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The Texas DWI DIVERT Program may be an option for you, depending on the facts surrounding your DWI in Texas charges. There are a number of issues you will be considering after being charged with DWI in Texas; a pretrial diversion program may not necessarily be on your radar. You may be eligible for the Harris County DWI DIVERT Program, however, you might still be responsible for paying Texas DPS surcharges, which can be extremely high. You may wonder just what the DWI DIVERT Program in Texas consists of.
The most appealing issue of the DIVERT Program is that it could potentially allow you to have your DWI expunged from your record. Since the Harris County criminal record which accompanies a DWI in Texas can have far-reaching consequences, such as the inability to obtain employment, the DIVERT Program could be a good idea for many of those with a first-time DWI in Texas.
The DIVERT Program does come with certain requirements, depending on admission to the Program, and requiring that those who are accepted into the Program follow it to the letter. If you qualify for the DIVERT Program, also known as Pretrial Diversion, the state of Texas is essentially agreeing that you will learn the laws regarding DWI in Texas, therefore, will not be charged with another DWI. The court is fairly choosy about who is allowed into the Pretrial Diversion program; you must meet all the following qualifications:
- You must admit your guilt as far as driving while inebriated;
- You must either be employed full-time or be in school full-time.
- At the time of your arrest you must not have been charged with a violation of the Texas open container law;
- You must not have any prior arrests, even if an arrest did not result in a conviction;
- You must possess a valid driver’s license;
- You must submit a urine analysis;
- You must be able to pay Pretrial Diversion Program fees (about $302);
- You must undergo an interview with the Chief Pretrial Services Officer, and
- You must agree to undergo an FBI background check and a fingerprint analysis.
Like many legal proceedings in the state of Texas, whether you are allowed into the DIVERT Program could depend on the court and the judge. As an example, the Harris County DIVERT Program could have somewhat different requirements and stipulations than the Bexar County DIVERT Program. Some judges may require that you had insurance at the time of your arrest, that there was no accident involved, and that your BAC was not at or above .15 percent.
If a Driver Meets the Qualifications Will He or She Be Allowed into the DIVERT Program?
Even those who fully meet the qualifications listed above might not be allowed into the DWI DIVERT Program. You must convince the Pretrial Services Department that you are a good person who made a single mistake and that you truly regret driving under the influence. If the Pretrial Services Department just doesn’t think you are sincere, you may not be allowed into the DWI DIVERT Program.
Completing the Texas DWI DIVERT Program
Once you are accepted into the DWI DIVERT Program, there may be times when you fervently wish you had taken your chances at a DWI trial. The plan you are assigned will depend on your background and on what the Pretrial Services Department believes you would most benefit from. Some or all of the following may be included in your Program.
- Permission required to leave the state;
- A curfew;
- Regular drug tests;
- Probation for up to two years;
- Use of an ignition interlock device;
- A 12-18 months duration for the program;
- Community service;
- Regular reporting to a probation officer, and
- Counseling, classes, or both.
The Pretrial Services Department will determine whether they believe you have a drinking or drug problem, and these conclusions, along with the circumstances of your arrest, will determine what type of program you will be enrolled in. Once you have completed the DWI DIVERT Program, you may be able to expunge your DWI charges, although if any portion of your program is violated, the program will be terminated, and you will be sent back to court. If you successfully complete the DIVERT Program, a Harris County Prosecutor will make the motion to dismiss your DWI charges, and you will be eligible to expunge the DWI from your record.
Harris County DWI DIVERT Program
If this is your first DWI, you may qualify for the Harris County DWI DIVERT Program. The Harris County DWI DIVERT Program can help you avoid serious Harris County DWI penalties, such as jail time. If you successfully complete the program, your DWI charges will be dropped, however you must plan on committing as much as two years to the program. The goal, of course, is to have your DWI record expunged, meaning all documents associated with your DWI in Texas will be destroyed. If you accept a Harris County DWI DIVERT Program, you must enter a plea of guilty until the program is entirely completed, and the charges are dropped.
The DWI DIVERT Program requires significant lifestyle changes and in-depth information regarding substance abuse will be a part of the program. If you fail to complete any aspect of the DIVERT Program, your driver’s license may be revoked, and you will face all the original penalties associated with your DWI in Texas. A Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorney will work hard on your behalf to help you avoid Harris County criminal records and Harris County jail time whenever possible. If we believe the DIVERT Program is a good fit for you and your situation, we will help get you into the program when possible. Do not wait until it’s too late—contact an experienced Sullo & Sullo Houston criminal defense attorney today for a comprehensive evaluation of your DWI in Texas charges.