Getting a DUI can be embarrassing—and expensive. It can also follow you around for a long time. Employment and other opportunities could be lost because of one mistake. Car insurance will be very expensive. You could also lose your job, custody of your children and even your home over a DUI.
But what if it were just one? What if your DUI was an anomaly, and not who you really are? Can you have that charge expunged, and “make it go away?” It’s possible but time-consuming. There are specific conditions you have to have to be “rid” of a DUI.
Changes In Expunction Laws
Last year, Governor Cooper signed Senate Bill 445 into law, which took effect in December of 2017. This new bill reduces the waiting time for nonviolent offenders to apply for expungement. Some of the changes include:
- Instead of 15 years, the wait time for misdemeanor convictions is 5 years
- Instead of 15 years, the wait time for felony convictions is 10 years
- Law enforcement and prosecutors now have access to your records
- There is no longer a limit on the number of dismissals that can be expunged, as long as you have no felony convictions
This bill is expected to help more than 2 million North Carolina residents get rid of old dismissed or “not guilty” charges that remain on their criminal records. Even if dismissed, old charges can inhibit the ability to find employment, housing education and other opportunities. Once completed, the charge will not show up on routine background checks but will be retained in the event of additional charges later.
The request for expungement must be filed in the county where it occurred. For instance, if you live in Wake County, but were charged during a beach weekend in Carteret County, you’ll have to file your expungement request in Carteret County since that’s where the charge originated.
Currently, it takes about nine months to one year for an expungement to be completed. With more individuals eligible for expungement, the wait time may be a little longer as more people take advantage and file to have old charges dismissed.
The Type Of DUI
Were you arrested for DUI, but not charged? Did you go to trial but found not guilty? Or were you convicted in a trial?
If your charge was dismissed, or you were acquitted, you can file for an expunction immediately, if you have no other felonies on your record. The judge is allowed discretion in approving an expunction, even if all the conditions are met.
But if you were convicted of DUI in North Carolina, expunctions are not included, and not allowed under §15A-145.5(a)(8a).
Driver’s License Suspension For DUI
If your license has been suspended for DUI, it’s a completely separate administrative matter. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has information on suspensions, revocations, and instructions on restoring your license. If your license has been suspended because of a DUI, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you restore your driving privileges as well.
We Can Help Expunge Your Record
A criminal charge doesn’t go away on its own—you have to request an expungement when the time is right. It’s a complicated process, and an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh can help you through the process.
Dewey P. Brinkley understands that DUI is not who you are. It doesn’t have to last forever. As a former Wake County prosecutor, he has helped thousands of clients and successfully defended many in DUI cases. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 (or user our online contact form) for a free consultation.