How Long Will A DWI in Houston Remain On Your Texas Record?
It’s common for folks to panic if they get arrested. It’s quite easy to think the worst. However, before you give up hope during your own arrest, it’s good to keep perspective. First of all, remember that an arrest or charge doesn’t actually mean that you’re guilty of the crime in question. Your conviction is not a given either. This is why it’s essential that you retain a Houston DWI defense attorney experienced in the criminal defense of such matters. He or she can represent you in your situation and case, and also answer specific questions. One you might be wondering about is how long will a Texas DWI stay on your criminal record.
What Is Expunction Or Expungement?
Under the purview of Texas laws, various criminal charges might get removed from a person’s record. That process is never automatic, as you have to apply for it to happen. In a lot of instances, the state isn’t going to challenge such a request. Other times, the state will most certainly resist a request for criminal charges to be removed from a person’s record. It all depends on the crime, the nature of the situation, and the various facts surrounding the case. The right lawyer at your side can make or break things for you.
What Are Common Kinds Of Case Dispositions?
Disposition is another name for the case’s outcome. The kind of disposition you get has a tremendous impact on whether you can even get your criminal record expunged for this particular matter. It can go a lot of different ways. The ideal scenario is, of course, a prosecutor simply deciding not to go through with the case. Dismissal is then a result, and it happens when the evidence just wasn’t that strong or possibly obtained illegally, like through a lack of probable cause or an unlawful search.
In some cases, you might get a deferred adjudication. Many states have variations of this. What it basically means is that you have a plea bargain with the prosecutor. The agreement stipulates that your meeting a list of predetermined conditions over time will get your case dismissed. In exchange for this, you sign a document stating that you’re either guilty or pleading ‘no contest’ to your charge. It basically means that if you don’t live up to the conditions or you get another charge in that span of time, your case gets converted over to an actual conviction. You’ve already agreed to not contest the case or plead guilty after all.
In some situations, the State of Texas might bring a case against you in a courtroom, but you come out on top and win, coming away with a verdict of not guilty. However, you might also be found guilty.
How Can A Case Disposition Impact Your Permanent Record?
The Texas Code lays out your right for expungement of particular crimes from your record in Chapter 55, assuming that certain rules are followed or applied. Be mindful of the fact that the criminal code in Texas possesses quite a few exceptions and rules that need thorough legal analysis that will eventually determine if your own case is actually eligible.
In the end, you might be able to seek an expunction provided:
- You got tried for a particular crime but were found not guilty in the trial; -or-
- You got tried for a particular crime and got convicted but then also pardoned; -or-
- You got charged but then released or just never convicted. However, if this is going to apply, you can not have received any charge for a felony or misdemeanor based on that same crime, irrespective of any applicable statute of limitations. Also, a set amount of time after the chargers were pressed must have passed. That waiting period is 3 years after an arrest for felonies, a year for Class A and/or B misdemeanors, and 180 days after a Class C arrest.
How Can You Expunge Your DWI in Houston?
Like all other crimes, a Texas DWI is assigned its own level of severity, per the DWI laws of the state. With only limited exceptions, driving during intoxication is a crime that constitutes a Class B misdemeanor, triggering a minimum of 72 hours behind bars. If an open bottle was discovered in your vehicle, then your minimum doubles to six days. You get upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor if your blood alcohol level measures more than 0.15 percent. So, as you can see, the classification of your particular offense determines how much time you must wait before you might even get it possibly removed. Then again, if you get convicted without a pardon, you don’t have any right to expungement.
If you’re staring down a DWI charge and looking at a possible conviction for a misdemeanor offense, or if you’ve caused another person injury, then it’s crucial that you hire a Houston DWI defense attorney to represent you and keep your Texas driving record clear. Even if your total innocence is established and you get your case fully dismissed, you still have to apply for your expungement to get things removed fully from your record. This process is not automatic.