Is Deferred Adjudication for DWI Really Your Best Option?


In September 2019, the Texas Legislature changed the laws regarding DWI. Now, someone accused of a first time DWI can get deferred adjudication probation as punishment for their offense. Is this the best outcome? Maybe not…. It depends on the facts of your case.

What is deferred adjudication?

Deferred adjudication is a special type of probation. It allows the state to dismiss your DWI charge if you successfully complete probation, avoiding a conviction. With other crimes, like drug and theft arrests, you can file a motion for nondisclosure and have the records associated with your crime sealed. The state cannot use the disposition of that case against you in the future. However, the arrest remains on your record. That is not the same for deferred adjudication on a DWI.

Who qualifies for deferred adjudication on their DWI?

Under the new law, only first time DWI offenders are eligible to apply for deferred adjudication. Your BAC must be less than .15%.  You will not qualify if you caused an accident, or if you caused injury or death to another person.

What are the consequences of accepting deferred adjudication?

Is deferred adjudication probation on your DWI the only way to avoid a DWI conviction? NO!!

Before you accept a deferred adjudication plea, contact Soyars & Morgan Law to discuss the consequences.

There are many other things to consider. The financial impact of accepting a plea is always great. There are fines, court costs, and probation fees. There are classes and ignition interlock requirements. There will be restrictions placed on you of what you can and cannot do. If you mess up on probation, you can still be found guilty and sentenced to the full range of punishment in the county jail. There is a 2-year waiting period before you can petition the court for a nondisclosure, but only if you had ignition interlock. If you didn’t have ignition interlock there’s a 5-year waiting period. Even if the court grants a nondisclosure, the state can still use this charge to enhance you to a DWI 2nd and eventually a felony DWI.

Under the Tex. Gov. Code a large number of agencies can still see the arrest and court records of your DWI even if you are granted an order of nondisclosure. Please refer to our nondisclosure blog post for the long and pervasive list of agencies that still has access to the records.

How Soyars & Morgan Law can help you

If you have been arrested for a DWI, don’t underestimate the value of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Soyars & Morgan Law has a trusted reputation in the San Antonio and surrounding areas for personalized, aggressive advocacy. Our attorneys will discuss all the pros and cons of accepting a deferred adjudication offer and other ways to beat this charge.

Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of the courts!