If you have had a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction, you already know how a blemish on your permanent record can impact everything from your job prospects to your ability to secure a rental house.

People who know about expungements, record sealing or expunction may find themselves asking whether they can get a previous DWI conviction removed from their Texas criminal record. Understanding how expungements and expunctions work will give you a better understanding of if they are an option for you.

Texas has strict rules about removing infractions from your criminal record

Accurate criminal records allow employers and others to make intelligent decisions about whom they hire or work with. It is in the public’s best interests that Texas maintains accurate records of those who might pose a threat to others.

Given that impaired driving has significant social costs and contributes to deaths across the country every day, these serious offenses are typically not eligible for expungement in Texas. However, in rare, specific scenarios, someone with a DWI arrest could ask to have it removed from their record.

If you didn’t get convicted or won an appeal

An expungement is usually only an option for those who did not plead guilty, accept a plea deal or wind up convicted of an offense. For example, if you had an attorney who was able to negotiate the reduction of an impaired driving charge to a traffic offense provided that you comply with certain criteria, once you meet those obligations, it may be possible to have the record of your arrest removed.

Additionally, if the state eventually dismissed the case against you, found you not guilty or overturned a conviction during an appeal, you may also qualify to have the record of your impaired-driving arrest and charges removed.

If you were a minor at the time of the offense

For those facing consequences of a youthful impaired driving offense who managed to avoid any future criminal activity or arrest, it may be possible to have that youthful offense sealed so that it does not turn up in searches of public records. However, in order to qualify under these rules, someone will typically have had to avoid any issues since the days of their impaired driving arrest.

First-time defenders with a deferred case can also possibly qualify for the removal of the DWI records. Otherwise, those who plead guilty or get convicted of a DWI will have to deal with it as a permanent part of their record. The fact that you probably can’t get that conviction taken off your record is one compelling reason to consider defending yourself against pending DWI charges in Texas.