Until recently, the answer to this question was a definitive no. Deferred adjudication was not available for DWI. This past legislative session, that changed. A bill was passed allowing deferred adjudication to be available for certain DWI offenses starting August 26, 2019.
Deferred adjudication is a special type of probation, where the judge finds that there is enough evidence to find you guilty, but does not find you guilty. If you successfully complete probation, the case is dismissed, and you are never found guilty. Because of this, there is no conviction.
The downside of deferred adjudication, is that if you do not successfully complete probation, the judge can find you guilty, which would result in a conviction, and the judge has the full range of punishment available.
There are several consequences of DWI convictions. It will always show up on background checks, your license could be suspended, there are fees to pay to DPS to keep your drivers license, and if you are ever arrested for DWI again, it will be enhanced because of the earlier DWI conviction.
Ultimately, deferred adjudication is good because it’s less money for you to pay and it usually gives you the chance to keep the arrest from showing up on most background checks.
In San Antonio, the District Attorney’s office has changed the charge from DWI to Obstruction of a Highway in certain circumstances. This allowed them to offer deferred adjudication on cases that began as DWI. It’s not clear how the new law may change the current program. But regardless of the changes, it’s good news that deferred adjudication is now on the table for DWI’s.