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New law re-opens doors after DUI

Perhaps you diligently avoided a DUI arrest because you knew the consequences. If you saw friends or family members struggle for years to rebound after one drunk driving conviction, you may have determined never to allow that to happen to you.

Nevertheless, here you are. In a moment of carelessness, you got behind the wheel of a car and found yourself at a police station having your blood drawn for a blood alcohol test. You may have many questions about what happens next and how that single moment may affect the rest of your life.

The cost of a DUI conviction

A DUI conviction does not come cheap. After fines, fees, insurance increases and other penalties add up, you may end up shelling out thousands of dollars. A judge may order you to attend alcohol counseling or driver education classes. Your conviction may also require you to install an ignition interlock device on your car, which includes a monthly service charge.

However, the one thing that may concern you more than the financial cost is having a DUI conviction on your record. If you have intentions of looking for a new job in the future, a DUI conviction may curtail that dream. Employers frequently check criminal records of applicants, and seeing a DUI conviction on yours will certainly have an impact on a potential employer's decision to contact you for an interview.

Second chances for first-time offenders

Fortunately, there is a new law on the books in Texas that may assist you if you are dealing with a DUI conviction. The new law contains the following factors:

  • First-time DUI convictions are sealed from public view.
  • Your BAC level must be lower than .15 to qualify for this relief.
  • Your DUI arrest cannot result from a multi-vehicle accident.
  • Your DUI conviction remains open if you have other more serious criminal convictions on your record.
  • You may petition to have your DUI retroactively sealed if the conviction occurred prior to the enactment of the new law.

These changes in the law may help you in some ways; however, there are certain state and criminal agencies that will still have access to the information. The general public will not be able to see it, though.

Having a criminal defense strategy as soon as possible after your arrest is another way to attempt to avoid the long-lasting damage of a DUI conviction. Since the 15-day deadline to schedule a hearing about your license revocation will pass quickly, you would do well to seek legal assistance at your earliest opportunity to take advantage of every opportunity to protect your future.

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