I plead a DUI to a neg 1. I have been previously charged with possession, but it was cleared from my record through Drug Court. On my WSP WATCH report it only lists my Neg 1. I want to have it vacated, but I am unclear about the "prior offence" section of the law. I have never had a conviction vacated before, and I don't have charges pending, new convictions, nor am I restrained. Can I have this conviction vacated, how long does this process generally take, and do I need a lawyer or can I just file all the motions myself?
Mr. Brodsky is correct in that this particular situation is fairly complex. This is because there is an ambiguity in the law as to whether you have vacate the neg 1 that was amended from a DUI after three years or ten years. While generally you can file all the paperwork yourself, given the complexity of your situation, you're best off hiring a lawyer.
It sounds like you may be eligible to vacate although you don't say how long ago you were convicted. You must wait at least 3 years after completing all of the terms of your sentence including payment of all fines and other legal financial obligations. However, many prosecutors won't agree to vacate any Neg 1 that was an amended down from a DUI until at least 7 years have passed since that is how long they will count as mandatory priors for subsequent DUIs. If the prosecutor doesn't agree than you will need to convince the Judge to do so over the objection of the prosecutor. No easy task and something you will want to have the assistance of experienced counsel to have any hope of prevailing.
I agree with Mr. Brodsky. I have even heard of prosecutors who not agree before ten years had elapsed. You might talk to a couple attorneys in your area and see what occurs in your local courts. Many of the attorneys would offer a free consultation and would be able to help you decide if you need to hire someone. The prior possession should not matter if it was dismissed, but talk to a few attorneys in your area.
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