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Expungement: a clean slate after a DUI arrest

As many Loudoun County residents know, employers today often make criminal background checks before deciding on which job candidate to hire. In many cases, an employer will pass over a perfectly qualified candidate simply because he or she was once arrested on suspicion of DUI. Even if the person was found not guilty, or if the charges were dismissed, the arrest itself might make it impossible for a job candidate to land a desired post.  

The best way to rectify the situation is by obtaining what's known as an expungement of a DUI arrest record. An attorney experienced in expungements can help. Though the record will not be erased, it will be hidden from public view.

Circumstances in which a DUI arrest record can be expunged:

  • If you were found not guilty
  • If your case was dismissed
  • If the Commonwealth Attorney's office declined to prosecute

However, it should be noted that just because a person was acquitted of a DUI charge, or the charge was dropped, does not mean expungement of police and court records will be automatic. A judge might well deny an expungement based on prior convictions or because the Commonwealth Attorney challenges the petition with good reason.  

It's also possible for adults who were convicted of crimes before they turned 18 to obtain an expungement of their criminal records. Again, this is not automatic but it is certainly worth discussing the details of your circumstances with an experienced attorney.

The same is true of a petition to have a DUI arrest record expunged: discuss it with an attorney who knows the system and understands the law.

Source: Virginia Legal Aid Society, "Expungements and pardons of criminal charges." Accessed Sept. 15, 2014

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