Latest New Non-Disclosure Law – H.B. 3016

Latest New Non-Disclosure Law – H.B. 3016 – Simplified

Now You Can Seal DWI’s under H.B. 3016

As of September 1, 2017 the new non-disclosure laws enacted September 1, 2015 are retroactive. This means that the 2015 laws now apply to any offense date – not just offense dates of September 1, 2015 or after.

Additionally, the new 2017 non-disclosure law under H.B. 3016 allows you to seal some DWI’s – something the old 2015 law did not provide for.

Below is a basic summary of the new laws. Call our office at 832.328.0600 to discuss your particular case and determine eligibility, as the laws are complex.

The new laws are for first-time misdemeanor offenders only

  • The new categories of eligibility for sealing are for first-time offenders charged with certain misdemeanor offenses only
  • If this is not your first case or is your first case but is a felony you still may be eligible to seal it if you fall under the already-established categories of eligibility; call our office or use the contact form on this page for a free confidential discussion..

Automatic non-disclosures

  • For eligible misdemeanors only [misdemeanors which are not excluded or which do not carry a 2-year waiting period to seal]
  • For deferreds only
  • For first-time offenders only
  • Automatic does not mean it just happens – you still have to file a petition and have a hearing
  • The automatic part is that the judge does not have any discretion to deny it “in the best interests of justice” – it must be granted
  • 180 day waiting period from the start of your deferred adjudication
  • Other conditions of eligibility apply, the most important of which is that you must not have pleaded guilty to any case since pleading guilty to the case you are wanting to seal

Standard non-disclosures

  • At the discretion of the judge and can be denied “in the best interests of justice”, a very vague construct but one which we can do nothing about, unfortunately
  • All eligible misdemeanors that carry the 2-year waiting period to seal are standard; some misdemeanors are excluded
  • All eligible felonies are standard – they can all be denied “in the best interests of justice”; some felonies are excluded
  • All eligible felonies carry a 5-year waiting period to seal
  • [All other conditions of eligibility apply]

Non-Disclosures After Straight Probation

  • For eligible misdemeanors only
  • For first-time offenders – this must be the FIRST criminal case you have ever pleaded guilty to – a prior probation or deferred will disqualify you
  • You finished probation successfully – you were not revoked
  • You have paid all fines, costs and restitution
  • 2 year waiting period applies to some eligible misdemeanors
  • [All other conditions of eligibility apply]

Non-Disclosures After DWI Probation

  • For DWI 1st’s only with no accident involving another person including your passenger – so if you had no passenger and hit a tree or a parked car (with no one inside of it) you are eligible but if you had a passenger and hit a tree or a parked car you are not eligible
  • For first-time offenders only – if you have ever pleaded guilty to any criminal charge in the past you are not eligible to seal your DWI 1st
  • Must have successfully completed probation and paid all fines, costs and restitution
  • Waiting period of 2 years or 5 years from date of discharge from probation
  • 2 years if you had a breath interlock on for at least 6 months
  • 5 years if there was no interlock requirement
  • [All other eligibility requirements apply]

Non-Disclosures After Jail Time or Fine Only Convictions

  • For eligible misdemeanors only
  • For first time offenders only – you cannot have pleaded guilty to any criminal case in the past
  • Felony jail convictions still cannot be sealed
  • You must have completed all your jail time [if any] and be out of jail
  • You must have paid all fines, costs and restitution
  • If the judge determines the offense was violent or sexual in nature the judge can deny it
  • 2 year waiting period after release from confinement
  • [All other eligibility requirements apply]

Non-Disclosures After DWI Jail Time

  • For DWI 1st’s only with no accident involving another person including your passenger
  • For first-time offenders only – prior cases will disqualify you
  • You must have served all your time
  • You must have paid all fines, costs and restitution
  • Waiting period of 3 years or 5 years from date of release from jail
  • 3 years if you had a breath interlock requirement for at least 6 months
  • 5 years if there was no interlock requirement

When waiting periods begin

  • Except for automatic non-disclosures waiting periods begin from the date of discharge and dismissal from your deferred adjudication or from the date you are released from jail

Eligibility

  • If you pleaded guilty in the past to certain (not all) offenses (not the case you are wanting to seal) you are ineligible for standard non-disclosures
  • For everyone – If you have pleaded guilty to any charge during any applicable waiting period or after pleading guilty to the case you want to seal you become ineligible to seal that case
  • If you are not eligible your petition will definitely be denied and you are wasting your money
  • If you are eligible your petition may be granted, or it may be denied “in the best interests of justice”, unless it’s automatic – in which case it will definitely be granted

Offenses that are not eligible

Many categories of offenses are not eligible for sealing.

The main categories are:

  • Sexual offenses
  • Child-related offenses (injury, abandonment, endangerment)
  • Family violence

We have had great success helping the people of Houston seal their records so that they can pursue their lives and happiness. If you are interested in having your records sealed, even if you don’t meet any of the requirements above we may be able to to help. Call our office at 832.328.0600 or use the email form on this page for a free confidential consultation and we will put over 30 years of winning legal experience to work fighting for you.