While DUI expungement procedures and availability vary by state, the basic eligibility requirements are similar in most states that offer it.
Expungement erases a portion of your criminal record. It is sometimes also referred to as sealing a record, although these are technically different things.
Some states use both procedures for different situations. Others use only one, but may use both terms interchangeably.
No. Certain states don't allow any DUI expungements. Others allow expungement of DUI arrests, but not convictions in some situations:
A suspended sentence is considered a conviction. It wouldn’t be eligible for expungement in states that don’t allow them for convictions.
Even in states that allow it, DUI expungement is often limited to a first offense.
Finally, getting a DUI expunged from your criminal record may not remove it from your driving record.
States that allow DUI expungement usually have a waiting period. This can also vary by state but is usually at least a year.
Some other eligibility requirements are common to many states:
Your state may have other requirements to meet before you can apply.
Like eligibility, the steps to get an expungement can differ by state. The general outline is similar:
File a written petition. Include any required documents, like criminal records and/or arrest and case numbers related to your case.
Notify relevant agencies of your filing, if the state doesn’t do it. This may include the prosecutor’s office and the law enforcement agency that arrested you.
Request a court hearing. Once the time has passed for objections, you can get a hearing to plead your case.
Many states have the appropriate forms available for download on their websites. If not, check with the court where the original charges were filed or where your trial was held.
If you get your expungement, make sure every agency holding records related to your DUI gets a copy of the order. Any that don’t may not seal their records.
A lawyer can help ensure you submit all the right paperwork. He or she may also know if your state offers other options, like a certificate of good conduct, if you’re not eligible for expungement.