Multiple Public Intoxication Charges and Expunction Questions

Question (from an email): I have a situation that I need your help with if you don't mind.

Here it is: I have three public intoxication charges in the past nine years. Got my first one at 21 and my last one at 29. I am 30 now.

The first one was in 1998, was arrested and put on deferred adjudication. Second one was in 2002, was arrested and put on deferred adjudication. Third one was November 2006, pretty recent. Was not arrested but put on deferred adjudication.

Of course I had fines to pay and my first one I had to attend AA meeting. I fulfilled all requirements without incident for all three. First on was in Austin, Texas....second in McKinney, Texas...third in Lake Dallas, Texas. I believe they are all class B misdemeanors correct?

I heard that when you get three then it changes to class A, is that so?

Anyway....In the last five years I have attended school and became a firefighter / Paramedic and am trying to get hired on to a Fire Department. Well, I was an idiot and got a freakin P.I. in November of 2006 and decided to stop drinking all together because it's no good and I am ruining my chances of getting hired on anywhere.

The Fire Department is pretty strict about criminal history, even with misdemeanors and time is the only thing on my side to get hired on. Well, since I not only have three PI charges racked up but one being too recent I can't get hired right now and it's hurting me.

I heard of something called motion of disclosure...will this help me and is this what I need to sort of fix the problem. 

The least I could do is the most recent one…if not all of them…or even the last two. I don't know.

What would you suggest be the best choice? I don't lie on applications and I really don't want to wait longer for time to pass separating me from the last charge. How much would it cost to do this? Please help me. Thanks.

Answer: One quick note, before I give a more substantive answer…

While I definitely don’t think that getting one Public Intoxication arrest makes someone an alcoholic (after all, it’s often more about your attitude than how much you’ve had to drink), I’m glad to hear that after 3 arrests and 1 ticket for PI, you’ve decided to stop drinking. 

Sounds like you either have incredibly bad luck, or quite possibly there’s an alcohol problem that needs addressing.

OK. So for the good news…Public Intoxication in Texas is a Class C misdemeanor, not a Class B, which makes quite a difference.

So, it’s ‘only’ the equivalent of a traffic ticket level offense, but, as you have found out, it can affect your employment possibilities…especially if you have a ‘history’ of PI arrests.

More good news? What you (and probably the Municipal Court prosecutors you dealt with) call ‘deferred adjudication’ for a Class C PI charge, was actually deferred disposition. That means the ‘probation’ you were on was non-reporting, the same way that you don’t check in monthly with a probation officer when you agree to take defensive driving to get your traffic ticket dismissed.

More good news? In Texas, a successfully completed deferred disposition entitles you to an expunction. Expunctions completely erase a record, whereas the Motion for Non-Disclosure that you talked about ‘mostly’ clears your record. So an expunction is better.

A quick digression based on your email before I get to the ‘bad news’…

A Public Intoxication arrest (or ticket) can be enhanced from a Class C, to a Class B misdemeanor, when you have 2 prior convictions. Again, if you successfully completed the deferred disposition, you have no prior convictions, so you aren’t in that category. But that’s what you ‘heard’ about enhancements for Texas Public Intoxication charges, and that part is true.

OK. You knew it was coming. The bad news…for you, anyway… (isn’t the cost of hiring the lawyer always the bad news?)

You can only expunge multiple arrests in Texas in one proceeding if they all happened in the same county. The petition to expunge must be filed in the county that you were arrested. 

Frankly, the majority of the costs involved in any expungement proceeding is preparing the paperwork. Personally, when I apply to erase my client’s criminal history in Austin, I charge an additional fraction of the initial cost to add multiple arrests to the petition. In other words, it doesn’t cost much more to expunge 2 arrests if they happen in the same county.

You were arrested in at least 3 different counties, so you will probably need to hire lawyers in all 3 jurisdictions to get the expunctions. Even if you hired the same lawyer for all three, it’s not just a matter of adding another few paragraphs to the expunction form to include the other cause numbers, etc. There will be separate filing fees for each County Clerk, and separate appearances for the attorney, etc.

