If you were previously convicted of a DWI in Texas, you are now eligible to have that incident sealed to prevent potential employers and others from finding in a background check. Texas House Bill HB3016 went into effect on 9/1/2017, and applies to most first offense DWI convictions in Texas after a 2-year waiting period and an otherwise clean history.
Technically, the process is called a petition for an order of nondisclosure of criminal history, but it is commonly referred to as a seal. It prevents most employers and private citizens from finding out about your conviction via a background check search.
Who is eligible for a DWI record seal?
- You were convicted of a 1st offense DWI in Texas (a Class C Misdemeanor)
- It is 2 years after a 1st offense DWI conviction.
- It has to have been a case where the BAC result was less than .15, or (under twice the legal limit).
- You must have completed a six-month term with an alcohol-detecting ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
- You have to have paid all fines, fees, and successfully completed all terms of probation.
What if I didn’t get an interlock device?
The waiting period for a record seal is 5 years without an ignition interlock as part of your conviction sentence.
What else can disqualify me from getting my DWI sealed?
- Second or multiple offenses are not eligible.
- A case with a BAC result over .15 is not eligible.
- Any accident where there was another person.
- Other serious criminal activity on your record can disqualify you, including a domestic violence charge.
Why should I get my record sealed?
The main benefit of sealing a DWI conviction is that it removes it from public view. that means that a private employer cannot see it, as well as any neighbors, mother-in-law, girlfriend, or anyone else who looks at a criminal background check.
If you are a parent, schools or volunteer organizations do background checks for anyone who wants to coach a sports team, or chaperone a school field trip.
With the advent of online background checks, our lives are an open book to the world. There is a need to edit out our missteps so that we are not denied opportunities to obtain the jobs we deserve, the girl of our dreams, the respect of our community or other life opportunities.
The value of the employment benefit alone can be thousands of dollars per year.