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Does a DWI Show Up on a Criminal Background Check in Texas?

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It takes legal action, but some DWI charges may be sealed.

A DWI charge can hold you back even after the case is closed. It may be unfair, but many employers, landlords, and universities use criminal background checks to weed out those with a record. Once you have any type of criminal record that shows up in a background check, it often takes legal action by an expungement attorney to keep the past from ruining your future.

No one should have to pay for a single mistake for the rest of their life. Fortunately, many people with drunk driving charges can avoid this fate. It usually takes legal action, but some DWI information can be concealed from public view.

Not everyone qualifies, but if driving while intoxicated charges are holding you back, it is worth consulting an experienced Texas DWI defense attorney about getting your record expunged or sealed with an order of nondisclosure.

Here's what you need to know about how Texas driving while intoxicated charges appear - and can be concealed - on criminal records.

Can you get a DWI conviction expunction in Texas?

Under limited circumstances, a Texas DWI may be eligible for expunction. More often, though, people use nondisclosure orders to conceal these charges. In Montgomery County, a criminal defense lawyer can help individuals determine which option is right for them.

Nondisclosures are issued when the court "seals" certain offenses from public disclosure. Government agencies may not give information about your offense to unauthorized entities. Also, you are not required to disclose the offense information on job applications or anywhere else.

Expunctions, aka expungements, can permanently remove entries from an adult criminal history record. With few exceptions, you cannot expunge a conviction, serious misdemeanor, or felony. Typically, you can only expunge deferred adjudication for Class C misdemeanors, the lowest level of non-traffic offenses.

Although rare, some DWI offenses may qualify for expungement. This includes DWI offenses that do not result in a conviction or where charges were not filed, charges were dismissed, or the person was acquitted or pardoned.

Who is eligible for a DWI nondisclosure?

Eligibility depends on the type of offense and type of community supervision. Texas has two types of community supervision: deferred adjudication and regular community supervision (probation).

Typically, the only type of DWI eligible for nondisclosure are first-time offenses that resulted in deferred adjudication. Nondisclosure is not available to DWIs with BACs of 0.15% or higher or if the person has a violent criminal record.

If a person qualifies and all conditions of adjudication have been met, and court costs paid, at the end of deferred adjudication, the charges will be dismissed without a conviction.

However, the offense and sentence of deferred adjudication stays on your record and can show up in public and private background searches - unless a nondisclosure order is applied for and granted.

Do you want a nondisclosure for DWI?

A nondisclosure order means that government agencies may not give information about your offense to unauthorized entities. Also, you are not required to disclose the offense information on job applications or anywhere else. However, the offense stays on your record and is visible to law enforcement and other government entities.

Applying for nondisclosure in Texas

Texas has about 10 types of nondisclosure orders, and it is important to apply for the right one or risk automatic denial. Many people turn to experienced nondisclosure and DWI defense lawyers to help them successfully apply.

The lawyer can help collect official documents like copies of dismissal and discharge orders, criminal records, and indictment or information documents related to the case. Once they file the completed application, the court will either grant the application or set a hearing date.

Don't rely on automatic nondisclosures

Texas recently began a program to issue automatic nondisclosures for some first-time misdemeanors and instances where charges were dismissed. The nondisclosure should be issued after a six-month waiting period, but this is not something people can rely on.

According to the state's nondisclosure guide, "You should not have to file anything. In practice, you often have to remind the court to take this step." An experienced DWI lawyer can take the initiative in spurring court action and/or applying for nondisclosures.

Contact a DWI lawyer to review your options

At The Webb Firm, P.C., our Texas-based criminal defense team helps people expunge and seal their records. We break down the obstacles standing in the way of your goals and fight hard to get you a clean slate.

Once records are hidden from public view, people typically have more options in housing, education, finances, and the workforce. If you have a DWI you want to conceal, contact us for a free case evaluation.

We can estimate whether you qualify for expungement or nondisclosure and explain your options. There is no cost for this call, just information you can trust. We are available 24/7. Contact us anytime.