The Texas DUI Laws Set for 2020

The Texas DUI Laws Set for 2020

January 27, 2020

One of the facets of welcoming a new year is familiarizing yourself with the new laws that have gone into effect, which include city, state and federal laws. Starting in September 2019, the Texas State Legislature made a new option available to first-time offenders in violation of Texas DUI laws: deferred adjudication. This diversion program allows a defendant to enter into a program where their car’s ignition is subject to a locking device equipped with a breathalyzer.

What is deferred adjudication?

The idea behind deferred adjudication is to give certain first-time offenders the chance to show that they’ve changed their ways and that they recognize the seriousness of their actions. This is accomplished by putting them on probation and entering them into this “rehabilitation” program. Their car is fitted with an ignition lock, which requires the driver to blow into a breathalyzer before the car will start. If the driver blows above a 0.03, the car won’t start.

At the end of the probation period, a judge will review the case. If the driver successfully completes the rehabilitation and probation program, the charges will be dismissed, and the driver will avoid further consequences of this serious crime.

However, if the driver fails the program or goes on to commit another DUI afterwards, the first DUI can be used to enhance charges on the second one.

You may not be eligible for deferred adjudication, however. If you blew a 0.15 or above, have a commercial license or a commercial learner’s permit, you are automatically barred from the program and will face regular charges. Judges will also have the option to deny a deferral, whether it’s because the offense doesn’t fit the criteria or there are other compelling reasons.

Why deferred adjudication can help Texans stay safe

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) considers this new change a win for everyone. Simply suspending a license has proven to be ineffective, as many drivers will continue driving on that suspended license anyway. In contrast, ignition locks have prevented over 300,000 ignition startups between 2006 and 2018 alone—that’s over 300,000 times a drunk or even tipsy driver has been kept off the road.

It’s also a great way to allow those who have learned from their mistakes to avoid the longer-term consequences of their one-time screw-up. For those who want to enter law enforcement, the military and other professions with serious background check qualifications, this can make the difference between achieving your dreams or having to find an entirely new path in life.

Get help with Texas DUI laws in Lubbock, TX

If you’ve been charged with a DUI/DWI and you’re a first-time offender, you may be eligible for the deferred adjudication program under the new laws in Texas for DUI. The Law Office of Rob Biggers can help address your case with our skilled representation and West Texas values. We’re committed to pursuing justice for you, and will tailor your defense to your unique circumstances and goals. Don’t waste time—call us for a consultation today.

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