Does a DWI Show Up on My Background Check?

texas background check-dwi attorney houston

Yes, when a background check includes your criminal record, a DWI shows up. Oftentimes, many people don’t realize that their DWI arrest shows up on their record regardless of whether there was a conviction. If your case was dismissed, our Houston DWI lawyers will work with you to determine whether it can be removed from your record. 

Expungement is an important step for any dismissal. This is because driving while intoxicated (DWI) negatively impacts your chances of finding work, renting a home, or even attain professional licenses. 

If you currently face DWI charge, it is crucial for you to take every possible step to avoid having a conviction on your record, which will show up on a background check. DWI convictions haunt Texans long after they pay the legal consequences. In many cases, a DWI stays on your record permanently unless you seek expungement. 

Contact our Houston DWI lawyers today for a free consultation. Whether you face charges now or want to seek expungement or record sealing, our team can help you understand your options.

Employers and Getting a Background Check in Texas

In many cases, Texas employers conduct an extensive background check on job candidates. For this reason, many with a DWI on their record find themselves without a job. This is true even if the arrest did not lead to a conviction. 

Additionally, when your career specifically centers around driving, you can count on them scouring your record. If they see any signs of a DWI or negligent behavior behind the wheel, you likely won’t be their choice. 

How Does a DWI Impact Career Prospects?

In Texas, employers can use the results of background checks to deny candidates a job. However, employers must follow certain rules when doing so. For example, when they use a third-party company to conduct the investigation, they must inform you. Moreover, you must sign a waiver providing your consent to the check. 

Secondly, when an employer decides not to hire you based on negative information from their check, they must provide the details of their decision. Still, some businesses forgive DWIs in background checks. This is especially true when your arrest occurred several years in the past. 

However, it’s important to understand that this depends on several factors. 

  • Company policies
  • The type of job
  • Job duties 
  • Company culture 
  • Other candidates

When the economy is not on your side, a DWI hurts you even more. Employers are more likely to have qualified candidates with clean records vying for the same job. 

DWI Expungement 

When you are arrested for a DWI but not convicted, your arrest shows up on your record. However, you may have the option to have it expunged from your arrest record. As Houston DWI defense lawyers, we can help you pursue this option. 

Typically, DWI expungement involves filing a petition and attendance at a hearing. At your hearing, we present the case for why your DWI arrest should be removed from your record. After a successful hearing, the judge issues an order of expungement. 

Sealing Your Record / Background Check

Alternatively, you might pursue a nondisclosure order. You may know this as “having your record sealed.” While a sealed record does not disappear from your record, it is no longer visible to employers or third-party agencies. 

Something to keep in mind with a sealed record is that certain government officials still have the ability to see your DWI arrest. If you hope to get a high-level government job, this can still be a hurdle. In these cases, you may want to seek expungement. 

According to more recent Texas law, a first-offense DWI conviction may also be eligible to be sealed. However, you must meet specific criteria. Speak to our Houston DWI lawyers if you wish to explore this option. 

What Do I Do If I Currently Face Charges?

If you currently face DWI charges, it’s important to remember that you have options. The first thing you should do is speak to a DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. At your free case evaluation, we review your case and determine the best method for defense. At times, this may involve a plea that reduces your DWI charges to less severe charges. 

Our DWI defense team can also help you work towards expungement when we avoid conviction. 

Call Now For a Free Consultation

Are you currently facing DWI charges in Houston? Do you want to seal your record or expunge a DWI arrest? Learn more about your options when you schedule a free consultation with our Houston DWI lawyers. 

Led by Herman Martinez, our team strives to help you fight to protect your rights and your future. We understand how deeply impactful a DWI arrest can be. Moreover, we have decades of experience helping people protect themselves. 

Contact us now to schedule your free case evaluation. Let us show you how we can be your advocates.

DWI Expungement in Houston: When and How It Works

A DWI expungement in Houston can help you work towards a better future. In Texas, your criminal record is a public record. If you have ever been charged, convicted, or arrested for a DWI, anyone who runs a background check will find that information. Oftentimes, this results in difficulty finding work, a place to live, or even a financial loan. For years, a DWI arrest in Texas can haunt you. Let Martinez Law get the court to expunge a DWI case for you.

Fortunately, when you have the right Houston DWI lawyer on your side, there are ways to avoid having your DWI discovered by the public. For those who qualify, an arrest, prosecution, or first-time conviction can potentially be sealed. When you seal your record, it helps you get back to a sense of normalcy. Reach out to the Martinez Law Firm today to see whether you qualify and how we can help. Our DWI defense law firm offers free consultations, so please, do not hesitate to call.

