New State Law Provides More Options for First-Time DUI Offenders, Prevents Drunk Driving

AUSTIN  (WBAP/KLIF News) – A new state law aimed at making roads safer when it comes to drinking and driving will take effect this September.

Governor Abbott signed House bill 3016, also called the “second chance bill” into law last week.

The bill was championed by Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Longview), Chairwoman Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and the members of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving.

MADD’s Frank Harris said the law provides first-time offenders with more options.

“Essentially a first-time offender who has a blood alcohol level of .08 to .14 and who does not cause an injury or cause a damage to property crash, they can apply for a non disclosure of their DWI soon after they successfully complete six months of an ignition interlock,”  he said.

The non disclosure provision means the DWI would be removed from the offender’s record.

Currently, an DWI offender who does not choose or is ordered to install an interlock has to wait five years before they’re eligible to apply for non disclosure.

Harris said the car breathalyzer has proven its ability to make a dent in drunk drivers on Texas roads.

“These devices have been proven to reduce repeat offenses. Over the last ten years, through our research, we’ve found these devices stopped a quarter of a million attempts to drive drunk in Texas,” he said.

Advocates for the law have argued that its benefits are two fold: it prevents a person from driving drunk on Texas roads and gives a first-time offender a second chance at a clean record.

Harris said the law is the first of its kind to offer more options for a safer future.

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