In Texas, a DWI is considered a criminal offense and becomes part of the public record indefinitely. When a landlord, lender or employer runs a background check, all of that information is visible to them, so having a criminal record of any sort can make it extremely difficult to find employment or a home… even if the offense was many years ago.
Is there anything you can do?
In 2017, House Bill 3016 was signed into law which gives eligible persons who were convicted of a DWI the opportunity to petition the court for an order of nondisclosure.
What is Nondisclosure?
According to the Texas Office of Court Administration,
“An order of nondisclosure is a court order prohibiting public entities, including courts, clerks of the court, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutorial offices, from disclosing certain criminal records. If you have a criminal record, you may benefit from obtaining an order of nondisclosure. An order of nondisclosure legally frees you from having to disclose certain information about your criminal history in response to questions on job applications. You are not required to disclose information related to an offense that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure.”
Who is eligible for DWI Nondisclosure?
First-time DWI offenders with a BAC between .08 and .149 may apply for nondisclosure if the following criteria is met:
- They have never been convicted of another crime or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision– minor traffic offenses do not apply
- They have successfully served any jail time and any imposed community supervision
- They have paid all fines, court costs and restitution that was a part of their sentence
- The DWI must not have involved a motor vehicle accident or another person (including another passenger in the vehicle)
- The applicable waiting period has elapsed:
2 years if they have successfully completed a period of at least six months of driving restricted to a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device (IID) as a part of the sentence; or
5 years if there was no IID requirement as part of the sentence.