Since I am a DWI lawyer in Houston, I talk to a lot of people about their DWI cases. Many people have questions regarding Pre-Trial Interventions. Sometimes people tell me, “I messed up, I am guilty, how can I keep my record clean?” Luckily, depending on the county you are in, there might be a way to keep the case off your record, even if there is no way to win your case.
Since most of my work is in Harris County, I often get asked about programs they have for DWIs. One type of program in called a DWI Pre-Trial Intervention. The rules of this program are constantly changing, but the gist of it is, if you get it and you finish, your case will be dismissed.
Now at the time of this writing (January 2020), the current rules state that you are eligible automatically for this program if:
1. You have never been arrested before
2. You have a breath or blood test under .15
3. You did not have an accident associated with your case
If you blow or your blood comes back over .15, and/or you had an accident, then the DAs office requires an application packet.
I typically have my clients do the following for their application:
1. Write a letter explaining what they are doing with their life, their goals, dreams, and the reason they need to have a clean record
2. Write a letter of apology for their actions
3. Provide a negative drug test
4. Provide proof of school or employment
5. Provide a certificate from some sort of class (drivers safety, victim impact, DWI, decision making)
Once the application is submitted you will either be approved or denied. If you are approved, they will do an interview (which will cost $300), and then you will be required to pay a DA fee of $300, plus put an interlock in your vehicle.
In this case, after seeing the evidence, we came to a mutual conclusion that a trial would be an uphill battle. We decided that PTI was the best bet. My client got in, and handled his business, and his case was dismissed.
It is very important to stress that this program is a BACKUP PLAN. Many cases are defensible, even if you think they are not. My job as a DWI lawyer in Houston is to investigate these cases and see if they are in fact defensible.
Worst case, if after seeing the evidence we do not believe that we can win the case, we can always look at our options, including pre-trial interventions. These programs do not exist in every county, it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I would be happy to talk to you about your case. My consultations are free, give me a call and we will figure out the plan that suits you best.
Eric Benavides is a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. He is a co-founder of Benavides & Serrano, PLLC. He is a graduate of the prestigious Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Trial College, and is a proven trial lawyer. He has been recognized as one of the best criminal lawyers in Houston by the Houstonia magazine, and has earned a perfect 10.0 rating on AVVO.