Can I get deferred adjudication in a DWI case?

One of the most common questions I hear is whether you can be placed on "deferred adjudication" for driving while intoxicated. The simple answer is NO.

If you don't know, deferred adjudication is a form of supervision - i.e. probation. The conditions of supervision are basically the same; the difference is in what happens at the end. In regular probation cases you will complete the period of supervision and be released. That is basically the end of it. You still have a criminal conviction, and it will still appear on your arrest record.

Deferred adjudication differs in what happens when you are originally placed on supervision. Instead of finding you guilty the court "defers" a finding of guilt. In other words, they don't find you guilty, and instead carry the case forward while you are on supervision. If you successfully  complete supervision the charges are dismissed. You can then truthfully say you have never been convicted of a criminal offense. In some cases you can also obtain an "Order of Non'Disclosure", which basically seals your record.

Unfortunately, the legislature has taken away the ability to receive defeerred adjudication in a DWI case. There are few other cases where you cannot receive deferred, but most of those are seriously felonies. Chalk up DWI to influential lobbying groups.

It's important to know going in that a conviction for dirving while intociated is an offense with some significant collateral consequences. The inability to obtain deferred adjudication is simply one of those.

Walter Reaves
Connect with me
Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 30 years.