For years, Texas courts told defendants the same thing—that a DWI conviction will stay on your record forever, never going away, no matter what. But things have changed, and they’ve changed for the better. It’s now possible to seal the record of a DWI conviction so that you can put the past behind you and move forward with your life.
A Change in Texas Nondisclosure Law Means a Second Chance
The change happened when Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3016 into law in 2017. The bill, also called the “second chance” bill, changed the law so that people could seal records of drunk driving convictions if they met certain criteria. The bill was actually an expansion of a 2015 bill that had made it possible for certain nonviolent offenders to seal records of past misdemeanor charges.
In order to be eligible for nondisclosure, a person must have:
If you meet all of these requirements, your lawyer can file a petition for nondisclosure with the court. Your lawyers must also show supporting evidence that all of the requirements have been met. A hearing date will be set. At the hearing, the judge will review the petition. If everything is in order and you have met all the requirements, the court should grant the nondisclosure, or DWI record sealing.
What Nondisclosure Means After a DWI
Nondisclosure hides the record of the criminal charge from employers, landlords and nosy neighbors. It means that if you’re asked if you have a criminal record, you aren’t legally required to say “yes.” But nondisclosure doesn’t completely make a DWI disappear. Criminal justice agencies can still see it on your record. That means the sealed record will still be visible in some cases, like if you’re applying for security clearance or if you get in legal trouble again.
Having your DWI record sealed means that the offense won’t follow you around and limit your opportunities. You can apply for new jobs, find a new apartment or take advantage of many other opportunities that require a clean criminal record.
DWI Record Sealing
If you’re interested in getting a second chance and putting your DWI conviction in the past, talking with a lawyer is the first step. Contact the Setzer Law Firm for a confidential consultation about sealing DWI records.