Our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys are acutely aware of the stigma of a criminal conviction. Even after you have served your sentence, your past may prevent you getting a job or enrolling on a college course. Now new legislation in Texas, promises to give second chances to some non-violent offenders.
The so-called “second chances” bill, House Bill 3016 makes it easier for people who have a low-level offense on their record to apply for jobs if they have demonstrated that they won’t re-offend. These applicants would not be required to disclose their offenses.
At present, first-time offenders who commit non-violent, non-sexual, class A and B misdemeanors can opt to seal their criminal records from the general public. The new legislation makes class C misdemeanors and some DWI offenses also eligible.
Issues like expunction of criminal records and non-disclosure are seen as important to many people who have been convicted of less serious offenses. You can find out more on our website.
State Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, the author of the Senate’s companion bill to the House bill, said:
“We believe that every life is precious and every life is redeemable. And so when someone has proven to his neighbors that he’s learned from the mistake he’s made and he wants a second chance to become productive in society we should do that.”
The new law would apply to some DWI offenders. However, DWI offenders who had a previous DWI or were involved in a crash with victims would not qualify.
Offenders would have to wait five years or complete a six-month ignition interlock program before opting to seal their records.
The bill’s supporters say the legislation is based on the premise that people deserve the shot at a second chance. It received bipartisan support and was backed by former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Although the misdemeanor information would be shielded from most employers when offenders get a second chance, the information would still be visible to law enforcement. Employers in sensitive areas like education and healthcare would have access to the records.
Any first-time offender applying for non-disclosure would need to be up to date with court fines to petition the court to seal their record
Many defendants are punished twice for their crimes. This legislation provides some help. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Texas, please call our criminal defense lawyer today for a free consultation.