Most states have laws pertaining to expungement or expunction, and this can be an invaluable legal mechanism if you have a criminal record that is interfering with your life in any way. For example, if you were convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), the record of your conviction can present many problems in your future, from preventing you from qualifying for certain types of employment to diminishing your standing in your local community.
The Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, offers comprehensive and client-focused legal counsel to clients throughout Texas facing all types of criminal charges. We also provide detail-oriented legal representation to clients who wish to have their criminal records expunged or sealed. Unfortunately, DWI cases are very challenging in this respect, and most conviction records will not qualify for expunction or sealing.
Any criminal conviction will have various effects on the defendant’s life. Beyond the penalties assigned by the judge who sentenced them, the record of their conviction will appear on future background checks, and most employers are very hesitant to hire anyone with a criminal record. This is especially true of DWI, as the charge inherently implies unreliability, recklessness, and irresponsibility, even if it has been several years since the offense occurred.
Texas upholds an expunction system designed to address criminal cases that were dismissed, acquitted, or completed with deferred adjudication. The process is long and demanding, and only certain offenses qualify for expunction. For example, if you were charged but never convicted, the record of the charge can still interfere with your life. If an expunction is approved, all records of the case in question are destroyed and will no longer appear on background checks.
Alternatively, it is possible to have a criminal record sealed through an order of nondisclosure. This means the criminal record is no longer viewable by the public, but it will still appear on certain types of background checks. An order of nondisclosure also allows you to refrain from disclosing the record on a job application in the future. Most cases will have a waiting period before the defendant can seek an expunction or an order of nondisclosure, but it is possible to have this waiting period waived under specific circumstances.
The expunction process is multifaceted, and the average person will struggle to meet the prerequisites of their case on their own. However, when you have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you, they can make the entire process much easier to complete and more likely to generate the results you hope to see.
Your legal team can assist you in completing all of the forms you will need to submit to the court with your expungement application or your motion for an order of nondisclosure. In addition, they can assist you in gathering any and all supporting documentation you will need to provide with your application, such as proof of completion of a rehabilitation program. It is important to remember that while both misdemeanors and felonies can potentially be expunged, the processes for each are very different, and both are incredibly demanding.
Our firm focuses on the client in every case. We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution to every criminal matter, and we take time to learn each client’s story to ensure we address their individual concerns. If you believe you qualify for an expunction or an order of nondisclosure, we can guide you through the process of making it happen as efficiently as possible.
A: Unlike other states, Texas does not allow a DWI conviction to be expunged or removed from your record. This means the record of your conviction is permanent. However, if your case was dismissed without probation, an experienced attorney can help you secure removal through an expunction. In addition, some defendants may qualify to have their DWI conviction records sealed through orders of nondisclosure. An attorney can advise you as to whether any such options are available to you.
A: All Texas drivers must have auto insurance coverage that meets the state’s minimum requirements, and drivers pay premiums each month to maintain this coverage. Insurance companies assign premium rates based on perceived risk. If you are charged with a DWI, your auto insurance carrier is likely to increase your premium rate once they become aware of your case. It’s also possible to have your insurance coverage canceled if a DWI conviction violates the terms of your auto insurance policy.
A: Texas grants expunctions very rarely, and the process of qualifying for an expunction is more challenging than many people realize. While it is technically possible to pursue an expunction or order of nondisclosure on your own, you are unlikely to reach favorable results without an attorney. Therefore, hiring experienced legal counsel increases not only your chances of reaching the results you hope to see but also makes the entire process much easier to handle.
A: Most attorneys charge hourly rates, and the more time they spend working on a case, the more they charge the client. Some attorneys offer flat rates for specific legal services. Depending on the specific details of your case, you may require more extensive legal counsel than you initially expected. For the best chance of reaching the best possible outcome, it’s important to hire legal representation you can trust.
The Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, can help our clients navigate the complex proceedings necessary to have their DWI record expunged or sealed under an order of nondisclosure. The steps you must complete to accomplish your goals and prevent your DWI conviction from interfering with your life any more than it already has are very challenging, and you need legal counsel you can trust to navigate this process successfully. Contact our team today and schedule a case review with our team to learn more about the legal services we offer.