DWI stands for “Driving While Impaired” or “Driving While Intoxicated”. Depending on the jurisdiction, sometimes, “Operating While Intoxicated” or OWI is used. DWI refers to someone who has been caught legally impaired while operating, driving, piloting, or controlling the operation of any of the following: bicycle, motorcycle, boats and watercraft in general, aircraft, farm or construction equipment (combine, tractors), and horse-drawn vehicles or horses. Once arrested for a DWI, the driver can face serious penalties, fines, court costs, license plate impoundment, suspension of drivers' license, probation, house arrest, community service, and even imprisonment.
Impaired Driving means drugged driving. If, when pulled over, a driver seems impaired, but the breathalyzer test indicates no trace of alcohol, the police may think the driver might have used other substances, including illegal or prescription drugs and call a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to the scene to perform some tests. If the tests are positive, the driver will be charged with DWI.
Although a misdemeanor, an Aggravated DWI is a more severe offense than a regular DWI, applicable to drivers caught with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of at least 0.18. As a new type of DWI, Aggravated DWI has different plea-bargaining limitations and harsher penalties. For a first Aggravated DWI conviction, the perpetrator can be punished with license revocation for at least one year, a fine between $1,000 and $2,500, and up to one year in jail. Aggravated DWI could be elevated to a felony conviction. If someone commits an additional Aggravated DWI within 10 years of a prior charge or convictions for alcohol-related crimes, they could be charged with a Felony Aggravated DWI.
In general, it’s possible to remove a DWI from someone’s criminal history, although there are some states (such as Texas, for instance) that don’t remove DWI convictions at all. The process of having a specific entry “deleted” from someone’s criminal record is called “expungement”. Depending on the jurisdiction and the specifics of every case, if a misdemeanor DWI was dismissed, the offender could be eligible for filing an expungement petition, as long as they’re not charged with a felony or with another crime following the same arrest. The filing admin fees are up to up to $120, on top of the attorney fees.
In a DWI expungement, the court will consider twelve factors that can be narrowed down to the following:
Only after analyzing all the factors above, supported by documents and affidavits, the court accepts or denies the request.
A DWI will affect your driving freedom in several ways. If your license was revoked, you have 30 days to petition for getting it back. If you qualify, you could and apply for a limited license to drive to and from work and you might be required to use an interlock system installed inside your vehicle, which maintains your driving privileges after you blow into the mechanism and if your breath has no traces of alcohol.
You can now use our simple and quick driving records online search tool to verify if yours or somebody else’s criminal history features any DWI convictions.