DWI? Let's talk about "deferred adjudication."
If you’ve been charged with DWI in Travis County, one avenue that may be available is deferred adjudication.
Deferred adjudication is a process that gives defendants an opportunity to keep the arrest off of your public record. Accepting a deferred adjudication is like signing a check the judge doesn’t cash – you sign forms tentatively pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated, and agree to follow a strict list of conditions during a probationary period, usually 12-18 months.
In exchange, if you follow the rules during that time, the judge will reject your guilty plea and close your case, and you will be eligible to seal the record of your arrest from most private employers and landlords. That means the DWI arrest will have less of an impact on your life.
What conditions will you have to meet in order to satisfy the terms of deferred adjudication?
Install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
An ignition interlock device (IID) checks your breath for alcohol. You have to blow into the device before starting your car. If there is no alcohol on your breath, you can start your car. If there is alcohol on your breath, you can’t start your car. You may also be asked to perform a breath check at intervals while operating the vehicle.
There are several companies that install IIDs in the Austin area: Intoxalock; Smart Start; and Alcolock. Each of these companies will charge you a fee for the installation, as well as a monthly maintenance fee.
Your attorney may also advise you to install an IID on your car voluntarily, to improve your chances of making a good plea deal. It’s important to tell the company you choose that this is a voluntary installation. In other words, you are agreeing to install the device and a court didn’t order you to install it. Telling the company this information at the beginning of the process can help prevent complications and expenses later in the process.
Attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a program that works to raise awareness about the effects of driving while intoxicated by hosting panels that feature stories from individuals whose lives have been impacted by a crash. Register for the first available panel here.
Take a Travis County Counseling and Education Services class on drunk driving.
Travis County Counseling and Education Services (CES) will conduct an assessment to determine what alcohol or drug class you will be required to take.
Here is the process for signing up:
Your attorney will complete a CES Referral Form and submit it to CES.
CES will conduct an Alcohol and other Drug Assessment
There is a $55 fee for the assessment, as well as a fee for any class you are required to attend. Find the fee schedule here.
Call 512-854-9540 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm) to begin the Alcohol and other Drug Assessment process. Upon completion of paperwork, a virtual assessment appointment will be scheduled with a licensed counselor to complete the assessment.
Once the assessment is complete, a CES counselor will determine which class you will be required to take. In general, the classes encourage participants to explore their relationship with alcohol and other drugs. Each class has a corresponding fee that must be paid at time of registration.
Upon successful completion of your assigned course, you will receive a completion certificate that your lawyer will submit to the court.
You may be asked to pay restitution.
If you were in a fender bender as part of the DWI case, it’s common for prosecutors to ask for you to pay restitution to the other driver any out of pocket costs they may have incurred as a result.