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Texas law aims to help first-time drunk driving offenders

People who are facing a drunk driving charge in Texas might soon have a second chance at having a clean record. For people who haven't faced criminal charges before, HB 3016 could enable them to have the drunk driving offense sealed upon meeting certain conditions.

You should realize that this program does come with conditions, but these should be fairly easy to comply with for people who truly want to get back on the right path. If you are facing a first time drunk driving charge, consider these points about the new program:

2 possible avenues for the application

In drunk driving cases, there are two ways that you can meet the requirements to have the conviction sealed. The first is that you can wait for five years after you complete your court-imposed sentence. This means that you would have to do everything the court says before the five-year period begins.

The second option is to pay to have an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle. After you have successfully used the ignition interlock device for six months, you might be eligible to have the record sealed.

The ignition interlock option

Choosing the ignition interlock option may seem like a no-brainer to some people, but you have to think about what it actually means. The cost is prohibitive for some people. In most cases, there is an installation fee and then a monthly monitoring fee.

Another thing to consider is that you won't be able to drive any vehicle with the ignition interlock on it during the six-month period. This means that if you are going to drive company vehicles, your company would need ignition interlocks installed on those vehicles. You would need them on any personal vehicles that you drive.

While the ignition interlock is on your vehicle, you might not want anyone else to drive it because if they blow a blood-alcohol concentration that is above the threshold set by the monitoring company and court, it could affect your six-month period. This is another factor that might impact your life when you are trying to successfully complete the program so you can get the order of nondisclosure from the court.

The decisions that you make during your drunk driving defense case must be based on what you can realistically do and the circumstances of the case. You should explore the options that you have available and evaluate how each option will impact your life.

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