In most cases, a DWI conviction will remain on your record forever in Texas. Most DWI convictions are not eligible for expungement (removal) or non-disclosure. Your DWI will show on a background check each time someone searches for you. That means it can hold you back from getting a job, renting an apartment, or even living in certain neighborhoods managed by homeowners’ associations.
Non-Disclosure of DWI Convictions
In 2017, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3016 into law, giving Texans convicted of a number of nonviolent criminal offenses, such as DWI, an opportunity to petition the court for an order of nondisclosure.
“Nondisclosure” means that the court seals your record. If the court seals the record of your DWI conviction, private entities conducting background checks will not be able to see it; only certain government employees will.
Under the new law, DWI convictions are eligible for a nondisclosure order, but only when they meet certain requirements:
- It was your first DWI offense.
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was less than 0.15 percent.
- You have completed your court-imposed sentence (e.g., incarceration or community service).
- You have paid all court-imposed costs (e.g., fines and restitution).
- You have not been convicted of and are not in deferred adjudication for any other criminal offense (except minor traffic violations).
- You have completed the required waiting period.
You must also install an ignition interlock system on your vehicle for six months or wait five years after finishing your sentence or community supervision.
Record Expungement in Texas
If you were never convicted for a DWI arrest in your past, you may be able to petition the court for record expungement. Expungement is even better than nondisclosure: rather than your arrest getting sealed, it gets completely wiped off your record. As a result, no one can see it, even high-level government officials.
In general, the only records eligible for expungement in Texas are ones where a conviction was never entered into the court record. But every case is different. A DWI defense lawyer can go over yours and let you know the options for which you might be eligible.
Criminal Records and Background Checks
The information that appears in a criminal background check can have far-reaching implications for your life. Many employers conduct criminal checks on potential new hires, particularly when the job involves driving, handling company money, or using firearms. A DWI conviction in your background report may cause a prospective employer to take pause.
If you have been convicted of DWI or another crime, it may be a good idea to run a background check on yourself to see what shows up. An attorney can help you do this. Based on the results, a lawyer can advise you on what steps to take to remove negative information from your criminal record that may be affecting your life and career.
How a Texas DWI Lawyer Can Help
If you have been arrested for DWI or are currently facing a DWI charge in Texas, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer right away. A DWI conviction can have major ramifications for the rest of your life, and there are a number of ways an attorney can defend you and keep you from getting convicted. Depending on the circumstances, a lawyer can establish reasonable doubt and fight for an acquittal, or help you plead down to a significantly lesser charge.
In some cases, a DWI lawyer can persuade the prosecution to forgo filing charges entirely. This will likely only be possible if you get an attorney involved immediately.
If you have already been convicted and want your DWI off your criminal record, a lawyer can review your options and help you accomplish that. The Texas courts can be difficult to navigate, but with the right attorney on your side, you can move on with your life and no longer worry about being held back by your DWI.
Call 855-600-6695 Today for a Free DWI Case Evaluation With Eddington Worley
A Texas DWI lawyer at Eddington Worley wants to help you move beyond your DWI arrest or conviction. We fight for the rights of those accused of driving while intoxicated because we believe that a mistake should not hold you back for the rest of your life. Our team offers a free consultation, where we sit down with you, go over your case, and advise you of your options. To speak with a member of our staff, call 855-600-6695 today.