img

New ‘Second Chance’ Record Sealing Law in Texas

July 13, 2017

  • Free Eligibility Test
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott just recently signed a bill into law allowing first-time DWI offenders to petition to have their criminal record sealed. House Bill 3016, termed the “Second Chance Bill,” allows people convicted of one low-level offense – including a DWI with a blood alcohol level under 0.14 or nonviolent Class C misdemeanors – to request that the record be sealed. The law applies to offenses committed before, on, or after September 1, 2017.

    The thinking behind this bill is that first-time DWI offenders will opt for an ignition interlock on their vehicle, which ensures that the driver is sober behind the wheel. By using the interlock device for a period of 6 months, the record may then be sealed once all other requirements are met. Accepting this option would allow the case to be sealed after a period of 2 to 3 years (after completion of sentence). Otherwise, the waiting period to remove the DWI offense stands at 5 years. Under the law, petitioners must complete all the terms of their sentence and pay all fines and restitution. Furthermore, petitioners must not have struck a pedestrian or vehicle with someone inside, nor can they have had a prior DWI conviction. As mentioned, not only are DWI convictions eligible, but the law also extends relief to those with a low-level misdemeanor conviction.

    The move is a major step in helping those with a criminal record move beyond their past mistake. State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, introduced the bill because she believes low-level offenders shouldn’t face permanent punishment even though they’ve paid their dues and have already faced penalties. Rep. Thompson stated, “If we are going to require a person to be penalized for a mistake they have made, once that penalty is over with, they have fulfilled the obligations of that penalty. They ought to be given an opportunity to make a living. They ought to be given an opportunity to have a place to live.” (Source: Cision)

    Many people know first-hand the numerous ways in which a criminal record can negatively affect their life. Applying for an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas, which is essentially a record seal, can be a complicated process if attempted by oneself. It’s recommended to seek the assistance of an attorney or law firm experienced in such legal matters.

  • SEE IF YOU QUALIFY
  • Latest News

    img

    Evans v. Cook County State’s Attorney

    On September 2, 2021, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision on Evans v. Cook County State’s Attorney. The decision resolved two questions that have been causing delays in the lower courts of Illinois in matters of firearm rights restoration. 

    Read More
    img

    What Is a NICS Background Check, and How Can an Expungement Help?

    If you have a criminal record, you could be prohibited from buying a gun. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is the federal system that federal firearms licensees (FFL) such as gun shop owners, pawn shop owners, and retailers use to determine whether a person is legally permitted to purchase a firearm.

    Read More
  • SEE IF YOU QUALIFY