How To Get A DUI Charge Expunged
Although being convicted on DUI charges can be a massive setback for you, your job, your life, and your privileges, you may be eligible for an expungement depending on the state you live in and the circumstances of the case. On top of this, you may be able to change this DUI conviction into a simple arrest record by participating in DUI diversion. However, taking into account the state you currently live in can help you decide what choices to make and ensure that you are prepared ahead of time and aware of what each decision will mean for your future and your record.
What is DUI Expungement and How Can I Do It?
When dealing with a DUI conviction, your life may be far more difficult in multiple facets including job searches, custody cases, losing your license at an administrative license revocation hearing, and even the rates you pay for insurance and the places you are allowed to travel to. However, by checking whether the state you currently live in allows for DUI expungement or perhaps chooses to install an ignition lock to ensure you are alcohol-free first, you may find that you can expunge this DUI charge and get your life back on track and in the right direction.
Although the process can seem rather tedious, it is actually a fairly simple one and the results are more than enough reason to see if you qualify today. Below is a simple step-by-step guide on how to file for a DUI expungement and, if followed correctly, you could have this costly mistake off your record in no time.
See If You Qualify and Get A Lawyer, If Necessary
The first step to a DUI expungement is to read the laws within your own state. Many states do not allow individuals to expunge DUI convictions, therefore, by looking at your state’s law, you can ensure that you are able to expunge the record and, if not, waste less time going through the motions for nothing. While looking at your state, you may also want to review whether or not you will need a lawyer as some states require individuals to attend hearings in order to state their case, explain how they are helping their community, and prove they deserve an expungement.
Attain A Copy of Your Criminal Record
Some states require a copy of your criminal record along with the expungement form. By contacting the proper agency in your area and paying the small fee to receive the rap sheet, you can be ahead of the game when/if asked to supply them with a criminal record along with the form.
Print Out Expungement Form Online and Fill It Out
Most states supply individuals with expungement forms via the courthouse website. By finding the form and printing it out, you can then fill out the necessary information, including your personal information, criminal records, and signature, and then prepare it for when you are ready to take it down and file it.
Attach Necessary Documents Depending on State
Because some states require other information to be attached to the expungement form, it may be in your best interest to review the state laws regarding expungement ahead of time in order to ensure that you are supplying them with everything they need. If you fail to do so, it could lead to a far longer and even more frustrating process than simply providing them with all the paperwork in the first place.
Serve The District Attorney With A Copy
After you have completed the form and attached all documents, your next step is to send a copy to the DA that convicted you. In most cases, the DA will not object and simply sign the form and return it to you, however, if they choose to object, the case may be taken to court once more to settle the situation. Furthermore, the district attorney may notify any victims regarding the case to see if they wish to object likewise before returning the signed document to you.
File The Form and Pay Filing Fee
Once the copy has been signed, you can take it to the courthouse and file it. Remember to keep your own copy in case there is an objection that forces you to reapply. Although there is a small filing fee, you can then be done with the paperwork process of the expungement and rest assured your case will be resolved in no time.
Wait For Results
Despite the fact that you may be dying to know the results of your expungement plea, this process can take up to 30-50 days to be completed. However, if there are no objections within that time period, you will receive a confirmation that the expungement was successful and begin to contact agencies letting them know of the expungement and removing your pictures on various mugshot sites to ensure that the record is wiped clean for good.
Attend A Hearing and Reapply, If Necessary
In some cases, you may run into an individual objecting to your expungement and this is where the expungement case is then taken to a hearing to resolve it. When attending the hearing, make sure to dress professionally, answer all questions honestly, and provide the court with proof of you turning your life around including volunteer organizations you may have participated in, relationships you have made throughout this time, and even rehabilitation programs you have been a part of in the past to help you recover. From there, if the court still decides that you are not eligible for expungement, you can reapply to further solidify your case and prove your point once again.
Can I Get My DUI Expunged in My State?
As stated above, depending on where you live, you may not qualify for a DUI expungement. In fact, only 18 of the 50 states in America accept DUI expungement. Therefore, by looking into your state’s law and determining whether or not you can apply for DUI expungement, you can prevent the possibility that you are wasting your time and also learn how your state handles expungement, if they accept these submissions.
Furthermore, you can then look into lawyers in the area to see if any will help you along the way or defend you in the case that your expungement is taken to court. With convictions having such negative effects on individual’s lives, most lawyers understand how important an expungement can be.
In fact, Mandy W. Kimmons, a lawyer who specializes in criminal defense, commented on the subject, “A criminal conviction may also have long-term, even lifelong consequences…If you are convicted of a crime, you’ll have a criminal record which will show up on background checks. That means you could lose your current job, have trouble finding a new job, get disqualified from the military, lose scholarship opportunities, have trouble finding housing, and more…As you can imagine, your life moving forward can get much more complicated.”
What is DUI Diversion and How Can I Get Started?
In some instances, states will allow diversion rather than expungement and this can still help you to increase your living quality after a DUI. DUI diversion is a program in which a defendant is expected to reach certain conditions and are able to lessen their charge from a conviction to a simple arrest.
Although this does not remove the information from your record, it can significantly increase your privileges whereas a conviction can lead to you being unable to travel, find a job, or even afford insurance likewise. The DUI diversion opportunity was implemented due to the fact that judges and district attorneys understand that some DUI instances can simply be mistakes the person would never otherwise make and, due to this, diversion allows individuals to prove they are capable of staying out of trouble and, in turn, qualify for a lesser charge instead. However, in some states a diversion cannot then become an expungement and, furthermore, if the individual successfully completes the diversion process, they are then unable to expunge it as the case is closed.
Despite this, DUI diversion remains a wonderful way to lessen your charges in states that do not accept expungement and, therefore, by reviewing if you are eligible for diversion and beginning the process of proving you deserve a lesser charge, you can ensure that your record will be far less severe and your consequences treated according to the actual charge you deserve.