Who Qualifies for DWI Expungement in Houston?

Have you been arrested and tried for a DWI without a formal conviction? The good news is that you may qualify to expunge a DWI case in Harris County, TX. If you meet one of the following requirements, you qualify for expunction.

Minor at the Time of Your DWI Arrest

If you were arrested for a DWI as a minor (under 17 in this instance) and not convicted of other violations, you should be eligible to expunge a DWI case in Houston. Texas understands that minors make mistakes and often approve rehabilitation over punishment for youths. A criminal record for a mistake you made as a kid does not serve this purpose.

Charges Never Filed

The fact of your arrest for a DWI is a matter of public record. Any employer or landlord who runs a background check can see the details of any run-ins you’ve had with the law. This includes the details of any arrests. However, if you were never formally charged with a crime, you can request to have the record expunged.

With this expungement, your DWI arrest seems like it no longer exists. Moreover, the court may grant you the legal privilege to deny the fact you were ever arrest for an expunged crime.

DWI Case Dismissed by a Court

When your DWI case is dismissed, the arrest and charge remain on your record. Oftentimes, people assume this means that the DWI arrest simply falls off of their record. This is simply not the case unless you file a petition for DWI expungement in Houston.

If your misdemeanor DWI case was dismissed, you are likely eligible to expunge a DWI case so long as that same arrest didn’t lead to a conviction for another crime.

Found Not Guilty of a DWI

If you took your DWI case to trial and won, congratulations. Even when a judge and jury decide you are not guilty, your arrest remains on your record. However, your success in court means you have the right to request an expunction.

Appealed a DWI Conviction & Won

With the help of a Houston DWI lawyer, you can appeal any DWI conviction in Texas. When you appeal and win, you also have the ability to request a DWI expungement in Houston. Clearing your record helps you keep the details of your DWI arrest, trial, conviction, and appeal under wraps. Moreover, an expungement can allow you to honestly state that you were never convicted of a crime.

Need to Expunge A DWI Case in Houston? Call Our DWI Defense Team

Have you been arrested or prosecuted for a DWI in Houston? Were you never convicted? Perhaps you were able to overturn your conviction through an appeal. If you find yourself in need of a DWI expungement in Houston or Harris County, DWI lawyer Herman Martinez has the power to help you file a petition for expungement or to have your record sealed. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more ab

How to Handle an Out of State DWI

how to handle an out of state DWI

How Does an Out of State DWI Affect Your License? 

Across the United States, every state maintains a department that handles DWI cases. This department oversees the driving privileges of the state’s residents. In Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is in this role. Included in their role is the handling of Texas DWI license suspensions. When you are charged with Driving While Intoxicated in another state, it is within their power to take similar action against your license. 

The Interstate Agreement on DWI

The Interstate Driver License Compact, or DLC, enables the sharing of records between states that are members of the compact. Texas happens to be a member of the DLC. Essentially, this means that a licensing agency in another state can notify the DPS in Texas when you receive a DWI. In turn, the DPS is able to treat the offense as one committed in Texas. 

One Driver, One Record 

However, it is important to note that the DLC does not dictate when or how a conviction in another state affects your Texas driver’s license. To put it simply, it makes it easier for state agencies like the DPS to share information about convictions and suspensions. While driver’s licenses are issued by the state, the DLC allows them to operate under the principle of “one driver, one license, one record.”

Likewise, it is important that you know the Texas DPS will only suspend your license if the conviction is considered illegal in Texas. This means that the specific law you broke must have an equivalent law in Texas. For instance, if you receive a traffic ticket in Louisiana for an offense that Texas law does not have in place, it would not automatically transfer to your Texas driving record. 

One Record” Regarding Out of State DWI

Every state has DWI and DUI laws, and they share the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold of .08%. This means that if you are convicted of an out of state DWI in California with a BAC of .08%, the DLC allows Texas DPS to suspend your Texas driver’s license. 

It is important to note that underage laws vary by state. Texas is considered to be a zero-tolerance state, meaning that minors caught driving with traceable amounts of alcohol in their blood can face DUI charges. However, other states exercise more leniency for minors, requiring a BAC of .02% or higher for an underage DUI. 

Unfortunately, the Texas zero-tolerance policy means that any out of state DWI conviction for a minor is likely to affect their Texas license. 

When to Speak to a DWI Lawyer 

When you have questions about how an out of state DWI or DUI conviction can affect your driving record, it’s vital that you speak to a Houston DWI lawyer. An experienced DWI criminal defense attorney such as Herman Martinez will be able to detail the potential consequences you could face in Texas. Moreover, he will guide you through the process of fighting any potential suspension of your license. 

