The year 2017 was good for first time Driving While Intoxicated offenders in Texas. In that year, Texas lawmakers agreed to allow some first-time DWI offenders to petition the court for a nondisclosure, which would seal their DWI record from public access. This new and long-awaited opportunity is found in Texas Government Code Sections 411.0731 (applies to those placed on probation) and 411.0736 (applies to those not placed on probation). Not all people convicted of a DWI in Texas will be eligible, though. The following is a summary of the qualifications:

  1. You must not have been convicted of a DWI under Texas Penal Code Section 49.04(d)–in other words, your conviction must not be a for a DWI where your blood alcohol concentration was .15 or greater;
  2. You must have completed your sentence, including any term of confinement imposed and payment of all fines, costs, and restitution imposed;
  3. You must satisfy the requirements of Texas Government Code Section 411.074. A common reason why someone fails to satisfy this requirement is that they have previously been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for an offense involving family violence;
  4. You ever been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense other than a traffic offense that is punishable by fine only; and
  5. You were not convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication probation for any offense, other than a traffic offense punishable by fine only, during the term of your probation and the applicable waiting period (see below for more on waiting periods).

How Long Do I Need to Wait for a Nondisclosure?

There are a few different waiting periods for a DWI nondisclosure. Which applies to you depends on whether you were placed on community supervision and whether you had to comply with an interlock (ignition interlock device) for at least 6 months. If you were required as a condition of probation to have interlock for at least 6 months and you successfully complied with this condition, then you can apply for a nondisclosure 2 years following the completion of your probation. If you were not placed on community supervision, but the court ordered you to comply with an interlock requirement for at least 6 months, and you successfully did so, then the waiting period is 3 years. If the court did not require interlock for at least 6 months as a condition, and you were either placed on community supervision or served a sentence, then you must wait 5 years to petition the court for a nondisclosure.

DWI with Car Accident

It is also important to note that if your DWI involved a car accident, then your petition will be denied if the prosecutor presents such evidence to the Court. Texas Government Code Section 411.0736 states: “A court may not issue an order of nondisclosure of criminal history record information under this section if the Family law attorney in Fort Worth representing the state presents evidence sufficient to the court demonstrating that the commission of the offense for which the order is sought resulted in a motor vehicle accident involving another person, including a passenger in a motor vehicle operated by the person seeking the order of nondisclosure.”

Getting Advice

If you or someone you know has been convicted of a DWI then you may be eligible for a nondisclosure. Contact The Hardy Law Group, PLLC, to schedule a complimentary consultation to evaluate whether you are eligible to seal your DWI record.