If you are being charged with a DWI in Williamson County, you might be asking yourself how you are going to continue working and taking care of your family if you are facing a trial. For some defendants, there is another option: a Pre-Trial Diversion (sometimes known as a Pre-Trial Intervention). Read on to find out how a Williamson County Pre-Trial Diversion can help you avoid prosecution.
What is the Williamson County Pre-Trial Diversion Program?
Williamson County’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program is a voluntary program meant to avoid trial and prevent future criminal behavior by “rehabilitating” the person charged with a crime. If you are accepted into the program, the State Prosecutor will have you sign an agreement admitting your guilt, but they will then “pause” your prosecution until the program has been completed. Once you have met all the conditions of the agreement, the prosecutor will drop all charges and you can live your life as if the arrest never happened. If, however, you do not meet one or more of the conditions of the program, the prosecutor will continue with your case. Only now, they will be holding a signed admission of guilt from you as well as proof that you were unable to comply with their requests.
It is worth mentioning that these programs are run by the State Attorney’s Office, meaning they hold complete jurisdiction over who is admitted, what “hoops” you have to jump through, and whether you have successfully completed the program. Entering a Pre-Trial Diversion program involves a high level of trust in the prosecutor, your attorney, and your own ability to commit to the program.
Conditions of the Pre-Trial Diversion Program
Not everyone facing a DWI is eligible for a Pre-Trial Diversion. You must not only meet certain conditions during your completion of the program (we’ll talk about these in a bit), you must also meet certain requirements in order to even be accepted.
In order to be accepted into the program, you must:
- have little to no criminal history, with no felony convictions
- be charged with a non-violent misdemeanor
- have access to the Internet/an email account for your probationary monitoring
- be willing to use an ignition interlock device or SCRAM device
- pass a drug test
Keep in mind, this is a limited, simplified version of the requirements of the Pre-Trial Diversion program.
Once you submit your application, you may be approved, but this is a tentative approval. Your final approval will only occur after a heavy examination of your record and paperwork, during which you may be asked to fill out several forms and write a letter listing the reasons you want to enter the program. It is only after this final approval that you will be officially entered into the Pre-Trial Diversion program and your conditions will be set in stone.
What the Pre-Trial Diversion Program Requires
The Williamson County Pre-Trial Diversion program lasts 6 months, but other counties’ programs (such as Bell County) last a year or longer. During this time, you are required to:
- admit your guilt regarding the incident you are charged with
- avoid another arrest
- pass random drug testing
- pay fines
- routinely check in with your probation officer via email
- perform community service
- attend counseling sessions or drug rehab
- install an ignition interlock device on your car or use a SCRAM device (in DWI cases)
After meeting all of the requirements for the requisite amount of time, the prosecutor will drop the charges against you. Your case will not go to trial and you will be free to go.
After Your Pre-Trial Diversion Program
Pre-Trial Diversion is not the same as expunction of your record. Just like “not-guilty” verdicts after a trial, Pre-Trial Interventions and case dismissals will still show up on your criminal record, meaning that future employers will be able to see them.
Depending on the county the incident occurred in, you may be able to seek an expunction of your Pre-Trial Diversion after a certain amount of time has passed. In Williamson County, for instance, you will not be able to expunge your records for a DWI, no matter how much time has passed. In Bell County, however, you may attempt to clear your record after successful completion of the program and after the Statute of Limitations has passed.
Because they involve admitting your guilt, completing a number of requirements, and putting your life in the prosecutor’s hands, Williamson County Pre-Trial Diversions should not be entered into lightly. Take the time to discuss the options with a respected and qualified DWI attorney and carefully consider whether this program is the right course of action for you.