I’ve got to end with some good news though. Sounds like your life is taking a turn in the right direction, and while it will cost some money to clear up your criminal history, you are eligible to do so, and in the long run…trust me, that’s what counts.

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Comments (23) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
c b g - January 17, 2008 12:16 PM

I know someone that got a PI charge and plead NO Lo Contendo. He paid the fine. It was in a city jail.This person wants to have a job that they check finger prints. Will this hurt his Job chances? What can be done to change this?

Cathy - February 29, 2008 6:18 PM

My husband was arrested in smith county on a 3 or dwi, they are trying to charge him with 2nd degree felony. We hired him a good lawyer, but I am not understanding anything, they say he is looking @ 2-20. He also has a blue warrant so can not be bonded out can anyone shed some light on this for me, because im not understanding any of this. Someone Please help me

Gwen Watson - July 13, 2008 9:40 AM

I was charged on June 10/11, 2008 for PI, after my husband was arrested for DWI. Originally they were going to let my son take me home but I blurted out something I do say often and admit I do need to go back to a therapist to address this issue I have with suicide. On the other hand I have a multiple of conditions. Many are physical, but I also have been diagnosed with PSTD, GAD, severe panic disorder, agoraphobia, eplipesy and the list goes on. So yes I am on medications, for pain, for the epilepsy, for the GAD and so on. I was in my vehicle still seat belted in. I never moved out of my vehicle until the arresting officer pulled me out. He had already told my son on his cell phone that he would allow him to take me home. I want this thing removed from my record. I should have been going to Shoal Creek, with no PI charges. They put the handcuffs on so tight I have cuts on both hands. When I got to Travis county they checked my blood pressure at least 4-5 times, each time threatening me that they would have to take me to hospital if I didn't settle down. Apparently by BP was off the chart and I feel they endangered my life by not taking me to a hospital or mental facility. I am once again on disability with SS, UT, on so mostly for mental disorder.

It appears as though I should be afraid to leave my house. I never want to be abused the way the abused me. Typically when someone abuses me I do start abusing myself.

BTW, I have NO previous arrests and I am almost 54 years old. I am now horrified and more scared to leave my house. This incident may really make me more disabled than I already have.

Pleaae contact me if you can help. They told me that my time served would be all I would have to do. But that isn't the point. And BTW, it was Bee Caves Police that pulled us over and they were almost 2 miles out of their jurisdiction. I do not know if you handle DWI's. We have been referred to several that have done very well for persons. In the fact that they got no probation for the DWI's. But my problem is the PI and I would it taken off my record. I would have prefered to stay in Shoal Creek for 72 hours or more than to have gone through the inhumane treatment I was given in Travis County. I am now wanting to move into another County ASAP.

My home number is 512-264-3205

Thanks for your assistance with this very troubling matter.

Respectfully,
Gwen Watson

jim - August 25, 2008 1:05 PM

Hi, is it possible to erase even the 'arrest' from the record? I was arrested for thje first time for PI a month back? IS it possible to erase the 'arrest' from my record?

thanks
jim

Public Intoxication Lawyer - November 15, 2008 10:46 PM

Jim, it is possible to erase the arrest, in California you can apply for a destruction of arrest records. Good Luck.

Trey - December 1, 2008 8:29 PM

I was arrested a week ago for a PI after my wife was arrested for DWI. I was peacefully sitting in the car until the officer got me out and did a few eye test and told me I was going to jail. I did blow but unless they have new technology, I don't think I blew hard enough to register. I was nice and asked him if I could have a friend take me home or even take the car home without being towed. Never reading me my rights I spent 9 hrs in jail. I called about the fine and after being refused to talk to the judge about "time spent" I was told to pay $265. If I contest this whats the worst that could happen?

norma - January 6, 2009 6:08 PM

hi, i recently got PI for walking away from a problem at home. I was intoxicated, and went to jail for 9 hours. i have court in feb. my question is I had a PI in Aug 08 and did community service and paid 250 of fines... whats the worst thats going to happen when i go to court on the new PI? I heard there is a new law where if you get two you get time in jail? im really scared and would love to hear your answer.

