Want to Know How to Get a DWI Expunged in Texas? Read This!
No one enjoys having a DWI conviction hanging over their head. It can lead to a lot of problems, especially in this day and age when running a background check is a very common occurrence. They shouldn’t have to continue paying for one small mistake, even after having served their prison sentence, or paid the imposed fine.
However, many people in Fort Worth, Texas are suffering simply because they do not know how to get their criminal record expunged. The day they lost their DWI case continues to haunt them many years later. Luckily that does not have to be the case. DWI expungement in Texas is not only possible but also easily done with the right criminal defense lawyer.
At Sparks Law Firm, we have been helping residents of Fort Worth, Texas get their DWI convictions expunged or sealed for years. Our proactive team of experienced lawyers is very knowledgeable in all things concerning Texas law and well known for their excellent attorney-client relationship. Here is an in-depth look at what constitutes a DWI conviction and how to get a speedy expungement in Texas.
How to Check If You Have a Criminal Record
There is a legal process by which a person can check if they have a criminal record in the state of Texas. It is more or less the same as running a normal background check. Some information may be available online, while some might require a physical form. Online information is the easier of the two to obtain, however, even the physical forms can be sent via mail or email.
If one is not sure, at Sparks Law Firm, we can assist. Both processes will require the following information
Name and type of document required
Time frame in which delivery is expected (might incur different costs)
Delivery method (email or regular mail)
What Is DWI?
DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. It generally refers to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with either drugs or alcohol above the legal limits as prescribed by Texas Law. Driving while in such a state puts the life of the driver, passengers, and other road users at risk of having a serious road accident, which is why it is considered a criminal offense punishable by jail time.
Punishment for a DWI Conviction
A variety of circumstances have a direct impact on the level of punishment given to an offender who has received a guilty verdict after a DWI arrest. Depending on the seriousness of the DWI conviction, as decided by either a judge or a grand jury trial, the accused can be handed a stiff sentence, such as doing serious jail time, or they can get away with deferred adjudication probation and have their arrest record expunged.
The outcome of the DWI case, including how much the DWI fine is in Texas, depends on not only the evidence against the accused but also on the factors that are listed below.
First time offenders have the highest chances of escaping a DWI conviction with either a not guilty verdict, or at most, the minimum sentence applicable by law. They also have the best chances of a complete DWI expungement. If it is the offender's first DWI arrest, they can receive one or all of the following punishments:
A mandatory fine of not more than $2,000
Up to three months, with a three day mandatory jail period
Suspension of driver's license for not more than one year
A second DWI arrest will classify the accused as a repeat offender if they are found guilty in the subsequent DWI case. If such is the case then the DWI expungement will also be more complicated.
It is wise, in such circumstances, to approach Sparks Law Firm for a free consultation as soon as the second DWI charges have been laid, so that our defense attorneys can get to work immediately. The following punishments are applicable:
A fine of not more than $4,000
From one month to a year in jail
Driver’s license is withheld for not more than two years
The third strike, as they call it, is surely the most serious. Thus, the chances of getting any DWI charges laid in court dismissed are very narrow. The best one can hope for in this case is a lenient sentence, and it is at times like these that a very good lawyer is needed when faced with such a final conviction.
However, there are still chances of getting your record expunged later on, but, before getting there, such a final conviction carries the following sentences:
A fine of $10,000
From two to 10 years in jail
Suspension of driver's license for not more than one year
DWI With a Child Passenger
Certain extenuating circumstances can turn an ordinary DWI case into something a lot more serious that could result in other final criminal convictions. DWI expungement in such a case is very rare and extremely difficult. The punishment also varies from one DWI case to another depending on individual circumstances, and can be as follows:
The driver can be charged with child endangerment
Additionally fined $10,000
Extra 3 months in jail
Conditions for DWI Expungement in Texas
There are five basic ways to get a DWI conviction expungement in Texas, and in most cases, a good lawyer is required to help guide the applicant through the process. To be eligible for expunction, one must meet the following conditions:
The driver was a Minor When Arrested for DWI
In DWI cases, anyone who is under the age of 21 when the DWI arrest took place is regarded as a minor. If they were not convicted of any other violation of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage code, such as DUI, then they are eligible for expunction. Texas law extends this leniency as a way of promoting the rehabilitation of young offenders.
DWI Charge Was Never filed
Getting arrested for DWI is not the same as getting a DWI charge - for a variety of reasons, such as lack of evidence, a formal charge may never get filed against the offender. However, the DWI arrest is still a criminal record, which means it’s available for anyone doing a background check. It is, therefore, necessary to have a DWI attorney in Fort Worth apply to get the arrest record expunged even in the absence of any criminal charges.
Court Dismissed the Case
Even after a judge dismisses the case without any criminal conviction, the arrest record will still be a part of publicly accessible criminal records. In such a case, as long as the person was not convicted of any similar crime, they are eligible to file a petition to have the DWI expunged. Call Sparks Law Firm to discuss the best possible outcome of this scenario during our free consultation.
Accused Received a Not Guilty Verdict
Many criminal cases end up with a not guilty verdict being handed down by the court, as can be confirmed by many of our happy clients. However, the accused will still have a criminal record in Texas, which still needs to be expunged. They have every right to request that none of the information regarding the DWI arrest is left on their criminal record.
A DWI Conviction Was Successfully Appealed
Texas legislature gives everyone the right to appeal their criminal conviction, with the right lawyer it is possible to have DWI convictions overturned. There is a required waiting period between the date of conviction and the date when the verdict can be appealed. At Sparks Law Firm we have helped many Fort Worth residents successfully appeal their convictions. Contact us for the best legal advice for your appeal.
Step By Step To Getting A DWI Expungement in Texas
Whether or not a DWI expungement is successfully completed depends a lot on how the preparation and execution of the application are handled. Any mistakes or failure to adhere to rules and regulations might result in the application being denied.
These following easy steps will help ensure that the applicant has the best possible chances of having their DWI expunged and their criminal record wiped clean.
Check If the Criminal Record exists
The first and most obvious thing to do is to run a background check to see if the criminal record was filed and if so, what conviction it was filed under. This will help determine the right course of action to have it struck off the record.
Gather All Necessary Documents
Details such as personal information and everything regarding the arrest and conviction will be required by the defense attorney when applying for a DWI expungement and these should ideally be ready before going for a free consultation.
Approach Sparks Law Firm
At Sparks Law Firm, we have a proven track record of helping applicants get their DWI expungement in Texas for many years now. Our DWI expunction record rivals any law firm in Texas, so for those who are wondering if they may be eligible, our doors are always open.
Visit our law office today and have an attorney from our talented team working hard to get that criminal record wiped clean again. If you have other questions regarding a DUI case, including what is a chemical test for a DUI, reach out to us.
Call us now for a free consultation.