Someone who has been convicted of a DUI invariably will often ask: can a DUI be expunged?
The law regarding DWI expungements is complicated in Texas.
If you were convicted of a DWI/DUI then no, you cannot get it expunged. The conviction will remain on your record.
However, if you were arrested for a DUI or DWI, there may be some conditions that allow you to get it expunged.
Here’s a look at how to get a DUI expunged in Texas from an experienced DWI defense lawyer.
Conditions for DWI Expungement
Even if your criminal defense attorney gets the prosecutor to agree to a lesser charge, any conviction after a DWI arrest will make the ability to expunge your Texas record impossible.
However, if your case meets one of the following criteria, then you have a chance:
Your Case was Dismissed
If the judge dismisses the DWI or DUI completely, the arrest and charges may be eligible to be expunged since there was no final conviction. If your attorney successfully argued for a reduced charge and that was dismissed, then the ability to get an expungement still exists.
You Were Arrested as a Minor
In the event that your first and only DUI arrest occurred when you were a minor and you fulfilled your court orders as required, you may be able to have your record expunged as an adult.
There was a Not Guilty Verdict
If you plan to fight your case and are successful in getting a not guilty verdict in the court, then your DWI arrest and charges could be eligible to be expunged.
The Case was Deferred
Judges in Texas have the authority to issue a deferred adjudication probation for first-time offenders. This means that in the absence of a conviction, the accused will complete probation.
Once you’ve successfully completed your probation, you may be eligible for something called a petition of non-disclosure.
You Appealed and Won
If you successfully appealed your conviction, you can apply to have your record expunged.
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Petition for Expungement of a DWI
Drafting the Petition
Drafting the petition is a crucial step in your expungement process. The petition itself must comply with the specific requirements under Tex. Code of Crim. Proc. § 55.02.The Texas code requires:
- The petitioner’s personal information.
- Information about the charge the petitioner wants to expunge.
- The physical or email addresses of every person, business, and government entity with information, records, or files relating to the charge.
- The petitioner’s right to expunction.
- The verification page signed under oath and before a public notary. You should review the drafted petition carefully before signing the document.
- Attach any relevant documents, such as a certified copy of the acquittal or the order of dismissal.
Filing the Petition
You must file the petition in the correct court. The proper court is the district court in the county where:
- The arrest occurred; or
- Where the offense allegedly occurred.
Once you file the petition, the court sets a date for the hearing “no sooner than 30 days” after the filing date. The court also serves notice of the hearing to each person and entity listed in the petition.
Filing the Order for Expunction
At the hearing, the court will determine whether you are entitled to an expunction of your DWI.
If the judge decides in your favor, you must file the expungement order with the relevant parties. This filing completes the long expungement process.
Petition of Non-Disclosure for DWIs in Texas
In 2017, a new law went into effect in Texas that makes some people eligible to file a petition for non-disclosure that will get the charges sealed.
While sealed from some people’s view, the charges will still technically remain on your record.
In order to be eligible to have your records sealed, you must be:
- A first-time offender;
- Not convicted of or received deferred judgment for another crime;
- Not boating or flying while intoxicated;
- Have a BAC below 0.15;
- Completed all terms of probation and sentence, including restitution; and
- DWI cannot involve any accident with another person, even a passenger in your vehicle.
If you meet the qualifications, you may be eligible for the non-disclosure after a certain amount of time, which will vary based on the circumstances of your conviction.
If you were not required to have an ignition interlock device, then this will be the fifth anniversary after probation is completed. If you did have an interlock, it’s the second anniversary of completing probation.
In the event you were sentenced to serve time or paid a fine and were given credit for time served, the waiting period is different as well. Our Waco criminal defense attorneys can explain which waiting period applies to you.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your DWI Expungement
Because expungement does not seal your records but gets rid of the records altogether, an expungement is difficult to obtain. Expungement laws are strict, and the petition process is long and complicated. Delays, errors, and oversights could prevent your right to seek this remedy altogether.
An experienced Texas expungement lawyer will help you navigate the process and ensure that your petition is completed and filed on time.
Contact a Waco DWI / DUI Defense Attorney Today
If you have questions about how to get a DUI expunged in Texas, reach out to an experienced Waco DWI / DUI defense attorney at The Law Office of Simer & Tetens today.