Once you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you might want to keep it quiet. An arrest like that can be embarrassing and might even affect everything from your employment to child custody issues. Your chances of hiding a DUI depends on the circumstances, the laws of your state, and whether or not you were convicted of the charges. Read on to find out more.
Arrests and Convictions
You may have been advised that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction and that is true. However, when you are arrested, it goes on your criminal record and that arrest can remain there even if your charges are dropped, reduced, or you are found innocent. Most people would agree that having a criminal arrest like a DUI on your record can be almost as bad as being convicted of the charge.
Unfortunately, most arrests and criminal proceedings are visible to almost anyone with a computer and an interest. Furthermore, the proliferation of so-called mugshot websites means that your arrest and photo could pop up immediately when you are googled. Few bother checking back to find out how your DUI case was resolved, though. Potential employers, co-workers, new love interests, financial agencies, landlords, and others might take a dim view of someone with a criminal record of any sort.
There is no way to completely remove your criminal record. It will always be visible to law enforcement and court officials and can be used to increase your sentence if you offend again. For example, a second or more DUI might call for a felony charge and greater punishment. You might be able to hide your record from public view and background checks, however. The law varies, but you could have your DUI expunged if you were never convicted of the charges. It should be mentioned that there is a waiting period for expungement, even if you were not convicted. If you do end up getting convicted of the DUI, the chances of having your record sealed are slim but possible. You might have to wait longer for this type of expungement, however.
There is more to clearing a record than expungement and it starts with never being convicted of the DUI in the first place. Speak to a criminal defense lawyer about your DUI and reduce the chances for it to affect your future.
For more information, reach out to a criminal defense lawyer in your area.