DIVERT’S Days Likely Numbered

Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos introduced the DIVERT Program in 2009 to address DWI cases in Harris County. The program which stands for Direct Intervention Using Voluntary Education, Restitution and Treatment, is essentially a pretrial diversion program and as such has been very controversial among prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys in Houston alike. The reason being that a DWI offense is not eligible for deferred adjudication and this program seems to get around the intent of the legislature.

However, the program has been beneficial to many charged with DWI who have completed the program and avoided a conviction. Those accepted into DIVERT are required to attend treatment as outlined in their recommendations, complete the DIVERT education classes designed to prevent driving under the influence,  have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicles for a minimum period of time,  and complete 16 hours of community service. If all conditions are met the DWI is dismissed.

In the recent Republican Primary this past Tuesday, Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos lost resoundingly to retired Harris County Judge Mike Anderson. Based on his comments on the campaign trail and the general feeling of members of the District Attorney’s Office it is widley believed that if elected Judge Anderson will not continue the program.

This does not mean that all hope is lost for those charged with DWI. They, like all accused are presumed innocent. They have all the same rights afforded the accused. If the State cannot make their case and a Houston DWI attorney convinces the prosecutor so, the case can be dismissed. Additionally there is always the right to a jury trial and possibility of an acquittal.

If you or someone you know is need of a Houston DWI Attorney, call Houston DWI Lawyer Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.