DUI Expungements

If you have been arrested or convicted of driving under the influence, it may be possible to have the offense expunged from your criminal record. Expungement removes any record of the arrest or conviction as if it never occurred.

This differs from record sealing, which only hides the record and seals off public access to the record. DUI expungement laws differ in each state, and a number of states use expungement and record sealing interchangeably.

A criminal attorney can help you determine how your state defines expungement then start working towards having your offense being removed from your record. However, some states do not offer DUI expungement at all so your attorney can further explain your available options.

The Process of DUI Expungement

The process for having a DUI expunged varies greatly depending on the state you were convicted. It usually consists of gathering your court documents, completing an application or a petition, and submitting them to the criminal court for a judge’s review. Most courts require you to pay a fee in order to submit your application.

Some states require you to prepare an “Order of Expungement” for a judge to review. which will become valid when the document is signed. Other states require contacting the district attorney’s office to seek formal approval first. Sometimes you may need to attend a hearing on your application.

Once you have completed all of the steps your state requires, the judge will review your application and make a determination. Any additional criminal offenses you may have committed after your DUI offense may be influencing factors. If the judge grants your expungement order, you may wish to notify other agencies to accurately reflect this change in their records.

Eligibility for DUI Expungement

Typically, each state has a set period of time that must pass before you can pursue having the record expunged. Many states have a waiting period that lasts three to five years after your conviction. Other states allow you to pursue DUI expungement once you complete your probation period. Additionally, some states have special rules about expungement for juveniles.

Limits on DUI Expungement

Having your DUI offense expunged from your record may still leave you with some consequences from your conviction. Some states only allow you to have your first DUI conviction expunged, so your options may be limited in the future if you have a second offense.

When you have a DUI conviction on your record, the penalties for any future DUI convictions increase. Even though the record of your original DUI conviction is expunged, it still counts against you as a prior conviction and may lead to more penalties for future offenses.

Some professions and government jobs can still access your DUI offense even after it is expunged from your record. This may create issues when applying for jobs with the state or federal government or working with children. Legal and medical professional licensing boards also have access to expunged offenses as well.

Criminal Record vs. Driving Record

Having a DUI expunged from your criminal record does not necessarily remove it from your driving record. Criminal records pertain to the judicial system, separate from driving records and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Your DUI conviction may still appear on your driving record and have implications for you in the future.

Having a bad driving record and traffic violations may have consequences like license suspensions or increased insurance rates. Unlike criminal records, non-criminal records on driving offenses usually only remain for a short period of time. Your attorney can help you understand the difference between these two types of records and work with you to have the record expunged from both, if possible.

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