If you’ve been arrested of DWI in Raleigh, you may have been told that you can have it “expunged,” or removed from your record. North Carolina does allow some types of charges and convictions to be expuncted (as it’s called here), including DWI arrests, dismissals, and non-convictions.
But for a conviction, it’s a different story.
The Short Answer: No
North Carolina does NOT allow a conviction for DWI to be expunged from your record. Last year, Senate Bill 445 changed some of the time frames to allow more people to clear their records of old charges and arrests, including DWI. The idea was to give more than 2 million North Carolina residents the opportunity to clear their criminal records in a shorter amount of time after paying their debt to society and open up more job and housing opportunities. Once the process was completed, they could truthfully answer that they did not have an arrest record.
But a conviction for DWI is a different matter. Previously, the conviction had to be more than 15 years old, and there was a process to remove it. But after December 2015, that “loophole” was eliminated. Under North Carolina state law, (§15A-145.5(a)(8a)). DWI convictions are specifically excluded from expunction (as well as felony convictions that include violence.) DWI convictions can no longer be expuncted, no matter how old they are.
If You’ve Been Arrested For DWI
An arrest doesn’t always mean a conviction. Being convicted of DWI means that the charge won’t “fall off” or go away.
After an arrest, the burden of proof shifts to the state. After an arrest, the state must prove that you were, in fact, driving while intoxicated and in violation of the law. The three elements of proof are:
- You were driving
- You were on a public road in the county where you were arrested
- You were impaired while driving
Although the legal blood alcohol level is .08, you can still be arrested if your level is below that, and if the officer can show that you were “appreciably impaired” (or if you refuse to test altogether.) The state’s standards for DWI are things like unsteady walking, “red, glassy eyes,” slurred speech, and the smell of alcohol. However, the machine used to detect the presence of alcohol isn’t perfect, either. False positives are frequent, even in sober individuals. It’s not uncommon for police to arrest someone who cooperated with police and did consume alcohol but was well below the legal limit and not impaired.
What if you weren’t drinking or impaired at all? This is where a defense attorney can challenge faulty evidence from a faulty device and show that you were, in fact, arrested when you were not impaired. Find someone who will examine all the evidence and determine if the state unlawfully arrested you. An experienced defense attorney will fight to have your charges dismissed, reduced or a conviction to a lesser charge than DWI.
It’s also a good idea to keep good written records detailing your dealings with police, and the state of North Carolina. These will come in handy for your attorney and ensures that you won’t forget an important detail.
Wake County’s Premier DWI Defense Attorney
North Carolina has some of the strictest DWI laws in the country. An arrest for DWI in Raleigh is a serious crime. Your license can be suspended, you’ll face high fines and you could serve jail time. Don’t take chances going to court—a strong defense from an experienced DWI defense lawyer is your best bet.
As a former Wake County prosecutor, Dewey P. Brinkley has helped thousands of clients and successfully defended many in DWI cases. A charge and a conviction are two different things. His aggressive defense will fight to have your case dismissed or for a verdict of “not guilty.” Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 (or user our online contact form) for a free consultation. You can also email us at email@example.com.