After getting charged with drunk driving, you might wonder whether you can get deferred adjudication for a DWI in Texas. Yes, if you meet the eligibility requirement, your DWI attorney could seek a deferred adjudication probation for you.
Deferred adjudication probation for a DWI isn’t much different from a DWI probation. Deferred adjudication is a way to possibly avoid a conviction on your record, although the deferred adjudication does not automatically get erased from your criminal records. The deferred adjudication will remain on the books until you get it sealed by having an attorney file for non-disclosure of your records. Not every deferred adjudication is eligible for a non-disclosure order.
An Overview of Deferred Adjudication in Texas
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42.12, Sec. 5 states that a judge can decide to defer additional proceedings, like entering a finding of guilt, and instead, order community supervision in some cases. Procedurally, this can happen after the defendant enters a plea of nolo contendere or a guilty plea.
The judge must hear the evidence against the accused and find that the prosecution would be able to prove its case. Also, the judge must feel that placing the defendant on community supervision would serve the best interests of the defendant and society. If there were a victim, the judge does not have to find that the deferred adjudication would serve the best interests of that individual.
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Six Things to Know About Deferred Adjudication in Texas
Before entering into a deferred adjudication arrangement, a defendant should understand these six things:
- There is a waiting period before you can file for non-disclosure of your completed deferred adjudication. If a private company already reported the information about your DWI charges in online searches, getting a non-disclosure order will not automatically erase that previously reported online information.
- You can stay out of jail if you successfully complete the terms and conditions of your deferred adjudication. You will be under the supervision of the court or other public agencies.
- If you commit any other criminal offenses during your period of deferred adjudication, your community supervision could get revoked. The judge could then move forward with the standard adjudication of your case, including finding you guilty of the DWI and imposing penalties like jail time.
- You will have to undergo regular drug testing during the period of community supervision. If you test positive for drugs, the judge could revoke your deferred adjudication, enter a conviction, and sentence you.
- Deferred adjudication is a type of probation that lets you have a “test period” to prove that you learned from your mistake without having to get a formal conviction of the DWI charges. The standard type of probation, on the other hand, can only be ordered after the defendant is found guilty by a judge or jury or the defendant pleads guilty.
- If you try a deferred adjudication but violate the terms, the judge could sentence you to the maximum penalty allowed for the DWI charge.
For most people, deferred adjudication can be a good option, as long as they can comply with the conditions.
Eligibility for Deferred Adjudication
You cannot opt for deferred adjudication if the trial has already started. Also, if you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you cannot get deferred adjudication for a DWI or any other kind of moving violation.
These situations might qualify for deferred adjudication:
- There was no collision or other type of accident.
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below 0.15 percent.
- This is your first DWI offense.
If you qualify for and successfully complete deferred adjudication, the judge will not adjudicate you of your DWI charge.
Penalties for a DWI in Texas
If you do not receive deferred adjudication, you could face these penalties for misdemeanor or felony DWI charges in our state, according to the Texas Department of Transportation:
- A first DWI conviction can carry a sentence of three to 180 days in jail, losing your driver’s license for up to one year, and a fine of up to $2,000.
- A second DWI offense can cost you your driver’s license for up to two years, a fine of up to $4,000, and between one month and a year in jail.
- For a third DWI conviction, the penalties can be a fine of up to $10,000, losing your license to drive for up to two years, and spending between two and 10 years in prison.
Also, the judge can assess a state fine of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 when you get sentenced. Depending on the circumstances, like whether you had an open container of alcohol in the car or there was a young child in your vehicle, you could face more severe consequences.
Getting a DWI conviction in Texas is no laughing matter. It can ruin life as you know it, damaging your career, taking away your freedoms, and costing you thousands of dollars. It will benefit you to speak with Blass Law right now to find out if you have options, such as deferred adjudication. Contact us today to get started.