Offenses that involve driving while intoxicated (DWI) can carry significant and long-lasting consequences. However, after you’ve completed the terms of your sentence, you may be eligible to petition the Texas court for an order of nondisclosure that will seal this DWI offense. Although an order of nondisclosure does not remove or erase this offense from your criminal record, it does prevent law enforcement agencies and the court from sharing this information with the public. The following information gives a brief overview of the eligibility requirements. If you’re interested in pursuing an order of nondisclosure, contact a skilled Pearland criminal defense lawyer to discuss your situation.
What is an Order of Nondisclosure?
The Texas Office of Court Administration defines an order of nondisclosure as “a court order prohibiting public entities such as courts and police departments from disclosing certain criminal records…[it] also legally frees you from disclosing information about your criminal history in response to questions on job applications.” An order of nondisclosure allows you to breathe a bit easier, as you are no longer required to report this piece of your criminal history when applying for housing or employment. To petition the court for an order of nondisclosure regarding your DWI offense, you need to meet specific criteria before you may proceed.
Texas Eligibility Requirements For All Orders of Nondisclosure
Before you can proceed with pursuing an order of nondisclosure for your DWI offense, you have to meet some basic requirements. It’s not possible to obtain an order of nondisclosure if, at any time, you’ve been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for: (1) offenses compelling you to register as a sex offender; (2) offenses involving family violence or affirmative finding of family violence; or (3) serious crimes, such as murder, aggravated kidnapping, stalking, sexual assault, etc. If one of these offenses is part of your criminal history, you cannot obtain an order of nondisclosure at any time, even if your DWI offense may otherwise be eligible.
Petitioning For a DWI Nondisclosure
If you meet the criteria for pursuing an order of nondisclosure, you should then determine whether you also meet the DWI order of nondisclosure requirements. In Texas, a DWI first offense may be eligible for an order of nondisclosure. To be eligible, you must have successfully completed your sentence, including paying all fines and costs. In addition, you do not qualify if your case involved a BAC of more than 0.15 or a motor vehicle accident involving another person, including a passenger. You must also not have been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for any offense (aside from a fine-only traffic violation). The court will then consider whether issuing an order of nondisclosure is in the best interest of justice, and you must have observed the required waiting period (typically between 2-5 years) before filing your petition.
To learn more about whether you’re eligible to pursue an order of nondisclosure in Brazoria County, Pearland, or the surrounding Houston area, call the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC today at (832) 230-0075 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated criminal defense attorney.