9 Types of DWI Dismissals FAQ

A video explanation of all the types of DWI dismissals in Travis County.

How many ways can a DWI case be dismissed in Travis County?

Nine. Or, really 8 plus deferred adjudication (which is not really a dismissal). There are different types of dismissals (with different consequences/requirements). Also, while some dismissals can be completely expunged, some can be only be “sealed” (which prevents civilian agencies from seeing the arrest).

Which types can be completely expunged?

REJECTION OF CHARGES: This is when the prosecutors think the police made a mistake in arresting the defendant. Or, there is something so wrong with the arrest that they decide not to file the case. This is rare. It sometimes happens if the blood result comes back well below the limit or there is some other medical explanation for the appearance of intoxication (that is not criminal).

STRAIGHT DISMISSAL: This is when the evidence of intoxication is really weak (or the police did a really poor job). The prosecutors will usually require the typical DWI counseling classes and a maybe some alcohol monitoring. This is a rare result.

PRE-TRIAL DIVERSION PROGRAM: This requires the defendant to blow into a portable alcohol monitor for a year (3 times a day). There is an application process to get into the program. The BAC must be below .15, there cannot have been a collision, and no prior arrests. For more information read this.

DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENT: This is a 1-2 year contract between the defendant and the county attorney. The county attorney dismisses the case, but if the defendant gets in trouble or doesn’t follow the rules during the term of the contract, the county attorney will re-file the case (and the defendant agrees to plead ‘no contest’ to it). This type of dismissal is not very common anymore.

DEFERRED CLASS C TICKET: This is like a speeding ticket. It is a great result on a DWI case. However, the prosecutors will only offer this if the DWI is not too bad. No collision, no prior arrests, the BAC is low (.08-.10), and nothing too dramatic about the circumstances. The defendant will certainly have to do the DWI classes and some alcohol monitoring up front to get this result.

Ok. What types of result can be sealed?

OBSTRUCTION OF A HIGHWAY (DEFERRED ADJUDICATION): This is when the prosecutors dismiss the DWI, but re-file the case as obstruction of a highway (blocking a road). This is referred to as a "reduction." This involves probation (up to 2 years, with a probation officer, and many requirements), but if the defendant successfully completes the probation, after a waiting period the case can be sealed (non-disclosed). This prevents civilian agencies from seeing the charge.

What about the specialty programs?

Both Project Engage (for young adults ages 17-20) and the Veterans Court have a “dismissal track.” However, not all cases qualify for the dismissal track.

What about a jury trial or suppression hearing?

If we win a jury trial or suppression hearing (where the evidence is thrown out by the judge), the charge can be expunged.

What is deferred adjudication probation on a DWI?

This is not technically a dismissal, but if completed, it is not a “conviction.” Read more info here.


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