If you are facing DWI charges, deferred adjudication can provide a better outcome. This is a legal option available to some that can help them avoid certain criminal penalties for DWI, such as hefty fines and even jail time.
Perhaps more importantly, deferred adjudication can offer people a chance to have their case dismissed or placed under a non-disclosure order, protecting their criminal record from the public eye.
While deferred adjudication can be a great option for many people, it’s not always the best option for everyone. This is especially the case for those who stand a strong chance of beating DWI charges in court. That said, deferred adjudication can offer better opportunities for those who fear a regular conviction is likely.
What Is Deferred Adjudication?
Deferred adjudication is a type of probation that can help someone avoid criminal penalties and a conviction on their criminal record. The consequences of a DWI conviction can be very severe and impact your life in a multitude of ways, but this legal option can help you mitigate or even completely avoid such consequences.
Deferred adjudication is only available to defendants who plead guilty, which means choosing to fight your charges means giving up the opportunity for deferred adjudication if you qualify for it.
How Do I Qualify for Deferred Adjudication?
Deferred adjudication isn’t always available to everyone. There are several basic criteria people must meet for a judge to consider this option.
These basic criteria include the following:
- No one was injured or killed in a DWI collision
- No property, other than the defendant’s vehicle, was damaged
- Defendant’s blood alcohol content was less than 0.15%
- Defendant doesn’t have prior DWI convictions
- Defendant doesn’t have a commercial license
You Must Plead Guilty in Court
Deferred adjudication doesn’t mean avoiding court. You must plead guilty to your DWI charges. Instead of sentencing you with fines or jail, the judge will basically put your case on pause and impose a probationary period.
You Must Comply with Terms of the Probationary Period
Your probationary period could last up to 2 years if you were charged with a misdemeanor and up to 10 years if you were charged with a felony. During this time, you must follow whatever rules the judge set for you. This can include drug testing, compliance with an ignition interlock device, and community service. If you successfully complete this probation, you can avoid criminal penalties for DWI.
What Happens If I Violate Deferred Adjudication Probation?
Failing any requirement of your probationary period, whether by accident or intentionally, puts you at risk of harsher penalties than those you originally faced. Keep in mind that you’ve already admitted guilt to the DWI charge, so you can’t return to square one and try your case if you broke probation rules.
Does Deferred Adjudication Completely Wipe My Record?
No. Unfortunately, expunction isn’t part of deferred adjudication. Instead, your record is partially cleared under a nondisclosure article. This means that the public can’t access your criminal record, but government agencies and law enforcement can.
Also, none of this is automatic. You must take the initiative to seal your record from the public by petitioning the court for a DWI nondisclosure order.
Let Our Experienced Attorneys Help
If you want to pursue deferred adjudication to help you mitigate the potential consequences of a DWI charge, don’t hesitate to contact our legal team. Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C. is a criminal defense law firm that can provide the representation you need to achieve better outcomes when facing DWI charges.
Learn more about our services during an initial consultation. Contact us online now to get started.