Driving under the influence can have serious consequences. If you’re pulled over and your blood alcohol level is above 0.08%, you could face license suspension, high fines, and even jail time due to the DUI conviction.
A DUI conviction can even impact your life in other ways. It will remain on your permanent record, potentially making it harder for you to find a job or housing.
Expungement removes a DUI conviction from your criminal record. A DUI attorney in West Virginia can explain if you qualify for expungement and help you navigate the process.
What Does It Mean for a Charge to Be Expunged?
DUIs may negatively affect your life long-term, even if you have an otherwise spotless record.
Expungement allows you to remove an offense from your criminal record. It involves petitioning the court to request they remove the charge. If the court reviews your application and agrees, they’ll erase your charge. While a DUI will remain on your driving record, after being expunged, it will no longer affect your job or housing opportunities.
Who Is Eligible for Expungement?
Expungement can be incredibly beneficial, but it isn’t available to everyone. In West Virginia, you’re eligible for expungement under three different circumstances:
- If the court dismisses your case.
- If you’re found not guilty.
- If you’re eligible for the West Virginia Deferral Program.
The court may deny your expungement petition if you’re facing other criminal charges. Speak to a DUI attorney in West Virginia to understand your legal options if this applies to you.
The West Virginia Deferral Program to Dismiss DUI Charges
The West Virginia Deferral Program lets first-time offenders accused of non-aggravated DUIs remove the charge from their record. To qualify, you must:
- Have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of less than .15%
- Notify the court within 30 days of the conviction.
- Not be a commercial driver
- Agree to an intoximeter test
Under this program, you plead guilty to the DUI charge, undergo a 15-day license suspension, then participate in the ignition interlock program for 165 days. After that, the court dismisses your DUI. You can file for expungement a year after completing the program.
The Expungement Process
An experienced lawyer can help you determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for expungement and represent you in court.
The first step is to file a petition requesting an expungement. You must notify the prosecution of your intent to petition for expungement. In addition, you need to pay filing fees to begin the process.
Contact a Qualified DUI Attorney in West Virginia
A DUI conviction can come with life-long consequences. Expungement offers a way to erase the criminal offense from your record, but the actual expungement process can be complex without professional help. With a DUI attorney in West Virginia on your side, you can navigate the process and file all the necessary paperwork on time to request the court expunge the conviction.
At Arnold & Bailey, we’ve assisted with felony DUI cases, expungement, and more. We can examine the details of your case, let you know if you qualify for West Virginia’s Deferral Program, and walk you through the process. Call 304-725-2002 or contact us online to discuss your case.