If your DWI or DUI case was dismissed or you were found “not guilty” by a jury, you can get your DWI record expunged in Texas. This essentially removes the record—completely, as though it never happened—of your criminal conviction. An expunction eliminates any trace of the arrest from state or federal record.
If you’ve been looking into getting your record expunged in Texas, make sure that your case is eligible. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the most important things you should know if you are seeking an expunction.
Make Sure That Your Case Is Qualifies
The first step to getting your record expunged to make sure your case qualifies. It’s important to note that not every crime can be expunged. Under the Texas Penal Code, your case should meet the following requirements for eligibility:
- If you were arrested for a crime, but never charged.
- If you were arrested, charged and the case was dismissed.
- You were convicted as a minor for some alcohol-related offense.
- You failed to attend school.
- You were arrested, but not charged on a non-felony case that was not filed.
- You were arrested, but not formally charged on a case in which the records are not needed in a pending criminal investigation or prosecution of someone else.
- You were arrested, charged or convicted because your identity was stolen by someone else who was later arrested, charged and convicted of the crime that was pinned on you.
- You were convicted of a crime in which the Court of Appeals later acquitted you.
- You were convicted of a crime, but were pardoned by the Texas governor or the President of the United States.
If you have pending charges, you will not be allowed to get your record expunged. In addition, serial criminals are also deemed ineligible.
Recommended Read: Cleaning Up Your Record
Expunction Waiting Periods
In some cases, you may have to wait to file for an expunction. For Class C misdemeanors, the waiting period is 180 days. For Class A or B misdemeanors, you must wait for approximately one year. Felonies hold a three-year waiting period.
However, if you were found “not guilty,” pardoned, or deemed innocent following your conviction, you don’t have to endure a waiting period. Instead, you can simply file the petition to get your record expunged almost immediately.
Find the Right Lawyer
Expungements are not easy because the court system and the process is very complicated. Work with an experienced attorney who can navigate through the complex process and represent your best interests in court. This is not the time to “play attorney.” If you’re not familiar with the court process, it may take even longer and you may not get the outcome you are looking for. The right lawyer who has navigated hundreds of other clients through the expunction process can give you peace of mind that it will be handled quickly and correctly.
Get a Second Chance Today
Ready to get started? Attorney JL Carpenter can help. She has extensive experience in helping her clients get their criminal records expunged. Call 713-561-5931 to get the process started in the Greater Houston area. As a DUI attorney, JL also represents clients who are facing DWI charges in Friendswood, Clear Lake, League City, Galveston, Katy, Webster, and other cities across the area.