In 2017, Texas lawmakers enacted a new statute that allows first time DWI offenders who satisfy certain conditions, to seal their criminal records by obtaining what is referred to as an Order of Nondisclosure. To learn more about sealing your own criminal record, including whether you could qualify for an Order of Nondisclosure, please reach out to our experienced Houston DWI defense legal team for help.
Qualifying for an Order of Nondisclosure
Under Texas law, it is possible for certain DWI offenders to obtain an order of nondisclosure, which effectively seals their criminal records. To qualify for non-disclosure, however, a person must:
- Be a first time DWI offender; and
- Have had a BAC of between .08 and .14 at the time of their arrest.
Even if these requirements have been satisfied, a person will still need to:
- Wait until two years after his or her probationary period ends to apply for nondisclosure; and
- Install an Ignition Interlock Device on his or her vehicle for six months during the nondisclosure period.
Those who choose not to install an IID in their vehicle will need to wait five years after the end of probation to apply for nondisclosure status.
The Benefits of Nondisclosure
If a person is granted nondisclosure, public entities like police departments and courts will be barred from disclosing his or her criminal record. Furthermore, an Order of Nondisclosure also legally frees the subject from having to disclose information about his or her criminal record on job applications. An Order of Nondisclosure does not, however, completely erase a person’s record, as certain government officials will still be able to access it under specific circumstances. It is also important to remember that nondisclosure orders apply only to specific offenses and not to all of the crimes on a person’s record, unless that individual requests multiple nondisclosures for each offense.
Who is Ineligible for Nondisclosure?
First time offenders who otherwise satisfy all of the criteria for obtaining an Order of Nondisclosure can still be found ineligible for record sealing if:
- They were charged with a crime after being convicted of DWI while completing probation;
- Their probation was revoked or not successfully completed;
- They did not complete their sentence, which includes paying all court costs, fines, and restitution;
- They caused an accident during the commission of the DWI offense;
- They held a commercial driver’s license at the time of the offense;
- Their BAC was .15 percent or more at the time of arrest; or
- They were convicted of anything other than a Class B misdemeanor DWI offense.
For help determining whether you qualify for nondisclosure, please reach out to our Houston legal team today.
Do You Qualify for Nondisclosure?
Receiving an Order of Nondisclosure isn’t automatic. Instead, first time DWI offenders will need to petition the court for record sealing after the appropriate amount of time has passed, which in turn will depend on the outcome of their case. To get started on requesting an Order of Nondisclosure for your own DWI offense in Houston, Galveston, or League City, please call the experienced DWI defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates at 281-962-7817 or contact us online.
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