Can I Expunge My DUI?

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous. It’s also a crime that states take very seriously. Having a criminal conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) will impact your life for years. In addition to paying thousands of dollars in fines and fees, you face driver’s license suspension, ignition interlock device requirements, substance abuse treatment, and possibly jail time. Your insurance rates will increase exponentially for years.

A DUI conviction will impact you in unexpected ways. A DUI arrest and conviction will remain on your criminal record for many years. As a public record, potential employers can view it during a background check and prevent your hiring. A criminal conviction can make obtaining a professional license difficult and time-consuming. It may impact your ability to gain housing.

After an arrest or conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), you may consider having your records expunged or sealed. An expungement removes an offense from your criminal record as if it never happened. Sealing a DUI record means the court file becomes hidden from the general public.

State law surrounding expungements and record sealing can vary. Often, there are options if your DUI charge is a misdemeanor and a first offense. A felony DUI is far more serious and may remain on your public record. Some states forbid drugged or drunk driving conviction expungements, especially for adults. Even an expunged or sealed DUI conviction will still count as a prior offense should you face arrest again.

Washington state does not allow the expungement of a DUI conviction. If a charge has been amended down to a reckless driving or a negligent driving, then it may be possible.

After an arrest or conviction, you must wait a period of time before you apply for expungement. The length of time will depend on your charge and conviction. You will need to complete your sentence as ordered by the court successfully. You may not be eligible if you have prior convictions or an expungement.

You or your criminal defense attorney will file a petition for expungement in the jurisdiction of your charge. Often, there is a hearing before a judge. At the hearing, you will explain why an expungement is warranted. The judge will consider many factors, such as additional criminal history, the circumstances of your arrest, and details about your DUI case.

If the court grants an expungement, the court order gets sent to all appropriate agencies, such as the FBI, state law enforcement, and the state department of motor vehicles.

Be patient. It takes time for an expungement to process with all these agencies. Check your criminal record periodically to see if your charges have cleared.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So, it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer. SQ Attorneys can be reached at (425) 359-3791 and/or (206) 441-0900.

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