A DWI conviction can give people a lot of baggage to deal with for the foreseeable future. It can increase their insurance rates by hundreds of dollars, ruin their reputation, and prevent them from getting certain jobs. Because it can have so many repercussions, people do their best to avoid getting a DWI conviction. But how long does a DWI stay on the record, and what can a driver do to get rid of it?
When Does a DWI Come Off the Record?
Unfortunately, Texas doesn’t have a wash-off law for DWI convictions. In other words, if someone has been found guilty, regardless of whether they were charged with their first DWI offense, intoxication assault, or manslaughter, it will stay on their record for their entire lifetime.
Additionally, DWI convictions can affect people decades later. For instance, if they got a DWI first offense when they were 23 years old, the next conviction would be classified as a second offense regardless of the gap between the two.
However, there are a few situations where a DWI can be wiped clean from the record.
The Court Dismissed the Case
Yes! In fact, case dismissals are the quickest and most reliable way to get DWI charges off the record. More specifically, a judge will most likely dismiss a DWI case if there is not enough evidence or if the evidence that is provided has been obtained illegally. If that happens, the driver can get rid of any record of the charges or arrest.
The Driver Accepts Deferred Adjudication
For first-time offenders, judges may offer the option to go for a complete deferred adjudication. If the driver accepts, they will have to plead guilty or no contest and then will need to complete a series of requirements. And while they vary from case to case, these conditions are usually similar to straight probation.
The Driver Applies for DWI Expungement
Drivers can apply for expungement after waiting for a period of time, usually anywhere between one or two years. Yet, they have to meet a couple of conditions to be able to do so. The conditions include:
● Having no convictions
● Not being charged with other felonies or misdemeanors related to the same DWI charge
The Court Decides That the Driver Is Innocent
An experienced DWI defense lawyer might be able to take the case to trial and prove the driver’s innocence. That will automatically remove the DWI charge from the criminal and driving records. Keep in mind that if the driver doesn’t have a good lawyer, the odds of winning the DWI trial are small.
The Driver Becomes an Adult
Luckily, if the driver is a minor, they can apply for expungement once they are of age. However, that’s only available for singular DWI convictions and doesn’t apply to second or third offenses. Additionally, the court may decide against the expungement depending on the details of the case.
The Court Releases an Order of Nondisclosure
Thanks to a new law that went into effect in 2017, people with a single DWI charge can petition the court to have it sealed. In other words, the public records won’t mention your DWI, and only the authorities will know about it. The purpose of this law is to give first-time offenders another chance without erasing the charge completely.
It’s important to mention that there is a waiting period of up to five years before the driver can petition for nondisclosure. Additionally, there are a couple of conditions that the court will lay out before approving the request.
Can a Lawyer Help in a DWI Case?
DWI charges can change a driver’s life completely, even if they happened decades ago. That’s why it’s best to try and get rid of them by either requesting an expungement or winning the trial. However, doing so without a knowledgeable DUI lawyer can be extremely hard.
Fortunately, the Sparks Law Firm is here to help any driver that has been accused of a DWI. With 100 years of combined experience, this professional team can protect the driver’s rights while also doing the work necessary to prove their innocence. They can help address any DWI-related issue and can determine how long a DWI case will take in Texas.
So why let a DWI charge ruin the future when the Sparks Law Firm is one call away?