December 20, 2017

Nondisclosure of DWIs in Texas

If you have been convicted of driving while intoxicated in Texas, you are prohibited from getting deferred adjudication. Your options after a conviction are jail time or probation. Nondisclosure is a legal remedy allowing the sealing of criminal records relating to non-violent offenses after a person successfully completes deferred adjudication. Because Texas prohibits deferred adjudication for DWI, Texans convicted of DWI have not been able to seal their first DWI regardless of how long ago the conviction was.

On June 15, 2017, Governor Greg Abbot signed House Bill 3016 into law. Under this bill, Texans will finally be able to get a nondisclosure for a first-time DWI under certain circumstances, even though they never received deferred adjudication. This law went into effect on September 1, 2017 and is retroactive, meaning that it applies to DWI convictions that occurred before, on, or after September 1, 2017.

Cases Eligible for Nondisclosure

Not all DWI convictions are eligible for nondisclosure under HB3016. To be eligible for nondisclosure:

  • It must be a first-time misdemeanor DWI offense.
  • The conviction cannot be for a DWI BAC >/= .15
  • There must not have been an accident involving another person, including passengers in the applicant’s vehicle
  • The offense was not boating while intoxicated or flying while intoxicated
  • The applicant must successfully complete probation for the offense and pay all ordered fines, costs, and restitution OR complete a jail sentence and pay all ordered fines, costs, and restitution
  • The applicant must not have been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense other than traffic offenses
  • The judge must determine that granting the nondisclosure will be in the best interest of justice

Waiting Periods

For eligible convictions, a person can petition the court for a nondisclosure order only after waiting periods are met.

  • If an individual successfully completes their DWI probation AND had an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for at least 6 months, the waiting period is two years.
  • If an individual did not use an ignition interlock device as a condition of probation, the period is five years.
  • If an individual received a jail sentence, and as a condition of the jail sentence used an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for at least 6 months, the waiting period is three years.
  • If an individual received a jail sentence that did not require an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, the waiting period is five years.

What does the nondisclosure order do?

Under the new law, a nondisclosure order for your DWI conviction will prohibit the Texas Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement agencies from releasing arrest and case information about your DWI arrest to anyone other than law enforcement or other specific agencies. This means that your DWI conviction and arrest records will not show up in background checks for housing applications, loan applications, or employment applications. However, your nondisclosed DWI conviction will still be considered a “prior” offense if you are arrested in the future. A subsequent DWI arrest will be treated as a second DWI regardless of whether your first DWI was nondisclosed.

Contact the Overhuls Law Firm about sealing your DWI arrest records

If you are interested in learning more about sealing your DWI arrest records, contact David Overhuls at 713-223-8801 for a free consultation.

Contact David Today!