Finally, as of September 1, 2019 deferred adjudication community supervision (deferred probation) will be available to first time driving while intoxicated (DWI) and boating while intoxicated (BWI) offenders in Texas.  House Bill 3582 amends Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42A.102(b) to permit a judge to impose deferred adjudication community supervision for someone charged with DWI (or BWI) for the first time.  There are limitations, though.  Deferred is not available if the individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .15 or greater, if they held a commercial driver’s license or permit at the time, or if they have a prior DWI or the offense is otherwise enhanced under Texas Penal Code Section 49.09.

Ignition Interlock Requirement

An ignition interlock device is a required condition of deferred community supervision under this new legislation.  An interlock is a device that requires the driver to provide an alcohol-free breath sample before the ignition of the car will start.  The new law allows the judge to reduce fees for and interlock if a probationer can show that he or she is indigent, and the court can also establish a payment schedule.  Also, the court can waive the interlock requirement if after a controlled substance and alcohol evaluation the court determines that an interlock is not necessary for the safety of the community.

Benefits & Limitations

One of the major benefits of deferred adjudication is the availability of a non-disclosure.  House Bill 3582 makes non-disclosures available to those who successfully complete deferred for DWI and BWI.  However, there are several hurdles that you must clear first.  One, you must wait 2 years after the discharge from probation.  Two, your DWI or BWI must not have resulted in an accident involving another person, including a one-car accident involving a passenger. Three, the court that order deferred must not have made a finding that it is not in the best interest of justice for you to receive an automatic order of non-disclosure. Four, persons with previous criminal history, other than class C traffic tickets, are not eligible.

One important note: the non-disclosed DWI can still be used for enhancement purposes on future DWI convictions.

The changes made by House Bill 3582 apply to offenses committed on or after the effective date, September 1, 2019.  Therefore, deferred adjudication is not available for offenses committed before the effective date.

If you have been arrested for DWI, or you’d like information on sealing your record for DWI, contact the Family law attorney at Hardy Law Group for a free consultation.