BloomLegalTV: DWIs and Expungements

Posted on May 3, 2011 in Bloom Legal TV

We’ve recently had a few questions submitted to us about DWIs.  DWI is a common mnemonic used in law enforcement that stands for “Driving While Intoxicated”. Someone submitted a question inquiring, “How long does it [DWI] stay on my record, wherein it can be used against me in the future?”

DWIs are classified as “enhanceable offenses”. That means when charged with a DWI the offender has a conviction. Upon being charged a second time, the second conviction can be enhanced based on the first conviction. For instance, a third DWI in the state of Louisiana is enhanceable up to a felony charge. So, for the purposes of enhanceability, a DWI will stay on record for 10 years.

At any point after being charged, however, if someone–a potential employer or landlord, for instance–pulls a background check the DWI will still show. This leads to the next submitted question, “Can I get a DWI expunged?”

A DWI can be expunged if it falls under Article 894, or if you’re found not guilty. If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor DWI and he/she pleads guilty under (Article 894) then he/she is entitled to an expungement. An expungement can either be carried out by an attorney or by the defendant on their own. It is, however, recommended to hire an attorney to ensure that all of the different forms and motions are filed properly. Another reason to hire an attorney is that an expungement is an actual court proceeding; there could be a conflict hearing and various other hiccups that an untrained civilian may not know how to handle, so it’s important to have a knowledgeable advocate present with you.

Another question: “Do I have to include my DWI on an application?”

Each and every application if different, whether for graduate school or for a job. This is another reason to hire an attorney to read over that specific application’s requirements. It’s very common for an employee to ask if the interviewee have ever been convicted of a DWI, and the interviewee must answer. Even if they have had the DWI expunged, the employee may want to know.

Nothing here is supposed to be taken as real legal advice. These are just some generalities about the law. If you have any specific questions, you need to go to an attorney or call myself. We’d be glad to look at each case on a case-by-case basis.

Thanks a lot, and we look forward to hearing from you here, at Bloom Legal.

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