Most convictions are not eligible for expunction in Texas, so you likely cannot get a DWI expunged from your record if you were convicted. However, you may have options for getting an arrest or conviction hidden from your record.
Because arrest records are public in Texas, being accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or another drunk driving offense could affect you for years to come. This is true even if you were never charged, the prosecutor dropped the charges, or your name was cleared in court.
A DWI on your arrest record could cause problems when you apply for a job, rent an apartment, apply for a professional license, or require a background check for other purposes.
Texas Only Allows Expungement in Certain Circumstances
Expunging your record is only possible under specific circumstances in Texas, and only certain offenses qualify. If you were convicted, it is very unlikely you can petition for expungement of your record, no matter the charge. Generally, expungements are reserved for:
- Arrests where the person never faced charges
- The court dismissed the criminal charges
- Some misdemeanor juvenile offenses
According to the State Bar of Texas, there are only two ways an adult convicted of a DWI could qualify for expungement:
- A pardon; or
- An acquittal during the appeals process
This is because anyone convicted of an offense other than a Class C misdemeanor does not qualify for expunction. Texas courts usually charge a DWI as a Class B or Class A misdemeanor offense, depending upon the facts of the case.
Nondisclosure Could Be a Better Option
While expunction is not usually an option if you have a DWI on your record, receiving an Order for Nondisclosure could serve the same purpose. While an expungement clears your record, a nondisclosure order seals the record from everyone except government agencies.
This effectively makes your arrest and conviction invisible to private parties running background checks on you, meaning you will not have to explain your mistake for years to come.
Under Government Code §411.081, you may be able to petition for nondisclosure if you:
- Completed deferred adjudication and received a discharge; or
- Met all requirements of your sentence and other qualifications
According to the Texas Judicial Branch, new laws that went into effect in 2017 make it possible to seal your DWI records under certain circumstances. This includes:
- You do not have any previous offenses or additional charges.
- There were no aggravating circumstances, such as causing an injury accident.
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below 0.15 percent.
- You completed your sentence, license suspension, and paid all fines and fees.
- You waited the mandatory waiting period.
Navigating the Process for Expungement or Nondisclosure
If you need to get a DWI expunged from your record, the process is similar for expungement or nondisclosure. Your attorney will prepare and file a petition with the court where your DWI case was heard that outlines your request. The court will notify all involved parties about an upcoming hearing, putting your request on the court docket.
Your Dallas, Texas DWI lawyer will represent you during the hearing and outline why you deserve to move forward with your life without your DWI arrest, charge, or conviction hanging over your head. This argument will likely focus on the good things happening in your life, how your life has changed for the better, and why your arrest record is holding you back.
During this hearing, the court will decide whether to grant the order of expungement or nondisclosure.
While it is possible to complete the forms and petition the court on your own, this request is essential for your reputation, career, and more. You do not want to miss out on this opportunity because you misfiled the paperwork or failed to present the right evidence to show the court why this order is necessary.
If you are serious about ensuring your one-time mistake does not follow you forever, hire a DWI attorney who handles expunctions and nondisclosures for help.
The Law of Offices Randall B. Isenberg Takes on These Cases
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg may be able to help you petition to have your record cleared or sealed. Mr. Isenberg has more than 30 years of experience, including service as a State District Judge and Chief Felony Prosecutor. In addition to helping clients seeking expunction or nondisclosure, the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg also accepts a range of criminal cases, including DWI and other drunk driving offenses, drug-related offenses, sex crimes, and more.
You can learn more about our services and how we may be able to help with your criminal case, appeal, or expungement by calling us today at (214) 696-9253. We serve clients in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and other surrounding areas.