Houston DWI Sealing/Expunction Lawyer
A DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI/DUIA (driving while under the influence of alcohol) conviction can haunt you for years after you have paid your fines, performed your community service, and avoided other arrests. Criminal convictions can show up on background checks when applying for jobs or housing, they can affect your ability to get into the college of your choice, they can affect your credit and ability to get a loan, and they can have consequences on things like immigration or needs-based government programs. Thankfully, your conviction does not have to follow you around forever.
With the help of a seasoned Houston DWI sealing/expungement lawyer at Ayson Law Firm, you may be able to have your DWI or DUI conviction sealed or expunged from your record. Depending on your circumstances, your conviction may only be visible in very limited circumstances (such as in a government background check), or it may be removed from your record entirely. Call a Houston DWI lawyer at Ayson Law Firm to discuss your DWI or DUI conviction today, and find out if you are eligible to have your records expunged or sealed.
Expunging DWI Charges
You may have heard the terms “sealing” and “expungement” used together. While related, they are not the same thing. Sealing will remove your conviction from the public record, making it visible only for limited purposes. Expunging your DWI will cause it to be wiped clean from your record. All records of the expunged arrest and/or conviction “may not be shown or made known for any purpose,” such as a background check, and the defendant “shall be released from all disabilities resulting from the conviction.”
Expungement in Texas is available only in limited circumstances. You can expunge all records of a DWI arrest or conviction only when:
- You were convicted of DUI as a minor. We discuss expunging a DUI conviction in more detail below.
- You were arrested for DWI, but charges were never filed. If you are never charged with DWI, you can have your arrest record expunged, and you will legally be able to state that you have never been arrested for a crime.
- Your DWI case was dismissed. A court may dismiss your DWI charges for lack of evidence or other reasons. If your case is dismissed, you can petition to have all records of the arrest and charges expunged.
- You were found Not Guilty of DWI. If you fight your DWI case through to trial and a judge or jury finds you not guilty, you can have the record of the entire arrest and proceedings expunged from your record.
- You successfully appealed a DWI conviction. You have the right to appeal any criminal conviction in the State of Texas. If you were convicted at trial or upon a guilty plea, and you successfully appeal your conviction, then you can seek to have all records of the arrest, trial, and appeal expunged.
Talk to a dedicated Houston DWI attorney at Ayson Law Firm about your Texas DWI arrest or conviction to learn whether you may be able to have your record cleaned and your DWI court case expunged.
Expunging a DUI Conviction
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI or DUIA) is a charge specifically leveled at minors arrested with alcohol in their system while driving. The Texas Alcohol Code explicitly allows minors convicted of a DUI to have their conviction expunged once they reach age 21. Arrests that did not lead to conviction may also be expunged. While the penalties for DUI are generally less severe than DWI, a DUI conviction can still be a black mark on your record that may cause problems when applying for a job, a professional license, college, or other events involving a background check.
Expungement is only available for a single DUI conviction. If the defendant was convicted for multiple DUI counts or other Alcohol Code violations, they may not be able to secure expungement. The defendant must also have satisfied all conditions of their conviction as ordered by the court.
Expungement does not happen automatically when you hit 21; instead, you must affirmatively petition the court for expungement and prove your eligibility. A knowledgeable Texas DUI defense attorney can help.
Sealing a DWI Conviction
Until recently, there was no way for an adult to hide a DWI conviction in Texas (assuming the conviction was not overturned on appeal). A new law went into effect in September 2017 aimed at giving first-time offenders a break. Often called the “second-chance law,” the law allows defendants convicted of DWI to obtain an “Order of Nondisclosure,” which seals their conviction from public view.
If your conviction is sealed, the court will not release records of your conviction to any third party. Employers, banks, schools, and other institutions performing a background check will not be able to discover your DWI arrest and conviction. If you are asked whether you have a criminal violation, you can say no.
You may apply to have a DWI conviction sealed if:
- You were convicted for DWI that was not a Class A misdemeanor (meaning you did not have a BAC of 0.15 or higher);
- Your conviction did not involve boating or flying a plane while intoxicated;
- You have completed all conditions of your sentence, including confinement, community service, and paying all fines and other costs;
- Your conviction did not involve accident or injury to another person, including a passenger in your vehicle; and
- You have no other criminal convictions (other than minor traffic violations).
You are eligible to petition to seal your DWI conviction after a certain amount of time has passed. The time limit is different depending on the nature of your circumstances. The time frames are:
- Three years after completing your sentence if your conviction included at least six months of having an ignition interlock system installed on your car; or
- Five years after completing your sentence if you did not have to use an ignition interlock system.
Clean Up Your Record With the Help of a Seasoned Houston DWI Defense Lawyer
Your DWI or DUI conviction does not have to follow you for the rest of your life. The dedicated Houston DWI expungement lawyers at Ayson Law Firm can help. We provide knowledgeable, effective advice and representation to defendants arrested, charged, or convicted of DWI or DUI/DUIA in Houston, Texas. Call the Houston DWI defense lawyer at Ayson Law Firm today for a free consultation about your Texas DWI charges or conviction.