How Do You Get a DUI / DWI Off Your Driving Record?
If you’ve been convicted of DWI or DUI, you’re already aware of the crappy ramifications - from all the penalties you’ve had to deal with, to the stigma of being a convicted drunk driver, to having your auto insurance rates go up - and now you’re stuck with it on your driving record for forever. Or are you? In lawyer-speak, you might be able to obtain post-conviction relief. In terms you and I can understand, there are steps you can take to expunge (erase) that DUI from your record, which will make it a whole lot easier to enroll in school, join the military, get a job, apply for loans, and to be able to pass that routine background check – heck, it can make your whole life easier.
Expunging a DUI is not a slam dunk and does not happen overnight, and some states don’t even allow it, whereas other states offer only limited relief. But it is a worthwhile privilege to have accomplished before that great job opportunity comes along. Even if you’re still on probation, you may still be eligible. Some dui lawyers specialize in how to do this, so you’ll want to check it out with one in your state.
There are different expungement approval rules for each state, as well as different terminology; your state may “seal” a DUI, whereas another state may “clear,” “delete,” or “extract” your DUI from your record; still other states have dui “expunction,” while others will “set aside” your dui conviction. Your record will then reflect a not guilty judgment, and the complaint that was once against you is now dismissed. Since the approval process will be different for each state, and some may take longer than others, you’ll want to consult with dui attorneys in your jurisdiction. This attorney will want to know what you were charged with and, if you were convicted, in what court, if you’ve complied with all the terms of your sentence, and if you are facing any new charges.
What If I Had A Misdemeanor DUI?
A misdemeanor DUI is the easiest to expunge. Misdemeanor cases are usually handled through a county court system. If your case is five years old or older, and you’ve gone all that time without being convicted of anything, as well as fulfilled all the obligations of your probation, your dui attorney can petition Superior Court to have your dui record expunged. The court will want to hear, and will take into consideration, why you want your case expunged, as well as your efforts at rehabilitation and becoming a law-abiding citizen. If the judge grants your expungement, you will then be free to answer “no” to the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a DUI?” And if you want to apply for an apartment, job or loan, you’ll be free to do so for the rest of your life. Having a clean slate from which to make a fresh start will make it worth every penny it might cost.
However, your expungement does not disappear from the eyes of the law; any law enforcement agency or court will still be able to see your entire record. And if your goal is to run for public office or become an FBI agent in the future, the expunged dui will probably come to light and be out in the open for all the world to see.
What If I Had A Felony DUI?
No matter where you live, if you have ever been arrested and found guilty of a criminal offense, you most likely will not be able to seal or expunge your DUI, or any record for that matter. Generally, only misdemeanor first offenses are allowed to be expunged. Felony DUI (whether first, second or third degree) cases, which are handled in the circuit criminal court system, are generally not eligible to be expunged. Your only relief might be to request a pardon from the governor in your state.
What If I Get Another DUI?
You were supposed to have learned your lesson the first time around! Let’s say you were arrested and convicted of misdemeanor dui five years ago, and hired a dui defense attorney who got your case expunged. If you got another dui this year, then your first dui is no longer considered to be expunged, will be revived and then reappear on your record. This means that you will be charged with your second dui and face all the harsher penalties that go with it. Depending on your state’s laws, more than likely you’re screwed and will no longer be eligible for another expungement. Although you’ll want to consult your dui defense attorney just to make sure.