DWI AND PUBLIC RECORD
Historically, a DWI conviction will permanently be on your record. However, a recent legislative change has drastically altered what the public can see about a DWI conviction. First, some terms need to be clarified. Records can be kept from the public eye in two ways. One is a where a judge orders “non-disclosure” or sealing of a record. This does not mean the conviction is eradicated it simply means the general public cannot view or find this record. Law enforcement may still view this record and potentially use it as evidence against an accused in future prosecution. An expunction occurs when public and government records are completely destroyed. No trace of the arrest should remain when an expunction is granted. This means an arrested person may legally say the arrest did not occur. A DWI can potentially be expunged when the case resulted in a dismissal or a not guilty verdict at trial. A conviction, on the other hand, cannot be expunged and until recently it could not be sealed.
In Texas, beginning September 1, 2017, some DWI convictions are now eligible to be non-disclosed or sealed from the public. If you received probation for a DWI and you successfully completed that probation then you are potentially eligible for an expunction as long as there was not an accident with another person and your blood alcohol level was not alleged to have been more than 0.15.
The waiting period for the non-disclosure if five years from the date of completion of probation unless you were saddled with the breathing machine in your vehicle as part of probation then the wait is only two years.