How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Record in Texas?
If you have been arrested for a DWI or DUI in Texas, it is likely that one of your primary concerns that you shared with your DWI lawyer is making certain that your DWI or DUI does not remain on your criminal record.
If your blood alcohol concentration level was under .08, there is a very good chance that your DWI lawyer was able to resolve your case in a manner that would qualify you for an expunction. However, if your blood alcohol concentration level was over .08, you may still qualify for a non-disclosure.
In order to make certain that your DWI case can be removed from your criminal record, it is important to know the rules for getting a DWI expunged or sealed from your criminal record.
It is a common misconception that a DWI conviction will “drop off” your record after a certain period of time. Some people believe they must only wait 7 years or 10 years and the DWI will automatically fall off their record. However, this is not true according to Texas law.
Under Texas law, a final conviction for a DWI that does not meet the conditions mentioned below, is a conviction that remains on your criminal record for the remainder of your life. In other words, if your DWI case is not resolved in the right way, your DWI arrest and record will remain on your criminal record forever. Let’s examine the rules.
Can I Get My DWI Case Expunged From My Criminal Record?
In order for your DWI to qualify for an expunction in Texas, you must have either received a not guilty verdict at a jury trial or a dismissal prior to trial. These are the only instances in which a DWI case is eligible for an expunction.
Can I Get My DWI Case Sealed or Non-Disclosed From My Criminal Record?
Until recently, DWI cases in Texas were not eligible for a non-disclosure. In 2015, Texas Government Code Section 411.0731 and 411.0736 were provided by the Texas Legislature to provide non-disclosure options for DWI cases involving DWI probations and jail sentences. In 2019, Texas Government Code Section 411.0726 was added to cover DWI deferred adjudications.
To be eligible for a DWI nondisclosure, you must have been convicted for a DWI that was NOT classified as a DWI over .15 enhancement under Texas Penal Code Section 49.04(d), or received a deferred adjudication for any DWI offense under Texas Penal Code Section 49.04 or 49.06.
This is important – you must meet the following conditions to be eligible for a DWI nondisclosure:
- You must have successfully completed your sentence
- You must have paid all your fines, costs and restitution required.
- You must not have had ANY prior convictions or deferred adjudications for any crime other than a class C citation.
- You must also show that it is in the interest of justice to grant the nondisclosure order.
Additionally, if the State of Texas is able to prove that your DWI involved a motor vehicle accident involving another person, you will NOT be eligible for a nondisclosure. In fact, the car accident does not have to involve injuries or damages, just the presence of another person at the scene of the accident – including any passenger’s in your car.
For instance, what if your DWI involved a one-car accident in which you were the only person in the car? Here, you would be eligible for a nondisclosure. However, if your DWI involved a minor single car accident with a passenger in your car, you would NOT be eligible for a nondisclosure.
How Long Must I Wait Until I Can Get My DWI Nondisclosed?
Texas DWI law sets different waiting periods for a nondisclosure based upon the type of sentence you received and whether you had an ignition interlock device as a requirement of your DWI probation.
If you received a Deferred Adjudication probation on your qualifying DWI case, you must wait 2 years from the completion of your deferred adjudication before you are eligible to file for a nondisclosure.
If you received a straight probation or community supervision, how long you must wait to file for a nondisclosure will depend upon whether you had an ignition interlock device as a condition of your probation. If you volunteered or were required to have an ignition interlock device for at least 6 months of your probation, the waiting period for a DWI nondisclosure is 2 years.
If you were sentenced to a jail sentence for your DWI case, you must wait a period of 3 years if you complied with a condition of sentence requiring an ignition interlock for at least 6 months.
What if you completed a probation for DWI but did not have an ignition interlock device for at least 6 months? Under this situation, you must wait 5 years before you are eligible for a DWI nondisclosure.
What Steps Must I Take To Get My DWI Nondisclosed?
If you have completed your DWI deferred adjudication or probation and qualify based upon the conditions listed above, you must then do the following:
- File a Petition for Nondisclosure with the County Criminal Court,
- Pay a $275 – $325 filing fee to the County
- Attend a Nondisclosure hearing and receive the judge’s signature on the court orders
- Ensure all the appropriate agencies receive copies of the court orders for compliance
If you need assistance getting your DWI case expunged or nondisclosed from your criminal record in Tarrant County or Dallas County, Texas, don’t hesitate to contact The Hampton Law Firm for a free consultation.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.