Texas is one of the toughest states for those who are guilty of DWI. If you are facing DWI charges, you might be exploring ways to keep yourself from the consequences of conviction. Expungement is when the DWI is removed from a record as if it never happened. The only way to get your DWI expunged, however, is if you are found not guilty or if the court dismisses your charges outright.
What Does It Mean to Get Your DWI Expunged?
In 2017 of last year, a law passed to help people avoid the potentially devastating consequences of the non-violent offense of a DWI conviction. The new law allows those who are convicted of DWI to seal their criminal record with a non-disclosure order. Therefore, even if you can’t get your case dismissed completely, you can prevent it from affecting your future.
How Does an Order of Non-Disclosure Work?
The average person calls an order of non-disclosure “sealing” someone’s record. When a record is “sealed,” it is no longer able to be accessed by the public, meaning it will be hidden in most instances. Unlike being expunged where it is no longer on your record at all, your conviction remains. However, it is only visible to law enforcement and state and federal employees.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements to Have Your DWI Record Sealed?
Not everyone is eligible to have their record sealed. Certain conditions need to be present for you to to get a non-disclosure order. Those conditions are that you must:
- Be a first-time offender and not be on any community supervision
- Complete any community supervision and the terms of its confinement
- Have paid all costs, restitution, and fines
- Wait a specified period to petition
- If you have completed six months restricted to driving a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device, the period is two years, or
- If you did not have an interlock requirement imposed with your sentence, you must wait five years.
In addition, if an attorney for the state can testify that your DWI had another person, even a passenger, present, you will not be eligible.
A Sealed Record Can Be as Good as Getting a DWI Expunged
If you are found guilty of DWI, then it is not possible for you to get your record expunged. But, the good news is that if you get expert representation, it is possible to have your record sealed. If you meet the eligibility requirements and petition the court after the minimum specified time post-conviction, you might receive an order of non-disclosure. Contact the professionals of Stephen T. Bowling today to discuss what your options are following a DWI conviction. If they can’t build a case for expungement, it still might be possible to get the next best outcome.