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How much information do I have to divuldge to the courts in regards to treatment centers I have attended standing accused of DWI

Austin, TX |

I have recently been charged with DWI in Williamson Cty. Tx. notorious for being the toughest on enforcing the penalties for even 1st time offenders and handing down extremely harsh punishment. I did not participate in either field sobriety test or BAC. I have no prior record, I am a divorced 44 yr old disabled father of three whom are receiving C.S. payments through my disability as I currently for the past 4-5 years. ( mental issues as well a chronic pancreatitus). am unemployed. My lawyer is attempting to have me approved for a program known as PTI (pre trial intervention) where by participating in a supervised program consisting of a variety of alcohol diverson classes as well as MADD aproved course and a variety of requirements geared towards keeping a first time offender out of the legal system and afforded an opportunity to have offense stricten from their criminal record. However the accused must be approved by the courts to be a viable canidate to participate in the program. Some requirements include no previous record of any kind at any age, as well as their appearance, attitude,acceptance of responsibility and waiving your rights and any information obtained during this process will be used against you should you fail the program and face original charges. I have been to multiple treatment centers over the last 9 years with little success but suffer from permanent physical damage due to alcohol abuse. Is it possible for the courts to access my health record/insurance records and discover my numerous attempts to overcome my addiction or am I legally able to ommit that information as it would be detramental to my application information which is used to evaluate and identify viable canidates? In addition doesnt the HIPPA law provide adequate protection of my health history?

Attorney Answers 3


You have asked this question several times in several ways over the past few days. Is there a specific answer that you are wanting to receive so that you can then feel justified in doing what you are going to do anyway?

The bottom line is that you have a lawyer representing you on this case. That lawyer is well aware of the Williamson County reputation, as well as their programs. Did you realize that there are few counties in Texas which have any program available on DWI to allow one to get a DWI case dismissed by participating in a progam? So, Williamson County does have at least 1 positive thing about its criminal prosecutions.

You need to do whatever your lawyer tells you to do.

(What may be a real concern in this situation is whether you can actually be successful at the program. If you have an alcohol addiction that you have repeatedly failed to overcome despite treatment, you may not be successful in the program and may well end up with the consequences of failure. The potential for failure may be a good reason to go to trial on the case IF feasible since there is limited evidence against you because of your various refusals. While you are on the program, you are likely to have to refrain completely from the use of alcohol. Can you do that?)

If you do not disclose where you have had treatment, even if the prosecutors or court were inclined to search for those records, how would they know where to look? There is no central reporting agency And yes, HIPPA does provide a lot of protection for your records.

BUT, are you answering the questions honestly to be considered, or are you lying and could be caught. In Harris County, potential candidates for the DIVERT program - one similar to that you have described - must take a SALCE - an drug / alcohol evaluation test which determines if someone has a problem. If the person "fails" the SALCE, then they are rejected from DIVERT.

You need to have a serious sit-down with your lawyer to talk about your issues and whether or not you should even be applying for this program. And, one big consideration on whether you should apply is whether your case can possibly be tried to a jury and won.

Although I have answered the question to try to help you, you should consult with a lawyer in your area in person on the matter. In addition, my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us.

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There is no requirement to share any information with most courts. I can sometimes be helpful however, to disclose certain information depending on the circumstances. This strategic decision is normally one which you would carefully consider with an experienced attorney to make sure it is beneficial and not a negative on your case.

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As you note you have had multiple attempts at rehab with limited success. While the court cannot compel you to offer testimony against your interests, the state can likely discover this information if they dig deep enough. Additionally, if you attempt to resolve your matter through a pre-trial program there will likely be a alcohol evaluation. If you answer the questions honestly, which is truly in your best interests, the extent of your problem will possibly come out.

Bottom line, discuss all facts and your concern with your attorney and allow him/her to advise you about what the law requires adn mandates.

Good luck to you, and look at this as a chance to make a permanent change to your destructive addiction rather than just getting past it.

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