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State bill offers new option for first-time DWI charges

Drunk driving in Texas can result in a variety of penalties, including fines and license suspension, fines and possible imprisonment. In September, a new state law will go into effect that will hopefully make roads safer. The law will also offer those facing a DWI charge for the first time an opportunity to wipe their records clean.

A Republican state senator as well as the Democractic chairwoman supported the initiative, known as the second chance bill. Mothers Against Drunk Driving also endorsed the legislation. The state governor recently signed the bill into law.

The bill states that a first-time offender who has not caused an injury or damage to any property can petition for a non-disclosure of the DWI. This petition must come after the person has completed an ignition interlock for six months. This means that the DWI will be removed from someone's record once the non-disclosure requirements are met.

Under current law, a person required to install an ignition interlock had to wait five years before he or she could apply for the non-disclosure. Representatives from MADD report that the interlock devices have proved effective in decreasing repeat incidences. Proponents of the bill believe that this will lead to safer roads and also give people an opportunity to make a new start with their driving records.

When someone is charged with DWI, it is important to understand all options available to mount a defense. A Texas defense attorney can thoroughly explain the legal process and recommend the next steps. An experienced lawyer will diligently work to minimize the negative consequences on a client's life.

Source: wbap.com, "New State Law Provides More Options for First-Time DUI Offenders, Prevents Drunk Driving", June 19, 2017

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