Expungement is a decision made by the justice system to remove charges from your permanent criminal record after you fulfill certain requirements. While it's not available in every state, it's well worth pursuing when it is available to you after a DUI conviction. Use these tips to have the best chance of successfully expunging your record.
Show a Clean Record
It's easiest to get a serious crime like a DUI removed from an otherwise spotless record. When there's no prior history of crime, you can use your record alone as proof of your behavior and ability to learn from your mistakes. You'll have a much harder time with even prior misdemeanors on your record, and don't expect great results if this is your second or third DUI already.
Explain Your Need
Just desiring a clean record isn't enough to convince a judge it's in the public's best interest to clear your former DUI conviction. If you're struggling to find a job or have trouble keeping housing because of background checks revealing your past, you're much more likely to get an expungement approved in court. Record the proof of discrimination or limitation you're experiencing instead of expecting the judge to rely on your claims alone.
Wait It Out
On top of following every term of your punishment to the letter and undergoing treatment for your drinking habits, you'll need to wait a certain number of years before being allowed to file for expungement. This term varies from state to state, with anywhere from two to 10 years being the most common waiting periods. You can't commit any crimes in that time period, either as a repeat of your DUI or another unrelated crime, or you'll lose your ability to clear your record in the future.
Request a Hearing
In most states that allow expungement of a DUI charge, you can choose to request a hearing with the judge or allow them to make the decision in private. While you can save yourself some time by skipping the hearing, it deprives you of a valuable opportunity to present your side of the story and make a compelling argument for expungement with the help of your lawyer. Even if scheduling a hearing means waiting a few extra days or weeks in order to get a decision, it's well worth the wait. It's usually no more expensive to have a hearing than to skip it either.
For more advice on how to get a DUI expunged from your record, work with an attorney like Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, LLC.