As if being the eight wealthiest person in the United States weren’t good enough, Alice Walton, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s daughter, got even more good news this week when prosecutors in Texas said they would expunge her 2011 DWI arrest from her record.
The decision to expunge Walton’s arrest came after prosecutors declined to press formal charges against the billionaire. Walton was originally arrested in October of 2011 after an officer said she failed a field sobriety test. In Texas there is a two-year statute of limitations on such offenses and after the arresting officer was suspended for misconduct earlier this year he was no longer available to testify in Walton’s case.
Given the end of the statute of limitations and the lack of the arresting officer, charges could no longer be pursued by prosecutors and Walton’s attorney was able to request an expungement. Experts familiar with the case say they expect the records of the arrest to be destroyed shortly, though they could not comment further given that it is a criminal offense in Texas to discuss information related to an expungement.
At the time of the original arrest records revealed that Walton was pulled over and given a field sobriety test. Walton told the officer at the time that she had an injured leg and would not be able to perform balance tests under any circumstance, something the officer chose to disregard.
Walton’s attorney’s later submitted medical evidence from two different physicians showing that Walton cannot walk or maintain normal balance. The trouble began back in 1983 when Walton was in a serious car accident in Mexico that led to major surgery on her left leg, a procedure that left the leg shorter than her right leg.
Though her 2011 arrest will now be wiped from her record, Walton will still have a 1998 arrest for drunk driving in her file. That incident took place in Arkansas where Walton was arrested after having been involved in a single-car accident.
Some people have already complained about potentially unfair treatment for Walton given her extreme wealth. Alice is one of several children of Sam Walton and inherited a share of her father’s Wal-Mart stock. Today, Forbes estimates that Alice is worth a whopping $33.5 billion, enough to place her (along with several of her siblings) among the top ten wealthiest people in the country.
Though Walton certainly leads a life of privilege, the reality is that expungements are available to anyone, provided certain requirements are met. In this case, because Walton was never prosecuted for drunk driving, the incident can be expunged from her record under Texas law.
Source: The Associated Press article, published at BusinessInsider.com.