Driving under the influence (DUI) is a severe criminal offense. Just like with any other criminal offense, once you are convicted of DUI, the offense will appear on your criminal record.
Having a criminal record can be quite problematic in many different ways. Apart from limitations on securing specific jobs, a DUI record can also prevent you from getting particular professional licenses. As if that's not enough, you shouldn't be surprised if you get asked about your DUI offense whenever you seek a university admission or want to rent a property!
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The good news is that you can get a DUI off your record. This way, you'll be in a better position to eliminate some, if not all, negative consequences of the criminal record. Since this is not common, this article will detail how expungement works.
What Is the DUI Expungement Process?
As mentioned, a DUI record can drastically affect your life. However, you can get this stain off your record through a process known as expungement. So, what is expungement, and what does the process entail?
DUI expungement is a process of permanently removing a DUI offense from your record. Although an expungement might remove a DUI offense from your record, it's worth noting that your driving record might still show your DUI offense.
While you can find this daunting, always remember that driving records don't last forever. This is because offenses related to your driving license typically last for a short period. Depending on your state, you can get a four-month restriction on driving.
Note that for an expungement to work, you shouldn't violate any terms of your sentence. Apart from paying your fines, you should avoid committing a traffic offense again. Whenever you fail to comply with your sentence’s conditions, you can rest assured that the court won't expunge your DUI conviction.
Conditions for DUI Expungement
While a DUI expungement is possible, you must meet particular criteria to be eligible. One of the most critical factors that play an integral role in a potential expungement of a DUI conviction from your record is probation. Among the two or three eligibility requirements, serving a DUI probation sentence is perhaps the most important.
Although these conditions cannot guarantee a DUI expungement, they are necessary for court consideration. Apart from probation, these two terms are crucial in securing an expungement.
- Serving a probationary sentence is not enough. You must comply with all the probationary terms. Suppose, for any reason, you did something that violated your probationary terms; there is a high probability that you won't be able to remove your DUI conviction from your record.
- To be eligible for a DUI expungement, you shouldn't have a pending criminal record. A judge will decline your expungement request since the DUI can be used against you in the pending case.
How Long Should You Wait Before Looking for an Expungement?
Depending on the state you live in, the amount of time that should elapse before applying to expunge a DUI from your record varies dramatically. In many cases, states will require a mandatory period of 5 years to elapse before your petition. However, some states allow for expungement immediately after you complete your probation.
After your attorney files for an expungement, the process can take weeks, even months, to complete depending on the nature of your DUI. A DUI felony often takes longer to process. On the other hand, a misdemeanor DUI takes shorter, usually less than two weeks. Regardless of the nature of your DUI offense, you will have to wait for some time before your expungement takes effect after a court ruling.
Consult an Attorney
Since petitioning for a DUI expungement can be a daunting task, it's always important to hire a lawyer to help you through the process. Not only will a lawyer give you all the relevant information regarding expungement laws in your state, but you will also stand a better chance of removing a DUI offense from your record.