Criminal history background checkups have become a part of life and it is always carried out when a person applies for a job, mortgage or when they want to live in an apartment complex. If this is something that is constantly worrying you because you have a DWI record, there could be a solution or two for you.
Sealing your DWI arrest records
When your records are sealed, it means that the public will not be able to have any access to it. Any physical or electronic documentation of the arrest will be flagged in order to prevent sharing with the public. Once your record is sealed, it will be confidential and unavailable for any background checks and it will be like nothing of the sort ever happened. Once sealed, you will not be legally obligated to talk about it and you can deny it ever happened.
Expunging your DWI record
This is the process of destroying all documentations of the arrest. The difference between this and sealing is that sealed documents still remain in the criminal justice system. Expungement will erase the entire record but one copy of the DWI record will be maintained within a law enforcement agency.
Why not just expunge instead of sealing
In Houston, Texas, there are certain requirements of qualifications you need to meet in order to have your record expunged. Your DWI records can only be expunged if:
· Your DWI case was dismissed or dropped.
· The verdict was not guilty.
· You were a minor when arrested.
· The case was deferred.
However, if you agreed to a plea of guilty or were convicted, it will be impossible to expunge your records in Texas.
How long with the DWI stay on the record?
If you already qualify for an expungement, you must wait for enough time to pass until you can actually do it. The statute of limitations on such misdemeanors is two years. The limitation period can extend if the charge is officially pending. You will need to file a petition and go for a hearing.
Other requirements for expungement
· You do not have any other records sealed or expunged before this.
· You have completed your probation (if any) successfully.
· You have paid the DWI fines, reimbursement, and restitution in full.
· You have not been charged with any other offense.
· The conviction was a misdemeanor.
What will be cleared?
For you to get a clean record, you will need to check both the criminal and driving record. The DMV and the courts keep separate records and you will need both to be cleared.
How do you go about the process?
The first thing you need to do is look for a competent and professional defense attorney in Texas who is specialized in DWI. Once you have the best attorney, they will:
· File for the application in the court and once the application is approved, they will get a certificate of eligibility.
· With the eligibility certificate, the attorney will file then submit a petition to expunge your record.
· When the court receives that petition, they will go through it and either grant or deny it.
· If granted, the court will issue an order to expunge your DWI record to different criminal agencies.
What you need to know
Even with a complete and successful expungement, there is still one copy that will remain with the criminal justice system. If or when you get arrested for DWI for the second time, even when the record for the first time was expunged, you will still be prosecuted with second offense DWI. For a second time, you will get harsher fines and a longer jail time because you will be repeating the offense.