Sealing Records of a DWI Conviction in Texas: What You Need to Know
A criminal record can cause an individual a lot of problems. It could make it more challenging to pass a background check, get a job, or even to get approved for a home loan or apartment. In the old days, a DWI conviction in Texas could not be sealed. So, what may have been a one-time mistake for many people stayed on their public criminal record forever.
However, in 2017, a new law passed allowing certain people a true second chance to clear their record. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 3016 into law, allowing for the nondisclosure of certain criminal records, including misdemeanor first time DWIs. The law was enacted to apply to all cases going forward, but also it applies retroactively too to cases in the past which meet the criteria set out. In this article, our Galveston DWI defense attorney explains what you need to know about getting a DWI conviction sealed in Texas.
Getting a DWI Conviction Sealed in Texas: An Overview of the Requirements
Unfortunately, not all criminal DWI convictions can be sealed (or nondisclosed) in Texas. To be eligible for a nondisclosure, your case must meet some basic requirements. Specifically, a person petitioning for a nondisclosure of a DWI conviction must prove:
There was no conviction of DWI as a Class A misdemeanor, meaning with a BAC of 0.15 or higher;
The DWI must not have involved an accident with another person, including the driver/passenger of the other vehicle involved as well as a passenger in the same vehicle, regardless of whether anyone was injured;
The person must have no prior convictions, including probation or deferred adjudication, for anything other than minor traffic offenses
If you do not meet all of the above criteria, your DWI conviction is likely ineligible for nondisclosure under the new DWI nondisclosure legislation. If you are unsure as to whether you qualify to get your DWI conviction sealed, a Galveston, Texas criminal defense lawyer can offer guidance.
In the event you do meet the above criteria, the next step is to determine the when you may apply for the nondisclosure, or in other words, determine what waiting period you fall under.
What is the Waiting Period to Get a First-Time DWI Conviction Sealed in Texas?
If the above eligibility criteria is met, then the next step is to determine the applicable waiting period. This determination is dependent on two facts – whether the person received probation; and whether the sentence included a requirement that an interlock device be installed in their vehicle for a period of at least six (6) months. The waiting periods are identified below based on the facts present in the specific case:
2 years from date probation terminated successfully: If the person received probation, successfully completed all requirements, and had an interlock installed for at least 6 months while on probation, then that person may petition for a nondisclosure 2 years after the date they are formally discharged from that probation.
3 years after date sentence completed: If a person resolved their case in another way other than by completing probation, and they had an interlock installed for at least 6 months, that person may petition for a nondisclosure 3 years after the date they completed their sentence.
5 years after completion of sentence or probation: If a person was not required to install an interlock for at least 6 months, they can still petition for a nondisclosure five years after the completion of their sentence or their probation.
Call Our Galveston, Texas DWI Nondisclosure Attorney for Help
Mark A. Diaz is an experienced criminal defense lawyer. We can help you take action to get the records of a DWI conviction nondisclosed. For a confidential, no commitment assessment of your case, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today. With an office location in Galveston, we represent clients throughout Southeast Texas.