Can a DWI Be Expunged in Texas?

April 11, 2024 | By David M. White
Can a DWI Be Expunged in Texas?

You can't expunge a DWI in Texas if you have a conviction. Once you plead guilty or are convicted at trial, a DWI stays on your criminal record permanently. While you can't delete a DWI conviction, you can sometimes have your record sealed.

DWI defense lawyer in Abilene, Texas

For example, suppose you have a first DWI conviction. In that case, you can seal the conviction through an Order of Non-Disclosure if you complete confinement or court-ordered community supervision.

However, conditions apply, as you won't qualify if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at least 0.15 percent or if the accident involved another person. You will not qualify if you're charged with a subsequent offense after you've completed a confinement period or probation.

These are complicated situations, so always hire a DWI defense lawyer in Abilene, Texas for guidance.

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The Difference Between Sealing and Expunging a Record

Expunction connotes the destruction of a criminal record. Sealing hides your criminal arrest or conviction from public view. However, the government or some employers may still access it.

Conditions of Expunction for a DWI in Texas

Texas law permits expunction for DWI charges only in the following incidences:

  • You receive an acquittal
  • Your case is dismissed without the requirement of probation first
  • The grand jury issues a no-bill
  • You appealed and won your case
  • You were a minor when authorities arrested you
  • You received a verdict of "not guilty."
Expunging a Record

A no-bill is issued when the jury cannot find probable cause for the crime. The no-bill forces the prosecutor to drop the charge for DWI. So, if your DWI case concludes in any of the ways mentioned above, you can immediately expunge the DWI. There is no waiting period for expunging the record.

In any of the above situations, your criminal defense attorney can file a motion and argue that the court expunge any data related to your DWI arrest. Ask your attorney to file the petition ASAP if you're involved. Your arrest will persist on your public record until the expunction process concludes.

Filing an Order of Non-Disclosure

Texas law permits anyone who received and completed a deferred adjudication for a first DWI offense to obtain an order of non-disclosure. If you plead guilty or nolo contendere to a first DWI offense and receive deferred adjudication, you can ask for a non-disclosure order.

This order seals your record permanently.

Deferred adjudication is a type of probation granted by a judge. Instead of spending time in jail, the court allows the defendant to remain in the community, provided they comply with certain conditions. However, you must jump through legal hoops to seal a deferred adjudication for a DWI. That is why obtaining legal representation is best if you want to experience success.

Whether you're guilty of a misdemeanor or felony DWI, you can have your DWI expunged if you win an acquittal. However, you can't receive a non-disclosure order if convicted of a felony DWI. You're only eligible if it's your first offense and does not involve another driver or passenger.

Conditions for a Deferred Adjudication

Conditions for a deferred adjudication include the following:

  • Not committing further criminal offenses
  • Support of your dependents
  • Reporting to a probation officer
  • Completing community service
  • Getting and keeping a job
  • Abstaining from controlled substances or alcohol
  • Submitting to random drug testing
  • Attending rehab or counseling, as recommended
  • Paying all fines and related legal fees

For a DWI case, you'll need to reach a plea agreement where you'll enter a "no contest" or "guilty" plea. In return, the judge withholds the plea while placing you under community supervision. This means you accept responsibility for the DWI to avoid a conviction. You can have the record sealed if you complete this probation or community supervision.

House Bill 3582 allows deferred adjudication for first-time DWI offenders who are not involved in a collision with others whose BAC is below .15 percent. Commercial drivers are not eligible for the program.

Why You Should Ask for a Criminal Defense Lawyer's Help

DWI defense attorney

You should hire a DWI defense attorney to guide you through the expunction process or seal your record. You can ensure success in this regard as a lawyer can:

  • Advise you about your eligibility
  • Determine what regulations and laws apply to your case
  • Guide you through the required legal steps
  • Help in the preparation of the necessary legal paperwork
  • Notify the relevant agencies and the office of the district attorney (DA)
  • Represent you at hearings

How to Decide on a DWI Lawyer

The DWI lawyer handling your case should communicate with you regularly and have a good record of defending clients with your specific charges. Review onsite testimonials and consider the lawyer's background. Make sure they are board-certified. Ensure you and your lawyer are on the same page regarding communications and getting the support you need to defend your case properly.

A record related to DWI that is not expunged or sealed can negatively affect you in one of several ways. It can impact:

  • Your parenting rights or custody of your children
  • Your ability to drive or carry a firearm
  • Your housing rights for getting a mortgage or renting
  • Your admission into college
  • Your benefits for subsidized government benefits
  • Your immigration status

Filling Out the Paperwork

Filling Out The Paperwork

Your lawyer must draft a petition for an expunction order in compliance with the Tex. Code of Crim. Proc. § 55.02. The petition must include:

  • The personal information of the petitioner
  • Details about the charges the petitioner wants to expunge
  • The email addresses or physical addresses of each person, government entity, and business involved with the charge
  • The petitioner's rights to expunction
  • A verification page, signed under oath before a public notary
  • Any supporting attachments, such as a certified copy of the order of dismissal or a certified copy of the acquittal

Contact a Texas DWI Defense Lawyer to Learn More About Your Rights for Expunction Now

When you count on legal services, you can experience a more positive outcome legally and financially. Contact a DWI lawyer in Texas now to ensure you receive the best results in defending or expunging your DWI charge.

David M. White Author Image

David M. White


David M. White is an attorney with offices in Abilene and San Angelo, Texas. His practice is focused on Personal Injury cases and Criminal Defense. Mr. White attended Texas Tech University where he earned a B.B.A. in Finance in Honors Studies in 2002, graduating magna cum laude. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Texas Tech University School of Law in 2006.

If you, a friend, or family member need legal advice, please feel free to contact our firm for a free consultation with David White, a Personal Injury attorney in Abilene, Texas.

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