Sealing DWI Records
The state of Texas is infamous for its stringent DWI laws and penalties. In Texas, a DWI conviction could result in expensive fines, time in jail or prison, participation in an DWI class, community service, surcharges from DPS, among other criminal and administrative consequences. What’s even worse is the negative stigma you may face from peers, potential employers, licensing boards, and other entities due to your criminal record.
Many professionals are hesitant to hire anyone with a criminal history, no matter how qualified they are for the job. The same is true for landlords when searching for new tenants and licensing agencies during their application process. If you have a DWI conviction on your record, it could potentially affect your chances at getting a job, the apartment/house you desire, or further your career with a certification/license.
Thankfully, you do have options. You may be able to expunge or seal your criminal record of your arrest, charges and possibly your conviction. If you expunge your record, all information associated with your case will be destroyed by the court. Sealing your record will mean some entities including governmental agencies may have access to your criminal history, but the majority of people will not be able to access your DWI arrest, charges, or conviction.
Learn more about expunction and record sealing in regard to DWI by reading the article below. If you or someone you know is wishing to seal or expunge their record of DWI, we highly encourage you to get in touch with Houston DWI defense lawyer Brian Benken.
Houston DWI Record Seal Attorney | DWI Expungement Texas
A criminal record has the potential to uproot all your hopes and dreams for the future. That is why it’s within your best interest to contact Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm. With over three decades of criminal defense experience, attorney Benken has the means and resources to help you. He’s assisted hundreds of people who wish to expunge or seal their record with success. Call him today to learn your legal options in the Houston and Harris County, Texas area.
The Benken Law Firm can be reached at (713) 223 - 4051 and your first consultation is free. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area including Midtown, Greenway, Hyde Park, the Fourth Ward, Downtown Houston, among others. He also accepts clients in all parts of Harris County, surrounding counties, and every region in the state of Texas.
- Can a DWI Conviction Be Expunged?
- How to Expunge Your DWI in Texas
- Steps to Seal Your DWI in Texas
- Sealing a First Time DWI Conviction in Texas
- Additional Resources
Can a DWI Conviction Be Expunged in Texas?
Expungement is a legal process in Texas where individuals can request the erasure of an event from their criminal records. Many individuals in the state will pursue expungement if their criminal record is interfering with their goals and livelihood. However, the qualifications for expungement are strict and many offenders are unable to get the order granted because they simply aren’t eligible.
You cannot expunge your record of DWI if you’ve been convicted. The only way you can qualify for expungement upon conviction is if your charges were acquitted in appeals court. Listed below are some scenarios where you can expunge your DWI charges or arrest off your record.
- The charges were reduced or dismissed
- You were arrested and charged with DWI, released afterwards, and the charges never lead to any community supervision or conviction
- You were arrested for DWI, released, and never faced charges
- You were convicted of DWI and pardoned later on
- You were arrested for DWI and later acquitted
It’s important to understand if you’ve been convicted or plead guilty for DWI, then you will not qualify for expunction. If you received deferred adjudication from a judge, then you won’t be able to expunge your charges, but you can seal your records completely.
How to Get a DWI Expunged in Texas
If you can expunge your record, then ultimately that will be the best option because the courts will destroy any and all records related to your arrest or charge. If you’d like to expunge your record of DWI, then you must follow the procedures set forth in the Criminal Code Procedures Section 55.02. If you were acquitted of DWI, you must request a formal expunction within 30 days, or the request will be barred.
After you’ve filed the petition, the court will then schedule a formal hearing. Any other applicable agencies to the case—including local law enforcement and the district attorney assigned to your case—will be given notice of the hearing and will be given the option to attend as a respondent. At the hearing, the judge will give both the petitioner and respondent a chance to present their arguments. In most cases, the respondent will not challenge the expunction, but it may happen.
If the petitioner meets the necessary requirements, then the judge will grant an order of expunction. All records and information related to your arrest and charges will be destroyed by the court. Once the expunction is granted, no one, not even government agencies, will be able to access your criminal arrest or charges.
How to Get a DUI Sealed in Texas
If you don’t’ qualify for expungement, you may be able to pursue an order of non-disclosure instead. Filing an order of non-disclosure in Texas will seal your records from most people with the exception of some government and licensing agencies. Your DWI arrest, charges, and if you’re a first-time offender conviction will be removed from all public records. Private parties will no longer be able to search for them, but government agencies can call upon these prior charges or conviction in future court actions if it’s applicable.
In order to get an order of non-disclosure, you must meet the following requirements:
- You were placed on deferred adjudication community supervision
- You completed the program and was issued an order of dismissal and discharge
- You have a criminal history that qualifies for non-disclosure
- You waited for the appropriate time period to pass to seek the order
- You weren’t convicted of any crimes during the waiting period
If you meet the criteria above, then you qualify for a record seal and can petition for an order of non-disclosure. The court may require a fee to file the petition and in some cases the state may request a hearing. Although they do happen, it’s rare for a judge to permit hearing for people eligible for a record seal.
Sealing Your First Time DWI in Texas
In most circumstances, the courts will not allow you to seal your record of any DWI conviction. However, if it’s your first offense, then you may be able to seal it if you meet certain requirements. These requirements include:
- You were convicted of DWI for the first time
- The offense didn’t involve a crash with another person, which does include a passenger in your own motor vehicle
- The DWI was not a class A misdemeanor where your BAC was .15 or higher
- You were never convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any other crime other than a traffic ticket
- You were put on community supervision, completed the conditions of the program, and paid all fines related to the court including restitution
- If you were sentenced to jail, you served the sentence and paid all related fines and fees
- The applicable waiting period to seal your record has passed.
Listed below are the different waiting periods you must follow if you want to seal your record.
- 2 Years – You had an ignition interlock device (IID) and completed community supervision for at least 6 months
- 3 Years – You completed community supervision and had an interlock device on your motor vehicle for at least six months, however the community supervision was revoked and you were sentenced to jail
- 5 Years – You did community supervision without an ignition interlock device (IID) for at least six months or you were sentenced to jai
How Expunctions Work in Texas– Visit a document provided by the Texas Young Lawyers Association so you can find more information regarding expunctions. Access the site to learn about expungement and non-disclosure orders, the process for expungement when it comes to juveniles, and how to apply for a record seal or expunction.
Texas Expunction Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a collection of laws and regulations regarding expunction and non-disclosure. Access the site to learn the procedures, requirements, and other important information.
Harris County Lawyer DWI Expungement | Clear Your Record of DUI
If you or someone you know wishes to pursue a record seal or expungement, then it’s within your best interest to call Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm. Attorney Benken is an aggressive and experienced criminal defense lawyer that can help you every step of the way. He’s assisted hundreds of people erase their criminal records and have a second shot at a clean slate. Don’t wait another day to pursue a better and brighter future, call The Benken Law Firm.
Call (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation for free. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout the Houston and Harris County area. We also accept clients in other counties and in any region in the state of Texas.