Most people in Virginia understand that being convicted of driving under the influence can have a significant long-term impact on a person’s entire life. Of course, there are the initial penalties, such as fines, the suspension of a driver’s license and possible jail time to contend with. However, even after a person has paid their debt to society, having a DUI on your criminal record will show up when a person performs a criminal background check on you. This could limit your housing options and employment opportunities, meaning that you could feel the effects of that DUI conviction for a very long time.
One way that a person might want to address their DUI charges is to see if they can have the charges expunged from their criminal record. However, in Virginia, this is only an option in very limited circumstances. If a person in Virginia was charged with DUI, but was either acquitted, or the prosecution abandoned the charges or the charges were otherwise dismissed, it may be possible for a person to seek an expungement of the DUI from their criminal record. Note that in Virginia, if a person is convicted of DUI, expungement is not an option.
But, if the proper procedures for seeking an expungement are followed, and the court finds that the DUI charge is causing the petitioner a manifest injustice, then the DUI charges may be expunged from the petitioner’s record. If there is no manifest injustice, a petition for expungement will be denied. So, it is not a given that just because you were acquitted of DUI or otherwise had the charges against you dismissed that an expungement will automatically occur.
While DUI expungement is an option in very limited circumstances, it is certainly not a guarantee. If proper procedures are not followed when seeking an expungement or if a judge isn’t convinced you are suffering a manifest injustice due to having the DUI on your record, then it is possible that your petition for an expungement will be denied. Therefore, it is important that those seeking a DUI expungement understand what is required of them, so they can determine what steps to take moving forward.