DWI conviction? It's your lucky day

By Andreea Ionescu • Updated on September 12, 2017

If you currently have a DWI conviction, you are in for a pleasant surprise.  A bill passed on September 1, 2017 allows you to seal that conviction and make it disappear from public and private institution background checks. However, government state and federal agencies will still be able to find out about it. The bill is retroactive.

About those government state and federal agencies

You won’t be required to disclose your DWI conviction on a normal job application, but if you’re applying to law enforcement agencies, public services, and the likes, you may as well fess up because they’ll find out anyway.  A full list of the agencies that can see your charge can be found under section 411.0765(b) here:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.411.htm#E-1

Interestingly, the statute says that a person whose conviction was sealed is not required to state on any application for employment, information or licensing, that they have been the subject of any criminal proceeding related to the information that was sealed. However, it does not clarify whether this applies to the agencies that are able to see this conviction.

Conditions that make you eligible for nondisclosure

  1. You must have only one DWI conviction
  2. Your blood-alcohol content must have been lower than 0.15 at the time of your arrest
  3. You may not have any other convictions or have been placed on deferred adjudication (this does not include class C violations punishable by a fine only)
  4. The DWI may not have resulted in an accident or injury, including a passenger
  5. You have successfully completed the probation period, and paid all fines and court costs OR  you successfully completed a jail sentence or labor detail and paid all fines, court costs and restitution imposed.

How long do you have to wait to file your petition

  1. Two years from the date you successfully completed your probation if, as part of the sentence, the court ordered you to have an ignition interlock on your vehicle for at least six months
  2. Five years from the date you successfully completed your probation if the court did not order an ignition interlock
  3. Three years if you completed a jail sentence and as part of the sentence the court ordered that you have an ignition interlock on your vehicle for at least six months.
  4. Five years if you completed a jail sentence and the court did not order you to have an ignition interlock on your vehicle