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New Texas Law Lets You Seal a Prior DWI Conviction

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

The new non-disclosure laws in Texas, which took effect on September 1, 2017, allow you to clear or seal a prior DWI on your record. This used to be impossible under Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code regarding Petitions for Nondisclosure. Before the new laws, only people that successfully completed a deferred adjudication could apply to have their record sealed. In Texas, deferred adjudication is prohibited for DWI's, whicpeoople who either took probation or jailtime for a DWI. Thanks to the new legislation, you may be eligible to file a petition for nondisclosure even if you didn’t complete a deferred adjudication. In sum, the new legislation creates four additional situations in which you can seal your record which were previously not eligible under the old law:

(1) discretionary non-disclosures after completion of a straight probation;

(2) discretionary non-disclosure after a conviction not involving probation (i.e. jail time served);

(3) first time DWI in which probation was completed; and

(4) first time DWI in which a jail sentence was served.


The easiest way to determine whether you are eligible for a non-disclosure in Texas is to contact a knowledgeable Houston Expungement Attorney or Non-Disclosure Lawyer.


411.074-General Requirements to be Eligible for a Non-Disclosure

All persons seeking a nondisclosure, regardless of which type, must meet some basic requirements:

· no convictions or deferred adjudications on any other cases during the probation served on the case you are trying to get off your record OR during any applicable waiting period after that probation;

· the following offenses are not eligible for nondisclosure: registration as sex offender, aggravated kidnapping, murder, and trafficking offenses, injury to a child, elderly or disabled, abandoning/endangering a child, violation of a protective order; stalking; family violence cases.

· additionally, anyone who has plead guilty to any of the offenses listed above in their past is not eligible to file for a nondisclosure of any future case, whether or not a deferred was completed.


411.073-Misdemeanor convictions following straight probation

Before this section was enacted, only people who successfully completed a deferred were eligible to have their record sealed. Under Section 411.073 of the Texas Government Code, people who completed a straight probation for a misdemeanor (excluding DWI’s and organized crime offenses) can petition the court for a discretionary nondisclosure if they meet the following requirements:

(1) satisfy 411.074;

(2) no prior convictions or deferred adjudications.

There is a 2 year waiting period from the date the probation was discharged for the following offenses: kidnapping, trafficking, sex crimes, prostitution, indecent exposure, public lewdness, assault, deadly conduct, terroristic threat, disorderly conduct, harassment, interference with a 911 emergency call, animal cruelty and weapons charges.


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411.0735-Misdemeanor convictions not involving probation

Under this section, persons who were convicted of a misdemeanor (excluding DWI, organized crime, sexual offenses and violent crimes other than misdemeanor assault) and who served a jail sentence (as opposed to a straight probation) can apply for a discretionary nondisclosure. The person must satisfy Section 411.074 of the Texas Government Code and cannot have any prior convictions or deferred adjudications. There is a 2 year waiting period beginning on the date you complete your jail sentence.


Section 411.0731-DWI Convictions involving straight probation

Persons who served a straight probation for a DWI conviction are now eligible to file for a discretionary nondisclosure as long as they meet the following requirements:

(1) less than .15 blood alcohol content;

(2) no accidents involving another person;

(3) meet requirements of 411.074;

(4) no prior convictions or deferred adjudications.

A 2 year waiting period applies if an interlock device was required for at least 6 months during the probation. A 5 year waiting period applies if no interlock device was required.


Section 411.0736-DWI convictions not involving probation

411.0736 applies to persons convicted of DWI who served a jail sentence instead of completing a probation. The person must meet the following requirements:

(1) less than .15 blood alcohol content;

(2) no accident involving another person’

(3) satisfies 411.074;

(4) no prior convictions or deferred adjudications.

A 3 year waiting period applies if an interlock device was required for at least 6 months. Otherwise, a 5 year waiting period applies.


411.072-Mandatory Non-Disclosures

In addition to the four new situations that are now eligible for nondisclosure, the new legislation created “mandatory” non-disclosures. Before the new law, all non-disclosures were discretionary and depended on the judge making a finding that granting the nondisclosure was in society’s best interest. Now, a judge MUST grant non-disclosures to certain people who meet the requirements of Section 411.072. The requirements are:

(1) the person must have been successfully discharged from deferred adjudication after 9/1/2017;

(2) no prior convictions or deferred adjudications;

(3) does not apply to the following offenses: kidnapping, trafficking, sex crimes, indecent exposure, public lewdness, assault, deadly conduct, terroristic threat, disorderly conduct, harassment, interference with an emergency telephone call, animal cruelty, prostitution, weapons charges, and organized crime;

(4) must meet general requirements of 411.074.


Legislative Intent Behind the New Legislation

Why such a drastic change in policy toward persons with a criminal history? The politicians who sponsored the original bill discuss their reasoning as it relates to the principle that non-violent first-time offenders, while they must pay for their misdeeds, should not have to continue paying for them after serving their sentence. The bill signers express a desire to make it easier for these people to reintegrate into society after serving their time, particularly when it comes to finding a job and obtaining housing. These people are less likely to fall back into old habits and commit new crimes, therefore complying with the requirement that a non-disclosure be in the best interest of society.


To know more or to find out if your prior arrest qualifies for an expunction or non-disclosure in Texas, contact a criminal defense attorney at Mercer & Keirnan by calling 713-236-9700.

Houston Expungement and Non-Disclosure Lawyer

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