Has it been 10 years since your DWI? If so, then it’s time to get your DWI expunged.
What is expungement?
Expungement is the process of closing records of an arrest, criminal conviction and/or finding of guilt. Expungement thus restoring you to the status you had prior to the incident occurring. Once the expungement process is complete, you do not have to legally disclose an arrest, a plea of guilty or a conviction occurred at any point in time. In other words, you can honestly answer that you have not had a previous arrest, finding of guilt, you have not pled guilty and you have not been convicted of a DWI. After the expungement process is complete the court record is sealed. This would also mean your original case would come out of CASEnet, a public court records system.
Why is this important?
It is important for number of reasons; most importantly it resets the number of DWIs that you’ve had to zero. For example, let’s say that you pick up another DWI in the future. That DWI would not be counted as a second DWI, it would be counted only as your first DWI. As the State of Missouri continues to increase mandatory punishments for prior DWI offenders it is important to clean your record up as they now count prior DWI’s your entire life.
The other benefits in expunging a DWI include clearing your driving record and making employment application questions easier to answer. Many people who take a conviction for DWI will have the conviction on their driving record as well as an administrative action. Expunging a DWI will clear the driving record, so that it no longer shows either an administrative action or criminal conviction.
One of the largest impacts of a driving while intoxicated offense is on current and future employment. By expunging your DWI you could honestly and truthfully say “No”, when asked on an application if you were convicted or pled guilty to a DWI.
A lot of people don’t know that having a DWI can also impact international travel. For example it is difficult for people who have pled guilty or been convicted of a DWI to enter Canada.
*It’s important to note that only one DWI can be expunged.
Who qualifies for expungement of a first offense DWI?
- You can only expunge your first DWI offense.
- It must be 10 years since your finding of guilt or conviction of driving while intoxicated.
- You must not have had any other alcohol related offenses or pending alcohol related offenses. (For example: another DWI, providing to minors, open container)
- You must not have obtained a commercial driver’s license (CDL) over that 10 year period.
What process do I have to go through to get an expungement?
In order to get your records expunged a petition must be filed in the court where you received your DWI. The best way to do this is to hire an attorney and have the attorney work through the processes of getting your driving record and your criminal record completely expunged. This entire process requires collecting some past information and also obtaining a criminal background check. Each court and jurisdiction handles expungement a little differently. An attorney who has done expungements in the past will be able to inform you of the process in the jurisdiction you are requesting the expungement. It’s also important to note that this entire process can take anywhere from six months to a year.
If you have any questions or concerns about the expungement process please don’t hesitate to contact our office. We would be more than happy to assist you in getting your DWI expunged.