The biggest impact of a DUI conviction may not be the fines or even jail time served. Instead, simply having a DUI on your record can have severe negative consequences for the rest of your life.
A DUI conviction is a criminal conviction. This can impact your ability to get a new job, acquire a mortgage to buy a home, and to get low rates on your auto loan.
Fortunately, you may be able to expunge your DUI conviction. With an expungement, your DUI will be wiped off the books for many purposes, and you can start off with a clean slate. The FindLaw Guide to Expungement can help get you started.
First, you should be aware that expungement laws are state-specific and not every jurisdiction allows you to expunge a DUI conviction. In states that do allow DUI expungement, courts usually have discretion as to whether to grant it. For example, a court may consider your criminal history, how much time has passed since your DUI, and other factors.
If you are unsure if you qualify for expungement, you may want to talk to a criminal attorney to learn about your eligibility.
After determining that you are eligible, you will have to fill out a lot of paperwork. In most states, someone seeking an expungement will have to fill out an application or petition. Filling out and delivering the paperwork can be confusing, as you may have to deliver the papers to the district attorney's office, or you may even have to create an order for the judge's signature. (That's something you may want a lawyer to do for you.)
If you have successfully submitted the required documents, you may then be called for a hearing to plead your case. A judge will then decide whether to grant the DUI expungement or not.