The state of Texas could show first-time drinking and driving offenders some clemency with the passage of a new bill, but it doesn’t come without some caveats.
The bill looks to give you a second chance after being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Before this passage, state laws typically tied a prosecutor’s hands. They’d either have to bring a DWI charge that could jeopardize your future or swap counts for a similar, yet less condemning accusation. You might now be looking forward to a clear record through deferment, but it doesn’t necessarily come free of charge.
While the judge may allow you to clear your record with a guilty plea, there is some fine print in the matter:
- Community supervision: One of the requirements for setting your charge aside is likely deferred adjudication probation. The judge will usually set the terms for successful completion, at which time your record could be eligible to be wiped clean of the DWI charge.
- Ignition interlock device (IID): The state will typically require you to install an IID to prevent you from starting your vehicle without passing the breathalyzer. Anything above a 0.03 blood alcohol level and your car’s ignition won’t function.
- Repetition: While a successful deferral could mean the state can clear your conviction, that doesn’t mean the offense won’t have an eventual impact on further troubles. Your admittance of guilt could come into play if you receive another DWI. The past charge may then enhance the penalties of a repeat offense.
Understanding how the new law could affect you after a DWI charge could make a big difference as you start forming a plan. Make sure the options are right for you before you look to the state for mitigation.