The state of Texas is known to be one of the strictest states when it comes to drinking and driving; however, a law was signed into place in September of 2017 that allows first-time DWI offenders the opportunity to apply for a “non-disclosure.”
While this non-disclosure doesn’t remove the DWI from the driver’s record, it restricts who’s able to view the driver’s criminal record. Employers and non-government agencies wouldn’t be able to see the DWI, which would allow the offender to move forward with their life as if nothing happened.
Criminal defense attorneys Crain, Lewis, and Brogdon explained that the new DWI law is an excellent step forward for the state of Texas. It allows those who have made an honest one-time mistake to put the past behind them. It’s important to note, however, that Texas doesn’t make the non-disclosure easy to obtain.
Requirements for Obtaining a Non-Disclosure
All first-time offenders must have misdemeanor offenses, must not have hurt anyone while driving under the influence, their blood alcohol level must have been under 0.15, and they can’t have any other convictions on their record.
If the first-time offender agrees to have an ignition interlock system installed in their vehicles for at least six months and meets all the above requirements, they’ll be eligible for non-disclosure after two years. If the first-time offender refuses to have the ignition interlock system placed in their car but still meets the above requirements, they’ll have to wait five years.
Thankfully, even though this law was put into place in September of 2017, all first-time DWI offenders can apply for non-disclosure if they’re eligible—even if they received their offense before the law was initiated.
Driving under the influence shouldn’t be taken lightly, but people often make mistakes and it’s nice that Texas is making a change in their legal system to recognize that not everyone is perfect. Just because someone makes one mistake doesn’t mean their life should be ruined forever. When the law forces these mistakes to hang over one-time offenders, it can cause more harm than good.
Hopefully, more states will follow in Texas’ footsteps and initiate second-chance laws. It’s important to put restrictions in place so that multiple offenders and those who have caused serious harm don’t go free without consequence. The non-disclosure policy that Texas has put in place seems to be solid middle ground.