Pretrial Diversions & Interventions: in Brazoria, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Harris & Montgomery Counties
If this is your first DWI, call us at (832) 752-5972!
The DIVERT (Direct Intervention using Voluntary Education, Restitution and Treatment) Program was initiated in 2009 by former Harris County District Attorney Patricia “Pat” Lykos. The program allowed first-time DWI offenders to avoid a conviction, as long as they had no prior arrests.
Critics of DIVERT claimed that it was a form of deferred adjudication (which is not allowed for DWI). A criminal defendant who accepts deferred adjudication may avoid a formal conviction if he finishes community service, treatment for substance abuse, probation or some other diversion program.
First Time DWI Offenders Can Avoid Conviction!
To be considered for the DIVERT program, a person had to possess these requirements:
- No prior arrests
- Guilty plea
- Valid driver’s license at the time of arrest
- Three recommendation letters
- Agree to a Substance Abuse Life Circumstance Evaluation (SALCE) to determine the degree of alcohol or drug use
- Clean urine sample at the time of the SALCE
plead guilty to DWI and meet the terms of the program. If they did not, they were jailed for 30 days. A program participant had to complete community service, install an ignition interlock device in his car for six months, enroll in a substance abuse prevention class, meet monthly with a probation officer and submit to periodic drug and alcohol tests. If he successfully adhered to the conditions of the program, his case was eventually dismissed, and he could seek an expunction after two years.
The program is no longer an option under the current district attorney, Mike Anderson. Pretrial intervention is offered instead.
Your criminal case may be dismissed if you meet all of the conditions of pretrial diversion (also called pretrial intervention). It is available in most instances. To qualify, you must:
- Not have any prior arrests
- Be working or going to school full time
- Submit a urinalysis that shows you are not consuming non-prescribed drugs or alcohol
- Write a letter of remorse and admit your guilt
- Provide three recommendation letters
The pretrial diversion program available for DWI offenders if they meet all of the above qualifications plus:
- Have a valid driver’s license
- An open container was not in the car during arrest
The terms of pretrial intervention are similar to those for DIVERT. If you follow the court’s orders, you will not be convicted. You can request for an expungement of your record after two years.
A pretrial diversion may be acquired with the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney. Pretrial diversions are different from the DIVERT program because the former does not require you to sign a paper and agree to go to jail for 30 days.
If you fail to meet the circumstances of the pretrial intervention, your case would, for all intents and purposes, start over from the beginning. Therefore, the pretrial intervention is more beneficial than the previous DIVERT program.