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 Buford & Gonzalez help you and/or your loved ones. Call us today for a private and free case review.