Coming Soon: The New Texas DWI Second Chance Bill

Texas DWI second chanceAny drunk driving conviction is a problem for those harmed during the incident, as well as for the driver behind the wheel. A Texas DWI can carry strict consequences for the offender, some of which carry over well past the day they have satisfied all requirements of their conviction. In particular, the criminal conviction itself can be a barrier to leading a normal life once the DWI dust settles.

Criminal background checks are a standard part of looking for a new job, a place to live or sometimes as a part of applying to certain schools or educational programs. As such, the Texas DWI second chance bill (House Bill 3016) will be enacted September 1, 2017, to allow offenders a better chance at life after a drunk driving conviction.

HB 3016 allows the opportunity for many Texas DWI offenders to have their misdemeanor record sealed after completing a six-month ignition interlock requirement or five years after satisfying all other requirements of the conviction. Texas has expanded access to ignition interlock devices for all offenders, but they are not mandatory in many simple, first-offense convictions.

This second chance is only offered to certain Texas DWI offenders, however. To be eligible, you must:

  • Have no other DWI or alcohol-related convictions on your record.
  • Not have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .14 percent or higher when you were arrested for the incident.
  • Not have caused any harm to another person, neither pedestrians nor other drivers.

A sealed DWI record will still be visible to law enforcement and to the court system but would be hidden from background checks used for employment, housing or educational purposes. That way, offenders are still required to fulfill consequences for their bad judgement, while not being penalized unfairly as they move on from the incident and into a new, better life.