Texas’ 2nd Chance Bill: HB 3016
Being arrested, charged, and convicted of a crime carries more than just immediate criminal penalties such as going to jail, paying a fine, being put on probation, or being forced to engage in community service, etc. Instead, being arrested or convicted of a crime can jeopardize one’s future opportunities, too, affecting things like housing, employment, and education.
That is why Texas’ second chance bill, or House Bill (HB) 3016, may be exactly the thing that those convicted of low-level DWI crimes for the first time may need to get back on their feet again without another obstacle in the way.
HB 3016 is a bill that was signed into law on June 15, 2017 by Governor Greg Abbot, and took effect September 1. The law will allow some first time DWI (driving while intoxicated) criminal offenders charged with low-level crimes to request that their criminal record is withheld from potential employers. The idea is that when a person who has been convicted of a crime in the past can find employment, they are less likely to become a repeat offender, helping to get them permanently out of the criminal system. However, because it is very common for an employer to shirk away from the act of hiring a person with a criminal record, gaining employment post-conviction can be very challenging to do. The new law may change that.
As stated above, the bill would be applicable to some low-level, first time criminal DWI offenders. The timing as to when someone can file for the non disclosure is affected by whether the person’s vehicle was equipped with an ignition interlock or deep lung device. DWI offenders who agree to fit their vehicle with an interlock ignition device as a condition of probation, may file a request that their criminal record not be disclosed to an employer two years after their probation period has ended. If an offender who was convicted of DWI did not do probation there is a 3 year waiting period after the sentence was completed. Likewise, if an offender did not have an ignition interlock device installed then there is a 5 year waiting period. The law does not apply to those who were convicted or place on deferred for any other offenses, nor if the person was involved in an accident with someone other than the offender, nor those who were convicted of DWI charges as a result of having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level greater than 0.15 percent. Further, the law is retroactive. This means that while it did not go into effect until the first of September 2017, those who have been convicted of DWIs in the past may also be eligible to request that their criminal records be withheld from employers.
At the law offices of Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law, our criminal defense lawyer and the rest of our staff are strongly in support of Texas’ second chance bill, believing that even the best of people make mistakes, and that a single mistake should not permanently prevent a person from moving forward with their life.
We would like to remind all those who have been arrested or convicted of DWI that our law firm is experienced in record expunction and nondisclosure, and can help you to learn more about these actions and the new law. To learn more, please contact us today online or by phone to schedule your consultation!