Grace and Mercy in Texas DWI Law
Texas allows certain persons arrested for a DWI, and even some who suffer DWI conviction, to obtain a court order sealing and destroying all associated records. A DWI expunction, or expungement, means that the defendant has the legal right to deny any such DWI event.
So far, so good. A DWI expunction can restore job, career, and reputation to those whom the Texas legislature decided deserve a second chance. Read the details about DWI expunction here. The expunction opportunity is appropriately limited to deserving defendants, but it is a wise and beneficial act of Texas-law mercy and grace.
Trouble in River City
The only problem is that a story arose not too long ago of a Texas district attorney moving to reverse the DWI expunction of a prominent Texas attorney. Anyone who has obtained or wishes to obtain an expunction must be wondering, Can they do that?!
Details of the story are murky. The story reports as fact that the prominent attorney who suffered the DWI arrest obtained the DWI arrest's expunction less than a year later, on the signature of the local district attorney. That signature, the DWI charge's dismissal, and the expunction may have been highly irregular or not at all irregular, depending on whom you ask. But the story reports that the involved county's new district attorney did move to reopen the prominent attorney's DWI case, which if successful, would have effectively reversed the expunction.
The story repeats competing claims, or call it speculation, that politics played a role either in the initial expunction or the later attempt to reverse the expunction--or both. The politics, if it existed, inevitably involved allegiance with, and alleged campaign contributions to, officeholders elected as representatives of one or the other of America's two great political parties. Texas voters do indeed elect both judges and district attorneys, making easy speculation about the untoward influence of party affiliation.
Proper Expunction Ends and Destroys Records in a DWI Case
So what happened to the prominent attorney's DWI case? The district attorney had dismissed the case on the grounds that the attorney had completed a pretrial-diversion program. Read more about Texas's deferred-adjudication law here. While the court sealed the motion to reopen the DWI charge, no further report indicates any DWI proceeding. The expunction stuck, as proper expunctions should stick.
This unusual case teaches two things about defending a DWI charge. First, skilled representation can help the defendant achieve a complete win, such as diversion and dismissal of the DWI charge, if not an outright pretrial or trial win. The prominent attorney in the above story did not represent himself.
The other lesson the story teaches is that police and prosecutors don't always get the facts and procedures straight. The prominent attorney in the above story maintained from the outset that the charge was without merit and the criminal proceeding littered with irregularities, errors that may have resulted in the DWI charge's dismissal even without diversion, as the prominent attorney maintained.
Expert Representation Makes the Difference
Premier criminal-defense lawyer and 2021 Houston DWI Lawyer of the Year Doug Murphy, helps clients successfully defend and expunge DWI charges. Read more here about how effective defense counsel can help win a DWI case. The key for anyone facing a DWI charge is to know your DWI rights while retaining the skilled and experienced lawyer who can enforce those rights.
As a Board Certified DWI specialist and one of only two Texas lawyers holding both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification, Doug Murphy has the experience and expertise to successfully defend and expunge DWI charges. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 to discuss your case today. Trust Texas DWI attorney Doug Murphy with your DWI defense.