DIP. . . Stuff

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has not had time to talk to the defense bar about the outlines of the new pretrial diversion program for first-time DWI offenders, but it has had time to talk to the press (enough to convince the Chronicle’s editors, clueless about criminal procedure, to endorse it), and now to the misdemeanor court coordinators. We now know the name of the program (DIP) and some of the guidelines and procedures, but we still don’t know the single thing that will be most important to our clients: when or whether a successfully-completed diversion under the DIP program will be expungeable.

Following, for your commenting pleasure, is one court coordinator’s summary of yesterday’s meeting with the DA’s Office:

Many of you have been asking me
about the new DIP program for 1st time DWI offenders. Well here is what was said
at our coordinators meeting yesterday…this is what has been put together
so far (it may change – but for now – here is where Lykos is
Disposition Intervention

  • Minimize Court Appearance
    during disposition period.
  • Impose conditions based upon
    offender evaluation.
  • Assure supervision criteria
    are uniformly applied.
  • There will be specific
  • There will be specific
  • PO will have ZERO
  • No second


  • 1st Offender, citizen,
    reside in Texas.
  • NO priors in or outside of
  • Wrongful arrest does not
  • Inmate are
  • Juvenile or state jail
    felonies as a juvenile does not count.


  • Any juvenile adjudication
    for 3rd degree felony or higher
  • Out of state
  • Judicial Veto can take

Attorney Screening Process

  • Review Pretrial interview
  • View Video
  • RIP, OR & Accident


  • DA makes offer
  • Defendant agrees to
    evaluation (this will include 3 – 4 test ~ Urinalysis, SALCE test, risk /
    needs evaluation. (defendant will have to pay for all tests) Once evaluations
    are completed – recommendations are made
  • Defense accepts or
  • Agreement


  • DIP docket
  • Plea of guilty to specific
  • 12 – 24 month DIP
  • Specific sanctions for
  • Conclusion:  dismissal
    or punishment assessed.
  • Everyone on DIP must have
    the Interlock on their car for a minimum of 6 months – if no car then SCRAM
    will be ordered.

Time Line

  • 75 – 90 days from date of
  • DIP will last from 12 – 24

As of right now ADA’s are starting to screen eligible


0 responses to “DIP. . . Stuff”

  1. It’s taking shape. If nothing else, her premature press ejaculation has caused her to scramble to put the details together.

  2. At least it’s something, and I’m sure it will be further refined. I’m not sure of the purpose of a 12 to 24 month DIP except to placate MADD. In this case, something may very well be better than the neocon mess the process has already become. We’ll see.

  3. Doesn’t allowing the “judicial veto” portion violate separation of powers? The prosecutor can dismiss at her leisure, can’t she and also refer to diversion. Isn’t allowing the court to veto this discretion problematic?

  4. Doesn’t this program appear to be materialized out of thin air simply to meet the so called “deficiencies” of Houston Drivers? The Houston Chron piece detailed the reason for the high number DWI deaths was because people “didn’t plan ahead when drinking” and because of “Houston’s poor public transportation” (and a host of other excuses). Goes back to law makers in Houston fitting the moral cap to the already pervasive behavior that spikes up the DWI’s, rather than simply applying existing law platonically.

    Additionally, what of Judges applying the law platonically? There was an interesting post on Chron.com. I am not sure if it was real, but it was substantially “voted” up. Basically, a former Juror for a DWI case suggested that the jury was hung because two juror’s did not agree with the law and thought it was too harsh. They eventually let off the guy (or so the allegory goes). In such a case should not a Judge set the criminal equivalent of a JNOV, and more importantly, should it not be obvious to set it so?

    These two issues hint that in a system of retro-fitting a moral cap (by loosening DWI laws), and ever-forgiving juries, is the law really being applied? And just how does an elected judiciary effect the already placating parties (law makers, juries)? I believe these are a recipe for selectively applying popular law (I say it because I care).

  5. Why is it called a “diversion program” if the defendant pleads guilty? It sounds like deferred instead. But if it really is a diversion program for 1st time DWI defendants, I think that is a great idea. I practice in Dallas County. I know of lots of people with one DWI conviction that feel as though this hampers their life significantly.

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