DWI & Your “Permanent Record” In Texas
Many children are told that any serious criminal infractions they commit will end up on their “permanent record.” Of course, while this may be a scare tactic for kids, the same cannot be said for adults. To be sure, any serious violations of the law, such as driving while intoxicated, and even arrests, may in fact lead to a permanent mark on your criminal record.
If you get arrested in Texas, it goes on an arrest record. This is a record that’s maintained by the FBI for almost every jurisdiction in the country. The record is held in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), and almost every jurisdiction nationwide reports every arrest. Furthermore, information is collected and compiled whether there is a conviction or not. The NCIC is only available to law enforcement agencies for legitimate law enforcement purposes.
The State of Texas also maintains its own database of criminal records known as the TCIC. Further, arrest records are usually a matter of public record that are available on a public database which is maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. As such, not only does an arrest go on your record, it is there for everyone to see – if they only know what they are looking for. There are situations, though, where an arrest can be removed from your record, as explained below.
Ultimately, if you get convicted, this will be visible on your criminal record. You must also understand that if you plead guilty, no contest, nolo contendre or take an Alford plea for a DWI in Texas, you will have a conviction record.
Expunction and Orders Of Non-Disclosure
Not all criminal records are required to remain on your criminal record forever, as some may be eligible for expunction. Expunction is the legal process for getting arrests and convictions removed from your record.
In Texas, you might qualify for expunction if:
- You are acquitted of the charges;
- You were pardoned after being convicted;
- You were convicted, but later exonerated; or
- You were arrested, but never charged.
Obviously, these conditions only apply in very specific situations.
The other option for sealing criminal records in Texas is an Order of Non-Disclosure. This is a legal process whereby the clerk of the court is prohibited from releasing your records after a satisfactory deferred adjudication outcome. Unfortunately, in DWI cases, deferred adjudication is not an option as it is prohibited by Texas law.
Overall, the best way to keep your record clean if you are arrested is to receive an acquittal. And to do so, it is imperative that you contact a skilled attorney at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates or another experienced DWI lawyer in Brazoria, TX for help. We at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates have significant experience defending the rights & freedom of the accused in Brazoria County and will begin working for you, on your case, immediately.