Expunging DWI Records in Texas
Anyone charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), also known as driving under the influence (DUI) or drunk driving, faces serious legal and financial consequences.
In addition to possible jail time, fines, suspension of driver’s license, and other penalties, a guilty verdict for DWI can also have additional repercussions not imposed by a court or the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Certain professional occupations may be unattainable due to a DWI conviction, such as pursuing a career as a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant. The right to vote and own or possess a gun can also be denied.
However, in some cases, it is possible to “expunge” a criminal record of a DWI offense from the public record. Expunction and the sealing of a record from public view are permitted by Texas law in DWI cases depending on the facts and final disposition of the case by the court.
Every DWI case is different and the facts of the case will determine if an expunction is legally possible. Expunging or sealing a criminal DWI record can be difficult, but an experienced DWI attorney can determine if a particular case is eligible for expunction or sealing and if either is likely to be granted by the court.
Expunging Criminal and DWI Records in San Antonio, Texas
Texas law makes expunging any criminal records, including DWI records, difficult. The state Code of Criminal Procedure § 55.01 provides for a criminal record to be expunged, but only in certain situations.
An expunction of a criminal record is permitted in San Antonio, Texas if:
- A person was arrested for a felony or misdemeanor offense, but was later acquitted of the offense;
- A person was convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense and was later pardoned by the Texas governor or the U.S. President;
- A person arrested for an offense was released and never charged with the offense;
- A person was arrested and charged with an offense and was subsequently released from custody, the charge was dismissed or did not result in a final conviction, and the court never ordered community supervision (except in certain misdemeanor cases); or
- A person was tried for an offense, convicted of the offense, and subsequently acquitted of the charges by an appeals court.
No DWI Record Expunction if Convicted of DWI
A person is not eligible for an expunction of a DWI record in Texas if he or she pleaded guilty to or was convicted of DWI (unless acquitted on appeal).
A person originally charged with DWI is eligible for an expunction only if the initial charge was dismissed or reduced to a lower charge and then the reduced charge was ultimately dismissed. If a DWI case is reduced to an “obstruction of a passageway” offense and then he or she received “deferred adjudication,” then the deferred adjudication case may be eligible to be sealed.
Benefits of DWI Record Expunction
After a criminal DWI record is expunged, a person may deny the arrest ever occurred, as well as the existence of any expunction order. Even when questioned under oath in a criminal proceeding, a person whose DWI record was expunged is not required to provide details of the criminal arrest and can legally say simply that the matter was expunged without further explanation.
In addition, while certain criminal records usually must be disclosed on job applications, educational applications, and applications for certain types of governmental assistance, a person whose DWI record was expunged can legally withhold any information about the case.
DWI Record Expunction Process in San Antonio
If a person is eligible to have a DWI record expunged in San Antonio, he or she must follow certain procedural requirements under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 55.02.
If a DWI case results in acquittal, the court is required to enter an order for expunction within 30 days of the acquittal. In addition, the person who was acquitted must submit the following information in a petition for expunction for the court’s signature:
- The petitioner’s full name, sex, race, date of birth, driver’s license number, social security number and address at the time of the arrest;
- The offense charged against the petitioner;
- The date the offense charged against the petitioner was alleged to have been committed;
- The date the petitioner was arrested;
- The name of the county where the petitioner was arrested or the municipality;
- The name of the agency that arrested the petitioner;
- The case number and court of offense; and
- Every law enforcement agency that may information related to the criminal record or files.
Non-Disclosure (Sealing) of a Texas DWI Record under Tex. Govt. Code § 411.081
Most people convicted of DWI in San Antonio will not be able to have their criminal record expunged, but under Texas Government Code § 411.081, anyone who is placed on deferred adjudication with community supervision and subsequently receives a discharge and dismissal is eligible to file a petition for non-disclosure and have their record sealed. However, this is only possible if the DWI case is reduced to a different offense and then successfully completes deferred adjudication.
For a DWI misdemeanor offense, the alleged offender may petition the court for an order of non-disclosure after the reduced or non-DWI offense has been discharged and dismissed. For a felony DWI offense, the alleged offender may petition the court for an order of nondisclosure five years after the reduced offense or different charge has been discharged and dismissed.
Once a criminal record is sealed, a person is not required to disclose that he or she was the subject of a criminal proceeding to any application for employment, information or licensing.
Texas Agencies Permitted to Receive Criminal History Records after Sealing
Many government agencies and all private entities are prohibited from disclosing sealed records publicly, but after a criminal record has been sealed, certain non-criminal agencies or entities are nevertheless entitled to receive information pertaining to a criminal record from a criminal justice agency, including:
- The State Board for Educator Certification;
- A school district, charter school, private school, regional education service center, commercial transportation company, or education shared service arrangement;
- The Texas Medical Board;
- The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;
- The Board of Law Examiners;
- The State Bar of Texas;
- A district court regarding petition for name change;
- The Texas School for the Deaf;
- The Department of Family and Protective Services;
- The Texas Juvenile Justice Department;
- The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services;
- The Department of State Health Services, a local mental health service, a local mental retardation authority, or a community center providing services to persons with mental illness or retardation;
- The Texas Private Security Board;
- A municipal or volunteer fire department;
- The Texas Board of Nursing;
- A safe house providing shelter to children in harmful situations;
- A public or nonprofit hospital or hospital district;
- The securities commissioner, the banking commissioner, the savings and mortgage lending commissioner, the consumer credit commissioner, or the credit union commissioner;
- The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy;
- The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;
- The Health and Human Services Commission;
- The Department of Aging and Disability Services;
- The Texas Education Agency;
- The Judicial Branch Certification Commission;
- A county clerk’s office in relation to a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian ;
- The Department of Information Resources (but only regarding an employee, applicant for employment, contractor, subcontractor, intern, or volunteer who provides network security services to the Department of Information Resources, or a contractor or subcontractor of the Department of Information Resources;
- The Texas Department of Insurance; and
- The Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
Find an Attorney for Expunging DWI Records in San Antonio, Texas
If you were arrested for DWI in Bexar County and want to have your criminal record expunged or sealed, you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney right away to schedule a consultation.
The Parent Law Firm represents clients throughout the greater San Antonio area. Dave Parent is a lawyer experienced in seeking expunction and the sealing of DWI records for people accused of DWI, DUI, or drunk driving. He will thoroughly review your case and help you decide how to pursue an expunction or sealing of records.
Call The Parent Law Firm today at 210-819-4111 if you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and are seeking an expunction or sealing of the records of the case. Your initial consultation is free, and it will begin the process of shielding your records from public view.