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Facing a misdemeanor DWI? Here’s what you should know

If you are facing a misdemeanor DWI in Texas, you may already know that a conviction could seriously impact your life. A first-time DWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. A conviction may result in penalties such as 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in fines and the loss of your license. If your blood alcohol concentration was over .15%, then you could also face aggravated penalties and see the charge raised to a Class A misdemeanor.

DWI offenses are serious, and you should take steps to defend yourself. If you get a DWI, that will remain on your record forever. In most cases, DWI convictions aren’t eligible for expungement or nondisclosure, though there are exceptions that you may want to discuss with your attorney. On the other hand, if you are arrested but aren’t convicted, then you may be able to get the arrest record expunged.

When can a DWI be expunged?

If you are not convicted of a DWI, then the arrest and other information may be expunged in some cases. You may be able to get the DWI expunged if:

  • The case was dismissed
  • Your first DWI happened when you were a minor
  • You were found not guilty
  • You appealed the court’s decision and won
  • The case was deferred so that you could complete probation (this may allow you to file for a petition of nondisclosure)

If your attorney agrees that your case may be expunged, then you will need to petition the court. The court will decide if you can get an expunction. If so, then you will need to file an expungement order with any necessary parties.

A nondisclosure for DWIs is a little different, but it has been allowed since 2017 for all people who qualify. Nondisclosure allows your records to be sealed, but you need to show that you qualify based on being a first-time offender, having a BAC below .15% or by meeting other requirements.

It’s important to fight the DWI from the moment you know you’re accused. If you can avoid a conviction, you will have a better chance of removing information about the arrest from your record.