What Does a DWI Do to Your Record?
In Texas, a successful DWI conviction stays on your record permanently. Even after you’ve served any penalties or reinstated your license, anyone who runs a background check will be able to see your DWI record. That’s why it’s important to work with a Texas DWI defense lawyer on your case. With the right strategy and defense, you may be able to have your charges dropped. And if you are convicted, your attorney can help you find options to get your record expunged or sealed.
How a DWI Affects Your Record
Having a clean criminal record is crucial for many aspects of life. Whenever you apply for a job, try to take out a loan, or need travel documents, it’s likely that someone will run a background check on you. A DWI conviction will show up on your criminal record. And in most instances, this can dramatically affect your life.
For starters, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get any sort of commercial driving job. Even trying to work a side hustle as a driver for a rideshare program or delivery network becomes a major hurdle. But it’s not just driving jobs that are affected. All manner of employment becomes an uncertainty when you have any kind of criminal record. And if your DWI conviction came with a license suspension, you could lose out on employment by not having a reliable ride.
If losing out on your job isn’t enough, a successful DWI conviction can dramatically affect other financial aspects of your life as well. When taking out a loan, be it for a mortgage, car, or schooling, the lender has to judge the risk of lending you money. And if you have a criminal record of any kind, that risk jumps dramatically. Having a DWI on your record means it’s even harder to secure the finances you need for many living necessities.
Sealing a DWI Conviction
As of 2017, Government Code 411.0765 allows residents of Texas the chance to have their DWI convictions sealed. By petitioning for nondisclosure, you and your Texas DWI defense lawyer can help clean up your record. Although a DWI is still a criminal conviction that remains on your record, you can have it sealed through nondisclosure. This removes your DWI charge from view for certain background checks.
DWI Sealing Eligibility
Not everyone can have their DWI sealed from their record. To be eligible for nondisclosure, your specific charge has to meet the following criteria:
- This is your first DWI offense.
- Your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was under 0.15%.
- You fully served all penalties (such as paying fines or spending time in jail).
- All court-imposed fees have been paid.
- You have not been charged or convicted of any other crimes since your DWI conviction.
- You have waited a minimum of two years since your conviction (or a longer time as ruled by a judge).
After meeting the above requirements, you can petition the courts for nondisclosure and potentially have your DWI conviction sealed.
Expunging a DWI Charge
When you face DWI charges, it’s possible to have your charges lessened to less-serious crimes. For example, your Texas DWI defense lawyer may be able to secure a reckless driving charge rather than a full driving while intoxicated charge. While your penalties are severely reduced, you’ll still find that the original DWI charge is on your record.
As long as you were not convicted of a DWI, you can petition to have the charge expunged from your record. Unlike a nondisclosure, expungement completely wipes your record clean of the DWI charge. With a sealing, your DWI conviction is still on your record, just hidden from most eyes. With an expungement, however, it’s as if the DWI charge was never there in the first place.
How a Texas DWI Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you face DWI charges, working with a Texas DWI defense lawyer can help. At the Hager Law Firm, we understand how debilitating a DWI conviction can be. We’ll work with you to understand your case, gather necessary documents and evidence, and help fight for your defense. With the right strategy, we can lessen your charges or even have them dropped altogether. And if you face conviction, we can help you with having your conviction sealed or expunged from your record. For help with any and all DWI-related charges, call the Hager Law Firm today at (903) 466-0001.