Prior to 2017, a person facing a charge for DWI was looking at having a permanent conviction on their record for life, as a DWI lawyer Arlington, TX trusts can attest. The law, as written, dictates that a person with a DWI charge is not eligible to receive deferred adjudication probation. Deferred adjudication allows a person to avoid a final conviction and allows for an order of non-disclosure. An order of non-disclosure is a civil petition requesting the Court to make a criminal record unavailable for viewing by private entities. This means that your employer would not be able to see that you were arrested or placed on probation. They wouldn’t be able to see anything at all, unless your employer is law enforcement or associated with the government. A good rule of thumb when thinking about orders of non-disclosure is that if an entity has “State of” in front of its name it would still be able to see the charge on your record even after an order of non-disclosure. An important thing to note is that all that can be seen is that the person was placed on deferred adjudication probation. Your record will never show that you received a conviction for that offense.
Deferred adjudication is a very attractive solution especially to those who are entering the criminal justice system for the first time. However, those facing a DWI charge did not have this option prior to 2017. The Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott thought that a solution should be presented to those who are facing a charge for a first DWI. The criminal justice system sees so many DWIs affecting good people so the Texas Legislature wanted to be able to help those people. A solution was needed in order to prevent these convictions from becoming a part of someone’s permanent record. In 2017, the law changed allowing for a first DWI conviction to become eligible for an order of non-disclosure. A person will still have a conviction, but this conviction will not be seen by many employers when they run a formal background check. Although you still can’t receive deferred adjudication for DWI, you can now get the same result of not allowing an employer to see your past with the new change in the law. There are a few specific conditions that have to be met in order to qualify, but this is solution allows for a person charged with a DWI to have hope and know that their record will not be permanently marred by a criminal conviction.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into DWI law.