DWIs and Expungements
Posted on Apr 14, 2014 in Criminal Defense, DUI/DWI
Having a DWI on your record is bad news. DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated, and it is a criminal offense that can stay on your record for the rest of your life. This means if you have a background check by a landlord, for work or for school, the drunk driving offense will show up to your potential landlord or employer. This can cost you job opportunities and it can result in you being unable to live and work where you want.
Because of the serious consequences associated with having a DWI on your record, many people are interested in DWI expungement. As we explain in our video on DWIs and Expungements, it may be possible to have the DWI expunged. However, there are a specific and limited set of circumstances in which this is an option. The best way to keep your record clean is to avoid conviction in the first place, which a New Orleans DUI law firm may be able to help you to do. However, if you have already been charged and tried for the crime, then an attorney may also be able to assist with expungement.
Understanding DWI Expungement
Expungement means that the details on your drunk driving offense are removed from your criminal record so the information can no longer be seen when a background check or criminal history check is performed on you. Expungement is a different thing from sealing your record, which is what occurs when a judge declares that your criminal history should be kept private and seen only by law enforcement or by a select few individuals with clearance. Expungement means that the criminal history is actually removed from your record.
However, this does not mean that the DWI necessarily disappears permanently. As we explain in our video on DWIs and Expungements, drunk driving offenses are “enhanceable offenses.” This means that if you are charged with a second (or subsequent) DWI, you will face a harsher sentence and more serious penalties than a first-time offender. For a third-time DWI offense, the state of Louisiana actually says your past convictions will enhance the charges up to a felony. Expungement does not prevent this from happening. If you have a DWI conviction, it is going to be used to enhance your penalties in subsequent cases for 10 years after the time when the conviction occurred.
Some applications for jobs or academic opportunities will also ask you whether you have ever been convicted of a drunk driving offense. Even if the record is expunged, this does not necessarily give you the right to answer “no” to this question. Before doing something that could be seen as lying on an application, you should consult with a New Orleans DUI attorney.
The Process of DWI Expungement
Expungement can be helpful even if it doesn’t necessarily make all history of your offense disappear. As our video explains, expungement is possible if it falls under Article 894 or if you are found not guilty of the offense. Article 894 involves a guilty plea for a misdemeanor DWI.
Your attorney can help you to arrange a guilty plea that will allow for future expungement, and/or can help you to carry out the process of getting your DWI charges expunged if you meet the criteria. Watch our video for more information and contact Bloom Legal today to speak with a New Orleans DUI attorney and learn how we can help you.