Deferred Adjudication Community Supervision in DWI Cases
If you are charged with driving while intoxicated in Texas, even as a first offense, you face the prospect of jail time, thousands of dollars in fines and a suspension of your driver’s license if you are convicted. However, as a first offender you may be able to avoid a conviction and some or all of these consequences through a form of relief known as deferred adjudication community supervision.
Community service is what Texas calls probation. It is usually imposed after a conviction or guilty plea as an alternative to jail or prison. Deferred adjudication community supervision is different in that it allows a defendant to avoid a conviction. The main condition is that the defendant cannot commit another offense for the duration of the state’s supervised program.
Not everyone charged with DWI qualifies for this relief. You may not take advantage of it if you:
- Hold a commercial driver’s license
- Had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or more
- Had a child passenger when you drove while intoxicated
- Killed or injured someone while driving drunk
- Were previously convicted of driving while intoxicated
Your attorney can tell you if you meet the qualifications to consider this option.
To obtain a deferred adjudication, you must first plead guilty or no contest to the DWI charge and the judge must find that the evidence substantiates your guilt. But instead of finding you guilty, the judge will defer further proceedings and place you in a community service program that includes conditions such as these:
- Completing drug and alcohol treatment and classes
- Installing an ignition interlock system, which prevents you from operating your car if you have consumed alcohol
- Participating in a community-based program or public service project
- Paying a fine and court costs
For a DWI misdemeanor charge, the term of supervision can be up to two years, although the judge may extend or shorten its duration.
If you successfully complete the program, the judge will dismiss your case and there will be no DWI conviction on your record. However, there will still be a public record of the DWI charge and of the deferred adjudication. That record may be used against you if you are ever charged with another crime. In addition, it might prevent you from getting certain jobs, vocational licenses or housing.
Despite that disadvantage, if you are clearly guilty of driving while intoxicated, a deferred adjudication might be your best bet. But if there is a genuine question about your guilt, it might be advisable to fight the charge or to plead to a lesser offense. A knowledgeable DWI defense attorney can assist you in achieving the most beneficial result possible.
If you are charged with a DWI in Texas, an experienced attorney at the Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C. in Kerrville is ready to provide you with effective representation. Call us at 830-955-8168 or contact us online to arrange a consultation.