Can a DWI be expunged in Texas?

Attorney Trey Porter
Trey Porter

Can a DWI be expunged in Texas?

Can a DWI be expunged in Texas


A DWI conviction cannot be expunged in Texas. However, a DWI charge that did not result in a final conviction can be expunged in some circumstances. DWI charges that can’t be expunged may be eligible to be sealed under Texas’s DWI Second Chance Law.

  • How long does a DWI stay on your driving record in Texas? A DWI stays on a person’s record permanently in Texas. Even a DWI dismissal will remain permanently on a person’s background unless it is expunged. There is a common misconception that cases automatically go away after 7 years but the only way to remove a DWI charge in Texas is by expungement.
  • How long does it take to get your record expunged in Texas? It takes about 6 months to expunge a DWI, or any other eligible charge, in Texas. The Texas expungement process is complex and subject to busy court dockets and administrative processing delays in state agencies like the Texas Department of Public Safety.

    There is also a 1-year expungement waiting period for misdemeanor DWI arrests and a 3-year waiting period for felony DWI arrests unless there was an acquittal verdict following a jury trial, or there was no probable cause for the offense. For felony DWI cases, a grand jury no bill may establish a lack of probable cause.

  • How do I get my DWI expunged in Texas? A Texas DWI expungement is initiated by filing a notarized Petition for Expunction in district court or in the proper court of jurisdiction. The petition should list the necessary law enforcement agencies and otherwise comport with chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The expungement then proceeds by motion to a hearing where the district attorney (or prosecutor) may appear to present evidence and legal arguments. The trial court judge ultimately decides whether to grant a DWI expungement in Texas.


It costs up to approximately $5,000 to expunge a DWI in Texas. However, total expungement fees vary according to the nature and severity of the DWI charge as well as the number of law enforcement agencies requiring service in the lawsuit.

  • Can I expunge my record myself in Texas? Texans are free to pursue their own pro se DWI expungement. However, expungement is a nuanced process requiring an understanding of law, the rules of evidence, civil procedure, and the criminal justice system. Additionally, the consequences of a deficient expungement are catastrophic and can lead to pretext police traffic stops and compromised employment opportunities. Expungement is, therefore, best handled by a knowledgeable expungement and Texas criminal defense attorney.
  • Texas DWI expungement requirements? As a primary requirement, a Texas DWI case must first be eligible for expungement, which usually entails that the crime was dismissed with no probation or successfully resolved by pretrial diversion. There is sometimes a mandatory waiting period and, in many cases the petitioner must even wait for expiration of the DWI’s Statute of Limitations. The individual must then file a verified Petition for Expunction in the appropriate court that complies with Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.


Yes, a DUI does show up on background checks in Texas, even when dismissed. DUI cases do not ever automatically disappear from a person’s criminal record. The only way to delete a DUI record in Texas is by Expunction.

  • How long does a misdemeanor DWI stay on your record in Texas? A misdemeanor DWI stays permanently on a person’s record in Texas. Even a dismissed misdemeanor DWI will appear permanently on a criminal background check unless it is expunged. The only way to clear a misdemeanor DWI record in Texas is by expungement.
  • How to get DWI expunged in Texas? A person seeking to get a DWI expunged must first file a Petition for Expunction in the proper court of jurisdiction. The expungement petition must be sworn, include the petitioner’s social security number, and list all the necessary law enforcement and governmental agencies. The petitioner then carries the burden of proving they are entitled to the expungement as set forth in Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure


A DWI conviction (including DWI felony and DWI drug convictions) cannot be expunged in Texas unless it is vacated on appeal and then the Defendant exonerated, or if it is subject to a pardon by the Governor of Texas. However, certain minor, first-time DWI conviction and probation cases can be sealed by operation of the Texas Second Chance Law.

Importantly, a DWI conviction, like any criminal charge (including Driving Under the Influence, Assault-Bodily Injury, Bail Jumping, and Driving while License Invalid), requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • What cannot be expunged in Texas? DWI convictions and cases resolved by probation, including Deferred Adjudication, are not eligible for expungement in Texas. Additionally, jail and prison records cannot be expunged in Texas. Generally the only DWI cases eligible for expungement are those that are dismissed with no probation, resolved by pretrial diversion, or that are reduced by plea deal to a class C misdemeanor and subsequently resolved by Deferred Disposition. Expungement in Texas is ultimately a nuanced topic and it is best to consult these issues with a knowledgeable DWI defense attorney and expungement law firm.
  • What does it mean to seal a DWI in Texas? Sealing a DWI typically refers to the process of obtaining an order of nondisclosure for a DWI case. A DWI record sealed by a nondisclosure order does not appear on a public background search conducted by private entities like private employers. However, the records are visible to law enforcement and certain government agencies that regulate professional occupations like the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Medical Board. A full list of these agencies can be found in Texas Government Code section 411.0765.


An individual seeking to seal a DWI conviction must first verify they meet the requirements set forth in Texas Government Code sections 411.0731 or 411.0736. Under these provisions, people with more than one criminal conviction, whose blood alcohol content/breath alcohol content were greater than 0.15 percent, or whose cases resulted in a vehicle accident involving another person are not eligible to seal their DWI conviction. There is also a mandatory 2 to 5-year waiting period depending on whether the Defendant complied with an ignition interlock device (breathalyzer) requirement for at least 6 months. An eligible petitioner can then file an application for a nondisclosure order in the pertinent court where the judge ultimately determines whether to grant the request.

  • What is the Second Chance Law in Texas for DWI? The Texas Second Chance Law allows certain first-time DWI offenders to seal their charges though an order of nondisclosure. This was previously not possible until the legislature passed this law as Texas House Bill 3016 in 2017. The Texas Second Chance Law is retroactive, which allows Texans to seal DWI charges that predate the law.
  • When can you get a DWI sealed in Texas? A DWI can be sealed in Texas after full completion of Deferred Adjudication probation, community supervision probation, and full satisfaction of fines imposed and terms of confinement (jail sentence). However, persons with more than one criminal conviction, whose blood test was greater than 0.15 percent BAC, or whose cases resulted in a vehicle collision involving another person including a passenger are not eligible to seal their DWI in Texas. A person must also wait 2 to 5 years before they can seal a DWI depending on whether they maintained an ignition interlock device (breathalyzer) for at least 6 months.


Yes, every person should hire a lawyer for expungement in Texas. Self representation is permitted, however, expunctions require court hearings and detailed filings.  Mistakes can cause delays, prove costly, and are difficult to remedy. Retaining a Texas expunction attorney is the safest and fastest way to expunge a record in Texas.

Trey Porter Law has successfully expunged hundreds of records in Texas for individuals seeking to move forward with a clean record.  Results matter when life and livelihood are on the line, and the team at Trey Porter Law has a steadfast commitment to uncompromising results.


Trey Porter Law is a top-rated Texas law firm representing individuals facing Criminal & DWI charges across the Lone Star state. Committed to uncompromising results, TPL leverages 40+ years of combined experience, professional relationships, and dynamic, high-powered advocacy to get the best result for every client, every time. TPL’s experience is the foundation for its hard-earned reputation of getting big wins in the toughest cases.

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Attorney Trey Porter

Trey Porter

Trey Porter is one of the highest-rated criminal defense attorneys in Texas. Nationally recognized, Mr. Porter relentlessly fights to protect and assert his clients’ constitutional rights in and out of courtrooms across the state.


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