norma
25

norma - January 6, 2009 6:08 PM

hi, i recently got PI for walking away from a problem at home. I was intoxicated, and went to jail for 9 hours. i have court in feb. my question is I had a PI in Aug 08 and did community service and paid 250 of fines... whats the worst thats going to happen when i go to court on the new PI? I heard there is a new law where if you get two you get time in jail? im really scared and would love to hear your answer.

norma
25

norma - January 6, 2009 6:09 PM

hi, i recently got PI for walking away from a problem at home. I was intoxicated, and went to jail for 9 hours. i have court in feb. my question is I had a PI in Aug 08 and did community service and paid 250 of fines... whats the worst thats going to happen when i go to court on the new PI? I heard there is a new law where if you get two you get time in jail? im really scared and would love to hear your answer.

norma
25

ringo - March 31, 2009 10:57 AM

I was arrested in Texas, last week (driving my vehicle), charged with a PI. Was never given a sobriety test, never asked to blow into a machine and no blood was taken. I posted $300 to get out, and I am scheduled to report to court in a few months. What can I expect as far as futher punishment? Do I need to hire an attorney to appear with me? Thanks for your help.

Gustavo Jr - April 7, 2009 1:21 PM

Okay so I may not be adequately informed, but here goes.
My girlfriends daughter was visiting a friend in Pennsylvania. She is a minor who had been drinking off campus and returned to the campus where they were given an appearance ticket for what I would assume is PI. She now says there is a $275 fine to be paid and her friend has to pay $500! Is this typical for this type of infraction in the state of Pennsylvania. They have also 'threatened' to have her arrested in another state where she goes to school if she does not pay immediately. What is the reality of this situation?
Thank you, Gustavo

Eloy - August 14, 2009 3:33 AM

I have a question I got my first pi last night they gave me a ticket and they let me go I will have to appear in court does that mean I could still go to jail

tarsha - August 26, 2009 4:33 PM

In 2004-2005 I pressed charges on my cousin for idenity theft. It was traffic tickets and the use of my name. She plead guilty and served 180 days in the county jail. Now back in 2008 two checks were out on me that I was not aware of and a warrant was issued but I paid the amount of the check and the warrant to get lifted off of me, but I had 2 go to court today for that. I am schedule to pay a fine and court fees but all of this was paid before the court date. Now they inform me that its a class b misdemeanor with no conviction. How does this affect my background in the future. I have no criminial record not even traffic tickets. I'm trying to apply for either the nursing program or to become a teacher and I need to know will this hurt my chances to further my future education. All this is new to me and all I want is my clean record to stay clean. Do u have and answer for me. Please help.

Sarah Musselman - March 17, 2010 4:49 PM

I just read your answer to someone's question about getting expunged after having deferred adjudication from a public intoxication arrest. I was arrested for public intoxication this past January in San Marcos. I got an attorney and he went to the pretrial to meet with the prosecutor today. My attorney told me that the prosecutor offered me 6 months deferred adjudication or we take it to trial. He also told me that with deferred adjudication I won't be able to get it expunged. I am considering going to trial because I don't want this to show up on a background check. I am a teacher, and I am required to get a F.A.S.T fingerprint background check every year. So, can I get it expunged or disclosed after I've completed the deferred adjudication?

Ryan - July 29, 2010 6:43 PM

IN Texas a PI is a Class C just like a seat belt ticket even if you go to jail "detox". I guess anything you get a ticket for is a crime, but i wouldnt worry about it. Also in Dallas they normally dismiss the ticket if you had to go to "detox". Just like any other ticket it will show up on your record, but like i said i wouldnt worry about it,

Victoria - August 18, 2010 10:18 AM

This Attny is Awesum....

chris - January 2, 2011 10:06 PM

was charged in sc with pi the other evening.Heres how it went to the best of my knowledge.

