WHAT ABOUT MY RECORD?
A DWI arrest in Texas gives you 3 records
It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything.
I am strongly in favor of common sense,
common honesty and common decency.
This makes me forever ineligible for public office.
H. L. MENCKEN
People will often ask, “Can you clear my record when this is over?” At first, the question seems simple and lends itself to a simple yes or no answer. Regretfully, as in most areas of the law, the correct answer is “IT DEPENDS”.
Before we talk about clearing your ‘record’, you should know that a DWI arrest in Texas creates THREE separate records:
1. An arrest record, which is maintained by all law enforcement departments including probation and pre-sentence officers. This is the arrest but not conviction record. If the case is dismissed or you are found not guilty at trial an expunction is the remedy to clean up your arrest record.
2. A driving record and if quick action is not taken, you will have a permanent record of your license being suspended for an alcohol offense. It is commonly referred to as your Texas Drivers License History. A dismissal will not help you here. You must have a not guilty verdict to clean your driving record.
3. A court conviction record, the most commonly considered criminal record. The court record cannot be expunged unless you are found not guilty and there are Expunction guidelines that must be met. If you are found guilty of DWI in Texas the record will stay with you the rest of your life. Texas statutes prohibit deferred adjudication in DWI cases so if you are found guilty by plea or trial it never goes away.
Your driving record can be cleared only by requesting a hearing within 15 days of your arrest and winning that hearing—either at the administrative hearing, by appeal at the County Court in the county you were arrested or by a not guilty verdict in criminal trial. After a not guilty verdict you can send DPS a copy of the verdict form and they will remove the administrative suspension from your driving record.
An arrest record can be expunged in certain specific instances. The rules and requirements are tricky. For instance, say you are charged for a misdemeanor, like a DWI. You may be able to obtain an expunction if the charge is dropped. you are released, the charge is no longer pending, there is no final conviction or community supervision, other than for a Class C misdemeanor, and you have no prior felony convictions five years prior to that arrest. Missing anyone of these steps means you cannot receive an expunction.
So why do you want to go through the hassle of getting an expunction? The expunction will prohibit any law enforcement agency from using your expunged records for any reason. There are a number of agencies who will end up having a file with your name on it. Here is an example of the petition and departments involved:
Example of Bexar County Expunction List
You should know that it is possible to clear your record, but there are many variables which may make it difficult to clear all three records. The facts of each case are different and the results may vary. A competent, qualified DWI attorney who knows the minute details of these issues can guide and help you.