DWI – How your decisions can affect your ability to get a Pretial Diversion

Many counties in Texas have started pretrial diversion programs for first time DWI’s.  Fort Bend and Harris County have these such programs. We practice in both of these and other surrounding counties and  have reviewed these programs.  Fort Bend County has a program that is newer and came in with the new District Attorney.

Both programs offer the ability to  have your DWI dismissed and the records expunged if you successfully qualify and complete the program.  There are restrictions that are similar to both programs. There was also a change in the law dealing with the expunction of DWI convictions and other convictions in the past under certain circumstances. We will have an article on that later.

There can not have been an accident, even a single car accident.  In Fort Bend County if there is an accident involved then you can possibly qualify for the DWI court but will not be able to get into the DA PT program.

If there was a breath test or blood test there is a limit on how high it can be to qualify for the DA PT program.  Harris County has a threshold of .15, anything over that does not automatically qualify for the program.  If it is over that amount you may still apply but will be a case by case basis and requirers some other special circumstance.  Fort Bend  County has its limit set at .12 but again you may still apply and it can be reviewed to see if possible to accept.  It would again take some special circumstance especially since there is the DWI court which also offers dismissal for first offense in most cases.

Both programs are also limited by not having any alcohol related priors. Even if your  alcohol related prior was not a conviction it will still probably preclude you from eligibility.

It never hurts to ask for these programs even if not automatically qualified.

The important thing to remember based on these requirements is that you are better off not taking the breath or blood test so you do not risk being over the threshold limit.  The ability to get into one of these programs is huge and you might disqualify yourself if you take the test.  This would mean someone who is actually over the alcohol level you are at might get the benefit of the program just by refusing the test.

You are also better off not taking the test because if you are .15 or higher you 1st time DWI would be a Class A misdemeanor and you would have a mandatory interlock on your vehicle as a condition of bond.  The state administrative fee’s would also be higher if you are convicted.

Always be polite and cooperative, but remember you are not required to do any of the road sided tests, including the eye test (HGN), walk and turn, one leg stand or any other test they may ask you to perform.  However if you refuse all roadside tests this could affect your ability to get into the program in some counties.  This includes normal things like saying your ABC’s or touching your fingers to you thumb in a pattern.  You are also not required to submit to a breath or blood test, your license may be suspended if you refuse just as it may if you blow over .08.  You must seek an attorney immediately if you get arrested. You must have a request filed with in 15 days of the arrest to challenge the suspension.  Even if your court date is not for weeks or even months you have time periods that run immediately.

First DWI in Texas

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), nearly 100,000 individuals were arrested on DUI charges in Texas in 2013. Also referred to as DWI, a charge of driving while intoxicated carries steep penalties. These consequences vary by state, but Texas law outlines that offenders face the possibility of jail time, heavy fines, and a suspension of their driving privileges.

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DWI general issues

Over the past few years, the state of Texas has been buckling down on drunk driving. Many of the DWIs during the year are recorded around the holidays, especially the fourth of July, Christmas and New Years Eve. Not everyone arrested for DWI is intoxicated, to help those out who are not intoxicated and those who are, we at Foster Law Firm are dedicated to handle DWI cases for all of our clients. Don’t get unfairly lumped into the statistics. Just because you had something to drink and drove a car does not mean that you have broken the law. The law is that you can not be intoxicated and operate a motor vehicle in a public place. You, by law can drink and drive so long as you are not intoxicated. This means that you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher or you have lost the normal use of your mental and physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof. Continue reading