First-Time DWIs Eligible to be Sealed in Denton – Change in Texas Law
When you are convicted of a DWI in the state of Texas, there are several penalties you must face. These include jail time, fines, and various forms of service to repay your debt to society. Beyond this, however, there is another consequence that far outlives the rest: your criminal record. This will follow you your entire life if you commit a serious crime in the state of Texas, including committing a DWI. However, Texas law makers have had a change of heart and have implemented a new law that, if you qualify, allows first DWI offenders in the state of Texas to have that offense sealed.
This change takes effect on September 1st, 2017 when Texas HB 3016 goes live. The law will be retroactive and individuals with an arrest prior to 2017 will still be eligible to have their arrest sealed if they meet the requirements. It’s no wonder that so many Texans have questions about this change in the law. So let’s take a moment to talk through what this law will do and how it affects those with a DWI. Hopefully this will clear up some questions many of you have.
Here’s What Texas HB 3016 Does
This new piece of legislature expands the criminal offenses for which an order of nondisclosure can be petitioned. If you are not quite familiar with what an order of nondisclosure does, it acts as a seal to lock away your criminal records. This means that any offenses sealed by an order of nondisclosure are not available to those performing a background check like a potential landlord or employer. There is a limit to its power, however. Such an order does not seal your offenses from law enforcement or for government employers.
Specifically, the bill allows for anyone with a single conviction of a DWI in the state of Texas where their recorded BAC was less than 0.15 to file a petition for the court to issue an order of non-disclosure, sealing all their criminal records related to the DWI offense in question.
How to be Eligible to Petition for your DWI to be sealed according to HB 3016
To have your petition be successful, you must meet all the following criteria:
- Your BAC was not greater than 0.15
- You have completed all of the required community service and periods of confinements as ordered by the court
- You have no other convictions for any other offenses (traffic offense that do NOT involve drugs or alcohol are the only exception here)
- All court-ordered fees, costs, and restitution have been paid.
- The required waiting period to petition for the DWI to be sealed has passed. This can be either of the following:
- Two years have passed for those who completed at least a 6-month cycle with an ignition lock device on their vehicle
- Five years for anyone who was not issued such an interlock device as part of their sentencing
Additionally, if during your DWI conviction the prosecution was able to present sufficient evidence to prove to the court that your DWI resulted in an automobile accident, the DWI will be ineligible to be sealed.
Ignition Interlock Devices and HB 3016
The waiting period for your ability to petition for your DWI conviction to be sealed directly depends upon if you served at least 6 months of time with an ignition restriction device on your automobile. Additionally, you must have complied with all other conditions of your sentencing for a period of six months. If you meet these two criteria, your waiting period will be two years. All others need to wait five years to petition for their DWI offense to be sealed.
To find out if we can help you clear or seal your criminal record, please call us at 940-382-4200 today. We can usually tell you this information in just a few minutes over the phone.