A new law in Texas allows some DWI offenders to keep their convictions off the public record. Although the new non disclosure law is seen as a sympathetic law to offenders, it has been backed by the influential pressure group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
The new law came into effect on Sept. 1, 2017. Criminal defense lawyers already report some clients are having their convictions sealed. For people charged with a first DWI, the new law offers considerable advantages if they qualify.
A DWI conviction can have a devastating impact on your life. It can impact your job prospects and your chances of enrolling on a college course.
However, in order to take advantage of the ‘second chance’ law, you must meet a strict set of requirements. Specifically, you:
A drunk driving offender in Texas who is not ordered to fit a driving interlock device, or who chooses not to install the device, must wait a full five years before being eligible to apply for non-disclosure. At present, Texas courts cannot consider a previous DWI that occurred more than five years ago when considering the sentencing of drunk drivers.
The interlock device clause led MADD to support the new law. Jaime Gutierrez, executive director of MADD Texas said:
“This new law provides one of the biggest incentives in the nation for drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock. This is a smart justice, pro-victim approach to stopping drunk driving. MADD strongly supports this incentive to increase the use of interlocks to save lives and reduce repeat DWI offenses.”
MADD supports the use of interlock devices pointing out they can help drivers drive sober when they are less likely to become a repeat offender endangering the lives of other Texans.
You can find out more about interlock ignition devices by reading our DWI resources.