An arrest and a conviction aren't the same things -- but when an arrest for drunk driving or any other criminal charge shows up on your background check, it can certainly feel the same.
Having an arrest anywhere on your record can cause you countless problems with your finances, your ability to rent certain apartments and your ability to find employment. It's a stain on your personal character that you certainly don't need hanging over your head.
An expunction may be the way to a clean record. In Texas, expunction is a method of legally removing all mention of a crime from an individual's police record. To obtain an expunction, you must file a petition with the court. If it's approved, all government records of your arrest and charges will be deleted.
How do you know if you are eligible for an expunction? Here are some common situations that are eligible for expunction:
- You were arrested for drunk driving, but the prosecutor declined to pursue charges
- You were arrested and charged with drunk driving or another crime, but the case was eventually dismissed
- You pled not guilty to a drunk driving charge or another crime, and you were acquitted at trial
- You were arrested and charged due to mistaken identity or due to identity theft
It's important to understand that you are not eligible for expunction if you were subject to probation or deferred adjudication. (In those cases, however, there may be other ways to obtain nondisclosure of your record.) There are other restrictions that can limit your ability to obtain an expunction, especially when you have been convicted of other crimes.
Protecting your reputation and your future is important -- and it's your right. An attorney can help you understand if you are eligible for expunction and guide you through the process.