The law in Texas recently changed. There is reason to be optimistic for Texas citizens who have been convicted of a DWI. Texas has passed House Bill 3016 which for the first time in a long time in Texas, people who have been convicted of DWI can now move on with their lives. The law goes into effect September 1, 2017. Importantly, it is retroactive. This means it applies to DWI convictions from the past. This was very surprising news. For many criminal defense lawyers, the passage of House Bill 3016 came as quite a shock. The Texas legislature has been increasing the strictness of DWI law, so to see this leniency is very refreshing. The new law that allows nondisclosures for Texas citizens applies to those who have been convicted of a first-time DWI. Of course, the law will only apply in certain specific circumstances, and this page discusses and outlines those circumstances. However, this law will go a long way toward helping a lot of Texas citizens. If you have a DWI conviction, there now may be hope for you. Read on to see if this new law applies to you. If it does, call me for more information about how to nondisclose your DWI conviction.
What is House Bill 3016?
House Bill 3016 got through both the Texas House and the Texas Senate, and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. The new law will go into effect on September 1, 2017. Fortunately, the law is retroactive, which means it will apply to driving while intoxicated convictions from the past, provided they meet the other criteria listed below. This bill had much support from legislators and even drew the support of former governor, Rick Perry. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, said the idea that drove the passage of the bill was to help people recover and rehabilitate from mistakes that create difficulty finding a job or finding a place to live, according to an article in the Austin American Statesman.
What is the Second Chance Law?
The comments from Bryan Hughes above describe the essence of the new law, and that is to give Texans a second-chance and restore their lives and recover from the setbacks and the stigma of a conviction. The DWI nondisclosure law has been called the second-chance law. A nondisclosure allows a person to keep a DWI conviction from potential employers, provided theses potential employers are private entities. Other benefits of a nondisclosure include keeping the DWI conviction from potential landlords. The only agencies or organizations that will be able to see records that have been nondisclosed are state and federal law enforcement, and state licensing agencies. Police will be able to see your DWI. If you are applying for a law, medical, nursing, or other license, the licensing agency will also be able to see it.
Are You Eligible for DWI Nondisclosure?
Okay, so is this going to be available for you? If you successfully completed DWI probation, you can get your DWI conviction nondisclosed. Again, the law is retroactive. The law is in Government Code Section 411.0731. If you have not had DWI probation, the law is in Section 411.0736. To get an DWI nondisclosure, here are the requirements:
First, you must wait 2 years AFTER completing probation. If you DID NOT get probation, or did not complete probation, the waiting period is 3 years. If you did not have the interlock ignition device in your car while on bond or while on probation, the waiting period is 5 years. Here are the other rules:
You can't have prior convictions
Your conviction cannot contain a finding with a BAC over .15
Your conviction cannot involve an accident with an injury
You have to have the ignition interlock device on your car for 6 months or you have to wait five years
If you are convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for anything else during the waiting period you are not eligible