How do I seal my DUI conviction?

So, you've received DUI charges, and the prospects of beating the rap don't look good. Do you build a strong defense, or do you try to mitigate the damages of the conviction? Many drivers face DUI charges that have very few grounds for a strong defense and may believe that all they can do is simply accept the charges and try to cushion the blow. The good news is that are still options for those who do not have strong grounds for a defense, but these should never be the first option considered.

Before you begin pursuing aggressive options like sealing or expunging records of a DUI conviction, be sure that you consult an experienced attorney who truly understands the intricacies of the laws at play and the local justice system. You may have stronger defenses available than you think that you do, and simply need a professional, creative defense. In general, fighting charges is preferable to attempting to obscure them.

However, if you cannot build any defense to speak of, you may have grounds to seal or expunge the conviction itself. DUI convictions are public records, which means that anyone can access them, from law enforcement and other government entities, to employers and beyond. Under a court seal, the record is no longer public, although government agencies may still view it, as well as some other organizations. However, if you can compel the court to expunge a record, even government agencies need a court order to access it.

Qualifying for a seal is possible for many reasons, but even those who qualify do not receive automatic seals. The court does not hand out automatic seals, and only sometimes honors seal requests. If you determine that a seal or expungement is your only option, be sure to seek proper legal counsel to ensure you make a strong case for your seal or expungement.

Source: Findlaw, "Expungement Basics," accessed Oct. 13, 2017

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