Can a DWI Be Expunged?
If your wondering “can a DWI be expunged?” this post will answer all of your questions. You can also take a look at this post called how DWI cases get dismissed to see whether that is a reasonable outcome. However, for both an expungement and a case dismissal, you will need the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney near you. Without the help of an expungement lawyer, your case will remain on your record.
What Is An Expungement Anyway?
The state of Louisiana is one place that has a pathway to expunging your record. Expungements are a way to remove criminal history from an individual’s past charges and convictions. The point of an expungement is to reward those who ran into trouble in their past, at a young age, for example, but have lived crime-free lives since.
An expungement helps by removing the charge from your criminal history and allowing you to have a better chance for a successful life. Employment, state licensing, and other benefits are available when a person can expunge their record and not have these past charges weighing them down for the rest of their lives.
Most crimes have eligibility for expungement, less a few violent crimes. Those who hold convictions for a DWI should know their rights regarding removing this criminal history from their record. Let’s take a look at the law for expungement in Louisiana and then the specifics as it deals with DWI charges.
Felony or Misdemeanor
Crimes can be removed from your record in Louisiana, whether a felony or a misdemeanor conviction. However, the two are not the same, as there are different requirements between the two types of convictions. Here is a breakdown between expungement requirements between misdemeanor and felony cases.
- A misdemeanor case (First two DWI convictions), when the verdict was set aside or dismissed; or five years has elapsed since the end of the sentence and has not received any felony convictions in those five years.
- A felony case (3 or more DWI convictions), when the verdict is set aside or dismissed; or ten years has elapsed since the end of the sentence and has not received any felony convictions in those ten years.
Although most misdemeanor cases can be expunged every five years, a DWI is only allowed at a minimum of every ten years. So, if you have more than one DWI on your record, you will only be allowed to expunge one of them.
Although most misdemeanors and felonies can be expunged from a record, there those that are forbidden. The state of Louisiana created these restrictions as some conviction are thought to be too heinous, such as:
- Sexual crimes, especially those involving children, are not available for expungement.
- Convictions for those convicted of possession or delivery of certain dangerous substances are highly restricted.
- Anyone convicted of domestic abuse cannot file for expunging their record.
Will My Charge be Invisible to Everyone?
Although an expungement of your DWI case will certainly help you when applying for employment and in other ways, your original charge will still be available to a few organizations. Here are some who will be able to see your criminal charge even after expunging it from your record.
- Criminal justice agencies like police departments and corrections facilities
- The Louisiana Bar Association
- Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners
- State board of social work examiners
- State board of dentistry
- EMS certification commission
- State board of psychologists
- State board of licensing for nurses
All of these groups have been granted exceptions as they have special requirements before licensing and employing those who’ve had criminal charges and convictions in the past.
The Expungement Process
Obtaining an expungement is not as simple as sending an email request. It involves a process with several steps to file for the removal of a criminal record.
- First, you must obtain from the prosecuting agency through a filing that you have not had any felony convictions since your last charge and other critical research related to your case.
- Second, a motion for expungement must be filed to begin the removal process.
- For DWI cases, you will need to attach evidence from the Louisiana Department of Public Safety that it received any pleas, other requirements, and a copy of the defendant’s fingerprints.
- Consent for expungement from the prosecuting agency through an affidavit
- Documentation of records showing no criminal convictions for the past 10 years.
How to Help Expunging Your DWI Record
The best way to have your DWI conviction expunged is to hire a local attorney to start the process. Your attorney will know all of the ins and outs of filing on your behalf and gaining you an expungement. Any minimal cost will be well worth the hiring of an attorney. For instance, if you begin the process only to find you have submitted the wrong information, you will need to start over.
By using a lawyer to help in your expungement process, you can take satisfaction the job is performed correctly. The faster you get through the process, the quicker you can enjoy the benefits of not having a criminal record hanging over your head. This will be evident and beneficial when applying for better employment or licensing to start your own business within the state.
We hope you now have the answer to your question can a DWI be expunged and wish you the best of luck.