A DUI can change your life. A drunk driving conviction results in a permanent criminal record that may impact your future education, employment, housing, and security clearance.
However, you don’t have to be convicted to have a drunk driving arrest show up on a background check. A drunk driving arrest may cause people to look at you differently, even if you aren’t convicted. You don’t want a potential school, employer, landlord, or creditor judging you for a crime you didn’t commit.
Take Action to Get a DUI Arrest Off Your Record
Your DUI arrest will remain a part of the public record and may appear on background checks unless you take action to have it removed. A record of your arrest will remain forever, but it may not continue to be accessible on a background check if you successfully seek an expungement. Instead, your arrest record can only be accessed with a court order once an expungement is granted.
In Virginia, you may seek a DUI expungement if one of the following three things is true:
- The Commonwealth decided not to prosecute you
- A judge dismissed the charges against you
- You were found not guilty of drunk driving
You cannot obtain an expungement if you are convicted of drunk driving in Virginia.
Expungements do not happen automatically. Instead, you must begin the process by filing an expungement petition and a certified copy of this case disposition with the Circuit Court where your case was resolved.
After you file the petition and copy of your case disposition, these documents will be served on the Commonwealth’s Attorney. The Commonwealth’s Attorney is not required to file a written answer to your petition but may choose to do so within 21 days.
In the days after your petition is filed, you should also get a complete set of fingerprints from a Virginia law enforcement agency or other fingerprinting entity. When you arrive to be fingerprinted, you should provide two copies of your expungement petition. You or the law enforcement agency will then submit your fingerprints to the Central Criminal Records Exchange of the Virginia State Police with two copies of your expungement petition, and the Central Criminal Record Exchange will send your criminal history report, your fingerprints, and a copy of the documents you want expunged to the Circuit Court.
Once the Circuit Court receives all of the required documentation, the Court will schedule a hearing and rule on your expungement. If your expungement is granted, the Court will send the required information to the Virginia State Police to finish the expungement process and you will receive a letter confirming that your DUI expungement is complete.
A successful expungement removes all records held by the Virginia Criminal Information Network, National Crime Information Center, and other agencies from public access. These records will not show up on background checks, and you have the right to act as if the arrest or charges never happened. That means that you do not have to disclose that you were arrested or charged with DUI once an expungement is granted.
Talk to a Fairfax DUI Expungement Lawyer Today
Our criminal defense lawyers will provide you with a realistic assessment of your expungement request. Expungements are difficult to get in Virginia, but they are possible in some circumstances, and they are worth fighting for because of the negative effects a DUI arrest record may have on your future.
Our Fairfax expungement attorneys often handle simple and complex expungement cases for juveniles and adults. We don’t want an arrest for a crime that you did not commit to impact your ability to further your education, find a place to live, provide for yourself and your family, or cause you unnecessary embarrassment. Instead, we want you to be treated fairly.
We are here to answer your questions about a possible expungement in your DUI case. If you qualify for an expungement, we can represent you throughout the entire process. Call us or contact us through this website today to schedule your initial meeting with one of our expungement lawyers.