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September 2015 - Robert Littlefield Buford III, Attorney at Law

Can A DWI Be Erased from My Record?

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Let’s say you had a DWI conviction years ago. Your driving record has been exemplary since the conviction. Can you get that conviction removed from your record? The answer is…maybe. Having a DWI conviction erased (which, in legal terms, is an expungement) depends on a variety of factors. In Texas, you must have either had your case dismissed without probation and not pled to any offense that arose out of the DWI arrest or you were found not guilty by a judge or jury, according to Tex. Code Crim. Proc. § 55.01. To make matters worse, if your DWI case was dismissed without probation, you still cannot get a driver’s license suspension removed from your record. If you were found not guilty, you have the ability to get your driver’s license suspension removed from your record. This is a big reason why it makes sense to hire an experienced Austin DWI defense lawyer to advocate for your rights and fight the DWI charge if you are not guilty. In Texas, even a probation deal will result in the DWI staying on your record.

Understanding the Expungement Process

There are procedural requirements that must be followed under Tex. Code Crim. Proc. § 55.02. According to the criminal code, if you are acquitted of the charges, the court must enter an order for expunction for every individual who requests an expunction within 30 days of the acquittal. Again, this is why you should strongly consider speaking to an experienced Austin DWI lawyer. An acquittal can help restore your record to pre-charge status.

Benefits of Having Your DWI Record Expunged

If your criminal DWI record is expunged, you will have the ability to legally deny that the DWI arrest even occurred and the existence of an order granting the expungement. In fact, post-expungement, if you are questioned under oath in a criminal proceeding about an arrest, you do not have to disclose any details of the criminal arrest. You would only be obligated to mention that the matter was expunged from your record. In addition, an expungement means that you do not need to disclose the arrest on job applications, educational applications, and applications for certain types of government benefits.

Another Option – “Sealing” Your DWI Record

Though most individuals convicted of a DWI will not be able to have their criminal record sealed under Tex. Govt. Code § 411.081, some people may be able to qualify. For example, if you or a loved one was charged with a misdemeanor DWI, the alleged offender can ask the court for an order of nondisclosure when the offense has been discharged and dismissed. However, if you or a loved one is facing felony DWI charges, you can only petition a court for an order of nondisclosure after five years from the date the offense was discharged and dismissed. Attempting to have these charges sealed makes sense because you would not be required to disclose they were the subject of a criminal proceeding on an application for employment, a school application, etc.

Speak to an Experienced DWI Defense Lawyer Today

Don’t go through the intimidating and overwhelming experience of trying to navigate the legal system on your own. Let the experienced Austin DWI lawyers at The Law Office Of Robert L. Buford help you and/or your loved ones. Call us today for a private and free case review.

5 Ways to Ensure You Lose Your DWI Case

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A lawyer can only do so much. If you make certain decisions or take certain actions, you can severely hinder your case and make it much more difficult for your Austin DWI defense lawyer to mitigate the charges, or get you acquitted. Below are five ways to ensure you actually lose your Austin criminal defense case

1. Not Hiring an Experienced Austin DWI Defense Lawyer

It is so frustrating to see people try and fight the system alone and get eaten up by a seasoned prosecutor in court. Keep in mind, prosecutors spend their days in court. Most prosecutors enjoy arguing before a judge or jury. If you try and fight your DWI charge pro se (i.e. on your own) there is a good chance you will wind up with a guilty verdict and serious criminal penalties (along with a criminal record). Do not make this mistake. Speak to an experienced Austin DWI defense attorney to advocate for your Constitutionally-protected rights.

2. Allowing Police to Ask You Questions After You’ve Been Arrested

“You have the right to remain silent…” This is the opening salvo of the well-established Miranda warning. Unfortunately, many people do not exercise this right and decide to talk to their arresting officer on the way to the police station. Or, they talk to police officers for hours on end at the station without ever asking to speak to a lawyer. This is a huge mistake since virtually every statement you make post-arrest could potentially be used against you in court. So, if you are charged with a DWI, remain silent and ask to speak to an attorney asap.

3. Accepting the Field Sobriety Test Results

Many people think that if they blew a 0.08 or higher, they are automatically guilty of a DWI. This is simply not accurate. Sobriety test results can be challenged in court and there are numerous cases where these results were determined to be invalid based on defenses such as:

  • The test operator did not have a current certification in administering the Breathalyzer;
  • The Breathalyzer lacked certification; and/or
  • The Breathalyzer was not calibrated correctly.

4. Ignoring the Advice of Your Lawyer

You hired an experienced, qualified DWI defense lawyer. They are working to keep you out of jail and/or to avoid a criminal record. If they give you legal advice, follow it. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. For example, when your lawyer advises you about the attorney-client privilege and the fact that you do not have to tell anyone, and should not tell anyone, your private conversations with your attorney, some people freely talk about their discussions, which may come back to hurt them if the case is tried in court. Another major mistake is being dishonest or consciously withholding information from your lawyer. For example, if you have a prior DWI conviction, that is highly probative information your lawyer must know. Do not think you can just not tell anyone and no one will find out.

5. Posting Statements About Your Case on Social Media

After you are charged by police, social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. can actually be admitted as evidence against you in court. Therefore, do not post anything about your charges, about the police, or about your lawyer while your case is active. Given the advent of social media in the past few years, it seems like people do not fully realize that what you post online can, and likely will, follow you and could be shown to a judge or jury in court.

Consult an Experienced DWI Attorney Today

As you can see, there are many ways you can wind up severely hurting your Austin criminal defense case. You should contact the experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive Austin criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office Of Robert L. Buford. We will protect your rights and advocate on your behalf.