I was at the bar and got wasted as i should.When leaving the bar someone i had met that night offered to give me a ride home.He had two other people that i had also met at the bar that night.he told me he was taking them to greenville.I was like ill ride with,i have nothing better to do.so we get to greenville to drop these guys off in what i guess was not the best of neighborhoods.One of the guys goes inside to retreive a few dollars for gas money.The cops pull up within 2 mins.I give them my id and they ask who had been drinking.Naturally i told them i was drunk(AS I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE,SEEIN AS HOW IM 27,AND SITTING IN SOMEONES PASSENGER SEAT).They pull me out of the vehicle.make me put my hands on the hood.i feel one of the officers move for my jacket pocket.I say to the officer that he has to ask my permission before he can unwarrently search me.I am immediately cuffed and charged with public drunk.I spent saturday in greenville county detention center.The only predisposition that i might have commited the crimeif not coerced out of the vehicle is the fact that about 3 years ago in a sepreate incident i had been charged deservingly with p.i.,However It was a seperate incident.If i was not told to get out of the vehicle by the officer i would not have been publicly drunk as i would have been taken home and went to bed after the fact.Also apparently they did not see the driver as fit to drive as they put him in the car with me.However they took him to a gas staton to get a taxi cab.This whole situation seemed backwards.I had expected the search,but the mere fact that the officer moved for my pocket without asking to search made me suspiciouse of his intentions.for all i know he might try to plant narcotics on me,not sying he would,but i have no reason to think he wouldnt.I dont know him yet the greenville county police department does not have the best reputation.What is my best options in this situation.should i just take it laying down,plea and pay the fine and get it over with? or should I talk to an attorney and try to get it dropped.the arresting officer even said he'd likely drop it,however im not sure i trust him.thank you in advance.
-chris james

chris - January 2, 2011 10:07 PM

was charged in sc with pi the other evening.Heres how it went to the best of my knowledge.

I was at the bar and got wasted as i should.When leaving the bar someone i had met that night offered to give me a ride home.He had two other people that i had also met at the bar that night.he told me he was taking them to greenville.I was like ill ride with,i have nothing better to do.so we get to greenville to drop these guys off in what i guess was not the best of neighborhoods.One of the guys goes inside to retreive a few dollars for gas money.The cops pull up within 2 mins.I give them my id and they ask who had been drinking.Naturally i told them i was drunk(AS I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE,SEEIN AS HOW IM 27,AND SITTING IN SOMEONES PASSENGER SEAT).They pull me out of the vehicle.make me put my hands on the hood.i feel one of the officers move for my jacket pocket.I say to the officer that he has to ask my permission before he can unwarrently search me.I am immediately cuffed and charged with public drunk.I spent saturday in greenville county detention center.The only predisposition that i might have commited the crimeif not coerced out of the vehicle is the fact that about 3 years ago in a sepreate incident i had been charged deservingly with p.i.,However It was a seperate incident.If i was not told to get out of the vehicle by the officer i would not have been publicly drunk as i would have been taken home and went to bed after the fact.Also apparently they did not see the driver as fit to drive as they put him in the car with me.However they took him to a gas staton to get a taxi cab.This whole situation seemed backwards.I had expected the search,but the mere fact that the officer moved for my pocket without asking to search made me suspiciouse of his intentions.for all i know he might try to plant narcotics on me,I am not saying he would,but I have no reason to think he would not.I do not know him, yet the greenville county police department does not have the best reputation.What is my best options in this situation.should i just take it laying down,plea and pay the fine and get it over with? or should I talk to an attorney and try to get it dropped.the arresting officer even said he'd likely drop it,however I am not sure i trust him.thank you in advance.
-Chris James

adam - January 29, 2011 7:13 PM

I got 2 public intoxes in iowa and I just got my 3rd in texas. Will the other two show up on my record in texas? If so, how will the judge treat this?

mike - February 4, 2011 6:18 PM

i got in to a fight in bar and they got me with public intox in the bar and disorderly conduct that charge i can see but public intox in a bar come on

mike - February 4, 2011 6:18 PM

i got in to a fight in bar and they got me with public intox in the bar and disorderly conduct that charge i can see but public intox in a bar come on

mike - February 4, 2011 6:18 PM

i got in to a fight in bar and they got me with public intox in the bar and disorderly conduct that charge i can see but public intox in a bar come on

md - March 26, 2011 7:16 PM

hi i was cited for public intoxication like couple of weeks ago. i am sophomore in college. i have never been arrested or even get a traffic ticket the whole PI thing was a misunderstanding i end up paying a fine of 150$.i was wondering is there any possible way i can erase that from my records

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