What Is The Law On Expunging Or Sealing A DWI In Texas?
The law used to be that you could never seal (i.e. nondisclose) a DWI conviction in Texas. Once you got a DWI conviction, it remained on your record forever. That all changed on September 1, 2007 when a new law went into effect (HB 3016) that allows certain types of first-time DWI convictions to be sealed (i.e. nondisclosed).
What are the Requirements to Get a DWI Nondisclosure in Texas?
The requirements to have your DWI nondisclosed are:
- Your conviction was for a first-time DWI.
- Your DWI did not involve a crash that involved another person, including a passenger in your own vehicle.
- Your DWI conviction was not a Class A misdemeanor DWI involving a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher.
- You have never been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any other offense other than a ticketable traffic offense.
- If you were placed on community supervision (i.e. probation), you completed it and paid all of your court-ordered fines, fees, and restitution.
- If you were sentenced to jail, you served your sentence and paid all of your court-ordered fines, fees, and restitution; and
- The applicable waiting period has passed.
- If you did community supervision and had an interlock device on your vehicle for at least six months as part of your community supervision: 2 year waiting period
- If you did community supervision and had an interlock device on your vehicle for at least six months as part of your community supervision, but your community supervision was revoked and you were sentenced to jail time: 3 years
- If you were sentenced to jail time and never did community supervision: 5 years
Can I Get My DWI Conviction Expunged?
No. The new law does not make DWI convictions eligible to be expunged. If your DWI case was dismissed, however, you may be able to have it expunged. For more information on expunctions, please read my article here.
Can Second or Third DWI Convictions Be Sealed?
No. The new law only allows first-time DWI convictions to be sealed. If you have a conviction for a second or higher DWI, you are not eligible.
Can I Get My DWI Conviction Sealed If I Have Criminal History Besides My DWI?
If you have ever been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any crime (other than a ticketable traffic crime), you are ineligible to have your DWI conviction sealed. It doesn’t matter whether your other convictions or deferred adjudications were before or after your DWI conviction.
However, if your other criminal cases were dismissed, then you are eligible. I can talk to you about having your dismissed cases expunged in addition to sealing your DWI conviction.
Does the Age of My DWI Conviction Matter?
No. The new law applies to all first-time DWI convictions no matter how old.
Does It Matter Whether I Pled Guilty or Was Convicted After a Trial?
No. If you meet all of the requirements, you can have your DWI conviction sealed regardless of whether you pled guilty or took your case to trial.
What Are the Benefits of the New DWI Nondisclosure Law?
The benefits of this new law are tremendous. Once your DWI conviction is nondisclosed, it is sealed from public view forever and you will be able to tell potential employers and government agencies that you have never been convicted or arrested for DWI.
If a private employer does a background check on you, they will not be able to see that you were convicted for DWI. Insurance companies that run your driving history also won’t know that you were convicted for DWI, so it could help lower your insurance premiums.
Law enforcement, however, will always be able to see your DWI conviction. If you are ever arrested again for DWI, your sealed DWI can still be used to enhance your charge to DWI – second.
For more information on Expunging or Sealing a DWI Conviction in Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (713) 936-4521 today.
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