What Is Expungement and What Does It Mean for Your DUI Case?

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Having a criminal record carries a lot of consequences for a person. In most cases, employers and landlords would ask if a person has been convicted of a crime in the past. Answering yes to this question could effectively end a person’s chances of getting a job or house. Therefore, hiring the services of an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer is crucial to avoid a criminal conviction.

Often, most employers do not ask what the crime you were convicted for or how long ago it happened. Instead, they deny whatever benefits you asked for. Fortunately, the American legal system provides a remedy for people who find themselves in this predicament. It allows for records of people with past convictions to be sealed, giving them a clean slate.

The law refers to this as expungement. This article looks at expungement and what it means for a DUI case under Indiana law. Contact a drunk driving defense attorney at Rathburn Law Office immediately if you get arrested for driving under the influence.

A DUI Attorney in Indianapolis Explains Expungement

According to the American Bar Association, expungement involves sealing or destroying a criminal conviction record from state or federal record. By getting an expungement order, a defendant’s criminal history is treated as it never occurred. So while it looks similar to a pardon, it is not.

An expungement treats a case like it never happened, while pardon confers forgiveness on an offender. The process of expungement varies from state to state. While some states grant a complete erasure, some do not and remain accessible to law enforcement agencies and judges.

How Do You Qualify for Expungement?

Getting your records expunged is a big deal as it offers recipients a clean state. Consequently, such a big decision should not be taken lightly. Ideally, you should start by going to the law enforcement agencies that carried out your arrest. There you can find out if your offense is eligible for expungement. In Indiana, Chapter 5 of the Indiana State Code 2018 outlines the process for expungement.

For example, if you committed a crime as a juvenile, you may have an easier path to expungement. Similarly, drug offenses may easily get expunged, although it could depend on some factors. Some non-eligible convictions include murder, terrorism, assault with a deadly weapon, and rape.

You can also discover when a conviction becomes eligible for expungement. In some cases, an expungement is only available after a person has served their sentence. However, a judge can shorten a probation period to enable an earlier expungement.

Finally, find out what the process looks like and if your records can be brought up again. Usually, the expungement process is straightforward, and you can commence the process at the local law enforcement agencies.

Does Expungement Cover DUI Convictions Under Indiana Law?

Generally, Indiana law only allows the expungement of a DUI charge after a waiting period. Also, the defendant must meet specific criteria before they can have their record expunged. The waiting period for a misdemeanor DUI charge is five years, while you have to wait eight years for a felony.

This means that Indiana law does not allow for the expungement of a DUI conviction, only for an arrest record. However, if you have multiple DUI arrests on your record, it will be challenging to secure an expungement. The rule is the same if you only have two arrests, but the second arrest led to a conviction.

If your arrest or charge qualifies for an expungement, the court will review your petition and consider several factors. For instance, if you received a one-year license suspension after a first DUI offense but stayed clean for at least four years after, the court would likely grant you expungement. If you faced additional DUI charges within that time, the court would consider you a danger to the public and deny your petition.

Contact Our DUI Lawyers in Indianapolis Now!

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has severe consequences that affect the lives of several people. This is why the law frowns greatly at DUI offenders. However, just because you drank and drove doesn’t mean you’re guilty of a DUI and would get convicted. An excellent DUI lawyer can help you avoid getting convicted and petition to have a DUI charge expunged.

This is what we offer you at Rathburn Law Office. We’ll use our experience handling DUI cases to determine if you can get an expungement. In addition, we also help you through the process. So contact us today for a free consultation.

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