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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Texas?

Unless a person gets it sealed or expunged, a DWI stays on their record permanently in Texas. With a DWI on an individual's record, a successfully completed criminal background check allows anyone to see those details.

The people that can see the criminal history of the person by running a background check include but are not limited to:

  • Potential business partners

  • Homeowners' associations

  • Landlords

  • Employers

DWI defense lawyers from the Sparks Law Firm have been helping people with a free consultation to explore the options of getting their DWI removed from their record forever. It is a common misconception that a DWI stays on a person's record for seven to 10 years and automatically falls away after that.

However, according to Texas law, this is not valid.

Under Texas DWI law, if an individual's final conviction doesn't meet the conditions mentioned below, it remains on their criminal record forever. In other words, if their DWI case is not resolved correctly, their DWI record and arrest will stay on their criminal record for the remainder of their life.

Below are some of the conditions required for DWI expunction:

  • The DWI case has not been resolved yet

  • The person must ensure that they are working with a Texas DWI lawyer that has a proven track record and experience in the field

  • A Texas lawyer must provide them with information for a thorough understanding of the rules that must be met for a DWI charge and arrest to be cleared from their criminal record

Rules for Record Expungement in Texas

Rules for Record Expungement in Texas

In order to qualify for DWI expunction in Texas, an individual must have either received a dismissal before trial or a not guilty verdict. These scenarios are the only instances in which a DWI case is eligible for expungement.

If the case has been dismissed, the person must wait two years from the date of dismissal before filing for the removal of their DWI arrest and charges. If the crimes committed were felonies and dismissed or not billed by the grand jury, the offender will be required to wait three years from the date of no bill or dismissal before they are eligible to have their records sealed.

A person can file a petition for expunction immediately if they took their DWI case to a jury trial and received a not guilty verdict. In a DWI trial in Texas, there are no waits required for a not guilty verdict, so it is recommended that people in this situation take action as soon as possible.

It is not uncommon for criminal law firms to offer people a free consultation with an excellent attorney-client relationship to clear their records. Specific careers and employment positions require by law that the person facing DWI charges has a clean record.

An example of this is a US Marshall that appeared in court for a DWI apprehension in Fort Worth, Texas. His employment arrangement state that if he is caught drunk driving, he would be terminated and lose his retirement pension. That is why it's crucial to have a lawyer help file for deferred adjudication to reduce court-imposed fees, remove a jail sentence, and prevent the record.

What Happens After a DWI Conviction?

It goes on a person's criminal record as soon as a DWI judgment becomes a court record. From that point, anyone checking the person's criminal background can see their DWI convictions.

People with DWI Convictions on Their Records Face Challenges

Specific parts of an individual's life can be challenging when they have a driving while intoxicated offense on their criminal record as they can be subject to discrimination. An example of this is if someone lost their job because of a DWI conviction, they would still require employment.

However, if the job involves driving, it may require that the potential employee passes a background check, and the employer can deny that person because of their DWI conviction.

Other ways a DWI conviction could bring new challenges into the individual's life include but are not limited to the following:

  • They may lose their commercial driver's license if sentenced, which may stop them from continuing their commercial driver career

  • If a DWI shows up on someone's background check, they may be denied loan offers for a home, car, or other more significant purchases

  • Their social status may dissipate as more people become aware of their criminal history

If you're wondering how long does a DUI stay on your record, experienced attorneys can help do a background check and see what shows up. They can also help clients get out of a DUI first offense, so as long as the situation fits.

Criminal Records and Background Checks

The far-reaching implications on a person's life are affected by the information that appears in a criminal background check. When jobs involve using firearms, handling company money, or driving, many employers conduct criminal record checks on potential employees. A prospective employer may pause a person's hiring if a DWI stays on their criminal record.

It may be a good idea to run a background check on themselves to see what shows up if an individual has been convicted of a DWI offense or another crime. A lawyer at Sparks Law Firm in Fort Worth, Texas, can help with a free DWI case evaluation and possibly alter the final conviction penalties. Based on the results, an attorney can advise the client what steps to take to begin the DWI expungement process or have the DWI conviction sealed under Texas law.

A DWI Defense Lawyer Can Help Have a Conviction Sealed in Texas

In 2017, a law was signed that allowed residents of Texas to petition the court for non-disclosure of particular criminal convictions, and driving while intoxicated is one eligible offense.

Some people may wonder what does non-disclosure means for criminal convictions in the state of Texas.

It means that the person can get their conviction sealed, effectively locking it away from anyone who may perform a background check on them, including landlords and employers. Only certain government workers would ever be required to disclose their DWI judgment following non-disclosure.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements to Get Non-Disclosure on a DWI Conviction?

In order to have a person's DWI expunged, it must meet the following requirements:

  • It was their first offense, meaning a DWI judgment with aggravating circumstances doesn't qualify

  • They did not have a blood alcohol content level (BAC) of 0.15% or more

  • The complete sentence has been served for their wrongdoing (e.g., license suspension, fines, jail time)

  • An individual is not in deferred adjudication or hasn't been convicted of any crimes since their DWI arrest

  • They have completed the two-year waiting period, which may be longer in specific criminal conviction cases

If Someone Has Not Been Convicted, Getting a DWI Expunged in Texas Is an Option

If Someone Has Not Been Convicted, Getting a DWI Expunged in Texas Is an Option

The difference between expungement and non-disclosure is that while expungement wipes a person's DWI convictions out of existence, non-disclosure shields their record from public view but doesn't get rid of it.

However, an individual must not have been convicted for their DWI to be eligible for expungement. If they successfully pleaded down to a meager charger, such as reckless driving, they may be eligible to have their record expunged.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Helps with These Cases

A Texas DWI lawyer can help people with their DWI charge, no matter what stage of proceedings they are in. If they have been arrested and are facing trial, an attorney can potentially assist them in getting the charges dropped, have the DWI penalties reduced to a lesser charge, or have the trial acquitted. After the above process, a lawyer can get the DWI arrest record sealed or expunged from the person's name.

If they have already been convicted of DWI, a DWI lawyer can assist them with petitioning the court for non-disclosure through a confidential consultation. These professionals can ensure that the judgment is sealed and not visible to anyone checking the individual's background.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Guide Clients Through the Criminal Justice Process

A DWI charge can be nerve-wracking because an individual's future is on the line. By working with a lawyer, they can reduce or eliminate the charges plus advocate for their rights.

Lawyers perform several duties to build a case as a personal legal representative. These duties include but are not limited to the following:

  • Representing the offender during court hearings, including pretrial and initial hearings to plea deals or negotiating bail

  • Gathering evidence that supports the case, such as dashcam footage that shows the person speaking clearly when arrested

  • Reviewing the nature of the wrongdoer's arrest, interrogation, or processing to determine if their rights were violated

  • Investing whether the blood test or breathalyzer results are accurate

  • Checking if the person's DWI charge was unlawful (e.g., the arresting officer has no reasonable cause to believe the driver was operating the vehicle under the influence)

A Fort Worth TX DWI attorney can advise clients throughout their case to keep them informed about the circumstance they are facing.


Having a DWI sealed is one of the best ways to continue with a person's life after being arrested for a drunk driving offense. The lawyers at Sparks Law Firm can assist people in this predicament with a free consultation and are updated on the new law surrounding DWI convictions.


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