Many of those convicted of driving under the influence wonder if it is possible to get the offense expunged from their record after a certain period of time. This is especially true of one-time offenders who do not want a DUI conviction distorting others' perception of them when applying for jobs, schooling or scholarships, for example. Eradicating a DUI, especially those which were isolated incidents, after a number of years is an appealing prospect, however - while there are certain legal avenues to ‘restrict' one's record, a DUI can never be effectively expunged/erased in the state of Georgia. It will always be visible, at least to some parties. Hoping citizens would not confuse expungement with total erasure, Georgia law refers to expungement as ‘records restriction,' implying that viewership of the offense is restricted but the offense is not removed from the record.
A DUI conviction is no small matter. In the aftermath of the case which may have been costly and time-consuming, you are forced to explain to family and friends why may no longer have a license; you may have to take pains to arrange alternative transportation for yourself. When applying to new jobs or other opportunities, you are forced to explain the circumstances of an unfortunate DUI conviction to a potential new employer. The implications can be devastating and at times humiliating. Financially, a DUI conviction can hurt as well, seeing as car insurance rates go up exponentially afterward.
Despite the consequences of a DUI, nothing can be done totally remove the offense from your record. If you plead guilty to any offense or are found guilty in a court of law by judge or jury, the offense may never be expunged/erased from your record. Essentially, a DUI conviction is forever and you cannot change that. However, you can change who has access to viewing this conviction. This is done by applying for a records restriction and is the closest option to expungement. If you are ever arrested or charged with any offense in the future, law enforcement will be able to view your DUI conviction and it may be used against you by a prosecutor who wishes to show a pattern of misconduct. With these everlasting implications of a convicted DUI, it is critical that you seek out an experienced Roswell DUI Attorney to handle your case immediately after you are charged. The right legal representation can be the difference between contending with a lifelong conviction or seeing a dismissed charged wiped off your record. Roswell Alpharetta DUI attorney Richard Lawson is informed by over two decades of experience in the courtroom, fighting DUI charges and upholding the rights of his clients. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, be proactive in securing competent legal representation. Time is of the essence in these cases; contact Richard Lawson immediately for a free consultation.
'Look back' Period Misconceptions
Some people are aware of the so-called 'look back period' of DUI convictions for the purposes of DUI sentencing. When sentencing an offender, the prosecution will consider any past DUIs within a 5 or 10 year period, depending on the jurisdiction. Some mistakenly believe that DUIs outside of this 5 or 10 year period are effectively ‘expired' from their record because they may not be considered in sentencing a new DUI. This is not the case at all. Lookback periods have absolutely nothing to do with expungement. They are meant to formally enhance the punishment for those who receive a certain number of convictions in a 5 or 10 year period. Even if a DUI conviction exceeds the terms of a look back period, it may still be informally considered in the individual's sentencing. If you have a DUI more than 5 or 10 years old and have never sought records restriction, do not assume that your DUI is no longer visible on your record. You must take the steps required to restrict it from general view however you will never ‘destroy' it.
Proposed Changes to the Expungement Policy
Representative Culver Kidd proposed a bill in 2012 that would change this policy toward DUI expungement. One-time DUI offenders would've been allowed to expunge the offense if they did not receive any traffic infractions for five years. This bill did not pass.
Can my DUI be pardoned?
It is generally not possible to obtain a pardon for a DUI conviction. Unlike other states, the governor of Georgia does not have the power to grant pardons. This power rests exclusively with the Georgia Pardon and Parole Board. Their policy allows them to consider only felony convictions
Expunging a Dismissed Charge
As mentioned, a dismissed case can be expunged but additional steps must be taken in order to expunge. If you are charged with DUI, but the case is ultimately dismissed or you complete a diversion program, consult with your DUI attorney about the steps necessary to remove the dismissed charge from your record. If you do not do so, the arrest and charge will remain on your record but with the word ‘dismissed' beside it.
If you have been charged with a DUI, it is crucial that you do not simply plead guilty to the charges without understanding that it can remain on your criminal record forever. An Alpharetta DUI Attorney will work to get your DUI charges reduced to a lesser offense. Contact our office today for your free consultation.