Individuals with criminal records often seek to have them expunged so that they can access more opportunities. The legal codes in most states include specific stipulations providing mechanisms for those who want to expunge their criminal records so that their histories don’t have to be revealed to landlords and employers. The process varies, however, so it’s important to research the laws in each specific jurisdiction before getting started.
Those who want to expunge their criminal records must first check their state laws to find out if they’re even eligible. For instance, some locales only permit misdemeanors and arrests to be expunged but draw the line at felonies. Similarly, specific individuals may be prohibited from expunging their DUIs or DWIs if convicting judges deem that they should remain on their record permanently or they haven’t finished fulfilling the terms of their punishment. Judges may also require people to complete drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs before they gain eligibility, and some states ask offenders to submit eligibility applications just to be certain.
After determining whether they’re eligible for record expungement, those with DUIs or DWIs should usually obtain their criminal records, even if their states don’t require this step. Using the information about the specific offenses they want to expunge as a reference, they can then fill out their state’s forms and petition documents.
In most instances, applicants will have to pay a standard filing fee. Some states also require that individuals request a hearing so that an official can judge the validity of their application. Hearings may be complicated, and some sources recommend legal representation during such proceedings.
Finally, note that expunging a record isn’t the same as sealing one. Although neither kind of modified record can be accessed by the general public, DUI offenses on sealed records still exist, so they might be referenced by authorities, such as judges and courts, in the future. Pardons are similar in that they remain on record. Learn more about getting a DUI or DWI expunged by contacting a lawyer.