Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious crime and the state of Texas is infamous for harshly prosecuting those charged with DWI. The penalties for DWI upon conviction include jail time, expensive fines, community service, completion of an alcohol or substance abuse program, and even insurance surcharges. Unfortunately, these are just the statutory penalties. Many DWI offenders also face collateral consequences even after they’ve finished their sentence.
Many professionals use public records to look up the criminal history of potential employees. If they find a DWI arrest, charge, or conviction on your record, it could cost you a potential job opportunity. The same goes for professional licensing agencies and even some universities will require you to disclose your criminal history and may deny you because of it. It could even affect your ability to obtain housing.
If your prior DWI arrest, charges, or conviction is affecting your life, then we urge you to look into expungement. You may be able to expunge or even seal your criminal record if you qualify. If you successfully file a petition for expungement, then employers will no longer be able to access your record and you can deny the DWI in an interview.
DWI Expungement Brownsville Attorney, TX | Sealing Records in Texas
When you have a criminal record, it’s a death sentence for certain careers. That is why it’s incredibly important you explore your legal options to see if your charges, arrest, or conviction qualify for expungement or non-disclosure. The best way to do this is with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney like the legal team at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. .
Brownsville DUI defense lawyer Johnathan Gracia and his team have helped many clients scrub their records by pursuing a petition for expungement or non-disclosure. He can assess your record to determine if you qualify and then set up a plan designed for you. Schedule up your first consultation with The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. by calling our office at 956-504-2211.
The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Cameron County and Willacy County area including Brownsville, Harlingen, La Feria, Olmito, Palm Valley, Rio Hondo, San Benito, Lyford, Raymondville, and San Perlita.
- Can You Get a DUI Off Your Record?
- Texas Expungement Process
- Seal Your DWI in Texas
- Additional Resources
Can You Get a DUI Off Your Record?
In some instances, yes you can wipe a DUI off your criminal record. The extent of which that record is destroyed depends on whether you pursue expunction or non-disclosure. Non-disclosure basically means you’ve sealed your criminal record, but some licensing agencies and governmental agencies will still have access to it. Expungement, on the other hand, is when you record is completely destroyed and no government or licensing agency can access it.
According to the Texas Criminal Code Section 55.01, you cannot expunge a DWI conviction off your record. However, if any of the following scenarios applies to your prior DWI, then you may be able to expunge the arrest or charges off your record.
- You were arrested for DWI, but later acquitted
- You were convicted of DWI, but later pardoned
- You were arrested, released, and never charged with DWI
- You were arrested and charged with DWI, but were then released and the charges never lead to any type of conviction or community supervision
- You had your charges reduced and then dismissed
- You were charged and convicted of DWI, but the charges were then acquitted by the court of criminal appeals in Texas
It’s important to understand if you have plead guilty or you were convicted of DWI, then you will not qualify for expungement. That includes deferred adjudication. However, you can petition to seal a first-time DWI conviction.
Expungement Process in Texas
The best option in any criminal case is to pursue expunction if you qualify. If you wish to expunge your DWI records, you must follow the procedures set forth in the Texas Criminal Code Procedures Section 55.02. You will be referred to as the petitioner during the expunction process since you filed the petition, and the state would be the respondent.
You must submit a petition for expungement within 30 days of your DWI being acquitted, dismissed, pardoned, or appealed. In order to file a request for expunction, you must include the following information in your petition.
- Identifying information including name, sex, race, date of birth, driver’s license number, social security number, etc.
- Details of the DWI incident
- The date of arrest
- The date charges were filed
- The municipality or county where the arrest occurred
- The law enforcement agency that arrested you
- The name of the law enforcement agency that arrested you
- The case number and court number for the DWI case
Once you send over the petition, the court will set up a formal hearing to review it. Other applicable agencies including the prosecutor for the case will be given notice of the hearing. They can then attend the hearing as respondents and even argue against expunction.
If the court determines you meet the necessary requirements for expunction, they will grant the petition.
How to Get a DUI Sealed in Texas
For most, expunction isn’t an option. The criteria for expungement are incredibly strict and if you’re convicted or plead guilty, then you’ll be automatically disqualified. Thankfully, there are other options. You can seal a DWI conviction if it’s your first offense and you meet certain requirements. Sealing your record can be done in Texas by filing an Order of Non-Disclosure.
You’ll be able to seal your DWI conviction off your record if:
- You were never convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any other offense
- You completed all imposed community supervision orders, or any term of confinement ordered by the court
- You paid all fines, restitution, and court costs involved with the case
- No accident occurred because of your DWI
- You completed the relevant waiting period
- Two years if you completed at least six months of driving with an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Five years if you did not have an ignition interlock device required as part of your sentence
Certain DWI offenses will not be eligible for a record seal. These include:
- DWI involving property damage
- A 2nd or 3rd DWI offense
- DWI with a BAC of .15 or above
- DWI that happened in the last two years or five years depending on if an ignition interlock device was required as part of the sentence
Expungement Procedures in Texas– Visit a document provided by the Texas Young Lawyers Association that explains expunction in Texas step by step. Find more information about expungement, non-disclosure, the difference between the two, how juveniles are handled for expungement, and other important information.
Texas Criminal Code | Expungement– Visit the official website for the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure to read more about the laws surrounding expungement. Find more information about how to qualify for expungement, how to seek expunction for a deceased person, and process for expungement in Texas.
Cameron County Record Sealing Attorney | DWI Expungement Texas
Have you been haunted by a prior DWI conviction, charge, or arrest? Has your criminal record hindered you from obtaining certain jobs, housing opportunities, and professional licenses? If so, then we urge you to look into your legal options with The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. Our Brownsville DWI defense lawyers at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. have over ten years of experience helping citizens expunge or seal their criminal records. They can utilize their knowledge, skills, and resources to help you.
Call The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. today at 956-504-2211 to set up your first consultation. The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Cameron County and Willacy County area including Brownsville, La Feria, Olmito, San Benito, Rio Hondo, Port Isabel, Palm Valley, Los Fresnos, Harlingen, Lyford, San Perlita, and Raymondville. We also accept clients in the Hidalgo County area.