DWI Expungement Attorneys in Houston
Expunging Texas DUI Charges from Your Criminal Record
If you were charged with juvenile DUI or DWI as an adult in Texas, we are here to help you learn more about getting your record expunged to remove the offense from your searchable criminal record. A DWI conviction is an offense that stays on your record forever in Texas. While it can’t be removed completely, there are a number of different circumstances that may allow you to have the charges erased from your public criminal record that is accessible to employers, creditors, schools, and others.
At Johnson, Johnson & Baer P.C., we highly recommend that you retain legal counsel from a defense lawyer experienced with DWI and DUI expungement. Our Houston DWI expungement attorneys have successfully helped numerous Texans expunge DWI charges from their records.
How to Get Your DWI Expunged
A DWI or DUI cannot be automatically cleared from your Texas criminal record. You will need to go through the legal process required to petition the court for an Order of Expunction. Record expunction, aka record expungement, means that your arrest record is destroyed - it is as if the drunk driving arrest never happened. Unlike sealing a DWI from your criminal record, which means the charges are still visible to law enforcement, the charge is permanently removed from your record forever.
There are eligibility requirements and waiting times. If you do nothing, your DWI arrest record will never go away. It is up to you to file the petition and ask for expunction. It is possible that the state will object to your petition and argue against you having your drunk driving record expunged. In most cases, there is no opposition and the court will order your record expunged. If you get that order, you can legally deny ever being arrested for a DWI.
Eligibility Requirements for DWI Expungement in Texas
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Title 1, Chapter 55, establishes the requirements you must meet in order to be eligible to file an expunction petition. Your eligibility depends on the outcome of the case.
You may be eligible to file a Petition for Expunction of Criminal Records if:
- The DWI was dismissed before charges were filed
- Charges were filed and dismissed
- The grand jury returned a no bill, meaning there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute a felony DWI
- You received a not guilty verdict after going to trial (though there may be some exceptions to this rule)
- You either went to trial or pled guilty and were convicted, but the conviction was for a lesser charge (such as if you were arrested for a DWI but your attorney was able to get the charge reduced to a traffic violation)
- You successfully completed a diversion program
- You were a minor when arrested for DUI
- You completed deferred adjudication and probation
- You were convicted then pardoned by the governor
- You were convicted but it was overturned by the court of appeals
- You were not convicted of any felony in the five years proceeding your arrest
- The statute of limitations has passed for charges that could be filed based on the circumstances of your arrest
Cases of Ineligibility for DWI Expunction
You may not be eligible for expunction if:
- There was a plea agreement clause: If the conviction on the lesser charges was the result of a plea agreement, the plea agreement may have had a clause that the DWI would stay on your record. If it has this clause, the DUI conviction will remain on your record and is not eligible for expunction.
- The statute of limitations has passed: The statute of limitations is the time a prosecutor has to file charges against you. It is two years from the date of your arrest if the arrest was for a misdemeanor. If felony charges are possible based on the circumstances of your arrest, the statute of limitations is three years.
- Statute of limitations is tolled: After the time the prosecutor has to file charges against you has passed, the prosecutor loses the right to file charges against you based on the conduct that was the reason for the arrest. In some cases, the statute of limitations is tolled, which means it is interrupted and time passes that is not counted. For example, if a two-year statute of limitations is tolled for six months, you will have to wait two years and six months before you can file your petition.
What to Include in Your Petition for Expunction
The required form depends on the outcome of your case. For example, you may need a different form for an expunction petition after an acquittal at a jury trial than you will need if your case was dismissed and no charges were ever filed.
No matter which petition you file, you will need to include:
- Your full name, race, and sex.
- Your birth date, Social Security number, and number of your state driver’s license
- The address where you lived at the time of your arrest
- A summary of your case
- A list of the public agencies you believe have records relevant to your arrest
- The reasons you qualify for an Order of Expunction
The petition must be verified, which means you must submit an affidavit swearing that you are the person about whom the petition refers and that all statements are true and correct. You must sign the affidavit and have it notarized.
If you were charged with DUI or DWI in Houston, call our experienced defense attorneys to see if you’re eligible for record expunction. Consultations are free, so call (713) 422-2270.