Can You Make Your DUI Record Go Away?
An arrest for DUI is sure to bring a host of unwelcome effects, some of which may be experienced for a long, long time. One of the worst consequences of a DUI arrest can be the way it damages your reputation. Having an arrest on your record means future and present employers as well as almost anyone nosy enough to check on you can view the information by accessing public records. You might be able to limit how much is visible, at least in some cases, so read on to find more about expunging a DUI.
A Matter of Public Record
It's vital that anyone arrested for DUI get a criminal defense lawyer, like those at Daniels Long & Pinsel, on their side to help them fight the charges. DUI stops, testing, and arrests are far from simple actions and there's a good chance that law enforcement made some mistakes along the way. That can mean your DUI charges might be dropped or that you can plead guilty to a lesser charge with a plea bargain. It might even mean triumphing in court and being found innocent. Unfortunately, no matter how successful you may be at resolving your case, your arrest is still a matter of public record. Furthermore, mugshot websites, online inmate listings, and online news reports will list your arrest without ever coming back to note you were found innocent. There is likely nothing you can do about any of that, but you may be able to control who sees what as far as your criminal record goes.
Expungement Laws Vary
The degree with which you can cover up your charges might depend not only where you live but on the outcome of your case. In some states, you can only expunge your record if you were found "not guilty" or the charges were dropped. On the other hand, there are states that will allow an expungement even with a conviction. Often, it's a waiting game for an expungement to take effect and the wait can be years rather than months. In all cases, expungement isn't automatic – you have to formally request it and the judge will make a ruling after considering all the facts of your case. First-time offenders have a far better chance to have an expungement approved than others.
Expungement is Not Magical
Regardless of where you live, your full record will always be available to certain agencies within the justice system and law enforcement. That also means that just because you had a DUI expunged doesn't mean it won't count against you if you get another one. In some states, second or more DUI arrests will result in mandatory (and stiffer) sentencing.
If it's too late to have your DUI charges dropped, speak to a defense attorney about having your record and your reputation rehabilitated with an expungement.