Are you facing Houston DWI charges? DWI Defense Lawyer Herman Martinez is here to advocate on your behalf. He will advise you on the most appropriate course of action for your particular case.

Our experienced team is capable of handling an array of criminal defense cases, ranging from DWI to domestic violence as well as other misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us today to request a consultation with our Houston DWI defense team. 

The Consequences of Underage Drinking in Texas

underage drinking in Texas

Underage drinking continues to be a problem in Texas. In this guide, we hope to shed some light on the conditions and consequences of underage drinking in Texas. Our state’s numerous laws and penalties pertaining to underage drinking reflect the legal bottom line. 

Texas takes underage drinking quite seriously. If you, a relative, or a loved one consume, possess, or purchase alcohol for someone under the age of 21 in Texas, you should consider the facts and consequences we discuss below. 

Are you or someone you know facing a charge related to underage drinking in Texas? Contact the criminal defense attorneys at The Martinez Law Firm. 

How to Define Underage Drinking in Texas 

In Texas, the minimum drinking age varies according to whom and to where the drinker is being served alcoholic drinks. For example, a waiter in a restaurant that serves spirits, beer, or wine must be at least 18 years old. 

The legal drinking age in Texas is 21 years of age. Originally set as 18 years in 1971, it rose to 19 in 1979 and again to 21 in 1984. These changes in the age were an attempt by legislators to curb drinking and driving instances. 

However, there are exceptions to this law. For instance, an individual under the age of 21 may drink at home when supervised and permitted by an adult. The adult must also be on the premises and present when a minor is served alcohol. 

Underage Drinking in Texas 

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, more than 130,000 minors under the age of 18 were arrested for drunk driving in Texas. Additionally, almost 1,000 minors under 18 years of age were charged with DUI. Also, the Texas School Substance Abuse survey reports that alcohol is the drug of choice for many Texas high school students: 

  • Experts report that binge drinking may lead to serious health problems. 
  • Most students said they first drank alcohol at the age of 14. 
  • Students surveyed say it’s easy to access alcohol when they want it. 
  • Almost one-fourth of secondary students in Texas say they have had five or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. 

Oftentimes, minors do not consider the possession or consumption of alcohol to be a serious criminal offense. Unfortunately, underage drinking in Texas can lead to juvenile conviction and have other serious consequences. 

What Are the Penalties for a Minor in Possession of Alcohol? 

When a minor is found drinking, they face severe consequences in the State of Texas. Any individual under the age of 21 who buys alcohol, becomes intoxicated in a public place, lists about their age to obtain or purchase alcohol, or attempts to buy, consume, or possess alcohol faces arrest and charges for Minor in Possession (MIP), otherwise known as underage drinking, in Texas. 

MIP is an alcohol-related charge as well as a Class C misdemeanor. Potential consequences of an MIP include: 

  • Up to $500 in fines 
  • Up to 40 hours of community service 
  • Court-ordered participation in an alcohol awareness program
  • Loss of driving privileges fro 30 to 180 days 

A minor over the age of 17 may face a maximum of $2,000 fines, up to 180 days behind bars, and the automatic suspension or loss of their driver’s license. 

Zero Tolerance in Texas 

In Texas, it is illegal for any individual under the age of 21 to operate any motor vehicle, including watercraft, in public with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

For a first offense, they face a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by 

  • Fines up to $500
  • Up to 40 hours of community service
  • Mandated alcohol awareness education
  • Up to 60 days suspension of their driver’s license
  • Ineligible for a Texas occupational license for 30 days

A second offense is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by: 

  • Up to $500 fine
  • Alcohol awareness classes
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 120 days
  • Up to 60 hours of community service
  • Ineligible for an occupational license for 90 days 

With a third offense, the minor is ineligible for deferred adjudication. 

  • Driver’s license suspended for up to 180 days
  • Ineligible for an occupational license throughout suspension 
  • At the age of 17, they face a maximum of $2,000 fines and a jail term up to 180 days

Contact our criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation of your case. 

Using a False ID 

Under the “Use it and lose it” law in Texas, in which use refers to alcohol, it is illegal to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol. Using false identification is a criminal offense, and if convicted, you or your loved one will face a judge and potentially jail time. 

At a minimum, it is possible to lose your Texas driver’s license. Any minor who consumes or possesses alcohol faces the potential loss of their driver’s license. 

What Are the Penalties of Underage Drinking in Texas? 

Although they are aware that the law forbids minors to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol, many minors proceed with underage drinking in Texas. Per the Texas Department of Transportation (TDoT), these are the consequences of underage drinking. 

