How do you seal a DWI charge in Texas? 

Attorney Trey Porter
Trey Porter

How do you seal a DWI charge in Texas? 

How do you seal a DWI charge in Texas? 

A DWI conviction in Texas can be sealed by filing a petition for an Order of Nondisclosure. There are a number of qualifying factors, however, if a judge grants an Order of Nondisclosure, the DWI charge will no longer appear on a person’s criminal history record, and government entities are restricted from disclosing information about the DWI charge to the public. 

  • How long does a DWI stay on your record in Texas? Unless expunged or sealed, a DWI charge will remain on the record forever in Texas. The circumstances of the incident, a person’s criminal history, and the details of the disposition will dictate Expunction  or nondisclosure eligibility.

  • Can you seal a Felony DUI in Texas? Felony convictions in Texas are not eligible for Orders of Nondisclosure. A felony DWI conviction in Texas is permanent. If you were charged with a felony DWI in Texas, and the case was dismissed, you may be eligible to delete the record through Expunction.

  • How do you get a sealed DWI in Texas? A first-time misdemeanor DWI conviction may be sealed in Texas through an Order of Nondisclosure if the charge was a true first offense, and the defendant successfully completed court-ordered community supervision or confinement.

    Disqualifying factors include: a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher, an accident involving another person (this includes a passenger), and being charged with a subsequent offense after the DWI probation or confinement ended. 

How do you get rid of a DWI in Texas? 

It is important to avoid a DWI conviction at all costs. If you already have a DWI on your record, you may be eligible to seal it through an Order of Nondisclosure, or delete it altogether through an expunction. The first step is determining eligibility. Start here. 

  • What is the Texas DWI Second Chance Law? House Bill 3016, also known as the Texas DWI Second Chance Law, was enacted in June 2017. This legislation paved the way for first-time DWI offenders to seal their charges through an Order of Nondisclosure. The law is retroactive, meaning that older convictions that predate the law’s passage are eligible.

  • What is a DWI pardon in Texas? A pardon is a rare form of clemency. People with a final conviction seeking DWI forgiveness in Texas may petition the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for a pardon. The Governor has the authority to grant clemency upon written recommendation of the Board. Clemency includes full pardons after conviction or successful completion of a term of deferred adjudication community supervision.

Can a DWI be dismissed in Texas? 

DWI charges are dismissed across Texas every day. When a DWI charge is dismissed the record of the incident remains. It is critical to take the extra step of deleting the record through an expunction. In instances where the DWI was not dismissed, the charge cannot be removed, but can be sealed in certain circumstances through an Order of Nondisclosure.

  • How do I get my DWI dismissed in Texas? There are several methods to secure a DWI dismissal though they require an understanding of intoxication investigations and science as well as familiarity with criminal procedure. For example, an effective DWI defense can challenge the reasonable suspicion and probable cause in a DWI traffic stop and arrest, or the very validity of the blood test BAC results in a case. Improper police field sobriety investigations, invalid alcohol test consent, and inconsistent video evidence can also result in a DWI dismissal in Texas. 
  • How do you remove a DWI from your record in Texas? A DWI expunction deletes the entire incident from the record. An expunction is a court order that requires all law enforcement agencies and government entities to delete and destroy existing records pertaining to the arrest, charge, and prosecution.

    A DWI Order of Nondisclosure seals the incident. The order prevents government agencies from disclosing information about the incident to the general public.

What does it mean to seal a DWI? 

Sealing a DWI means preventing the public disclosure of a DWI record by means of an Order of Nondisclosure. As a result of this process, a DWI record will not appear on a public background check conducted by private individuals, such as a private employer.

  • How do I get my record sealed in Texas? A DWI record is sealed by filing a Petition for Nondisclosure with the appropriate court clerk. This petition should be notarized and comport with the Texas Government Code and the general principles of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. A Texas district attorney or court prosecutor may contest the petition but the trial judge ultimately decides whether to grant an Order of Nondisclosure.
  • How much does it cost to seal your record in Texas? It costs up to approximately $5000 to fully seal a DWI record in Texas by nondisclosure order. These costs will naturally vary depending on the nature of the crime and the court fee schedule of the relevant jurisdiction. Cost and eligibility can be discussed further with a Texas criminal defense lawyer and law firm.

How long does it take to seal a record in Texas? 

It takes approximately 3 to 6 months to fully seal a DWI record by Order of Nondisclosure in Texas. This waiting period is sometimes delayed by busy court dockets and criminal justice agencies like the Texas Department of Public Safety

Additionally, Texas law mandates a waiting period before a person can petition for a nondisclosure. DWI Deferred Adjudication cases (by nolo contendere plea or otherwise) require a 2 year waiting period from the date of dismissal. Other eligible DWI defendants must wait 5 years from the completion of their sentence unless they maintained an ignition interlock device (breathalyzer) for at least 6 months, in which case the waiting period is 2 years.

  • Will a sealed record show up on a background check? A properly sealed DWI offense record will not appear on a public background check conducted by private entities like a private employer. However, sealed nondisclosure records will appear to a law enforcement officer and certain government agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). A DWI criminal record subject to a properly executed expungement in Texas will not appear on a background check.
  • Who can see sealed records in Texas? Texas police officers, law enforcement agents, prosecutors, and certain judicial officers can see DWI records sealed by nondisclosure order in Texas. Additionally, sealed records may be disclosed to certain government agencies that regulate a professional employment license like the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Medical Board. A full list of these state agencies may be found in Texas Government Code statute 411.0765.

Can I ask for Texas Second Chance Law for first DWI? 

Yes, a person may seal a first-time misdemeanor DWI conviction under the second chance law in Texas. However, there are certain disqualifications for the second chance law in Texas including drunk driving convictions with a BAC (blood alcohol content) over 0.15 and those resulting in a motor vehicle accident involving another individual (including the passenger) regardless of injury.


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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