A DWI charge can remain on your criminal record for many years, impacting your life in several ways. From the time you apply for a job as well as when you buy auto insurance, there are a variety of situations where a past DWI charge might prevent you from living the life you want.
How long does a DWI stay on your criminal record? And more importantly, is there anything you or an expert can do to remove those charges?
Criminal vs Driving Record
Before talking about how long a certain charge will stay on your record, it is important to realize the difference between your criminal and driving records. A criminal record contains information from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the local police or sheriff’s department. A driving record, on the other hand, is maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety and that has a different set of guidelines on how they handle violations.
There are situations when a violation will overlap over both your criminal and driving records. For example, a drug possession charge or a criminal traffic violation will be included in both. Minor speeding tickets, however, will be included only in your driving record and will often be removed from your license in a matter of time.
Will a DWI charge in Texas stay on my criminal record forever?
There are some people who assume that a conviction will be removed after a certain of time. In Texas, a DWI charge will remain on your record indefinitely unless it’s expunged.
DWI Charge Expungement
An expungement or expunction is a court order which essentially erases your criminal record pertaining to this particular charge, allowing you, in most cases, to carry on with your life without having to worry about your past.
This is accomplished by the court ordering certain agencies and entities to seal, erase, and many times destroy the records pertaining to your arrest and the case itself. This option is only available under certain circumstances such as being:
- Acquitted of a crime for which you were charged
- Convicted but later found to be innocent
- No court ordered supervision
- Charged by indictment with the case later being dismissed
You can also file for expunction if you were arrested but not formally charged; however, there is a waiting period depending on the charge:
- Class A or B misdemeanor, 2 years from the date of your arrest
- Class C misdemeanor, 1 year from the date of your arrest
- Felony, 3 years from the date of your arrest
A DUI charge for those under 21 is a Class C Misdemeanor, making it a low offense. However, there are situations where it may show up on your record unless it’s expunged.
Can I expunge my DWI myself?
While the process can be done by oneself, it’s often a tedious procedure that requires several steps to ensure that it’s done correctly. Determining if your charge qualifies to be removed from your criminal record is also important and most people who are seeking expungement choose to retain counsel.
Ensure that your rights are upheld
It’s important to talk to the DWI attorneys at the Law Offices of Ramos & Del Cueto to learn more about expungement. Your criminal records may be able to be expunged if you have been found to be not guilty, or if your case has been dismissed, effectively showing no charges.
By living with criminal charges on your record, you options for living a normal life are seriously limited. Contact the Law Offices of Ramos & Del Cueto today for a free consultation to learn more about your options.