Drinking and driving is a problem in our country and here in Texas, but that problem might now be getting bigger due to funding being cut from a program aimed at helping repeat DWI offenders get sober.
Last week, we discussed some of the diversion programs offered by Tarrant County to rehabilitate offenders and help them avoid the standard criminal justice process. Well, one of those programs – the Felony Alcohol Intervention Program (FAIP) – has lost its $140,000 state grant.
Using risk-assessment data, the governor’s office “believes the data reveals that most DWI offenders are at low risk of being arrested again, and such programs are for high-risk offenders.” In fact, they determined that 80 percent of FAIP’s participants should have never been admitted.
With these “findings” as well as other programs needing larger grants, FAIP and their participants – 150 every year – are falling by the wayside.
Let’s look a bit more at what’s happened to FAIP and why it’s more important than ever to fight back if you’re facing felony DWI charges.
Despite Helping People, FAIP Can No Longer Accept Participants
Farris Hamideh is one of FAIP’s success stories. Hamideh had been arrested three times in nine years, but after his last arrest in 2012, he hasn’t taken a drink since.
Hamideh credits FAIP – an “intensive, four-year-long” program – with his sobriety, and wants to help other alcoholics from drinking and driving.
The governor’s office now says that Hamideh and similar participants aren’t high-risk or high-need offenders. According to them, high-risk offenders “tend to have low income, low education, an insufficient support system or mental health issues.”
Tarrant County’s “self-reported risk-assessment scores” supposedly illustrate that a majority of FAIP’s participants, including Hamideh, are low-risk. They tend to have “a steady income, a reliable family support system,” and “are better educated and typically older.” Because of these qualities, they’re apparently less likely to be re-arrested.
Some people, like the assistant director of the Community Supervision and Corrections Department, Cobi Tittle, say that DWI offenders shouldn’t be looked at or assessed the same way as other criminal offenders.
“Chronic DWI offenders do not set out to commit a criminal act, but rather the use of alcohol drives their criminal behavior,” Tittle said. “Chronic DWI offenders typically have underlying alcohol abuse issues, which are more likely to go unresolved with jail time and traditional probation.”
As of September 1, 2017, FAIP is no longer accepting new participants when others complete the program and will eventually only have 75 participants. With so few people having access to FAIP and its resources to help with alcohol issues, more drunk drivers could end up back on the roads.
Facing Felony DWI Charges? Fight Back with a Knowledgeable Fort Worth Attorney
Now that FAIP has lost its funding and can’t accept new participants, it’s more important than ever to fight your felony DWI charge with the help of an experienced Ft. Worth DWI lawyer. A skilled attorney who is well versed in Texas’ DWI laws will be your best bet in getting your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed so you can return to your normal life, uninterrupted.
Although the FAIP program has helped a number of individuals, a knowledgeable attorney can also help you beat your charges and fight for your rights.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth, making sure they receive the strongest possible defense when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.