An estimated 32 people die every day from accidents caused by driving under the influence (DUI). This amounts to over 11, 000 people in a year.
This is one of the many reasons DUI is prohibited and considered a crime in the United States. The probable effect that could result from DUI can be devastating. This is why there is a high possibility of getting convicted if there is enough evidence against you.
The impact of a DUI conviction can be life-altering. One of the many effects is having to live with a criminal record. A criminal record changes the trajectory of your life. This ranges from the inability to get a job to being neglected by friends. These various effects spur you to want to expunge the record.
The process of expunging a criminal record depends on different factors. It can be a complex and long process depending on your state. This is why it is important to involve a DUI lawyer.
DUI as a Criminal Offense
DUI is a criminal offense in all states in America including Delaware. DUI is not limited to alcohol alone. It also involves taking illegal substances while driving. If you are suspected to be driving under the influence, you would be stopped by the police. An alcohol test will then be conducted.
The alcohol test is what determines whether or not you are driving under the influence. The general blood alcohol concentration required in your body should not exceed 0.8%. You get arrested once your blood alcohol concentration level exceeds 0.8%.
After the arrest, you would be charged to court and if found guilty you are convicted accordingly. The penalties for a DUI conviction range from a fine to a prison sentence.
A DUI lawyer can examine the facts against you and ascertain whether you have any valid legal defenses to the allegations. For instance, they would look to see if the evidence was obtained dishonestly or if the sobriety tests had any flaws.
Having a DUI on your Criminal Record and its Consequences
Every state in the United States keeps records of criminal convictions of the citizens. The records are usually stored in a database. The criminal record of a citizen typically contains all
convicted crimes of that citizen. DUI as a criminal offense would appear on a person’s criminal record once convicted.
One of the long-term effects of a DUI conviction is that it comes with you having a criminal record. A criminal record affects your professional, personal and social life. You can lose a potential job just because of a criminal record. Most companies do a background check and find out whether you have a criminal record or not.
This and many more are the effects of having a criminal record. It is a huge barrier in your life.
Your criminal records accessible by the public leads to a lot of consequences such as:
- The possibility of having your license and certifications denied in the professional space.
- It might be difficult to get admission into schools.
- Subsequent charges for DUI might incur bigger penalties.
- The need to always disclose this fact to potential employers when you apply for jobs. You might be disqualified for this reason.
- Having to lose a job that requires you to have a driver’s license.
- Paying extra for insurance policies. This is because the insurance companies see you as a driver with potentially high risk.
- Financial instability due to the inability to work and earn. Not getting a job because of your criminal record can cause financial strain. This is because you do not have a stable source of income.
Duration of Having a DUI Criminal Record
The best way to avoid these consequences is to expunge the criminal records or have them sealed by the judge.
Various states have different options for expunging a DUI criminal record. In some states, you cannot clear out the record. It would remain in your record forever. While some states allow you to expunge your DUI criminal record after a specific number of years. In states like Delaware, you can expunge your criminal records.
It is not automatic and you need to be eligible to start the process of expunging. There are 2 major ways to go about expunging your records in Delaware. Exploring any of these 2 methods depends largely on the type of crime to be expunged. They include the following:
- Applying to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).
The State Bureau of Investigation handles criminal records that are mandated to be expunged.
- Applying to the courts.
Expungement by the court is discretionary and such a process must be done in court. This process involves filing a petition in court requesting the judge to seal your record from the public.
Eligibility for Expungement
As earlier mentioned, getting your records expunged is not automatic as it depends on a lot of factors. You must ensure you are eligible for an expungement before starting the process. Certain crimes under the state law can never be expunged.
You must ensure to know if you are eligible for expungement under any of the processes mentioned above. If you are eligible you must proceed immediately to get the criminal record expunged. This is because the DUI will continue to be on your record till you take steps towards expunging.
The process to apply for expungement include:
1 File a petition in court if you’re doing the process in a court. If you want to go through the SBI route, you fill out the expungement forms online.
2. Attach your certified copy of your criminal record to the petition or forms filled.
3. File with the court clerk and pay the necessary filing fee.
4. Wait for hearing of your request and results after careful evaluation.
A criminal record once expunged helps you get away from your past criminal record and opens up new avenues in life. It does not matter how long a criminal record has been for. It can no longer be viewed by the public including employers who conduct background checks. You are as free as a man who never committed a crime in the first place.