A DWI on your record can be a nightmare when you’re looking for a job, renting an apartment, or any other time background check is required. I’ve often told my clients that a DWI is FOREVER because the consequences can continue to impact your life years or even decades later.
Fortunately, a 2017 Texas law changed which offenses were eligible for non-disclosure. This new law allows some older DWI offenses to be removed from your record, making it easier for you to get and keep a job.
However, not every DWI offense is eligible for non-disclosure under the new law.
DWI Non-Disclosure Under the New Texas Law
Before House Bill 3016 was passed, DWI offenses could not be sealed. A DWI stayed on your record forever, even if it was your first offense and you didn’t have any other criminal convictions.
The new law changes that. You can get a DWI offense sealed by the court if you meet the following requirements:
- The DWI must be your first DWI offense.
- You have never been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense other than a traffic offense which is punishable by fine only.
- You have completed your community supervision or confinement and paid all fines and costs.
- The statutory waiting period has elapsed.
The waiting period is 2 years if you were required to complete a period of six months or more of restricted driving with an interlock device. Otherwise, the waiting period is five years.
While this law became effective during 2017, it is retroactive. If you have an old DWI that is otherwise eligible to be sealed, you can file a petition for an order of non-disclosure with the court.
The Impact of Non-Disclosure
Non-disclosure means that your first DWI offense is sealed and can’t be accessed by the public. If you are applying for a job or having a background search completed, you won’t have to explain your DWI offense.
This DOES NOT mean that the offense is removed the record seen by law enforcement officers. So if you get another DWI charge, it will be treated as your 2nd DWI offense, which involves more severe penalties, even if your 1st DWI conviction was sealed.
DWI Offenders That Aren’t Eligible for Non-Disclosure
Your type of DWI offense and your past criminal history can both disqualify you from getting your DWI sealed. The following offenses are not eligible for DWI non-disclosure:
- 2nd or 3rd DWI offenses
- DWI with blood-alcohol content of greater than .15
- A DWI with an accident involving another person
- The offense involves flying or boating while intoxicated
Your criminal record can also disqualify you from DWI non-disclosure. If you’ve been convicted of sexual assault, domestic violence, or another serious criminal offense, you won’t be able to get your DWI offense sealed.
Prevent DWI Convictions Before They Happen
The new Texas DWI non-disclosure law reduces the impact of a first DWI offense in some cases, but I’d prefer that you avoid the DWI conviction in the first place! Many first-time DWI offenders can WIN their cases, which means you avoid ALL of the consequences of DWI conviction.
At Gioffredi and Associates, we’ve defended well over 1,500 DWI cases in the Dallas area since 1987. Call us at 214-739-4515 for a free DWI defense consultation.