New Law Permits Sealing Old DWI’s
Beginning September 1, 2017, many more people are allowed to seal their past criminal record. This includes some who have been convicted of DWI and other non-violent crimes. Even if you did jail time (or got credit for time served) instead of regular probation, there may be an avenue. No longer is a successfully completed deferred adjudication the only prerequisite. No longer is a DWI conviction necessarily there for all to see. No longer must you always disclose your prior DWI conviction. In fact, if a judge signs an order of non-disclosure under the new law, you can legally deny the existence of your prior conviction for driving while intoxicated.
Of course, there are a number of conditions that must still be met, but the real news is the availability of some relief even for convictions, including DWI. No longer is a driving while intoxicated conviction, whether probated or not, a non-starter.
Conditions For Sealing Old DWI Records
- First, as far as DWI’s are concerned, you are not eligible to get a sealing order if you have been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense, unless is was traffic offense punishable by fine only. The new law only applies to first timers who are convicted of DWI and who have at most only prior traffic violations.
- Second, only prior Class B driving while intoxicated convictions are eligible. This means a first DWI conviction with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more disqualifies you, because this is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by jail up to one year, and up to a $4,000.00 fine instead of just six months and a $2,000.00 fine as apply to Class B misdemeanors.
- Also, your DWI cannot arise out of a traffic accident when another person or driver is involved, even if that other person is your own uninjured passenger.
Generally, unless your sentence was probated and you were required to use an ignition interlock for at least 6 months as part of your probation, you have to wait 5 years after completion of probation or your jail sentence. If an ignition interlock was required for at least 6 months, the waiting period is 2 years for probated sentences, and 3 years if your sentence was not probated.
Importantly, this law is retroactive. This means you can qualify for an order of non-disclosure even if your DWI conviction occurred before this law went into effect.
If your DWI conviction occurred in or around the Houston and Harris County area, please call us to discuss your situation, as this is a valuable new right. We handle these type of cases in Harris County, Montgomery County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Waller County.