One of the most frequently asked questions people have after being arrested for a DWI in Texas is whether the offense will stay on their record. The answer, unfortunately, is not so clear cut. Much of it depends on your charges and the final outcome of your case.

First things first, it is important to know the mechanism by which your DWI case can be removed from your record.

Expunction versus Nondisclosure

In order to seal or destroy records of your DWI charge, you must qualify for either an order of nondisclosure or expunction. These two terms are often used interchangeably but yield very different results.

Expunctions

An expunction (also called “expungement”) can be found in Article 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, and removes all records of your arrest. Signed by a judge, the expunction order forces state agencies and private companies to destroy any and all records related to the qualifying charge. In fact, the expunction legally allows you to deny that you were ever arrested for that offense.

See Expunctions in Texas: FAQs

Nondisclosures

An order of nondisclosure acts to seal the qualifying offense. The order prohibits public entities, which includes courts, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutorial offices, from sharing information about the sealed offense. However, unlike expunction orders, there are exceptions. Certain agencies may still obtain information concerning an offense that is the subject to a nondisclosure. Moreover, some cases sealed by an order of nondisclosure may be used to enhance a subsequent offense.

Qualifying for a DWI Expunction

While a DWI conviction can never be expunged, a DWI arrest and charges can be erased if your case meets certain criteria.

Qualifying for a DWI Nondisclosure

Unlike expunctions, your DWI may qualify for an order of nondisclosure even if you were convicted. However, it is important to understand that even if you receive an order of nondisclosure on your DWI, it can still be used to enhance any subsequent DWI. Just like expunctions, there are certain conditions you must meet in order to qualify for an order of nondisclosure.

See DWI and Deferred Adjudication in Texas

If you’ve been arrested for a DWI in Texas, take the time to speak to a lawyer about your options and how to keep this arrest from affecting the rest of your life. Call me today to set up an appointment.

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