Currently Texas law prohibits all DWI offenders from pursuing deferred adjudication, sometimes known as a plea bargain. However, this may change if proposed Texas DWI and deferred adjudication legislation is passed. Deferred adjudication in Texas is basically a period of probation in which the alleged offender is required to complete various programs and conditions during a certain period of time. In states with those policies, once the alleged offender has completed all requirements, their criminal charges will be dismissed.
Texas Senator Menendez is hoping to pass Senate Bill 761. The bill allows a judge to give first time DWI offenders deferred adjudication and community supervision in a case where there is no injury or property damage. The bill focuses on rehabilitation after the offense without concern of criminal charges. Because of the success of ignition interlocks, they are seen as an option for a deferment program for DWI offenders. That is, if a program/interlock requirement is completed, many first-offense DWIs could be deferred and charges will be dismissed.
Ignition interlocks reduce repeat offenses for driving while intoxicated (DWI) by about 70% while they are installed.
All states have implemented ignition interlock programs to manage interlock issues and monitor offenders who are required or eligible to install them. In fact, MADD officials think the new law will spark a dramatic drop in DWI accidents and fatalities. And they say it expands individuals’ rights. Despite these laws and programs, only about one-fifth of those arrested for DWI have interlocks installed.
MADD had tried for a decade to get new ignition interlock requirements passed in Texas. It had succeeded with ignition interlock device laws in half the states in the country. Take action, contact your state legislators and show your support for Texas ignition interlock expansion!