DUI record expungements in Virginia

Preventing an arrest on suspicion of DUI from being made available to employers and landlords can be an integral part of criminal defense.

In the criminal justice system there is no such thing as a slap on the wrist. Criminal misdemeanor charges of DUI, even if cleared, have lasting consequences. Between hefty fines, court fees, and probation, an arrest on suspicion of DUI is a difficult, stressful and expensive prospect. Unfortunately, for Virginians arrested and charged with DUI, the potential financial and life consequences do not end there.

An arrest can appear on a criminal background check. The arrest can therefore loom over future applications for employment, promotions, or other career advancement. This is true even if the charges were dropped or ended in an acquittal, provided the defendant does nothing to erase those records. An arrest can also affect housing prospects, volunteer and community service opportunities, and other quality of life matters. Some criminal charges will prevent an individual from owning firearms in the future, for example.,.

That is why Virginia law allows record expungements for certain criminal cases. An expungement, once completed, deletes all police and court records involving an arrest and criminal case. In order to be eligible for an expungement, the defendant must have been found not guilty, not prosecuted (nolle prosequi), or otherwise had the case dismissed. Individuals who receive an absolute pardon or whose name was used in error are also eligible for criminal expungements.

When a record is expunged, the record is not destroyed but removed from public access and sealed from potential employers and the public. A criminal expungement also requires law enforcement to delete records of an arrest.

Preventing a DUI from destroying a career

Virginia law does not go easy on those suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even a first-time misdemeanor DUI charge carries significant life consequences over and above any time spent in jail or initial fines.

For individuals charged with a first-time DUI, the stakes are high. However, Virginians have rights in the criminal justice system, including constitutional rights regarding police searches and seizures. In addition, there could be options regarding plea bargains for reduced charges, that may mitigate some of the extensive penalties associated with a DUI. If the case is eventually dismissed or the defendant is found not guilty, then an expungement can be extremely beneficial in order to get that person's life back on track.

With so much at stake, it is imperative that those charged with a DUI in Virginia contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Ronald E. Smith to discuss their legal options and defense.

Keywords: Criminal record, expungement, arrest, DUI.

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