  • On a first offense, when a minor possesses alcohol but does not consume it, they potentially lose their driver’s license for 30-80 days and must complete up to 40 hours of community service. They must also participate in a court-ordered alcohol awareness program. 
  • On a second offense, the minor faces up to $2,000 in fines and a maximum jail time of 180 days. 
  • When a minor is charged with drinking and driving, they face similar penalties to the possession of alcohol. 
  • However, on a subsequent offense, they face the loss of their driver’s license for up to 12 months as well as an alcohol awareness program. 

When an adult serves alcohol to or purchases alcohol for a minor, they also face serious charges related to underage drinking in Texas. 

  • On a first offense, the adult faces a Class A misdemeanor charge. They may be fined up to $4,000 and/or face up to one year in jail. They may also have their driver’s license revoked. 
  • When the adult is not the parent or guardian of the minor and is over the age of 21, they face liability damages for any damage the minor causes under the influence of alcohol. 

Selling alcohol to a minor is a Class A misdemeanor. It is punishable by fines up to $4,000 and/or jail time up to one year. 

Field Sobriety Test FAQ’s

can i refuse a field sobriety test?

When an individual is pulled over on suspicion of DWI, the police will most likely conduct a field sobriety test (FST) to see if they are in fact intoxicated. Unfortunately, they are not always accurate because a myriad of other factors can influence how people react to these types of tests.

Take a look at some of the common questions we receive regarding these types of tests:

  1. By law, do I have to submit to a field sobriety test if I am pulled over by the police?
    Truthfully, the answer is no and it is often recommended that you do not take them. They are often unreliable, as there are a number of outside factors that can cause a person to fail. Health conditions, difficulty balancing, weight, age, and a variety of other things can all affect the results. It is important to note, however, that an officer will most likely make you take a breath or blood test if you do not submit to a routine test.
  2. What are the most common versions of this test?
    Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk-and-Turn test, and the One-Leg Stand test are the three that are considered “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  3. Is it possible to challenge your field sobriety test?
    Yes, with the help of a qualified Houston DWI attorney, you can fight your field sobriety test. At The Martinez Law Firm, we know that being pulled over for a DWI can already be extremely stressful. We understand the various elements of these tests and we can combat how they were administered and establish if any misconduct occurred on the part of the administering officer.

No matter what the circumstances are surrounding your charges, our Houston DWI defense lawyers can strive to protect your rights both in and out of the courtroom. Call for a free evaluation of your case today and let us begin crafting the defense you deserve.

Categories: Alcohol TestDUIDWI

Proving Intent in Criminal Cases: A Prosecutor’s Burden

Proving Intent is One of the Hardest Parts of a Prosecutor’s Job

Proving intent considers a  person’s mental state and makes up the largest part of how criminal trials transpire. Prosecutors have the burden that an individual’s state of mind was fully aware of the actions about to take place, had planned those actions in advance, and knew what the consequences would be. This is called “criminal intent,” or mens rea.

How Mens Rea Works

To illustrate the difference, let us take, for example, involuntary manslaughter versus murder. What these two offenses have in common is that one person caused the death of another person. However, the very definition of involuntary manslaughter means that the individual acted recklessly or negligent, such as improperly handling a motor vehicle, and killed another.

Murder, on the other hand, is “the unlawful killing of another with
malice aforethought.” The keywords here are “malice aforethought,”
which means that the person committing the crime had every intention of
carrying out the killing before setting out to do the deed.

The Role of the Prosecutor

A prosecutor must prove that “beyond any reasonable doubt,” that
the accused person had planned a deliberate attempt to commit a crime.
Without proving intent, prosecutors will not be able to secure a criminal
a conviction for wrongdoing.

Most cases are not this cut and dry, though. There may be instances where
the accused person mistakenly believed something else, which caused him
or her to commit the crime. Here is one example: you are driving, and
you believe that the other driver is aware of your presence and motions
for you to make your maneuver. You mistakenly misinterpret the signal,
and the cars collide, killing the other driver. Because the circumstances
of the situation appeared accidental, you may have a defense available to you. In this case, proving intent can be very hard.

Bear in mind, however, that such defenses would not be valid in civil cases,
such as if the other party chooses to file a personal injury lawsuit to
recover the damages.

Accused? Call a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer!

If you are facing criminal charges of any sort, know that there is hope.
There may be a valid defense to help preserve your reputation and prevent
you from accumulating a criminal record. Hiring a knowledgeable defense
team is the first step. A good defender knows how to seek out advice from
leading experts and makes thorough investigations—that is precisely
what we do at The Martinez Law Firm.

Start your case today and call to schedule your free consultation with us today!