DWI arrests, but it's not otherwise accessible to the public.

Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer has more than a decade of experience defending those charged with driving while intoxicated in Montgomery County and the surrounding area - Harris County, The Woodlands, Waller County, Houston, etc. She knows what it takes to successfully petition for DWI deferred adjudications. If you have been charged, or suspect a DWI or DUI is forthcoming, contact us for a free case consultation.

Do you qualify for a DWI deferred adjudication?

Not all cases qualify for deferred adjudication. So, those requesting one must request a court date. Among those facing intoxication charges, people facing their first DWI are the most likely to be eligible.

However, you may be disqualified if your charge is for a violent crime like intoxicated assault. You may also be disqualified if you were granted a deferred sentence within the last 5 years, or you have been convicted of sexual assault, human trafficking in a child safety zone, or indecency with a child, among other violent crimes.

Deferred adjudication for first-time DWI is a fairly new opportunity in Texas. A 2019 law expanded eligibility. As courts adjust to the new terms, it's important to have an experienced DWI defense lawyer on your side who understands how past laws influence current ones. They can determine whether a deferred adjudication is a good option for you, petition the court on your behalf, and fight for your fair treatment by the justice system.

DWI deferred adjudication conditions

In Montgomery County, once you have made your plea and paid your court costs, your adjudication will typically be deferred for 90 days. During that time, you cannot be convicted for any other violations. If you are under age 25, you must also complete an approved driving safety course and return proof of completion to the court.

Usually, conditions of a DWI deferred adjudication include:

  • Random drug screenings.
  • Alcohol and substance abuse recovery classes.
  • Having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle.
  • Community service.

What happens after deferred adjudication supervision?

A judge will determine whether you satisfactorily met the terms of your deferred adjudication conditions. If they agree you have completed the conditions, the judge will dismiss the case without a conviction. You can then petition for an order of nondisclosure (OND) to have the original proceedings of your DWI sealed. If you get this OND, details of your DWI arrest and court hearings will be removed from public view. The incident would still be available to law enforcement and state agencies and may be used to enhance future DWI arrests.

However, if the judge says that you failed to fulfill the orders, you could be found guilty and a conviction would be reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety. You would likely have to wait longer to apply for expungement — if you qualify at all — and suffer the collateral penalties associated with a DWI conviction, such as professional license and work restrictions, difficulty gaining housing and loans, etc.

Get a DWI lawyer who fights to win

A DWI on your record comes with many consequences in addition to the initial penalties. When your freedom and future are on the line, the knowledge and skill of an experienced DWI lawyer are critical to your success.

Attorney Amanda Webb is a former Montgomery County assistant district attorney with more than 10 years of trial experience and a passion for helping those in need. She has an insider's understanding of how the local courts work and what it takes to win here. If you are facing a DWI charge, schedule a free case consultation to learn about your options, if you are eligible for deferred adjudication, and how our law firm can help you.

A member of our team is available to hear from you right now. Contact us today.