In Texas, being accused of committing an open container violation can have serious repercussions. Fortunately, it is possible to get these kinds of charges removed from one’s criminal record, so if you were recently accused of having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle and have questions about the permanency of the resulting criminal record, you should speak with an experienced Houston open container violations lawyer who can help you.
Eligibility for Expungement
Operating a vehicle with an open container of alcohol is a Class C misdemeanor criminal offense in Texas. Although this means that defendants won’t usually face jail time (if this is their only charge) upon conviction, details of that offense will still go on their criminal record. Under Texas law, however, it is possible for a person to remove an open container violation from his or her criminal record if:
- The charge was dismissed as part of a deferred adjudication; or
- He or she was convicted, but receives a pardon from the governor.
Of these two options, a dismissal through deferred adjudication is much more plausible.
A deferred adjudication is basically an agreement between prosecutors and a defendant, in which the latter agrees to a special form of probation with the understanding that his or her case will be dismissed upon completion of the terms of probation. In most cases, these probationary terms require the completion of community service hours, the payment of fines, participation in an alcohol awareness class, obtaining alcohol-related treatment, or undergoing a brief term of supervised probation. If a defendant satisfies these requirements, his or her open container violation charge will be dismissed by the court and will not go on his or her criminal record.
What if I Was Convicted?
Going through a deferred adjudication is the best way to have one’s criminal record expunged. This is because anyone who is convicted of an open container violation will not be eligible for expungement unless that person obtains an official pardon from the governor. Unfortunately, this is also true for anyone who pleads no contest to the offense and received a monetary fine as a sentence. Because conviction comes with such far-reaching consequences, those who are facing open container violation and other DWI charges should be wary of proceeding with their case without the help of an attorney who could be able to get their charges reduced, amended, or even dismissed.
Were You Arrested for Committing an Open Container Violation?
While allegations of an open container violation may not be as serious as a DWI charge, they should still not be taken lightly, as being convicted of, or pleading no contest to, this kind of offense will usually remain on a person’s criminal record permanently. To learn more about how to defend yourself against these kinds of charges and what steps you can take to ensure that they are expunged at a later date, please call 713-802-1631 and speak with one of the dedicated Houston open container violations lawyers at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today.