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tarrant county DWI lawyerAn arrest for drunk or intoxicated driving can lead to multiple serious consequences. A person convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) may be sentenced to time in prison, be required to pay thousands of dollars in fines, and their driver’s license may be suspended. Fortunately, options may be available that will allow a person to avoid a conviction, including deferred adjudication. A person who is facing DWI charges can work with a criminal defense attorney to find solutions that will allow them to move forward successfully after a DWI arrest.

What Is Deferred Adjudication?

To avoid being convicted of a DWI offense, deferred adjudication may allow a person to resolve their case and serve a sentence of probation. In these cases, a person will appear before a judge and admit guilt, but they will not be formally convicted of the charges. Instead, they will serve a sentence of community supervision. If they successfully complete the term of probation without being arrested or charged with another offense, their case will be closed without applying punishments such as fines or jail time.

Deferred adjudication is typically only available in first-time DWI cases. A person will not be eligible for deferred adjudication if they are a commercial driver’s license holder or if a chemical test performed after their arrest showed that they had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 percent or higher. If deferred adjudication is granted, certain requirements may apply during the person’s period of probation, such as regular drug testing, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicles they drive, or community service. Any violations of the terms of probation will result in the revocation of deferred adjudication. Since the person has already admitted guilt, they may be convicted of the DWI offense and face the maximum applicable punishments. 

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DUI versus DWI in Texas

Posted on in DWI

fort worth criminal defense lawyerWhile you are probably familiar with the abbreviations DUI and DWI, it is not always apparent that the two have different applications—and they are not necessarily interchangeable under Texas law. When you are using the words in everyday conversation the difference is not likely to be important, as most people understand that they are talking about driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated. However, in the Texas justice system, there are several very important differences between the two.

Age and BAC

The charges of DUI and DWI differentiate by age, mostly. Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for under-aged drinking and driving. Anyone drinking before they reach the age of 21 and then drives may face charges for DUI, regardless of their alcohol level. If the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is equal to or greater than 0.08%, even those under-aged can face the harsher DWI charges. A driver who is over the legal drinking age of 21 who is legally intoxicated while driving on a public road may be charged with DWI.

In this context, “intoxicated” does not mean simply having a drink. To be intoxicated, one must either:

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