Texas Second Chance Bill

Just last week the Texas Senate approved and amended Texas’ “Second Chance” Bill.  The bill originated in the House (HB3016).  The idea behind the bill is to support lower level offenders and give them the chance to become productive members of society without the stigma of criminal convictions.   An order for nondisclosure (OND) is governed by Texas Government Code §411.0736.  In the past, the OND only allowed the sealing of records to certain individuals who successfully completed deferred probation for lower level drug, theft and other similar type offenses.

This bill has support from many criminal justice reform agencies, including Texas Public Policy Foundation as well as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  Texas’ crime rate has been decreasing and there is a huge focus on rehabilitation programs for drugs and alcohol.  This is one step closer to allowing offenders to get their lives back.  If this bill passes (which is very likely) these new amendments will apply to cases on or after September 1, 2017.  So here are the details:

The proposed bill broadens the scope of the Order for Non-Disclosure by allowing those convicted of a DWI (so long as the blood results are less than 0.15 and there was not an accident involved) to be eligible for the non-disclosure.  In Texas, DWI and murder are two types of cases where the law does not allow for the option of deferred adjudication probation. (Deferred adjudication is a special type of probation that, if successfully completed, does not become a conviction on one’s criminal record).  So, as the law stands now, anyone who completes probation for a DWI is ineligible for an Order of Non-disclosure.  The new proposal will change that rule.  Persons with NO PRIOR RECORD can become eligible for the sealing or Order for Non-disclosure if they successfully complete probation along with a 6-month interlock ignition device program.  If the 6-month interlock requirement is not met, the waiting period to obtain a non-disclosure is 5 years from the date of discharge of the sentence.

The bill also expands the non-disclosure for sealing additional state jail drug & marijuana felonies after successful completion of community supervision.  These cases will require a waiting period after being discharged from probation, but still offers the chance at change and a clean slate in the eyes of the public.

An order for non-disclosure still allows the government and certain state agencies to see criminal history.  If you are interested in having your records sealed or non-disclosed give our experts a call.  We have successfully obtained Orders for Non-disclosures and Expungements in Texas.