Getting a DUI Off Your Record Is Possible – If You Avoid Conviction
If you have been charged with a DUI in Colorado, one of your first questions is likely whether or not you can get the DUI off your record. That is because driving under the influence in Colorado has serious consequences. El Paso and Teller County prosecutors have the full weight of the law behind them and will not hesitate to pursue a conviction. And, while you can expunge many offenses from your criminal history or have your record sealed you will not be able to get an adult conviction for DUI off your record – ever. However, under certain circumstances, you may be able to have records of a DUI arrest sealed such that most of the world will never know the arrest ever happened.
An adult DUI conviction on your criminal record will follow you for the rest of your life. You can expect to have your employment, housing, and financial opportunities limited, and it could cost you certain rights. At the very least, a DUI conviction is a stain on your reputation. All of this will linger long after the legal consequences have subsided and you have served any time or paid any fines. But the keyword here is “conviction.”
A DUI arrest, on the other hand, is far less of a burden that can virtually disappear if you play your cards right. However, to have the opportunity to play those cards at all, you need to avoid a conviction. And to give you the best chance of an acquittal, dismissal, or dropping of the charges, you need to hire an experienced Colorado Springs DUI defense attorney immediately.
Here is what you need to know about getting a DUI off your record In Colorado.
A Guilty Verdict Or Plea In Your DUI Case Will Be With You Forever
In Colorado, there are two ways to keep the public, and most potential employers, from seeing the record of a previous criminal offense: expungement and sealing.
Expungement means that the record of your offense gets physically destroyed. However, in Colorado, only two offenses are eligible for expungement: juvenile offenses and underage drinking and driving. So, unless your DUI case proceeded in juvenile court, your record will not be eligible for expungement.
Sealing a criminal record means that the record still exists, but only limited groups, such as law enforcement, are able to see it. But again, while you may be able to have a juvenile DUI sealed, it is simply not an option for an adult DUI conviction, no matter how talented your lawyer may be.
To be crystal clear, a DUI “conviction” in this context doesn’t just mean a judge or jury finding you guilty of the crime. Even a plea of guilty or of no contest will stay on your record forever. This is yet another reason to think long and hard – and get the advice of an attorney – before accepting a plea agreement held out by El Paso or Teller County prosecutors.
Sealing Your DUI Arrest
While a DUI conviction will be out there in the world forever, the same cannot be said for records of DUI arrests. Colorado law allows for the sealing of a DUI arrest record if there is no conviction. But don’t assume that it will happen automatically. You will have to petition the court to have your arrest record sealed, and even if you satisfy all conditions for sealing, a judge is not legally obligated to grant your request (although more than likely they will).
You can immediately seek to have your DUI arrest record sealed in the following circumstances:
- Police arrested you for DUI, but prosecutors did not charge you;
- Prosecutors decided to dismiss your case; or
- A judge or jury acquitted you of the DUI charges.
To file a petition to seal your DUI arrest, you need to request and obtain your record from the police department, fill out the appropriate forms, and file the petition with the court, along with any applicable fees. If a judge grants your request, you can send a copy of the judge’s ruling to all law enforcement agencies or prosecutor’s offices that have your record.
Once the judge’s ruling is in your hands, you can truthfully say to potential employers (and almost everyone else) that you have no arrests for DUI on your record.
Hiring A DUI Attorney With A Proven Track Record Is The Best Bet For Avoiding Conviction
The ability to get a DUI off your record can make your life a lot better, but you will need an outstanding DUI attorney on your side to help you avoid a conviction. Colorado Springs DUI attorneys at James Newby Law use the experience and insights gained as former DUI prosecutors to defend the rights of individuals facing DUI charges. They attack the prosecution’s case at every turn, looking for every possible weakness to put their clients in the best position to obtain a favorable outcome.