A conviction for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Texas can have a lasting negative impact on your life. While laws and regulations surrounding DWIs are strict in Texas, they are evolving to offer offenders in the State a chance to move forward on the right foot.
Can a DWI be Expunged in Texas?
Expungement refers to erasing charges from a criminal record through a process called expunction. The rules for expunction vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the offense. In Texas, record expungement is possible for some, but not all criminal convictions. For DWI charges, expungement is generally not available after a conviction. If you have been convicted of a DWI in Texas, that conviction will remain on your record; it will be visible and accessible to the public. However, there are other legal avenues that can help mitigate the consequences of a Texas DWI conviction. For instance, sometimes an offender’s attorney can get the record sealed.
Sealing a Record after a DWI Conviction
The Texas DWI Second Chance Law (House Bill 3016), enacted in September 2017, can help some individuals with DWI convictions in the Lone Star State. Under this law, first-time DWI offenders who meet specific criteria have the opportunity to petition for an Order of Non-Disclosure. Such an order is a legal document that seals a criminal record, making it inaccessible to the general public. This can give a fresh start to an offender, and the stigma associated with a DWI conviction can be avoided.
While the possibility of securing a non-disclosure order offers hope to some DWI offenders, it is important to note that the Texas DWI Second Chance Law does have some limitations. The law only applies to first-time DWI offenders with a court-ordered period of deferred adjudication, a form of probation that allows for dismissal of charges upon successful completion of probation terms. Additionally, the law does not apply to subsequent DWI convictions or to cases involving accidents that resulted in injury to any involved parties.
- READ ALSO: Can I Get My First DWI in Austin Dismissed?
Probation for Multiple DWI Offenses in Texas
The possibility of probation becomes more complex for individuals facing multiple DWI convictions in Texas. The law in Texas has strict penalties for repeat DWI offenders, so if you are wondering, for instance, “Can I get probation for a 4th DWI in Texas?”, you should understand that getting a probationary sentence becomes progressively challenging with each conviction. A fourth DWI offense is categorized as a felony, carrying the most severe consequences under the law, which include substantial fines, a possibility of license revocation, and mandatory prison time. While probation might be an option, judges and courts are cautious due to the repeated nature of the offense and the potential danger posed by chronic offenders.
Navigating the legal landscape of DWI convictions in Texas can be challenging, but options are available for those seeking a second chance. If you find yourself or a loved one facing DWI charges, reaching out to a knowledgeable attorney is crucial to understanding your options. When facing DWI charges in Austin or the surrounding area, consulting with a respected Texas DWI lawyer like board-certified criminal defense attorney Brian Erskine of Erskine Law is critical. Contact Erskine Law to schedule a free consultation today.