The Tarrant County DWI Court Program focuses on high-risk, high-needs individuals who are charged with their second DWI with the goal of preventing them from reoffending. This is a post-plea program that suspends some fees and time in jail as a condition of probation. The Misdemeanor DWI Court Program offers offenders outpatient treatment (inpatient treatment if necessary) with intensive supervision that is judicially supervised.
Judge Deborah Nekhom, the presiding judge over County Criminal Court Number Four in Tarrant County, established the DWI Court in Tarrant County in 2016. This misdemeanor DWI Court focuses on identifying and treating individuals that might otherwise continue to drink and drive, putting themselves and others at risk, and also risking a felony DWI (a third DWI in Texas is a felony).
The goal of a misdemeanor DWI Court is to rehabilitate high-risk individuals by setting out stringent conditions they must follow, including completing a treatment program. It is more intensive than a typical probation. Additionally, participants in DWI programs receive individualized attention and immediate sanctions for any violations.
DWI Courts ultimately save taxpayer dollars by holding DWI offenders accountable by treating the underlying costs of repeat drunk driving offenses. A number of counties in Texas have DWI Court programs including Bexar County, Harris County, and Dallas County.
Most people accepted into the program have been charged with DWI-Misdemeanor Repetition or DWI with a BAC over .15. Other DWI charges are accepted on a case-by-case basis, including some Class B DWIs and non-alcohol DWI cases. Defendants with prior 3(g) offenses and sex offenses are ineligible for entry into the DWI Court Program.
Judge Nekhom developed the Tarrant County DWI Court after researching both the supporting legislation and other counties in Texas that successfully implemented the program. The DWI Court is not a diversion program, in the sense that it does not allow a person to avoid a conviction. Instead, it is a post-plea program that offers many advantages over a typical DWI-Misdemeanor Repetition probation.
These advantages include:
• Suspension of DWI fees of up to $4,000;
• Suspension as days in jail as a condition of probation;
• Financial incentives in obtaining an occupational license.
The Tarrant County DWI Court Program is divided into four phases. The first phase will be the most intensive in regards to the classes and conditions a participant must complete. Participants will be required to attend AA, have a sponsor, regularly report to court and the Community Supervision and Corrections Department, and provide clean urine and drug tests to prove their sobriety. Participants will also interact with FAIP participants, who are facing felony DWI allegations to further remind the DWI Court Program Participants about the dangers of reoffending. The Court will have the ability to impose sanctions on participants, including jail time. The program is also designed to provide sanctions quickly to punish infractions
If you or a loved one are facing a second DWI charge in Tarrant County and are seeking representation, call us at (817) 203-2220 to discuss your case and to find out if you would be a good candidate for the Tarrant County DWI Court Program. We have referred numerous clients to this program with exceptional results.