If you are convicted of a DWI in Texas, your arrest, charges, and conviction will remain on your criminal record forever. Although you can’t expunge a DWI conviction in Texas, you can seal it and keep the details of your DWI out of the public eye. For many convicted of DWI, sealing through an Order of Nondisclosure is the next best option.
When Does a Criminal Record Begin?
Many people think a criminal record begins with a conviction, but it happens much earlier than that. When you are arrested by police for the first time, your criminal record begins. Whether or not you’re convicted or ever face formal charges doesn’t matter, and that can make it harder for you to live in your community.
It doesn’t feel good to be treated as a second-class citizen by your neighbors and having a criminal record can make it hard to find housing, employment, and credit. This means that if you are eligible for expungement after your DWI arrest, you should strongly consider seeking it.
What Does Expungement Do?
Expungement makes it as if a criminal record was never incurred. That means that once expunged, an individual’s criminal record is neither accessible to the public nor the government. It’s as if they were never arrested, charged, tried, and/or convicted.
Any DWI for which you may have been arrested and/or charged, but not found guilty, can be eligible for expungement.
Having a criminal record can feel like lugging an anchor by your ankle as you go throughout life. While you might not always think about it, it’s there and can slow you at inopportune times. Expungement can free someone from that feeling of being held back.
Sealing a DWI Conviction
Although it’s not possible to expunge a DWI conviction in Texas, some convictions can be sealed under the right circumstances. Those who qualify can petition for an Order of Nondisclosure, which seals their criminal record for the DWI conviction from the public. Law enforcement and other government agencies, however, can still access the sealed criminal record.
A petitioner for an Order of Nondisclosure must meet the following requirements:
- Their DWI conviction was not a Class A Misdemeanor
- Their BAC was not 0.15 or greater
- The DWI must not have involved an accident with another person, whether they were another driver or passenger, and regardless of whether injuries occurred or not
- The petitioner can have no prior convictions, including probation or deferred adjudication
In addition to these requirements, there is also a mandatory waiting period that someone must wait before their first DWI conviction can be expunged. Waiting periods can last between two and five years.
Do You Need Help with DWI Defense?
If you were arrested for DWI, you still have a chance to beat your charges or secure a better outcome than a DWI conviction. It may be possible to avoid conviction or reduce your charges to a non-DWI offense. With help from an experienced DWI lawyer, you can get the help you need to increase the likelihood of having to think about sealing a first-time DWI conviction in the future.
The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC can provide the legal support you need when you’re searching for a better outcome. Not only can we help with DWI defense, but we can also help those pursue an Order of Nondisclosure for first-time DWI convictions.
Learn more about how we can help during a free phone consultation. Call (956) 606-3606 or contact The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC online to get started.