DWI Nondisclosures: Seal DWI from Texas Criminal Record
File a Petition of NonDisclosure
If you were charged with a DWI in Houston or anywhere in Texas, the charge will always be on your record, even if you were not convicted, unless you have it sealed. A driving while intoxicated conviction stays on your record forever and, while it can never be expunged (removed like it never happened), it can be sealed, making it invisible for all intensive purposes. Thanks to a new law that went into effect in September of 2017, you can petition the court for an order of nondisclosure of your DWI arrest or conviction. There are qualifications you must meet in order to be eligible to file the petition, and for the best results we recommend that you retain legal counsel from an attorney experienced with sealing DWI charges using petition of nondisclosure. Call our top rated attorneys at Johnson, Johnson & Baer, P.C. to schedule a free consultation at (713) 222-0400 or request a consultation online. We’ll discuss the details of your case and determine whether you are a good candidate for a petition of nondisclosure to seal your DWI record.
Second Chance Law to Seal DUI Record in Texas
Unlike many new laws, this one applies retroactively. That means that no matter how many years it has been since you were convicted of your DWI, you may file a petition. The new law has been referred to as the “second-chance law.”
What is An Order of Nondisclosure?
An order of nondisclosure is a court order that “prohibits entities holding information about a certain offense on your criminal history record from disclosing that information.” The order will only apply to the specific offense that is the subject of the petition. If you have more than one criminal offense for which you would like your record to be sealed, you have to petition for such an order for each offense that you want to have sealed.
What are the Benefits of An Order of Nondisclosure?
If you were arrested and convicted of a DWI, you have a criminal record which will be disclosed to those who do background checks when you apply for jobs, loans, and housing for example. Whoever is doing the background check will find out about your arrest and conviction for the DWI. When your DWI conviction is revealed, you may not get the job, the car loan, the rental unit, the mortgage. If you are asked if you have been convicted of a DWI, you must answer yes.
If you have an order for nondisclosure, your record will not be released. It is sealed and your arrest and conviction for the specific DWI that is the subject of your nondisclosure petition will not be released to any third party. For example, when the bank checks on your criminal history to see if there is any reason not to give you the loan, they will not discover your DWI arrest and conviction. If you are asked if you have been convicted of a DWI, you can say no.
Do you Qualify to Petition for an Order of Nondisclosure?
The eligibility requirements to file for a petition are listed under Government Code § 411.0736. That section provides the criteria you must meet in order to qualify for an order of nondisclosure for a violation of Penal Code § 49.04, DWI. You must provide evidence attached to your petition proving your eligbility.
Eligibility Requirements for DWI Nondisclosures in Texas
If you meet these requirements you are likely eligible to file a petition for nondisclosure to seal the DWI charges from your record.
- You were convicted under Penal Code § 49.05 (DWI) for an offense that was not a Class A misdemeanor.
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was less than 0.15.
- You have completed all terms of your sentence, including any time spent in confinement.
- You have paid all fees, costs, fines and restitution that were imposed as part of your penalty.
- You have never been convicted of another offense other than a traffic offense punishable by a fine.
- Between the time of your sentence and completing all the terms of your sentence, you did not commit another crime.
Time Requirements for Filing the Petition
Nondisclosure petition time limit and eligibility requirements depend on the sentence that was imposed for your DUI or DWI case.
You can file your petition if:
- Two years after the completion of all the terms of probation provided those terms included six months of having an ignition interlock system on your car.
- Three years if your sentence included a straight jail sentence.
- Five years after completing your sentence if you did not have an ignition interlock system on your car.
Reasons for Texas Courts to Deny Nondisclosure
The Court will not grant your petition for nondisclosure to seal DUI record for a number of reasons including a previous DWI conviction. Texas Criminal Code § 411.074 prohibits the Court from issuing an order of nondisclosure if the petitioner was placed on deferred adjudication for any of the following offenses:
- Any sex crime that requires registration as a sex offender in Texas.
- Murder or capital murder.
- Trafficking of people (human trafficking).
- Injury to a child.
- Assault of an elderly person (aka elder abuse).
- Assault of a disabled individual.
- Child abandonment or endangerment.
- Violation of a court orders in family violence and other violent situations.
- Family Violence, or any offense that involved family violence in violation of Family Code §71.004. with harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.
Facts to Remember About a Sealed Record
After an order of nondisclosure is granted, you can deny the arrest and conviction but the order does not permanently remove it from your record. Instead an order of nondisclosure seals the charges from your public record accessibly by employers, dating interests, credit issuers and banks. Although they will not be revealed to those already discussed, there are exceptions to all rules.
Your records will still be available to law enforcement like the police, Texas State Troopers, Harris County Constables, Fort Bend County Constables, Montgomery County Constables, Immigration (ICE), Border Patrol, and other federal and state agencies. Even some school districts are able to lift the veil and access your sealed records if you are applying for employment as a teacher, office admin, or other position where you would be around children. It is still important to obtain the order if you qualify. If those who are still able to access your records see that the court granted the order of nondisclosure, they will recognize that the court found you were rehabilitated and issued the order to have your records sealed.
Your record will still be visible to the Texas Medical Board for licensing and regulatory purposes, but if you are applying for a medical license it is still preferable that your criminal record is sealed.
Contact Us | DWI Record Sealing Attorneys
Contact our experienced DUI record sealing lawyers to schedule a free consultation. We’ll help determine whether you are eligible to file a petition of nondisclosure to seal the arrest from your Texas criminal record. Call (713) 222-0400 or request a consultation online.