New Texas Law Makes Certain DWI’s Eligible or Sealing
In 2017, Texas lawmakers passed legislation that expands the opportunity to seal criminal convictions with orders of nondisclosure.
What is an Order of Non-Disclosure?
You may have heard of having your record “sealed”. However, under Texas law, this is referred to as non-disclosure. Orders of non-disclosure “seal” a criminal record from the eyes of the general public. However, law enforcement, state and federal authorities, and employers in government fields will still be able to see nondisclosed offenses.
Orders of Non-Disclosure for DWI Offenses
HB 3016 now allows a person convicted of a first-time Driving While Intoxicated offense with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) less than 0.15 to petition for an order of non-disclosure of criminal history related to that offense. However, there are certain criteria that must be met to be eligible to petition for a non-disclosure of a Texas DWI.
A person may petition to have a DWI sealed only if he/she:
- has never been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision (probation) for another offense—this does not include a traffic offense (punishable by fine only);
- has successfully completed any imposed community supervision and any term of confinement;
- has paid all fines, costs, and restitution imposed; and
- the waiting period has elapsed:
- 2 years if the person successfully completed a period of at least six months of driving restricted to a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device as a part of the sentence; or
- 5 years if there was no interlock requirement as part of the sentence.
Additionally, the court will not issue an order of nondisclosure if your DWI resulted in a motor vehicle accident involving another person.
NOTE: Having a first-time DWI sealed by an Order of Non-Disclosure will NOT prevent another DWI from being charged as a DWI (Misdemeanor Repetition).
Disqualifying Factors for DWI Sealing
A person may NOT have their DWI record sealed if:
- The DWI was a 2nd or 3rd offense;
- The DWI involved a finding that the Blood-Alcohol Content was greater than 0.15;
- The DWI involved an accident involving another person;
- The DWI was within the last 2 years (5 years if there was not interlock requirement)*
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