If you’re facing DWI charges, you’re likely wondering “How long does DWI stay on record in Texas?” Let’s face it. A single DWI conviction can give you a lot of baggage to deal with for quite a long time. It can drive up your car insurance rates by hundreds of dollars, tarnish your professional reputation, and even keep you from getting jobs. And those are just the social consequences.

If you’ve recently failed your Texas sobriety test and were arrested for drunk driving, you may be asking questions including, “Will a DWI stay on my record?” and “Can a DWI conviction be expunged in Texas?” Mark Thiessen, the Board Certified DWI attorney from Thiessen Law Firm, is here to answer all of your questions about DWIs and your record.

How long does it take for a DWI to come off your record in Texas?

Unlike other states, Texas does not have a “washout period” for DWI convictions. This means that if you are found guilty of a DWI in Texas –– regardless of whether or not you’re being charged with your first DWI offense, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter –– it will stay on your record for your entire lifetime.

To add insult to injury, the longevity of these convictions on your criminal record can still affect you decades later. For example, if you received a DWI first offense when you were 22 years old and were then convicted of a second DWI when you were 65, you would be charged with a DWI second offense despite the multi-decade gap in-between. And yes, this also means that the penalties for the DWI second offense would be just as severe as if you had received the charge just a week after your DWI first offense charge.

To answer the question “How long does it take for a DWI to come off your record in Texas?” more directly, a DWI charge will stay on your record until:

Your case is dismissed

If a judge doesn’t have enough evidence to convict you or that evidence was obtained illegally, then it is likely that they will dismiss your case. When that happens, you can expunge (or get rid of) any record of your charges and arrest. A dismissal is the quickest way to get DWI charges off your records, and it is much easier to obtain with a Houston DWI lawyer.

You complete Deferred Adjudication

For a DWI first-time offense, judges will sometimes offer the chance to complete deferred adjudication, which will ultimately result in a dismissal of your charges. You must plead “guilty” or “no contest” to the charges brought against you and then complete the requirements of your deferred adjudication. These requirements are similar to but not the same as “straight probation”.

After you wait for a period determined by your charge

Wondering how to get a DWI expunged in Texas? While this isn’t the best DWI defense, it is possible to apply for DWI expungement after simply waiting a certain amount of time. However, you have to meet several conditions in order to apply for and receive DWI expungement for this reason.

These conditions include that: 

  • You are charged, released, and never convicted
  • You aren’t also charged with other misdemeanors or felonies relating to the same DWI charge
  • You’ve waited for the proper amount of time (180 days from the arrest for Class C misdemeanors, 1 year for class A or B misdemeanors, and 3 years for felonies)

You are tried and found not guilty

If you and your DWI defense lawyer take your case to trial and you are found innocent, then there’s no reason that a DWI should remain on your criminal or driving record. Sometimes the answer to the question “How long does a DWI stay on your record?” is simply however long it takes to prove you’re not guilty.

You are no longer a minor

Fortunately, if your first and only DWI or DUI conviction occurred during the follies of your youth, your criminal convictions may be eligible for expungement when you legally become an adult. If you don’t already know, the main difference between a DUI and DWI in Texas is that you’re eligible for a DUI only when you’re a minor, or younger than 18 years old.

Indefinitely

Does a DWI stay on your record forever in Texas? Unfortunately, once you receive a DWI conviction, that conviction is probably going to be stuck on both your criminal record and your driving record indefinitely. Therefore, the best way to avoid this result (besides not driving while intoxicated) is to make sure that you have the best Houston DWI attorney by your side. The DWI attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm stand ready to fight to reduce the amount of time that a single bad decision affects your life.

Continue reading: How to fight a DWI in Texas

How can having a DWI on my record affect my life?

Outside of hits to your reputation, effects on personal relationships, and the obvious repercussions of possible jail time, having a DWI on your record will mainly affect two areas: your car insurance and your employment.

Car insurance

When insurance companies see a DWI conviction, they will likely increase your rate or even cancel your car insurance as a result. It will also make it hard for you to change car insurance companies to get a new or better policy.

Employment

Does having a DWI on your record affect your employment? Whether you’re convicted or not, even being charged with a DWI can result in employment challenges. Being charged with a DWI can result in license suspension, making it difficult to get to your place of employment. It can also make it hard to find or maintain employment. But the biggest question for most individuals facing charges is, “Can you get fired for a DUI?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes, especially if you are looking at a profession that tends to have strict rules of conduct like in cases of DWI and teaching.

Texas is an “at-will employment” state. So you can legally be fired at any time and for any reason, including DWI convictions. However, if you aren’t convicted of your DWI charge in the first place, then you won’t need to worry about the record or life impacts that come with a criminal conviction

Looking for an aggressive DWI lawyer in Houston? Mark Thiessen should be your first call.

So, how long does DWI stay on your record in Texas? It may depend on how soon you call a lawyer after the arrest. 

While getting a DWI charge removed from your record can be challenging, it’s entirely possible, especially with a talented lawyer and a solid defense. And if you have been charged with something more serious than a DWI, such as intoxication manslaughter in Houston, having a competent DWI lawyer will be all the more crucial.

Want to keep your driver’s license in hand and keep a DWI conviction from affecting your reputation, insurance, and employment? Call our team at the Thiessen Law Firm at 713-864-9000 to request a free case evaluation. We’ll fight to keep you living your best life by keeping your criminal and driving records free of DWI convictions.

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Mark Thiessen

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.