DUI Expungement: Getting a DUI Off Your Criminal Record

DUI expungement is a process that allows you to have your DUI (driving under the influence) conviction removed from your criminal record or driving record. This can be helpful if you’ve had a DUI in the past and want to move on with your life without having that incident haunt you forever. However, it’s important to note that most DUI cases are not eligible for expungement and that the expungement laws vary by state. Still, there just be hope for you. In this article, we’ll look at how to get a DUI expunged: who is eligible for DUI expungement, how you can apply for an expungement and what steps are involved in having your record cleared of any mention of this charge.

Can a DUI be Expunged?

If you have a DUI, the answer to this question depends on where you live and whether or not your state allows expungement of offenses. Some states only allow expungement for first-time offenders or if it’s a first DUI, and there is no prior conviction for an alcohol-related offense in that person’s history. Other states allow for expungement after a certain amount of time has passed without re-offending.

The best way to find out what type of charge your state allows for and whether or not it is necessary for you to wait until the statute of limitations expires before filing an application with the court clerk’s office would be by contacting an experienced DUI attorney who works with convictions within your area.

DUI Stop Sign

Who Is Eligible for DUI Expungement?

To be eligible for DUI expungement, the law states that you must meet certain criteria:

First, if you have been arrested for DUI and the judge dismisses the charge, the charges were dropped, or you were not found guilty, then you may petition the court to have your record expunged. If you already plead guilty or no contest, you must withdraw that plea.

Next, you must not be on probation or parole at the time of petitioning the court. If so, it is best to wait until after the complete probation period is successfully completed before you proceed with the expungement petition.

Finally, you cannot currently have any other pending charges.

Keep in mind that different states also have different rules and regulations regarding the approved expungement. For example, according to California law, even if your first DUI conviction has been removed, if you were to get another DUI within the next ten years, it would actually be considered a second DUI for DMV purposes. A California DUI conviction may not have the same requirements for expungement as, let’s say, a Florida DUI conviction would have.

Why Do You Want An Expunged Conviction?

A DUI conviction can hold you back from many great opportunities to better your life.

Job applications immediately ask if you have ever served time or been arrested. Many employment decisions are heavily swayed by this information. Not being truthful in these applications is also not an option as the prospective employer will most likely run background checks, especially for government jobs.

Applying for professional licenses, lower insurance rates, driver’s license renewal, your right to vote, and many more all depend on if you have a criminal record. Trying to live a better life and making positive changes is what everyone wants, but sometimes the choices we make create permanent blocks. Seeking legal assistance from an attorney to expunge your conviction can open the doors of opportunity for you once again.

Criminal Background Check Request Form with glasses

What Steps Are Involved in Having a DUI Expunged?

The process of expungement petitions for a DUI record is not complicated, but it’s important to understand the steps involved so that you can be sure that you don’t miss anything.

Find Legal Representation

First, you may want to find a good criminal defense attorney from a reputable criminal defense law firm that can assist you through the petition process. Attorneys know how to get a DUI expunged. They know all the laws for their state and would better understand exactly how to get that DUI conviction removed.

File a Petition

With assistance from an attorney, you will need to file a petition with the court asking for your record to be removed. In most states, this will involve paying a small fee and filling out the relevant documents.

Wait out the Waiting Period

Next, is the waiting period. The court must approve your petition before any action can be taken on it. In most cases, this can take anywhere from several weeks to several months depending on how busy your local courts are at the time and whether or not there are any other motions pending in front of them (for example, if someone else has already filed an identical motion).

Show Up For Your Hearing

You’ll get a notice that you’re going to appear in court for an initial hearing date, which will give you an opportunity to explain why your case should be dismissed or sealed so that it doesn’t show up on your criminal record anymore (a DUI conviction will stay on your record permanently). If everything goes well at this criminal court proceeding, then the judge may sign off on the order immediately or schedule another hearing date where they’ll decide whether or not to dismiss/seal your case based on what happened at the first one (this happens because sometimes there might be more evidence against someone than just what was presented during their initial appearance). Once again though: if everything goes smoothly here then chances are good that things will move quickly through this process until everything is finalized!

Judge gavel

Get Approved

Once your petition has been approved by the court, then they will notify both DMV offices as well as any other agencies who might have records related to this incident (like those kept by law enforcement or private businesses). This means that when someone goes looking at these databases now—whether it’s an employer checking references during an interview or a friend wanting some juicy gossip—they won’t see anything related to criminal charges because everything relating specifically to those charges has been removed from their records!

Will My DUI Be Permanently Removed from My Record?

The good news is that in many DUI expungement cases, a DUI offense can be removed completely from your criminal record. However, that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to happen. In any given case, the judge has discretion when it comes to deciding whether or not to have your DUI conviction expunged. Most judges will look at different factors including:

  • The circumstances of your arrest and conviction (e.g., if you were pulled over for driving too slowly)
  • Whether you have any other pending charges against you
  • Prior DUI convictions or other criminal convictions
  • If your DUI resulted in a motor vehicle accident, and if so, if it caused any serious injury to others.

In order for an attorney to make a compelling case for why his client deserves an expungement of their DUI conviction, he must know all of these things about her as well as any other relevant information that might help him make a convincing argument on behalf of his client.

Don’t let your life be defined by your mistakes. You can get a DUI expunged.

I’ve seen many people whose lives were defined by the mistakes they made in their youth. Most people don’t think of these offenses as crimes, but they are—and people who have them on their record can’t vote or even secure gainful employment. If you’re someone with a DUI on their record, there’s good news: it is possible to get it expunged or sealed!

Now that you are aware of how to get a DUI expunged, it’s time to call an attorney for a free consultation, build that attorney-client relationship, and get started down the road of getting your conviction expungement.

The first thing to understand is that getting removed isn’t an easy process—it can take months or years (or even decades), depending on how busy the courts are at the time and what other factors are involved. It also won’t be cheap; lawyers can charge $1,000 and $10,000 just for filing motions with the court (not including any fees associated with hiring expert witnesses). If you’re willing to pay this price in order to start over fresh with no criminal record, do it! Your freedom and your future are absolutely worth it.

Lawyer, Attorney, scales, paperwork, documents


DUI arrests can lead to many unfortunate circumstances down the line and have many negative consequences both short-term and long-term. But after all the pain and suffering from maybe a motor vehicle accident, county jail, state prison, DUI probation, and that mandatory driver’s license suspension, there may actually be light at the end of the tunnel. The DUI expungement process is a difficult, but possible process, and so it is important to hire a criminal defense law firm or an attorney who specializes in these DUI convictions. If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence, reach out to a reputable law firm to discuss your convictions and see if this time, the law can work in your favor.