How Long Does a DWI in Texas Stay on Your Record?
One little mistake can easily put an unwanted blemish on your record. And when you add something negative to your record, it could potentially have an effect on so many different areas of your life. The last thing you want is for that charge or conviction to permanently ruin your record going forward.
If you’ve found yourself facing DWI charges, consider hiring a Texas DWI attorney to see if they can help keep your record clean.
Timelines for DWI Convictions on Your Record
There was a time that a DWI conviction in Texas actually stayed on your record indefinitely. But this depends on how you handle the offense after it occurs.
Don’t be fooled by the statements that these things only stay on your record for seven years. While that might be true for insurance purposes, the conviction is not necessarily removed from your record. It just means your insurance company only looks back those seven years and you aren’t punished for the conviction on your premiums after that time.
In Texas, a DWI is classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the offense. Either way, both of these convictions typically remain on your record in Texas indefinitely. But there are ways you might be able to remove them.
One way to get a DWI removed from your record is to request to have it expunged. This does more than just seal the conviction; it actually removes it completely as if it never happened.
Not everyone who receives a DWI charge will be eligible, but it may be worth a try. Ultimately, there are specific stipulations for eligibility that are outlined in the Texas Codes, which state you must be:
- Acquitted of DWI
- Convicted, but later determined innocent
- Convicted and then pardoned
- Charged with a DWI, case dismissed (or reduced), and statute of limitations passed
- Arrested for DWI but never charged or convicted as a DWI
For this to happen, you will need to work with your attorney to file the petition. A waiting period is required, the petition is filed, and the process occurs to determine eligibility.
Another option is to have that record sealed, in which case the DWI conviction falls under a nondisclosure order. In 2017, Texas law began to permit nondisclosure of certain DWI convictions. Here are the eligibility allowances:
- Blood alcohol content less than .15
- No harm to people was caused and there was no accident from your DWI
- No criminal history apart from traffic offenses
- You successfully complete all DWI conviction court orders
- All fees and fines are paid
You may have to go through a waiting period. Work with your lawyer to file the necessary petitions for nondisclosure of your DWI conviction.
You Have Options for Dealing with DWI Convictions
While your DWI conviction could technically stay on your record forever, that doesn’t mean you HAVE to be stuck with it. Use a Texas DWI attorney to help you better understand your options and fight for better results. You might just be able to reduce your charges, or work to get the conviction off your record for the public eye.