Getting A DWI Removed From Your Record In Texas

Having a DWI on your criminal record in Texas can be damaging to your professional and personal life. In addition to being embarrassing it can prevent you from getting jobs in the public and/or private sector. However if you did not injure someone else while driving under the influence and you have kept a clean record since receiving the citation, the process is fairly easy and straightforward.

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If you’ve had a DWI in Texas, you can have it removed entirely from your record or what is called having it “non-disclosed” from your record. There are a few stipulations and some terminology that we need to clarify. You might have searched for how to file for an expunction in Texas to have your DWI removed from your record only to find that you aren’t eligible. However, if you are looking to get that citation hidden from your record and are in the state of Texas, you’re better off getting it “non-disclosed.”

For all intents and purposes, this will remove it from your record and we’re going to go over that difference first and then how to file for one.

Clarifying: Non-Disclosure vs. Expunction

We’ve discussed many times how Texas laws often use phrases and terminology that are different from other states even though they are describing the same thing. However this situation, there actually is a difference between the two and it’s a distinction with a very important difference.

Expunction

Expunction is the complete removal of the offense from your record (as though it never happened). The Texas penal code identifies it in section 55.01 of the Texas penal code. The bar here is very high and requires that you have one of the following: you were tried for an offense and found not guilty or you were later pardoned.

This is probably not what you had in mind if you were arrested for a DWI and served your time. However, there is another option that is much more popular for this type of arrest.

Non-Disclosure

Given how much damage a driving while intoxicated citation can have on your professional life (and how easily it can happen), Texas now allows people to file to have the citation non-disclosed. A non-disclosed offense hides the citation from your record and prevents employers and agencies from being able to view it. This way it will not appear during a background check and you will be under no obligation to disclose it to whoever is conducting a background check.

Criteria 1: You Aren’t On Community Supervision For Something Else

First, you have “never been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision (probation) for another offense.” The “deferred adjudication” here is just a kind of probation that makes sure that the offense is not put on your official record. The rub of this stipulation is that you can’t have been convicted of some offense that has required community supervision for a different offense.

Criteria 2: Your DWI Did Not Involve Injuring Someone Else

Perhaps the most important factor in getting your DWI removed from your record, is whether your citation involved another person. In our full breakdown of Texas DWI laws, we described how the quickest way to a severe penalty for a DWI in Texas is whether you injured someone else while driving while under the influence. This can result in severe penalties including fines, loss of license, and jail time. The reality of fines is one that’s going to come up again shortly.

Criteria 3: You Have Paid All Fines

Depending on your DWI, you may have been ordered to pay fines or restitution for the offense. Before trying to get your DWI removed from your record, you need to make sure that you have paid these fines as ordered. You can contact the local clerk to see if you are all paid up.

Criteria 4: The Waiting Period Has Elapsed

Finally, there is one major thing that must take place if you’ve been in good standing since you received your citation and that is whether the waiting period has elapsed. The waiting period is how much time needs to have transpired since you were convicted of driving while under the influence. The waiting period is either two years or five years depending on whether an ignition interlock device was required. Let’s break it down.

When The Waiting Period is 2 Years

You’ve successfully been driving for at least six months without any issues and, as part of the sentence, the car that you were driving contained an ignition interlock device that checked to see if your breath contained any alcohol.

When The Waiting Period is 5 Years

Conversely, the waiting period for filing a motion to have your DWI non-disclosed is 5 years if you’ve been driving without incident for six or more months, five years have passed since the incident, and there was no interlock requirement as part of the sentence.

This may seem counterintuitive after all, as we discussed in the main article on driving while intoxicated, the interlock device requirement is a product of a more severe sentence (the court did not trust the driver). However, it’s also a sign of a more invasive sentence. It provides more evidence to the court that the driver can be trusted and is deserving of having the citation removed from their record.

How to Get Your DWI Non-Disclosed

Alas, if you want to get your DWI non-disclosed in the state of Texas you must first and foremost have met all of the criteria above. Now if you’ve done that, and you’re absolutely certain you have, you can file for a non-disclosure. The Texas courts have compiled an official document that details all the things that you will need, but it’s very possible you’ll need:

1) A copy of the judgment in your case.

2) A signed order or document showing that the judge reduced your period of deferred adjudication, probation, or confinement, or granted you an early termination.

3) A signed order or document showing that you completed your deferred adjudication or probation, including any term of confinement imposed and payment of all fines, costs, and restitution imposed.

4) A discharge order (an order or document showing that you were discharged from probation or deferred adjudication).

Our Recommendation

Note we are neither a law firm nor are endorsing any particular firm in this matter, however, we strongly suggest contacting an attorney and having them file for you. They will know the clerks, the judges, and the correct documents for your area. People who file these documents every day will be able to tell you very quickly what you need to give them and they will handle it.