Sealing Your DWI Conviction in Texas

Do you have an old DWI conviction on your record? You may now be eligible to seal it.

Beginning September 1, 2017, DWI convictions became eligible for nondisclosure. And the best part is that it’s retroactive. So everyone (that’s eligible) can take advantage of this.

DWI is one of the only crimes in Texas a person cannot receive deferred adjudication for. Because of that, if you are faced with a DWI, you are either acquitted or convicted. There is no middle option.

A criminal conviction can be devastating for many people. DWI is not a crime of moral turpitude or a violent crime, but a DWI conviction can still negatively impact work, school, travel, and many other things.

It’s hard to believe that before this law an individual could be charged with Manslaughter, plead no contest, and avoid a conviction, but that same path wasn’t available to a DWI offender.

The Legislature saw this inequity and did something about it. The Governor signed House Bill 3016 into law on June 15, 2017. It has now changed the Texas Government Code to allow individuals convicted of DWI to petition for an order of nondisclosure (so long as some qualifying factors are met).

An order of nondisclosure allows you to essentially “seal” an arrest and charge from the general public, which in turn allows you to answer in the negative when asked about the specific incident.

It’s important to note that nondisclosure is not as powerful as an expunction. An expunction is a court order to destroy all records of a criminal incident. A nondisclosure is simply an order for Government agencies to “seal” information about a criminal incident from the public eye.

So, if you are able to get a non-disclosure for something, and you apply to work at Whataburger, they won’t be able to see any information about your arrest or disposition, and you won’t have to disclose the situation on your application.

Alternatively, if you are applying for a job at NASA or SAPD, they’ll see it, and you will need to disclose it. The State will also be able to see it in subsequent prosecutions (if you’re ever arrested again).

The following is a list of things that will prevent someone from petitioning for nondisclosure of their DWI:

  • If the DWI was a 2nd or 3rd (or more) offense
  • If the Blood Alcohol Concentration was 0.15 or higher
  • If previously convicted of another offense
  • If the DWI involved an accident with another person (includes passengers)
  • If you have completed deferred adjudication for another offense (traffic offenses don’t count)
  • If you failed to successfully complete probation for your DWI
  • If you failed to pay all fines, court costs, and restitution

If those factors don’t knock you out, then you will be able to seek a non-disclosure after a waiting period of either two or five years from the day your probation or sentence ends:

  • Two years for an individual that was restricted to driving a vehicle with an ignition interlock device for at least six months
  • Five years for an individual who was sentenced without ignition interlock as a condition of their DWI probation.
  • HB3016 is a second chance for people who made a mistake and paid their debt to society. It’s a chance to get a better job, to obtain a higher degree, to advance in life without being held back by one bad decision.

If you have an old DWI conviction on your record, contact a San Antonio DWI lawyer today and they can get started on your nondisclosure immediately.

If you have any questions, please ask below!