Order of Non-Disclosure
You know that Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) conviction you received in Texas several years ago that keeps popping up and making you look bad whenever someone like an employer, friend or colleague runs a criminal background check on you? Would you like to get that burden off your back? Recent legislation makes it possible for many Texans to do just that.
Until recently, there was no real way to keep a DWI conviction from showing up on a criminal background check. But, as of September 1, 2017, you are in luck!
What is an Order of Non-Disclosure (also known as Order of Non Disclosure or Order of Nondisclosure)?
If you’re researched or heard people talking about having their records “sealed,” what this means under Texas law is obtaining an Order of Non-Disclosure. An Order of Non-Disclosure is a court order prohibiting public entities such as courts, police, and the Texas Department of Public Safety from disclosing certain criminal records. It also allows a person to legally deny the information contained in the Order of Non-Disclosure, which is extremely helpful when responding to questions related to employment applications and interviews.
How has the Law Changed Regarding Orders of Non-Disclosure?
Before September 1, 2017, a person could only receive an Order of Non-Disclosure if he or she was placed on deferred adjudication, successfully completed it, and received a discharge and dismissal of the underlying offense. Since deferred adjudication is not available for DWI offenses, this meant a person could NEVER receive an Order of Non-Disclosure for a DWI offense. But on September 1, 2017, House Bill 3016 went into effect, which amended Texas’ Non-Disclosure laws to allow people who have been convicted of a DWI to receive Orders of Non-Disclosures in many cases. And House Bill 3016 is retroactive, which means even if you received a DWI conviction prior to September 1, 2017, you can still obtain an Order of Non-Disclosure.
Who is Eligible to Receive an Order of Non-Disclosure for a DWI Conviction?
House Bill 3016 allows for an Order of Non-Disclosure for people who have been convicted of a first-time DWI offense with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) less than 0.15.
If you meet that requirement, you should be able to obtain an Order of Non-Disclosure as long as you meet these additional requirements:
You must have never been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for any other offense greater than a Class C Misdemeanor (traffic citations won’t disqualify you);
You must have completed any community supervision (probation) or jail sentence that was assessed against you;
You must have paid all of your fine, court costs, and any restitution that was owed; and
Your DWI must not have involved a motor vehicle accident.
If you meet and have satisfied all of the above conditions, you should be eligible to receive an Order of Non-Disclosure.
How Soon Can You Receive an Order of Non-Disclosure After a DWI Conviction?
The Petition for an Order of Non-Disclosure can be filed:
If you received community supervision (probation) and had a deep lung device (breathalyzer) for at least 6 months, you should become eligible 2 years after successfully completing your community supervision.
If you received community supervision and did not have a deep lung device for at least 6 months, you should become eligible 5 years after successfully completing your community supervision.
If you received community supervision but failed to successfully complete it, you should become eligible 3 years after completing your jail sentence, as long as you still had a deep lung device for at least 6 months. If you did not have a deep lung device for at least 6 months, then you should become eligible 5 years.
If you received a jail sentence (no community supervision at all) and did not have a deep lung device for at least 6 months, you should become eligible after 5 years.
Petition the Court to Receive an Order of Non-Disclosure for Your DWI Conviction
The new laws regarding Orders of Non-Disclosure finally provide a way for many Texans to keep their DWI convictions from showing up on criminal background checks. If you think you may be eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure and would like our help, or if you have questions concerning how the new laws apply to you and your specific situation, please contact us today at (214) 227-9812 to learn how we can help!