Anyone can make a mistake. When a person makes a mistake, they should have the opportunity to learn from it, fix it, and move on with their life. In Texas, certain types of first-time, low-level offenders are given this second chance at a fresh start. This helps them to obtain employment without their record being a part of their application. Once you have met all of your obligations under the law, Texas's "Second Chance Law" allows you to move on. You can move past a conviction and get on with your life.
If you have been convicted or charged with a non-violent, low-level offense, contact Texas DWI lawyer Jason S. English to fight for your rights and help you to get on with your life.
Texas Criminal Defense Attorney
As a highly experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, Jason S. English has the knowledge and skills necessary to represent you in your criminal case. With 15 years of experience as a prosecutor, he has the trial experience necessary to ensure you are well-represented throughout your criminal case. He knows the prosecutor playbook and will keep you prepared and ready to fight for your constitutional rights.
Whether your case stems from drug charges, a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge, or other low-level misdemeanor or felony case, you have the right to defend your charge or get a second chance after a conviction.
"Second Chance Law"
The purpose of the "Second Chance Law" is to give low-level offenders who did not commit a violent offense a chance to have a clean record when they apply for jobs. Passed as House Bill 3016 in 2017, the law took effect in 2018. It permits those who are eligible to request an order of non-disclosure of their record once they have completed the necessary requirements for the program.
The secondary purpose of the law is to ensure that these types of offenders are punished only once for the crime committed, not forever simply because of one mistake on their record.
Who is eligible for the Second Chance program?
The law is designed for those who are first-time offenders and who are not likely to repeat. To help establish this, Texas law requires a person convicted of DWI to meet all of the following to be eligible for the program.
- The DWI is the offender's first offense.
- The DWI is a misdemeanor, not a felony.
- No person can have been hurt while the offender was driving under the influence.
- At the time of the arrest, the person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .14% or less.
- There are no other unrelated offenses on the person's record.
- The person pays all fines, costs, and any ordered restitution based on the criminal charge.
Although the law did not become effective until 2018, the law is retroactive. This means that even if your DWI or another low-level non-violent conviction occurred earlier, you may still be eligible for this second chance, and a fresh start.
Applying for a Second Chance
If you are eligible for the program, applying can be complicated if you are trying to do it on your own. If you are unsure of your eligibility, it is important you consult an attorney as you do not want to miss out on this second chance if you can get it.
After a conviction, there is a waiting period that you must meet before you can get a non-disclosure order. This waiting period will depend greatly on how your case is resolved. The facts of your individual case will control how long this waiting period will take.
One common situation for those convicted of DWI occurs when a person is sentenced to community supervision and an ignition interlock device is placed on your vehicle for at least six months. When both of these conditions are satisfied (and you meet all of the other requirements), you are eligible to request a non-disclosure order after just two years. Otherwise, the waiting period can be five or more years, depending on your case.
Why Should I Apply for the Second Chance Program?
If you are eligible for the second chance program, you should not pass it up. Those individuals who made a single mistake and were convicted of a crime will have the crime pasted on their record forever if they do nothing about it. Employers will see this criminal record and will be much less likely to hire you as a result. Many employers will immediately throw a resume or application in the trash once they learn of a criminal conviction, even a low-level misdemeanor or first-time DWI.
This could lead you to the trap that is a criminal record: being unable to find and maintain good employment. When that is the case, it makes your life more difficult, more stressful, and a constant battle. You deserve to have a second chance at a new beginning. You have already been punished for the crime, you should not have to suffer for many years to come.
Do I Need an Attorney?
The program requirements are numerous, even more than is listed here because the law is complex. If you choose to represent yourself, you will be expected to know the law the same as an attorney, and you will not be given leniency on the requirements.
An experienced attorney can make sure you meet the requirement before you even apply. Your lawyer will help you meet those requirements, file the proper paperwork, and get a non-disclosure order so that you can go back to living your life. You can move forward without the weight of a criminal conviction destroying your record, and your chance to get a good job will increase.
Consult an Experienced DWI Attorney in Austin, Texas
If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas, or another low-level non-violent offense, it is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney right away. Contact Texas DWI lawyer Jason S. English online or call (512) 454-7548.