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Texas DUI and Expungement

Drivers arrested for drunk driving or DWI in Texas may find after they have been convicted of drunk driving that there are long-term consequences that they were not expecting. A driver asked on our DWI forum recently if they could get their Texas DWI Class B Misdemeanor conviction expunged from their driving record. This is a common question and a consideration that many drivers have after they have paid their drunk driving fines, served their time in jail or probation and are ready to move on with their lives. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Texas Department of Criminal Justice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"]Texas Department of Criminal Justice[/caption]

What does expungement do?

  Whether you are applying for a new job or purchasing a fire arm it is not unusual for a back ground check to be done. If you have a DWI conviction many times this must be disclosed on certain types of documents or applications, eliminating your chance of working in certain professions.  Additionally, a DWI can also be a public embarrassment. What happens if your record is expunged? It may allow you to avoid listing the DWI and eliminate the stigma of a DWI on your record. For instance, if your DWI was expunged you do not have to admit you have been arrested or charged for DUI or provide details of the Texas DWI, only that your record has been expunged (this includes the right to refuse to answer questions at a criminal proceeding). Additionally, not only do you no longer have to disclose the arrest on a job or education application, you also will have the right to hold office, own a gun and vote.

Expunging a Texas DWI conviction from your driving record

  Texas DWI law does not allow all types of convictions to be expunged (for more information review Tex. Code Crim. Proc. § 55.01.).

When is expungement allowed after a Texas DUI?

  • If the driver was arrested and acquitted.
  • If the driver was arrested and convicted but later pardoned.
  • If the driver was arrested for DWI but subsequently released and not convicted
  • If the driver was arrested, tried and convicted of a Texas DWI but was later acquitted by the court of criminal appeals.

What is the expungement process?

  Many drivers who are requesting an expungement will want to talk to a DUI lawyer. Otherwise the driver should refer to Tex. Code Crim. Proc. § 55.02 for more information about the procedures to complete the expungement process. To request an expungement after your acquittal you must submit a petition for expungement along with the court’s order. The court will need additional personal information from you including your age, name, sex, rate, and driver’s license number. The petition should also detail the charges against the you, the date the offense occurred, when the you were arrested, the county where the arrest occurred, the case number, the court of the offense and the list of law enforcement agencies who may have criminal records which need to be reviewed.

Options if you have been convicted of DWI in Texas

  If you have been convicted of DWI in Texas, as mentioned above, expungement is not an option unless you are pardoned or the verdict is overturned by the court of criminal appeals. What can you do? You may the right to seal your criminal record. Unfortunately, sealing your record will not eliminate many non criminal justice agencies from reviewing your record. Groups that will still have access to your criminal record can include the State Board for Educator Certification, the Texas Medical Board, the Board of Law Examiners, the State Bar of Texas and many more.
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